AKG

Posts Tagged ‘individual style’

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 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 Nails Nails Nails

In On Details, On Muse-of-the-Month, On Nails, On Style on April 27, 2012 at 12:06 am

Art, management, events, food – every specialty has little nuances – the experts are keen observers of the minute and have achieved finesse in the details. Fashion, too, is in the details. Season to season, I used to be wonder – what changed? Up until a few years ago, it all looked the same to me. Every season there was glitter. Every season had fits and flares. Every season came with prints, black, the “new black”, color, neon, white, and neutrals. That is until I went to Milano, Italy for training in Image Consulting. I realized there, that the changes are all in the details. It’s in the bohemian fringe vs. the lace. In the leather details vs. the velvet. In the crochet vs. the embroidery. And so the list goes on.

I’m absolutely positive that there is very little in the world more detailed than nail art. They say that the world judges a women’s hygienic tendencies by the state of her toenails and fingers. I’m assuming that Arshia Arora is one of the elite, in this case – she has definitely put her “slight ambidextrousness” to good use. I personally think great hand-done nail art is a sign of great patience, stability, concentration, attention-to-detail, and talent.

On Nails Nails Nails, by Arshia Arora

Every time I see one of her new creations, I either feel embarrassed at the cuticles I continue to chew down, or inspired to take better care of them. My nails are always neat, clean, and well treated – but the cuticles are dry. At the rare occasion that I get a manicure, I trepidatiously inch my hands forward, ready for THAT look from the esthetician before he/she cluck his or her tongue. “You have good, strong nails – but dry cuticles. You should take care of them! You must try – insert the esthetician’s favorite – oil.”

The question I always had for ALL nail artists is “what’s the point?” One of the reasons I’ve stopped getting a manicure is that I find myself more at ease when all I have to do is clean, file, cut, and buff. Maybe there’s a layer of clear shine. I can’t imagine the dread I’d feel every time I’d wash my hands or do the dishes – “What if this polish rubs or chips off?!” I couldn’t justify the time and/or money to myself that it takes to create these designs on nails.

That was until I saw this adorable nail art Arshia Arora did on one of her closest friends. Such adorable-ness. Could you be rude to anyone with nails like this? Such creativity.

My favorite nail art by Arshia Arora

My favorite nail art by Arshia Arora - if I had that cute face on my fingernails, I doubt I'd be able to stop smiling.

So, plan a lunch at home, girl’s night, “sleepover”, or anything with your best gal pal – and do what we did for years when we were little. Do each other’s nails. There’s a world of inspiration and tools out there. The list of types of nail polish finish has grown. There’s: Matte, Shine, Shimmer, Micro-shimmer, Glitter, Micro-glitter, Chrome, Creme, Frost, Lustre, Powder, Shattered, and more. There are over 20 nail color brands I can think of just off the top of my head.

I personally am a huge fan of http://www.alllacqueredup.com/ and http://www.lacquerized.com/ for inspiration. Choose whatever you feel drawn to. Nails are a huge sign of personality, as well as a great place to experiment with style.

Mostly, just have fun with it!

AKG

P.S. For work, make sure you’re keeping it professional. Chipped, inappropriate, or glittered/sparkly nails may actually delay your promotion. Please be wise.

On Borrowing from the Boys, Guys, and Men

In On Details, On Menswear, On Muse-of-the-Month, On Style, On Styling for the Individual on April 26, 2012 at 1:30 am

First there was Coco Chanel and then there was the Le Smoking from YSL. Then came the la garconne dressing, and fast forward a few decades – the androgynous looks became popular. Now borrowing from the opposite gender’s wardrobe has become commonplace. The blazer, anorak, leather jacket, cargos, and boyfriend jeans – and now the boyfriend tee – pieces we have borrowed from the men – are all officially found in women stores now. There are tuxedo jackets for dresses – Glenn Close in Zac Posen at the Oscars. Menswear inspired womenswear is now seen on the street, on screen, and on the red carpet all the time now.

Borrowing from the Boys, Guys, and Men - As Seen on the Red Carpet

Borrowing from the Boys, Guys, and Men - As Seen on the Red Carpet

Take note, that menswear is never synonymous to baggy, no matter what it may seem like on the street around you. Take inspiration by mixing slouchy and feminine pieces with structured, tailored, and more angular pieces. It’s all in the balance. If you’re wearing a tailored jacket or trousers, make it your own by adding a sparkly, soft, or sensuous piece to the mix. Wear sky high heels and/or a statement necklace. Soft neutrals, jewel tones, or bright neons – they all look fabulous with black and nude alike – also consider the beautiful black & white combination with one other color in accessories.

Every book of style talks about the men’s shirt and how its cut looks so great when it finds its place on feminine curves. So many movies will showcase a man’s button down shirt on a woman. The key is finding an oversized shirt in a color (or white), print, or pattern that works for you – and defining your waist to ensure you don’t drown in it. Higher thread counts will look great thrown over your swimsuit at the beach.

