AKG

Archive for the ‘On Fashion’ Category

On Incorporating Androgynous Runway Style

In On Fashion, On Muse-of-the-Month, On Style, On Styling for the Individual on April 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm

As androgyny in fashion becomes more commonplace, we see a strong variation in how much women want to borrow. Some women wear a tuxedo better than men – we saw this on Carrie Bradshaw at her best gay’s wedding in SaTC (btw, tuxedo jackets are a piece to hold onto this Spring/Summer 2012). Other women with a more feminine style feel that investing in a men’s watch or oxford shoes is a commitment. It’s worth taking a moment to study fashion history, as discussed in “Androgyny in Fashion” to figure out what degree of menswear fashion styling is best for you. There is no right or wrong here – simply a need to experiment and find where you feel most comfortable. The goal is to create a seamless transition that makes your style seem effortless.

Early on, high fashion designers, such as Helmut Lang, Giorgio Armani, and Pierre Cardin hit the public mainstream with androgynous clothing. The trend that Coco Chanel started has now spread far and wide all the way to high volume, low cost stores such as Forever 21, Zara, and H&M.

Have you noticed the trend over the last decade? Men are seen sporting longer hair with hairdyes and highlights while women are seen sporting shorter hair – notice the variations of the pixie cut that Victoria Beckham and Halle Berry were seen sporting? Women are increasingly wearing boyfriend jeans and blazers while men are starting to wear “girlfriend” skinnier jeans. It’s hard to talk about modeling without talking about Andre Pejic and Agyness Deyn. And these are just some of the examples of how the line between genders has blurred considerably over the years.

Menswear Inspired Womenswear from 2012 Runway

Menswear Inspired Womenswear from the 2012 Runway - focus on the details.

This year, take inspiration from 3.1 Philim Lim, Helmut Lang, Derek Lam, Chloe, Alberta Ferreti, Max Mara, St. John, Theysken Theory, Prada and many many others. See how the structure is balanced with sensuous fabric and color, and in some instances sparkle. There are ties, oversized jackets, trousers, waistcoats, and hats in a multitude of colors, plaids, prints, and fabrics. At Peter Som, Jason Wu, and Tadashi Shoji, the looks for Fall 2012 are inspired by Marlene Dietrich – a woman who “wore pants, but still looked like a woman.”

Take inspiration from Miu Miu Fall 2012 - Menswear Inspired Womenswear

Take inspiration from Miu Miu Fall 2012 - Menswear Inspired Womenswear

Miu Miu’s runway had oversized, boxy jackets, waistcoats, ascots (ascot ties) – all in bold colorful prints. There will never be any excuse for a pantsuit to be boring every again. There are waist hugging belts, newsboy caps at Jen Kao, tilted fedoras at Giorgio Armani, and collars with ribbon “ties” at Barbara Bui and printed ascot ties and workwear at Miu Miu – while the ensembles on these runways are more difficult and expensive to incorporate into your wardrobe, these details will set you free.

AKG

On Androgyny in Fashion

In On Entertainment, On Fashion, On Fashion History, On Menswear, On Muse-of-the-Month, On Style on April 18, 2012 at 7:55 pm

I don’t know about you, but I have heard “androgyny” in various contexts, varying from a scandalous or heated discussion to casual daily use. Androgynous traits are usually asexual or are qualities attributed to the opposite sex. There is physical, psychological, and fashion-related androgyny. To be clear, my inspiration is found in androgynous fashion and styling. Some people accept the idea, whereas many are steeped in traditionalism, focused on the idea that men and women are both supposed to look certain ways that are unique and separate of each other.

A rulebook from the older days for dressing and fashion etiquette (from 1965) includes rules that sound ludicrous today.

“It is disrespectful and unwise to deviate from the norm of those around you. It is not polite to stray from the costume worn by your date. If he is in street clothes, you are to wear a day dress or a dressmaker’s suit. […] You must always compliment your man.” “Mules, open-toed shoes, and ankle straps are in poor taste at all times.”

The writer and followers of this book would probably end up in shock if they ended up in any kind of gathering, party, restaurant, or department store today.

