Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Coming to a Store Near You

It seems like the latest trend for luxurious clothing lines is to take a step down. Not in style, but in prices and wear-ability by offering new collections available to those who would not normally be exposed to high fashion apparel. Affordable versions of collections from Jason Wu, Missoni and Erin Fetherstonare appearing in retailers like Target, Forever 21 and several other chain stores. I was completely overjoyed to discover that one of my new favorite designers Marni was creating a collection that would launch at H&M this March! With the complete line not yet relieved, I was able to get a sneak peak online from a Vogue UK shoot in November and let me just say,  you will be anything but disappointed with the fun bright pieces offered. Without the extraordinary reputations of these beloved designers being tarnished with a collection that is reasonably priced and mass produced, the standards and expectations of each line has not diminished from what we have grown to love and admire over the years. I actually find it incredibly exciting to know that pieces inspired by the designers themselves are in reach of my closet, and my wallet. Not only can I attempt to replicate the looks and styles I see on the runway, but I can now embody those same looks with the newly released collections of all my favorites. With Jason Wu's array  of vibrant sundresses and playful one-peice rompers and skirts not exceeding over sixty dollars and the Missoni collection for Target being up to par with any other Missoni piece I've seen on the streets, there aren't many negative aspects to this new trend of truly making style affordable. Some ultra-chic fashionistas or wanna-be rulers of the fashion world consider these brands to be knockoffs of the real deal, but when the designers themselves are creating, producing and happy to share their lines with people like me, I can't be one to nag.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A Day in the Life

My first assisting experience was one for the record books. After being part of a pictorial shoot for SHEI magazine, I've found my calling in the world of styling and design. I love the feeling of artistically composing every element of a shoot from what accessories work best together to picking the right polish tone to accent the lip color. Tremendous amounts of work go into every aspect of modeling, shooting, styling and assisting. The rush of being part of that team, and the anticipation of seeing the final photos is something I want to feel over and over again. I just can't get enough!

Working with budding model, and my dear friend, Tara Von Mach was not only exciting, but amazingly inspiring. Her natural posture in from of the camera and authentic sense of style made shooting with her almost effortless. 

Up early and working late, the entire day was extremely successful. Working with Tara was the cherry on top of my first assisting experience. Moving from location to location, changing from outfit to outfit, I was read for more as soon as the shoot wrapped. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Back to the Future

I feel as though I'm traveling in a time machine that is sporadically shifting between the past, present and future of fashion. I've seen glimses of 50's inspired looks with retro pleated skirts, and matchy-matchy sweater sets along with to-the-point glasses and sintched waistlines. On the other hand, I see many designer collections with futuristic features that are unexplainable and imaginative. Pricise shapes,  reflective synthetic materials and seriously formatted pieces that seem to come straight out of a space invasions. So what does this mean? Have fashions from both the past and what is anticipated for the future become more relevant than those of the present? I've always know that trends resurface several years later and become popular again such as the "90's neon" phase and the "70's grunge" look, but never have I lived in a time were dressing "in the moment" was not the central focus. I also know that fashion is one industry that is constantly in motion, always one step ahead, but have we become too pre-occupied with the next trend to hit the streets that we can no longer appreciate the achievements of style being made day-to-day? I am utterly confused by this phenomenon and I can't quit decide if I should rummage through my grandmothers photo albums for inspiration, or watch a few flicks on the Scifi channel to see what our future rulers are concocting in their labs. These shifting forces are having me lost in time and I feel as though I should be asking myself: W.W.M.M.D (what would Marty McFly do)?
Rachas runway collection for Spring 2012 consisted of modest solid colored suits, long-fitted pencil skirts and 50's inspired accessories. 
The Paco Rabanne ready-to-wear collection was as over the top as anyone could imagine. Not only did it consist of larger than life head pieces and massive metallic collars, but his choice of semi-transparent fabrics and tight fitted body suits were anything but out of date. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

