Friday, December 28, 2012

Lemon Leopard

Shoes: Courtesy of Kandee Shoes
Jeans: J Brand. Bag: Chanel.
Shirt: TopShop (alternative here).
Jumper/Sweater: TopShop (get the look here & here).

This is one of those outfits that shouldn't work but does. Leopard, gold studs, plaid and yellow? Sounds horrendous but somehow doesn't look it. 






Thursday, December 27, 2012

Snake


Snake Print Jeans: Courtesy of Storets.
Boots: Zara (get the look here & here). 
Bag: Tory Burch (now on sale!). Denim Shirt: TopShop. 
Sweater/Jumper: TopShop.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: When it comes to animal prints and motifs... There is no such thing as "too much". 


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Belt: Moschino.

These items are on my christmas list.  Although truth be told I just bought the Marant sneakers for myself. The blog title is 'Have YOURSELF a merry little Christmas' after all ;)

Those of you wanting those Marant sneakers in your closet be quick, they sell out fast! There are pairs still available here.

P.S Today is the last day to enter my Kandee Shoes giveaway



Sunday, December 16, 2012

Boyfriend

Jeans: Courtesy of Level 99. T.Shirt: Kain.
Shoes: Christian Louboutin 'Pigalle'.
Clutch: Alexander McQueen (alternative here).
Jacket: Zara (get the look here). Earrings: Courtesy of: Sophie Blake.

Boyfriend jeans for hanging out with The Boy :)

A few of you have asked about my 'Pigalle' shoes. I went for the 120mm heel height and I find that the sizing comes up a tiny bit too big. I still got my regular size and wear them with gel cushions. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tiger

Tiger Sweatshirt: Kenzo (alternative here).
Jeans: TopShopBoots: Zara. 
Bag: Mulberry (get the look here).
Cuff: Courtesy of Sophie Blake.

The boy is back. Let the regular blog updates commence!

p.s Dont forget to enter the giveaway below. Freeeeeeeeeeee shoooooooooes!






Christmas Kandee... Giveaway!



I have a christmas treat for you! Kandee shoes are offering one Ring My Bell reader a christmas present of £250 to spend on the Kandee website! Free shoes? Um...Yes please.

Here's how you can win:

*The giveaway is only for Ring My Bell followers. Follow on bloglovin here or click 'join' with Google connect in the side bar.

*Follow Kandee shoes on twitter here.

*Leave a comment on this post with your twitter name so you can be contacted if you win.

Giveaway is open worldwide but you must complete all the steps to enter. Winner will be chosen at random on December 21st. Good luck! 

Giveaway is now closed and winner has been notified. 
Thanks for entering! 



Sunday, December 9, 2012

8 tips to make your pictures look greater!☆


8 tips to make your pictures look greater using Photoshop or Gimp~!

Before you start this tutorial, you will need to have either Adobe Photoshop (any version is fine, even the basic Photoshop Element should be enough for what we will do) or Gimp. So if you don't have a Photoshop license I recommend you to download Gimp, wich is totally safe and free!
(http://www.gimp.org/)

Also, I will try my best to explain clearly each of the steps, but you may find this tutorial a little hard to follow if you are new to these softwares. If you get lost or things don't work the way it should, I sugest you to look for more specific tutorials on the function you have problems with.

Finally, not all pictures need the same amount of retouching! It will depend if your camera was well set when you took the picture, if you had enough light and many other details. But once a picture is taken, it is too late to change it, so the only option left is to fix it on the computer. Also, all the tips are optionals, this means that you can skip any of the following steps if you find that your picture doesn't need such corrections.

Picture with little retouching : 


Picture with more heavy retouching : 



***


So let's get started~~!
First, open the picture you are going to work on!
I chose a random coord I wore yesterday, and I voluntarily misadjusted my camera to use it for this tutorial~


(I circled in green the tools and the settings we are going to use. Make sure your layer box is open, because you will need it!)

★Tip 1 : Levels
My first step is always adjusting the levels. This will help you correct the overall lighting of the picture.
Open the layer window (''Image/Adjustment/Levels'' or ''ctrl l'' in Photoshop, or ''Colors/Levels'' in Gimp). A box with a gradient line and three arrows will appear.



