AKG

Archive for August, 2012|Monthly archive page

On I for Inspiration

In On Entertainment, On Muse-of-the-Month, On Personality, On Style on August 30, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Inspiration.

I often felt that it’s an overused word.

So I tried to go through a day without feeling any inspiration from anywhere to do anything. Not only was it difficult to do, but I realized that life is flat without inspiration. It’s important to be receptive to avail what this world has to offer.

Often people wait around to feel inspired. That, I find, is a problem. Opening yourself up to feel inspired is an active task – not a passive one. In fact, this blog is based on the muse – to actively learn from stylish men & women.

Some days, I may find myself wanting to channel a sartorial era – other days, I’m inspired to sing, even if it’s just around the apartment or in the shower. The late Anna Piaggi and Lady Gaga are inspirations for people to express themselves freely. My mother’s paintings are each based in inspiration, as are most DIY projects.

Inspiration is a powerful motivator. Inspiration to create. Inspiration to dress a certain way. Inspiration to feel joy. Inspiration to shop. Inspiration to make a change. Inspiration to find purpose!

Meha Bhargava can find inspiration anywhere, and she shares with us some of her ways:

“People watching has always been my favorite thing to do. Other things that inspire me:

  • A healthy, intellectual conversation
  • The rain – my brain works rather smoothly then
  • Fashion magazines
  • Newspaper
  • A well lit room
  • Colors
  • Home/ Family
  • A happy vacation

There’s inspiration in the tiniest of things.”

On I For Inspiration

On I For Inspiration: To be inspired is great. To Inspire is incredible.
Meha Bhargava’s Style Inspiration

For sartorial-specific inspiration?

  • Watch a TV show like Gossip Girl, Glee, or Sex and the City. Mirror a look you like. No, I don’t mean you have to buy the same pieces the character is wearing. But look in your wardrobe – can you create a similar look? Recently, I found I’m often missing a leather jacket to create the looks I like. Finding the perfect leather jacket for the fall is a piece that could potentially pull many looks I like together – that’s inspiration I’m using to make a change in styling.
  • Watch a movie or (music) video with distinctive styling. Example – watch an Audrey Hepburn movie. Or, for example, watch something unique like Annie Hall. Pictures from Annie Hall or of Katharine Hepburn often inspire me to celebrate menswear-inspired-womenswear. For more on that, read “On Borrowing from the Boys, Guys, and Men“.
  • Celebrities! Whether they’ve styled themselves, or have stylists doing the work, celebrities often wear creative looks pulled together by several unique pieces. For example, Brad Goreski’s got Jessica Alba wearing color every day, everywhere. Meha often feels inspired by Nicole Kidman’s perfection and by the Duchess of Cambridge for her royal, clean, and chic style sense. And I think mostly everyone who loves fashion is inspired by Sarah Jessica Parker for her eccentric style.
  • Fashion shows and magazines. Create a scrap file of the looks you love. When you’re feeling uninspired, refer to your scrapbook for looks you’ve liked – this makes dressing creatively stress-free. Pinterest, and several other web services make this easy if you don’t like paper clutter or are trying to be green!
  • Be in awe of something - anything. It will inspire you to make a change.

What are some places you could look for inspiration?

  • Nature
  • Meditation
  • Web-surfing
  • People
  • Thinking about possibilities
  • Scrapbooks
  • Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter – basically any form of social media
  • Browse through an inspirational book
  • Attend a conference with people with similar goals
  • Watch videos of keynote speakers

To be inspired is great, and to inspire is incredible. Have you felt inspired today? Have you inspired anyone today? If not, take a moment now.

AKG

On C for Color

In On Muse-of-the-Month, On Style, On Styling for the Individual on August 29, 2012 at 6:23 pm

I’ve always loved color; I had nearly every paint color available in the art supply store in my paintbox at home during design school. I could spend hours trying to mix a particular shade for my artwork. This is a trait my muse Meha Bhargava made me aware of. Still, I used to shy away from wearing much color. A little over a year ago, I fit in perfectly in New York, where black is an official color.