In the Nude

Let me start off by saying that Heidi Klum is not only my favorite part of Project Runway and to me she is the ultimate and original Victoria's Secret Angel, but she always has flawless style and elegance that becomes more refined and distinctively reflective of the women and look she has embodied throughout her successful career. I look to Klum for not only advice on fashion and style, but also as a role-model for confidence in a way that is anything but arrogant. Without forcefully bringing un-needed attention to herself, every pieces she appears in, whether its bold or more subtle, draws attention to her best features and strong sense of self. At the Golden Globes Klum may have been wearing a seemingly simple nude dress, but she was anything but blending in.
I will admit, when I first saw Klum face on in this nude gown by Calvin Klein, I was a tad disappointed with its basic properties. Once I took a deeper look into her ensemble, I noticed the multitude of strikingly eye-catching details that enhance this piece to just the right level. Not seen at first, the modestly revealing open back touches just low enough to expose the right amount of "nudity" to compliment her flawless skin and gown. The someone high fitted neckline balances the openness of the back. 
This necklace by Lorraine Schwartz is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! The combination of turquoise stones and steel chain metal give the right amount of edge. Focus is immediately drawn to Klum's amazing accessories, even though its hard to avoid gawking over her entire look with such an amazing silhouette. The vibrant color of the stones adds the perfect touch to a pre-spring event such as the Golden Globes. Of course Klum is ahead of the pack when it comes to the upcoming trends.

Matching stone rings go perfectly with her necklace by pulling the entire look together without weighing herself down by over-accessorizing. These enlarged rock rings are fun and outspoken, just like Klum herself.  A fresh face shows her youthful and effortless beauty. Klum is a enormously successful women who understands fashion without taking it too seriously. She embodies the look of style, simplicity and the ultimate superstar. Everything I wish for and more. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Fresh Cut

I'm not one to flaunt floral. The often bright and cheery color combinations are a lot for me to handle with such a drab wardrobe consisting of mainly solid and neutral colored pieces. Fellow blogger Peony Lim has a collection of hand made smock tops in spring inspired vintage floral prints that may be just the thing to liven up my look, literally. Not only am I enviously impressed with her authentic design and creative ability to craft her own line of clothing, but the shape and structure of her smock tops and dresses are boxy yet feminine with scoop-neck collars, cuffed sleeves and straight-forward stitching.

My two favorite pieces from her collection are in creme based light floral and luscious red with deep blue detailed pockets and hemline. Each is unique individual and her choose of varying flower patterns is effective and individualized. I feel like she put great thought into her choice of everything from the type of flowers in each print, to the width of the sleeve cuffs and collar detail. I take her design as a mod approach to fashion-forward trends of today's conservatively chic woman.

Being the petite, hardly over 5 foot girl that I am, I have a little hesitation with such a shapeless dress. The last thing I want is to look is short, square and unflattering, but I've taken inspiration from the iconic look of Twiggy in the 1960's with her baby doll like dresses and hair to match. With a loose fitted dress such as a smock, having a shorter cut off-set by the quarter length sleeves and un-revealing neckline, will allow for a femininely girl approach to a someone stiff, boxy look. I would suggest wearing a pair of basic flats with a statement making smock even if you lack the height. If you are feeling too girly, add bold jewelry to compliment the floral design or a brightly colored clutch to tie in colors from the print. I feel feminine in a dress no matter what the style is. I would love to own one of Peony Lim's pieces and I'm at only the beginning of my exploration through her amazing collection.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Lack of Words

