AKG

Posts Tagged ‘celebrity’

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 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

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 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 R.I.P. Whitney Houston

In On 80s Fashion, On Entertainment, On Style on February 13, 2012 at 5:27 am

There are many reasons to mourn the passing of the regal Whitney Houston, one of the world’s biggest pop stars. Her self-titled debut album (released in 1985) sold 25 million copies worldwide. Since then, she released seven albums and three film soundtracks. Sold over 200 million albums and singles worldwide. Winner of six Grammys. Earned 30 Billboard Awards, 22 American Music Awards and two Emmy Awards. Who knew what she was going to bring us next?

She IS an inspiration; her music moves millions. Close your eyes. Listen to a ballad start slow, build into what some call “a cheesy smooth-pop flourish”, go down a few octaves only to come back to an unbelievably high note, and maybe belt out an amazing ending with her. That is the real reason to mourn her loss.

I feature here, my favorites: “One Moment in Time” and “I Will Always Love You”.

Seriously. Turn the music up. Any of the others even. “Greatest Love of All”, “So Emotional”, “Count on Me”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”…the list goes on. Sing along with her, sway with her, even if you’re off-tone and singing through your nose on the song’s peak notes. You may feel an incredible shift.

Many of her songs were about friendship, love, freedom – about believing, dreaming, and achieving. This month, remind yourself of why you love you. Dream. Believe in yourself. Walk with your head high.

Much could be said about her style. She was a true diva – her fashion epitomized 80′s glam, complete with the big shoulders, big hair, and glittery sequins. Her shoulders shrunk as fashion changed, but her glamorous style and big hair never did.

But I will remember Whitney Houston more for her fearless style than for her glitz. She was stylish because she was never afraid to be her ridiculously vocally gifted and talented self. In a time when the industry was judging her for cold technique, she brought ballads to a crescendo that tug at your soul.

Oh, R.I.P. Whitney Houston – your stirring music, your unforgettable style – you will live in our hearts forever.

AKG

On the Great Debate

In On Entertainment, On Fashion, On Style on January 27, 2012 at 9:52 pm

No, I’m not talking about what came first – the chicken or the egg – or about how the universe was created. I’m talking about Colors vs. Neutrals.

Everyone has a list of staples. Every designer, stylist, celebrity, and/or stylish individual talks about how one can never have enough black dresses, nude or black pumps, diamond studs, etc. (I’m still working on my list.)

My question is something I’ve wondered for over a year now, and have yet to answer. Suppose someone is buying her first dress –  the first dress in her wardrobe. One would recommend that she buys an investment style – such as a sheath dress, an A line, or a cocktail dress, depending on her lifestyle and purpose. Something lacy, blingy, or an evening gown would limit the number of wears that she would get – and would probably not be a cost-effective recommendation.

This is where my question arises. Why should I recommend someone to invest in a black dress over investing in a solid red or blue sheath dress? The color, which would be decided upon based on her coloring, would be an investment that would help her stand out. If she accessorized a simple silhouette well, she could wear it to the office, an event, a cocktail party, an art gallery, a luncheon, and/or to brunch. A color may even be the beginning of the creation of her signature look.

Zooey Deschanel wears a red dress multiple times in the show, The New Girl, to many different places. Nina Ricci talks about how the “little white dress” should also be one of the staples in a closet in her book, “The One Hundred.”

My two staple trench coats are in a beautiful red, and a lovely pink. I get compliments for them every time I wear them out without fail. I’m thankful my mother recommended we buy them instead of the typical khaki and black trench coats. This is not to denigrate neutrals. I would be the last person to do that, since underneath the colorful trench coat I’m usually wearing all black, or at least mostly neutrals. Obviously, a wardrobe is going to have a mix of both, colors and neutrals. But the question about the list, and the investment dress remains.

And the great debate continues.

AKG

On the Evolution of Personal Style

In On Entertainment, On Fashion, On Style on November 29, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Prepare to laugh, and perhaps enjoy yourselves. Because I have decided that I’d like to share a secret with you all today.

Due to my background in medicine, I was never much interested in fashion or design until my second year at NIFT. In my first semester at fashion school, I learned that my mom’s red Burberry raincoat was actually a renowned classic. And that the bag she was excited about that she had to coerce me to carry was Dior’s iconic saddle.

I was, quite literally, fashion-stupid.

