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Monday, August 31, 2015

VMA 2015: Pop Culture, Social Media and Fashion

The VMA's are held every year on MTV, and it is an award show celebrating music, fashion and everything "pop culture". Unlike most award shows, VMA's are interesting in spotting the current trends of our society. Whether it be vulgar displays of clothing, excessive use of bad language, sexual innuendos or excessive nudity, it is alarming to think that "this" is our  society, as of right now.  

1) Bad language

The use of profanity has some how become a trend. Fashion brands have celebrated such words as the F - word on cute peter pan colors, jewelry, and T-shirts. Celebrities openly shout profanity whenever they feel like, and the days of proper speech seem to have been left in the dust with our ancestors.

2.) Selfie
Nothing promotes yourself quite like a good selfie. Once were the days, when narcissism, and self obsession were a negative, shameful quality, but jump  to 2015 and its all about the ego. Whether it be Instagram, twitter, or facebook, its all about making your life seem better than it really is. 

3.)  Privacy and Fashion Nudity?

Whether it be social media, or reality tv, "privacy" seems to be a thing of the past. With so little respect for keeping anything private these days, it is no surprise, fashion is in correspondence with this very attitude. 
Nudity, has always been a subject of curiosity, but curiosity only exists with a bit of mystery. With so much exposed in life/body, the shock factor is "wearing" thin. Soon everything will come full circle, and celebrities will just show up naked, just as our ancestors once did. 

Press and Vulgarity 

The interesting thing about vulgarity is that people love it. Perhaps, we have saturated our past with so much beauty that "vulgarity" has now become a thing. Or perhaps, we have become so immune to feeling anything that we constantly desire to be shocked. Either way, shockingly gaudy, vulgar fashion is currently a "thing". 


Style Tip: How to Style Textures and Patterns!

Style Tip of the Day!

Mixing and matching textures and patterns is a style technique any fashion lover should know. It is a quirky fun way, to style your outfits in a fresh new way. Mix polka dots, with stripes, floral with checkers, it's all possible now, but just wait, there is one simple rule.

Fashion Vision?

The one rule you need to know is all about colors. For example, take one textured garment, and style around it. What colors do you see? In the above checkered skirt, the featured colors are yellow and black. Stick to that color palette when mixing other pieces. 
This does not mean you cannot wear garments with any colors other than black and yellow, but that each garment should mainly feature those two colors. Why?
The pop of those two colors, reinforced in other textures, and patterns, creates uniformity in your overall style! 

An example of Alice + Olivia Style, using this very technique. Notice the colors of the jacket can be spotted throughout the skirt, sweater, and bag. 

Good Luck.


The Puzzling Game of Style

How is it possible to have so many clothes and nothing to wear?

I have asked myself this question countless times, and with much thought I have found my answer.
The problem is not with the clothes "individually", but in their abilities to match with other pieces in my wardrobe. I would simply buy a beautiful blouse one day, and then a skirt another, and neither match each other,  nor anything else in my closet. It was as if I was collecting a wardrobe full of left shoes. Individually gorgeous but quite useless in combining a complete look.

This made me realize, my shopping approach had been totally wrong. 
A wardrobe is actually like a puzzle, and therefore, blindly buying whatever you like will never boost your closet style. 

Style is all about finding the missing pieces and linking them together. A wardrobe like a puzzle, should be strategic. 
For example, take a Fashion Week runway show. Back stage, the clothes are carefully organized on racks, with the entire individual outfit, completely pre-styled. From outfit, shoe, bag, accessories, and even make up.  High style is a "complete" outfit. If you look at the entire collection you will notice almost all the pieces are interchangeable. One jacket matches nearly all the pieces of the collection and a certain shoe is versatility matched  to every look as well. More matches, means more possibilities to be worn. 

This does not mean in anyway, that you should go buy a head to toe look each time you shop. However, it does mean to always keep in mind what you already own and what items will help "complete" a look. 


Sunday, August 30, 2015

What's Closet Popularity?

Everyday we linger in front of our closet, and are faced with the same question, "What will you wear today?"
Whether it takes you 2 seconds or 2 hours, you scan over your collection of clothing and "usually"  there is a small collection  of clothing that become the most worn, "Popular Ones". 

Would you say these pieces are the best, or the most innovative in  your collection? No. Quite contrary, they are usually the lazy pieces that some how look good while letting you think as little as possible. 

My "Popular Style"

My most worn pieces or "Popular Style", consists of my favorite James Perse Tee, stretchy black 7 Jeans, Boyfriend Jean, beige sweater top, and my black James Perse Jersey Dress. 

Why are they the "chosen" ones? To be honest, they are simply the most comfortable, while still looking stylish. Little effort is needed to look rather acceptable, and surprisingly, I receive more compliments in my "I'm not trying attire". 
Early morning bed hair? Check. Minimal make-up with a splash of color on the lips? Check. 
Is this fashion at my best? Not really, I'm just being lazy. 

