Friday, October 29, 2010

KFC Double Down? Move Aside!

No hard work ever goes unrewarded. Our customers let us know that in the form of little gifts. Today, we received the most unusual gift and one that will make your stomach churn.

Mr. Eddy Ng is our most loyal customer to date--purchasing on average 7 suits a year from us. We call him the "chicken man" because he is the owner of the famous Wing Tat Free-Range Chicken Farm. Mr.Ng is a boisterous 84 year old man who speaks a Chinese dialect that, to me, sounds like how Cantonese sounds to a non-Cantonese speaking person--funny and noisy. I speak Cantonese myself and I have to admit, it's one of the most unpleasant sounding languages in the world.

I like Mr. Ng because he's interesting and he's familiar. My day probably wouldn't be complete if I didn't see him walk by our store on the way to the grocery store and back, but always stopping by to give my mother and I each a banana. Sometimes he switches it up with apples and oranges to spice things up a little.

Mr. Ng walked by today and surprised us with--not bananas or apples--but a frozen WHOLE free-range chicken with a head, eyeballs, guts, feet and all.

Oh, Mr.Ng! What a generous gift!

My mom was so excited about this chicken that, immediately when she got home, she stripped it of its skin and chucked it into a boiling pot of Chinese wholesome goodness made of herbs.

*Warning: The following pictures are graphic and may make you sick to the stomach. Readers' discretion is advised. And for those of you who like sick things, scroll down. And for those of you who are Chinese, disregard this warning--I'm sure you've seen this and worse before.

You sick Chinese people...what don't you eat?!

This ain't no rubber chicken.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sparkle Suit

Mr. Leung walked in one day looking to order two different suits for his wedding day: One for the ceremony and another for the evening banquet.

For his evening suit, Leung already knew what he wanted--something shiny!

What a bold idea! A wedding is such a special thing in one's lifetime, I believe that a person should indulge and do what he/she desires--forget what other people think!

I looked for the shiniest, sparkliest material that we had and Leung picked a sparkly black that when finished looks metallic.

I was quite impressed with his selection. Under normal daylight, his suit looks like a normal black suit with sheen. When under dramatic lighting, the suit automatically sparkles and shines.

Leung, just make sure you don't outshine your bride ;)

Black fabric that sparkles under dramatic lighting.

About 3 weeks later, Leung came in to try on his suit.

Leung could hardly contain his excitement. Look at that awesome half grin!

Metallic Black Custom Made Suit: $580+HST

Leung later picked out his favourite material for the suit he will wear to walk down the aisle. Now we all anxiously wait to see the finished product.

Thanks for sharing Mr.Leung!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Teleportation Would Be Nice

This is a cheaper alternative to invisible mending (that--referring to invisible mending, if done properly, can make your pants look like it never ripped). Sadly, it costs an arm and a leg--for good reasons because it's painstaking hard work.

Right before your eyes are the very pants that Aviation Geek Boy (currently sick but recovering nicely) grieved over in Korea. They were torn at the back pocket. He didn't know what to do and he needed it fixed ASAP, so he called me for help. Check this post: A Distant Cry for Help

I am happy to say his pants are now fixed! It wasn't fixed in Korea though since it was near impossible for him to find a reliable clothing repair place (he found a few but they said they couldn't/wouldn't do this type of repair)--let alone, communicate in fluent Korean what he wanted.

I bet you're sitting on the edge of your seat, dying to know where he got his pants fixed.

Let me spare you the agony of waiting and guessing:

The answer is: HERE. Balsam Custom Tailors.

In desperation, the Boy carried his torn pants and together they travelled 8163.64 km on an airplane from Seoul to here with the hope of having his pants fixed. They arrived safely yesterday morning--Boy still sick but okay, pant still in pant-like form. The little pant problem has been remedied but it's beyond words how sad I am to know that the Boy and his pants will fly back to Seoul first thing tomorrow morning.


OK. I lied. He didn't just come to get his pants repaired. He came to visit me.

$1400. 10 hour flight. 2 nights in Vancouver.

This. Is. Love. Baby.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Reasons Why I Like My Job

Yes, people. You can actually like your job.

The number one reason why I like my job is because it's a family business. I help overlook and actively take part in all aspects of it. From front floor work (i.e. sales, consultations, fittings) to backstage work (i.e. quality control, inventory, book-keeping) to marketing and research to simple clerical stuff.

Unlike a job where you're working for somebody else, this one you really have to give it all you got. What you bring in is a direct reflection of how hard you work. While other people are on their Christmas holidays, we stay behind to continue to work. We work hard to make sure you get that stunning suit to wear to your company's big New Years party--so you can attract ladies like a jar of honey attracts bees. And ladies, we do the same for you ;)

Being able to watch something grow because of your own effort is amazing. It's satisfying and encourages you to keep doing better. And how do you know that you're doing okay?

