Latest Fashion Article: Fashion and Beauty Trends You Don’t Want to be Caught Without!

Sure, it snowed last week and it’s freezing outside and the first thing on your mind is a thick woolen scarf. Still, any true fashionista knows that it’s never too early to start planning your wardrobe for the next season. Winter should be over in two months at most, which gives us enough time to review, shop and accessorize! Consider this your review from the runways around the world.

Color blocking
Design houses such as Luca Luca remind us that this hot trend is back for yet another spring. One benefit of this blocking is that it’s not just for bold colors; color blocking can also be achieved with pastels and neutral tones. People with broad shoulders should refrain from wearing blouses in which the top half of the blouse is a different color than the bottom half. This draws the eye to the shoulder area, emphasizing the problem. Also, colors need not be placed in literal blocks on a garment. Rather, they can be placed strategically to emphasize your assets and deemphasize other areas.

A piece in tangerine
Pantone’s color of the year, tangerine, is bright, bold and playful. Of course if you find the hue overwhelming, purchase a small accessory and don it as an accent piece to a neutral outfit. Nudes and creams, white, black and plum are a few accent colors to pair with the hue this spring.

Femme peplum
If you’re in search of a silhouette that enhances your curves while keeping you chic and classy, the peplum is the trend for you! A peplum is a short, flared layer of ruffles attached at the waist that can be found in stores on dresses, shirts, jackets and skirts. As Dries van Noten showed, the flare of the peplum can be contrasted with sharp shoulders to create the overall hourglass effect. Also remember to keep the bottom half of your look slim to counter the flare at the waist.

Asymmetrical necklines and hemlines
Proper and neat is boring. When out shopping, look for tops with cutouts in the straps a la Zero + Maria Cornejo or necklines that are cut lower on the right or left side of the garment. As for hemlines, take a note from this spring’s BCBG Max Azria collection and search for light, flowing dresses with interesting long/short hemlines. Afraid that the front of your dress might look like it got caught in a shredder? Nicholas K showed that a monochromatic outfit can minimize the shredder effect while appearing effortless.

Get sporty
You don’t have to be a star athlete to try this spring trend. Rather, search for athletic-inspired pieces such as sleeveless tops and zippers in neon colors, nylon bags, jumpsuits with cinched-in waists, contrasting piping and bold stripes, and chevron prints. Rag & Bone even added drawstrings to blouses and bottoms. I’ve noticed that this trend tends to resurface around springtime, perhaps the time of year when many are hoping to change their habits and be more active.

Strappy black sandals
Both thick strappy sandals and minimalist sandals with a thin toe strap covered the runways of several collections for this season. If you don’t have a pair of strappy black sandals that fit your personal style, I suggest you get some ASAP!

Beauty simplified
Numerous designers including the design teams at Carven, Dries van Noten, BCBG and Diane von Furstenberg coiffed models with sleek pulled-back styles to let the clothes speak for themselves. Their models also wore soft nude and blush lipsticks, a combination suggesting youth and sophistication. Consider keeping your beauty routine simple this season for maximum impact from your outfits.

-Stay Stylish!

G

First Hot Seams Article of the Semester: Preparing for Fall’s Great Fashion Hunt

The temperature’s dropping, and we’re finally settling in and getting back into academic mode. But is your closet ready for all the events, parties, concerts and classes you’ll be attending this semester? Before registering for classes, you probably consulted your friends, former professors, academic advisors and the annual course handbook. Why not take a similar approach to getting your wardrobe ready for the semester? No, what you buy for the fall is not a life-or-death situation, but it is important to prepare properly in order to do it well. 

PURGE BEFORE SPLURGE  

First, assess what’s currently in your closet and organize your clothes into three piles: one for items to save, one for items to donate and one for items to store for a different season. If the item seems dated, try selling it to local consignment stores such as Avalon Exchange. Try on everything as well. Determine what needs tailoring and what will never fit. The last thing you want to do is purchase 10 pairs of jeans when you only have two good tops or wear clothes that don’t fit you properly.

