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    is a virtual space where Liyana Aris documents her evolving modest personal style, which is based on the art of looking casually stylish while still remaining modest and doing it all on a budget; about 93% of her closet are filled with affordable things. (PS: The remaining 7% has a lot to do with her secret addiction to Adidas shoes and her occasional splurges on discounted high-end bags and clutches, shhh.) [+]
    28.8.17 .

    I went to Singapore with my family when I was really small so there isn't much I remember, but I don't know if that really matters because I do know Singapore is SO different than what it was back then! Shah and I decided to try the 6-hour ride on the "luxury" bus to travel here instead of taking the short flight, which, thankfully, exceeded my expectations.

    We had a great dinner our first night here at the and walking around Marina Bay Sands afterwards for a bit, but there's so much exploring to do, I'm afraid I won't have time to do much! But it feels great to just be able to experience this country again.

    I'll be updating my days here on Instagram so give @theliyanaaris a follow if you haven't! <3

    follow @theliyanaaris on Instagram

    28.8.17 .

    I went to Singapore with my family when I was really small so there isn't much I remember, but I don't know if that really matters because I do know Singapore is SO different than what it was back then! Shah and I decided to try the 6-hour ride on the "luxury" bus to travel here instead of taking the short flight, which, thankfully, exceeded my expectations.

    We had a great dinner our first night here at the and walking around Marina Bay Sands afterwards for a bit, but there's so much exploring to do, I'm afraid I won't have time to do much! But it feels great to just be able to experience this country again.

    I'll be updating my days here on Instagram so give @theliyanaaris a follow if you haven't! <3

    26.8.17 .

    I've been itching to re-wear this black trumpet skirt with sneakers ever since I first wore it with my peep toe booties  seriously, guys, high heels are SO not my thing. The thing is, I'd LOVE for them to be my thing, but sadly that is not the case. 

    Me being me though, I would go heels-less for a long stretch of time but would start to miss wearing them (usually after seeing so many cute heels on my Pinterest feed) and would wonder "Hm maybe this time heels won't hurt so much" and then I always, ALWAYS prove myself wrong. 

    Well, a girl can dream for the impossible, right? Perhaps it would even come true one day...

    •     •     •     •     •     •     •

    We've established that:

    Thankfully I brought more than one skirt for my trip to Italy including this trumpet skirt, to match with a red plaid shirt I found nestled amongst the "unwanteds" at the recent Mango sale for my day in Florence. The last time Shah and I were there, Uffizi Gallery was closed so we were so happy to finally get inside this time around!

    See: Uffizi Gallery 'grams on my last Instagram post!

      The moment I plucked it down from the rack and laid eyes on the hoops connecting the sleeves to the shoulders of the top, I knew it was me. I wondered for three seconds why it hasn't been snapped up yet  until I peeked at the right sleeve and found a couple of hoops missing. It was the very last of its kind in that store.

      And you know what I did? I left the store without getting it.
      I know. I mean, the top was "me", right??

      That night I tossed and turned; I just could not stop thinking about how I "abandoned" the plaid shirt (I'm very dramatic when it comes to missed closet-addition opportunities) and by the next morning I was thoroughly convinced I made the wrong decision. I mean, I didn't even really care about the missing hoops in the first place so why Liyana whyyy.

      It was only a few long days after that I had the opportunity to go back to that particular Mango, thinking "Please let the shirt still be there oh PLEASEEE". (FYI I visited two different Mango stores in that period but none of them had the shirt. Of course.)

      Well as you can see, it was still there.
      On a different rack on the opposite side of the store however, so, yes, my pulse definitely quickened there for a while.
      (But then my lost sleep was recovered!)

      Have you ever bought a flawed item from a store because you really, really liked it and it was the very, very last piece?
      Or is your willpower strong (unlike mine) and you would simply walk away?

      Wearing: Mango hoop plaid shirt  |  H&M t-shirt  |  Zara eyelet trumpet skirt  | Stradivarius hoop earrings  |  Zara sunglasses  |  Adidas Stan Smith

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      24.8.17 .

      Can you believe that 4-5 years ago I pretty much hated having my photo taken? I didn't enjoy snapping photos either! Honestly, I cannot believe myself. To think of all the lost chances for beautiful photos and the general lack of photos I have of my European days...

