Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Gender Bender: The Tuxedo Trend

Tuxedos aren't just for black tie affairs or penguins anymore! The classic style has taken over the fashion world once again – but this time with a major makeover. Take a cue from the boys this season, and think pinstripes, blazers, tailored trousers, and brogues, but styled with a chic, feminine twist. Designers like Victoria Beckham wowed this year by incorporating the tux trend into her autumn collection, and stylish celebs like Jennifer Aniston have been spotted wearing this conservative-meets-sexy ensemble out on the town. 

The tuxedo trend, first dubbed Le Smoking, has become a classic since first introduced by Yves St. Laurent in the 60′s. This time around though, the standard black or white pants and suit has made a leap into dresses, jumpsuits, shoes and more. The whole look is pristinely tailored; the pants are high in the waist and wide in the leg, but the blouse underneath the jacket is soft and finished off with subtle, simple accessories for that feminine-meets-masculine appearance.

The Luxe Tux is an elegant, sexy option for days when a cocktail dress or ball gown just isn't a statement.  It’s a dramatic, sensual look that isn't for everyone, but on the right woman it can be stunning. Should the idea of head-to-toe tux be a little overwhelming, try sporting tuxedo elements for a more casual approach to the trend?  And at the risk of looking like a playboy bunny, here are some tips to help you pull off the tux trend.

Wear the jacket alone:

If you are wearing the jacket - and the jacket can be black or white- wear it with its deep ‘V’ emphasized or with a plain button up vest, skinny jeans and pumps.

Wear the pants with a feminine blouse:

If you prefer to wear just the tuxedo pants, without the jacket, then a pretty, feminine blouse is the way to do it. Something satin or silk will offset the masculinity of the pants. Soft fabrics like lace or ruffles loosely draped will create an unforgettable outfit.  The key is to contrast the difference between the straight, strong masculine lines of the tux and the soft, round, feminine curves of your body.

High heels are a must:

Killer pointy heeled pumps or strappy high sandals are the way to go when you wear the tuxedo look. Again, it brings that strong femininity to play.


Accessories can make or break an outfit like this. Gold pieces make the look lady-like and tailored. Multiple long necklaces will highlight the ‘V’ cut of the jacket and will add to the polished effect of the tux. Remember to keep hair and make-up sophisticated - sleek hair back and go with a classic dash of red on your lips, or a glossy nude.

While the tux trend may be on the masculine side, don’t let it intimate you — women can wear this trend better than any man. It’s all about effortless androgyny that’s stitched up in immaculately tailored yet lightly relaxed pieces, minimalist silhouettes, and that all important hint of edgy glamour.

Monday, 22 July 2013

10 Fashion Essentials

Trends come and go, but in fashion, there are some universal fashion staples every woman must possess to stay effortlessly stylish. These classic must-haves will help you prepare for any situation, while also looking polished and smart. 

1. The crisp white shirt

Thanks to fashion icon, Carolina Herrera, this style staple is an eternal favorite fashion trend. She started designing white shirts in 1981 and there is at least one white shirt in her every collection. A classic white shirt can be worn  with ball gown skirts, blue jeans, and office blazers. Herrera explains that such shirts make her feel secure, adding that when she can’t decide what to wear, she chooses a white shirt.

Tuck it into a pair of jeans, wear it under a boyfriend blazer, or layer it with a cardigan and skirt. The crisp, white, button down shirt is a must-have wardrobe staple that can go from work day to weekend without a hitch.

2. The classic trench coat

Designed to hide any fashion faux pas hidden underneath, the classic trench will take you from a hot mess to a tailored success.  This practical fashion essential, originally designed by Thomas Burberry to keep officers warm and dry during the trying conditions of World War I, gives every woman the perfect hourglass shape thanks to its cleverly placed belt. Considering this mix of its business-like origins and its surprisingly flattering effect, it’s no wonder that wearing a trench makes looking effortlessly cool, effortless.

