AKG

Archive for January, 2012|Monthly archive page

On the Great Debate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the great debate continues.

AKG

On The Two Lists

In On Fashion, On Luxury, On Style on January 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm

The fur vest will not make me look more fabulous.  I finally realized this yesterday at BCBG Maxazria, where a beautiful white fur vest that I’d been eyeing since October went on sale for an additional 20% off (off of the already 60% off) – which is quite a bit at BCBG for real fur that’s also a fashion statement. I’ve noticed that ever since I tried it on back in October, I kept putting it back on the rack. No matter what I wore, the vest would always add 10 pounds. Yuck!

At my height, with my curvy shape, I was being ridiculous by not retiring this idea. I wasn’t accepting that this is exactly the kind of trend that works really well for some people – but it’s something that will likely never make me look better. Sure, it can work if it’s a lighter vest – but even then, I have better options in fur – like the fur coat, poncho, stole, or shawl, all of which add the touch of elegance I’m looking for without ruining my shape.

The capri pant is a similar trend. Sure, cropped pants looked great on Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly (but then, what didn’t look good on these two ladies?), and look good on most models. But they cut my legs off unappealingly – shorts that hit at or above the knee do so much more for me. This, I realized a long time ago, before high school (thankfully). There is also the case of choker necklaces. They make me look awful – like I’m literally being choked. The shrug, the cropped shirt, or the shirt tied at the waist, will also never work me. I’d look like I was carrying the entire weight of the world on top.

This list can go on forever – in fact, it should. We should know whether loud prints or soft prints, or big prints or small prints look better on us. We should know if slouchy fits, or fitted fits, or both, look better on us. Keep track of which trends you’ve already realized don’t work for you. Sure, they may be fun to wear to a costume event, but even then – there is a whole list of things that look better on you, no matter what. Stylists swear by this – finding what staples look good. For example, the tutu skirt looks amazing on Sarah Jessica Parker – it reappears multiple times on Sex and the City. It also looked great on Jenny from Gossip Girl (before she became Gothic) and was used to add a splash of color underneath her dresses.

I digress. These are two lists, which I think everyone should make, honestly and constructively – 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.

If and when we live by these, our wardrobe will look so much cleaner, organized, and wearable. It also gives us initiative to try something new. Soon, we’ll have a wardrobe tailored to make us look amazing. And if that’s not the point, what is?

AKG

On the Keyword, “Incorporate”

In On Entertainment, On Fashion, On Style on January 18, 2012 at 1:18 am

All stylists wax poetic about “being true to oneself”. Until last year, I was so confused. What do they mean?!

Would there be some sort of instant connection I’d feel with certain clothing in my wardrobe?  I absolutely despise when friends or writers make negative comments/judgments about other people’s street style. It never made sense to me why people feel that they can declare someone’s choice of clothing (unless it’s an event) “wrong”. Doesn’t everyone have a different definition of ‘style’? Carrie Bradshaw with a belt across her bare belly is suddenly ‘stylish’, but the girl across the room wearing the green paisley peplum dress is “so off”? Geez.

Living in New York City and now in Boston, I’ve dressed only for myself. I wear what I want, when I want. If I look funny when I look back at myself at the end of the day (and believe me this still happens every once in a while), I just start over the next day. Live and learn, right? When I’m not feeling great, I try to brighten up with a piece I like. If not, I go with whatever brings me most comfort. When I’m feeling great, I reach for the vivid colors, funky accessories, and fun prints. Yesterday, I even bought beautiful printed bedding.

(It makes my room so happy. Blue Jamaica by Ralph Lauren – from Marshalls)

Developing style takes time. When you have time to plan for a day/an event, try something new. I’ll sometimes try grey tartan pants, or accessorize with un-AKG things, like yellow armadillo shoe earrings from Lady Gaga’s holiday workshop at Barney’s, New York (upcoming post about that). When there’s no time, however, like when something unexpected comes up, I quickly go to the pieces that I love. The pieces that I know will work.

To look fabulous, like you spent an hour when you really just spent 10 minutes, collect these pieces! It’ll take time, but bookmark in your mind what made you feel like a million bucks. Value what your innate style has to say, and tweak it based on what you learn. From fashion, or anything, incorporate what fits you and your personality – not the other way around. 

Trust me; this will go a long way. You may need to copy several styles before you find the ones that fit you best. I still make tear-sheets and print out pictures when I like what someone wore. But don’t follow blindly. The keyword here is to “incorporate”.

Maybe those stylists are on to something after all..

AKG

On 365 Days of Style from Lloyd Boston

In On Fall/Winter, On Fashion, On Style on January 3, 2012 at 1:53 pm

A very Happy New Year to you all!

“Claim this year as your most stylish ever. Make a pact with yourself to explore new ideas, break bad habits, and be open to Change.” (Lloyd Boston)

I stumbled across this book, “Before you Put that On” by Lloyd Boston, when I was religious poring over any material about fashion and style I could find, the time detailed in “The Evolution of Personal Style“.

Lloyd Boston styling inspiration

I am returning to this book, to follow through with what I planned then for when I’d have time. How lucky that I worked out for the first time in ages yesterday – the suggestion Lloyd makes for January 2nd.

I’m right on track.

Now it is January 3rd, and today I am going to “Add Prints and Patterns to the Best Effect.”

Today I plan to mix and match two prints. Since I’m a beginner, I confess I will likely match my printed dress to a printed scarf – but it’s a pretty good start. Especially considering I’d likely not do it otherwise. Usually I pair this dress with my beautiful coral J. Crew woolen scarf – it has become a staple in my dressing.

I might wear my fabulously colorful Kate Spade snood, actually known as the prize ball infinity scarf. It’s a soft merino wool, and will likely feel wonderful considering today’s temperature is below freezing.

“The key to looking fabulous […] is balanced proportions and an overall look that doesn’t overshadow your personality.” (Lloyd Boston)

Who knows? Maybe I’ll tweak his suggestion and wear my striped dress with a tailored blazer and jeggings instead. Oo, maybe I’ll wear my plaid shirt.

Ignore anyone who might tell you that you can’t match multiple stripes or prints, because that’s their rule – not yours. If you like what you’re seeing in the mirror, why shouldn’t you try it out? Come on. Have you seen Anna Piaggi? Enough said.

The beauty of this book is that it motivates you to play with your clothes, and wear something special, something borne from inspiration. It makes choosing what you’re wearing less boring, even if you’re just working at home.

Maybe you might want to join me, and match multiple prints today?

AKG

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