Where to Buy Sustainable Fashion in 2017: Backless Dresses

Where to Buy Sustainable Fashion: Backless Dresses

Backless dresses may not be a closet essential, but they are definitely jaw-droppers. With more sustainable fashion brands available now, here are some of my favorite sustainable backless dresses in 2017:

Where to Buy Sustainable Fashion in 2017: Backless Dresses

Where to Buy Sustainable Fashion: Backless Dresses?

Fame and Partners Ziv Midi Dress

Fame and Partners Ruffle V-Neck Georgette Gown

Fame and Partners Jackson Maxi Dress

YSTR Anais Dress

Reformation – Silk Maxi Dress – Black • Reformation

Eliana Dress • Reformation

Tallulah Dress • Reformation

Magnolia Dress • Reformation

I recently discovered two sustainable fashion brands:

  • Fame and Partners
  • YSTR

Fame and Partners is slow fashion brand. Everything made-to-order, they let you customize colors based on the style you like.  However, all their dresses are very dressy and pricey.  As an alternative, you can find similar dresses from TGIF in Saigon. Both labels gravitate toward made-to-order silk dresses with a contemporary cut, but TGIF is 1/10 of the price of Fame and Partners.

YSTR is another sustainable fashion label that sell made-to-order clothes. Also very pricey (the cost of supporting sustainable fashion), YSTR’s clothes are casual and minimalist.

Still don’t know where to buy sustainable fashion? Check out my Brand page. This page lists out all the sustainable fashion brands I like!

One Rule You MUST Know About Backless Dresses – Try Them On First!

Where to Buy Sustainable Fashion in 2017: Backless Dresses

When shopping for backless dresses, make sure to try them on before! Oftentimes, backless dresses are poorly designed that the front area doesn’t have enough support to stay in place, and you are putting yourself on the edge for a wardrobe disaster.

For example, this sustainable backless dress I bought from Alternative Apparel does not have a string that tie the sleeves together. And so, the sleeves constantly slip off, and I have to pull them up to avoid wardrobe malfunctions.  If you are shopping for a backless dress, I recommend you to look for these designs:

  • Halter necktie
  • Cross back
  • Ties between sleeves

This backless dress I got from Alternative Apparel is made ethically, and the cotton feels super soft. But when I wear it, I have to tape the sleeves on my shoulders to prevent them from slipping off.  Another solution is to sew two strings on the sleeves so that you can tie them together to avoid wardrobe malfunctions.

Good luck shopping and let me know if you know of other sustainable labels that make awesome backless dresses!

Now onto my photoshoot in Death Valley…

Where to Buy Sustainable Fashion in 2017: Backless Dresses

Death Valley with Orange Smoke 1

Where to Buy Sustainable Fashion in 2017: Backless Dresses

Where to Buy Sustainable Fashion in 2017: Backless Dresses

Hope you enjoy my pictures from Death Valley!

Smile and style on!

SK

Best Cameras and Lenses for Fashion Blogs in 2017

Best Cameras and Lenses for Fashion Blogs in 2017

Great photography is a must for any successful fashion blogs. With so many options available in today’s market, it’s hard to decide what cameras and lenses you should get for your fashion blog. Today, I want to share a dummy guide to picking the best cameras and lenses for a fashion blog in 2017.  I will explain various options based on my experience and provide picture examples to illustrate the differences.

Cameras recommended for fashion blogs in this post:

Sony:

Lenses recommended for fashion blogs in this post:

Sony:

I have also used:

Nikon

I own a Sony Alpha a7ii and a Sony 35mm f1.4, and I shoot most of my blog pictures with this combo.

The Best Point-and-Shoot Camera for Fashion Blogs in 2017

When you are shooting photos for a fashion blog, the number one feature you need is the ability to shoot in the aperture mode.  To achieve a blurry background, you usually need a DSLR.  However, in 2017, you can use a point-and-shoot camera to achieve a nice bokeh too, aka a blurry background.

1. Sony Cybershot RX100 V

If you don’t want to invest more than US$1000 in cameras and lenses for your fashion blog, Sony Cybershot RX100 V will be one to consider. Compact and multi-functional, this Sony Cybershot RX100 V is a point-and-shoot camera perfect for any serious fashion bloggers.

