Thursday, November 27, 2008

Walking Tall

After featuring endless pairs of sky-reaching pumps, it’s only fair (and considerate) of me to also address the art of wearing them.

You can always pick out women who are wearing pumps from a crowded street simply because they stand out (literally) – they walk taller and look more stylish and elegant. Heels are such wonderful creations* that it is awfully sad to see so many women forgo them just because they’re either not confident or capable of walking in them.

*Naturally, like all things in this world there are pros and cons to wearing heels. But that’s your responsibility to find out ;-)

Of course it takes effort to look good; otherwise everything will look good – and bland. It will require some work to look like you were born to wear those heavenly heels and walk gracefully in them. What you need is (1) to find the right muscles (2) to strengthen your body (3) in order to carry your own weight correctly.

Let’s take it from the top shall we?

Your abs is your center of strength, a philosophy used widely in Pilates and in all forms of dance. Your abs holds together and coordinates the movements of your lower body and upper body. Even when you’re walking you’re using your abs – or you should be. Basic crunches will do fine as long as you do them regularly – 15 crunches / 3 sets / 3 times a week. Feel free to push yourself further.

Besides your abs, your back is almost just as important. Experience will tell you that it’s essential to have a strong back to have good posture. Do the Sphinx position for resilience and agility. For strength, lie on your stomach with your arms stretched out like Supergirl and then lift up both your legs and arms at the same time, similar to the Mermaid Back Extension. Easy-peasy. And again, do them regularly (15 times / 3 sets / 3 times a week) and you will have a supple back in no time.

Calves, Ankles, and Metatarsals
Some of the most sensual things about wearing heels are that they accentuate your calves and push your metatarsals into that irresistibly desirable arch. Images of tone legs and sexy arches have inspired many (in)famous desires from the pinup girls and Hollywood ladies of the 50s, to the Chinese women with bounded feet, to the sexy Wolford ads. Strengthen and tone your lower legs with simple rises – place your hands lightly on a wall and slowly lift your body up until you’re standing with just your toes – not entirely en point like ballet dancers. Feel your calves tightening and your arch taking shape instantly. Repeat them regularly.

Once you’re ready, choose a well-fitting pair of pumps that are not too tight in the front and if possible, with some cushioning inside the front of the shoes where the ball of your feet will be. Be careful if you’re going to wear them with hosieries or socks, you don’t want to reenact the Prada SS09 show where models tumbled for having socks in their heels. And here's a little haiku to get things moving:

Breathe deeply and exhale, think confident.
Relax those shoulders and chin, keep the neck long.
Remember to look ahead, watch where you’re going.

If you’ve done everything correctly, you will experience a new sense of confidence and see things at a new level – literally. And who said you can’t run in heels? It’s so easy to run in heels – you sprint exactly as sprinters do – with just the ball of your feet.

Friday, November 21, 2008

All I want for Christmas is...

It’s almost a month away to the season of exchanging gifts! Besides putting together the best outfits for all the parties and festivities that are to come, it's also time to put together a (fantasy) list of what would be nice to get during this holiday season.

All I want for Christmas is peace and happiness.

And if possible, I wouldn’t mind getting any (or all) of the following:

THE green Gucci dress that is sinfully elegant with its ruffle sleeves and luscious emerald color. But most of all, the front slit that oozes sexiness and reminds us of the time when Gucci was Tom Ford. Truly a timeless piece - something to make your granddaughters jealous because you're not passing it on to them!

It's time to hike up the fashion ante at work. Set the benchmark with jewel tone silk dresses and pumps and save wardrobe changes for that after work party. Fashion is also about being practical.
Lela Rose pleated dress.
One must have a one shoulder dress simply because they are too chic not to have. Their asymmetrical cut gives a refreshing and modern take on simple dresses. But the true magic lies in those that are cut just under the arms, covering that extra flesh that some of us have between the breast and armpit.
Jill Sander one shoulder white dress.
After a year of ogling over those overrated body hugging bandage dresses from Hervé Léger, it's time to get one yourself. These dresses fits snugly over the body and complements all womanly curves. Like true fashionistas, stay clear of the original McCoy and instead find inspirations elsewhere.

Aquascutum divine bodice dress.

Cardigan with front drapes are all the rage at the moment because they create the illusion of wearing a shawl, adding that extra edge to an otherwise boring cardi. Its versatility to go well with shorts and short skirts, making it a lasting item through all seasons.

Cardigan from H&M.

Heels, heels, heels! for reaching greater heights; it’s all about going higher and making those legs longer.
Alexander McQueen leather pumps.
Fendi suede pumps.