Prince & David Bowie - Challenging Norms

Prince & David Bowie - Challenging Norms

Considering that these were the rules, consider how nonsensical the idea of finding pieces in “your man’s” wardrobe would be. Performers like David Bowie, Boy George, Prince, Grace Jones, Marlene Dietrich, and Annie Lennox challenged the norms back in the 1970s and cross-dressing continued to become more elaborate through the 1980s. Leonardo DiCaprio wore the ‘skinny’ look in the 90s, resulting in a fad known as “Leo Mania”. Marilyn Manson wore female clothing and PVC suits that made him seem genderless. These entertainers started trends so that men and women could think outside of conventional styling and start to explore where they felt at home outside of the limitation of their own department at the store. In high fashion, Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent became pioneers by encouraging women to dress in a minimalistic manner, freeing them from the bind of corsets and stockings. In 1966, YSL created the “Le Smoking” tuxedo, the first of its kind for women. Now, fashion on the street was changing and women were freer to find and wear what they liked most.

There is considerable societal redefinition of traditional gender fashion norms today due to the popularity of these artistes and the trickle-down effect of high fashion. Menswear inspired womenswear (and visa versa) has become commonplace: boyfriend blazers, boyfriend jeans, oxfords, and more.

Androgynous Women Fashion Styling

Androgynous Women Fashion Styling
Disclaimer: All pictures are sourced - not mine.

Experimenting with androgynous fashion doesn’t mean you have to dress like David Bowie when he performed. But it’s certainly inspiring, isn’t it? See Diane Keaton in “Annie Hall” or Cate Blanchett in “The Aviator”. Remember Katherine Hepburn? As current style inspiration, we have Ellen Degeneres, Agyness Deyn, Kate Moss, and Diane Keaton to look to. These ‘celebrities’ incorporate menswear pieces into everyday dressing all the time. In the next post, we’ll talk about how they borrow from the boys. Arshia inspires me to learn to borrow from the boys, and experiment to define our individual style further.

AKG

On Accessories for the Inverted Triangle (Part 5)

In On Fashion, On Muse-of-the-Month, On Style, On Styling for the Individual on March 30, 2012 at 3:55 am

A general rule of thumb for the petite inverted triangle? Anything huge will overwhelm your frame – mostly, stick to medium and small sized accessories. Larger handbags, like enormous prints, will tend to overwhelm your frame. Your investment pieces will be small to medium handbags if you’re petite, and large if you’re tall. Cross-body bags are an easy look and have a definite younger appeal – for an investment piece, I recommend a bag that is both a carry-able with handles, and has a strap that can either be attached or tucked in. Or a classic tote. I would suggest getting this bag in good quality leather, because it will last you. A unique bag with interesting details (whether they’re in the shape, handle, print, gathering, or closing mechanism) in a staple color will make for a great investment piece. Buy this in quality material.

When choosing jewelry, remember that bigger features demand bigger jewelry. Have smaller features? Make the jewelry smaller and finer. Neck pieces look best on the inverted triangle when they’re long and layered, especially if you have been gifted with an ample bust or have stronger shoulders than hips. Miss Parker has small to medium sized features, as do I. The chunky anything trend must be worn only after much consideration.

My wise muse recognizes this, of course: “I prefer slightly bigger earrings (not the BIG BIG ones – my face is too tiny to carry those off, but more medium sized). I love the pure silver pieces, as well as those with semi precious stones in them; these give me a colour to play with, to either match or contrast.” She’s absolutely right.

The cocktail ring is a trend that has a timeless quality, and can be an investment piece. These rings will add an artsy, unique flair to every hand they adorn. So choose wisely. Any rings, bracelets, and watches must be bought keeping in mind the size of your wrists and hands. A cocktail ring that covers three fingers of your already small hand makes not for an attractive style. That being said, I have a weakness and preference for men’s watches. Nina Garcia, and many other stylists share my love. I’m a huge huge fan of Michael Kors, of course. He has a divine way with them.

Inverted triangles, especially petite, should avoid piling on layers of thick garments one on top of the other. This only drags your frame downward and expands your width. Petite women have less space to work with. Unless it’s an exception to the rule, keeping your outfit simple and placing a few accessories strategically will help. A little will go a long way, both in size and number. Avoiding distraction will help you look lean. When you layer, and you must layer, try chic cardigans and sweaters - as seen in both, Forever 21 and J Crew.

