Next Garden

Vancouver (and some times Los Angeles) weirdo wears stuff, takes pictures, makes fashion blog.

Your Freak Flag

tattoo mermaid dress
Excuse my tired incoherence... but I've had a very eventful few weeks lately. It feels like I barely have enough time to do all the things I need to on my to-do list when days are flying by in blazing speed. As I type this post, it's 1am on a Monday morning. I don't know where my weekend went, but in my deliriously overworked and frazzled mind, every frame in this photo set looks utterly hilarious to me.

Have you ever had that feeling? As you look at photos of yourself you start to think, is that my face? Is that my elbow? IS THAT FRUITCAKE INDEED ME?!?

Fashion blogger loses mind
I started this blog with a specific aesthetic in mind -- whimsical, romantic, dreamy... while those are all elements of my sense of style, I just don't think I can photograph as such when the camera is pointed at me. There seems to be a disconnect between my sense of fashion and the way I can't stay still long enough to be captured in the way I envisioned.

And that's OK.

spinning in a mermaid dress
I'm still wearing the things I love, albeit presenting them in a way that I never intended. This definitely changes the look and feel of an outfit, and I guess this is the part where that saying, "It's not what you wear, but how you wear it," applies.

And how exactly am I wearing it?

Like if a rabid panda with crazy eyes had a baby with a hyperactive blob seal with motor skill issues.

And that's OK too.

a total mermaid princess at her castle
It took me a long time to be OK with myself, after being told I'm too loud, too quiet, too weird, too distant, too cold, too obsessive, too emotionless, too emotional... Yes I am all of the above, and I am also too busy to give a crap what people think nowadays.

I think it took a while for me to get over the awkwardness and feel natural while being photographed, and my natural state is to be in motion while making dumb faces -- but fashionably so. Over time, I have found that to suppress the hopping around, spinning, or jumping in order to obtain a tranquil, soft, feminine look is too difficult to achieve. It might be the aesthetic I like, but ultimately can't attain... at least not while I'm the one in the photos.

And that is also OK.

So hello, my name is Angel, I like to wear pretty things but act like a complete idiot while doing so. Welcome to my blog. I swear sometimes I talk about fashion in a way that makes sense.

How do you photograph? Does it align with what you wish to project to the world?

Photo cred: Collin Head @deklyn21 | EditingMe!
Outfit details: Dress: Sourpuss | Jacket: Billabong | Shoes: Ardene | Sunglasses: Ruffles | Panda necklace: A gift!

Days Gone By

weekend getaway outfit
Hello all! I'm back from my Canada Day excursion to the island! Many photos were taken, many bug bites were sustained, many steps were walked, and many delicious meals were enjoyed.

In case anyone wanted a quick crash course of west coast Canadian geography, Vancouver Island is an island (duh) off the coast of (double duh) Vancouver, it is home to Victoria, this province's capital city. The last time I hopped on the ferry to go there I was a tragically tacky teenager many many moons ago. This time I hopefully was a bit better dressed for a long weekend getaway.

palm tree shirt, panda necklace
Parts of the sights were exactly as how I remembered it from ages ago, and I was the one who changed -- older, blonder, more jaded in some aspects, but definitely have more of an appreciation for food and fashion.

And this got me thinking... (and a question for more seasoned fashion/style bloggers out there) What's it like looking back at your posts from a year, two years, five years ago?

chillin' at Butterfly Gardens, Victoria
Blogs are like a personal time capsule, and just remembering what I was like last year... I wouldn't have ever volunteered to wear shorts with pleats in them, much less tuck my shirt in even if you bribed me with a dozen churros. Style evolves so quickly these days -- I'm somewhat guilty of fast fashion and a short attention span despite the fact that I tend to keep clothes for quite a long time before I retire them.

bucket waist shorts
So, some questions (for myself and for anyone reading this) to ponder:

How has your style changed from last summer to now?
Last year I was all about ease, as in easy to put on and get out the door in less than 5 minutes. For that reason, I was mostly in dresses. Throw it on, get going! It was quite minimalist, and I think I only rotated through 4 or 5 dresses the entire summer. Mind you, I was also traveling and weighed efficiency over details.

Have you ever looked back at a not so long ago outfit and just... cringed?
Oh. Yes. I have some things that are definitely impulse purchases and about a week after, I look at it and think to myself, 'Yikes.' I have this shirt with a GINORMOUS bow on the front that I absolutely loved for about a month. I love bows, absolutely love them, but this was just so out of proportion that they look like they can flap and fly away. This was from about a year and a half ago.