3. The lightweight cardigan

Every closet needs a cardigan. It’s great for slightly chilly days or layering under your winter coat; you can even keep it in your purse in case it gets cold while you’re indoors. The most serviceable colors are black, grey, and cream, but I love pops of color in blues and deep reds too. Wrap a skinny belt around your waist to complete the look and you’ve got a layered outfit that looks very put together.

4. The little black dress

Everyone associates the Little Black Dress with Coco Chanel, who made it really popular in 1926. Wear it to weddings, dinners, Wednesday work day meetings and parties.  The little black dress (LBD) is a wardrobe essential that works hard for you when that surprise last-minute party invite lands in your inbox.

 Dress it up with a silk scarf and heels, or down with a fitted cardigan and flats — a well-cut LBD can be your best friend for years.

5. The fitted blazer

Upgrade that basic jeans and crisp white shirt ensemble with a simple single-breasted blazer. A basic black blazer is perfect for meetings, funerals, weddings, and can even turn your LBD into a suited option for work.

6. The black pencil skirt

You don't have to be skinny to wear this classic shaped skirt. This figure-flattering dark skirt can be paired with countless items in your closet to create a perfectly polished outfit.  Timeless, elegant and a great "go to" piece for any occasion. Pencil skirts are usually worn long, to the top of the knee or to the bottom of the knee. A longer version looks best on taller ladies. If you are petite go for the shorter version. Depending on the occasion, wear it with a blouse or even a tee shirt

7. Slim black pants

Who doesn’t own a pair of basic black pants? Well tailored black pants are great for the office as it plays well with everything in your closet.

8. The tote bag

The tote is one of the most universally useful styles of bags out there, one that almost every woman has owned at some point in her life. Celebrated for its ability to hold anything and everything, the tote is above all things versatile. Women have been carrying them around since the early 1900s but it wasn’t until L.L. Bean designed the Boat Bag in 1944 that it was integrated into every day fashion. A neutral coloured tote is perfect for work and play.

9. The perfect black heels
Forget glass slippers. Prince Charming would be stunned to know that if Cinderella were around today, her footwear of choice would undoubtedly be a black leather pump. This lasting fashion favorite has withstood the test of time because it is the go-to shoe for day or night, jeans or trousers or skirts, dressy occasions or more casual events. Whether perfectly plain or adorned with a subtle pattern, a pair of black pumps adds polish to any outfit.

10 The simple scarf

Add colour to an otherwise boring office or day-time look with a simple scarf. So tie it, knot it, or casually drape it around your neck to stylize a basic t-shirt, fight the breeze in a trench, or add some ‘pop’ to a LBD. For inspiration on how to tie your scarf, have a look at my post ‘That’s a wrap’.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

The F - Word

Ever had that awkward feeling when no one understands a word you’re saying? This often happens to me when I talk about certain trends or style elements, only to be met with puzzled faces that need explanations. This week’s post is thus dedicated to exploring another beautiful facet of fashion - the jargon. Follow me as I take you through a glossy glossary of my favourite fashion terms and trends (at the moment).

Androgynous: having a look that is neither strongly feminine or masculine

Boho-chic - a style of female fashion drawing on various bohemian and hippie influences, which, at its height in 2004–05, was associated particularly with actress Sienna Miller and model Kate Moss

Cable Knit - a knit stitch that is extra-thick, warm, and produces a look that resembles two cords, or cables, wrapping around each other.

Cloche Hat - a hat fits closely to the head, with a deep crown and a narrow, or nonexistent, brim. French for "bell," the cloche hat style was first made popular in the 1920s, and now thanks to movies like The Great Gatsby, is making its way back into our closets  

Color-blocking - originally a technique where blocks of fabric are sewn together in one garment to create clothing with a few different solid colors; has now come to encompass an outfit that applies the same technique to a combination of pieces (ie shirt, pants, shoes)

Distressed - having simulated marks of age and wear, usually referring to jeans that are made to look faded and torn.

