Korea’s Coolest Teacher

Meet Dani. dani1

She’s a cool, quirky 20-something living on the sub-tropical island of Jeju in South Korea. Originally from Pennsylvania, she studied painting and psychology in college. Now she spends her days teaching English, and her nights exploring her no-longer-new surroundings, spending time with her boyfriend, and using ArtFlow to express herself through art. Scroll with us as we chat about how Korea changed her style, her close-to-home style influences, and why she just can’t get enough of Birkenstocks.

Personal style?
I think I would classify myself as the “cool teacher” style. I’m much more conservative, but that doesn’t stop me from wearing my cactus sweatshirt.

Celeb style icons?
I must confess, I really don’t have any celeb icons. I like getting my inspiration from my trendy coworkers. That way I can ask them personally where they buy their clothes.

Go-to outfit?
For summer, my sleeveless floral print dress, my birkenstocks and a cardigan in case it gets cold. It’s comfortable and allows me to move around freely. In the winter I wear dark grey pants, my grey suede shoes and a nice sweater with a collar shirt underneath. I’m much more feminine dressed in the summertime.

dani3What has influenced your style the most?
Currently, the other Koreans I work with. Most of them are very stylish and they always look clean and well put together. My favorite dressed coworker wears tailored pants or shorts with flowy boho inspired tops with a pair of black or pink statement shoes.

How has living in Korea affected your style?
My goal for clothing is always to be comfortable. In Korea that means wearing shorts underneath my dresses. Some of the little kids don’t know personal space and are sometimes inappropriate by trying to lift up dresses. I also drop things a lot while I teach so I try to wear things that move easily. I also try to buy things that transition through the seasons easily instead of having a piece specifically for one season.

Has the way you dress for your profession filtered into your everyday wardrobe?
At first it didn’t. Before I got to Korea I splurged and bought a lot of professional teaching outfits that would be appropriate in the states. Some of the things fell apart while others turned out to be too formal for my school. Most people wear casual clothes and I integrated my wardrobe to go from weekday to weekend almost seamlessly. Although I exclusively wear shorts on the weekend.

dani6Which of your features do you love to highlight?
I love my shoulders/neck/ upper back area. Most of my dresses have a swoop back that ends right above the bra line. It’s still work appropriate and I feel more confident. It’s something not a lot of of Koreans show off and I kind of like that.

Item you splurged on the most?
Shoes. Invest in good shoes. I can’t emphasize that enough. I bought a pair of solid suede shoes before I left, and they were incredibly comfortable for the winter time. Also my birkenstocks. They’re the latest hot trend here for footwear. Everyone on the island wear them and for good reason. They’re so comfortable.

Which season of clothes do you prefer?
Definitely fall and spring. I grew to love layering.

dani7
look at those adorable pins!

A style you really love?
I love the 70’s boho look, and it’s becoming huge again here in Korea. I love it. I love the details of clothing. I think that’s what draws me into buying the things I do. I love the hand embroidered look and the patterns.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years? Who knows! I’ll probably still be traveling around and teaching. The lifestyle suits me and I enjoy being somewhere foreign. I hope to have more timeless pieces when I’m older and shrink my wardrobe to classics and basics. I want a fierce, but not overly trendy or inappropriate look for work.

Anything to add?
To TSS: Thank you for asking me these questions. They were fun to answer and made me think! I didn’t realize how much different environment affects your clothing choices until now.
To the readers: Treat yo’ self!

When I first met Dani, my eyes were instantly drawn to her ear. Creepy I know, but she was wearing a beautiful golden mermaid cuff (before ear cuffs were cool) I couldn’t take my eyes off of.

dani5
still wearing it today!

I’ve always noticed the fine details in the items that Dani chose in college, and it has been so exciting to see how her style has evolved today. It’s different than I remember, but still essentially Dani.

Thanks for joining me! If you want to see more of Dani’s art and beautiful life in Korea check out her instagram: @nionlead

gender swapped traditional hanbok with her boyfriend on vacation
gender swapped traditional hanbok with her boyfriend on vacation

Stay Happy—TSS

7 Totally Important Style Lessons Cher Taught Us in Clueless

This summer the world celebrated the 20th anniversary of chick flick favorite Clueless. In the hit film, main character, Cher Horowitz, gave us lots of lessons about life, love, second chances, and why you just really shouldn’t match-make. To celebrate my 100th blog post (that’s right – 100!), I wanted to share my love of the movie by giving you seven amazing style tips, as told by my #womancrushwednesday Cher:

Style Lesson 1: Fight for what’s yours

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures

…but know when it’s time to move on

“And I will totally shoot you in the head.”

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Paramount Pictures
  • There’s always next season

Style Lesson 2: Never let a boy steal your shine or stop you from a good deal

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures
  • Retail therapy is a legitimate form of medicine

Style Lesson 3: Have high standards

“You see how picky I am about my shoes, and they only go on my feet.”

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures
  • In partners and footwear!

Style Lesson 4: When there’s something important happening, dress the part

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Paramount Pictures
  • Maybe I should get a collarless shirt from Fred Segal?

Style Lesson 5: Take risks

“I must give her snaps for her courageous fashion efforts.”

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Paramount Pictures
  • Dr. Seuss has great style

Style Lesson 6: There is always a chance to be better

“Cher’s main thrill in life is a makeover; it gives her a sense of control in a world full of chaos”

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Paramount Pictures
  • Me too, Cher, me too

“This time, I’m going to makeover my soul.”

Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures
  • The best kind of makeover

Style Lesson 7: Friendship never goes out of style

“Seems like without tenderness there’s something missing”

Clueless
Paramount Pictures
  • Even when you’ve been way harsh, true friends will welcome you back with open arms and a mochaccino

Thanks for all the lessons, Cher!

Stay Happy—TSS

Celebrating Asia

I’ve been sitting on this post for a while, so it is a bit of a throwback (#waybackwednesday?). Currently I live in the District of Columbia, home of many fun festivals celebrating the fusion of cultures that reside here. The Asian Heritage Cultural festival  in June featured food, dance, and goods from Turkey to Taiwan.

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Embracing the colors seen above I chose to take advantage of the summer sun in a Lucky brand dress, retro straw fedora, and some John Lennon-esque sunglasses from Forever 21I finished it all off with a leather crossbody you may have seen on my blog before.

IMG_1160But I’m sure you guessed that I couldn’t attend a festival without buying something, so it should be no surprise that I walked away with this gorgeous handmade bracelet from Northern Thailand!IMG_1139

It went with my outfit so I added it to my wrist immediately! Have you gotten any awesome finds at cultural festivals? I’d love to see them.

Stay Happy —TSS