The middle arrow adjusts the middle tones and the two others the amount of white and black.
I always drag the middle arrow to the left to lighten the skin tones and drag the black and white arrow towards the middle to increase the contrast. While doing this, make sure the black parts of your picture are really black and the white parts are light enough.



My result after this first step! Already a little better, no?♪

★Tip 2 : Smoothing
When your picture is small or has a low resolution, smoothing your skin may not be necessary. However, I really recommend it for face closeups or high resolution pictures!


There are several tools that can be used for smoothing. To erase acne or other marks the ''healing tool'' is the best. It will replace small stains with the average color that is around. Then, you can use the ''blur tool'' to make your skin look more smooth. However, be careful not to use it over other details of your face such as your mouth or your eyes, or it will blur the edges. I also use the smudge tool to correct some wrongly placed shadows and to smooth my hair a little, following its shape (see the green arrows). This tool will ''drag'' the color with your brush, so be careful wich way you move it. It is a lot easier to use it with a graphic pad.
Finally, no matter wich tool, always use it with a soft brush with about 50% of opacity. You don't want to see any brush stroke in your final picture!

★Tip 3 : Skin
As I prefer lighter skin, I always retouch pictures in order to make the skin appears lighter. However, if you prefer darker skin, you can use the same steps but with a darker color, or you can just leave your skin as it is. Making your skin lighter will help to erase little wrinkles and shadows that make your face look weird.



Create a new layer.
With a soft brush and a light color (I use a light yellow or pure white) go over your skin, leaving out the eyes and the strong shadow areas (like your neck). When you are done, set this layer to ''soft light'' (you can also try ''overlay'' ) and lower the opacity until you are satisfied (depending on the picture, I set this layer between 10% and 30%). If you want your mouth to stand out more, you can set the eraser to a soft little brush with low opacity and gently erase around your lips.

★Tip 4 : Eyes, face and mouth
Next step is correcting your makeup!


With the paintbrush tool, take a small soft brush with 30% of opacity and gently put some black over your eyeliner and outer eye corner, and some white in the inner corner of your eyes. I also put some soft pink on my lips and cheeks.
If your makeup is different than mine, or if you have eyeshadow, paint it over with the right color! The point here is to enhance your makeup and to make your eyes look bigger.
When you're done (if like me you look like a clown it is perfectly normal), set this layer to ''soft light'' mode and lower its opacity as you like!

Still alive? We are already halfway through!
Here is what I got after retouching the face~


★Tip 5 : Lighting correction
In the first step of this tutorial, we adjusted the levels. However, a picture is not always equally bright, especially when the light was bad. Take a look at your picture and ask yourself if some parts are too bright or too dark. In my case, I found that the lower half was a little too dark compared to the top.



Create a new layer. With a large soft brush or with the gradient tool, go correct the problematic area. Use white to lighten it or black to darken it. You can create as many layers as the number of areas you want to correct, or all do it on the same layer. Then again lower the layer's opacity and set it to ''soft light''.

★Tip 6 : Color corrections
Depending on the lighting or the camera you have, the colours may not come out as you wish. Now it is time to correct it! You can use this step to give more intensity to colours you like in your picture.


Again on a new layer, select the color you want to correct and apply it with the paint brush on the right area. In my case, I used purple on my hair and bright green on my earring and glasses. Then set this layer to ''color'' and lower its opacity.

★Tip 7 : Last adjustments
Make sure you are satisfied, then merge all your layers (''Layers/Flatten image'' in Photoshop or ''Image/Flatten image'' in Gimp).
Then, it is the time to make the last adjustments to your image. I will often play with the levels one more time to be satisfied. You can also adjust the ''hue-saturation'' and the ''brightness-contrast'' settings.

★Tip 8 : Decorations
This last step is optional. This is when you add text or brushes to decorate your picture! I like to add stars, hearts or little bats.
In this case, I also added some random shapes to hide the garbage in the corner of the picture~

Use the text tool to add text. For decorative shapes, use the paint brush tool and change the shape of the brush to something cuter like a heart or a little glitter. You can download brushes on various websites (such as deviantart) or make your own.

