Happy #NationalPolkaDotDay!🔴⚪️⚫️ Polka dots are pretty much synonymous with Minnie Mouse, so it’s no surprise that many Disney fans celebrate Minnie and her iconic style today. In past posts, I’ve talked about how I used to shy away from #MinnieStyle for the fear of coming off as too girly, which often reads as childish as an Asian American woman. But now that I’m older, I’ve become more comfortable with wearing girlier, feminine outfits that still feel like me.
And even though today is supposed to be all about dots, I’ve decided use today as a great opportunity to highlight #MinnieStyle altogether. So here are a few fun ways to #RockTheDots and honor Minnie’s timeless style!
When Eggie, a clothing brand by Asian American YouTuber Jenn Im, dropped their Disney collection, I fell in love with this blazer and skirt set. From afar it looks like an irregular pinstripe, but it’s actually Minnie’s signature!🤩 I adore how the subtle print makes a usually stuff blazer more playful. And since we adore a themed outfit, I paired the set with the Uniqlo x Ambush Minnie Mouse bag. It’s reminiscent of the Christopher Raeburn Mickey and Minnie bags, but it was much more affordable. To stay warm, I layered up with Eggie’s bodysuit from the same Disney collection, a pair of tights, and some chunky boots. And I couldn’t forget my favorite upcycled Gucci mask!
Another piece I immediately bought from the Uniqlo x Ambush Disney collection was this embroidered Minnie T-shirt dress. I practically live in this dress and should’ve bought two because it’s already getting pilly.😅 It’s basically a cute and comfy cotton mumu, so it’s obviously been my go-to quarantine uniform. To add a few dots into the mix, I wore Baublebar’s Minnie dangle earrings and a velvet dot scrunchie. And a #MinnieStyle outfit almost always calls for a bright red lip.💄 I’m loving how luxe this Pat McGrath lipstick feels!
For the last outfit in this lookbook, we’re going full throttle with dots!🔴⚪️🔴⚪️ Thank goodness red dot dresses were trending in the last couple of years because now it’s fairly easy to find a #MinnieStyle dress that fits my style. This Reformation dress feels so Parisian and will really stand the test of time. But to level up on the dots, I decided to wear this fun (and obnoxious) Minnie bag with a Parc Pack red dot bag strap. When wearing dot on dot, I like to mix the size and proportions of the dot patterns so overall, it’s not too overwhelming.
What’s your favorite way to #RockTheDots or don #MinnieStyle? I’m glad over the years, I’ve come to embrace Minnie’s look. It’s a great reminder that I shouldn’t shy away from styles just because they don’t seem to fit me at face value. If anything, I can use my creativity to be inspired by those styles and put together outfits that still feel like me. So here’s to Minnie me!❤️😆
And the countdown begins! We’re only 13 days away from Halloween! And we all have our favorite Halloween movies on repeat, but how many of those movies can actually pass the Bechdel Test?!🤔
This Halloween season, I’ve been proactive about watching movies and shows that pass the Bechdel Test. And honestly, some of these barely pass. I used the most basic measurements which are 1. Incorporating at least two female characters, 2. Two female characters must talk to one another, 3. They must talk about something other than a male. Some uses of the Bechdel Test require the female characters to have names, but I chose not to include that as a requirement for this list.
So in no particular order, let the binging begin!
1. Maleficent: For all the misunderstood, fairy witch queens out there, Maleficent is an obvious movie choice for Halloween. And even more exciting, the sequel is out now!🖤🧚🏼♀️💜👑
2. Us: One of the best horror movies from this year!✂️
3. Get Out: Everyone knows you won’t get out of your seat while watching this first Jordan Peele thriller.☕️🥄
4. Stranger Things (2 & 3): Season 1, I dump your ass! To be inspired by determined female characters, travel to the upside down in seasons 2 & 3!🍦
5. Kiki’s Delivery Service: Studio Ghibli is known for producing movies with strong female leads. Kiki’s Delivery Service is no exception.🐱🥖
6. Halloweentown: Because Halloween is cool and being normal is vastly overrated.
7. Practical Magic: It’s hard to not love witchy sisters that always have each others’ backs. And midnight margaritas.🍹
12. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: This is one of the only HP movies that passes the Bechdel Test. And it only passes by a werewolf’s hair! But the shift to a darker mood in the series is…well, A MOOD.🐺
13. Ghostbusters (2016): The power of Patty compels you!…To love this witty re-make with smart female leads!👻
And that’s 13!🙌🏼 How many of these shows and movies have you seen?! To help you keep track, use the template list below to check off what you’ve binged so far this season and then share it in your stories on instagram so I can see it too!👀 If you have other movies and/or shows that you love to watch for Halloween and pass the Bechdel Test, let me know and I’ll add them to the Honorable Mention list below!🏅
The Labyrinth: This also barely passes the Bechdel Test, but who can deny the babe with the power?💁🏻♀️🔮
Twitches: Another Halloween DCOM, but vastly underrated. This made for tv movie also deserves bonus points since it’s lead characters are WOC!✊🏾 The only reason this isn’t on the official list is because I haven’t seen it in ages.😅
Happy National Polka Dot Day! And say hello to the first #citydisneystyle post!🙌🏼 If you follow me on instagram, then you already know that this series is an idea I’ve been toying around with for the past month. After getting all your great feedback, I’m finally pulling the trigger!