      I must have mentioned this like 137 times on my blog but I lived in Paris in 2012-2013 for almost a year (Shah had a full year but I went home for a month for my best friend's wedding!). It was one of the best moments of my life  but actually, most of the times I was overseas was the best times of my life, come to think of it. Paris was really the beginning of all my traveling though; Shah and I visited so many cities around Europe from our stint there, and I discovered that traveling is a passion of mine.

      Whenever I look back at my Europe photos, I always get thoughts like "I can't believe I was there!" or "Omg that food was the BEST" but then those thoughts would be accompanied by this spark of frustration at seeing how terrible my photos are and why are there so little of them??
      I have to say, the turning point was when I created an Instagram account. Really. It's weird how caring about how my photos appear on my feed affect my outlook on photography. It really makes me want to improve what little photography skills I possess, but I suppose the upside is, I can only get better!

      I found out that I can recall so much more of the place I visited when I look back at old photos I took when I was at that particular place, which is why taking vacation photos gives me so much pleasure now  especially when the photos are of good, and by "good" I don't even mean the quality per se, but the composition of the photo and what the subject of it is.

      I've done a few "photo diaries" and travel posts filled with photos taken using my DSLR (I just do point-and-shoot and never manual to be honest!) but I find that snapping photos with my iPhone involves less effort and energy, plus it's so quick, so I stuck with my iPhone mostly during my Italy trip. The quality won't be as good but the photos will evoke the same kind of nostalgic memory!

      As long as I take cute photos, that is... Anyway, I hope you like my little Italy 'grams here! If you haven't followed me on Instagram, please do give @theliyanaaris a follow!

      Check out: My previous InstaLiyana posts

      Italy Instagram Photos
      Shah and I arrived in Milan at night, but immediately did a quick day-trip to Venice the very next day! Using a floppy sun hat is a great way to prevent tan lines on my forehead (hijab tan lines, to be specific!) so I more than happy to purchase this cute "Venizia" straw hat from a vendor!

      Italy Milan Corso Buenos Aires Duomo Instagram Photos
      People say Milan is such a shopping haven, and it sure is, providing you have a BIG shopping budget! It doesn't mean you can't indulge in a little high-street shopping though, right? Thankfully the sales were still going on yesss.
      And were you in Milan if you didn't visit Duomo di Milano? Answer: Of COURSE you were, but it's such a majestic piece of architecture, why miss it? It doesn't matter that I've been there before!

      Italy Milan Vittorio Emanuele Instagram Photos
      I usually explore a city by myself on Shah's work trips but lucky for me, Shah's colleague works full-time in Milan for the time being and I'm good friends with his wife Sin Yee, who was more than happy (well, that's what she claimed!) to take me around! 
      Sin Yee and I actually met during our stay in Paris and she is the sweetest human being I know, and I always have a great time with her. Huge plus: she totally volunteered to take LOADS of photos of me!
      You can't visit the Duomo without popping into Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, can you?

      Florence Uffizi Gallery Duomo Instagram Photos
      I actually have SO MUCH MORE photos from Venice and Milan but I couldn't help diving immediately into my Florence pics! Florence was a total last-minute plan after we discovered we had some free time after all, so Shah and I took a train to Florence and got to spend one precious night there! Uffizi Gallery was closed the last time we went to Florence so I was SO EXCITED to finally get the chance to visit it! 

      Florence Uffizi Gallery Instagram Pictures
      Did you know Leonardo diCaprio's parents named him when his pregnant mom and dad visited the museum? And yes, I have no shame in admitting that is the number one reason of me wanting to visit the museum.
      NO SHAME.
      I already knew I can never relate to Renaissance art when I was in Louvre years ago but there's just something about visiting museums, you know? Regardless of what it carries, really. Uffizi Gallery is such a beautiful building, it's worth paying the ticket just to see the inside.

      Florence Ponte Vecchio Ravioli Instagram Photos
       I just had to make a quick trip to Ponte Vecchio, just to look at the scenery around it!
      By the way of course Shah and I stuffed ourselves silly with Italian food, but I was especially happy about eating my first ever brown butter and sage ravioli, which is a dish I saw being made on one of the Masterchef US seasons that I had been wanting to taste ever since. It's a puzzler but I cannot seem to find it in any of the local Italian restaurants, but I'm still searching! And, oh, all the gelato you could get your hands on! Italian really knows their ice cream! 
      PS: I discovered pistachio gelato and omyGod, I had no clue PISTACHIO ice cream could be so delishhh.