In many ways, popular is success at impressing without intimidating. It is a celebration of medicrity and doing what is relateable. Nothing too bold, too eccentric, or ever thinking too hard. 

The "Special Ones"

In society the "Special Ones", have adopted quite a negative impression as "oddballs, misfits, or losers." They are the people, who just don't fit in and very few can relate to. They are the artists. 
To be "special " in fashion is rather the same concept. You can easily be fashionable by falling trends but it is only in the risks of uniqueness, that one can become an artist of style. 

Now lets take those crazy purchases that leave us shaking our heads and wondering, "What was I thinking?", or those dusty pieces in our closet, with their price tags still dangling lonely in the back of our closet, and challenge ourself!

Sometimes a garment of clothing seems off not because it is a mistake, but because it is not styled correctly. I cannot tell you how many times I have had a piece of clothing that I never wore, not because I didn't like it, but because it felt incomplete or off. 
Then by a freak chance of innovation, I challenged myself to match my "odd ball" piece with a rather unexpected choice in my current wardrobe. The match was the perfect compliment and the entire look now made sense.

The key is to constantly challenge your sense of style, and take risks. Step outside the box of comfort and problem solve.  What may not work now, maybe the missing piece to another outfit. 
If you always wear what is easy, and follow the trends, there is no level of "challenge".

Dare to think. 


Saturday, August 29, 2015

What Does it Mean to Be a Woman?

For the past few weeks I have been following the reality series, "I am Cait". It follows the journey of former Olympian, Bruce Jenner, and his drastic transformation from man, to a fashion loving "woman". 

As I watched this series, I couldn't help but question to myself, "What does it mean to be a woman?" Is it the pretty clothes, bouncy hair, perfect make up and augmented breasts that make you a real woman? Does this trump actual gender?  It was rather disappointing to watch Cait focus so much attention on looking like a "Kardashian" and less on the mental state of what a female mind in a man's body is like. From watching the series, one may think, shopping, slumber parties, and gossiping is all "we" women do. The show would have been much more effective if she would have opened up on a deeper, psychological level and given us a taste of what it may feel like to be transgender.

However, the show did get me thinking about the definition of what a "woman" is. I always identified it to be a strictly biological label, distinguishing the difference between male and female parts. However, transgender redefines that term by establishing the mind as separate from the actual body.  
I try to imagine, what it might have been like if I was born in a man's body with my current "female" brain. Would I have acted more "male" while still feeling quite female? How hard it must be to live in a body that does not feel like your own, and yet to be so strongly identified by it.

After much thought, I believe the definition of a woman is completely personal. For me, I feel very lucky to be a woman. Of the two genders, a woman can create another life in her body, and this gives her the closest bond to another life for 9 months.  I know every woman cannot have a baby, but in my opinion,  the qualities and characteristics of being a "mother" should be celebrated in all woman. For example, a nurturer, a lover, a kind heart, intelligent, femininity, fragility, and yet such a massive strength. 

As much as I do love fashion, and expressing myself artistically and individually through clothes,  I do not believe it has anything to do with being a woman. A woman without clothes, make up, or perfectly quaffed hair is still a woman if she understands the privilege, honor and beauty that comes from within our female identity.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Tip of The Day: Ombre, Smoky, Nude!

Friday Tip of the Day!

With Summer coming to an end, and Fall right around the corner, we have reached an awkward moment of transition. It's not quite cold enough for full Fall gear, but dressing in head to toe Summer seems out of place as well.

My style tip of the day celebrates this transitional moment with a look inspired by Fall. Try a warm brown smoky eye, ombre nail, and a nude lip and you are sure to enjoy the upcoming season  to the fullest!


Fashion Bullying Epidemic!

In the spirit of "Back to School", lets talk about  the fashion epidemic regarding "Bullying". Whether you are in school now, have a kid, or work, fashion bullying is everywhere, and it some how seems acceptable?
Making fun of what someone is wearing, starts as soon as we can speak, and seems to show no signs of stopping. Adults are the prime example of fashion bullying and children quickly mimic their beliefs and ways. Rather than enforcing  fashion as a way to discover who we are, it is often taught as a weapon of status and power.

In 2013, a Utah woman made headlines for forcing her 11 year old step daughter to pick and wear the ugliest clothes from a thrift store, after she was caught bullying a classmate for her ugly clothes. Her goal was to teach her step daughter empathy, by having her literally live a day in her ugly shoes.

Why does this not work?
Although her mother had good intentions, she is still in many ways, looking down at people who shop at thrift stores. Making a "punishment, out of someones life, is not empathetic but rather arrogant. There is nothing wrong with shopping at thrift stores, and I cannot emphasize enough how amazing they really are! (Remind me to start a series dedicating all things thrift store.) She is emphasizing "clothes" as the problem, when in reality bullying is an issue far deeper than what you wear. 