Epaulet - detail borrowed from military dress, which uses trim or ornament on the shoulder to suggest added width or effect.

Fascinator- vintage-inspired accessory which affixes to the wearer's hair for purely decorative purposes.

Fashionality - used to describe a person in the fashion industry with a lot of personality and sometimes celebrity status

Faux Pas - a term borrowed from the French, meaning a miss-step or major no-no

Fedora - traditionally constructed of felt, this soft hat's crown is creased lengthwise and hosts a medium-thin, sometimes curved, brim. Term's first known use was in 1891.

Flou - short for fluorescent, which is a color that seems to emit its own light; similar to but exactly the same as neon

Glamazon - originally used to describe supermodels in the 1980s – a combination of glamorous and Amazon

Haute Couture - a French term, mean exclusive, custom-fitted high fashion clothing as produced in Paris, and imitated in other fashion capitals such as New York, London, and Milan – made for individual customers from high quality, expensive fabrics

Mary Janes - a  style of shoe that features a buckled strap across the instep. Originally, Mary Janes were flat, made of patent leather, and meant for children, but they now come in a variety of heel heights and materials, and are worn by all ages.

Monochrome - designs created using one color in combination with white, or various shades of one hue

Ombre - describes when a color fades in stages (usually down the length of a garment) from deeply saturated to nearly white

Peplum -  a ruffled or flared panel of fabric, which falls just below that natural waistline, adding a playful touch to any garment.

Pump - classically, a heeled shoe with closed toe and back, low-cut vamp, and few embellishments (laces, straps, etc.) though varying styles may add accents to the classic silhouette.

Trickle-up trend - fashion trends that start “on the street” and make their way into high fashion

Vanity sizing - (also known as size inflation) when the same clothing size becomes larger over time

This week I'm feeling extra generous. Share your favourite fashion term by commenting below, and you could win a free fashion shoot with me.

Monday, 1 July 2013

A Fashion Forecast

This week’s post is a warning to all winter gym slackers. With Spring only a few weeks away, now is a good time to get off the couch and into shape. Because the hottest trend for this Spring is the belly-baring top, or the midriff. As you know, the ’90s are back in a big way and the crop top is a prominent part of this fashion craze. 

This upcoming spring, the midriff is fashion’s erogenous zone of choice, with designer after designer sending models down the runway in belly-baring ensembles. Luckily for some of us the look is much more subtle than the crop tops of the early ‘90s, as the midriff poster-child, Zoe Saldana demonstrates. She proves that sometimes just a sliver of skin is sexier than the full Monty.

Now, not all of us have the guts (or the lack of a gut) to pull off total exposure. Luckily, there’s a whole range of midriff-exposing tops on the market – from peek-a-boo tops to bralets – that lets everyone from the biggest prude to the wildest party animal participate in the trend.

The Peek-a-boo midriff shows the least amount of flesh, and is best worn with a high-wasted skirt for minimum exposure and an urban feel. Another option for the more modest fashionistas is to wear a sheer/transparent material to expose a section of skin without being too bare.

The Box midriff is not overtly sexy, due to the loose fit and high neckline, but it still brings the intrigue with a flash of skin right at the waist. If you’re a less-is-more type of girl that prefers a ponytail to a blowout, then this is the belly-baring top for you.

The fitted crop with straps is a safe middle ground for the neither shy nor overly courageous bunch. It can easily be paired with everything from a flowy skirt to ripped jeans.

For the bold and fearless, there are two midriff options that make the rest of us more anxious than live cattle at a Kapaana stand. The Bandeau - a straight across, strapless crop and the Bralet- essentially a bra worn as a top. The Bralet being about as far as you can go with the cropped trend.

So, take heed to my fashion forecast and forget cleavage. Hit the gym now and dare to bare this Spring.

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