AKG

Posts Tagged ‘wardrobe management’

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 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celebrity styles to inspire the Inverted Triangle Body Type

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

AKG

On Bottoms for the Inverted Triangle (Part 3)

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

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

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

Bottom Styles for the Inverted Triangle

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

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

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

AKG

On Skirts for the Inverted Triangle (Part 2)

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

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

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

Skirt Styles for the Inverted Triangle

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

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

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

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

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

Textures, Colors, and Prints for Inverted Triangles

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

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

Until next time,

AKG

On the Inverted Triangle (Part 1)

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

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

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

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

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

Body Shape Chart from Your New Image

Sample Body Shape Chart from Your New Image

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

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

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

Popular inverted triangles in the media

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

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

AKG

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