Borrowing from the Boys, Guys, and Men - As Seen on the Street

Borrowing from the Boys, Guys, and Men - As Seen on the Street

The true borrowing lies in getting the details, and accessories right. I love men’s watches, especially those by Kenneth Cole and Michael Kors. There is something about the juxtaposition of a men’s large watch on a woman’s wrist that is very today. Sure, there is room for the delicate watch bracelets, but that isn’t for a contemporary look. Wear both, and see which you like on yourself more. This isn’t a costume. You should feel at home in what you’re wearing. Maybe try mixing it in with a bunch of bangles in similar tones or material. Work the watch into your look – make sure it doesn’t stand out like an awkward teenager.

Before investing in Michael Kors and Kenneth Cole, I borrowed my brother’s automatic Tommy Hilfiger watch for a while. Maybe borrowing from the boys may mean shopping in a closet without spending any money at the mall!

Waistcoats and vests. Black, colored, or denim – slouchy and/or tailored – these are always useful to throw on over a shirt or tshirt – especially in the summer when you don’t have to wear a jacket over the look.

Ties. Love love love ties. The ascot ties Miu Miu, featured in “Incorporating Androgynous Runway Fashion”, can be found in gorgeous bold prints to wear with printed or solid color shirts. Slim, bold colored ties look really great on women. I was working with a manager at Rugby in their operations, and she came wearing a white shirt with a slim navy tie and denim – the look was powerful. Themuseflash will someday make a post just about ties. But until then, just know that you can wear them pretty much anyway you want. And if you’re not into that, wear them as an interesting belt! (seriously)

Cufflinks are really interesting accessories. These are very personal pieces that I have to try on with what I intend to wear them with. For men and women both, cufflinks are usually best when they’re quirky, and very related to the wearer’s personality – they look best on simple french cuff shirt that suit or are tailored to your body.

Collection of Menswear Inspired Womenswear

Oxford shoes are something I saw on Arshia’s pinterest. Whether in flats or heels, fabulous colors or neutrals, oxford inject ‘contemporary’ into your look. The upcoming post, we’ll devote entirely to shoes.

Until next time, make styles and pieces borrowed from the boys your own.

AKG

On Defining Personal Style

In On Style, On Styling for the Individual, On the Self on April 25, 2012 at 1:00 am

It’s important to feel inspired by the people and objects we see, hear, touch, and smell. Without inspiration, we wouldn’t be able to move forward in life; life would remain static. It is just as important to experiment and try new things in life. Without this, one cannot grow and remains limited within boundaries, both imagined and real.

It is equally important to not lose sight of the goal of experimenting however, which is to: discover where it is that you feel most comfortable, and to define that.

I recently discovered a love for maxi dresses. Most people advocate wearing flats when wearing a maxi. At my petite height, wearing flats would mean that I would likely drown in my dress. I wear wedges with my maxis, without caring about what people are thinking. I discovered in this process, that Jennifer Aniston and many other celebrities have it right: people are always going to judge you. You will always be too skinny, too fat, too tall, too short, too simple, or too flashy. When you feel comfortable, you look the most stylish. I discussed this in detail in “On Being Comfortable”, something I believes applies to my current muse, Arshia Arora, as well.

The goal, after finding where you feel best, is definition. Being inspired by everything doesn’t mean that you look like 30 different personalities in a month, unless of course that is who you are. It means accepting where you feel good, and letting go of what doesn’t feel right to narrow your wardrobe choices.

Forget the labels, and what people think of you. Who knows what “androgynous”, “feminine”, “royal”, “chic”, etc. mean anyway? There are multiple definitions of each, because these are born in personal opinion. There is no blanket definition. Once you recognize your style, you can build your wardrobe to synchronize and maximize what’s in it.

That leather jacket you have. Is it going to be an experimental style, or is that something you feel at home in? Then you can combine it with denim, workwear to evening wear, sundresses, etc. Are you a pants girl, or a skirts girl? I made a friend at a conference last weekend, who mentioned to me that she loves wearing tshirts. She wears them with a blazer and pencil skirt for work. For her, investing in quality skirts, blazers and basic tshirts gives her wardrobe synchronicity, and flair. Investing in shirts wouldn’t give her as much mileage.

As a recent exercise, I starte”d to think of characters: “Blair” – Leighton Meester in Gossip Girl, “Serena” – Blake Lively of Gossip Girl, “Miss Pillsbury” of Glee – imagine dressing one in clothes from another. Each of these women is stylish, and incredibly unique. That is the goal.

I recommend that Arshia, and all of us experiment to define our individual style fearlessly, and find our unique space. With this definition, it’s easy to be stylish. Without this definition, you remain in a place where you’re unsure of yourself, and unwilling or unable to make attempts to express who you are without fear of judgement – this shows in wardrobe choices.

Let’s choose to be bold.
AKG

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