Today, however, I can intuitively mix and match bright and neutral tones. My image consultant training has given me an appreciation for color, as well as the tools to wear colors correctly. I’m likelier to be seen wearing colored denim with colored blouses, or colorful dresses with colorful jackets (Deep, sincere love for Kate Spade, Lilly Pulitzer, Nanette Lepore, Diane Von Furstenberg, and JCrew) than I am to be seen wearing neutrals such as black – which used to be my go-to year-round. Recently I’ve started to pick up bold, colorful neckpieces and accessories as well. My most recent favorite is this JCrew neckpiece in a bright orange color.

Colors bring an outfit to life, make you look beautiful (when chosen correctly), feel happy, and they make a statement – all at the same time. My muse, Meha’s always loved colors. I’ve always seen her putting together bold hues in her clothes, accessories, bags, and shoes.

“Colors are my best friend. Apart from Lime Greens and Hunter/Forest Greens I am good with everything on the wheel.  Favorites being the Blues and Corals! Moving across the color wheel, making bold choices in term of analogous and split complementary is fun!”

~Meha Bhargava

On C for Color - Muse: Meha Bhargava

On C for Color
Muse of the Month : Meha Bhargava

Meha believes she owes her love of colors to her mother:

“I was always a well matched child..with my dress matching my shoes and my accessories matching them all. I dont think I’ve ever had the moment when some one told me, “They Dont Match!””

She likes keeping a wardrobe neutral (simply a color that is a silent spectator) i.e. Beiges, Blacks Reds and the Indigos etc..and then playing with accent colors throughout the look. Meha enjoys seeing how color changes one’s attitude for the day, and how a certain color brightens up cheeks vs. how a certain color dulls the personality.

“Who would’ve thought I’d pick up a salmon colored top and pair it with a bright red skirt? Beautiful and over-the-top combinations excite me.” ~Meha Bhargava
On C for Color: Style board from Meha Bhargava of Styl Inc.

On C for Color: Style board from Meha Bhargava of Styl Inc.

Live life colorfully. Your life will thank you for it.

AKG

Related posts:

On Dressing Hourglass Legs (Part 4)

In On Muse-of-the-Month, On Style, On Styling for the Individual on August 26, 2012 at 3:39 am

You could forget everything else as long as you remember these few rules:

  1. It’s important to CINCH and/or HIGHLIGHT the waist.
  2. For pants, and skirts, and dress bottoms – remember the goal, after waist definition, is to LENGTHEN. Wear heels to lengthen, or wear washes, prints, or pinstripe pants to lengthen. There are numerous ways.
  3. Streamline your silhouette, especially with fabric just flowing over to help the eye move up & down vertically.
  4. BALANCE is key. Not only do you want to balance your top and bottom, you want to make sure your pants are neither  baggy, nor “painted-on”. If you wear volume in one place, balance it off with a slimmer-fitting pieces.
  5. Dark shades and washes will help you look leaner. They minimize the lower half. Avoid versions that are bleached on the thighs.

Pants/Jeans/Trousers Styling

  • I love bootcut pants – trousers and denim. Not only is this style universally flattering, it accentuates the skinniness of an hourglass waist while simultaneously balancing top volume with the subtle flair it creates around the feet. Pairing heeled pumps, or booties with it will take off a few more visual pounds.
  • Mid-rise jeans are very flattering, while high-cut vs. low-cut circle in and out through fashion. Low-rise jeans may make hips look wider/legs shorter – so style with caution there. Add an attractive belt, especially with high-waist trousers to draw attention to the waist. Make sure the waistline is fitted to avoid the gaping waist problem.
  • Straight jeans will accentuate wide hips more. Whether that’s a look you prefer, relative to your upper half dressing is a personal style choice.
  • Tapered leg cut jeans are flattering when you want the eyes drawn to shapely hips, to accentuate curviness. They are also preferable for the petite hourglass, while the wide leg/flared (more than the bootcut) styles are better for taller hourglass figures.
  • Try skinny jeans tucked into knee-high boots (especially if the  boots have heels) – your legs will look longer, and this will balance your hips.
  • DO NOT wear denim without stretch. Make sure you can sit, jump, stand, hop, walk, run in the jeans before you commit.
  • Fabric in thick wools or bulky denim can widen the hourglass frame. LIKE fabrics that are drape-y – they should glide down the widest part of our hips. Clingy, spandex-cotton blend fabrics can also help for extra fitting.
Bottoms for the Petite & Hourglass

