AKG

Posts Tagged ‘personal style’

On C for Color

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

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

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

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

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

~Meha Bhargava

On C for Color - Muse: Meha Bhargava

On C for Color
Muse of the Month : Meha Bhargava

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

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

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

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

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

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

AKG

Related posts:

On Dressing Hourglass Legs (Part 4)

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

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

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

Pants/Jeans/Trousers Styling

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

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

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

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

and you thought this was going to be hard..

AKG

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

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

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

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

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

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

Based on the rules, AVOID these features.

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

LIKE these features in blouses:

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

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

AKG

On Listing Wardrobe Staples

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

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

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

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

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

3) Closet Staples

4) Travel Staples

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

Knowing the staples in your closet has these effects:

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

Her travel packing list is especially interesting.

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

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

~Meha Bhargava

Meha Bhargava's Lists

Meha Bhargava’s Lists

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

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

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

AKG

On Substantial Frivolilty

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

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

~Sofia Coppola

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

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

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

Substantial Frivolity

Substantial Frivolity: Meha has both

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

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

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

AKG

On 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

On Nails Nails Nails, by Arshia Arora
(Fantastic Nail Art - I wish I was even half this ambidextrous)

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

Collection of Menswear Inspired Womenswear
^ So much love for these cufflinks ^

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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