Have you ever looked back at an outfit past and just thought, yeah this is still lit?
Yes, some things seem to age like a fine wine. I have a polka dotted dress from Target going almost 6 years strong that's still one of my favorites. Maybe I'm biased because it's in my favorite color (teal!) but the fit, length, color, print are all spot on (pun intended!)

st. ann's school house
I wonder what I'll be wearing next summer. I wonder if this is the first blog that I've made that will stand the test of time so I can ask myself those questions again. I wonder, I wonder, and I wonder how everyone reading this have evolved in their own lives?

More island posts coming up for the next two weeks! Three days of vacation begets three posts worth! I'm always thinking of this blog even while taking it easy!

Photo cred: Collin Head @deklyn21 | Editing: Me!
Outfit details: Shirt: Old Navy | Shorts: Harve Bernard | Jacket thing: Target | Sunglasses: Ruffles | Panda necklace: A gift from my lovely photog/foodie compatriot/partner in crime | Backpack: Amazon | Shoes: Ardene

Make It!

flower field photo shoot
It's no secret I'm no stranger to doing it yourself when it comes to finding some kind of unique accessory that just aren't sold in stores, but in this week's post, Meghan is kicking it up a notch. She's artsy while I'm crafty, with our powers combined, we were able to create Captain Planet... errr... the legendary banana tote bag she's carrying!

banana tote bag
Angel: It's time to tell the tale of the banana bag.
Meghan: Ha! OK. Sometimes you wander through H&M and you see something that you are like, I need that, I don't care what it costs! ('Cause it's H&M, it's not gonna break you, let's be real. I see shit like that all the time, but sometimes it's like $1500 and turns out you can live without it.)

So, I bought banana bag, and it was my point of fashion for a whole summer two years ago. And then it got old, and faded, and gross, and the lining ripped, and possibly a marker lost its cap inside so it also had a big red mark. Then I think the final straw was a lip tint exploded all over everywhere inside it, and so I was like ooooooh k, time to retire, b-bag.

flower print shirt, banana print bag ftw
Meghan: I wanted to remake banana bag, so I spent way to much time on Photoshop redrawing the whole damn pattern. I'm not very good at reverse engineering a repeating pattern, so it took forever. Then some friends with a digital cloth printing company made it for me! You then sewed it into a bag for me, 'cause I knew if I tried to do it, I would just eff it up so bad. And in exchange I gave you some X-Files poster prints I illustrated. The End.

So that sums up the story of the banana bag, I should add that when I said Meghan was artsy, she's actually a wizard when it comes to drawing. These bananas might look simple, but oh boy, let me tell you about the detail she put in that aforementioned X-Files poster. In fact, here it is in all its magnificent glory for all you I-want-to-believers:

X-Files Mulder fanart
Illustrated by: Meghan Latta
Angel: So bag making was quite fun. Are there any other patterns that you've made that you want to turn into things?
Meghan: So many! I've been thinking about making some X-Files t-shirts with the same images from the posters I made, I also have a lemon and bees pattern I'd love to turn into a bag and a kinda 50's style bathing suit. I also made these kitty cone drawings inspired by an ice cream shop in Chinatown called Fluffy Kittens Ice Cream, and I think those would be great on a shirt or a bag.

antique enamel brooch turned necklace
Angel: Is it more satisfying to wear one of your own creations than a store bought thing?
Meghan: Oh, yeah, so much. I'd love to get a compliment and answer with, "I made it!"

Angel: Is it a plus or minus that you make something/get something printed and it's essentially one of a kind since you're not selling them (yet)?
Meghan: Well, this could be many, because the file still exists, etc. It's not like a painting where you do it and then you can buy that one thing, and then there are no others. My bananas/my copy of H&M's bananas could take over the world. Also I feel like if I was still having to justify my art in art school, I would say that my banana bag is now a comment on commercialization and appropriation in the era of the multiple, and the resurgence of craft.

simple casual fashion blog
Angel: Moving on to that necklace. Was it actually a necklace or did you make it?
Meghan: It was some kind of collar pin, I was told by the dudes at the antique shop in Victoria where I bought it. I just added a chain.

Angel: This whole outfit has a lot of make it yourself elements.
Meghan: Yeah!

necklace detail
Angel: I do enjoy making little doo-hickeys.
Meghan: I need to do more! T-shirts!

So... I have a peculiar feeling that there may be future posts where we wear shirts printed from Meghan's designs!

Follow Meghan on her Tumblr or Instagram.

Photo cred: Me!

Finding Wonderland

alice inspired fashion blog post
This week is quite an emotional one for me... but I'll try and wade through the excessive nostalgic feels and turn this post into something productive, stick with me here.