 The issue is this :She, like most parents in our society, teach the dangerous and quite mistaken Fashion Algorithm:

(Money + Clothes = Popularity ( Success) = Money)

Notice the emphasis is always circling money? 

People who pick on others for whatever reason, have misplaced self worth by feeding off the flaws of others. It has nothing to do with the best clothes or the worst, but everything to do with wanting to be somebody. 

Would it not have been more effective to teach her daughter lessons through a non-materialistic platform? Take her to volunteer at a shelter, or donate her clothes to a thrift store. Let her find her place in the world without the "stuff" and the joy that giving can bring. Practice positive changes to yield positive results. 

The Algorithm of Fashion in the future should be:

( Soul +Creativity+ Clothes= Identity, Confidence, and Empathy = A Better World)

Money is not the leading factor of fashion, and with creativity one can even rock paper waste as "Haute Couture".

Never let fashion lead you. It is you that creates it within your own inner style.

 Fashion needs you. It is not you that needs it.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Are You Shopping Smart? : 5 Tips on Knowing The Value of What You Buy

  1. Just as living in a city requires you to become street smart, fashion requires you to become shopping smart. 
    I decided to write this article today, because I realized the way I shop is significantly different to the way I use to shop. When I was younger, I can remember being seduced by beautiful window displays, and entering a shop scouring for an 'unknown' item that would some how 'change my life'.
    Fashion is ambiguously hypnotic like that. It is easy to lose one's "street savvy"  ways, and get lost in this rather seductive scent.  Buying without thinking, results in purchases you do not need and a lot of wasted money. 
    Not to lose hope guys, my 5 Basic Tips will have you beating the hypnosis of fluorescent lights and get you thinking Shopping Smart.

    1.) Price is Just a Number

    The first misconception  that needs to be broken is, price is NOT the indicator of value. Do not trust that the higher the price, the better the quality. As you can see above, a $288 garment is sold for $8.99 at Goodwill. Price is determined by the seller, and situation of their purchase. One should always keep an open mind, and price value on other factors besides what the number is marked as.
    I cannot tell you how many times I have been in an ultra chic boutique that looked absolutely adorable, but with low quality garments priced at luxury prices. 
     How did I know that? Keep on reading. 

    2.) Stitch Work

    The main reason my shopping skills have changed, is due to the fact that I now design clothes and make them myself. 
    The very first thing I do when I find a garment I like, is to check the inner bones of the piece. 
    The "inner bones" are the way the garment is stitched together, and a good sign of the quality can easily be detected. 
    Cheaper quality pieces, can easily be spotted in places that cannot be seen. Craftsmanship and fabric are the two main places to cut corners and level of craftsmanship is revealed inside more than out.For example, single stitched, crooked lines are quick to rip, cause holes and unflattering on the body. Other signs are frayed edges, and sloppy stitch work. Garments made this way do not last and not worth a higher price tag.

    3.) Understanding Fabric Value

    Fabrics Types: Synthetic and Natural

    Synthetic fabrics: 
    polyester, acrylic, nylon, rayon, acetate, etc. are man made and produced  entirely from chemicals.
    Synthetic fabrics are commonly used because it is durable, man made, easier to obtain and cheaper in cost.

    Natural fabrics: 
    cotton, silk, wool, cashmere, etc. are made from plants and animals. 
    Natural fabrics are more expensive, and harder to get your hands on.

    Personally, my preference is always natural fabrics. If a garment contains cashmere, silk, wool, or cotton, chances are you have your hands on a luxury piece and worth the higher price.
    Natural fabrics are generally more fragile, and harder to care for, but they are worth every penny.  
    The beauty is unsurpassed, and the breathability of the fabric is undeniable. 

    4.) Embroidery or Beading

    Embroidery and Beadwork is a good sign that the garment was hand crafted, especially if it is vintage. Hand made, always calls for a higher price due to its labor. If you can get such a piece on sale or ridiculously discounted you have an amazing deal. Even just purchasing the beads itself, cost a pretty penny these days.

    *Caution* Beware of worthless beaded garments. The easiest way to detect an unworthy beaded garment is if the retail value of a piece is extremely low. 

    I once bought a fancy, pale pink top at H&M for 39 euros and was impressed by the cheap price. However, within a couple of washes, the beads washed out all their silver elements and instead of quality glass beads I realized they were plastic.