I am done! What do you think~~?☆


If you have questions or if you would like informations on other retouching-related things please let me know~~

Nii

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Almost

Faux leather Skirt: Courtesy of Storets (alternative here).
Denim Jacket: Citizens Of Humanity.
Beanie Hat: American Apparel.
Shirt & Boots: Zara. 
Bag: Chanel.

It's almost cold enough in LA to get away with wearing a hat. I love an excuse to layer so I'm always happy when the temperature drops a bit.

If you still don't have a leather (or faux leather) skirt I strongly suggest you get one. Leather separates are a key component in my wardrobe. Shorts, skirts or trousers (pants)- they all work so well dressed up or down that I find myself reaching for mine often.

**Pictures in this post taken by Christa B Allen. 






Sunday, December 2, 2012

~*~ Fairy Kei ~*~

As most of your probably know, fairy kei is a Japanese Harajuku style that consists of pretty pastel colors and cute patterns. Since 2010 the style "Fairy kei" has been growing more and more popular over the internet which is why it is important to have an article explaining it to you all!
            Let's start by defining what fairy kei is. When people think about fairy kei they usually associate it with pastels and some crazy motifs. The classic coords are usually cute tops with tutus or bloomers as bottoms, but tutus are usually the popular ones. Pastel tights with cool colored vintage running shoes or even cute "lolita" shoes. Most of the time fairy girls use wigs (lots of times in pastel colors or blonde) for beautiful voluminous hair to fit all the cute accessories! Though, do not go overboard with accessories. Fairy kei is not Decora after all~ Keep the accessories in your hair not too overwhelming. A few bows with some cute little clips or mocomoco accessories is perfect!
           Now a style that fairy kei is often mistaken with is Spank!. The two styles are indeed very similar and it is very easy to confuse them. When I started out wearing fairy, I thought it and Spank! where the same style but with two different names. But they are easy to differenciate when keeping in mind that Spank! is inspired by the 80s in Japan with funky prints and 80s inspired coordinations. Below is a good example of a Spank! coord worn by our Mochi at Otakuthon~ You guys can probably see the differences easily between the fairy and spank! style now, right?
            The makeup is also an important factor of the fairy kei style! Coordinations are just half way~ Hair and makeup are important as well! As I explained before, hair can be a wig which just makes everything easier! But natural hair is good too! Pigtails or buns do the trick perfectly~ Moving onto makeup, which is the fun part! Stick to pastel eyeshadows or vibrant pinks and blues~ Remember to not make the makeup too dark! Circle lenses are a must ! Unless of course you have eye problems..... which no one can really do anything about.
For those of you who have a hard time with your makeup or don't know the basics of it, I prepared a little tutorial for you so here it is!

And to sum things up, I prepared a little shopping list for you! Hopefully it will help you out~

~~*~Online stores~*~~

Milklim: This is a typical Fairy kei brand, it has adorable clothes! They can be found at http://oshamagic.ocnk.net/ Make sure to translate your page though, unless you can read japanese! (Note that this shop works with shopping services, so there will be a commission price on the overall)

• Swimmer: This shop has the most adorable accessories and cutesey things for your phone, home and much more! I think it specializes less in clothing and works more on bags, fashion goods and cute interior things~ Their products are very cute and a very affordable price! You can find them here~ http://www.swimmer.co.jp/SHOPPING/ (Note that this shop works with shopping services, so there will be a commission price on the overall)

• ManiaQ: ManiaQ has really adorable merchandise! Their physical shop has closed but luckily they still sell online! Their tights are really cool~ The store itself has a mixture of Spank! and Fairy Kei too! Overall they are very good shop for fairy kei clothing and accessories~ You can find them here: http://maniaq.ocnk.net/ (Note that this shop works with shopping services, so there will be a commission price on the overall)

• Pinkly Ever After: This shop is found on etsy and has really adorable clothes! The accessories are perfect and it's great for fairy kei! They have limited stock and update with new stuff regularily so check that out! Their website is http://www.pinklyeverafter.com/ which also has a link to the shop~