Bottoms for the petite & hourglass – take inspiration from what these petite and tall hourglass figures are wearing

Skirts/Dress Bottoms – use the rules above + these:

  • A line and pencil skirts are your best friends!! (See Scarlett Johansson)
  • Voluminous tulip and full circle cuts, especially when high waisted are great styles – just make sure that you’re balancing volume on bottom with fit on top. Dita Von Teese ^ does this beautifully.
  • Softer fabrics will love you. Stiff = boxy = non-flattering.

and you thought this was going to be hard..

AKG

‘Tops’ for the Petite & Hourglass (Part 3)

In On Muse-of-the-Month, On Shopping, On Style, On Styling for the Individual on August 20, 2012 at 9:49 pm

The hourglass figure is what many stylists and women aim to emulate. While this is true, hourglass figures can quickly end up looking askew – top-heavy, shapeless, or bottom-heavy – if the clothing is not chosen correctly.

You wear ‘tops’ & blouses with jeans, skirts, shorts, pants, leggings, and more. Let’s look at the attributes of the blouses that will be sexiest or most slimming for an hourglass figure. All of these qualities are based on these ideas:

  1. The top should not have elements over-emphasize your bust or shoulders. Remember, you want to dress so that your top and bottom are balanced – not top-heavy.
  2. It should elongate your neckline as much as possible.
  3. It should end above the widest part of your hips. You gain a few pounds when the top ends at your hips because you lose your waist. Tops and jackets that come to the top of your hip bone are the most flattering for the hourglass body type.From “On Nine Rules  - ‘Tops’ for the Inverted Triangle”, the rules are similar except for Rule #8. Because hourglass shapes have curvy hips, tops that extend past the hips will not slim hourglass shapes down the way they will an inverted triangle. Shorter blouses are actually preferred to better define the waist. Petites, shorter tops will also lengthen your legs. 
  4. It shouldn’t be too loose, that you look shapeless. It should flow with your natural shape. Baggier is not better.
  5. Make sure your waist is defined. Define your waist. Define your waist. I cannot stress this enough. Consider this: without waist definition, you look heavier than you actually are. And who wants that?
  6. Fabrics with a finer gauge are less bulky, especially for curvier hourglass figures. However, thicker fabrics camouflage problem areas where clingy knits emphasize. Generally, favor fabrics with body – no flimsy fabrics. Whether the fabric is fine or thick, balance your top & bottom.
Tops & blouses for the petite & hourglass

Tops & blouses for the petite & hourglass – look for the rules in what these petite and tall hourglass figures are wearing

Based on the rules, AVOID these features.

  • Do not – I repeat – Do NOT wear tops with gaps open between buttons or tops that cling to any lumps/bumps (most of us have them, if not all). Make this a pledge, and also pledge to wear fitted tops that allow you to move freely.
  • Large ruffles
  • Puffy sleeves
  • Thick shoulder pads (think 40s and 80s) – think subtle Balmain-style slightly extended shoulders, if anything.
  • Over-emphasized cowl necklines (a little bit is alright)
  • Straight-shapeless cuts
  • Length ending at the widest part of your hips
  • If sleeveless, no spaghetti straps if you’re busty – they will make your shoulders look wider.
  • Large prints
  • Baby doll styling
  • Sleeves that widen below the elbow will add inches to your midsection.
  • Steer away from turtlenecks as much as possible.