LIST IT OUT  

Once you’ve assessed your current items, write down a general list of needs vs. wants. Magazines and window-shopping tend to aid in this process. Include on the list items that need replacing or have been absent from your closet for some time, such as a sturdy black belt or a nice interview jacket.

PLAN AND PRIORITIZE  

Like everything else in life, you can’t always get what you want. Either time or money or both will be constraints as you head to the Galleria or West County Mall. After making your list, determine how much you want to spend and how you will acquire the funds for your fall wardrobe. Do you need to create a savings plan or will one check from home be enough? Keep that number as locked as possible and save whenever you can. In fact, tax is lower at the Galleria than at West County, but the variety of stores also differs. Don’t forget about 15 percent-off student discounts at stores like J. Crew and Banana Republic!

Now that you have your list and know how much you want to spend, determine which items are essential and which are not. Remember that needs vs. wants list? A strong book bag should take priority over another swimsuit, even though swimwear goes on sale in the fall, especially since we’re land-locked.

COMPARE  

One thing I do is try things on in stores and shop around for good bargains online. If any flash sale sites such as Gilt.com or myhabit.com feature any designers I like, I’ll be able to make my purchase with confidence, knowing that the item should fit well and won’t have to be returned. Also, some middle-market retailers “imitate” the styles and trends set by higher-end designers and make them more accessible to the masses. Did you fall in love with the bold color blocking and graphic stripes streaming down Prada’s Spring 2011 runway? Spanish retailer Zara (with its closest store located in Chicago) sells clothing resembling those trends.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT 

Once you buy new items, try integrating them into your closet by having a mini fashion show or playing dress up. It sounds silly, but when you’re rushing to get to class on time or get invited to a random dinner with your floormates, you’ll always look effortless and chic.

Latest Fashion Article: Oscars Fashion

This annual Hollywood film industry event often serves as more of a fashion show than an awards show. Sure, many viewers are excited when their favorite film, actor or director beats out rivals in a particular category, but let’s face it—it’s all about what they’re wearing. Chronicled in real time by fashionistas on Twitter, discussed by fashion-crazed bloggers on the Internet and critiqued by talk show hosts on programs such as “Fashion Police,” Oscars fashion has become an entity of its own. It’s a platform for designers and stylists to debut their craft to a wide audience, wider than those found at fashion shows in New York. It is here that many trends are made or established, Hollywood’s most stylish are confirmed, and consequently, where many flubs can be found. This year, however, many played it safe, erring on the conservatively bland side of glamour. And the awards go to:

Best Dressed

Jennifer Hudson in Versace

There’s a new diva in town, and her name is Jennifer Hudson. The “American Idol” alumna looked stunning in this bold Versace gown. The color, fit and accessories were all very appropriate and showstopping.  Well done!
enlargeKirk Mckoy | Los Angeles Times | MCT

There’s a new diva in town, and her name is Jennifer Hudson. The “American Idol” alumna looked stunning in this bold Versace gown. The color, fit and accessories were all very appropriate and showstopping. Well done!

Worst Dressed

Helena Bonham Carter in costume designer Colleen Atwood

I’m not sure if I should begin with the hair or the corseted dress, but Helena Bonham Carter looked like a hot mess at this year’s Academy Awards. I think it’s time to hire a stylist…
enlargeJay L. Clendenin | Los Angeles Times | MCT

I’m not sure if I should begin with the hair or the corseted dress, but Helena Bonham Carter looked like a hot mess at this year’s Academy Awards. I think it’s time to hire a stylist…

Best Dressed

Halle Berry in Marchesa

Ms. Berry was glistening in this dazzling and super feminine dress by Marchesa. The color complimented her skin tone and the gown fit like a glove. Also, her hair styling was spot-on and complimented the neckline of her dress.
enlargeLionel Hahn | Abaca Press | MCT

Ms. Berry was glistening in this dazzling and super feminine dress by Marchesa. The color complimented her skin tone and the gown fit like a glove. Also, her hair styling was spot-on and complimented the neckline of her dress.