Simple ruched boots as an alternative to all the other black, tight, circulation-stopping boots on the streets.

Stella McCartney boots.

Some Mulberry wouldn’t hurt either.

All in all, always be happy with what we have and have a merry and fruitful holiday season!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Get the party started!

With the holiday season just around the corner, it’s all about getting invites to parties or throwing some yourself! It’s always good to plan early especially on what you are going to wear.

Just because the economy is having a crisis doesn’t mean that your wardrobe choices have to reflect similar sentiments. Let’s keep depressing to a minimum – damage control as they call it.

The wisest choice is still the undefeatable LBD. But the wiser ones will seek out alternative representations of the LBD. Here are two examples.

Update your classic LBD with odd shapes and asymmetrical lines giving the dress an edgy contemporary feel. Alexander McQueen shows us how it’s done with elegance and at the same time creating a dash of excitement using contrasting colors.

Try another color – like white. Go to the other extreme end of the color spectrum and stand out in a white ensemble among a sea of black dresses. Up the luxe ante with bold glittery embellishments. Azzaro’s Enee diamante cocktail dress is set to dazzle away all worries of any financial woes – and bring hope.

Don’t forget to pair your dresses with lovely shoes. Get inspired by the jewel tone trends and bring attention to your soles with these Christian Louboutin satin platforms.

You can also do it like Carrie and inject some edginess with fierce gladiator sandals such as these by ASOS.

Or go back to classics with these black patent platforms from KG by Kurt Geiger.

Saturday, October 25, 2008 introduces iPhone app

Well, if is going to allow iPhone users to watch the latest runway shows and catch the latest couture reports using their new iPhone app, then I guess I will put my hands down and say - why not?

Hey Jude

When I first spoke with my wedding gown designer over the phone 2 years ago more than 7000 miles away, I knew right away that I found – the one. Despite the distance and the fact that we've never met each other before, we connected immediately and understood each other perfectly. We spoke the same (fashion) language, we appreciate the same styles, and we knew exactly what we both like in fashion.

Judith was then just a recent graduate from a prestigious design school and was hand picked by my wedding planner from a fashion design competition. Judith was the winner. Judith is a winner. Not only did this feisty (did I mention extremely stylish and elegant as well?) young lady continued to win many more fashion designing prizes (e.g. Lancôme Colour Design Awards 2006 in Paris); she also won my heart – fashionably.

Needless to say, I had the most gorgeous and personalized wedding gowns (yes, all three of them) that a fashionably demanding bride could ever ask for; and Judith got a never-ending line of new clients wanting their wedding gowns to be designed by her.

Judith now heads the design team of Sofira, a fashion brand known for its finer details and eye-catching prints. With her outstanding sketches and unique designs, Judith helped drive the three year old brand into an international hot item that is now being sold across Asia, Europe, India, South America, The Caribbean, and the Middle East.

(The following pictures are from Sofira's SS08 Collection)

White elegance with embroidery detail.

Simple georgetta dress in an eye-catching brilliant blue.

A chic one shoulder silk satin dress in olive that is oh-so-desirable now.

Breezy long white dress to bring out the goddess in you. Understated elegance for a formal occasion.

Judith is definitely a designer to watch – with her determination and talent, I bet she will be someone, somewhere within the next 5-8 years. Naturally, I want to be there when she does.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Driving Miss Elegance

Last winter I was sitting in a cozy café with a good friend, happily sipping our lattes when an old lady walked through the door. Our reactions were immediate though I believe I was more unsubtle – we stared. As rude as it may sound, I couldn’t pull my eyes away from the lady and willingly allowed my eyes to devour in every piece of clothing she had one and every move she made.

The lady exuded such a strong sense of elegance and style that was so captivating it was almost bewitching. Right there and then she inspired me to grow old and aspire to look like her when I do.

The lady wore a simple yet elegantly cut long black coat and a cloche hat. But it was her gloves that made the strongest impression.

They were turquoise driving gloves.

We’ve heard many times how shoes complete one’s look – in this case, a pair of gloves didn’t just complete the look but added the cherry on top. While most people at that age has given up on style and hide as much of themselves underneath shapeless earth tone layers, this wonderful lady was not a bit held back by the age that lined the back of her hands. The gloves just accentuated the slenderness of her hands and fingers; and how exquisitely she uses her fingers to flip through the menu and hold her coffee to her lips.

This lady appears to have lived through the roaring style of the 20s and managed to carry it with her through the decades and transforming it so wonderfully into a style statement for the present day.