LIKE these features in blouses:

  • V-necklines show off your collarbone = sexy. (Layer a tee or camisole underneath if busty and cleavage is inappropriate)
  • U-necklines
  • Scoop necklines
  • Sweetheart necklines
  • Surplice construction
  • Wrap styling
  • Semi-fitted/Close-fitted styling (looks especially great with a fitted waist and full skirt)
  • Small prints
  • Solid color
  • Princess Seaming (will accentuate your waist)
  • If sleeveless or one-shoulder, choose straps that are proportionate to your size. Also, choose this sleeveless-ness based on personal preference, cultural reference, tonal quality of your upper arms and the climate.
  • Nipped in the waist
  • 3/4 sleeves are less bulky than full length sleeves.
  • Full empire waists are definitely a bad idea – but empire waist tops that hug your chest and flare out over your torso will look good if you replicate a kind of A-line skirt under the bust seam.

All that being said, look for pieces in your wardrobe, and then add pieces into your wardrobe. Check for oxford shirts, basic tees, camisoles, sweaters (v-necks), bowed blouses. and then more. Most importantly, have some fun!

AKG

On Rules for the Petite & Hourglass (Part 2)

In On Muse-of-the-Month, On Style, On Styling for the Individual on August 18, 2012 at 7:02 pm

The rule-breakers in fashion are the ones that are often the most stylish. Wearing white after Labor Day. Wearing black to weddings. Wearing fun flattering clothes. Getting cute accessories, bags, and shoes that are stylish in solid, good-looking materials other than leather. All of these are rules we no longer have to worry about thanks to stylish women who decided to break them.

That being said, nobody knows the rules better than the stylish women, and they know exactly why and how they are breaking them. Let’s look at the rules for the hourglass body type!

1) A waist is a terrible thing to waste. And hourglass figures must make sure that their waist is always the focal point. Belt it, cinch it, wrap it, corset it – do whatever you have to do to showcase your waist.

2) Especially true for curvy hourglass figures, Do Not Go Baggy. Big shapes will only make you look bigger. Boxy shapes must be balanced with something drapey – otherwise, you will look bulkier than you are. If only I understood this in high school…

3) Choose figure flattering fabrics. Drapey, soft fabrics with a bit of stretch really accentuate and flow with your curves. Also, take into account the weather. It doesn’t matter how great you look if you’re going to be uncomfortable all day.

Meha Bhargava says, “Delhi weather cant do without Cottons and Linens.”

4) The art of camouflage. This actually helps in dressing in a fun way too. Strategically wear darker colors in the parts of your body you want to minimize. Use lighter, shinier ones to highlight.

5) V-necks. You need this slimming neckline, especially if you’re busty.

6) Keep details balanced in the upper and lower garments – you need to make the most of your curves without overemphasizing them.

Specifically, here are rules that the petite must be especially aware of.

1) Look taller and you’ll look thinner. Heels spread your weight out over a longer frame – making you look taller. Always own a pair of comfortable nude pumps perfectly matched to your skin.

“Being short, heels are my pseudo height. I swear by them and proudly own a massive closet full of shoes!”

~Meha Bhargava

2) Elongate the figure with vertical lines.

3) Oversized tops, too-long skirts that hit you mid-calf – Say Never!

4) Make monochromatic dressing fun by adding prints and varying shades of the same hue/tone. It will flatter you, make you look taller, and showcase your style & personality.

5) Small prints are always better for petite figures. Leave the large prints for your upholstery and bedding.

Now that you knows these basic rules, go have some fun! =)

Rules for the petite & hourglass

Rules for the petite & hourglass

AKG

On the Petite Hourglass (Part 1)

In On Muse-of-the-Month, On Style, On Styling for the Individual on August 16, 2012 at 2:39 am

Petite is not size 0. Petite is not skinny, nor is petite equivalent to small-boned.