The other day I went out for my monthly splurge on fashion magazines and picked up the usuals; Elle, Bazaar, Vogue, ect. In the past, I have been completely annoyed with the number of ads and the lack of substantial informational text within the one hundred plus printed pages. It seemed to me such as waste to have the first twenty entirely composed of advertisements with pictures and few words beside the brand name boldly stated. My opinion has recently changed as I have found a new appreciation for the purpose of having so many ads. Actually, now my favorite part of flipping through a new magazine is looking at the latest designer campaigns. The amount of information you can obtain about the latest trends, styles and "in" looks from simple depictions is astonishing. This is ultimate the greatest source of information and may be more beneficial than the mainly opinionated articles and suggestions within the text. I've spent more time looking at the pictures in fashion advertisements and creating my own opinions than I have on being swayed by what the "fashion critics" themselves are saying. I will say, I'm a huge fan of anything that Joe Zee has to offer about this season's must-haves, and Vogue editor Anna Wintour has a phenomenal prospective on fashion and style, but I myself get the most inspiration from the designer campaigns in the first few pages than anything (or anyone) else. A picture speaks a thousand words, and a fashion ad says a whole lot more about style than any fashion columnist could every attempt to transcribe. So what if I just look at the pictures, the style you embody is much more influential than the so-called "style" you simply speak of.

Each page consisting of a different ad is as unique and genuine as each label themselves. Moving from the sophisticated, black and white photo for Chanel, to an eccentric and lively action shots for Louis Vuitton, I am intrigued and mystified with every page flip. Its extraordinary how the camera angle, color tone, model position and of course, outfit choice can truly create an entirely unique and statement-making frame. A whole collection, style or brand can be expressed though one printed page if you allow the image to come to life and expand beyond the two-dimensional print. 

My favorite ad in the February issue of Elle was for Dolce&Gabbana. I can not image a more effective way to tell the complete story of fashion, family and the amazing floral print two-piece suit worn by model Bianca Balti better than done in this campaign. This is symbolic imagery at its best. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Taste for Tassels

Roomies gone. Homework done. Laundry folded. A little shopping adventure is more of a reward for my accomplishments than a tool of procrastination. I'm one of those girls who can go out shopping all alone and have an entire day full of thrift hunting, bargain shopping and designer fantasies all by myself. Actually, I find more success when I'm shopping solo than when I'm with a fellow shop-a-holic. Sure it's nice to have someone to compare looks and tell you how fabulous you look in almost everything you try on, but the subtle sense of competition when hunting for the same party outfit or the envy you feel when they find an amazing deal and you're left empty handed simply isn't worth it to me. Every now and then you just need to go out exploring on your own. See what you can discover as the captain of your own travels through department store after department store, and between malls and boutiques, and you may find yourself walking away with all the riches...(even though your wallet may not feel the same) 

I'll never admit to my addiction to shopping, or the fact that I find retail therapy hugely successful, but who doesn't feel amazing returning home with a new outfit? I'm pretty proud of myself for what I walked away with after my MLK weekend shopping trip. 

It's best to shop with some sort of mission in order to avoid mindless spending, but I will say, I walked away with two fabulous pieces that were not originally on my shopping list. Steve Madden is one of my favorite designers for leather bags. I have a brown leather cross body bag that I tote around to class every day and its simple design has yet to fail me. When I saw this black leather shoulder bag with tassels, I was a little hesitant to its more edgy feel. After carrying it around for a solid 30 minutes, I was hooked as I imagined myself in a goth, rocker outfit with loads of gaudy jewelry and this daring leather bag to add a rebellious feel. The metallic breading on the straps matches the lining and the detachable cross strap can transform it to a more casual piece. I love the way the tassels move with my body. Its playful, daring and just what I needed.

Finding heels was also one of my main missions, but I was NOT about to settle for anything less than fabulous and when I didn't see anything spectacular, I moved onto boots. I currently have a wonderful pair of Ciao Bella boots in camel and a new pair of Lucky Brand dark leather knee high boots, but the pair of black suede slouchy boots I bought last year by just weren't cutting it. The side zipper and mix of black leather and spandex-like material made a combination worth trying on. I was in love with the putter studs that lined the side and fitting perfectly around my tiny calves, I knew I would not find another pair of boots that would meet my criteria. Tahari has a well crafted collection of shoes and their boots are just as durable and timeless. I will definitely be hitting the streets in these with a tight pair of riding-style leggings and a sleek leather bomber jacket to match.

