Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Movies and Lingerie

It's now time to explore ethical clothing outside of my personal closet. I have had the pleasure of interviewing film writer/director Li Lu about her film "There is a NewWorld Somewhere.", and how she approached creating a wardrobe for her film with a less wasteful/more ethical frame of mind. 

There is a New World Somewhere: Official Trailer from Li Lu on Vimeo.

How did you create the wardrobe for your movie? 
I had the pleasure of working with two incredible women to create the looks in the film - costume designer Gina Ruiz and costume supervisor Laurence Lightbody. Since our film was about a road trip, we had a creative idea - what if we "packed a suitcase" for each of our lead characters? When we pack for a trip, we always pack a few choice pieces, everyday items, and some stuff to sleep in. So, when our characters are beaming, feeling in love, they wear something that makes them feel good. When they face conflict, their wardrobe dulls, becomes more conservative. The flexibility of this "suitcase" really gave us another way to tell the story and create the mood of our characters' internal journeys. To capture a dose of reality, we made sure every piece of clothing was reused into another look.

How do you plan the looks in each scene?
So before the shoot, we did fittings with each of our actors. We saw what worked and what we were lacking. We also talked about token pieces - items we'd see in every look, like meaningful jewelry or bags/purses. After taking a lot of pictures of our actors in each piece, Gina, Laurence, and I had a long meeting and talked through every single look in the film. In pre-production, we have the script supervisor do a "story day" breakdown that outlines the actual day/night breakdown of time in the film. So the three of us walked through the entire span of time in the film, thinking what our characters would wear, including what they'd add on at night, or take off in the day. It's an intricate process, but every decision is deeply rooted in reinforcing the internal life of our characters in this subtextual way. 

Do the actors have say in what they are wearing?
It's collaboration at its fullest - it's definitely a delicate balance between what the director, costumers, an actor all want. And at the end of the day, it's the actor who has to wear the clothes and do his or her best, so the buck kinda stops there!

What does that process generally look like? (Tell me about how it is generally really wasteful).
I've worked on all kinds of productions. The scope and budget of wardrobe changes depending on what the job is, and who's paying for it. A high concept music video with, let's say Lady Gaga, is going to look like a circus when compared to a car commercial. Unless it's a car commercial with Lady Gaga…
On bigger productions there's more of everything - bigger stars, more money, flashy producers. So naturally, there's more cooks in the kitchen. The production might have a sponsorship or product placement deal with certain brands or PR firms, so stylists have to work within those confines. There's a ton of PR companies with showrooms that serve the industry. You can find gorgeous, intricate haute couture, as well as standard everyday looks (jeans, t-shirts). These PR companies have a really great relationship with costumers, personal stylists, and the talent they dress. Sometimes, talent will demand that their "glam team" be hired for the shoot, so there's that. There's also huge rental warehouses. Every big studio has their own costume department, and others like Western carry lots of specialty looks, including some pretty historical stuff. I once rented wardrobe that was used in "The Good Earth," a classic film made in 1937 with Paul Muni.
But for the most part, costumers usually shop on their own. The production gives them an overall budget for purchases, and they are responsible for how they spend it. After they get sizes, the costume department goes out to shop and "pull" from everyday retailers. Some retailers in LA have "studio accounts," so after the production ends, the production can return the items for a reduced buyback. After they "pull," the process is like what we did - have a fitting, take pictures, review - but the process of approval differs per kind of production. For commercials, the looks need to be approved by the agency (who commissioned the commercial to us, the production), then ultimately, the client (the brand we're selling). After looks are approved, the hard no's get returned, but the maybe's are always kept. Opinions change, and costumers need to have backups on hand on the day of shooting. After the shoot ends, the production can either keep the looks that were captured (in case of reshoots or additional scenes) or everything gets returned. If some items can't be returned, those pieces can be added to the costumer's "stock" (their own collection) or donated. There's also a few resale shops in LA (like "It's a Wrap") that exclusively sell wardrobe recycled from shoots.
So that's how it's "supposed" to be done, but sometimes, a lot of stuff falls through the cracks. Because budgets are usually tight, costumers might have to shop for volume and not quality. Don't forget - they have to dress everyone you see on screen! There's a lot of waste - stuff can be lost in the process of buying and returning, because costumers need that volume to pull from on the day. 

How did you work to make it different? 
So the usual process can be wasteful, but it allows for certain costumers to build really great stock. For an indie film like ours, Gina pulled some great stuff from her stock. It's great that smaller projects like ours can benefit from the trickle down process of bigger productions. We also pulled a lot from our actor's closets, and even my own. And a friend of mine linked me with a great eco-friendly lingerie company called Clare Bare, who ended up providing all the intimates for Agnes. I love their stuff, and their beautiful bras really added so much to Agnes' looks. It was a fun process to throw all these options in, but also, big shout out to Laurence, who had to keep track of what was who's!

