m. klara

To Train or Not to Train?
May 14, 2009, 4:39 am
Filed under: Trends Mirror Society | Tags: , ,

While I was busy crying over the wedding dress that got away, I noticed something. Designers charge so much more if the dress has a train. Logically, it makes sense. Trains require more material and therefore, increases the value of the dress.

In my fashion course, we’d been studying the dresses from the Victorian era and one of our assignments was to explore what certain styles of dress said about the people wearing them. For example, huge dresses that used massive crinolines, panniers and bustles were worn by upper class women. The extensive use of luxurious fabric reflected their income status.

And it made me think about trains on wedding dresses. The bigger your train is, the more money you’re telling your audience you have. It’s such a status thing, especially when you have a big wedding. Guests are totally gonna look at your decor and outfits and determine just how much money you’ve spent and therefore how much money you have.

It’s like the equivalent of guys and cars. The bigger your car, the bigger your…well, you know.


Barong Tagalogs
May 13, 2009, 11:52 pm
Filed under: Culture 101, My Wedding | Tags: ,

As someone who is a fashion/syle monger, I am all about aesthetics for the wedding. I’m going for a down-to-earth vintage feel which incorporates a lot of lace and sheer fabric. Which makes me feel a lot better about the dress I did buy. Anyway, I was racking my brain trying to figure out what the men could wear to fit this vintage vibe and I thought: barong tagalogs.

Barong tagalogs are the traditional formal Filipino attire in the Philippines. As you can see, the lace and sheer material would fit the vintage vibe to a T.

However, I struggle with the historical significance of the garment. During Spanish rule, the barong tagalog was worn by the natives to distinguish them from the upper-class Spaniards. The sheer material was so that the Filipino couldn’t hide weapons under their shirts or to prevent them from stealing from their Spanish masters.

According to history, the barong tagalog is supposed to have evolved into the formal wear it’s known for today after it was declared the national dress of the Philippines. Still, I kind of struggle with that. When it comes to cultural dress, I don’t want my men to wear it lightly. It’s definitely a source of pride for some of the men in my family, such as my brother, but I’m not sure how I feel about this garment having such an important place in my wedding when I’m aware of its history.

I think part of the struggle is that many Filipinos still tend to have this colonial mentality where they accept their position in society as lesser than and that they should feel grateful to have had Western forces “civilize” them. So even though Filipinos embrace the idea that barong tagalogs have evolved to represent anti-colonization, a part of me wonders if this is another manifestation of colonial mentality.

I just got off the phone with my brother. And while he understands my concerns, he still doesn’t mind wearing it. Aesthetically, it’s very pleasing to my eye and it totally fits the theme of my wedding. Plus, it has cultural significance and I love the idea of expressing my cultural pride in my wedding. I just don’t want to come to a conclusion about how I feel about barong tagalogs later on down the road and have it be throughout all my wedding pictures for the rest of my life.

Then there’s another part of me that tells me I should just find a way to accept the history of the barong tagalog and create new meanings for it. I just did some research on the kebaya of Indonesia and apparently, it has a history of colonization as well. Now, it’s seen as formal wear for many Asian countries.

Does anyone else find it disturbing that these traditional forms of dress have histories of colonization? The dilemma is that, Spanish culture is so intertwined with Filipino culture that if I were to boycott certain Filipino traditions based on their colonial history, we would have very little tradition left. But I guess that’s the general effect of colonization: to eradicate so-called “uncivilized” behaviors and rituals in favor of more Western “civilized” ones. Either way, their mission was accomplished. All indigenous traditions are no longer practiced or only known by those Filipino tribes that have been ostracized by the rest of Filipino society.

Another part of me does not want the men on my court wear traditional tuxedos. I’m American, but I’m not All-American. The artistic, Filipino side of me wants to incorporate this aesthetically pleasing, cultural part of myself into my wedding. I think I’d rather do that than have them wear tuxedos.