Without even try to find a sets look, these two pieces would work together for a night out with friends or a late night drink with a the bad boy you've been dying to impress. When I rock my new boots with this stunning tassel bag, I'm going be fearlessly edgy and ready to take on any chick who dares to give me "the look". After a successful shopping adventure, I can be anyone, do anything and look fabulous at the same time. 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Shoe Re-Do

One of my many New Year's resolutions included not only expanding my shoe collection, but enhancing it with uniquely timeless pairs that I've found to be a splurge most totally worth it. A good pair of shoes is the foundation to any good outfit and when you have the right shoes, anything is possible. The thing I hate the most is putting together an amazing outfit only to be brutally surprised to find not a single pair of shoes in my closet to properly finish off the look. Having a basic pair of flats, black heels and casual loafers is essential, but the addition of fabulously inspiring one of a kind shoes is also crucial, especially when you're looking to give an outfit a little extra oomph. An amazing look truly includes head-to-toe thought.

I've found three pairs of shoes that would ideally be the perfect addition to my at the moment, relatively small collection of meaningful footwear. Although they may be slightly unattainable, I'm taking inspiration for these designers in my next exploration for more reasonably prices pairs.

The first pair is actually the most realistically obtainable and the one that caught my eye first when searching through ASOS.com I was surprised by the amount of fashion-forward, yet reasonably priced heels that appealed to my tingling shoe-senses . 

Right now I have a thing for chunky, wooden heels, and this pair of leather T-bar platforms by Bitten are retro inspired chic. I first feel in love with the pastel color combination of white and mint with the naturalistic feel of the wooden heel. I must say, being only 5'3", the thin T-bar strap might be a set back, but in a perfect world, I would pull of these heels with a girly spring time pleated skirt and a freshly pressed button down. 

Speaking of high issues, what better way to increase my standings with a show stopping pair of higher than high suede peep-toe platforms by Giuseppe Zanotti. Heels this high are a risk in themselves, so when I found this pair in a camel tone I was hooked. With a neutral color they would blend into my look as a whole and create the illusion of height without being overpowering. 

Rachel Zoe is not only one of my favorite style icons, but her self-inspired shoe collection is just as fabulous as her own personal fashions. When I think of clogs I think of my grandmother clunking around the kitchen in a pair of worn in Birkenstock, but these black and grey wedge clogs transform any negative connotations that lingered in my thoughts. Its pretty hard to go wrong with a pair of black heels, but these wedges that it to the next level. The sharpness of the angular grey strip and simplicity of the black suede is enough to add a futuristics, edgy feel to a slim fitted skirt or a boxy pant suit. I would love to wear this pair of shoes to with a goth inspired night-time look or at the opening of a fashion-forward art gallery. 

starting from the bottom and working my way up is my exact process of thought as I start the new year with high hopes of giving my shoe collection and wardrobe itself a little fashion make-over. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012


This Spring is going to be jam packed full of lively, bold and stand-out colors that say fresh, fun and fearless. With so much to offer, less is more when it comes to color combos. Many 2012 Spring collections  are emphasizing color blocking that will direct you the most interestingly original colors. The Marc by Marc Jacobs collection is my ideal representation of the power to auto-tone by highlighting dramatically contrasting colors and choosing a few meaningful tones to create a stand out look. Every single look that appeared on the runway was one that I would not only LOVE to wear, but would feel comfortable pulling off in any occasion. I may seem like a minimalist, but with such rich colors and bold appeal, who wouldn't love the perfect combination of midnight blue and electric yellow? Simply put, there isn't anything more straightforward chic.
I WANT, NEED, MUST HAVE this classic two-toned knee length dress by Marc by Marc Jacobs. With its high, circular neckline and simple stitch, this cocktail dress is perfect for a casual spring outing, simple as that. 