Check out my Clare Bare picks here and here (get you something pretty)

Make sure to check out "There is a New World Somewhere" here when comes to your city. See you at the ATX and Houston screenings!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Getting Older, Going Grey

Some sort of switch flipped when I turned 26. All of the sudden most of my clothes seemed too busy, were total tents, very very very tight, too short or horribly unflattering. I found myself wanting a more structured, clean wardrobe instead of the pseudo hippie hodge podge thing I had going on. 

But I didn't want to jump right into that 'Chico's'   life, so I did some exploring.

Needs Supply meets my structured, minimalist needs. This dress (Made in the USA) cinches at the waist in a flattering unexpected way, and the cozy jersey material is easy to care for.

Age appropriate feels pretty good.

Conscious Pieces

Dress - Needs Supply

Shoes - Fortress of Inca

Necklace - Jacoby

Monday, November 30, 2015


Cozy clothes are very important to me. 

It wasn't always that way. For years, my clothing was tight and totally inappropriate for everyday life, or I wore my middle school gym shorts, which for other reasons were totally inappropriate for everyday life. 

Casual clothing was a struggle.

This easy top from LARelaxed is flattering, super soft, and is a wonderful pomegranate color. It is absolutely perfect for after yoga, grocery shopping, or being cute around the house. 

I do not do Black Friday. One year I went, and I was 85% sure I was going to die a bloody pulp on the floor of Macy's.

However, I will forever be dedicated to Cyber Monday. Below are a few of my favorite deals for Cyber Monday (LARelaxed included). Put on your cozy casuals and happy shopping!

LARelaxed - use code LA40 at checkout

American Apparel - use code Monday15 at checkout

Reformation - Sale

Synergy - use code hooray30 at checkout

Conscious Pieces

Top - LARelaxed


Shorts - lululemon

Shoes - New Balance

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Conquering Color Fears

I love this time of year :the anticipation of the holidays, getting time to spend with my family, and food. It's truly all about the food!

As per usual, I stock my closet with dresses. This one was quite the winner.

I tend to stay away from anything that is in the brown family. By "stay away" I mean I don't own any brown. It just has never been my color. But this rust color caught my eye and I took a gamble on it. Happy I did!

My favorite organic cotton company, Synergy, added unexpected detail in the neckline of this dress that allows for minimal accessories, which I am all about. It's easy to wear, and will be my go-to for family events this season. 

Synergy's new fall line is out. Check out a few of my favorites, here, here, and here 

Conscious Pieces

Dress - Synergy

Earrings- Whole Foods Market


Shoes - Madewell

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

When you know, you just know

We all know my deep deep love for jumpsuits.

I am always pressuring my friends to buy one. The complaint I hear most about jumpsuits is that they "just don't fit my body." I NO LONG ACCEPT THAT EXCUSE.

This Seamly jumpsuit allows you to change the top to whatever way fits your body best. The ability create different silhouettes that are appropriate for every occasion is a major win.

I failed you, by not showing you the bottom, but it is a lovely wide-legged look that is soft and cozy, without looking like it is drowning you.

"But Abbey," you say, "How will I hit the ladies room without having to disassemble this bad boy?" 

There is an 8 inch zipper down the back, that allows for potty breaks. If you are going to buy a jumpsuit I very highly recommend this one. 

Happy experimenting!  

Conscious Pieces

Jumpsuit- Seamly

Earrings- Noon

For a jumpsuit tutorial click here

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Plunging necklines and Stacy London

Reformation. This brand is amazing. The cuts are simple with pretty lines, and upcycled fabrics always change. 

Reformation is to die for, but I will be honest it's not cheap (keep reading there is good news).

I rarely wear blue, and I certainly NEVER wear necklines this low, so this dress was an exciting challenge. 

Let's talk low cut dresses (sorry in advance dad, and coworkers), because things happen and undoubtedly they would happen to me. 

I went on the hunt to find the best, most reliable, doubled-sided tap. You will never guess who specializes in boob tape? 

STACY LONDON! The most annoying T.V. personality of all time! But hey, she is keeping my boobs from falling out of my new favorite dress, so I will forgive her for the countless hours I have lost watching "What Not to Wear."

Obviously, I wouldn't wear this to a family reunion or to a job interview, but it is a great date night outfit. AND I can get away with my lazy updo and simple heels. 

Good news for everyone, Reformation is having it's semi-annual sale. You're welcome. 

Don't forget Stacy London has you covered!

Conscious Pieces

Dress- Reformation

Earrings- Raven + Lily


Shoes- Nine West

Boob Tape- Hollywood Fashion Secrets (at Bed Bath and Beyond...that's the beyond part y'all)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Summer Summer Summer!

I live in Texas.

Texas during the summer is exactly what you would expect (about 10 degrees less than what I imagine hell to be).

I love being outside and needed some light airy, day drinking outfits.

Usually, I strive to have at least one ethically made piece in my outfits, but managed to knock it out of the park with this one.

I give you a complete outfit that has an ethical competent in every piece (finally)! 

Conscious Pieces

Shirt- Onzi

Shorts- Threads for Thought

Flip Flops- Feelgoodz

Sunglasses- ICU Eyeware

Bra- American Apparel