Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Summer Fashion Trends 2012

{By Brittany Sadler}

1) Pastels
Looking surprisingly modern and fresh, these ladylike hues were all over the runway. They are very easy to incorporate into your wardrobe, try a simple pastel shift, or pair several pastels together for a watercolor look.

2) Bold Florals
These flowers are hardly dainty! Vivid colors and daring designs show us florals in a whole new way. I love this for summer, it walks that wonderful line between outrageous and gorgeous.

3) High-waisted
High-waisted skirts, pants, shorts. Even high-waisted bathing suits. All are on trend right now. High waists are generally very flattering and easy to wear. Just tuck in a flowy blouse and pair it with some chunky heels.
4) Sheer
This trend can be a little tricky, but when done right, it is both elegant and whimsical.  A sheer blouse makes a wonderful cover-up by the pool, or can be paired with a pretty camisole and a high-waisted skirt. I certainly won’t be trying the sheer skirt look, but if you could find one that was only sheer for a couple inches at the bottom I think it could look lovely.

5) Peplum
Peplum waists rocked the runway. Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about them. They can definitely be very flattering on certain body types and can give an attractive hourglass shape. Usually they look best with a fitted skirt.

6) Ruffles
Ruffles, ruffles, everywhere! There is something luxurious and glamorous about ruffles. They add a level of relaxed sophistication to any ensemble. A dress covered in dramatic ruffles makes a statement. A ruffled blouse can add drama to a pencil skirt, shorts, or jeans.

7) 1920’s Drop Waist
The 1920’s are back, modernized. Variations on the classic drop waist were seen all over the runways. Personally, not my favorite look, but it can look good on some people.

8) Neon
Bring out the brights! Summer is glowing with neons this year. If you’re bold, go for the full outfit, combining neons of different shades. If you’re more tentative, try a neon accessory, like a purse or belt and just add a little pop of color to your outfit.

9) Sporty Chic
Americans have always had a thing for the athletic look, and it’s back in full force this summer. Clean lines and bold colors are the key to this look. Also, a casual, don’t-care-how-I-look attitude. Love, love, love.

10) All-white
The summer counterpart to winter’s all-black, this is the epitome of monochromatic elegance. All white is cool, composed, and sophisticated. A white dress is a simple way to follow this trend, or if you want to be creative, try pairing white separates. Just make sure that the whites match and are impeccably clean to really capture the look. 

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Monday, April 30, 2012

The Secret to Dressing Well

{By Caitlin Muir}
[lauren moffat white sundress, ralph lauren oxford shirt,
forever 21 striped elastic belt, nine west color block platform heels]

Amortize.

Get familiar with this word as it is going to be your new best friend.

If Ke$ha is your fashion icon, you can quit reading right now. I won’t be offended. If Audrey Hepburn or Catherine, Dutchess of Cambridge (Kate Middleton) are who you want to emulate, you’re going to love this.

Amortizing in fashion is dividing the cost of the item by the number of times you wear it. Memorize that math, ladies. You’re going to be using it from now on.

Let’s try a real life math problem:
While Mallory was shopping with friends, she came across a crisp white Ralph Lauren shirt that fit her perfectly. She didn’t blink when she paid $100 for it. She knew it was worth it. She wore it 50 times in the next 365 days and managed to keep it crisp and perfectly white.
Shannon was on a budget so she went to Forever 21. She bought a white shirt for a job interview. It didn’t fit well but it would just have to do. She paid $25 for it. She wore it to the job interview, spilled coffee down the front, and ended up throwing it away. 
Who got the best deal?
Instant gratification logic would tell you that Shannon did pretty well for herself. She paid 25% of what Mallory did. But she only wore the shirt once. And it didn’t even fit her that well. Her total cost was $25 per wear.

Mallory wore her shirt 50 times in the next year. She only paid $2 per wear, got a classic item, and probably looked chic.

I’d say Mallory got the better deal. While it can be hard to find perfect white shirts (or to keep them perfectly white over a year), you get the idea. Quality costs money but quality also lasts longer.

Amortizing your closet forces you to buy pieces you love. Instead of just buying something because you are bored (and who hasn’t done that?), you make an informed decision based on your needs. The look you are trying to portray to the world.

The one instance where you have to throw this advice completely out the door is bridesmaids dresses.

Unfortunately, you’ll probably have to pay the big bucks to buy a dress you’ll just wear once. That’s just how it is. I recently bought a bridesmaids dress that I’ll be taking to the tailor right after the ceremony. For the price I paid, I need to redeem it!