• Bodyline: This is not a fairy kei brand but certain sections of their shop has some clothes that would work out well for fairy kei and that are a very affordable price. Mostly for cutsews, panniers (tutus!), shoes, socks and other sections where you can dig out fairy kei stuff! You can find them riiiiight here~ http://www.bodyline.co.jp

6%Dokidoki: Not everything on 6%Dokidoki is traditional fairy kei, they have kind of a POPkei style but a lot of accessories and clothes work great for fairy kei! Wish on my Shooting Star necklace is one of my personal favorite accessories of all time! Here is a link to their recently opened online shop! http://6dokidoki.shop-pro.jp/

Chocomint: Chocomint is the perfect brand for accessories! They are inexpensive, cute and perfect for fairy kei! Here is a link to where you can buy their merchandise~ http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/chocomint/ or http://closetchild.ocnk.net/ (I recommend Rakuten though, it has a wider selection~)

            I hope this small shopping list helped you out a bit if you are trying out fairy kei or needed any help with finding some things. But if you have trouble with online shopping, your local thrift shop is your best friend! Thrift stores have so much fairy kei material, it is crazy! And it's so cheap!!! Places like American Apparel have really good pastel tights and surprisingly you can even find some stuff hidden in H&M or Forever21 if you look closely enough~!

So now that you understand fairy kei a little better, hopefully... Go out and have fun! Try it out for yourself~ (/^o^)/ ~~**~*~
article by Momo~

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sparkle

Dress: Phillip Lim.

I'm not usually ok with sequins head to toe but this dress gets away with it. I think it's the colour blocking that does it. It's perfect for holiday parties and easily made casual with boots and a leather jacket. Trust me, I've done it :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Guide to Thrift Shopping

One of the most important aspects of the harajuku underground fashion scene is the strong feeling of individuality, and every day the desire to "stand out" is taken to a further level.

Trends are created, set and changed by people instead of leading brands and designers. Instead of looking for the expensive trench coat that everyone wears, they will hunt down that old coat that was in vogue 20 years ago and add lace, studs, or paint on it. That's the key to the underground harajuku spirit: make everything you wear your own. I'm not saying that brands aren't present at all, but they don't predominate and they, most of the time, have little influence and importance, as people will prefer shopping in resale and thrift shops over shopping malls and high class signature stores.

Thrift and resale stores are gaining more and more popularity (and not only in Japan) because practically everything you will find in them is unique. Every time I go thrift shopping, I personnaly feel like I'm on a treasure hunt, and every single find is precious.


Why you should shop in thrift stores


Thrift shops are perfect if you're a little low on money like me and you can't always afford mainstream stores' price ranges. They are so avantageous price-wise that when I occasionaly find myself at the mall, everything seems infinitely more expensive, and any purchase hurts.....

This said, you think twice about it and decide that it indeed is a dream come true! You can buy five times or more the amount of clothes and accessories you'd have bought online or anywhere else, really.
However, thrift shopping is somewhat like lottery. You never know what you're gonna find, or if you're even going to end up buying something. Be patient is the first thing I'd tell you. Then, don't have any expectations. You're not looking for your dream item here, because chances are you'll never find it. Just start the day without any specific set goal, and just look around anywhere you can.



Where to look (in chain thrift stores like Vallue Village and Goodwill/Rennaissance)

Anywhere is the key word here, or okay, almost anywhere. Most of the time, you can avoid the electronics or underwear section without missing anything...
Yet, some relevant sections are sometimes overlooked. Never be lazy while thifting! You don't wanna miss a perfect opportunity!

For example, even if you avoid the underwear section (those are kind of unhygienic and I wouldn't reccomend them even if they've been "washed".), the lingerie and nightwear section is one of my favorite. It's a must for styles like Spank!, Cult Party and Fairy Kei. It's where you'll find all those sheer nighties and long pretty nightgowns, corsets, and if you're lucky, garters that are a must for layering in Cult Party. You'll also find cute pajama tops that can be remade in dresses or t-shirts.

 nighties from the lingerie/nightwear section


The men section is another pretty useful area that you'll forget but wait! It's awesome for baggy sweaters and really large t-shirts ( just don't think about the fact it might have been worn by a dirty obese man... and it will be okay...). I once found a huge old Adidas t-shirt and cut it into a tank top/dress!