The easiest way to to color blocking is with a bold single toned or wide striped multi-color skirt. Fitted or loose. Pleated or pencil, with a dramatic color and a contrasting top, you'll look stand-out in any color. Make sure that you don't go too bright or too dark though. The reason that color blocking works so well is the contrast. Where a darker skirt with a fun neon blouse or a obnoxiously loud skirt with a more toned down, darker shirt. One way or another will be toned to perfection. Sparkle and Fade has a great collection of mini, a-line, and ballerina skirts that are ideal for creating fab color combos. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Made with Love

So through my journey into a more creative and stylish life, I've taken up my own handy-craft projects to add something a little extra to my collection that is genuinely unique. As a newly discovered seamstress I thought a simple project to start with would be a basic scarf. I mean, how hard can it be to mess up a basic stitch?...easier than I though. BUT, I did manage to successfully complete what I consider to be a solid attempt at homemade winter wear.
because I lack both patients and the time commitment, I cheated a little bit by making a circle scarf instead of a wrap around one to cut the length in half. I made it extra thick though so it would be slouchy and still provide good coverage.

I used a multi-colored spool of yarn that I conveniently found in the back of my closet with a pair of old knitting needles. It wasn't really a color that I would have chosen at first, but as the scarf grew and I could see the distinction of color transition from a rich dark blue to a rustic burgundy, I feel in love with the mash of colors all together. 

I'm not exactly sure how or where I'm going to be sporting this handmade piece, but when I threw it over  a camel colored tunic sweater, I was surprisingly happy with how it (didn't) necessarily match. I have to say, the first time someone asks me where I happened to purchase such a scarf, I will proudly say I made it myself.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Please, do sheer...

How do you instantly add a risqué sense of sex appeal to any look? Make is sheer, chiffon or silk. With these light and transparent fabrics, any outfit can instantly be bumped for a decent 6.5 to a too-hot-to handle 10.0. There is a fine line between being courageously classy and completely over-doing it. Sheer linen or chiffon and smooth silk are elegant fabrics that speak status and confidence, but wearing them appropriately is the most important element in order to maintain a modest approach to a slightly sexy style. Equally combining romantically feminine and moderately conservative pieces will form the perfect balance. Lately I've been testing the waters with a more boyish take on a sexy blouse. I'm obsessed with 70's inspired neck tie button down chiffon tops in cream and taupe tones. Something about the billowy, loose sleeves and unrelievable cleave with a securely fastened bow accented by the unmistakably see-through material that discloses what does or doesn't lie beneath, is irrestably appealing. For some reason when I wear a top like this, with only a simple camisole underneath a feel secretly scandals, whether others notice or not. Feeling sexy is key in being sexy. You have to love your body not because of what you're wearing but how it makes you feel when you're wearing it.

Olivia Palermo is the ultimate example of sexy chic. She manages to look effortlessly sexy in even the most 
conservatively modest pieces and can make any business attire look fashionably sexy.

Something about this masculinely chic style is catching on with women outside of the office and appearing in unsuspected places. A typically conservative button down silk blouse can turn into a daringly unconventional night on the town piece tucked into the right mini skirt with a rockin' pair of pumps and a button or two that just happen to come undone. There is a new definition for sex appeal and risque attire that is anything but trashy or overly provocative. Showing bare skin isn't the only way to get attention. Sometime when one must look through something it becomes tantalizing sexy all on its own. All you need is the confidence to pull it all off.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Strictly Business