If you are a bride, please take the concept of amortizing to heart. Your bridesmaids will love you if you pick out dresses that they’ll want to wear again. I can say this as a serial bridesmaid. Until David’s Bridal comes up with a frequent Bridesmaid reward card, please pick pieces that are classy and modern.

When you amortize your closet, you’ll be saving money in the long term.

Find a label with a look that works for you. Make sure that the fit flatters you. Buy not only for the look but for your body build as well. There are multiple books that talk about buying for your body build. Find one that you like because you’ll be referring to it time and time again.

Using the body build method, I’ve learned that Gap cuts their clothes in a way that doesn’t really work for my body build. And I’m between sizes at Banana Republic. But Calvin Klein fits me like a million bucks. It’s too bad that Calvin designs clothes for women who are in a few tax brackets higher than my own. But lucky for me, the CK Outlet is just a few miles away from my house. Knowing what fits and what brands work for me means that I can save time. I’m not spending my weekends scouring the malls. I can go to the store I want when there’s a sale.

I’m willing to buy fewer clothes for more money if the clothes fit me and make me look (and feel) beautiful.

And in my book, that’s smart.
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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Making Vintage Work in 2012

{by Rachel Coker}


Vintage. As a fashion lover and quirky individual, that word is music to my ears. It makes me think of breezy summer sundresses and soft fur coats and hand tatted lace. Of bright, swingy skirts and hats mysteriously dipped over one eye, and red lips opening in a smile. Oh, yeah and jumpsuits and spandex and mom jeans. And all those other horrendous fads that hopefully fashion designers will never think to resurrect.

With so many varying styles and trends ranging from decades upon decades, how can the modern fashionista decide what still works and what needs to leave even Goodwill stores forever?

Believe it or not, I am a firm believer that vintage fashion is still relevant today. An elegant 50s cocktail dress will never lose its appeal. A long flowing sundress will forever be the epitome of comfort and chic. And a classically tailored coat will always serve you well.

Despite the ever changing fads and trends, there are a few things from the past that will always remain stylish—even for the 2012 fashionista.

1920’s

Things that still work:
Cloche hats
Sequins and silk
White linen
Loose fitting dresses


Things you probably shouldn’t try anymore:
Drop waists
Severe black bobs
Girdles


1930’s

Things that still work:
Pretty floral prints
Glamorous evening gowns
Flattering jersey dresses
Silky, feminine nightgowns—even if no one else sees them ;)


Things that you probably shouldn’t try anymore:
Dresses made out of flour sacks
Knee length panty hose
Shoes with holes (Although I guess you can’t help it if you’re in a Depression)


1940’s

Things that still work:
That gorgeous wavy hair
A-line skirts
Fedoras
A classic trench coat
Shirtwaist dresses

Things you probably shouldn’t try anymore:
Shoulder sleeves. Never shoulder sleeves.
Penny loafers (personal opinion)
Socks with penny loafers



1950’s

Things that still work:
Red lipstick
An hourglass silhouette
Button up shirtdresses
Pearls
Pencil skirts

Things that you probably shouldn’t try anymore:
Nothing comes to mind. The 50s was the perfect decade.



1960’s

Things that still work:
Hair with height (if done right)
A-line dresses with tights
Wide leg pants
Long hair and braids
Maxi skirts

Things you probably shouldn’t try anymore:
Go-Go boots
Excessive paisley
Pillbox hats (Unless, you know, they are your thing. Then wear them with pride!)
Five layers of fake eyelashes



1970’s

Things that still work:
Wide leg pants
Corduroy
Glitter

Things you probably shouldn’t try anymore:
White pantsuits
Mullets
Afros, feathered hair, and every other bad hair craze of the 70s
But mostly mullets



I’m not even going to make an attempt at the eighties or nineties, mostly because they are decades of fashion that should just be forgotten. Period. But I encourage all of you to rifle through your closest vintage stores or even your grandma’s attic for vintage pieces that will look fabulous when paired with today’s fashions!
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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Oscars 2012: The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

{by Brittany Sadler}


Ahhhh, the Oscars! That night when Hollywood recaptures a little taste of its old glamour (and infuses it with a lot of modern tackiness), when stars attempt to actually look like stars, and where dresses go to find out what they’re really made of.

So, I unashamedly admit that I enjoy the Oscars mostly because of the fashion. And here are, in my humble opinion, the best and worst of the 2012 red carpet.


BEST- A Nod of Recognition To the Truly Glamorous

Milla Jokovich in Ellie Saab

I’m in love with this look. So old Hollywood. She looks exactly the way a movie star should look. That gleaming one shoulder creation is the definition of glamorous while her slightly undone hair keeps the look from being too “perfect.” Oh, and the red lipstick, gorgeous.

