timeless essentials week

Week 10: Timeless Essentials. Top Books for a Modern Lady.

I have been preparing a new Theme for the blog and travelling to Park City, UT this week. But I have not forgotten about the list of books I promised to write for you. 

Here is my list of favourite books I believe every lady should read before she turns 25 (if you are over 25 and haven’t read these yet, grab your copies now!) These books are great influential reads for teenagers, but even if you are reading them for the first time as an adult, you will still enjoy them immensely and learn a few things about life.

Timeless Books for the Modern Lady:

Gone with The Wind Book Covers

1. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

How beautiful is Vivien Leigh?

How beautiful is Vivien Leigh?

The book follows the beautiful Scarlett O’Hara, the strong-willed daughter of a plantation owner in Georgia. This epic novel is set against the backdrop of the American Civil War and Reconstruction era. It takes us through Scarlett’s journey beginning as a young, spoiled, rich beauty, desperately in love with the already married, honourable Ashley Wilkes, into a strong-willed woman who not only survives the War, but rebuilds her life.

Gone with the Wind   (1939) starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable.

Gone with the Wind (1939) starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable.

The book is written from a Southern slaveholder's perspective; however today it is a reference point for writings about the South and is one of the most beloved stories in American history.

You will enjoy it if: you loved the 1939 epic film adaptation starring Vivienne Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara and Clark Gable as Rhett Butler and if you are fascinated by stories about strong women.

It will teach you: what undying willpower is and it will also educate you a little bit about the Civil War in America. 




2. Vanity Fair by William Thackeray

Books for a modern lady. Vanity Fair.

This witty page-turning novel focuses on two women: penniless, cunning, but likeable Becky Sharp and her friend Amelia Sedley, a kind, plain and wealthy young girl, who cares only about marrying her betrothed, the vain Captain George Osborne. Vanity Fair brilliantly satirises the societies of Britain in the early 19th century. It is one of my favourite novels of all time.

You will enjoy it if: you like BBC period dramas and classic English literature.

It will teach you: about British society life during the Napoleonic Wars and cunning ways for a poor woman of unknown pedigree to acquire wealth and a title in the 19th century.

3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Best The Great Gatsby Book covers.

The book that hardly needs an introduction, partially because of its well-known film adaptations, namely the 1974 version starring Robert Redford and the 2013 film featuring Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby.

Great Gatsby gif

The Great Gatsby is a short novel about a mysterious young millionaire, Jay Gatsby, and his quixotic love and obsession for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan during the exciting Jazz Age in America.

You will enjoy it if: you are intrigued by the lives of rich and fabulous in the Roaring Twenties.

It will teach you: that money cannot buy you true friends and that optimism and hope can both take you far in life, and blind you (and subsequently kill you) as well. 

4. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

One of the most internationally praised and beloved female writers, Jane Austen, has written much more than just Pride and Prejudice, which I recommend you read as well (in case you haven’t already!). 

Sense and Sensibility book cover

Sense and Sensibility may be my favourite Austen novel and it follows the fates and love lives of the two Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, who are near polar opposites of one another. Elinor Dashwood is the older sensible sister, who is quick-minded, responsible and who doesn’t give in to strong emotions, which leads others to think she is cold hearted and incapable of romantic feelings. On the other hand, Marianne is an emotional, expressive, beautiful younger sister, who is passionate and easily influenced by romantic illusions that sometimes puts the reputation of her and her family into danger. 

You will enjoy it if: you like Jane Austen’s other writings or at least enjoyed film adaptations of her novels. I recommend you watch the brilliant 1995’ adaptation of Sense and Sensibility starring an incredible British cast, including Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant.

From   Sense and Sensibility   (1995) starring Kate Winslet

From Sense and Sensibility (1995) starring Kate Winslet

It will teach you: that a perfect balance of realism and romanticism is the way to happiness and peace and how to deal with an umm… scoundrel (is there a nicer way to say it?) when he does not meet your romantic expectations.