I love Sony Cybershot RX100V for fashion blogs due to many reasons:

  • Compact – This is the smallest camera you can find in 2017 that lets you shoot in the aperture mode. Weighing at just 0.6 pounds, this tiny Sony cybershot RX100V trumps all other DSLR’s that typically weigh about 4-5 pounds.
  • All-in-one lens – The built-in lens is suitable for both portrait and landscape shots. With a 24-70mm focal length, you can zoom in to snap a detailed shot and zoom out to get a good landscape shot. This lens also allows you to shoot at f1.8 to get a nice blurry background.
  • Aperture mode and Shutter-speed mode – Usually, point-and-shoot cameras don’t come with aperture mode or shutter-speed mode. This difference is the main reason why people usually opt for a DSLR for fashion blogs. However, in 2017, some point-and-shoot cameras let you shoot in aperture mode to achieve a blurry background.
  • RAW or JPEG – If you are going to edit your photos later, it’s very important to shoot your images in RAW. This is because RAW image format captures more details and data compared to JPEG. This point-and-shoot camera from Sony lets you shoot in both RAW and JPEG formats.

Sony Cybershot RX100V Best Camera for Fashion Blogs in 2017Here are some pictures I shot with a Sony Cybershot RX100V:

Best Cameras and Lenses for Fashion Blogs in 2017

sustainable+fashion+valentines+outfit+solace+london+white+bodycon+backless+dress-3

2. Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 RII Digital Still Camera (High End)

If I were to choose an all-in-one camera, I would recommend this Cyber-shot DSC-RX1 RII Digital Still Camera. Even though it is compact, it carries a full frame sensor and performs just like a high-end DSLR. Additionally, it also comes with a 35mm f2 lens, making it perfect for both landscape and portrait. Also, this camera shoots HD 1080i videos in case you have a youtube chanel. I think this camera is not only perfect for blogging but also for vlogging.

However, if you opt for flexibility over convenience, then you should consider a DSLR because you can interchange lenses. Read below!

The Best DSLR Camera for Fashion Blogs in 2017

When I was shopping for a DSLC camera for my fashion blog, I gravitated toward mirrorless and full-frame camera bodies.

What does ‘mirrorless’ mean?

Mirrorless DSLR camera bodies are less bulky and more compact than traditional DSLR camera bodies.

What does ‘full-frame’ mean?

“Full frame” refers to the camera’s sensor size. Typically, you are choosing between a crop sensor (APS-C) and a full frame sensor. The No.1 reasons photographers prefer a full frame sensor because of the higher resolution and the higher quality images.

Additionally, a full-frame sensor allows you to get more background. If I stand at the same location to shoot this picture using the same lens, I will get more background using a full-frame camera body compared to using a APS-C camera body:

Best Cameras for Fashion Bloggers in 2017 - Full frame vs. Crop Censor

With that being said, here are my camera recommendations for fashion blogs in 2017:

1. Sony Alpha a7ii (Mid Ranged)

I take majority of my fashion blog pictures using a Sony Alpha a7ii.  I chose this camera mainly for two features that other cameras cannot offer. These two features help me take sharper pictures.

Sony Alpha a7ii mirrorless camera bodyHere are some pictures I shot with a Sony Alpha a7ii:Styles For Thought 2

Sustainable Office Wear with Burberry Trench_

 

2. A9 

If you do a lot of event shooting such as fashion shows and wedding, Sony A9 is probably the best bet for your fashion blog. Because of the higher processing power and the better auto-focusing capability, this Sony A9 can do continuous shooting very well. Additionally, this camera is also very good for low-light shooting (night time shooting) and sport shooting as well. Personally, I don’t have a YouTube chanel. However, if you care about making a high quality video, Sony A9 offers 4K!

Best Camera Lenses for Fashion Blogs in 2017

Before diving in, you need to understand these two technical terms about lenses:

  1. Focal Length

    The focal length of a lens ranges from 16mm to 300mm+.  Typically, the smaller the number is, the more background the lens can capture in a picture. In other words, you have to stand way further to get a full body picture with a 85mm lens than with a 35mm lens.

    When choosing lenses for your fashion blog, make sure to pick a lens with a minimum focal length of 35mm. This is because a focal length shorter than 35mm will create distortion and make your body look disproportional.

    However, if your camera body has a crop sensor, you need a shorter focal length to achieve the same result. For example, a 35mm lens on a crop sensor camera is equivalent to a 50mm lens on a full frame camera.

    A prime lens has only one focal length, while a non-prime lens has a range of focal lengths. Personally, I only looked into prime lenses when I was shopping for my fashion blog because of higher quality images. However, if you are a travel blogger and want a flexible lens for both landscapes and portraits, then a non-prime lens is a good option because it lets you zoom in and out.

  2. F-stop

    To achieve a nice blurry background in all your fashion blog’s photos, you need a small f-stop.  I recommend you to look for a f-stop that’s lower than f 2.0.