I hope that each month I can tell you more about how to put together a Disney Style outfit that suits your city life. Instead of following one format, I’ve decided to focus on one topic each month. I’m planning to write up step by step guides, how to style one item multiple ways, and hopefully showing you how to easily transition at-home Disney loungewear clothes into a pulled-together errand outfit!🏃🏻♀️
This month, I decided to provide three tips on how to wear one of the most timeless prints around — Minnie polka dots!🔴⚪️⚫️🔴⚪️⚫️
Tip 1: Choose interesting basics to pair with your dots.
I love a good pattern mix, but for easy city dressing, I usually pair a pattern or print back to interesting basics. What do I mean by interesting basics?🤔 It sounds like such a contradiction, Alisa. Well, I’m talking about basic pieces with an unexpected point of interest. Basics with an intriguing detail that makes them NOT so basic.
Notice in this outfit, that the points of interest in my black coat are the longer streamlined silhouette, slim collars, and distinct pocket details. For my bag, the mixed metal buckle feels unexpected. And blue tinted aviators actually pick up on the blue in Donald’s hat. These kind of small details help to elevate your basics from literal “basic clothes” to stylish staples that stand the test of time.
Tip 2: Mix different styles into your outfit.
Mixing different styles is something I often think about when putting together a #citydisneystyle outfit. As much as I prefer to have a predictable life and schedule🙄, I try to go for an unexpected mix in my outfits. And when it comes to styling Disney pieces, mixing fun and bright with more refined items easily transforms Disney clothes into city clothes.
Since I based this outfit on my flouncy Cath Kidston dot skirt, I decided to pair it with more structured items to get that nice mix of feminine and sleek. Again, my black jacket instantly adds polish with its sharp silhouette and my earrings are minimalistic and streamlined. Both give a nice contrast to a flowy skirt and that contrast is what taps into that “je ne sais quoi” cool city girl mood.
Tip 3: Tuck it in!
It’s such a simple styling “hack,” but it has so much pay off. For skirts or pants that sit at your waist, try to tuck in your top. Not only does it help keep the shape of your outfit, but doing a French or half tuck will also help you channel that cool Parisian city vibe. I mean, it’s called a French tuck for a reason!👩🏻🎨 Tucking your shirt in ever so slightly will instantly read as effortless and more polished.
Minnie dots are such a playful and timeless print to wear and I hope these three tips will help you wear them with confidence around the city! Minnie may be girlie and sweet, but she’s also strong and independent. So to style an outfit that speaks to different sides of Minnie’s character was fun and meaningful for me. And to share this outfit and these tips on National Polka Dot Day is just the icing on the cake!🎂
How do you like to wear your Minnie dots? Let me know here or over on instagram!
The Asian Art Museum is devoted to connecting art to life. And with their latest exhibit, Painting Is My Everything: Art from India’s Mithila Region, art and life collide to highlight the strength, power, vulnerability, and resilience of Mithila artists — who, of course, happen to be…MOSTLY WOMEN! As an exhibit that features women of color, I was ecstatic to partner with the Asian Art Museum to further accentuate the brilliant work and lives of these amazing artists.
This domestic art tradition, that has been passed down from mother to daughter for generations, was confined to the interior walls of the most intimate rooms in Mithila. Word of these intricate murals spread beyond the region and during a severe drought in 1966, Pupul Jayakar, a director of the All India Handicrafts Board, saw an opportunity. She arranged for women to learn how to paint on paper, enabling those women to sell their own work and gain economic independence — something many women from this region had never experienced. Jayakar’s plan not only empowered village women, but ultimately sparked the economic resurgence of the region. Moreover, the newfound artistic and financial success of these artists inherently breaks the boundaries of gender and caste norms.
On the other side of the world, we’ve seen a surge of female empowerment apparel in fast fashion. Consumers can now physically show their support for gender equality every day while feeling cute and fashionable.💁🏻♀️ To emphasize the powerful and unique stories of these female Mithila artists and the subjects of their paintings, I’ve styled female empowerment pieces that coordinate with the exhibit’s colorful and feministically charged paintings. From almighty deities, to the emotional life stories of the artists, Painting Is My Everything, showcases a myriad of female stories and perspectives that celebrate the resilience and strength of women.
One company that recently created feminist apparel in collaboration with Vital Voices is Target. And in line with the collection’s raison d’etre, Vital Voices “supports fearless women leaders around the world to amplify their voices and increase their impact in their pursuit of economic empowerment, public and political leadership, and the protection of all human rights.” Each design was created to celebrate the passion, strength, and undeniable power of women.
One artist whose paintings are greatly influenced by personal perspective is Shalinee Kumari. Originally studying geography, Kumari decided to start painting after discovering colorful Madhubani paintings. When she headed to women’s college, she heard about the Mithila Art Institute and applied to be admitted into the program. She is now one of the young female artists who is pushing the boundaries of Mithila painting by using the centuries-old style for personal self-expression. Her work often focuses on global, personal, and community topics such as climate change, terrorism, and gender equality.