When your customers verbally tell you that you are awesome!

I've received many little gifts over the years from our customers who wanted to show their appreciation for us: from personal photographs from their vacations to coffee to gift vouchers to mango cakes to novels and most commonly: FLOWERS!

A nice English lady by the name of Katy came in with a little bouquet of very exotic looking flowers from her garden. I smiled from ear to ear when she handed them over to me. I love little gifts like these. They totally make my day!

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Distant Cry For Help

This morning, I received a phone call from Aviation Geek Boy in Korea. The conversation went something like this:

AGB: Cindy, did you get my email?! Something happened to my suit.
Me: What happened to your suit?
AGB: There's a big hole in my pants. I don't know how that happened. What can I do?
Me: Find a tailor and get it fixed. Or just get a new suit. But don't throw away your old suit. Your pants can be fixed.
AGB: Cindy, this is Korea! They wear shiny suits here. I don't want a shiny suit.
Me: Well, then just bring your pants to a tailor.

(I wish I could be more helpful Aviation Geek Boy but when you're thousands of miles away, there's really not much I or my tailors can do for you. He he he.)

This was the attached image. First generation iPhone picture quality. Tsk tsk.

Just a word of advice for anybody who travels for work: always pack more than one suit or at least an extra pair of matching trousers.

That's why I always advise any customer when he/she is ordering a suit to get two pairs of pants instead of the one because pants wear out way faster than the jacket. It's next to impossible to get an exact pair made again because styles are always changing and suiting manufacturers don't normally do repeats.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rainy Day Blues

It's cold. It's wet. It's disgusting. It's Fall. It's October. It's Vancouver. Welcome to the city where you only get a week of real summer weather while all the rest of the year you get dreadful wet winter. I'm sure many people in this city agree with me, that's why they're not showing up at the store today but hiding in their abode, curled up on the couch with a good book and a hot cup of white chocolate drink. Oh how I actually wish it was snowing and not pissing rain. Snow to me is joyous and thrilling. Rain means I shouldn't get out of bed but go back to sleep. It's amazing how snow and rain instill such different feelings in people when they're essentially the same stuff.

So instead of twiddling my thumbs till they bleed, I've decided to update my blog with nothing very important. This one isn't about what I'm making or having altered. It's what I threw together in two minutes before rushing out the door (See? Rain makes me want to stay in bed longer.) I think I did okay. It's one of those no-brainer outfits. Long shirt, leggings, belt, cool jacket, pumps, DONE!

Lookin' awfully stiff there.

I love my ruched leggings. Got them as a gift from my sister. They feel more like pants than leggings. While we're on the topic of leggings, I wish people wouldn't wear leggings as pants: It means you should always wear a shirt that covers your bum. It's raunchy and not very attractive to show off your bum in tight TIGHT apparel. Please be considerate of the people standing below you on the escalator.

All this rain is depressing. I guess there's one thing I can be excited about today. I found the buttons I want on my thrifted Versace jacket at half off from Fabricana. What would have costed me 12 bucks came out as 6. Life is good.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

This Is What My Dreams Are Made Of

As if the first post on pleated pants wasn't enough. I'm going to make you LOVE pleated pants when I'm done here.

Anyway, I thought I'd show you this pair because I'm so thrilled with it. I am absolutely in love with this one--along with the 10 other pairs of carrot pants I own (ok, the number's been exaggerated but I promise you I will get there).

I had placed an order with my sister from Hong Kong to get me a pair of really nice pleated pants over there. And this is what she came up with. Amazing. Love it to death.

I kept this look minimal: two different colours, zero jewelry, and a pair of simple strappy snakeskin heels. The reason? I want the focus to be on the drapey effect this ensemble makes. Simple is good. Drapey is good too.

I finished off this look with a pair of my dad's vintage Bruce Lee-style sunglasses. They're from the late 60's. I've got a pair of my mom's vintage sunglasses too but that will have to wait.

Oh and special thanks to my good friend Katherine from London for bringing me such a royal looking pillow! I love it!

Until next time, have a super duper awesome Thanksgiving everybody!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

80's Carrot Pants, Back with a Vengeance

I'm an 80's child. I remember the neon slap-on bracelets. I remember the New Kids On The Block and that one of my sisters had the biggest crush on Joe. I remember the scrunchies and the poofy hair. I remember carrying my very own Fraggle Rock lunch box to school. I remember the funny clown pants that my mom wore called "carrot pants." Aaah, carrot pants. You either hate them or you love them.

Who knew they'd be dominating the runways this Fall? They started appearing last spring in the form of jumpsuits. This season, wear your carrot pants with your shirts tucked inside them.