Powerful. Independent. Fashionable. What is the one key piece that any serious women must possess in order to complete a look that says "I'm in charge"? An ultra-sophisticated, no nonsense blazer. In Chanel's newly released ready-to-wear collection I've becoming absolutely obsessed with the multitude of cropped blazers, fitted jackets and femininely inspired men's wear. I could not think of a more amazingly chic and well designed collection of pieces. I literally want to them take straight from the runway to the streets. My favorite blazers are as followed:
This tweed-like open front jacket is exactly what I need for an early spring day, not quiet warm enough to go coat-less. First of all, the color itself is refreshing and cool, and the fabric blend is thick enough to wear out alone yet the cropped sleeves and button less front allows you to show off what blouse lies beneath. The miniature collar and metallic stitch are feminine and eye appealing to men and women alike. 
How amazing is this two-toned blazer? The color contrast between the cloud-like white and mystical fluid aqua adds a pop of life to this day-night piece. I would LOVE to wear this blazer to a casual cocktail party on a sunny afternoon. Having two different patterns that are infused into one solid piece adds an unforgettable dimension that looks amazing from every angle. 
Okay, so this isn't exactly what I would consider to be a "cropped blazer" pre se, but is does have blazer-like features that I can't ignore. Maybe it's just my obsession with collar popping, but the permanently elevated color on this jumper dress is absolutely irresistible. With a bow-tie front and buttons to follow, I can just imagine myself wearing a piece like this when I mean serious business, inside or outside of the work environment. 

The Spring collection for Chanel hits every aspect of business and pleasure. Each piece is fiercely chic and daringly sophisticated. I real woman doesn't simply dress to be powerful, she creates power through the style she embodies and look she conveys. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

In Focus

This morning I was getting my daily dose of news and there was a segment on organizing and simplify your house in order to make it more appealing. I began to think, sometime we need to simplify not only the spaces us, but also our approach in fashion. Focusing in on your overall look is critical if you want to sell yourself and your style. Layering tops and jackets or piling on chunky jewelry is definitely a useful styling technique, but too many pieces can become just too much, creating clutter and distractions that will have others feeling just as uncomfortable as seeing your room plastered with clothes after an intense battle with your closet. I personally tend to go for a clean sophisticated look with just a few added touches to give my outfit detail. With floral, stripes or plaid, these patterns themselves bring focus to one specific area of your outfit and should be left to speak for themselves, without being over shadowed with additional designs. I like to wear a small gold chain or a few slim cuff bracelets as a tiny addition that adds the right amount of depth to a clean look. When layering, its easy to over layer and pile on piece after piece, especially when the weather is so brutal. I have determined that layering up on one area of your outfit allows you to create multiple dimensions to a look without over-doing it. I love love love wearing vests over a button down or a long-sleeved knit with a loose fit linen dress. Tights are also a way to layer by wearing them under a pair of trouser shorts or pencil skirt. A layering no-no would be attempting to pull of a vest, a jacket, tights, knee high socks and loading your wrists up with bangle after bangle or added your favorite chunky necklace. By having a simple look, people are attracted to the details and uniqueness of specific pieces that show you've taken the time to put together a solid look without begin too plain. The last thing I want is for my outfit to seem unintentionally boring, but sometimes a fab vintage pair of loafers, or an amazing tweed blazer should be highlighted and shown off without being overshadowed. Bring focus to the pieces you love the most and others will love not only your outfit but the style you've created and simplified.
In the Spring 2012 collection for Fendi, simplification is at its best. I'm obsessed with these peacock inspired vest and by pairing it with a simple solid cocktail dress the vest is left to speak for itself and catch the eye of all those Peeping Toms. The color contrast alone brings out the deeply rich textures within the vest. So much for fur, feathers are what many designers are flocking to in 2012.
The Christian Dior Spring 2012 collection is an ideal example of how simplify a look is anything but boring. This collection uses the technique of highlight specific pieces that make enough of a statement to bring all eyes on you in any situation. This oversized pea coat has shape and texture that stands out from any other. With a clutch in hand a solid pair of accenting heels, this look is simple and stylish. My mission this Spring is to find a jacket that alone is bold and eye-popping without creating distractions.

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