I spent the next few years religiously soaking up information about fashion and style from classes, books, experience, shopping, and the people/friends around me.

I realized that fashion isn’t baseless. Still, fashion and its “rules” still eluded me. Even today, I question the existence of these so-called “rules”. I’ve come to the conclusion that people have to make their own rules to a certain extent. There’s such a variance that there is no concrete definition of what’s fashionable, or stylish, or ‘classy’.

Victoria Beckham’s taste is different from Edith Head, who is different from Blake Lively, who is different from Patricia Fields, who is different from everyone else. And yet, these are all stylish women who style themselves and others very well. And the men. Have you seen the constant reinvention that is Andre Benjamin, and how different he is from George Clooney, who is different from Tom Ford? And what about the variation geographically? What’s ‘elegant’ in Paris will not be be as perfectlly ‘elegant’ for Los Angeles.

It’s enough to make one’s head spin.

Anyway, the secret? Have you ever taken a look at celebrities’ style evolution? Ever seen witnessed how wrong many well-dressed people today can be – even when on the red carpet? Take a look.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I took an immense amount of comfort in seeing the style evolution of celebrities. People seem to be most glamorous in their early 30s. That’s when they figure out what really works for them. I was 18 when I thought this, at the beginning of my second year in fashion school.

I figured I have time to experiment. If Anne Hathaway, Eva Longoria, and Tyra Banks could look like that and decide to wear those dresses, I’m only human.

That’s the secret.

So what if I paired the wrong shoes with the wrong tshirt? Or looked completely laughable because I matched my green shoes to a blue bag? Trial-and-error was the only way I’d learn. And people had looked funnier in the past, on-camera! Obviously, even the Greats have had their questionable days.

My friends could tell you stories for hours (but they won’t because they’re good friends) about my more than questionable fashion choices. So far I’ve decided that I like the word ‘classy’ more than ‘experimental’, and have slowly found myself becoming more and more so. This “secret”, this decision I made has helped me immensely in slowly, but surely, finding my style. I hope it might help you.

AKG

On Nonsense in the Name of ‘Fashion’

In On Entertainment on November 20, 2011 at 4:06 am

Is it just me, or has entertainment gotten more risqué with time?

I feel that in searching for clothes (or lack thereof), effects, and moves to ‘thrill’ the audience, entertainers have forgotten that there are boundaries. In this world where there is very little boundary, Lady Gaga, whilst only half dressed, holds children at a promotional event at Best Buy, and Rihanna appears naked on Esquire (nothing new for Esquire covers) covered in seaweed. Since when is being covered in seaweed sexy?!


^ (Btw, this is the happier video where Rihanna’s actually more woman than object.)

I understand that ‘being yourself’ is important, and that freedom is the goal. But how much is too much? I can’t find it in myself to blame the entertainers while on stage, because they want to sell to a tough audience. But I do feel there is a problem with the “anything to garner audience attention” approach.

And the problem is the effect that this kind of media is having on the generation. The Olsen twins used to make news, and we thought “look what too much fame and money do at a young age”. But they made news for eating disorders! Not for nudity and inappropriate gestures on stage. The Olsen twins didn’t even always go shopping for their own clothes (even for their nights on the red carpets) until they were 16 or 17. They sometimes used to wear the same thing in different colors. They’ve actually become successful now. And rightly so…

Need I mention the current “teen sensations” and their public appearances?

Miley Cyrus was dancing with a pole wearing leather barely-somethings and gracing the covers of magazines seemingly only draped in a sheet. Taylor Momsen is wearing black leather garters and holding guns. Selena Gomez, who is the most decent of them all, is also performing wearing the barely minimal and seen wrapped around the Bieber at the beach.

These are our teen icons?

Where is the differentiation between teenagers and adults?! What happened to that boundary? Has it disappeared also, in the name of ‘fashion’? Does anyone even want to fathom what these teens might do in future performances and appearances?

But you know…It’s become acceptable, because it’s “fashionable”. Read: It’s what all the cool kids are doing. It’s become “fashionable” for kids to wear heels and use iPads before they can walk. It’s become “fashionable” for 18-month-old boys to recite Lady Gaga song lyrics before they can read. It’s become “fashionable” for people to do many things that I can with certainty say are not healthy.

And the most troublesome fact is: It is what it is, and there is only so much you can do about it.

AKG

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