In homage to those turquoise driving gloves and the lady that embodies elegance, I dedicate my autumn/winter gloves style to colored bare backs.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hats off to chocolate anything!

For those of you who are heading into colder seasons – you should still read this! And for those of you who are bastardly lucky enough to have summer all year round – this is for you!

Hats are finally taking the center stage when Diane Kruger, who by the way replaced Kate Bosworth as the new celebrity candy to the fashion world, spotted a boater hat sitting primly next to Ms. Wintour, front row at Cavalli’s resort 2009 show. Of course, you do not make fashion mistakes when sitting next to the queen of fashion and thus the ‘hat’ set itself to become a more widely acceptable statement.

Hats are great in many ways. Besides its aesthetic offerings, it was originally created with the intention to protect against harsh climates, most commonly from the sun (now known as UV rays). And it is with these intentions in mind that we should celebrate the return of hats again!

Sunglasses are simply just not sufficient to protect your face from the powerful sun rays. It’s a known fact that UV rays hastened the deterioration of your skin cells leaving you dry and wrinkled like a prune. Many smart ladies, Nicole Kidman for one, swear by the hat to keep their looks forever young.

So how to carry this trend?

Many people become hesitant when faced with the hat option. Most of us make the mistake of not even making it an option due to silly reasons like hat hair. Hat hairs are things of the past; you can easily brush out one with a big paddle brush with some light hairspray.

The favorite hat on the street at the moment is the Panama hat. Many celebrities and models alike are taking on the trend with much gusto.

Samanthat Ronson thinks it's still a secret.

Rachel Bilson working it.

But like all fashion trends, always remember to inject your own sense of style and personality by trying out other variations inspired by the Panama. Play around with the colors, the length of the brim, and hatbands. Try boaters, modernized cloches, or for a dramatic effect (with full sun protection), a big rimmed sun hat!

Blake Lively attempts the Cloche... or is that a bucket hat?

Boaters - Flat-brimmed and flat-topped straw hats for a casual European coolness. Goes well with casual dressing. Adds a playful note to your outfit.

Cloches - Popular bell-shaped ladies hat of the 1920s brings back some old elegance or decadence to our modern day dressing.

Carrie showing us how it can be done - with bags and heels!

Sun hats - large brims big enough to shade your face and shoulders, but also to shout drama queen! Or just wear it with shorts and be the Holly Golightly of the 21st century.

OK, this isn't the greatest picture. Will try and search for a better one and replace this.

No fedoras please.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Towering Heels

Many people wondered why I never wrote anything about SATC (the movie) since it’s practically the combination of what this blog embodies. Well, it's too obvious a movie to write about isn't it? Everyone knows it's 'the' fashion movie after Devil Wears Prada, all the clothes worn in the movie are gorgeous, the shoes were to die for, etc. So what else is there? True, women should be warned that the fashion in the film is strictly for the 'reel' life and not for real life. Even the stylist for SATC (also for the die-fast Cashmere Mafia) admits that the styles she uses for these fashion films are hiked up a few levels from what's normal so that it stands out in the big screen - read: not to be worn right off the screen onto the streets.

BUT there is one thing that I will write about the film – and maybe more down the road, who knows, nothing is absolute – and it’s not about the dresses but rather the shoes. Everyone knows that Manolo practically got famous from the series but this film sent out an even stronger message – HIGH HEELS. High heels according to Jimmy Choo mean anything that staggers over 8.5cm – not below.

High heels have always been part of every woman’s wardrobe diet. Some women swears by them and will not wear anything else but high heels. But why are they so appealing, overwhelming, desirable that both women and men can’t resist them? Well now let’s see. According to Wikipedia, the reasons why high-heels are so to-die-for are because:

  • they change the angle of the foot with respect to the lower leg, which accentuates the appearance of calves
  • they change the wearer's posture, requiring a more upright carriage and altering the gait in what is considered a seductive fashion (which translates to: seductive sway of the hip – not wobbly ankles)

  • they make the wearer appear taller (and slimmer)

  • they make the legs appear longer (and slimmer)

  • they make the foot appear smaller (and narrower)

  • they make the derriere more defined (especially if you want to wear something tight – or nothing)
And this is probably what the ladies in SATC know by heart and thus swear by heels throughout their everyday life – lunching, shopping, walking in the city. Heck, Carrie slipped into a pair of heels when she was woken up in the middle of the night by Miranda and skipped all the way across the bridge in her PJs, a fur coat, a sequined knitted cap, and those heels. And of course, there were those satin blue Manolos that sealed Carrie’s love with Big.