I bought a Sony 35mm f1.4  prime lens because the small f-stop gives a nice bokeh, while the 35 mm is suitable for both landscapes and portraits. If you are only getting one prime lens, I highly recommend getting this lens.

Picture Examples with Various Lenses

Shopping for lenses can be confusing. To be honest with you, when I shopped for camera lenses for my fashion blog, I researched a lot. But after reading so many articles, it was still difficult for me to grasp all the concept until I actually used and tried out all the different lenses. To help you decide which lense to get, here are some picture examples.

35mm f1.4

Sustainable Office Wear with Burberry Trench 2

When I shot this picture, the photographer stood 3 feet away from me to achieve this full body image.  However, if you are shooting with a 50mm lens, you will have to stand 5 feet away to get the same photo.

This lens has a f-stop of 1.4 and gives me a nice blurry background.  However, as the focal length increases, the same f-stop will give you an even blurrier background. Don’t know what I meant? Let’s see another example:

85mm f1.4

Styles+For+Thought+For+Love+&+Lemons+Red+Lace+Gianna+Dress

I shot this picture with a 85mm f1.4 lens. Notice the difference? The blurry background with this lens appeared to be much smoother and buttery compared to the 35mm f1.4 lens. However, standing at 3 ft. away from me, the photography was only able to get my upper body.

If you are only getting one lens for your fashion blog, I do not recommend a 85mm lens because you have to stand so far away in order to get a full body shot.

50mm f1.4

So what about 50mm? I think either 35 or 50mm will work for fashion blogs. However, you lose the flexibility to shoot any landscape photos if you only own a 50mm lens.

This is a picture I took using a Nikon 50mm F18 on a Nikon D80. The blur was buttery, however, the photography had to stand 7 ft away from me to achieve this effect.

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24mm f1.8

I think 24mm f1.8 can make a good portrait lens if you know how to correct distortions. However, a 24mm lens is good for landscape photos, and I will not recommend this lens for fashion blogs.

Here are some pictures taken using Sony 24mm f1.8:

Sony 24mm f1.8 Best Lenses for Fashion Blogs in 2017

Sony 24mm f1.8 Best lenses for Fashion Blogs in 2017

As you can see, these pictures accentuated the background more than the details of my outfits. If you have money to spare, I will say go for a 50mm f1.8 and a 24mm f1.8 camera lens combo for your fashion blog.  But if you are investing in only one camera lens, I will suggest you to get a 35mm f1.4 or a 35mm 1.8 camera lens.

These are my recommended cameras and lenses for fashion blogs in 2017. I hope you find this post helpful! If you have any questions, please comment below!

Smile and style on!

SK

 

 

 

Everlane Review Cashmere Sweater

Sustainable Fashion Review: Should You Buy Everlane Cashmere Sweaters?

Everlane is one of the first ethical brands I was introduced to, and I wanted to take this opportunity to do an honest Everlane review.

Known for its radical supply chain transparency, Everlane tells you exactly where they manufacture clothes and how much they pay for labor and transportation, etc.  Compelled by their story and mission to provide supply chain transparency, I wanted to support them and purchased many clothes from Everlane.  However, I returned the majority of their clothes due to low quality and relatively high prices. In total, I have only kept three items.  Today, I am going to review Everlane’s cashmere v-neck and turtleneck sweaters.

Everlane Cashmere with Keepsake Navy Lace Kisses

Fashion Review: Everlane Cashmere V-Neck

Since I decluttered my closet, the majority of the clothes I own are blue. With a mindset to build a minimalist wardrobe, I naturally gravitated toward navy when I was shopping for a new cashmere sweater because of its versatility.

Fitting

With a size-0 physique, Everlane’s X-Small fits me perfectly.  Overall, this Everlane cashmere v-neck has a relaxed cut – form-fitted around the shoulder but roomy around the sleeves and waist area.  The fitting is modest and timeless, and it’s the main reason why I decided to keep this sweater.

Material

Everlane’s fabrics are consistently the main reason why I have returned their clothes in the past. Everlane’s clothes usually don’t come with linings and feel incredibly cheap for such high price tags. For example, I bought a white dress from Everlane and ended up sending it back because it was see-through.  Another example was their beige trench coat.  I wanted to keep it because I love trench coats, but it had no linings and felt too flimsy.

The quality of this cashmere V-neck is no exception. The cashmere quality is not exeptional, and it feels very much like wool to me. When I compared this cashmere v-neck with an Everlane wool cardigan I bought, both materials felt very similar. Also, after touching an old Charter Club cashmere sweater from Macy’s, I realized that the Charter Club cashmere sweater was slightly softer and lighter. This is my subjective opinion, and so please take it with a grain of salt.