baggy t-shirts from the men section


This part here isn't available for everyone, but if you're small and thin, never overlook the children section. I'm not saying the baby section, but in the racks for 8-14 years old, you'll find pretty big sized clothes that will fit (sometimes with little adjustments here and there). I've found all sorts of dreamy clothing there: vintage grimoire-looking dresses, old pastel sweaters and milklim worthy skirts~

vintage dresses from the children section
(they all fit me, some with small adjustments here and there)


What you should know about Vallue Village and Goodwill/Rennaissance

The difference between the two is that Goodwill is a non-profit organisation helping reintegrate people into society, and Vallue Village is a commercial group making money on every item bought, while Goodwill barely does. In other words, Goodwill's prices are slightly lower but unfortunately their items are usually less taken care of; you'll be more likely to find ripped or stained clothes, so verify ever piece carefully. Vallue Village has, on the other hand, a more strict policy, so while their items are in better shape, their policy is more strict. That means no selling items without a price tagg. It happens often I'll find something  awesome and they'll refuse to sell it because the tagg fell off without me noticing, saying "come back tomorrow"... so be careful about that too. Both have their good and bad points~


Other places to check out


Aside from chain stores, which are the easiest choice because of their wide selection and various accessible locations, don't forget to look for smaller independant stores.

Another good option, if you're not bothered by money and you're willing to pay a bit more for the hunting job all done for you, resale stores are always really interresting. They're in fact all over harajuku: Spank!, Virgin Mary and Grimoire to name a few, are all resale stores where the employes search in every thrift store they can (even overseas!) and select the best items, or in this case, items that fit in a specific theme: Rockabilly, Antique, 80's, Pop, the list goes on.
It'll be easier for you to find what you want; just look for stores that appeal to your personnal style! I'm not saying you'll find shops like Spank! in your city (I highly doubt it, unfortunately), but resale stores' stocks are way more interresting and inspiring!
The only "bad" point is that they actually know the value to items they sell, so it might get expensive sometimes...


Prepare yourself mentaly


Thrift shopping isn't the hardest thing to do, really, but it's always good to know what to expect beforehand. To have an efficient thrifting session, you will need:
  • A lot of patience. When going to Vallue Village, it's worth it to look around for at least two hours, and don't be mad if you don't end up finding anything good. Try again soon, the stocks change frequently!
  • An open mind. Don't narrow your research too much, you could find something nice in nearly every section. Don't limit yourself to only the obvious!
  • Experience in a certain style, or just a good fashion/coordination sense. While it is not a necessity, it's certainly a huge plus. In opposition to mainstream stores where they guide you with color palettes, mannequins and proposed coordinates, how you should dress, how you whould wear this particular top with that particular skirt and those specific jeans with those specific shoes, thrift stores leave you with nothing but your intuition and it might get difficult to find something if you have no idea how you'd wear it. Having an overflowing imagination is a good point too, that way you can easily visualize remakes and customs, buying pieces you would never wear and modifying them into something new and unique.


Tips and warnings


  • Be careful for stained or ripped clothes when shopping in any used clothing store that isn't resale.
  • Sort out your finds to narrow your purchase; the low prices make it even more easier to flush all your money in one go, and you'll rarely have to reflex to "only buy what you really need" (believe me, I have a hard time reminding myself, sometimes...). This way you'll spend less, and you'll avoid useless items you bought for a "why not, maybe i'll use it one day" pilling up in your room.
  • Choose your shopping places well, especially if you're going to a more underground store. A place filled with old clothes and furniture is favorable for ticks and bugs, and you don't want them invading your house because of this. I wouldn't reccomend stores in really poor neighborhoods or badly kept places. Trust me, finding something in those places isn't worth the risk of dealing with extermination fees and mattress shopping.
  • For the trip to be worth it, allow a period of time for the stock to renew itself. Select various shops in your city and alternate between those places. I try to go alone about twice every month to one of my two favorite spots.
    You can also plan big thrifting days with your friends and make an itinary with 6 or 7 different stores. (This is only a reccomendation, but going with friends who have a very different style from yours is normaly easier because you won't end up fighting over anything and this way you can all help each other finding stuff~)
  • Don't forget to put all the clothes you bought in the laundry as soon as you go home and wash them as soon as possible before wearing them. This applies to plushies too. Hand wash toys and disinfect earrings with alcohol before wearing them. You never know where your purchases come from, so better be safe than sorry. You usually don't have to do this for resale stores of course, for they're normally equivalent to mainstream shops in therms of hygiene and the washing was done by the staff.