Belts also, will work wonders, especially to cinch your waist and create/define the smallest part of you. Alternatively, for more oomph, wrapping the belt snugly will create a flare at the bottom of the garment and create curves. Belts wrapped around a loose top with dolman sleeves will also look very stylish.

You may also add a pair of bright colored shoes or anything eye-catching to fully draw the eye downward. Soumya Parker and I have a beautiful love affair with shoes – this love will get its own post, soon.

I left sunglasses last, because these are tricky. They are a piece that you must try and figure out according to your face shape. Don’t leave these out, however. They really will pull together your look on sunny days.

Sunglasses

Disclaimer: not mine, but a very interesting infographic about sunglasses. Find what style is best for you!

Sunglasses by Movie

Or find a style by your favorite movie. (Although I really don't recommend basing it entirely on that)

AKG

On Nine Rules – ‘Tops’ for the Inverted Triangle (Part 4)

In On Fashion, On Muse-of-the-Month, On Style, On Styling for the Individual on March 28, 2012 at 8:38 pm

They say every gift comes with a curse. While the inverted triangle is often gifted with long legs and an ample bust, the inverted triangle (especially the petite) is “cursed” with a short torso and a lack of curve at the hips. So Rule #1? An inverted triangle must define the waist. This is key for ‘tops’ – by which I mean pieces for the upper body: blouses, shirts, dresses, sweaters, and jackets. Examples are: flare hems; nipped and waist paneled styles; belted outerwear; vertically pleated styles; wrap styles such as wrap cardigans and sweaters. Waist-defining pieces will also add curves to your hips.

Indian Kurtas, as Soumya Parker correctly notes, are a very forgiving choice of clothing. A kurta is typically a loose tunic shirt worn in India – it may be collarless, or with collar. Worn at a hip to knee length and form-fitted, kurtas soften the shoulders and nip in at the waist to create a cleanly defined waist. This leads us to Rule #2. Kurtas and Western knitwear made out of cotton fabrics, linen fabrics, and/or silk fabrics with a fine gauge will be better because thick knits will add bulk to your upper body.

Rule #3. Widening necklines bad. U-neck, V-neck, and scoop necklines are good. Especially compared to the wide scoop, square, and other widening necklines, they will slim down and elongate your torso. Keeping the top relatively simple and smooth will help you avoid drawing attention to your upper body. Wider necklines must be accessorized with something slim and vertical down your chest. Try a long pendant necklace or a simply styled scarf. Rule #4. Showing more of your skin, as with a deeper neckline, will elongate your frame. There’s less contrast to visually cut you up. Conservatively, try wearing clothing similar to your skin tone or wearing a fitted camisole (also similar to your skin tone) underneath; these will give you the same long and lean look.

Rule #5: soft and drapey fabrics will soften the shoulders. Raglan, dolman, dropped shoulder point, shoulder slit and cutout sleeves will all minimize your shoulders. Try to stay away from shoulder pads and strong shoulder details, unless it’s for costume. In a professional setting, make sure your sleeves aren’t even half an inch shorter than your arms. It’ll distort the length of your arms visually to make them appear shorter. Showing off some skin makes you look longer and leaner, but not when the extra skin is your wrist in what is supposed to be a long-sleeved blouse.

Have you ever noticed that thin straps make your shoulders and upper body look relatively wider? So for sleeveless, Rule #6 – try wide or large straps, or even multiple thin straps. You could layer a few tanks in complimentary colors one on top of the other to achieve this look.

Strategically work with prints, shapes and details to make the eye go up and down. Trust me; vertical details are your best friends. And that’s rule #7. This means: Zip fronts, cable knit patterns, pleats, visible vertical stitches.

Soumya Parker mentions, “I always wear long tops or layer with a long camisole. Other wise, my torso looks too short; this, at least adds an illusion of length.” She is absolutely right. Rule # 8. When these ‘tops’ extend past your hip-line, they balance out your wide shoulders by drawing attention away from that area, as well as elongating your torso. She’s also right about putting short tops on her list of things that don’t work that well for her, unless worn with high waist jeans as a look. There are better alternate options that would balance Soumya’s body type because these both would deter from elongating the torso. Her two lists, as mentioned in On the Two Lists, already look pretty sound.