Michelle Williams in Louis Vuitton
           
Coral is definitely her color. This dress is so right in so many ways. The color flatters her pale skin and light hair, the fit is superb and all in all, it’s just a drop dead gorgeous dress.

Gwyneth Paltrow in Tom Ford
           
I know she got some grief for this choice, but I thought it was stunning. The cape is daring and elegant, while the dress fits her perfectly. The sleek ponytail and bold cuff bracelet add a little Star Wars chic.

Jessica Chastain in Alexander McQueen
           
So, I didn’t realize redheads could look this great in black and gold. The dress is a work of art, and she looks absolutely amazing in it. Her hairstyle is beautiful too, soft, relaxed waves flatter, but don't compete with the elaborate dress.

Cameron Diaz in Gucci

Nude is not my favorite color, but if you’re going to do it, this look rocks. From a purely design standpoint, this dress was just perfect, so beautifully detailed and proportioned.

Glenn Close in Zac Posen
           
One of my favorite things is when elegant older women strut their stuff on the red carpet. And Glenn Close knocks it out of the ballpark with this one, the dress fits perfectly and the tailored tuxedo jacket brings in a modern edginess.

Octavia Spencer in Tadashi Shoji
           
This girl definitely knows how to dress. This gown’s shining white color and sparkling starburst looks great on her.

Natalie Portman in vintage Christian Dior
           
Ok, so there were some snide remarks about the polka dots on the red carpet, but I loved it. True vintage elegance, and the polka dots add a cute, quirky element.

Angelina Jolie in Versace

Classic black in a classic, elegant silhouette. Hard to go wrong there. But I’m not sure about the whole stick-your-leg-out-of-the-very-high-slit thing…not so classy.

Lily Collins in Marchesa

Loved this actress when I saw her in Blindside, and I now know that she also has great style. I love how creative and ethereal this dress is, the full skirt is beautiful on her, and the long sleeves are demure and eye-catching.


SO CLOSE, BUT YET SO FAR AWAY- A Tribute To Those Who Almost Made It

Emma Stone in Giambatiista Valli

This dress was such a good idea….it just didn’t turn out that well. The high neckline plus the extravagant bow kind of overpowers the whole look.

Stacy Keibler in Marchesa

A lot of people loved this gown…I wasn’t feeling it. The giant rose on her hip just seems odd, it pulls all the fabric into one big lump.

Meryl Streep in Lanvin

Not that she really cares what anyone thought of her gown as she was busy winning her third Oscar, but it wasn’t quite right. The glittering gold color is beautiful, but the fabric looks cumbersome, and the style isn’t graceful.


WORST- A Pained Look At the Fashion Flops of the Night

Kristen Wiig in J. Mendel

Kind of like a bunch of limp, nude, tissues. The whole dress just looks sad, not like an Oscar dress.

Berenice Bejo in Elie Saab

Now, being green is one thing, but not if you have to sacrifice style. This is kind of what I would imagine a dress would look like if you scrubbed it in saltwater and then hung it out to dry in the sun and it faded.

Viola Davis in Vera Wang

She was so amazing in The Help. But this dress….it didn’t look like it fit properly, the bodice was a little too, you know, open, and the embellishments aren’t proportioned. Also not loving the color, especially with her orange hair.

Rooney Mara in Givenchy

She made a lot of best-dressed lists in this one. But I didn’t love it. The bodice is kind of weird and doesn’t flatter her at all, the dress looks a little too big or something, it seems to be sagging. And her hair and makeup just aren’t attractive, in my opinion.

Jennifer Lopez in Zuhair Murad

Ummmm, yeah. There are a lot of things wrong with this dress. The slits in the sleeves make her arms look large, the neckline is too low, and the lines of the dress don’t do much for her.

Sandra Bullock in Marchesa

It really pains me to put her in this category, but this dress is truly awful. The bodice is so baggy, and then that weird gold creeping thing around her waist….not good. And then her ponytail is too tight and too severe.

Melissa McCarthy in Marina Rinaldi

This was a Grecian disaster. The color was dusty and drab, while the voluminous everything was just a bit too much.



So…the question is…do you agree? Who do you think should have made best-dressed? Or worst?
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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How to Wear Color in Winter

{by Rachel Coker}


As the days grow colder and drearier, I’ve noticed a significant decline of color in the streets. Women all over are shoving their sunny and bright cotton dresses in the back of the closet and bundling up in shades of brown, black, and gray. Jeans and black sweaters have become the norm of the season, accented by a pop of gray here and there. It’s all about camouflaging—trying to survive the bleakness of winter until spring brings about the revival of color and happiness.

