I'm in my senior year of high school and I'm torn between taking a year off before I start university, or starting straight away and not wasting any time. In your opinion, is it a better idea to get your education before you travel, or the other way around? Would greatly appreciate your views on this! Thank you x
take that gap year! and take one (or some time) before you start your first real post-uni job. take it from me: it is really hard to take time off once you start working. it’s something, to be honest, that you have to explain a bit—no one will quite understand. “take time off to travel/live life/explore/have an adventure?” they’ll ask, furrowed brow and puzzled look on their faces, “why would you do that?” if you can take a gap year, in my opinion, you should. when I graduated high school, I couldn’t wait until college. when I finished college, I couldn’t wait to start working. and when I had my first job—and was ready for a new challenge—I couldn’t wait to start that job. do you see a pattern here? my personal stance is to enjoy being young—take a gap year before university, take time off before starting your first job, take time off between jobs. it’s not being lazy, it’s rekindling your imagination, your sense of adventure, your stance on the world as a whole. it’s worth it, trust me ^_^
What advice do you have for someone that wants to move to New York?
first of all, congratulations. even though I’ll be living in LA for part of next year (eeek), I really and truly feel that living in New York City at some point in your young adult life—whether you end up falling in love with it or detesting it—is a life-changing experience that everyone should have. you’ll be surrounded by people from all walks of life, from all countries, from all orientations and cultures… all united by the common experience of trying to make it in NYC. so, my advice: a) start saving now. it is ridiculously easy to spend money in NYC (you’ll want to meander into every little cafe in the West Village, browse/shop in every indie boutique in Nolita, etc), harder so to make it. b) establish a network of friends from college, high school, whatever who are also planning on moving to NYC. it’s good to have that support system in place early on c) try not to get too swept up in the “wooo, party time!” scene. I have seen it time and time again—deeply ambitious and together and talented people who get sucked into the NYC nightlife scene. have fun, of course, but don’t be utterly frivolous either. remember, NYC is the city where you Make It. dream big, have fun, and make it happen
Hi Eva! You're always on the go and traveling often as I have learned from following you on twitter, instagram and tumblr, so I was wondering how you manage to get a good night's sleep when in an unfamiliar bed/place because I always have problems sleeping at hotels and such. And are there any products that help you to do so? Thanks!
over the holidays this year, I’ll be visiting five cities in three weeks (London, Manchester, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul)—my weary back misses my fancy organic mattress just thinking about it. but, after so many years of travel, I’ve gotten used to it. but nevertheless, there’s almost always that point in the evening where I bolt up, hair and limbs akimbo, wondering where I am, haha. in any case, my top tips for travel-sleep: 1) try to acclimate to the time zone you’re going to, whether that means snoozing on the flight or going to bed as soon as you arrive (if you land at, say, midnight). 2) recreate the rituals of home as much as you can. for me, that means my extensive (and exhausting) seven to nine step skincare routine every night. 3) I tend not to take pills. I do try, instead, to wear myself out during the day. whether that means sightseeing, shopping (whee!), or family time, I try to max out my energy on day one so I sleep well. happy travels!
Hi Eva! Recently I feel like I've been in this funk of compulsive shopping. Truth is, I've been in this state since I realized that I have a debit card and money at my disposal. I don't want to be a shopaholic, but it's just so easy. I see something online and I would accidentally splurge on it, but I always end up hating it or not using it later on. What should I do?
oh dear. I went through a phase like the one you’re talking about in my early twenties (and all throughout college, if we’re being honest). it was hard to break out of the cycle because, well, what girl doesn’t love to shop? now, though, I have a much more pragmatic approach to shopping. I really (try to) take time to think about the things I’m buying, asking myself how and whether they fit into my wardrobe, am I buying it just because it’s inexpensive, and will I still be obsessed with it in three weeks, three months, or three years from now? for your situation, though, first of all, anything you haven’t worn yet and that you’re ‘meh’ about (the items that don’t make your heart race thinking about them), return them. like, now. secondly, I think you have to ask yourself why you’re in a shopping funk—are you stress-shopping because of school or family? are you competitive-shopping because you’re comparing yourself to friends? spend some time thinking on that, and whether there’s a way to cut whatever it is that’s triggering the spending out—or at least reduce exposure to it. you will be happier, your closet less packed, and your bank account will thank you!