      I hope you like the photos and the little stories I've shared here. I will be back soon with new outfit post! xoxo
      20.8.17 .

      Lookin' all business-like today, are we?
      Well, the kind of "business-like" that includes a Disneyland clutch anyway, which is my kind.
      (Note: I have never worked in an office / corporate world, so please don't take my "business-like" definition seriously.)

      •     •     •     •     •     •     •

      This might be a little odd to say but navy blue happens to be one of my top five favourite colours. To me it is possibly odd since a part of my brain thinks navy blue is a bit of an unexciting colour, and yet a different part of my brain seems to have this idea that navy blue is a colour that complements my skintone.

      Navy blue complementing someone's skintone? OK yes even I know that sounds weird. I wonder if there's like a science behind this, hmmm...? I don't know, there's been a few occasions where I was getting ready to put on a navy blue top or tie my navy blue hijab, and the moment it was on, I thought wow this really looks good with my skin and makeup. I don't think I've had that kind of realisation with any other colour.
      Really  navy blue, guys. It is weird.

        I've always loved the idea of a one-tone casual suit (like this beige one) but I have yet to find an affordable matching suit (that really comes in a top + pants combo) at my favourite high-street stores, so the one tip I utilise is to just mix and match whatever's in my closet to suit my suiting needs!

        Obviously I love incorporating palazzo pants into a "suit" but I find wide-legged pants to be incredibly versatile; you can dress them up like I have here, or go casual for a fun day out.
        See: the same navy striped draped pants with striped kimono top for a casual example

        As a hijabi, wide-legged pants have made my dressing up easier more times than I can count; they're not only modest but looks so fashunnn, guys, especially if you're wearing the right pair that fits you perfectly!

        PS: By the way, can we please highlight the clutch for a while, because it was such an ahmayzing personal find of mine! I've been to three Disneylands so far: Paris, Tokyo, and Shanghai, and seriously until today I am amazed that out of all three of them, Shanghai Disneyland is the one carrying the most impressive fashion choices. I got a beautiful pink top with Cinderella's face on it from there as well that I have yet to share on Instagram and my blog, but I'm looking forward to doing so here in this space.

        Wearing: Glass Line long blazer  |  Pull & Bear "Lisa Simpson" t-shirt  |  no-brand draped palazzo pants  |  Aldo monk shoes  |  no-brand scarf

        And here are other ways you could wear different types of wide-legged pants, as shown here by these beautiful women I've met through the blogging world! Unlike me  who lives in a tropical country which means the four seasons don't really apply  these stylish ladies have dressed up their wide-legged pants in such summery vibes, and I'm just loving it!

        Ann Krembs, of Kremb de la Kremb

        Can't get over this gingham + white combo. I wish I could find a pair of white jeans that looks as good on me as this one looks on Ann. And look at how that super cute "fanny pack" (this is no longer an oxymoron, guys) ties the whole outfit together. Also, I just can't with the beautiful golden mustard shoes Annn has on, they're so pretty!

        Ann is wearing: Who What Wear for Target shirt  |  H&M white jeans  |  Forever 21 shoes  |  Forever 21 sunglasses  |  Shein earrings  |  TJ Maxx necklace  |  Hustle & Hide Co bag

        Anna Parkes, of Anna's Island Style

        Floral is such a huge trend right now so Anna knows what she's doing, just look at how show-stopping those pants are! The fact that she elevated her floral wide-legged pants with a classy white shirt and belting them together, combined with that blue background? I can just imagine Anna turning heads as she walks along the beach.

        Anna is wearing: Sainsbury's shirt  |  New Look pants  |  London Rebel shoes  |  Du Barre necklace  |  Gemporia rings  |  Quay Australia sunglasses  |  pre-loved belt, bangles, and belt

        Samantha Blair, of Fake Fabulous

        Samantha was the one who asked me to join in on this "wide-legged project", so thank you, Samantha! She's always had this knack for impeccable accesorising while mixing and matching and colour-blocking like a pro, which was what attracted me to her style. I don't know how she makes a dress top + wide-legged pants combo so effortlessly cool, like, how? Howww. There's always something in her outfit that I want to "steal", and in this case I need those floral embroidered shoes, gurrrlll.