In Daughters are for Others,Kumari comments on social roles of Indian women as daughters, wives, and daughters-in-law. The painting’s title evokes the perspective of the girl’s parents and hints at the emotions of loss and resignation. The tight arrangement of the yellow and orange footprints, which reference the Hindu marriage rite of circumambulation of the sacred fire, feels like an impenetrable wall and creates a domestic space. Confined inside the space are two women whose conjoined form recall images of powerful goddesses. Though the true meaning may not be entirely known, Kumari cleverly combines decorative qualities and serious content to create a tension that makes this painting impactful.
Devi makes use of a style that was traditionally employed only by members of her caste. It is distinctive for its linear bands filled with dots and for its paper that is coated with an auspicious cow dung wash that recalls a mud wall.
One of the most educated and continually innovative artists among the lower-caste Dusadh community (aka “untouchables”), is Shanti Devi. Many of her works depict everyday subjects, but she beautifully injects them with new meaning. In Pregnant Cow, Devi surrounds the cow with blooming flowers, sprouting buds, and multiple bees to convey nature’s bounty and fertility. In her intention to depict a common subject, Devi has instead instilled powerful meaning into it.
Sita Devi is perhaps one of the most phenomenal women amongst Mithila artists. She was one of the earliest village artists to paint on paper and her work immediately attracted attention in the 60s. Her paintings received government and private commissions, won national awards, and warranted solo exhibitions. All of which brought wide-spread attention to Mithila paintings and paved the way for other Mithila artists. Over the course of her life, she worked tirelessly to develop and uplift her village and community through education and economic empowerment. She paved the way for many, if not all, the amazing artists featured in this exhibit.
Dulari Devi is another artist that lived in extreme poverty until she became an accomplished painter. She worked menial jobs, but her unhappiness with her life began to change when she started to visualize everyday occurrences as paintings. And with a with a stroke of good fortune, Devi began working in the house of a Mithila artist who would host artist trainings. Fascinated by the paintings, Devi eventually asked if she too could be trained to paint and thus was the beginning of her new life. And when strong women unite, the possibilities are extraordinary and endless.
The sheer desire to create saleable paintings in and of itself is a powerful act of independence for many of these Mithila artists. Many were living in extreme poverty and had little to no control over their own lives, so wanting to produce art is a defiant act against strong gender and caste norms. And whether Mithila artists are painting otherwordly deities or day-to-day life, painting has given them opportunity, choice, freedome; painting has given them everything. And I felt so honored to help tell their stories and be inspired by their pieces. It was everything. 😉
Painting Is My Everything will be on display at the Asian Art Museum through December 30, 2018. For more information about the exhibit and upcoming exhibit events, visit AsianArt.org.
Artist Shalinee Kumari is second from the right wearing a yellow dress standing in front her painting, “Daughters Are For Others.”
Earlier this month, I hopped over to Hawaii to spend some quality time (read: eating time) with my sister and mom. Over the weekend, we decided to eat at Scratch Kitchen and Meatery. Before talking about the Keiki Collection, you have to know something. If you’re ever in the area, you HAVE to try at least one of the “Pimp My Grits” dishes from Scratch Kitchen. Just…ugh…so good. A quick pic and then we’ll move on:
To walk off this amazing, but super heavy grits, we decided to shop around South Shore Market. Picked up a copy of Alexa Chung’s It and a pair of delicate rose gold heart earrings, but the best pleasant surprise was running into a small pop-up shop from Keiki Collection. Keiki Collection is a community of kids that learn how to sell their handmade goods. But we should honestly call them mini #Girlbosses.💁🏿💁🏾💁🏽💁🏻💁🏼 Sidenote: There are young boys in the group too, but none were there that day.
I remember when I was younger, my mom and I would do the same thing. We’d figure out what kind of crafts we could make to then sell at school holiday craft fairs. I loved working away making tons of colorful lanyards and decorating hair claws with Christmas tinsel. It was so fun to be creative and I felt so “official” when we sold them. And we probably barely broke even each time because everything was pretty much under $5. But I love that these girls are creating something that they’re proud of and then learning business skills to sell them. Things you don’t necessarily learn in school these days.
I was most impressed by one girl that made large macrame hanging pot holders. They were just so impeccably made! I was so impressed that I ended up buying one even though I don’t really have a place to put it.😅 But it’s a small price to pay to support a young mini girlboss though, right?🤗
We tried our best to buy a little something from each person. These girls are learning the basics of business and entrepreneurship and that’s just something we had to support. And Hawaii in general has a pretty diverse population, but can we take a second to recognize that this was also an ethnically diverse group of girls!! I mean, COME ON! It’s just so amazing to see young girls of color learning to be entrepreneurs, creatives, and supportive of one another. It warms my soouuull.💕
If you can, give Keiki Collection a follow on instagram. They have occasional pop-ups like this one around the island. Let them know what they’re doing is impressive and important — not only as a young female, but also as a person of color.