Best Dressed

Mila Kunis in Elie Saab

Move over Natalie Portman! Mila Kunis clearly stole the show in this ethereal gown by Elie Saab. The romanticism of the dress appropriately matched the delicacy of a ballerina, whom she played in the acclaimed “Black Swan.”
enlargeKirk McKoy | Los Angeles Time | MCT

Move over Natalie Portman! Mila Kunis clearly stole the show in this ethereal gown by Elie Saab. The romanticism of the dress appropriately matched the delicacy of a ballerina, whom she played in the acclaimed “Black Swan.”

Most Stylish Duo

Camila Alves and Matthew McConaughey

You simply cannot get any more stylish than this. The duo upped the glam factor at this year’s Academy Awards. Camila Alves’ floor-sweeping black dress looked the opposite of dowdy and gothic. And the center part of her hair and lack of a necklace were chic touches to her look, emphasizing her elegant décolletage.
enlargeLionel Hahn | Abaca Press | MCT

You simply cannot get any more stylish than this. The duo upped the glam factor at this year’s Academy Awards. Camila Alves’ floor-sweeping black dress looked the opposite of dowdy and gothic. And the center part of her hair and lack of a necklace were chic touches to her look, emphasizing her elegant décolletage.

Biggest Surprise

Celine Dion in Armani Prive

This recent mother looked dazzling in this minimalist dress by Armani Prive. I definitely wasn’t expecting this from the woman who wore a tuxedo backward to the 1999 Academy Awards. The metallic sheen on the dress lent just the right touch of glamour for the Oscars.
enlargeJay L. Clendenin | Los Angeles Times | MCT

This recent mother looked dazzling in this minimalist dress by Armani Prive. I definitely wasn’t expecting this from the woman who wore a tuxedo backward to the 1999 Academy Awards. The metallic sheen on the dress lent just the right touch of glamour for the Oscars.

Biggest Bore

Gwyneth Paltrow in Calvin Klein

Ok, we get it—you’re tall and lanky and the minimalist look is in now. However, you could have done so much more for the red carpet. We’ve seen this minimalist look on Gwyneth before—it’s time to mix things up!
enlargeLiz O. Baylen | Los Angeles Times | MCT

Ok, we get it—you’re tall and lanky and the minimalist look is in now. However, you could have done so much more for the red carpet. We’ve seen this minimalist look on Gwyneth before—it’s time to mix things up!

Worst Hair

Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter

Need I say more?
enlargeKirk Mckoy | Los Angeles Times | MCT

Need I say more?

Latest Fashion Column Article: Men’s Spring ’11 Trends

Though the fashion industry produces new shows and trends every six months, men’s fashion just isn’t as dynamic as women’s wear, and fashion trends for men tend to be less “trendy” and more sustained. But guys—this isn’t to say that everything you wore last spring is acceptable or on trend. Au contraire, this spring’s key looks can be summarized as classic, minimal and fresh.

New neutrals
Heather gray, white and soft shades of brown and khaki are the key neutral tones you’ll want to have in your closet this spring. Thom Browne and Gucci showcased numerous looks using these colors in sweaters, trench coats, pants and suits. About half of Prada’s spring collection featured men in light shades of brown and an array of grays. Wearing neutrals, however, may seem too simple and minimal for some. If you’re the color-craving type, pastels best complement a minimalist, neutral look, adding a refreshing twist to this classic spring trend. To make this trend more practical, look for modern silhouettes or simple pieces such as a gray V-neck sweater. Also, consider layering neutrals to give more dimensions to your look.