Of course. Last but not least. Rule #9. Simplicity is key. Less is more. You’ll look taller without too much fuss. This matches Soumya’s personality and style anyway – classic, simple, and fuss free.

Celebrity styles to inspire the Inverted Triangle Body Type

Celebrity styles to inspire the Inverted Triangle Body Type: try to observe the nine rules here.

AKG

On Bottoms for the Inverted Triangle (Part 3)

In On Fashion, On Muse-of-the-Month, On Style, On Styling for the Individual on March 25, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Inverted Triangles are lucky, that pants and jeans are primed for narrow hips and thighs. ALL, All kinds of bottoms look good on you, and there is so much space for experimentation. So you must experiment to find what you like, Miss Parker! The goal, again, is to build up your bottom to balance the upper part of your body.

Bootcut, flared, and wide leg jeans, pants, and trousers will do this for you. For more styled and in-the-moment looks, paper-bag waist, gauchos, harem pants, cargo pants, and cuffed jeans will also work.

Bottom Styles for the Inverted Triangle

Bottom Styles for the Inverted Triangle - notice how ALL styles are perfect for the inverted triangle, and how each style's length and width influence the way the body shape looks & balances.
Disclaimer: Image from a Google Search - not mine

Nina Ricci recommends tucking a floral blouse (and I know my muse likes printed shirts) into paper-bag-waist trousers and maybe adding a creative thin belt to the look. Finish with heels. This way you have emphasized your waist-line, added curve to your hips, and added height with those heels. Paper-bag trousers that are tapered or are wide-leg (that will go down to cover half of your heel) will also contribute to vertical length.

Tip: If you like wearing skinny jeans, jeggings, or anything that is slim-fitted, make sure you work on minimizing your shoulders. This is because you want to avoid a toppled look. Try straight and cigarette style pants instead for events that aren’t casual – they will balance out your body shape better than skinny’s do.

AKG

On Skirts for the Inverted Triangle (Part 2)

In On Fashion, On Muse-of-the-Month, On Style, On Styling for the Individual on March 22, 2012 at 5:50 pm

I really love skirts – they’re such a great element of style. The same skirt can be worn to a casual lunch, to work, for shopping, or to a formal dinner, depending on the blouse, styling, accessories, shoes, and makeup. Inverted triangles often, and especially Miss Soumya Parker, have great legs. Great legs? Must wear skirts.

The first thing you should know about skirts: All types of skirts that flare from your hips, or add any visual width to your hips are best for the inverted triangle body type (Examples: Full Circle, Tulip, Peplum, Bias Cut, Tiered Skirts, snug Pencil Skirts).

Skirt Styles for the Inverted Triangle

Skirt Styles for the Inverted Triangle Body Type: Bias Cut, Peplum, Tiered, Tulip, Snug Pencil Skirt

1) As discussed in “On P for Peplum”, the peplum creates curves around your bottom. It balances your upper body and gives you great style.
2) Tulip skirts, by definition, are fuller at the hips, and narrower at the hem. They are a perfect for the petite inverted triangle, worn as a separate, or as part of a dress.
3) Maxi skirts work well for inverted triangles, but beware if you are petite. Petite girls can look like they are drowning in excessive volume in the wrong maxi or full circle skirt.
4) The length and the flounce are key here – and minimalistic is the way to go for body types like Soumya’s. When wearing a tiered or ruffled skirt, please ensure that the tiers are not too full. An interesting print or colored tulle underneath will look stylish. Also, as is commonly known, skirts that fall beyond the knee will cut you off at an awkward length and shorten you – this is something petite girls especially should stay away from. Too much fluff will also drown you.
5) For my Muse: Just make sure the flounce is controlled and a length above or just at the knee. With so many skirt options today, only go the tailored route if you must – however, if you find the absolutely perfect skirt and need to get it hemmed to make it the right length, a little tailoring never hurt anyone.
6) Basic Pencil skirts that fit snugly will make you look curvier too, especially when they are textured or patterned. Jcrew’s recent collection is full of beautiful, creative details in its pencil skirts.