    5.)Designer labels and Brands

    The greatest thing about designer labels and brands is they "usually" guarantee the highest level of craftsmanship. If you look inside a Chanel piece, you are guaranteed an impeccable work of art, made to last forever.
    However, with that (unfortunately), comes the ridiculous price! Yes, I understand a designer price tag includes extra costs of runway, advertisements, media, campaign, models, etc. but who can really afford $10,000 for a dress? 
    The best alternative is finding these brands at thrift stores, vintage stores, or online. Don't give up guys, where there is a will there is a way!

    Other brands such as Zara, Mango, or Massimo Dutti provide good quality at reasonable prices. 

    6.) Artistic Design

    Do you love it?

    Often the value of a garment is not found in your wallet but your heart. How much does the garment speak to you? For me, when I find a garment I love there is no doubt. All factors go out the window and all I see is me, the garment and our future.
     Often the moment is phrased as, "If I were a _____ I would look like this." 
    Just be careful the price is rather lower, than higher. For example, I once bought a gorgeous top for $5 and fixed the bad stitch work, and rearranged some mistakes. 
    Cheap fabrics or bad craftsmanship is forgivable if the price is low but cringe worthy if you pay a high price. 

    Happy Smart Shopping!


Sunday, August 23, 2015

FWI: Origami Innovates Fashion

Fashion Week Innovation

Origami is the Ancient art of paper folding, originating in Japan. The challenge is found in making a sculpture, without the use of glue, scissors, or measurement tools. It is a mathematical celebration of shapes, and the power of creativity at its finest.

With such innovation found in paper, it is no surprise that some of the fashion designers have found inspiration in origami as well. 

Christian Dior (John Galliano Haute Couture Collection 2007)

In 2007, John Galliano's Haute Couture Collection was inspired by Madame Butterfly's Cho-Cho-San and her romance with Lieutenant Pinkerton. Models faces were fully painted white with red 'geisha' lips.
Th most  innovative part of his collection, was his use of intricate origami folds and pleats not of paper but of richly embroidered satins and silks. You could almost imagine an origami paper crane, magically coming to life and becoming part of this world.

132 5. ISSEY MIYAKE (“Regeneration and Re-creation”)

132 5. ISSEY MIYAKE is a label created by Issey Miyake and his Reality Lab team. It is a new movement of exploring the possibilities of "A Piece Of Cloth”, inspired by the ancient Japanese art of Origami.
The  clothing is innovative in their use of a mathematical algorithm, (132 5.)
(Explanation of 132 5):

1: Represents a single piece of fabric.
3: Represents a three-dimensional shape.
2: Represents the three-dimensional shape that can be flattened into a two-dimensional form.
5: Represents the fifth dimension. The fifth dimension, is the precise moment when the garment is worn on the body and comes to life. "through the communication among people.” -Issey Miyake

All clothes are made using recycled PET products, sometimes in combination with other recycled fibers.

Friday, August 21, 2015

FWI: Innovative Shoe Styling Tips

Fashion Week of Innovation

Shoes, shoes, shoes! Yes, I am a shoe addict. 
I don't know what  it is about shoes, but for some reason, the word "enough" does not exist. 
Therefore, if the latter is true, buying can not be the answer, and becoming wiser, and more creative is no longer a choice, but a necessity. 

Here are my shoe styling tips that curbed my addiction into a creative method of shoe styling!

1.) Ankle Bracelets

Ankle bracelets are an easy way to add character to any shoe. Whether it maybe boots, heels or sandals, it can be worn easily and matched to your other jewelry or outfits.

2.) Ribbons

A simple bow makes any shoe look instantly sweeter. Just tie it around your ankle or loop it through a strap, it is an easy way to change up your shoe.

3.) Permanent Markers

Drawing on my shoes, is something I have done since I was a kid. Now a days, with my colorful variety of permanent markers,  drawing on shoes, has become an art form.
Add your mark on your shoes, and let it inspire you all day. 

4.) Leg Warmers

Leg warmers not only keep your legs warmer, but add a new life to any shoe. If you live in a colder region, you are aware of how certain types of shoes, are just not practical to wear, during Autumn/Winter.
My favorite is, leather leg warmers, and they have been seen all over the runway. They are an absolute must, if you love wearing your stiletto heels. They turn any low ankle shoe, into an amazing high cut boot. 

5.) Socks with Fur Embellishments

I personally love boots with a bit of fur embellishment. It is very tempting to buy a fur embellished boot even though you have one just like it, minus the fur. The solution?
Fur trimmed socks. It is seriously the most genius creation that peeks out of every heel, ankle boot, and Mary Jane. It is also a fun way to warm up a strappy stiletto heel.

6.) Fun Knee High Socks

Gladiator shoes or leather cut out boots are sexy in the Summer, and fun in the Winter?
I love, wearing fun socks, that slightly peek through the holes of these type of shoes. Wearing funky socks simply on its own, can make you look like a clown, but paired behind leather cutouts gives a very cool effect. It's a bit like stained glass, where small bits of color peek through the black cut out structure.