It's midsummer/summer solstice this week, the longest day of daylight in the northern hemisphere, and it also marks the one year anniversary of when I took a leap of faith and discovered pure, nonsensical, ecstatic euphoria -- my Wonderland.

thrifted alice dress with cheshire cat bag
But of course, it was a very real place with very real people. My Wonderland is a city called Uppsala in Sweden where I stayed for 9 weeks last summer. It was a place that was strange and familiar at the same time, a place that instantly felt like home in a way no other place ever had before in my life. I can't believe it's been an entire year since I stayed there -- the scenery, the colors, the smells, the textures... they are all so fresh in my mind still.

It was also the place that birthed the initial idea for this blog (hence the .se domain name.) Ever since I left it, I have felt like a huge chunk of my heart was also left there. I don't want Wonderland to be just an ephemeral dream, however surreal of a time it might have been in my life. I followed the white rabbit of impulsiveness last year, and found myself in the exact place I felt like I was always meant to be at. I'll be back there again, sooner or later. Preferably sooner than later.

Now, shifting gears from recollection to the present: as memories of Uppsala toes the border between very real, and a very whimsical dream, I tried to take this Alice inspired outfit to a good whimsy level without it being too out of place in the real world -- it was a functional garden visiting outfit.

wonderland inspired fashion blog post
This dress was found at a thrift shop, and through a bit of curious Googling of its label, I found out that it was a school uniform from China... What a strange and long journey it must have been for it to end up here! We are all somewhere along our own strange journeys, continuously passing from one rabbit hole to another. While I might not be where I wish I was this year, there are a whole slew of different adventures to be a part of right where I am.

And as summer goes on, I want to do more photo sets that straddle the fine line between fantastical dream and the here and now.

crochet peter pan collar
Thanks to Meghan, we came up with a list of whimsical photo shoot ideas to explore -- most of these won't break the bank, they just require some smart dollar store scrounging. Will you try them too?
  • Balloons in a bundle, one giant balloon by itself... As long as it floats, you've got a winner of a shoot!
  • Sparklers at dawn/dusk... though let's be honest, I will never be awake enough for a dawn shoot unless the theme is zombies with very little motor skills.
  • Streamers or ribbons: tie long ribbons to a stick and go wild making loops while twirling!
  • Bubbles!

Photo cred: Meghan Latta @discomoon | EditingMe!
Outfit details: Dress, belt, boots: Thrifted | Bunny iron-on patch: Daiso | Socks: Urban Outfitters | Peter Pan collar: I made it! Using this pattern | Cat bag: Richmond Night Market

The Neglected Self

taxi cdc dress
So I was reading over last week's post, and realized that a deterioration in writing was evident. Maybe I was being too critical of myself, or maybe it really was kind of sub-par... One thing was for sure, I am more than aware that I was simply too drained to put together anything coherent. I'm working a lot and recharging too little, to top it all off, I'm forgetting to eat properly on most days -- note to self: coffee and cookies are not nutrients!

flying over lindeman lake
This weekend was recharge time! After eating a proper meal, I was off to the wilderness to get lost in nature. I'm not sure if I got the memo that fashion and hiking was a difficult combination to perfect for someone who absolutely thinks athleisure should disappear from the face of the planet... so of course I put on a light dress in lieu of anything sensible for hopping over rocks and climbing up dirt paths.

on top of the world!
Despite not being as agile as I could be if I just relented and put on some stretchy shorts, I felt pretty good about this journey while standing on top of that rock with the picturesque cerulean lake underneath. I felt very Picnic at Hanging Rock the entire time -- pale aesthetics amidst rugged nature.

peach 80's jacket
I had a marvelous time! Nature and the lack of phone reception did help me unwind and soak in some healthy clean air and giddy introspection. I was starting to get worried that I had hit a point in blogging where I honestly had nothing to write about -- but that was just because I was too tired last week to form any meaningful sentences in my rambling.

So in summary, this week has taught me some important rules:
  1. Form over function, every time!
  2. Eat actual food!
  3. Pastel > everything!
  4. No athleisure, ever!
Of course, these only apply to me. What are your rules for life?

Photo cred: Collin Head @deklyn21 | EditingMe!
Outfit details: Dress: Taxi Cdc | Jacket, belt: Thrifted | Shoes: Urban Outfitters

Back and Front

simple black dress in the front
There's something bout this dress I wholly adore, and it's that it is business in the front, party in the back. It doesn't take an artisan pattern recognizing genius to see that I rarely wear black. Part of the reason is because of a floofy cat roommate shedding enough hair to make a new cat on a daily basis, and the other part is that I just freaking love bright colors so much.

Admittedly, this dress wasn't instant love when I picked it up... until I flipped it around and saw the back! "Dang, you look better from behind," I whispered to myself as I added it to my want pile.

lace skull dress
The mix of mesh and lace on the back detail was A+, it really brought me back to my emo kid roots. I could hear the angelic melody of My Chemical Romance singing about how I needed this dress, and I heeded the call. So what was the lesson here? Don't judge a dress by only it's front!