“Petite” means shorter than 5’4″ because petite designs are made for women of that stature. Wearing petite clothing (if you are petite) means no more baggy dress tops, jeans and pants that aren’t dragging past your heels without hemming – clothes fit much better when the length is taken into account. It is also important for people who are taller than the standard height (5’4″) to take into account that they may have a petite torso or petite legs.

The basic petite figure types are similar to the body shapes listed in On the Inverted Triangle (Part 1), only shorter. There are petite inverted triangles, triangles, rectangles, pears, apples, and more.

Meha’s like a shorter Kate Winslet or legendary Marilyn Monroe. Many famous celebrities today are ‘petite’: Salma Hayek, Rachael Ray, Dolly Parton, Eva Longoria, the Olsen twins, and even Kim Kardashian!

Specifically, Meha Bhargava has a petite hourglass figure, which women often try to emulate with clothing.

Here’s a checklist for you – are you an hourglass figure? It’s the same checklist, whether you’re petite or not.

  • The hourglass shape is equally balanced on top and bottom.
  • Most people assume they should measure their hips and bust, and forget to take their shoulder-width into account.
  • Hourglass figures gain or lose weight equally throughout their body. Lucky lucky.
  • Typically, the difference between the hip and waist measurement is more than 8″.
  • Relatively curvy hips and thighs.
  • A naturally defined waist, however long or short it may be.
  • There’s a huge misconception that you must have a large bust to be an hourglass figure. There are skinny, average, and curvy hourglass figures — it’s all about the relative size of your bust and waist.
Petite Hourglass Body Type

The Petite Hourglass Body Type

With a curvy petite hourglass figures, it becomes even more important to give definition to the waist – something Meha does fabulously. We’ll learn more from her in the upcoming posts.

AKG

On Listing Wardrobe Staples

In On Muse-of-the-Month, On Personality, On Style, On Travel on August 6, 2012 at 5:22 pm

In January of this year, I wrote about the lists we all should have (in our heads or on paper).

1)What (Trends and/or Clothing Pieces) Make Us Look Amazing.

2) What (Trends and/or Clothing Pieces) Don’t Work Well For Us.

Well, this year I’ve realized there are 2 more lists.

3) Closet Staples

4) Travel Staples

Everyone’s list looks a little different. My muse, Meha makes dressing and wardrobe management look simple – except when it comes to shoes. All lists are forgotten when it comes to shoes. But I think that’s a girl thing – we all get that.

Knowing the staples in your closet has these effects:

  • It’s easier to dress in the morning.
  • If you’re missing a listed item or if a staple is in need of repair/replacement, you know it’s important to deal with it.
  • Simpler to mix & match to maximize your wardrobe.
  • Makes it easier to know which pieces to add, delete, and/or edit when shopping.

Her travel packing list is especially interesting.

  • By having and using a list, the stress of having to make last minute decisions goes away.
  • You can focus on preparing for other aspects of your travel.

“My travels have being varying:  a day long affair, a 4 day relax vacation, a 12-15 days long haul, or even 3 to 4 months – it switches. In terms of naming staples, I choose to explain for a 4-6 days long vacation which we go for, most often. The first step is to find out the weather and terrain (beach, mountains, forest or desert). I leave all techniques and do’s and dont’s when it comes to shoes. Have to pack 5 shoes for a 6 day vacation!”

~Meha Bhargava

Meha Bhargava's Lists

Meha Bhargava’s Lists

It’s important to see that recognizing these lists makes Meha look only more fabulous and stress-free, because she’s aware of herself, her needs, and dresses according to her rules rather than trying to fit into the lists of another person – no matter how stylish they may also be.

These lists simply life. Shopping, dressing, and packing, all, become uncomplicated.

Make your own lists. You will thank yourself (and possibly me) for it.