Tip: Pencil Skirts with side seams that drop straight from the waist down are also a better choice – they give you curve rather than emphasizing the narrow quality of the pencil skirt. A long A-line top will also fake curvier hips.

All kinds of prints, and textures will work really well for the inverted triangle. Textures with lace, applique details, ruffles, tiers, horizontal stripes and prints, pockets, pleats, or even denim skirts will work wonders. A great trend to try wearing is the nautical trend. Kate Spade and BCBG Maxazria, both, have presented a range of styles that are perfect.

Another note for petite inverted triangles: Vertical stripes are great for the upper body. However, beware of vertical strips on the bottom half. They will make your lower half look even slimmer. While it is true that vertical stripes visually lengthen, it is better for you to lengthen by wearing a monochromatic look, or to lengthen via fit. So, definitely beware of pinstripe suiting.

Textures, Colors, and Prints for Inverted Triangles

Textures, Colors, and Prints for the Inverted Triangle Body Type

Stay tuned to learn about the bottoms, which I recognize usually come first. But I feel that skirts are a must-have investment for inverted triangles – whether they are worn with or without tights. These “rules” also apply to the dresses (their bottom halfs). Once you experiment with these “rules” and see them work for yourselves, you will intuitively start to realize what works and what doesn’t. For now, knowing about these rules will help you understand why certain pieces of clothing don’t fit as perfectly as others. And they’re a time saver.

Until next time,

AKG

On the Inverted Triangle (Part 1)

In On Fashion, On Muse-of-the-Month, On Style, On Styling for the Individual on March 16, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Recently, there has been an increasing awareness about body shapes and dressing for your body type. With the large amount of information in the media today, it is becoming easier to avoid falling prey to fashion. Simultaneously however, we have been bombarded with imagery telling us what is “ideal perfection”, and it becomes a process to learn to accept that you are beautiful, exactly the way you are.

Let me tell you an important not-so-unknown-secret for dressing better; if the blouse, or dress isn’t fitting right, it isn’t right for you. You don’t need to alter something about yourself; you just need to find something that is perfect for you.

And that’s where stylists, image consultants, and/or shoppers come in. They will admit to you that though very few people are a particular model body shape, everyone has characteristics of common body shapes. The trick is to be able to objectively decipher yours, and build your wardrobe accordingly.

Professionals argue there are 6 body shapes: the triangle (also known as the pear), inverted triangle, lean column, rectangle, apple, and hourglass (neat and full). Others claim there are 8, or 12. Whatever the number of shapes there may be, I am inspired by my muse, Soumya Parker, to discuss the inverted triangle body type. (The other body types will be discussed in posts later this year.) While Soumya may not be a Perfect Inverted Triangle, I believe that she is most similar to the inverted triangle.

Body Shape Chart from Your New Image

Sample Body Shape Chart from Your New Image

Here is the checklist to think about whether you are also similar to an inverted triangle. (Please consider these objectively.) There is no right or wrong here, or better or worse. What is wrong is dressing an apple body type with clothes meant for a rectangle shape.

1) Do you have strong looking shoulders?
2) Are said shoulders wider than your hips?
3) Do you often get compliments about your great legs?
4) Do you have less obvious waist definition?
5) Do you feel/look like you don’t have, or have a very small butt?
6) Do your hips look straight, because your shoulders are broad, or your upper body is fuller?

Often, inverted triangles may have a wide chest and a full midriff – you may need some styling tricks from the apple shape, or you may have curves that make you lean towards the hourglass shape. Whatever it may be, great styling is all about wearing the right clothes for your body type – to play up your best assets, and minimize the rest. Like the stars do. Notice how they balance their upper and lower body.

Popular inverted triangles in the media

Popular celebrities who are inverted triangles- I'd argue you're in good company.

Soumya Parker, in particular, is a petite inverted triangle. Roughly speaking, the goals are: to elongate the torso, define the waist, balance the upper and lower body, and to add shape/curve to the bottom. Once we accept these, it’s time to go have some fun.

AKG

On P for Peplum

In On 80s Fashion, On Fashion, On Fashion History, On Muse-of-the-Month, On Style on March 13, 2012 at 9:13 pm

I could be slightly jealous of Soumya Parker for her runway model body type; it is especially perfect for this season. Peplum is back, and the Guardian called it the third installment in the trilogy of the hourglass silhouette – “The Waist” (in 2007), “Here Comes the Shoulder” (in 2009) and now “The Revenge of the Hips” (in 2012). Peplum is one of the classic styles that you should incorporate into your wardrobe forever.