        Samantha is wearing: New Look top  |  Fenn Wright Manson pants  |  Topshop flats  |  Topshop bag  |  Tahari sunglasses  |  Primark necklace

        I hope you guys you like all of these wide-legged looks! These three bloggers have been inspirational to me when it comes to continuing to blog about my evolving style, so do go check out all of their blogs, it's totally worth your time, guys! xxoo
        16.8.17 .

        All this while I've been accumulating pieces for my closet based on the assumption that it is A-OK to layer (that is, thin pieces only), because when would I ever need to walk  like really do some walking  under the hot sun in Malaysia and in its humidity? Other than to get from point A to point B, which are usually short distances anyway? I mean, I spend so much time indoors outside of my house, plus all these places are always comfortably air-conditioned.

        But whatever the story is, bottom line: I don't own enough cute long-sleeved tops that I can just wear on its own without having to layer.
        Note: Urgent shopping needed for my next summer vacayyy.

        This was actually one of my "breezier" Italy outfits, although it may not look that way. Initially I was worried people would think I'm crazy, walking around in a blazer (albeit a super, super thin one), but then I saw an Italian man walking past me looking so Italian-chic in dark blue blazer, white shirt, and smart tan pants, and I immediately felt better.

        I spent the day in Milan in this outfit, visiting Duomo di Milano and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (taking photos and shopping at high-street stores around them!) while holding a cup of two-scoop gelato around (spilled some on my skirt, gelato melts so fast) and proceeded to take the train to Florence  these photos were taken at Milano Centrale train station as a matter of fact  arriving after the sun set, and got a two-scoop gelato again while walking from the hotel to Il Duomo di Firenze. I was happily comfy in this outfit for the whole day!

          I mentioned in my previous white shirt + off-the-shoulder post about how I haven't been able to find a maxi metallic pleated skirt, and I still haven't, guys; the one I have on here is actually tea-length but when worn low enough on my hips, I'm able to pass it off as (sort-of) maxi!

          •     •     •     •     •     •     •

          Did you guys notice the hoop earrings I have on? If you didn't, it's cool, as the earrings are really subtle. I got these from a set of four hoops from Stradivarius in Corso Buenos Aires  was so excited to come across the store because I fell in love with it back when I visited Spain years ago! I recently mourned the demise of my Stradivarius leather jacket, remember that? (The brand still isn't available in Malaysia why though.)

          I'm starting to think about wearing earrings under my hijab more often now, what do you think? I don't know if it's "my look" yet but I'm having fun experimenting, so I'll see where the wind blows with this one...

          Wearing: Bershka grey pinstriped blazer  |  Pull & Bear "Lisa Simpson" t-shirt (worn with denims previously)  |  Mango silver pleated skirt  |  Adidas Stan Smith  |  Stradivarius hoop earrings

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          11.8.17 .

          As a hijabi I personally find that it isn't easy to embrace any trend fully. For example, do you guys know how hard it is to track down a maxi-length metallic pleated skirt? I mean, whyyy do the ones I found in my favourite high-street stores all have to be three-quarter in length?(??) Sure, I could add leggings or socks or whatever underneath, but, I kind of don't want to...?

          Even the ruffles trend had me exasperated for a while in the beginning of their emergence, because all the ruffled tops I came across had their ruffles oh so very strategically placed around the neck, which is the area a hijabi tends to cover up.
          Thankfully, certain trends do evolve; I just purchase a denim top from Zara with ruffles along the back of the sleeves that snakes across my the upper part of my body below the back of the neck as well, so, results! (Hard to picture? You'll see it here soon hopefully!)

          White Shirt Under Off-The-Shoulde
          Mango floral embroidered denim mules

              Mango off-the-shoulder strappy striped blouse top
              Of course, off-the-shoulder isn't a trend that I can imagine evolving in that sense. I mean...it's off-the-shoulder, and that's it, right? The point of the existence of this kind of top is shoulders are meant to be bared when one wears an off-the-shoulder top.

              Or...is that the point?
              Well, obviously I decided that is not the point, as illustrated in this post. No shoulders bared here, see?

