AKG

Posts Tagged ‘March Muse’

On We’ll Miss You, Miss Parker

In On Muse-of-the-Month on April 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm

On where Miss Parker finds inspiration:
“I can’t honestly pin point any more! It’s not like college where I was always on the look out for something. These days just about anything gets me – going from simple thing like a doodle, to good typography poster, to quotes to even a good recipe!”

What does a typical day in Soumya Parker’s day look like?
Everyday is something new. I am either running out to do some errand or the other for my parents, working on some stuff for them, filling out forms for Soven. Sometimes I do a bit of drawing or painting. I have discovered a new love for baking – so at least once a week I try out something new! And weekends are spent with friends.”

If you had the opportunity to go on an adventure, where would you go – or what would you do?
“To be very honest, I don’t think I am too adventurous. Through out the whole Rishikesh trip I was scared beyond reason (imagine a person who doesn’t even know how to swim being plunged into the rapids of the Ganges!) And when I went to Leh, I will not lie to you I thought I was on my deathbed. That is until they discovered that I had turned blue and was given oxygen – felt much better after that. But nonetheless, I do love to travel. I love visiting new places and learning something about them! I would love, love, love to travel extensively, both across India and abroad! And what I would do once I reach these places? That’s simple. I would eat!!! And then I would go shop like a maniac!

Describe your dream vacation.
“I have grown up in North India – so my parent’s idea of a summer getaway, was to head to the hills. And although I like the hills, I have come to realize that I actually have an inexplicable love for the sea/ocean. Having never seen a beach before in my life, when I went to kerala the sight of one took my breath away! So any dream vacation will have to be on a beach or an island (not that I know how to swim or anything – nor do I have the figure for a bikini. It’s just the sights and the sound! I love it!) Sitting under a giant umbrella with a giant glass of something yummy to drink (non-alcoholic, I have sworn off it! They just make me sick) and a great book (no vacation is complete without a book!). I think I should add here that I would like to go on this vacation with the people I love. I don’t think I can manage a holiday on my own. I’d probably get lost and stranded on an island!

What are your favorite fabrics?
“Silks in winter, for example gorgeous raw silk kurtas. And in the summer, the thinest pure cotton I can find.”

Quirky Muse, Soumya Parker

A heartfelt thank you, and goodbye to my Quirky Muse, Miss Soumya Parker. We'll miss you!
(Picture put together by Alka Narayan, BFOM)

A note from my Quirky Muse, Miss Soumya Parker

“Anu, You can’t imagine how incredibly touched I am! It is very rare for anybody to have the privilege of knowing how their friends perceive them. One only learns about how people view them in passing, and even then it is never this articulately put! And I dont think you realize what a big deal it is for me. Because when you write these posts I don’t just get to hear about your view of me. People like Alka, Tinu, Neha, Kohli all call me and say “Oh, my god! Did you read what Anu wrote? It’s sooooo sweet, and sooo true!” I consider myself honored to have friends like you in my life and please know that I am sooo sooo sooo touched that you are doing this whole muse of the month thing!”

“You know doing this whole thing with you has really cleared up my head! It’s really strange but it’s all organized in my head now. I thought I just pulled stuff out of the cupboard and didn’t really consciously dress a certain way. But then when I started answering your questions, it got me thinking that I was always working around certain parameters and my choice of clothes always reflected that. Little things like the material of what I wore, the places I would visit during the day, and its appropriateness.”

I’m beyond thrilled we could do this for you Soumya, and we will miss you being our muse.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, for being my inspiration.

Hugs, & Love,
AKG

On Being Comfortable

In On Muse-of-the-Month, On Personality, On the Self on March 31, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Soumya Parker inspires me to be comfortable, not only in my skin and being, but in my life and with myself. When asked about the staples in her closet, she says,

“Kurta, jeans (black and blue), T- shirt, Stoles/dupattas, one great pair of indian footwear and one pair of good black heels. And I can’t live without my earrings! Also pajamas man! What is life without comfortable pajamas?”

I couldn’t agree more. People, asked about their ideal days, will give you a laundry list of things that will happen. And that’s perfectly fine, because rarely to do people admit that a day of peaceful me-time is just what they need. Miss Parker’s ideal day is “[lounging] alone with a good book and nibbling on an unending supply of good food.” Such simplicity and lack of duplicity is rare. I honestly can’t define what an ideal day for me will be, but I’m encouraged to openly embrace and admit whatever I find that may be.