May 13, 2009, 6:57 pm
Filed under: My Wedding | Tags: ,

The negative side of procrastinating on a wedding: you tend to make hasty decisions and when a better opportunity comes up, you can’t reverse the decision and your opportunity goes out the window. Such an event happened to me the other day when I purchased my wedding dress under the impression that it would be the best deal I could find within such short notice. A couple days later, I came across this designer whose designs are exactly what I wanted for my dress. I went on a complete spazz attack and called the designer, trying to find out how much she would charge to expedite the order and left her a zillion emails and voicemails. I texted everyone and their mamas about her amazing work and my maid of honor had to tell me to calm the fuck down. She told me that the dresses wouldn’t look as good in person, but I think she was just telling me that to make me feel better. She knows my style and I am all about Wai-Ching. Take a look:

Antoinette Dress

Bliss Dress

L’Arbre Dress: I love the Western feel of this. If Pauline (my maid-of-honor) is correct, and the dresses probably don’t look as fantastic as they seem in the pictures, then huge props goes to the photographer and stylist on the set. The setting really accentuates the feel of the dress.

Zolotova Dress: Apparently, the designer, Chrissy Wai-Ching, wore this dress to her own wedding. I love her signature stitching in the bodice and how she uses tufts of material to “glam” up the dress rather than beading. I’m so not a fan of beading. And I love how she uses raw edging to emphasize the bohemian look.

Yowying Dress: The color is amazing. A little bohemian and urban all at once. It helps that model is gorgeous, too.

White Yowying Dress: This is one of the dresses I wanted to purchase. And it costs half as much as the dress I bought!

Samsara Dress: This was another dress I wanted. It looks more like one of the traditional dresses you’d find at like, David’s Bridal or something, but it still has her signature stitching which I love.

Satori Dress: I love how glam this dress is. She uses the tufts of material to glam it up, but no beading. Gorgeous.

Anyway, it only took me an hour or so to calm down, though I still dream about her dresses. Every day. The designer called me back and I had to explain to her my situation. I told her how much I loved her designs and she was such a doll about it. She’s all, “Well, maybe for your next event.”

Which reminds me…I’d love to start a collection of couture and vintage. Maybe when I start making enough money. But until then, I’m all about supporting indie designers like Wai-Ching. Amazing.

Designing Woman
May 3, 2009, 5:37 pm
Filed under: My Wedding | Tags: , ,

Shopping for a wedding dress is giving me a new appreciation for fashion. I’ve always told my fiance, Wayne, and close friends of mine that I would love to moonlight as a stylist. I’ve researched the necessary educational background for this job, the pay you get, and where to find work. As far as education goes, you aren’t required to have any specific kind of degree (though it helps), but knowing the right people seems to really get your foot in the door.

Anyway, I had spoken to a psychic a couple months ago and she told me that I’d start making extra income by combining my skills as a writer and my love for fashion. Maybe I was just looking for “evidence” to prove this was true, because I ended up talking to my cousin about being a freelance stylist for her jewelry company (they had just interviewed models for their website). There hasn’t been any movement with it yet, though I believe she’ll be going out for a photoshoot in a couple weeks.

So I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out how I’d market myself as a stylist (I’m not really a stylist seeing as the only people I’ve ever styled are myself and once, my cousin).

Last weekend, my aunt went with me to try on wedding dresses and she remarked, “I always said that I would love to work in a bridal boutique.”

Her remark didn’t register with me until I went to David’s Bridal the other day. The bridal specialist was so helpful and she asked me questions that would help me decide between the dresses I liked such as, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate this dress?” It struck me as clever cuz that’s a very common question I ask my clients in therapy.

And that’s when I thought, hey! I could totally be a bridal specialist! I could use my clinical skills and therapist intuition to help customers tap into their inner bride! Not only that, but I just spent 3 hours scouring the internet for more dress ideas for myself and I ended up collecting 28 pages worth of ideas.

Turns out, I’m really not over the bohemian look. I’m a tried and true bohemian chica. Only problem is that the dresses I want are in the $3000+ range. So I thought about the plainer, more simpler dresses I’ve tried on so far and how I could customize them.