To be exact, a peplum is a a short flared, gathered or pleated strip of fabric that is attached at the waist of a jacket, dress, or blouse – it actually started out as a short overskirt attached to jackets back in the 40s. Because Carrie Bradshaw’s body shape is similar to the inverted triangle that Soumya Parker’s is, Carrie was often seen in variations of the peplum style (See image below). Fast forward to this season and the red carpet, peplum is everywhere.

The peplum still forms a flounce over the hips, but it’s no longer in its classic form. Some designers have taken inspiration from the 80s, complete with bold polka dots, color and super-structured shape; others have played with spacey, modern, sci-fi and contemporary designs to create elegant and/or geometric looks. It can be worn soft, with ruffles, or dramatic, with crinoline. The style is excellent – it simultaneously accentuates the bust and tiny waist, while adding curve to the hip.

Peplum is back this spring 2012!

The variety in peplum styles

How to wear peplum:

1) Cinch your waist. Because the peplum style puts a lot of emphasis on the hip area, you must cinch the waist to avoid looking dowdy.
2) Fitted vs. flared peplum. A fitted peplum with emphasis on the cinched waist doesn’t hide curves but instead accentuates them nicely. The fitted peplum is actually more figure flattering than is the flared peplum, since it tends to deemphasize the hips. A flared peplum will create a fuller hourglass figure (it will make the hips look larger), while a fitted peplum uses less fabric and cinches at the waist.
3) Try going monochromatic. If the peplum silhouette makes you shy, consider a dark monochromatic style for optimal fabulousness and flattery. (See above – Blake Lively)
4) Boldly colored peplum styles can add style to this classic silhouette, especially with combined with a standout belt to highlight the waist. (See above – Rihanna) Perhaps liven up the peplum dress with a bright print. (See above – Leighton Meester)

Enjoy experimenting with this classic style! However, a few of caution when wearing peplum:

1) Often, women with larger figures attempt to hide their extra curves with extra fabric; counterintuitively, this only adds bulk. Do not do this with peplum, please.
2) The peplum should ideally start at the waist – when it starts at the hips, it will exxagerate the hips, often unflatteringly so.
3) If you are colorblocking with peplum, make sure the top and bottom balance themselves – neutrals with neutrals, brights with brights. (Emma Stone does this beautifully – see above)
4) Over-accessorizing is generally always a no-no, unless it’s specifically event-appropriate. When wearing peplum, simplicity is especially key.
5) For most body types, a fitted peplum is more flattering than a flared one, since it tends to draw attention away from the hips. Please consider your own body type and experiment with a few different peplum styles before settling in on a specific style.

To my muse: Soumya P., especially for a formal or semi-formal western style, you must try the peplum style. The peplum will add curves that will balance your body type perfectly, and your body type is ideal for every kind of peplum. The cinched waist in the fitted peplum is great for accentuating curves. To create the illusion of a larger hip, flared peplums are your calling – they will project an hourglass figure. Peplum dresses and jackets are intuitive; as ideas for separates, a peplum top can be paired with a pencil skirt to look slick and slim – a peplum belt can be added to a shift dress to take it from work-wear to evening wear.

Be sure to have fun with it. This style was practically made for you.

AKG

On the Bullet Bra

In On Entertainment, On Fashion, On Fashion History on February 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm

I always thought that the conical bra came from Jean Paul Gaultier and Madonna of the 80s. I was intrigued when I found that he was inspired by the “Bullet” bra – a highly structured conically pointed bra that was popular back in the 1940s. Also known as the “Torpedo” bra, it was designed for maximum projection – it was used for the ‘Sweater Girl’ image, the image of a busty, voluminous, ‘girl next door’ whose clothes accentuated her enhanced curves. The outer and under wires were prominent in these clothes – this bra actually has history.