Well, I say no longer! Winter is dreary enough without everyone herding around in uniform shades of neutrals. With the change of temperature, women should be reaching into their closets for bright colors to cheery even the ugliest day. Imagine what a wonderful sight it would be to walk onto a city street in the middle of January and see swarms of pinks, yellows, and greens, instead of the usual black!

This winter, add some cheer to both your day and that of everyone who sees you. Bring back color, and bring back smiles to everyone’s faces. With a bit of strategically placed brightness, you’ll be looking fresh and happy all winter long!

So here are some tips to adding color to your winter wardrobe:

1) Add a Well-Placed Pop of Color
-        If you’ve invested in a beautiful neutral coat, but really feel like your winter outfit of greys and blacks could use some spice, try adding a pop of a vibrant color. Accessories like bags, shoes, and scarfs are easy ways to incorporate color into an otherwise boring outfit. Try picking one of your favorite colors, like sea-green, lemon, or fuschia, and mix it into your outfits. Try a little yellow beret, and add a matching bag. A scarf in a yellow and green pattern would add even more color and liveliness to your outfit. Think outside the box!

2) Add Tights
-        Your favorite colorful dresses don’t have to hibernate inside your wardrobe just because it’s thirty degrees outside. One thing I love to do is get my favorite sundresses out and pair them with simple black or grey tights and matching heels. Add a little jacket or cardigan and you instantly have an outfit that’s colorful and practical. And a colorful dress with heels is ten times more fun to wear than jeans and a sweatshirt!

3) Buy a Red Dress
-        If you feel like a silly goose walking around in a sunny yellow dress in the middle of winter, but still want to add some color to your wardrobe, consider investing in a red dress. Winter is definitely the season for red. Holiday parties, Valentine’s day…. The opportunities are endless! Add red lipstick if you really want to make a punch!

4) Anchor Color With Black
-        One of my absolute favorite skirts of the moment is a vintage lilac colored silk skirt, and one that I thought I wouldn’t have an opportunity to wear until the spring. Boy, was I wrong! Once I got home with my thrifty purchase, I found out right away that my purple skirt was the perfect piece to pair with black staples! I instantly came up with several different outfits, perfect for the chilly weather, that involved my new skirt. The soft lilac color looked terrific paired with black cardigans, black and white striped sweaters, and even my vintage black concert tee. Add some black tights and ballet flats and I had a great outfit with just the right amount of color!

5) Try Rich Fabrics
-        I first stumbled this photo of Emma Roberts in an issue of Teen Vogue I read on an airplane years ago. I immediately fell in love with the rich cranberry jacket, perfect for pairing over simple neutrals. I searched for a look-a-like everywhere for years (there was no way I was affording the real thing!) and finally found a spot-on copy in a vintage shop near my house. The burgundy velvet blazer was just the thing my winter wardrobe needed. Perfect for those days when I needed a little something special to do with a black dress or other neutral outfit. The reason why rich fabrics like velvets or wools work so well with bright colors is because they tone down vibrancy and increase richness. Even the most color-shy dresser in the world can find a way to wear a burgundy velvet blazer. Same goes for a sapphire pair of velvet pumps. Or a plum colored tweet jacket. Fabrics that are rich in texture are great backdrops for color in any wardrobe.

6) Colorblock
-        This is by far the boldest look in this collection, but if you’re brave enough, take a cue from this stylish lady and color block your wardrobe this winter. The key to color blocking is moderation. Take two pieces of similar color and mix together. No prints, no embellishments. Just a pink skirt with a red blouse. Or an emerald green dress with a blue sweater. Keep it very chic and tailored so you look put-together, not clownish. Pairing the whole look with something simple, like a pair of nude pumps, tones it down and makes it wearable for everyday life. Colorblocking is something I’ve been trying out this winter and have really been loving! It takes a lot of courage to add that much color to one outfit, but if you do it right you’ll be hearing how great you look all day long!


Well, that’s it, ladies. The abbreviated guide to looking fabulous and colorful all winter long. So put away your greige-ish basics for the next few weeks and try some of these tips instead. Remember, wearing color not only makes you look good, it makes you feel good, too!

~ Rachel
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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Day I Went Pantless

{by Caitlin Muir}

 You read that right, pantless.

Not Lady Gaga pantless, where you go out in public wearing nothing but some cute underwear and a bedazzled t-shirt. Pantless as in wearing those cute black leggings as pants.

I’m not a sweatpant girl. I’ve never gotten into the fad of velour running suits. But leggings and a tunic top are my go-to pieces. There’s something about the feel of soft leggings on my skin that makes me feel good.