<Click on the picture to see more details>

Deborah Lindquist
giant roses make me happy
the light belting around the waist is a nice medieval touch
the light belting around the waist is a nice medieval touch

floral appliques add color to a typically white bridal gown
floral appliques add color to a typically white bridal gown
i love the simplicity of eyelet
i love the simplicity of eyelet
this mohair and silk organza bodice is amazing
this mohair and silk organza bodice is amazing
i would love to have accessories like this to play with for my wedding pictures
i would love to have accessories like this to play with for my wedding pictures
i think i love floral appliques...
i think i love floral appliques…
a very easy shawl to make...i just might do this!
a very easy shawl to make…i just might do this!
the scallop detailing is amazing
the scallop detailing is amazing
omg, i adore all the ruffles
omg, i adore all the ruffles
love the giant floral buds and i the sleeves make her look like a forest nymph
love the giant floral buds and the sleeves make her look like a forest nymph
another element i love is crochet
another element i love is crochet
more floral applique

more floral applique

love the giant poof in the back

love the giant poof in the back

dont wanna wear heels to my wedding, so these strappy sandals look ideal

don't wanna wear heels to my wedding, so these strappy sandals look ideal

and this is THE dress. I had seen it in a wedding magazine years ago after I had first gotten engaged and I fell in love with it right away. I thought it was already out of season, but here it is. All $3500 of it. <sigh>

THE dress

THE dress

So if we narrow it down, I have a thing for the bohemian/romantic/ethereal look with giant floral buds and floral appliques, crochet and/or lace. I’m trying to think back to all the wedding gowns I’ve tried on thus far and only one really encompasses what I’m looking for which costs about $2300. What a wackjob.

So here’s what I’m thinking. I’ll purchase the one closest to what I want (and within my budget), get it altered to the silhouette as best I can, and add the floral buds to it. That might be kinda hard because the material of the buds would have to be the same as the dress. Argh. We’ll see what I can do…

“Mermaid. White. Minimal”
May 1, 2009, 3:11 am
Filed under: My Wedding | Tags: , ,


So I’m getting married in 3 months. It’s a milestone in so many ways. A milestone into “real” adulthood, a milestone into a life-long journey with another person, and fashionably speaking, a milestone into my first foray into design.

I know since I’m into fashion that I should be watching Project Runway or America’s Next Top Model (and believe me, I would if I had DirecTV or any kind of television service at all)…

…but I don’t.

Still, I get my style jollies off of Ugly Betty, mostly because the dialogue is so campy and I love the telenovela style of the show. In Season 1, a top Japanese designer named Oshi goes to Mode and he walks into their offices with a whole entourage and a freakin soundtrack: Bebot by Black Eyed Peas (a wonderful homage to my Filipino heritage, I thought). Freakin hilarious.

His style was “Round. White. Mi-ni-mal.” Which, incidentally, is very similar to my current aesthetic preference. I went to David’s Bridal today to try on a bunch of dresses that follow these style elements:

  • mermaid silhouette
  • lace
  • very minimal beading

I have always wanted to get married in one of those ethereal gowns that remind you of fairies and flowers in your hair. To be honest, after I saw Lord of the Rings, I swore I was going to get married in a place like Rivendell. So I thought I would end up liking the lace dresses I picked out to try on. Alas, none of them encompassed all the elements I wanted. I loved the lace, but they either lacked a train or had a straight silhouette.


–I ended up trying on a dress that lacked the lace, but had all the other elements.


Mermaid. White. Minimal.

Isn’t it gorgeous? Oshi would be proud.

The dress is pretty simple, but I love the minute details on it: the slightly spiked edges at the neckline, the ruching on the body and the folds in the skirt. Plus it has no beading whatsoever. It’s so sculpted and modern. And I love, love, love the mermaid silhouette. I think all long skirts that I’ll own from here on out shall have a mermaid silhouette.

It was kinda distressing me that I couldn’t find a dress I liked in lace. I’ve been engaged for nearly 3 years. Perhaps I’ve outgrown the bohemian look. I embraced it to the max in college, and in grad school, I was all over the place. I’m thinking my tastes have grown up a bit. I’ve started to take quite a liking to the more structured looks on the runway.

To be honest, the wedding dress looks rather statuesque. As a psychologist (who loves symbolism), I can imagine I’m feeling rather hardened these past few months and I’m looking for a way to show people that I’m strong enough to withstand all the drama that’s been thrown my way, both in my personal life, my work life and just being in today’s world with war and the economy getting us all depressed. I know it’s just a wedding dress, but I was definitely thrown for a loop that I was drawn to this particular style. There has to be a reason. And I always look for an excuse to blame the economy (and Bush).

The only caveat with El Statuesque? It reminds me of my best friend’s wedding dress…