Carrot pants aren't a girl's best friend and can be very tricky to wear. They're not a widely accepted style of pant among the ladies but the gents have been wearing their version (pleated trousers) since dress pants came into existence. As the name describes, they make your legs look like carrots. Here are several things to keep in mind when you want to try this look:

1. Tuck your shirt in to minimize bulk at the top.

2. Wear a high-waisted pair to elongate your legs.

3. Wear high-heels.

4. Use a skinny belt to cinche out your waist.

I hope this style is here to stay for a while. Contrary to popular belief, pleated pants on women could be quite flattering if you wear them right. They can give you long legs and hips. Why not try a pair? In our society, we're conditioned to think skinny is good, skinny is sexy, skinny is what all women should look like. I feel like such a rebel wearing carrot pants! Screw you, North American beauty ideals!

Because I love carrot pants so much, I had 3 pairs custom made by Balsam Custom Tailors. I actually had gone shopping for them before I decided to get them made but none of the pants I tried on really fit me. I also had the fabric I wanted in mind.

Custom-made pants:
Labour only - starts at $149
Labour with material included - starts at $169

Beige Light-Weight English Wool Pleated Pants:

Olive Green Cotton Polyester Pleated Pants:

Black Satin (Bought from Dressew @ $5/meter) Super High-Waist Pleated Pants:

For this last pair (black pants), I actually had it copied from the picture below. I liked the style but I didn't like the material. I wanted a bit of sheen and rigidness to the pants so I got satin for my tailor to work with. He added belt loops so I could wear a belt sometimes.

Picture from

Photography by Cindy Wu

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Accidental High-End Balmain...Thrifty Style

The term "haute couture" and "thrifty" would never appear in the same sentence. A thrifty person would never even think about spending three months worth of salary on anything designed by a person whose name he/she can't even pronounce.

I would classify myself as a big time thrifter and I definitely would not spend any money on anything designer. But what I do do is try to pronounce designer names for fun and to pretend that I'm French or Italian.

For example, how many people would say "Hermes" the correct way? Most North Americans would pronounce it like [her-mus] or [her-m-s]. An actual French speaker would say [ehr-meh-z]. By the way, I'm not familiar with writing out phonetics but if you don't get this at all, you're not missing out on anything important.

When I can say Hermes the French way, I feel so authentically French. Try saying Yves Saint Laurent! You'll feel so authentically French!

No, I'm not trying to make fun of snobby fashion leaders and trend-following freaks. I think people should applaud and appreciate them because without them, we wouldn't have cheap-chic plagiarizers like Forever 21.

Oooh, I smell controversy! But I won't go into that. Feel free to look it up though. Let's just say, no lawsuit is going to knock this cheap-chic retailer giant down. A new one is going up at Richmond Centre for all you thrifting monsters.

So I've really gone off topic.

I was trying to say that I'm a thrifter when it comes to trendy items but if somebody laid a pile of (no, not turd) designer stuff in front of my doorstep, I would slip everything on in a heartbeat, no questions asked.

Wait, I just remembered a thrifting-related annecdote. I bought a pair of high-waisted pleated pants from Salvation Army once for 6 bucks and I showed my mom. I tried it on for her and she thought it looked decent and almost nice if only it weren't too big. She only thought that because she didn't know where I had bought it from. As soon as I told her where it came from, she recoiled and told me I was crazy and that I should take the pants off to avoid getting lice or some sort of skin infection. She thinks it used to belong to someone who died in it. Maybe. I thought it was the funniest thing ever. I can't wait to post the pants up. Soon.

Sorry, I veered off again.

As I was saying, thrifting isn't a bad thing. You save money. You have fun. You can throw away the things you thrifted without feeling guilty. You sometimes find unbelievably awesome stuff!

So, one time, I found this really incredibly gorgeous tailored peacoat that had some missing buttons. It sold for $18 and I bargained it down to $10. I could've gotten it for free if I had pointed out the moth bitten holes on the sleeves. But it was Salvie and I wanted to do good. The reason why I picked it up in the first place was because I had notice the tailoring and that it was actually a Versace from the 80's. That's my guess because that was the time when Balmain shoulders were a hit. The crazy shoulders have made a comeback last Spring and is still around this Fall.

Check out this link for more pictures of Balmain clothes:;slide=25;

This is my costing-next-to-nothing-designer jacket with excellent rare tailoring. The shoulders aren't as evident when it's on the hanger. I'll take some pictures of me wearing it later.

You know what I find funniest in all of this? Aviation Geek Boy thinks I'm a thrift junk hoarding maniac and he worries about it. Don't most guys like it when their girlfriends/wives don't spend a fortune on expensive things?