AKG

On Substantial Frivolilty

In On Muse-of-the-Month, On Personality, On Style on August 3, 2012 at 2:47 pm

“You’re considered superficial and silly if you are interested in fashion, but I think you can be substantial and still be interested in frivolity.”

~Sofia Coppola

As I read this quote nearly a month ago while reading the Women’s Wear Daily, I immediately thought of Meha Bhargava. This is exactly how I would sum up her style.

Parties at Meha’s home are a big part of the Bhargava lifestyle – fabulously frivolous with shoes, accessories, lunches, and more, Meha balances daily work, time with friends & family, and personal growth.

She’ll probably be like Imelda Marcos, who famously said, “I did not have three thousand pairs of shoes, I had one thousand and sixty.” Simultaneously, I know she’ll be involved in balancing major work projects and a meaningful personal life.

Substantial Frivolity

Substantial Frivolity: Meha has both

A typical weekday for her now involves: A grilling work out in the morning, 10-6 work involving client meetings, sessions with the client, and more. Her evenings are a Yoga overload, and then there’s family time followed by her personal unwinding for the night. Along with this, she manages to include time for loved ones and their special occasions/moments.

I take inspiration from Meha, in that when we went to Milan for image consulting training a few years ago, I’d get up, shower, and get ready to leave for class. Miss Bhargava would get up early, neatly make her bed, have tea, exercise while watching the news, wake me up around this time, eat breakfast, and then go to class.

In the years since, I’ve silently learned much from Meha’s consistency as well as from her substantial frivolity. It’s one of my favorite parts of her style.

AKG

On the Birthday Week

In On Muse-of-the-Month, On Style on August 2, 2012 at 8:02 am

Nearly a year after we became friends, I was excited to first-hand witness Bhargavaa’s version of the ‘birthday week’. This celebration has always been an important part of life in our family, and I believe it’s a significant snapshot of a person’s best moments.

Bhargavaa’s rules? Only wear new clothing, party, eat delicious food, and be pampered (with a mani/pedi and massage at the very least). There’s a huge birthday party – this week, there are multiple birthday cakes, celebrated with several sets of people. Such fun!!

Happy Birthday Week Meha!

It’s an all-around fantastic week! 5 birthday weeks later, I am officially celebrating Meha Bhargava’s birthday week from a distance.

You got a friend in me.

You got a friend in me.

When the road looks rough ahead

And you’re miles and miles

From your nice warm bed

Just remember what your old pal said.

Woman, you’ve got a friend in me.

Happy Birthday Week Bhargavaa!

AKG

On my Original Muse

In On Muse-of-the-Month, On Style on August 1, 2012 at 4:33 pm

The muse is back! And this month, I feel inspired by my original muse, my first muse. Her unimitable style stands out in a sea of people, always. I consistently see this woman wearing something that’s unique, and distinctly styled.

Though I’m sure this wasn’t the first time I actually saw Bhargavaa, my first memory of her is in this pale yellow (or was it white?) dress. Somewhere around August 7, 2007, I presume? She was saying she absolutely could not exit the classroom because she knew she was too well dressed for her birthday week – that could potentially be problematic with seniors, in front of whom most freshmen would rather remain relatively invisible.

Though this memory is vague, I remember my first reaction was the furthest from affinity. Still – somehow, and I honestly think our friendship was simply meant to be, we were best friends by Diwali that year – and have remained so ever since.

Ms. Bhargava’s ideal day? A swim in the morning, followed by a shopping spree with a yummy lunch – then she’d like to relax with a nice head/shoulder massage, and a pedicure to seal it off. I laughed at this, mostly because minus the swim, our birthday weeks and other special days were invariably filled with these activities. Sometimes we added in a movie.

I’ve learned a lot from her poised personality over the years.

“If you believe in yourself, you’re one up on confidence already – even if you think you’ll have to fake it this time!”

~Meha Bhargava

I feel incredibly excited to present my August muse, the original muse, Meha Bhargava.

Meha Bhargava "the original muse"

Meha Bhargava, “the original muse”

AKG

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