I’m very particular about which blogs or websites I put on my blogroll. I recently discovered Phosphene, and after reviewing only a few posts, I added her to the roster. And I believe Phosphene is going to be a frequent style haunt of mine even though I discovered her just earlier this week.

Love this photo! It's what I imagine a fashionably romantic movie poster of The Ring would look like.

Now, I’m not sure why this is, but several of the sites that I’m particularly loyal to are run by Asian women.  Even funnier is that two of these bloggers look really similar (long, unstyled black hair), have similar names (Susie of Stylebubble and Sophia of Phosphne) and three of them have white boyfriends who selflessly snap cute pictures of said women modeling outfits, though their styles clearly could not be any more different.

Stylebubble aka Susie

Stylebubble aka Susie

Work it diva

Phosphene is more minimalist while the one word that comes to mind when I think of Stylebubble’s style is “smorgasbord.” And that’s a compliment; even though her style is a little on the erratic side for me, I give her mad respect for keeping it real. She inspires me to think outside the box –in her case, waaaay outside the box!– and that a perfect look is not the goal here, but to experiement with aesthetics. And to me, that is the cusp of creativity.

On the other hand, Phosphene speaks highly to my daily style. Because I work in a professional environment that doesn’t exactly welcome loud or bold colors (in other words, no thinking outside the box, at least when it comes to fashion), I’m constantly challenged by the task of coming up with work-appropriate outfits in more neutral shades like black, white, gray, brown and on Fridays, denim. Yeahhh, not a lot of options here. Luckily, I welcome challenges; anything to make work less routine. While Stylebubble lets the clothes do the talking, Phosphene plays around with function in the most subtlest of ways.

Style tip: Instead of a traditional scarf, Sophia of Phosphene hangs an untied bowtie around her neck to convey masculine femininity. Style tip: Sophia gives suspenders a new purpose: adding shape to a formless frock.

Style tip: Suspenders are traditionally used to hold up one's pants. Sophia of Phosphene gives suspenders a new purpose: adding shape to a formless frock.

Style tip: Braiding scarves together add subtle interest to an otherwise mundane method of wrapping them around your neck. Toasty!

Ever since I was little, I’ve always been a little perturbed by the fact that there was no Asian representation anywhere in the media. So I’m thrilled to highlight Asian women who have an awesome sense of style. However, I am curious about the pattern of white men photographing their Asian girlfriends…what’s that about?

It can be looked at from various perspectives, one being that Asian women are finally taking control of their portrayal in the media or two, it’s simply a more modern, contemporary rendition of the White male gaze on the Asian female. An alternative view is that both hypotheses are true, but not damaging because, when put together, it becomes a collaborative effort. To be honest, I’m more inclined to believe that, while these women may be acting in stereotypical roles (ie., object as opposed to the white male’s subject), the vision is their own.

Third world fashion

In contrast, the photographer/blogger of Manila Style takes on the role of the gazer, similar to The Sartorialist and Facehunter who document global street style and incidentally, are men. This portrait is probably the only picture of herself. The rest of the blog is of others modeling for her. The Sartorialist’s blog is probably the most personal street style blog that I scope out, preferring the photographed subjects to speak for themselves and allowing the audience to form their own interpretation.

And of course, there’s always the possibility that there is no relation between race and fashion. I should do a study on that…!

Speaking of which, I’ve been cultivating the idea of doing photoshoots of Filipino women and then conducting mixed-design (qualitative and quantitative data using interviews, questionnaires and biofeedback methods) studies on cultural identity and body image with Filipina participants. *whew* Once a nerd, always a nerd. Given my academic background, it’s hard to leave that world behind, even when it comes to something as abstract as art, fashion and style. There’s no escaping!


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