All in all, thrifting is a perfect way to indentify yourself through fashion by finding unique pieces. It's perfect for creating your own style without being limited by brands and seasonal trends. With a little effort, it's easy to dress exactly the way you want!


Good luck and have fun!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bomber

Jeans: J Brand. T. Shirt: James Perse.
'Ginta' Bomber Jacket: Courtesy of Three Floor.
Denim Shirt: TopShop. Bag: Vintage Chanel. 
Boots: Giuseppe Zanotti (Alternative here).

I'm so in love with this jacket that I'm wearing it inside as I type.... 





Monday, November 19, 2012

Magpie


Embellished boots: TopShop.

Ankle boots completely covered in embellishment? Yes please. My inner magpie can not resist. Get them here


Friday, November 16, 2012

Sundown

Skirt: TopShop. T.Shirt: StyleStalker. 
Leather Jacket: Balenciaga (alternative here).
Clutch: Alexander McQueen (get the look here).
Shoes: Nicholas Kirkwood.

This is one of the few jersey pencil skirts I've found that actually holds its shape through a full day's wear. Nothing worse then a misshaped pencil skirt! 

Pictures in this post taken by Tolga Safer.



Sunday, November 4, 2012

Australia

Jean: TopShop. T.Shirt: LA Made.
Shoes: Joie. Bag: Chanel.
Leather Jacket: Balenciaga (get the look here & here)

A rare moment of down time here in Australia. I'm here to attend the Melbourne cup and promote Revenge :)



Saturday, November 3, 2012

J-fest!♪


As you should already know, on the 20th of October, Pop Kakumei participated to J-fest Halloween Edition. We met Kumi at the metro station early in the morning, as she had travelled from Qu├ębec city just to see us! Then, we went shopping a little to buy light sticks and some other things for the event. As everybody was here, I decided to do my birthday party earlier, so we went to a Mexican restaurant where they give you a sombrero and sing for you when it’s your birthday~!

At around 6pm, we went to Momo’s house to get ready. To be honest it was quiet stressful as we all wanted to be perfect for the occasion! We helped each other by doing our hair and sharing our makeup, Pop Kakumei works the best when we are all together! At around 9pm we were all ready and dressed up. Everyone tried to represent a different fashion style, from fairy kei, to cyber pop, cult party kei and even shironuri.


We arrived to the venue a little early, we were all excited and patiently waited for the meet and greet with Takuya Angel to start. He was really kind and a little shy~ We presented ourselves and introduced the group, as Nii speaks Japanese fluently and Jiji is studying really hard we were able to communicate with him.  There was also a booth for his brand with lots of interesting accessories and clothes.
During the night, we spent time with our friends, dancing, eating snacks and meeting new people. Not all the girls in Pop Kakumei enjoy dancing as much as I or Momo, but we all had fun. 



When we were really tired we came back to Momo’s place. After undoing our hair, removing our makeup and changing into our pyjamas, everybody sang happy birthday to me in different languages and we ate cake.  Pop Kakumei’s favorite way to eat a cake is to give each person a fork and just share the whole cake without cutting it! We don’t have pictures of this because at that time of the night we looked like mommies!

Because we bought VIP tickets for J-fest we were able to spend the next day with Takuya Angel, we went to a famous restaurant where they specialise in poutine, a typical French Canadian dish. After the delicious meal, we took a walk to the downtown to finally end up in chinatown as usual! We can’t help ourselves! 
Unfortunately we weren’t expecting to spend the day with such a guest, so we didn’t have any good outfits prepared…


To conclude, it was such an amazing weekend with lots of surprises and the best part is that the whole Pop Kakumei was together!  I hope we’ll get to see Kumi again soon!