Hi Eva, I just wanted to say I love reading your blog and seeing your tips/suggestions. But also, I'm curious about who/what inspires you? Do you have that one person who you try to emulate? Also, do you have any good movie/book recommendations? I know these aren't your usual beauty and style questions but I thought maybe you'd like a change-up in questions! And I hope the holiday season is treating you well. :)
well, living in NYC definitely does. the energy here is amazing—everyone here is here for a reason, striving for something. it’s an ambitious city and I love that feeling. who do I try to emulate? well, honestly, no one in particular. I find that the qualities I most admire tend to be value systems (I realize this will sound hokey but being kind, helping others, etc), not personality or style. it’s funny, this fashion/media industry I work in… there are so many people trying to be someone else—people trying to be frosty to act one editor (who in fact is not frosty at all), people peacocking to try to get the attention of street style photographers to be just like a blogger whose style truly comes naturally to them. it’s a lot of work to try to be like someone else. I find that it’s always just best to be yourself. as for books, I’m reading anything and everything about Diana Vreeland right now. love her voice! check out this book. and happy holidays to you as well—I love getting offbeat questions, actually! thank you for asking!
Hi Eva! I found a video of you talking about Boscia BB cream when I was shopping around for a BB cream to try, and based on your recommendation, I bought it and love it! Now I'm curious, do you use eye cream? Are there any you recommend? Thank you! P.S. Your bag collection is my ultimate Xmas wishlist.
hooray! I love a beauty recommendation success story! ^_^ so… eye creams. short answer: yes, I do. long, Eva-Chen-style rambling answer: yes, and here’s why. when I was a sprightly youth in my early twenties, fresh into my beauty career, an aesthetician scared the heebie jeebies out of me by telling me that by the time I realized I needed eye cream it’d be too late—and she then proceeded to show me about a hundred pictures of sagging eyes. ahhh! so I started using a basic hydrating eye cream then (something like this one). in my late twenties, I switched to one for fine lines (sigh). after that initial period of obsession, honestly, I came to realize that eye wrinkles are like the march of time/aging—you really can’t prevent it, you can only adjust to it. if you smile and laugh (and I hope you do often!), they’re inevitable. no one wants to be an expressionless zombie (well, some fashion people might actually). so until then, I wear sunglasses (just got these!) and do what I can—but not overly obsess!
You talk about face-oil a lot, but how do you use it on your skin? Do you put it on a cotton pad or just put it on your skin? I really want to know.
face oil is absolutely my #1 favorite thing in the winter. to the point where if you asked me to choose between face oil or gloves I’d perhaps vote for face oil. O_O anyway! the way I apply it is that I put about five drops (most brands have a dropper system) onto my fingertips and sort of press it into skin (in my mind, I’m pretending to be a facialist giving, er, myself a facial). I let it sit for a few minutes and then apply night cream over. oh! yes, forgot to mention. I use it at night, not during the day! my favorite ones are Dermalogica, Clarins, Ren, and Rodin… enjoy xo
Hi Eva! I just got these great metallic Loeffler Randall oxfords, but they cut up the backs of my ankles when I wore them. Any tips on how to make flats/oxfords that are stiff around the edges more comfortable? Or maybe just less painful? I don't want to abandon them in my closet. Thanks for your help! ps, you're the first byline I ever loved
if my feet could speak, they’d sound like an a street-fight-grizzled-Clint-Eastwood-Dirty-Harry character: “go ahead, make my day. just try to torture me more that you already have.” my feet have really, really been put through some extreme situations, sigh. this is all a long way of saying that I feel your pain! the first question in your shoe situation is to ask whether they’re a smidge too small or if it’s a stiff, hard edgy, leather situation. if it’s the former, I’d slip on a pair of socks (thicker ones), cram your feet into those shoes, and walk around your apartment to stretch them out slightly. if it’s the latter, it’s basically wear-and-tear that’ll make it less like a razor-like edges less hurty, so break out the bandaids (have you seen Cynthia Rowley's crazy-cute ones?). I've had some friends take a nail file or sandpaper to the edges too, fyi. I haven't tried that (I'd be worried about ruining the shoe) but, hey, you never know. and remember! if the shoe hurts when you try them on, they're not going to get more comfortable. so make sure they're comfortable before you buy! good luck!
Hello Ms. Eva Chen! I want to pursue a career in fashion, but I find myself torn. I'm in my 3rd year of high school, and applying to colleges will creep up soon. I'm afraid that if I go to a fashion school and my dream career in fashion doesn't work out, I would have no other options. But if I go to a college where I could major in another major, I wouldn't be able to pursue my love for fashion (or it would be more difficult to). What should I do? (Your success in fashion is quite rare). Thanks!
I never try to tell people exactly what to do, to be honest, because everyone has a different path they’re meant to take in life and, really, there’s no one way into fashion. personally, I didn’t go to a fashion school—I was pre-med (which is unusual for someone who works in magazines) and an English major (more common). I know people who work in fashion who are Spanish, economics, art history, journalism, film studies majors. and a thousand other majors! I always say study what you love, intern in what you want to work in. unless you have a burning desire to go to Parson’s or FIT, going to a fashion school is unnecessary to work in fashion—what’s necessary is vision, drive, patience, and determination—as well as the ability to find and apply for lots and lots of internships!