Bonus: Check out this costume guide to the 1995 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility here




5. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough


I read The Thorn Birds when I was 17, and I have shed enough tears over it to fill the Caspian Sea. Despite the fact that I despise how weak and desperate Meggie Cleary is as a character (as opposed to my favourite literary character, strong Scarlett O’Hara), I still feel Meggie's pain and sympathise with her and her heartbreaking love story with Ralph de Bricassart. Bricassart is a local catholic priest in Australia who rises to a position in the Vatican, while keeping Meggie in his heart, even though his life is dedicated to God. Meggie in return makes Ralph the centre of her life.

You will enjoy it if: you secretly love to cry over books and films.

It will teach you: about rural Australia at the beginning of 20th-century, the life of its immigrants and the consequences of pursuing a forbidden love.


I also want to give you a list of new modern-day classics, which I highly recommend you read. I will try to write reviews for them one day, but feel free to ask me any questions or request more book recommendations on the blog's Facebook page, where I like chatting with you and discussing different topics.

New Modern-Day Classics:

Book covers. Modern classics
From the   Outlander   TV series based on  Diane Gabaldon ’s books. It’s one of my favourite books and TV shows!

From the Outlander TV series based on Diane Gabaldon’s books. It’s one of my favourite books and TV shows!

1. The Outlander series by Diane Gabaldon

2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

4. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

5. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Week 10: Timeless Essentials. Casual Chanel Look

Blogger Ulia Ali wearing Chanel on the streets of NYC.

On my list of wardrobe essentials (you can find it here) I included a Chanel-esque tweed jacket and an IT bag.

Blogger Ulia Ali in NYC.

Today, I wanted to show you a more modern and casual interpretation of a classic Chanel look and incorporate two base items from my closet - a gorgeous Chanel bag and a tweed jacket.  The jacket is actually from the Sheinside online store, but with the help of a Chanel brooch found at Liberty in London, it looks much more expensive than it is.

I really wanted to keep the look modern and simple, therefore I opted for a white Armani tank top and lovely shorts from Walter Baker. I think the look is very chic, but it's still effortlessly casual and easy to pull off. 

Casual Chanel Look
Chanel Blue tweed bag
Tweed jacket. Chanel pearls
Blogger Ulia Ali
Nyc street fashion - Ulia Ali blogger from pastiche.today blog



Week 10: Timeless Essentials. The Life & Style of Jacqueline de Ribes

Jacqueline de Ribes costume exhibition in New York. 

When I got invited by my friend Julia to see the exhibition dedicated to the personal style of Jacqueline de Ribes at the MET museum, I did not know much about de Ribes. But after marvelling at every single exhibited dress and reading fascinating stories about the beautiful Countess Jacqueline, I was eager to learn more and share with you.

About Jacqueline de Ribes

The Countess Jacqueline de Ribes was born with her title in 1929 and married at the age of 18 to Vicomte Edouard de Ribes, a very rich banker who later became Comte de Ribes. The Countess was everything and more of what you might imagine a French aristocrat to be. She was raised in a lavish chateau with a myriad of servants and the best Parisian dressmakers willing to satisfy her every fashion whim.

By the 50's, the Countess de Ribes earned the title of  "Reigning Queen of Paris" and became the centre of attention at every gala and masquerade ball she attended (and she attended hundreds of them!). Early on, the Countess mastered the art of the grand entrance. She would plan every detail of her appearance thoroughly and was almost always ridiculously late even to the most important events.


Tiepolo's fresco version for the ballroom in the Palazzo Labia, Venice. 

Tiepolo's fresco version for the ballroom in the Palazzo Labia, Venice. 

In 1951, de Ribes made quite an impression at the Venetian Ball du Siecle at the Palazzo Labia. Just so you can understand the extent of how difficult it was to stand out at that 1951 ball, I will give you a little glimpse into that night.


