#HERSSENTIALS: The Dress You Need to Have in Your Closet

IMG_4524Giant Vintage sunglasses | Forever 21 choker | RtA dress | Guess wristlet | SSFW ring | Teva x Nasty Gal sandals 

Coco Chanel once said that you need to take off one thing before you leave the house. While it’s hot outside, you can keep your jewelry, but hunnie, you need to ditch the jacket! If there’s one denim alternative to wearing a jacket, ask yourself if you are willing to take the next step. As I’d always swear by a sweat-wicking fitted garment for a hot day out, the hottest essential you need to have is a denim dress.

What makes this RtA denim dress so special is that it hugs your body. Thanks to its thick cottony-denim base, the cutting of the dress is created to make your curves pop. No, seriously…I am NOT exaggerating here! Believe me, you don’t even NEED to suffer while sweating underneath your Spanx. While RtA pieces are generally made for sexy bombshells, the insouciance of an off-the-shoulder Bardot neckline makes it casual enough to wear it out anywhere.

If you need to find something to wear on a Sunday Funday, I guarantee you that you will never run out of ideas ever again.



Similar (in order of appearance): Giant Vintage Butabi sunglasses | Guess Calypso wristlet | Made by Adorn Double Bar Cage Ring

All photos by Audrey Kwok

Back to Black: The Summer Basics You’ll Need for the Rest of the Month

IMG_4491Giant Vintage sunglasses | Are You Am I crop top | Forever 21 choker | Pamela Love necklace| ’90s Versace bag | GRLFRND x Revolve shorts | Teva x Nasty Gal sandals

Are you excited to go back to school? I guess not! Back when I was a student, having summer vacation was a luxury that I couldn’t live without. As much as I enjoy prancing around the streets in shorts and sandals, I hated the fact that I had to hide them in the closet by the time I got back to campus.

If there is one color that represents R.I.P. summer, I’d always go for black. Chic, sleek and very edgy, you cannot go wrong with this heat-absorbing hue. Believe me, it will help your #ootd game as it contrasts beautifully against the sun.

Well, if you are not the type to wear black during the summer, you can always work things up in small doses. Whether it be a pair of shorts and an off-the-shoulder crop top or a classic minidress, you can never go wrong when it’s all black.



Similar (in order of appearance): Pamela Love silver dagger rosary | Current Mood platform sandals 

Photos by Audrey Kwok

The Hack You Need to Try: The Swimsuit as Bodysuit


I honestly cannot believe that it’s August. With summer still here, the dog days certainly aren’t over. Ever since coming back to Singapore, I’ve been resorting to wearing nothing but cotton-breathing bodysuits and sweat-friendly apparel. Sick and tired of having to constantly launder my items after one wear, I’ve decided to pull out the one thing that you’ll never normally wear outside the house: the swimsuit.

Thanks to the lycra fibers, it’s no secret that the swimsuit is summer’s hottest staple. Here are two ways you can try this trend:

  1. The Babechella

IMG_4386IMG_4388Giant Vintage sunglasses | Stella and Bow choker |  Rodarte necklace | Vintage Anna Sui top | Mandalynn swimsuit | Tripp NYC skirt | vintage ’90s backpack | Birkenstock x Heidi Klum sandals

Although Coachella was four months ago, it’s always lingering in my mind like the way Lana del Rey thinks about Woodstock. As festival season is still here, you can snag your tickets for We the Fest, Neon Lights or F1, which are super rad music festivals in Jakarta and Singapore. (Thankfully, those festivals are not something to miss out while you’re planning your post-summer getaways!)

Show off that festival spirit with a whole lotta crochet, vinyl and velvet!

2. Somewhere Over the Rainbow


IMG_4378Giant Vintage sunglasses | Stella and Bow choker |  Rodarte necklace | DKNY jacket| Mandalynn swimsuit | RE/Done Jeans | vintage Versace bag | Chloé sandals

The late, great Judy Garland was right: never doubt the power of a rainbow. As much as I love a whole lotta color, don’t be afraid to go the extra mile by experimenting with your palette. To pull this off, use denim as your base and start from there. Try out endless combos to see what you can get!

Will you try this trend?



Similar (in order of appearance): Princess Polly PVC skirt |Vintage ’90s smiley face backpack Princess Polly denim jacket | Sophia Webster sandals 

All photos by Audrey Kwok

The Most Flattering Beauty Trend You Never Tried Before

Sorry, Yoda –  I busted your lightsaber. May the force be with my glow.

Cosmically hypnotizing and magnetizing, the bluish tones of my brand new glow leaves me feeling like I’ve been stuck in Alderaan. Although I’m no intergalactic princess, I can’t thank Make Up Store enough for giving me that lightsaber-esque glow. While the fabled sword only has one color, the Swedish cosmetic brand’s Satin Gloss and High Tech Lighter packs the punch with a multidimensional glow that feels super transcendental.

