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!

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Most Recent Fashion Article: Top Sweaters for Surviving the Holidays

Ladies

The sweater dress
Sweater dresses are a great way to show off your shape without sacrificing warmth. The silhouettes for this sweater tend to fall into one of two categories: slim or loose-fitting. Whichever shape you prefer, be sure to balance your bottom half by wearing wool tights and boots underneath. This is the perfect sweater to wear to dinner or when shopping with friends.

The oversized cardigan sweater
The holidays don’t always motivate us to get dressed up and go outside. If you find yourself indoors on a lazy day, an oversized cardigan is great for cozying up with an interesting novel or opening presents with your family. For some, the volume of this type of sweater can be overwhelming; try belting the cardigan to yield a more hourglass figure.

Gentlemen

The turtleneck
Believe it or not, men, turtlenecks are in style this season. But not all turtlenecks are made equally. Thinner turtlenecks tend to flatter mesomorphs, while cable-knit turtlenecks work for everyone else. So know your type and purchase accordingly. Not only is this sweater in style this season, but it also works for many occasions: meeting her parents, going shopping with yours and enjoying a wonderful family meal.

The “Let’s do a family activity” Sweater
You always want to look your best in front of relatives you haven’t seen in a long time. This year, why not impress them with something form-fitting and different? Wool shawl-collar sweaters are great for family activities since they provide warmth to your neck, in case you find yourself outdoors, and they are great for layering since you can wear your favorite plaid button-down shirt underneath it without appearing disheveled.

Everyone

The ugly Christmas sweater
No matter your religious affiliation, ugly Christmas sweater parties have been popular for a while now, and this year, you might just find an invitation to one at your door. To ensure you’re fully prepared, you’ll need two things. 1. An image of a sweater from the 80’s or 90’s that you may have received from relatives as a young child and 2. A trip to your favorite vintage store. The purpose of this sweater isn’t to display how much time you spent in the gym earlier this year; rather, it’s a way to bond with others of similar humor, so be playful.

The Fair Isle sweater
This classic winter style, which originated in Northern Scotland, is perfect for anyone hoping to hit the slopes this winter break. These wool tops tend to come in a variety of colors and are decorated with snowflakes, stars and other fun winter motifs.

The “Oops I over-ate” sweater
It happens. And when it does, life moves on, however slowly. For men, the best anecdote to this common holiday condition is to consider purchasing any of the sweaters above in a much larger size or buy a cable-knit wool cardigan. For ladies, a loose-fitting tunic-length style in a dark color just might do the trick.

-Stay Stylish!

The biggest trends for women this season: what they are and how to style them

From time to time a new trend appears, but it is more common for old trends to return. Layering and wearing leather jackets and shades of brown have always been associated with fall fashion. Spring 2011’s shift toward the 1940s femme and the 1970s bohemian have persisted into the colder parts of the year, as designers turn to these two powerful decades of fashion. Here are the most talked about trends coming our way this season, from outerwear to accessories:

Outerwear

Capes and ponchos
Pea coats are nice but a tad stale. This season, take inspiration from Sherlock Holmes when choosing a fall coat. Capes and ponchos in tartan, patchwork and solid colors were hot both on runways and store racks. This style of outerwear is easy to throw on and can be worn in both formal and informal settings, depending on what’s underneath. For a more formal look, pair a cape with a pencil skirt, ribbed stockings and ankle boots, keeping the bottom half of your outfit slim and sleek. For a more casual look, pair a cape with skinny jeans or riding pants and add flat boots or an ankle boot.

Apparel

Lady-like tweed in new colors
Alice + Olivia showed tweed skirts, blazers and overcoats in shades of red, pink, black and, of course, white. The trick to making tweed not seem dated or too “old-lady” is to mix it in with looser-fitting fabrics or unexpected materials. Pair a loose-fitting blouse with a structured tweed skirt to make the look more modern. Or wear skinny jeans with your fitted tweed blazer to make the effect more age-appropriate.

Leather in unexpected places
While we’re all familiar with leather jackets and small accessories, this season, designers have created novel ways for fashionistas to don the edgy material. Acne even dared to design leather overalls. If you’re considering this trend, start with a mod leather mini skirt in a classic color like camel or black. Vince and Rachel Comey created skirts in an A-line silhouette, which flatters a majority of body types. Unfortunately, many retailers charge at least three figures for a few strips of cloth. Check out vintage and thrift stores for the best bargain. Once you’ve found your skirt, add a thick sweater and ankle boots and you’re set for the day.