Le Bal Oriental was hosted by Charles de Beistegui. Invitations were sent out 6 months(!) prior to the event to give guests enough time to design their elaborate, over-the-top costumes. The ball's theme  The Banquet of Cleopatra was inspired by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo's famous fresco in the Palazzo Labia that Beistegui, by the way, owned. The guest list included everyone who was anyone. Christian Dior attended the party in a costume designed by Salvador Dalí, and Dalí showed up in a creation by Dior. The majority of guests were dressed in lavish, opulent costumes made from exquisite fabrics and adorned with ridiculously expensive fine jewellery. The ball was the ultimate, exquisite masquerade, that could have rivalled one of Marie Antoinette's own parties.

Daisy Fellowes, with James Caffery as her page, poses in her Christian Dior Queen of Africa costume.

Daisy Fellowes, with James Caffery as her page, poses in her Christian Dior Queen of Africa costume.

Guests rehearsed their arrivals for days in advance of the ball.

Guests rehearsed their arrivals for days in advance of the ball.

In the middle of that visual feast appeared the young Countess De Ribes, un-fashionably late of course, but dressed in a white dress as seen on an 18th century painting by Pietro Longhi, accompanied by two identically attired women to complete her costume. Since then, her entrances were impatiently awaited.

Last Queen of Paris, Jacqueline, comtesse de Ribes, multiplied herself by commissioning matching costumes for two attendants.

Last Queen of Paris, Jacqueline, comtesse de Ribes, multiplied herself by commissioning matching costumes for two attendants.

The Ball Oriental. De Ribes costume

Jacqueline de Ribes would combine the unimaginable: creating looks so memorable people would discuss them for years, re-designed couture pieces and wore extravagant headpieces, doing so with immeasurable grace and confidence. Her father-in-law once described Jacqueline as a cross between a Russian princess and a showgirl from Folies Bergere.

“She would arrive at a fitting in a cabriolet,” recalls Valentino. “A mixture of great Parisian chic and the allure of a diva.”
Jacqueline de Ribes
The Countess photographed by Avedon

The Countess photographed by Avedon

The Countess was photographed by the most famous photographers of the time, including Richard Avedon who called her his muse. She was a patron of many designers including Dior, Valentino and Yves Saint Laurent.

With her love of couture fashion, it was only a matter of time before the Countess launched her own fashion line. On her 53rd birthday she informed everyone that she was starting her pret-a-porter clothing line. Her husband, children and friend, Yves Saint Laurent, supported her and the line was a success. Unfortunately, due to health problems,  Jacqueline had to dissolve her fashion house in 1995.

At the age of 86, Jacqueline still turns heads and looks as elegant as ever. The MET exhibition dedicated to her style was a great success and I am happy to share a few photographs from the exhibition with you all. In the future, I would love to re-create some of the Countess de Ribes' iconic looks, but for now enjoy the fashion feast!

White dresses of the Countess de Ribes
Fashion de Ribes at MET
De Ribes fashion sense, parisian chic
Dress of Jacqueline 
“She was a real femme du monde. She had an art de vivre,” says Pierre Bergé. “I think she may be the last to know how to live like that.”
The Countess Jacqueline now

Week 10: Timeless Essentials. The Trench Coat

Ulia Ali blogger in Keanu trench by Walter Baker. pastiche.today blog. Pastiche of classic trench looks

As I mentioned here, trench a coat is a must-have piece in every aspiring stylish lady's wardrobe. I do own a classic Burberry trench coat (below third from the right in the collage), however today I wanted to show you a modern interpretation of the classic trench coat look (think Marlene Dietrich or Audrey Hepburn as shown in the collage).

Trench coats by Ulia Ali, bloggers and old Hollywood stars.

I am absolutely in love with this Keanu Trench by NYC designer Walter Baker and I already had it in beige (people who followed me on my old blog probably remember it), but now I also have it in white. It is seriously one of the most gorgeous pieces I have ever owned. Leather sleeves and contrasting colours give the classic trench silhouette a very sexy and bold makeover.
I have put some links at the end of the post as always so you can steal the look for yourself!