But the question remained – was it modest?

My parents said no, my roommate was slightly amused, and I wasn’t sure.

So in the name of science, I went pantless for a day. Instead of wearing a long tunic top, I paired it with a top that hit halfway down my bum. 

I’m not going to lie, I was a little uncomfortable.

I was even more uncomfortable when a man started following me around at the store. When I went to another rack to look at clothes, he followed to the next rack behind me where he could get a clear view of my rear.

So not cool.

I thought about turning around and yelling at him for staring. But instead, I walked away. After all, I could hardly blame him for being a man and reacting how any hot blooded male would.

I can’t show off my female body and then get mad when male biology kicks in. And I had to ask myself the question – would I have been more comfortable with the attention had he been younger and far more attractive?

Men are attracted to the physical. Just like females are attracted to the emotional. That’s just how we’re wired.

I do believe that modesty is more about your heart than your hemlines. I’ve seen women covered head to toe in fabric and act more provocatively than women hanging out on the beach in their swimsuits.

So I don’t think that I’m being legalistic, judgmental, or out of line to say that you should keep your bum covered.

There’s nothing classy about seeing someone’s rear.  Really.

How you dress influences the people you attract. During my pantless day, I was treated far differently than I am any other day of the week. I was oogled. I was followed by creepy men. I was ignored by salespeople. I got funny looks from little kids. I was embarrassed and kept tugging on my shirt to make it a little bit longer.

People don’t treat you with respect when you look like you forgot to get dressed.

Leggings are leggings. Not pants. When you are at home, wear them however you want. But when you’re out in public, realize that people will judge your character by the way you present yourself.

If I don’t want to be treated like a sex object, I don’t want to give men the idea that my body is for oogling.

There are plenty of classy ways to wear leggings. Try out some of these combos and let me know what you think.

·      Leggings + Long Oxford Shirt + Big, Messy Hair (Writing at home)
·      Leggings + Tanktop + Long Duster + Belt (Running Errands)
·      Leggings +Tunic Top + Knee High Boots (Date night!)
·      Leggings + Sweater-Dress  (Church, School, anywhere)
·      Colored Leggings + Summer Dress + Cardigan + Flats + Scarve (So very BoHo. Parties!)
·      Leggings + Tailored Shorts + White Shirt (Add Oxford shoes and thick black glasses and you’ve transformed into a very stylish hipster)

Also, here’s a little tip. Leggings with high heels show off your legs like no ones business. It also makes it look far less classy. Try pairing them with flat boots if you are wearing them with a shorter top.

What’s your favorite leggings combo? 


(image credit: creative commons)
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Saturday, December 31, 2011

26 Fashion Lessons from 2011

{by Brittany Sadler}

As I looked back on the year 2011, some of the things I learned about fashion, creativity, shoes, and princesses…
1)  If you love something, wear it.
2) No matter how weird something looks, there is someone who can pull it off 
3) Except leggings as pants (even Pippa Middleton shouldn't try to work that look)
4) Try hard not to look “try hard”
5) Sometimes, try something a little crazy. Just….not too often (did you hear that Lady Gaga?)
6) The whole point of thinking about fashion is to end up looking like you don’t have to think about it
7) There is a point when heels are too high. It’s usually when you can’t walk without looking like the Tin Man.... or something worse.
8) Never decide that you don’t like wedges. This will be the year that you change your mind.
9) Be confident. Nothing gives an outfit more attitude. 
10) If you’re tall, don’t be afraid of heels
11) If you’re short, don’t be afraid of flats
12) Actually, don’t be afraid of anything.
13) Fashion is like a buffet, try a little bit of everything to see if you like it.
14) The only way to always look chic is to be French. But don’t worry; you can still shoot for 99% of the time.
15) Rules were made to be broken
16) Except for “no white after labor day”
17) A Royal Wedding is always cool. And being a princess is still on the top of my list of dream careers.
18) Kate’s dress. It was amazing.
19) Too much eye makeup makes you look like a raccoon. Cute for Halloween…but that’s about it.
20) If you’re thinking about dying your hair a bright, fluorescent color, stop. See Katy Perry’s pink hair. And then think about something else…
21) If you want to feel like a movie star-put on red lipstick. Instant glamour in a nice little tube.
22) Creativity- it can be overdone.
23) If you can only buy one thing, buy shoes. The most impact for the most money :)
24) New York City is a good thing.
25) Clothes can change the way you feel. Which is why I always dress for exams.
26) Life is bigger than clothes, fashion, and what’s in right now. But they can help you look better while facing the bigger picture! 

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