Feeling blue?
Prada, Gucci and Dsquared2 sent models down their runways in shades of blue ranging from navy to cerulean to aqua. The keys to wearing one of the trendiest colors in men’s fashion this spring are first to find the shade that best complements your skin tone, and second, to determine how much blue is appropriate for your look, as no man I know would ever like to be mistaken for Veruca Salt (you know, that girl in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” who turned into a blueberry). Once you’ve selected your item and are ready to complete your look, remember that black, gray and white are the best colors to wear with blue to make the shade truly pop.

Racing stripes
This season, stripes are thick and in bold primary colors. Michael Bastian, Thom Browne and Prada designed everything from polos in rugby stripes to blazers with very visible pinstripes. The reigning idea this season is go graphic or go home. In order to keep this trend from overwhelming your outfit, keep everything else neutral.

More leg room
Similar to women’s leg wear trends for the seasons, designers have declared the skinny leg style officially over for men as well. Instead, this season’s most popular pants are either sleek and straight (a la Dsquared2) or wide, loose-fitting cotton pants, as exhibited by Dior Homme and Lacoste.

Brogues
Sometimes called oxfords or wingtips, these shoes are characterized by the perforation, or brogues, found around the leather body and come in varying shades of leather and suede. Models for J. Crew wore their brogues with ankle-cuffed jeans, chinos and shorts. Prada and Gucci designed pairs in rich shades of brown, with ombré effects on the leather and showed models wearing
brogues with suits. These versatile shoes with roots in Scotland and Ireland tend to be worn sockless and can add an element of Anglo-chic to your overall look this spring.

—Stay Stylish!

 

Latest Fashion Article: Staying Stylish in the Snow

I’ll preface this by saying that even I haven’t been the best example of chic style during the winter months. Though you’ll never find me in the sweatpants-and-Ugg-boot uniform (sorry if that’s your thing), I haven’t exactly made any effort to look stylish. One could almost say that the winter months have caused many of us on campus to forget about fashion. Fortunately, there’s still hope. To get us back on the style-conscious track, I’ve found some solutions we can use to solve our winter clothing issues. Generally speaking, I believe that there are two main approaches to winter dressing: wearing thick, cozy pieces or combining thinner pieces for a layered look.

Issue 1: My feet are cold, but I’m too busy to go shopping!

Typically, for this kind of weather, ski socks and waterproof, fur-lined boots are ideal, especially those sold by manufacturers from colder parts of the world. However, some of us may not have purchased a month’s worth of socks from REI and the latest Sorel boots from their winter catalog. If this is you, don’t fret. But don’t step outside in just your ballet flats or moccasins and think you’ll be OK. Hopefully, as a Washington University student, you have a pair of rain boots in your closet. This is a great starting point. To stay warm, consider layering on pairs of socks and wearing legwarmers underneath your boots. Don’t have legwarmers? Get creative and use the sleeves of an old sweater or shirt that’s unsalvageable. Since these layers will be covered by your sleek boots, no one will ever have to know what you’re wearing to beat the cold. Also, many of the items your winter wardrobe is lacking will be on sale around mid-March, so stock up before graduation!

Issue 2: What can I wear to keep my legs warm?

Rather than add bulk to your winter look by wearing sweatpants, take the layering approach, and wear your old leggings or thermal pants underneath skinny pants or slim jeans. If you decide it’s warm enough to wear a dress—or you’re just in the mood—switch out your opaque nylon tights for solid wool to give you the same general look while keeping you cozy. Another solution is to buy a longer jacket, preferably one that covers your thighs. This will help mitigate the adverse effects of wind and keep your legs protected from the elements.

Issue 3: I’m tired of wearing boring colors for three months!

It’s extremely easy to fall into a rut of wearing black, camel and gray while there are always clouds in the sky. However, the great thing about winter dressing is the variety of accessories one can purchase and wear. Add touches of color to your look through printed scarves, colored gloves, tribal-patterned knits, fun hats and colored school bags. Depending on your taste, prints and patterns such as chevron and paisley may be the way to go. If you’re not a print person, solid-colored items in jewel tones such as mulberry or royal blue are a great alternative. Find whatever works for you, but check to make sure that the colors and patterns you choose are appropriate for the season. A rule of thumb for colder months is to trend toward more saturated colors.