Notice this around you – people look the way they feel, even with the makeup. When I think back to the NIFT years, it’s apparent to me that Soumya has always been effortless. She never apologizes for who she is and moves with grace even when she is behaving like a monkey in the courtyard. Soumya is confident, and has always been able to move with poise. I recognize this more now, as I have become more comfortable in my own skin as I’ve grown into it.

There are actually a few stages here – there is the uncomfortable, neutral, and the comfortable. To be clear, saying “I’m not uncomfortable” is not the same as “being comfortable”. It’s okay wherever you may be in that, but let’s make an active decision to become entirely comfortable in our skins.

1) Be good to yourself, and to other people. Start to focus on what you absolutely love about yourself. Instead of seeing the zit or blemish when you look in the mirror, look for the best in you.

2) Give that woman in the mirror some support. Get your best friends together – and instead of lamenting about how “fat” you are or how scragly your hair looks, raise a toast to what’s fabulous about each of you. No more bashing.

3) Image matters. No matter how much we claim otherwise, there is a definite “feel-good” quality to looking in the mirror and liking what you see. So, find fashions, and hairstyles, and makeup that fit you. Don’t try to fit into styles – find the one that works best for you.

4) #3 actually doesn’t just apply to fashion; it applies to anything in life if you want to excel. Find out what’s a good fit for you. As Debbie Ford often says, “Anything that you can’t embrace about yourself gets to use you. Any part of you that you deny, hide, or suppress will come back to use you or haunt you. You can’t get rid of it completely – ever. Either you’re going to use it, or it’s going to use you. […] There is a reason you are the way you are. In order to deliver the gift that you’re meant to deliver to the world, [to your family, to whomever or wherever] – you must be at peace with yourself.

5) Work through your mistakes – trust me, I make the most mistakes in my family. I recognize that it’s not always easy, but the goal is to learn from your mistakes and move forward. You WILL feel better about yourself, having done this. And then, with your family and loved ones, feel free enough to be honest about your shortcomings and your talents. They will love you no matter what.

6) Get to know yourself. Use a journal to log your thoughts, freely. Or whatever helps you become one in your thoughts and actions. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunities you have. That’s right. Do the SWOT analysis for yourself, or your style, or anything. Whatever works.

7) Move your body. Dance, cycle, run, walk, swim, jump rope, or do yoga. Do whatever it is that you enjoy doing to use your body constructively. Not only will you feel more comfortable in it, you will also grow/age gracefully.

8) Prioritize yourself – Love yourself – Treat yourself. Take a bubble bath, or treat yourself to a massage and steam room. Buy lotion in a scent you love. Eat dark chocolate, or whatever makes you feel good inside. Take time for yourself – it will do wonders. Create a personal space and time for “me time”. Everyone needs time for themselves – it’s not a luxury, but a necessity. To feel at home in your own skin, taking time and space for yourself (however that may be), is important.

9) Always always – drink lots of water. It has healing powers that we will never truly be able to recognize.

10) As my father always taught me, laugh loudly. And as mother always says, stop slouching and make eye contact!

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 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 Introducing Miss Soumya Parker

In On Muse-of-the-Month, On Style on March 1, 2012 at 5:30 pm

I had wanted to become a cardiologist since I watched my father perform his 100th angioplasty; I’d been watching him since before I could walk. When I was studying medicine, I always had my family for advice and help. In fashion, I’ve had to find my own way. Sometime during my first year of fashion school, I decided I was going to be cleverer in both, my writing and speech. References to television, designers, styles, and fashion eras were going to come with ease. Tim Gunn, Anna Wintour, the writers in TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy, scriptwriters, Carrie Bradshaw – these were my inspirations. And well, even though I didn’t realize it until recently, there was also one Soumya Parker.

Witty. Quick. Talented. Beautiful. Intelligent. Sexy. Crazy about shoes. Poised. The best friend you can ask for because she’s there for you no matter what. A firm believer in “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Many may know her as Som, Soumie, and/or Parker – we’ll be talking about this Quirky Muse in detail this month.

AKG @themuseflash presents the first muse-of-the-month ever, Miss Soumya Parker.

AKG

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