So what about us real life folks? Most designers are already offering a wide range of heavenly heels but Prada seem to have taken a bold step away from the rest and continued her streak for leading the field experimenting with loud, signature designs such as those seen from her Spring/Summer 2008 collection. In her Autumn/Winter 2008 collection, Prada offers us a new (yet not so new – I mean, fashion is always trying to be new right?) take on how heels can look like. Besides adding on outrageous details to the shoes, she also added an elastic strap commonly used by ballerinas to keep their pointe shoes on. Good thinking – you wouldn't want to start slipping out of your heels while you’re being elevated over four inches off the ground.

Think they're too over the top? Not at all, pair them down with something casual - a simple skirt - and you'll have a relaxed look that is still interesting.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Crunch it with a Blazer

Sorry for the blog-drought, many ideas were dried up and unharvestable but a few were saved. Here's one of them.

If you want to know the secret to a great looking day - looking chic and relaxed that is - Crunch it with a Blazer.

Yup, it's not really a secret anymore so you better hear it now and hear it well. And the best part is, this look works just as great with guys as well!

It's actually really simple. First you pick a nice looking blazer that fits you well. Blazers doesn't mean they have to make you look like you're from the 80's. Once you have blazer on, push the sleeves up until they're just below your elbow. And that's it. That's all there is too it.

One of the Olsens doing their usual trick of looking fashion forwardly chic.

Anne Hathaway shows us how one can be elegant and chic with a casual crunched blazer.

For some fun and excitement, try it with bright colored blazers. You know how blazers tend to be in boring dark shades - go for a change and some shock value. It'll be fun and you'll enjoy your day with the bright colors beaming off dark thoughts.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

For the gentlemen

Due to the increasing requests (disgruntled mummers) that I've been receiving from my male readers on the lack of profiling male relevant post, I would like to contribute a post entirely for them.

After scourging through various gentlemen fashion & style sites, I came to find that the site that offers the most sensible and accurate style note is from The Sartorialist himself. Not that I do not want to do my homework myself, but the Sart just captures some of the most perfect, stylish gentlemen around, providing the ideal source of inspiration for any stylish men.

Sharp, Smart, and Sleek. It's always a trick to look business-smart yet fashionable. But with a well-cut suit and perfect pants length the look can easily be pulled off. Not to forget accessories such as the right bag and shoes.

Then there's the ever challenging cuffed pants ending just above the ankle. Most of you would immediately push this off as a difficult look and it is. But it's very classy while keeping it casual. A difficult combo that if executed correctly you will be immensely rewarded.

For a simpler option, opt for shorts and cardigans.

If you like these styles then don't forget to check out The Sartorialist's blog for your daily dose of style.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Singing the Blues

After a binge on minimalism and modernistic-cool, the fashion world decided to take a break by swinging to the other end of the pendulum and celebrate what the real world has to offer us – colors!

Strong, electrical colors made a bold splash across runways this season painting several collections in colorful prints and in strong singular colors the borderlines screaming neon. Colors as we all know have very interesting effect on people – both the wearer and the admirers. Therefore, it can be rather tricky to pull off a “heavy” and sometimes “depressing” color like, say blue.

But when Blue gets electrical it’s an entirely different world – think Super heroes, think Mischa at the Cannes festival, think retro-cool-tight-fit-electrical-blue-dress!

What you get here is nothing close to the blues but exciting, funky notes of electric blues!

This simple blue dress is chic, sexy, and complementary even for curvy ladies. The cut and the lines in the front makes a slim streamline while the long sleeves can be pushed up the arm slightly to create a casual crunch.

Since it’s almost like a bare, albeit colored, canvas, one can top it with chunky accessories or an iconic clutch. Don’t forget about shoes – it cannot be said enough that shoes complete the look! Play around with your options – go chunky for retro funk, stilettos to ooze sex and sophistication, or just flats for elegant chic.

Though adventurous, a dose of prudence can do one good when it comes to strong colors. Alas one should end up with the 'parrot-syndrome'.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Max it

Summer dresses do not always have to be short and skimpy to allow the most exposure especially if you’re starting out in a shade close to “pasty”. Though far from pasty, Angelina Jolie recently stepped out in a series of romantic, flowing long dresses leading a trail of inspirations and the opportunity for a maxi dress comeback.

Since the sixties, long dresses have had an uphill battle to lose its hippie stigma. Anyone seen with a long dress is either immediately stamped with a hippie mark or pushed into the bohemian- wannabe category. Nothing stylish or glamorous there.