In the jungle
Snakeskin skirts, leopard print clutches, fur vests and feathery collars all populated fall’s runways. Elie Tahari surprised everyone with a snakeskin skirt. For the average college student, however, these wild pieces may be too “out there” to be worn to class. To make these prints more accessible, perhaps use the colors found in nature as a guide for creating a cohesive outfit. Peacock feathers, for example, contain shades of blue, green, brown and black. Create a look using like-colored pieces you already own to enjoy the trend. If you’re ready for a full-on print, consider making that print your accent item and keeping the remainder of your outfit neutral. The fact that leopard print is in doesn’t justify looking like a leopard.

Corduroy 2.0
Designers have updated this classic material for a sleeker silhouette when used for skinny pants or flared pants. J Brand, a popular denim label, offers both options for its clients and for the more price sensitive, check out J.Crew or Kut from the Cloth, a brand sold at Nordstrom. When selecting colors, keep in mind the shoes and coats you plan to wear with your slim pants. If you purchased a new camel coat, don’t pair it with your camel-colored corduroys, unless you’re confident enough to pull off the monochromatic look.

Footwear and accessories

The wedge
One trend continuing on from spring and summer is the wedge, now styled on the soles of many oxfords and ankle boots. Though the wedge is not for everyone, the great thing about this heel is that it is not only highly versatile, but it also provides stability and instant height.

Boxy handbags
Gone are the days of the slouchy boho bag, for now. Following the femme trends of the 1940s, this year’s “it” bag is stiff and structured. For a romantic look, pair this bag with a wispy floor-length skirt and ankle boots. Or wear a structured bag with a pencil skirt for a more classic ensemble. Jil Sander and other designers created boxy bags in a variety of colors and textures. Feel free to experiment with this classic.

Long leather gloves
A few seasons ago, short motorcycle gloves were all the rage. Everyone from celebrities to fashion models wore them. This season, however, gloves are foraying into longer, more feminine lengths. If you’re looking for an edgy way to pull off this trend, look for long gloves in surprising colors; white was Elie Tahari’s choice for fall. Consider wearing these gloves with coat styles ranging from capes during the fall to floor length dusters in the winter.

-Stay stylish and get shopping!

(all photos from style.com)

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 Article: Fashionable Valentine’s Gifts for Him

Though we hate to admit it, ladies, Valentine’s Day isn’t just about us. As the new year is just getting started, you may have resolved to spread happiness and joy to others. Start with this holiday—instead of sitting back and waiting to be pampered and treated (though I do hope you get lots of presents and a great meal next Monday), be proactive and do something for your special someone.

Notorious for their cheesiness, Valentine’s Day gifts can actually be fashion forward. If you’re looking for an article on where to find the latest singing gorilla, however, you may want to stop reading now.

Timex Easy Reader watch: It’s simple, classic and versatile, and it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Not only will he be recognized for his great sense of style, thanks to you, but he’ll now also be on time for any future dates or outings (timex.com, $35).

Vintage record: If he has a record player or is into music, find out who his top five favorite artists or bands are and take a trip down to Vintage Vinyl. There, you can select records and sample them for quality.

Cologne: There’s nothing sexier or more refreshing than having a man who consistently smells pleasant. Bond No. 9 scents such as Wall Street and New Haarlem (saksfifthavenue.com, $160 and $150 respectively) may exceed your price range, but the scents in this label are unisex and received rave reviews in The New York Times. Ralph Lauren Polo Blue and Ralph Lauren Polo Black are other popular fragrance choices; the eau de toilette can be purchased at Macy’s for $72. Burberry Brit is another classic scent to consider (macys.com, $90). Given differences in perception and taste, be sure to test these scents before you make a decision.

The Art of Shaving: The 4 Elements of the Perfect Shave Starter Kit: This five-star rated kit will keep his skin smooth (razor burn free) and smelling great before and after he shaves (nordstrom.com, $25).

Ray-Bans: Purchasing sunglasses for your man shows that you care about his health and your future together as the weather warms up—and, of course, his style. (Aviator, Wayfarer and Clubmaster styles, rayban.com, $145)

Converse Valentine’s Day Collection: Not only will your significant other have the nicest kicks on campus, but red is also a very refreshing color for spring! (converse.com, $45)

BOSS black “Bradenton” card holder: This leather limited-edition cardholder is slim and will keep his cards neat and organized (bloomingdales.com, $60).

Nixon Time Teller P watch: If your man’s style is more retro, consider this colorful watch to brighten up both his wardrobe and his day. Nixon offers more than 25 colors for this time piece, including seafoam and matte drab (nixonnow.com, $60).

-Keep him 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!