-Stay Stylish

Latest Fashion Column Article: Top Trends to Incorporate into Your Spring Wardrobe

Like many of you, I can’t wait for winter to be over and for the temperature to rise a bit. However, before the season changes, it’s important to plan ahead and be on the lookout for the most trendsetting items that will keep you looking amazing this spring. Fortunately, designers showcase spring trends very far in advance, and I’ve created an outline of the top trends and a guide to including them in your warmer-weather wardrobe.

Orange

J. Crew Spring ’11


One of the hottest colors for this season (aside from Pantone’s official 2011 color of the year—honeysuckle) is, surprisingly, one that many find difficult to pull off. Fortunately, designers Tory Burch, Marc Jacobs and Cynthia Rowley provide many options for wearing orange. Intimidated by the thought of a monochromatic orange look? Consider purchasing one orange item such as a clutch, bangle or belt to add some color to an otherwise neutral-toned outfit. Also remember that the shade of orange you select should complement your skin tone. Jenna Lyons and the design team at J. Crew showcased many shades of this fun, punchy color including beeswax—a tangerine shade, and coral rose, which is a shade resembling an orange fruit.

’60s Mod

Tibi Spring ’11

Tibi could be considered this season’s ambassador for the re-emergence of the ’60s mod look. With thigh-grazing hemlines and décolletage-covering necklines, Tibi’s models are the epitome of clean, classic ’60s chic. In addition to presenting sheath dresses and skirts with fuller bottoms, Tibi is also showing a streamlined skinny pant, which can be worn with tunic tops. This sleek alternative to basic blue jeans is usually cuffed mid-calf or below the calf muscle, and variations of this new bottom can be purchased at Urban Outfitters in the Saint Louis Galleria.

The Return of the ’70s

Marc Jacobs Spring ’11

Even more prominent than the ’60s trend is the return of basically every trend from the 1970s. Many designers seem to agree that this spring leaves no room for tight skinny jeans—although I’ll still be wearing mine this season. From psychedelic prints by Emilio Pucci and Diane Von Furstenburg to the over-the-top floppy hats shown on the runways of Tracy Reese and Marc Jacobs, the ’70s have returned in a big way. Accessories dominating this trend include turbans, featured by Duro Olowu and Jason Wu in black-and-white graphic prints and regatta, respectively; pendant necklaces by Tracy Reese; big hoop earrings from Tory Burch and retro sunglasses from Marc Jacobs.

Clothing-wise, substitute your skinnies for tailored wide-leg pants, and pair them with a tucked-in casual neutral tank, retro sunglasses and a pendant necklace à la ADAM. Also, swap out your stiff button-down shirts for those made with lighter fabrics and that include a low bow neckline. Another outfit idea is to pair oversized thin hoop earrings with a turban and a long bohemian dress. Fringe, brown leather in all shades, bold colors, graphic pin stripes and touches of suede can help you further incorporate the ’70s trend into your spring wardrobe. The key to pulling off this dominant trend is to avoid overload.

The Minimalist

Victoria Beckham Spring ’11, all photos from style.com

If your style is more 1990s Calvin Klein than 1970s bohemian butterfly, then the minimalist trend is your new best friend. New York Fashion Week newbie Victoria Beckham debuted with blush tones, simple sheaths and sleek handbags, which all take notes from the minimalist look. The key details to consider when incorporating this trend are simple and sleek cuts and fabrics like those used by Celine.

Other things that will incite the minimalist chic aesthetic include a looser fit in clothing, monochromatism, slight androgyny and very few accessories. Though white and black are the top colors for this trend, Ports 1961 designers have also used tan and an array of textures and fabrics in black or white to achieve this look. This trend works best for those with long, lean, angular figures.

-Stay Stylish!