NYC top blogger Ulia Ali in Walter Baker's iconic Keanu trench coat worn by Trojan Bellisario in Pretty Little Liars. pastiche.today blog
NYC top blogger Ulia Ali in Walter Baker's iconic Keanu trench coat. Hot Outfit in New York
NYC top blogger Ulia Ali in Walter Baker's iconic Keanu trench coat. Hot Outfit in New York 2016, 2017
Ulia Ali. Azerbaijani model in New York. Blog pastiche today
NYC top blogger Ulia Ali in Walter Baker's iconic Keanu trench coat. Azeri model in New York
Girl in Louboutin heels.
NYC top blogger Ulia Ali in Walter Baker's iconic Keanu trench coat. Hot Outfit in New York. Babe Alert
NYC top blogger Ulia Ali in Walter Baker's iconic Keanu trench coat. Louboutins in New York. Dope outfit

My Keanu trench on sale here: Walter Baker Keanu Trench.

Shop my look and similar:

Week 10: Timeless Essentials. The Wardrobe of a Lady

Timeless Essentials. Wardrobe of a modern Lady

In our ever-changing, fast-paced world there are some things that stay the same: our quest to find true love and our dream of living a life free of oppression and full of meaning. But putting all of those noble (or high-spirited?) ideas aside, there are things that we can and should own now if we want to achieve that air of timeless beauty and leave life's journey idle for a moment.

This week I will be presenting my version of several key classic looks, as well as helping you find essential pieces for your own wardrobe. I’ll also introduce you to one of the most renowned stylish aristocrats: the Countess de Ribes and give you the ultimate list of "Books That Every Aspiring Lady Should Read." 

Let's start with my list of Wardrobe Essentials before I show you my own interpretations of these classic pieces later this week. Here are the top 5 basic items every stylish girl should own. With these 5 items you will never look boring, only timeless, ladylike and classy.

1. Trench Coat

trench coat is a timeless trend. Classy outfits on pastiche.today by Ulia Ali

2. Iconic Bag

Remember Cate Blanchette's character in Blue Jasmine? She lost all of her money, but refused to give up and sell her Hermés Birkin bag because she believed the moment she sold it, she could never go back to her luxurious upper class Manhattan's socialite life. That bag was her signature, something that showed she was "different" from ordinary people. 

All looks of Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine film. Outfits with Hermes Birkin bag -her signature.

Owning a good bag is important if you want to socialise with the crème de la crème and attend beautiful galas. Or even if you just want to look stylish in a simple white dress or a baggy t-shirt and denim shorts. One expensive bag can MAKE the whole outfit.

Iconic bags. Timeless essentials for a lady's wardrobe.

If you are on a budget, but still want to look chic and expensive, invest in one great bag rather than a lot of individual items or clothes. It sounds very superficial, but THE PERFECT BAG can make a world of difference.

3. White Pants

Denim is usually in everyone's wardrobe as a base essential, but I believe in the power of white pants/jeans. Pair them with big, beige sweaters, colourful polo shirts or even a sequined evening top. White pants will look much cleaner in any of these combinations and more original than blue jeans.

White Pants. Style Essentials by Ulia Ali from pastiche.today blog. Azerbaijani blogger living in NYC


4. Classic Chanel-esque jacket

You don't have to empty your bank account and buy the $4000 original Chanel jacket, but there are a lot of brands that offer very similar, classic tweed jackets. Gone are the days of matching tweed jackets with tweed skirts, now you can mix and match your tweed jacket with pretty much anything and still look great.

Classc Chanel-esque jacket outfits. Modern ladies and bloggers

5. Little Black Dress

And last but not least: The Little Black Dress! The LBD is a must-have in every girl's closet. There are so many variations and shapes to choose from, but I have just one rule: choose a dress made from good, high-quality fabric and never opt for a cheap bodycon dress made from a synthetic stretch fabric.

Le Petite Robe noir. Little Black Dress.  Маленькое черное платье. Вечный Стиль