Price

Price is the second reason why I decided to keep this sweater.  Compared to a J Crew cashmere sweater (US$250), this Everlane’s cashmere v-neck is very affordable (USD 120), and I don’t think you can find any well-fitted cashmere sweater at this price. In addition, $120 for an ethically produced sweater is a steal!

Bottomline

I would not recommend it if you are looking for the highest quality cashmere sweater but at the $120 price point it’s decent.

If you are like me and want to support Everlane’s radical transparency, this sweater is one of the better clothes I have ever bought from them because of the classic fit and the comparatively low price.

Everlane Cashmere Turtleneck in Navy with Keepsake Say My Name Lace Dress

Fashion Review: Everlane Cashmere Turtleneck

My feeling toward this Everlane Cashmere Turtleneck is pretty much the same as the v-neck sweater.  One extra thing worth mentioning is that this turtleneck can get itchy around the neck area. Given that I don’t have other cashmere turtlenecks to compare to, I can’t say if the itchiness stems from the cashmere.

Everlane Cashmere Turtleneck in Navy with Keepsake Say My Name Lace Dress

Final Verdict

After all, I recommend you to buy a sweater you truly love rather than buying a mediocre sweater that you won’t wear the next season.

Hope you enjoy my honest review! If you bought other items from Everlane and love them, please comment below and let me know!

Smile and style on!

SK


Outfit Info:

Sweater :: Everlane Cashmere Turtleneck

Dress :: Keepsake Say My Name Lace Dress (Almost sold out)

Skirt Version (on sale for $77) :: Keepsake Say My Name Lace Skirt

Shoes :: Jimmy Choo (Sold Out) Similar Stuart Weitzman Women’s Nunaked in White

Simple Guide to Daily Work Outfits

Style Advice: A Simple Guide to Creating Work Outfits

It’s Thursday morning. You have been staring at the closet for almost 20 minutes. The clock is ticking, and rush hour is about to start. Yet, you can’t decide what to wear to work. Does this situation sound familiar? I have been there many times. Today, I wanted to share a simple guide to help you pick out work outfits everyday.

Create a Formula for Your Work Outfits

For those of us that don’t need to wear a suit or a uniform to work, there is another way to simplify the process of picking out work clothes everyday.

The solution I propose here is to create a formula for your work outfits. The core idea is to set up a framework for your work outfits so that you can reduce the amount of clothes you have to switch out everyday.

How does this work?

Just like algebra, this formula involves two elements: constants and variables.

Constants are the clothes that you incorporate into your work outfits over and over again. Variables are clothes that you switch to add some variety into your work clothes. To keep it simple, I only have one variable in my daily work outfit.

My Current Work Outfit Formula

Currently, my consulting project is in the public sector, and I fly to a different city for work every week. And so my work outfits are casual and designed to be travel friendly – easy-to-pack, light and suitable for harsh weathers.

Simple Guide to Daily Work Outfits

 

Simple Guide to Daily Work Outfits

This look will work for those who travel a lot, and anyone that works in a casual office environment.

This work outfit formula consists of:

  1. Constants – a down feather jacket + jeans + a pair of boots + a leather bag (what I wear everyday)
  2. Variable – a sweater

Simple Guide to Daily Work Outfits

 

Sweater

There are plenty of sustainable options for sweaters.  My favorite brands include Everlane and People Tree, etc.

Down Feather Jacket

Down feather jackets are light, packable, and warm.  I currently love my Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket because it is super light and warm enough for L.A..

Jeans

I personally don’t know of any sustainable brands that make great jeans.  The pair I am sporting here is from 7 For All Mankind . They are made in the U.S., but the label ‘Made in USA‘ doesn’t entail ethical production or fair wages anymore.

Boots

I don’t know of any sustainable shoes brands, so please let me know if you have any recommendations! I am currently loving this pair from TOD’s!

Leather Bags

There are plenty of sustainable options for leather bags.  My favorite brand is Gardendal, and I wear it everyday.  Gardendal is a Swedish leather brand that uses vegetable tanned leather and pays their workers a fair wage.

Simple Guide to Daily Work Outfits

Hope you find this post helpful!

Smile and style on!

SK


Outfit Information

Outerwear :: Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket

Sweater :: Everlane Cashmere Turtleneck in Navy

Jeans :: 7 For All Mankind

Leather Bag :: Gardendal

Boots :: TOD’s