It had all started during World War II, when there was this idea that bras and girdles were protective, and companies often strictly enforced that workers wear bras for 3 main reasons: good taste, anatomical support, and morale. Lizabeth Scott, an actress of the 40s and 50s, remembered also for her sultry voice, was the pinnacle of the lovely Sweater girl – the camera loved her. She had a unique quality – the audience would know what her character is thinking of feeling just be seeing her – no words necessary. Of course, the conical bra became more and more wearable and was featured through many ads. Late 40s/Early 50s fashion. The postwar boom in the economy thereafter obviously saw changes in fabric, padding, colors, and more – fashions changed, and the conical bra was left behind for more comfort and a natural look.

bullet bra - 50s

Bullet Bra, as seen in the 40s and 50s

In the 80s, Madonna brought the conical bra back – and since then, there have been many interpretations of this fashion style. Featured below is the series of sketches of the costumes that Jean Paul Gaultier designed for Madonna for her Blonde Ambition Tour  in 1990 – all with the trademark of the conical bra.

Jean Paul Gaultier's sketches for Madonna's Blonde Ambition Tour

Jean Paul Gaultier's sketches for Madonna's Blonde Ambition Tour

Madonna Blonde Ambition Tour 1990 - feat. the conical bra

Madonna Blonde Ambition Tour 1990 - feat. the conical bra

Rihanna by Zac Posen - Grammy Awards 2008

Rihanna by Zac Posen - Grammy Awards 2008 - reinterpretation of the conical bra

While Zac Posen for Rihanna at 2008 Grammy Awards wasn’t nearly as severe as Jean Paul Gaultier for Madonna at the Blonde Ambition Tour, it makes it more obvious that the ‘bullet’ bra is certainly inspiring, and here to stay. It’ll be interesting to see how stylists and style icons reintrepret and recreate the ‘bullet bra’ in the future. Perhaps, this may be an idea for your Halloween costume this year, or maybe this style will be seen in more street fashion? Regardless, I hope you enjoyed this piece of history as much as I did.

AKG

On the Outlet Shopping Spree

In On Discounts, On Fashion, On Luxury, On Shopping, On Style on February 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm

I think it’s the energizing “ee” ending. Bee, Glee, Free, Gee, Flee, Toffee – you get the gist. Perhaps they’re all so ‘happy’ because they end on such a high, happy note. “Ee”!.

I digress. Today is all about one of the happiest “word” of them all – happier than weddings maybe, because isn’t half the excitement of the wedding the shopping? The nonstop finding of one perfect thing after another until you have so many bags you need help carrying them. Last weekend, I had the best shopping spree ever – at the Wrentham Premium Outlets in Wrentham, MA. They have Theory, BCBG Maxazria, Michael Kors, Kate Spade New York, JCrew, Coach, Aeropostale, Harry & David, and so many other absolutely amazing stores (well over 200 in #) – something for everyone. For a first real outlet shopping experience, this place is awesome – I had my first Cracker Barrel and Friendly’s experiences.

The fall/winter sale made this trip even more opportune. At the Bloomingdales Outlet, boots already on sale were an additional 65% off. I kid you not. I made the most amazing purchase in my entire life. Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzels from Harry & David. Yum! Seriously though, I bought knee/thigh high Sergio Rossi wedge boots (dark brown leather) – for my mom – originally priced at $1390 for $130 dollars. *happy dance* An additional 20% off coupon that a friend found me made this trip perfection – almost everything I bought that day was 80% off and above.

I realized that outlet shopping sprees may be the only kind that are actually legitimate for most budgets. A few of my favorite finds: the perfect JCrew dress, made only of diagonal stripes, olive Hunter Willingen Suede and Leather Boots, and Juicy Couture starter bracelet. Outlet shopping is such a great way to build your wardrobe – you may or may not find something that’s “in season”, but you’ll definitely find something that is right for you at a discount. I may just make this an annual tradition.

A few words of caution: Make a list, and use coupons that can be found online to get the deepest discount possible – get value for your money.

Limit yourself – for example, only buy things on sale.

Pay attention to the quality – Coach, JCrew, and many other stores have a separate factory line, that they sell at these outlets. The quality is likely different from their regular store – not necessarily bad – but look closely.

The perfect time for an outlet shopping spree, in my opinion, is when all stores have their end-of-season-sales going on – things will likely be at their lowest price.

Last but not least, have fun!

AKG

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