              Mango off-the-shoulder strappy striped blouse top
              How To Make an Off-the-Shoulder Top Hijab-appropriate
              This is hardly an original style "hack"; I've seen a few fashionable hijabis on Instagram layering various kinds of shirts and tees underneath cute off-the-shoulder tops, but I like the clean effect a white shirt gives the most!

              I was actually originally going to layer this striped off-the-shoulder blouse from Mango over a dark blue long-sleeved Airism t-shirt (if you guys never heard of Airism, it's like the "Heattech of Summer" provided by Uniqlo, cooling to the skin in high temps, is it available in your country?) but I'm glad I went with my white shirt instead.

              I lugged most of my new closet additions from Malaysia all the way to Italy, which includes these statement jeans I scored at H&M's sale  which I am UHBSESSED with, I mean, look at the mismatched hems guysss. As for the mules, they were a consolatory prize after I couldn't find a pair of black oriental-style mules from Zara I lusted after, but I probably would like them both equally as much.

              Milan Italy Street and Tram
                How To Make an Off-the-Shoulder Top Hijab-appropriate
                Mango floral embroidered denim mules
                Of course, wearing layered tops in the heat of Milan was a bit crazy, I must say. Unlike my usual shopping sprees in air-conditioned malls here, I walked the hot streets of Corso Buenos Aires on this day. Luckily for me I had a girlfriend currently living in Milan so it was nice to have company, but woah were we parched after we were done with shopping afterwards!

                No worries, though; aside from the unattractive sweating (which hopefully was not visible to every single person I came across) I was comfortable enough, plus I had quite the successful shopping excursion so no regrets!

                See More Stuff: How about layering your white shirt underneath a strappy dress, too?

                Wearing: Seed white shirt (men's)  |  Mango off-the-shoulder striped blouse  |  H&M jeans  |  Mango denim mules  |  Zara bag

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                8.8.17 .

                Zara floral embroidered black mesh dress with cutout boots
                Honestly, people probably thought I was crazy, cruising around in the hot, hot Venice summer in my long-sleeved black top underneath this floral-embroidered black mesh dress. There I was, in the midst of shorts, mini-dresses, and flip flops  and in a pair of boots.
                Boots in summer, guys.
                Cutout boots, but, still.

                No regrets, though. I distinctively remember what I wore when I first came to Venice (I have photos in FB as proof, too): a baggy brown long-sleeved t-shirt, ripped jeans, and flip flops. As comfortable as that garb was for a hijabi, it was not cute at all  except I did put on a sweet floral print aqua scarf, which in my opinion was my outfit's saving grace.

                Zara floral embroidered black mesh dress with cutout boots
                Venizia Straw Hat in Venice
                  Zara floral embroidered black mesh dress
                  Zara floral embroidered black mesh dress with cutout boots
                  This time around I made sure to wear something that I feel fits Venice's romantic vibe and my personal style as well; I thought this floral black mesh dress from Zara was "Venetian" enough. But it's not like me to go "romantic" all the way, which explains the pairing with my non-sensual Mickey jeans  one of my fave jeans evah  and the cutout boots I scored from H&M's recent sale.

                  Zara floral embroidered black mesh dress with cutout boots and Mickey patch jeans
                  Zara floral embroidery black mesh dress
                  Zara floral embroidered black mesh dress with cutout boots
                    10 euro Venezia straw hat in Venice
                    I made sure to pile on the SPF on my face too as the sun in Europe is less forgiving than in Malaysia where there's constant supply of fluffy white clouds in the sky. But really, buying that wide brim straw hat from a local vendor was such a genius decision in preventing tan lines on my forehead from my hijab, which happened to me annoyingly plenty when I was living in Paris.

                    Plus, isn't the hat just adorbs?

                    Straw hat in Venice Italy
                      Venice Italy
                      Oh, and I also made sure of one thing: my outfit might not have to be as comfy as my icky brown outfit from my last trip to Venice, but it must be breezy enough to prevent me from fainting from the summer heat!

                      All in good balance, guys <3 What do you think of my Venice outfit?

                      PS: I evidently like my Mickey jeans with sheer things  and I really like see-through dresses too, like this peach mesh dress and my dark emerald green tulle one!

                      Wearing: Zara floral mesh dress  |  Zara long-sleeved t-shirt  |  Meters/Bonwe jeans  |  H&M cutout boots  |  Zara striped bag