As someone who is obsessed with glowing skin and a whole lotta extra shimmer, I can’t resist joining the bandwagon for filter-friendly highlighter-esque beauty products. But before I go on, is it really worth it to indulge in this trend?

Continue reading “The Most Flattering Beauty Trend You Never Tried Before”

#InspiredbyInsta: Crop Top Baby Tank

Bummed that you’re missing out on Miami Swim Week? Don’t be a bummer, babe: I’m also sad that I’m not in Florida to sit there and witness the litness of swimwear shows! However, we can thank God for the invention of Instagram as scrolling through every show is #outfitinspo.

Last Saturday, I tuned into Beach Bunny‘s fashion show, where it featured some of my favorite models –  Charlotte McKinney, Joy Corrigan, you name it, honey. Not to mention, this swimwear brand is the Victoria’s Secret of swimwear as it’s the launching pad for so many bombshells. (Kate Upton, Hailey Clauson and Kelly Rohrbach, anyone?! 🙋) Must I say that THIS is the brand you must not miss out on? Heck yes!

There were SO MANY runway looks that I enjoyed; however, it was hard for me to pick a single look that topped my head as I really wanted to have everything. But, if I had to pick one to wear IRL frequently, it’ll be the crop top tank top bikini. With a bunch of bikinis (which are at least 15 to 20 currently) in my closet, I realize that the drawers are ready to gasp its last breath. So, I decided to become inspired to do my own take on Beach Bunny’s version!

What you need:

1 ribbed button-down tank top

1 scissors

1 fabric chalk

1 ruler


  1. Try on the tank top and mark the spot underneath your braline (NOTE: wear a colored bra so that you can see the braline more easily!)
  2. Draw a horizontal line with a ruler and fabric chalk

FullSizeRender 23. Draw another line down the middle (preferably where the buttons are at)

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4. Make a diagonal line from the corner of the top to the tip of the middle line and repeat on the other side.

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5. Cut!

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6. Lift up the two triangular strips of the front and draw a horizontal line on the layer underneath the front


7. Cut the last two triangular strips

8. Tie a knot!




#JakartaBeautyHaul: Rollover Reaction

IMG_5258Rollover Reaction – Maxwell

Sorry, Kat, Kylie and Jeffree. A brand of liquid lipsticks has officially arrived in the game and it’s nothing else I’ve ever tried before.

Soft as cream, smooth as velvet and sweet as icing, this liquid lipstick feels like heaven. Packed with a tangy toffee smell, my nose can’t ignore the temptation to pile more layers on my lips! As I look at the mirror, the finish feels as soft as my vintage suede Roncelli jacket. Upon realizing that this is no standard-issue designer liquid lipstick, the maker of this good ol’ dupe is no other than Rollover Reaction, a Jakarta-based beauty brand.

Continue reading “#JakartaBeautyHaul: Rollover Reaction”

Same Ol’ Person, New Name

You knew my name, but I felt like I didn’t know myself until today. Previously, I settled on branding myself around my own name. While “Michelle Varinata” sounded unique, it wasn’t easy to spell out my last name nor was it distinct enough from anyone else who wants to use their name as their form of branding themselves. On top of that, I felt like my own name for a blog didn’t have much of a personality.

Finding a name was not an easy journey. Initially, I wanted to rename it after two of my favorite fabrics: velvet and suede. Then, I thought of using my own hashtag #LivinLaVariNaDah, but that kinda made my blog sound juvenile or some Sophia Amoruso wannabe had I settled with that one. All of a sudden, a random thought slipped in.

When I was a kid, I always ate a slice of cake for dessert. It was fragrant and sweet, but not sugary. As I squinted my eyes, I saw thin yellow and brown stripes. “What is this?” I asked. My mom said, “This is kueh lapis.” I pried my fork into the cake, then realized that it was layered. This kind of cake was something that I couldn’t find anywhere else outside of Indonesia. It was a traditional dessert that my dad had to bring from Jakarta to Singapore.

Although I  ain’t a foodie, just thinking about that cake made me want to embrace my roots. Long before I moved to Singapore, I was actually born in Jakarta. I only spent the first five years of my life there. Honestly, I could barely remember what those early years were like. As I grew up, the disconnect from my Indonesian heritage and my identity was greater. Anytime I mentioned that I was originally from Indonesia, people would just say that we’re too materialistic, dishonest, narrow-minded, lazy and unoriginal. Hearing those things felt mosquito bites that stung. I had to say that I was from Singapore since it generally had a better reputation than Indonesia. Even though I spent the majority of my life on the island, it was complicated being a third culture kid as I felt torn about choosing between two countries as my national label.

Looking back into the memories of eating kueh lapis, I began to see myself in a new light. Rather than hiding my Indonesian heritage, I finally look at myself as a child of the archipelago. Laying a claim to a cultural identity is one thing, but actually having the ownership of it is another thing: it’s empowering!

Today,  it will be called Lapis and Layers.