While I obsessively lint-rolled my entire outfit before setting out to erase all traces of bothersome ginger cat hairs, I figured I would pay homage to the big fur baby by accessorizing with a purse that is of his likeness.

When a random person riding by on a bike yelled, "Nice kitty bag!" I was about to get very offended, until I remembered that my purse was indeed, an actual kitty bag.

cat bag skull dress
All in all, I absolutely love the ease of light dresses you can just throw on when it's too hot out to bother with layering. 'Tis finally the season when I can wear this particular number with the back showing and no need to throw a jacket over it! Covering the best part of it would be quite unfortunate indeed.

Onwards to summer wonderland and simplicity! But sometimes simple doesn't have to mean plain. The devil's in the detail.

Photo cred: Collin Head @deklyn21 | EditingMe!

Outfit details: Dress: Hot Topic | Kitty bag: Night Market | Socks: Target | Shoes: Ardene | Sunglasses: Ruffles | Bloomers: I made them!


how to style a tutu
I first met Simi a while ago when we worked on some photoshoots together -- she was the stylist, and I was the photographer, and we worked so well together that we managed to be published! Twice! I wouldn't have imagined years later I'd have a fashion blog; who would be better suited to appear on it than her? Only this time she would be styling herself!

To my surprise, she had a whimsical, frilly, super pink outfit! I had always imagined her style to be more street and too cool for school -- I guess when it comes down to it, a stylist always has a bag of tricks with many pleasant surprises.

Here's a quick Q&A with Simi!

ballerina on the streets
AngelSo tell me how you came up with the tutu outfit, and where you first wore it to.
Simi: I was inspired by an outfit I saw Rihanna wearing... It was so over the top yet casual. I started imagining myself wearing it and wishing I could, like so many of us do when we see a cool outfit we like. Instead of passing it over, I started breaking down the outfit and realized I have everything I need in my own closet to make this look happen! Including a pink tutu!

I had an art show event coming up, since fashion is my art, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to wear this -- turned out I was the only one not wearing black. The entire room turned to me as I walked in... and I owned it. It turned into conversations about, "How I wish I could do that," and, "I used to be more adventures when I was younger," coming from some younger than me.

walking across a rainbow
Angel: It's courageous of you to be the fluffy pink peacock in a sea of black outfits! Did you enjoy being center of attention?
Simi: At first they tried to judge, but I turned it in to love through confidence. It was actually slightly uncomfortable to be the center of attention for a split second... I knew I didn't want to be there and be uncomfortable, so I went back to why I put this together in the first place and owned it -- I felt like once people realized I was happy and exuded confidence in not looking like everyone else, I could feel the love

Angel: Did you ever use that legendary tutu for other outfit combos?
Simi: I first met this legendary tutu on gay pride parade a couple years ago... and I wore it over a rainbow skirt, the one from the shoot you and I did that was published in freslyWORN Magazine.

happy and giddy in pink
Angel: So just from how you styled our previous shoots with other models, I would have never expected you to put on a poofy pink tutu. How does your personal style differ from styling models for a shoot?
Simi: My personal style goes in to all of the shoots I style. It's what differentiates the look -- personal touches. My personal style is always changing with time. For certain shoots, you're hired to do a job or reach a certain goal for the client... but I always add a personal touch. I wouldn't dress a model in something I wouldn't wear myself or something I don't believe in.

Angel: Describe your current personal style!
Simi: My current personal style is as simple as I can make it, I feel like in general I have an over-the-top Versace style, so I'm always trying to venture into simplicity. My "simple" continues to still stand out, hence the pink tutu. I'm also working on a sustainable clothing style... re-working and saving where I can. The main thing about my style that never changes -- it's all about confidence!

pink tutu and velvet heels
Angel: So how do you confidently incorporate your own style into something seemingly boring, say like dressing for work?
Simi: I push the limit in the sense that if I have an item that on first look wouldn't be considered "professional," I will use that as the center piece and incorporate simple professional pieces to make the whole look. I like using patterns to make it fun!

Angel: What kind of style would you want to explore for our next photoshoot?
Simi: I'm always thinking of new ideas for shooting as pictures speak a thousand words. I always have to go with the vibe of the moment. I like to call it a game time decision -- overthinking my style isn't my style... but planning and organization is important to make a successful shoot happen.

I know as I type this, the gears in Simi's head are already turning for our next shoot. What will it be? Don't expect another tutu, because this girl is all about spontaneity! I'm super excited to shoot her again, and you can all see why!

Follow Simi on her Instagram!

Photo cred: Me!