Updated usually on Mondays and/or Thursdays!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Welcome, 2015!

How have I utilized the 8760 hours in 2014? How have I changed this year-emotionally, physically, mentally? Am I a better person than I was at the start of this year? What from this year will stick with me the most as I move onto 2015?

There is greater number of days I've forgotten than remembered. It comes off pessimistic and melancholy, but it's true. For me, it's already befuddling to distinguish what happened in 2008 from what happened in 2009. Therefore, how much will I remember of 2014 ten years from now? Personally speaking, not much. Frankly, each year is becoming more critical and more stressful. Aware of the fact that there will be challenges in the imminent year, prepare to boldly handle those challenges.

Besides having resolutions specifically for 2015, it is also healthy to have perpetual goals that stick in the back of your head. I came up with one of my own back in 8th grade, and it's been my personal proverb ever since. It is simple: Work hard, and be humble, benign, and gentle. It's my abiding resolution, and it has stuck with me because I frequently analyze myself- my personality, my goals, etc. All this to say, goodbye, 2014. Welcome, 2015!

The Korean Hanbok 

Hanbok is a Korean Traditional Dress. The origins of the dress go as far back as the Three Kingdoms Period (57 BC-668 AD). The hanbok was originally designed for everyday wear in cold weather and nomadic life. The basic structure of the hanbok has 2 parts: Jeogori (the top) and Chima (the skirt). Underneath the jeogori and chima, it is normal to wear multiple layers of pants and dresses. Even up until the Korean War, Koreans wore the hanbok as their daily wear. When I see photographs of my grandparents when they were younger, they always were in their hanboks. Rapid industrialization starting in the 1960s changed all of that; industrialization provoked Western-style clothes to commercialize in Korea. Now, hanboks are only worn for special occasions like New Years, weddings, family celebrations, etc. When I was young, I remember wearing my hanbok on New Years and doing traditional bows to my grandparents, parents, and relatives as a sign of respect and honor. Of course, the incentive was to receive money for doing so. Therefore, the hanbok is an symbolic and meaningful article of clothing in my life. Although I am American, I am still by blood a Korean. 
Click to enlarge photos
I love this dress because it is a modern hanbok. It looks much more contemporary without the jeogori. There are so many minute details in the dress, and everything is handmade out of silk. Hanboks are pricy; they range from $140-$750. Real designer hanboks start at $1,100.
World-class designers such as Dior, Prada, and Armani draw inspiration for their designs from hanboks.
It is a Korean tradition to have a grand celebration for the 1st birthday of your child. This photograph was taken from my first birthday celebration. I recently watched my video recordings from that day. They consisted of me crying, while being dressed into the hanbok, and of me sleeping, while everyone sang happy birthday and my parents cut the birthday cake. It's perplexing to know it all happened and have none of it recalled to memory. 

Color is everything when it comes to hanboks. The colors an individual wore used to carry important implications such as class and age; red signified fortune and wealth. 

Very few people know, but I used to fan dance. I was an assistant fan dance teacher for young girls last year. 

This third dress has so many subtleties. There is a light mint layer beneath the emerald green top layer. Also, there are tints of red/purple on the green. The dress has a mesh of different colors. To add, there is a subtle flower pattern that can be seen in the right hand picture. 

Left: Traditional dress shoes / Right: Traditional Korean Fan Dance shoes

Thanks so much for reading.
Another thank you to Diana for the beautiful photographs!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Cheers to a Beginning

I am stepping out of my comfort zone, to say the least. I am ecstatic to begin Letrendary with my dear friend, Diana Chao. Both Diana and I have prior blogging experience, so we have finally come together to collaborate! Diana has a knack for photography, photo editing, and graphic/web designing. Therefore, the stellar website and the exceptional photographs are credited to her. As for me, I am not a fashion aficionado. Not even close. Rather, I admire clothing and culture and feel a need to expose the seen and unseen bits of it. I apologize ahead of time if your taste is not analogous to mine. Letrendary's mission statement is to expose diverse styles and cultures within our stupendous world. New posts will be every Monday, and I hope you will join Diana and I on this adventure.       

-Dorothy Kang

A Cultural Christmas

Is Christmas a cultural or religious holiday? What a thought provoking question. Although Christmas is a religious holiday at its roots, Christmas has really altered into a cultural holiday due to the plethora of non-religious traditions-putting up a tree, lighting the home, giving gifts, going to parties, etc. A quote from a news article stated: 

"There are significant generational differences in the way Americans plan to celebrate Christmas this year, with younger adults less likely than older adults to incorporate religious elements into their holiday celebrations. Adults under age 30 are far less likely than older Americans to say they see Christmas as more of a religious than a cultural holiday. They are also less likely to attend Christmas religious services and to believe in the virgin birth" (Olson).

Even for myself, I get caught up in the cultural aspect and subconsciously forget that Christmas is historically a Christian holiday to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. I love that Christmas has become a global holiday celebrated in countries all over. It is a season of new hope, abundant peace, endless joy, and unconditional love. Christmas is so much more than the gifts under the tree or the lights hung all around our block. Hope, peace, joy, and love. May that stick with you this Christmas and all your Christmases to come. 

Merry Christmas!

This first outfit is a classic sweater, skirt, and tights look. Normally, I would wear this sweater with jeans, but the skirt added a pop of red and made the overall look more feminine and Christmassy!

I recently purchased this Christmas sweater. I love the sequined ornament because it adds the perfect amount of sparkle and Christmas to the outfit. My taste is not very glitzy, so it's just the right touch for me. This skirt is a favorite of mine because of the intricate lace detailing. Besides the lace, the color. To me, bright-red isn't as versatile year-round because it is commonly associated as a Christmas color. Therefore, I lean toward burgundy because it is a color more wearable throughout the year. 



Hanukkah : חנוכה : means 'dedication' in Hebrew
While 83% of Americans celebrate Christmas, 3% celebrate Hanukkah. Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, commemorates the Jewish triumph over persecution. Historically, the Jews fought a 3 year war against the Greek-Syrians because the Syrian king, Antiochus, was forcing everyone in his kingdom to assimilate into Greek culture. After the Jews won the war, they had an eight day long celebration, which is why Hanukkah is eight days long. Adding to the history of Hanukkah, there is a Jewish legend that Judah Maccabee, the leader of the Jews fighting back, and other Jews witnessed a miracle in the Second Temple of Jerusalem. In the temple, there was only enough olive oil to keep one of the menorah candles burning for a single day, but the flames continued to flicker for eight nights. Because of the oil miracle, Jews eat traditional foods made out of oil, such as potato pancakes (latkes) and jam-filled donuts (sufganiyot). 

I may not be Jewish, but I love the history behind Hanukkah because everyone needs courage and hope to face oppression and repel tribulations; the best part is that we can overcome them.

Happy Hanukkah!

The colors of Hanukkah are blue and white because they represent the colors of the Israeli flag. Blue is often associated with the sky, faith, and truth. White suggests peace, purity, and light. 

I wore a white-collared sleeveless top underneath my light grey knit sweater to make the top look more sophisticated and preppy. Shiny metallic material is also woven into my light grey sweater, making it subtly shiny. I suggest to wrap a knit scarf if it is chilly, but it also looks fine without.  

I paired the knit sweater with my blue velvet skirt. Velvet is a very holiday-like material. It would be an awkward article to wear in the summer. Therefore, velvet is most in right now!

And that's a wrap! Happy Holidays, everyone!