But this summer, long dresses will make a comeback thanks to the star factor that Angie has bestowed upon them. Long dresses are popping up everywhere in major giant retails like ZARA, H&M, and more. Here’s one of the many examples from H&M’s tribute to Marimekko and a darling picture of Irina Lazareanu taken by the Sartorialist himself.

So bring out those long dresses that you’ve been hiding, throw on some sunnies, let loose your hair – and you’re ready to go with this summer’s look!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Why an iPhone is not for the fashionista - The iPhone review for the fashionables

Amidst all the craze and obsession surrounding the over-hyped iPhone, it has to be made clear right here, right now that the iPhone is not an accessory for fashionistas. Here are 3 reasons why you don’t need an iPhone.

Look & Feel
It’s a known fact that the iPhone manufacturers, Apple, is widely recognized for its sleek and forward designs. The iPhone is not an exception. BUT it’s not designed for a fashionista or a stylish woman. The size and shape itself speaks volume – literally. It’s probably going to fit a large tote but not your party clutch. One may argue that the Dolce & Gabbana Motorola RAZR is nearly the same size. The iPhone however is not as stylish or “blessed” by any fashion gurus.

Functions & Features
It’s funny how there is so much hype around the so-call brilliant, first-of-its-kind functions and features that iPhone offers. When you drill down to the hard core basics, iPhone offers just about everything else that any current cell phones offers. In fact, some Nokia’s are even better than iPhone. Alright, say you want to catch the latest Vogue Fashion on Demand podcast – you don’t need an Apple to do that. Wanna take a picture of you in your new Roberto Cavalli dress? Too bad the iPhone’s 2 megapixels won’t capture the finer details of the fabric and how nicely it falls on you.

It’s a statement icon – for Techies
Fashion is all about statement, which is why style is about choosing the RIGHT statement. So when it comes to phone, the statement for the fashionables is to support our friends like Miucca Prada or Dolce and Gabbana for their efforts in co-producing a sleek touch screen or a loud golden phone. It’s not about trying to jump on a bandwagon of mostly guys who happen to love their free company t-shirts and have an obsessive impulse to flick, swipe, and stare at their iPhones.

If you are looking for a new cell phone with great functions and goes well with your wardrobe, try looking at some of Motorola’s or LG’s. Not necessarily pointing to their D&G and PRADA phones, but also other models that they offer such as Motorola Z9 or LG Glimmer, giving you both great features and display and most importantly – a complete look that is both glamorous and stylish!

If you have to splurge, you don't have to read this and just look one way - Vertu.

Friday, April 11, 2008

White Shirts

I have an obsession with white shirts.

I discovered this obsession when one day I open my wardrobe and noticed that the white section (yes, I’m one of those that arrange my wardrobe according to colors, you’ll find it easier to see what you have) seems to dominate the rest of the colors hanging around it. I have white shirts and white blouses with different types of nuances, various style and length, some with stains more than others… regardless of that discovery, I still find white shirts/blouses very attractive and am constantly compelled to buy more. Maybe it represents some kind of pureness that comes with beauty and elegance. No wonder that it’s a classic and basic of all wardrobe must-haves.

Designers with their creative take on the Gap white shirts as shown on the cover of Vogue US May 2007 worn by "anonymous supers"

This notion is evidently shared by fashion retailers and designers alike this spring/summer season. White shirts of all kinds are blooming up everywhere – blooming because they more often than not come with puffy sleeves.

More Gap shirts

It has been surprisingly difficult to find images of these beautiful white shirts online simply because white shirt is such a common piece of clothing that all kinds of “common” conventional search results surface.

Fortunately retail giant H&M was able to offer up great samples of each style that I find fashion invest-able for this trend. The styles that I’ve chosen cover the basic designs that one can find easily anywhere. Oh and I’m absolutely crazy about white with denims.

Short sleeves

I chose this style because of the details on the shirt that makes it a little bit more special. Combine that with the length of the shirt makes a sweet top that can be paired with denims of any length.

¾ Sleeves

¾ sleeves tops are usually my favorite because of the complementary length. It’s enough to cover unsightly flabs on the upper arm while ending just above/below the elbows which gives a very slender shape to the lower arm.

Shirt Dress

The shirt dress is probably my favorite for this season and style plainly because wearing a shirt as a dress is simply sexy! From these two variations here, one has a conventional flat collar while the other has a standing collar which gives it an extra chic.

Otherwise, classic white shirts with wide lapels are also very sexy when cinched at the waist as illustrated by Jessica Alba and Victoria Beckham. The opening around the neck with the stiff collar just seems so -inviting!