AKG

Archive for February, 2012|Monthly archive page

On Style and the Muse

In On Style on February 28, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Style is not just in the way you dress. Style is in your personality, your characteristics, your choice of attire, and in your mannerisms. Style may be in interpreting the spring/summer collection brights and incorporating white jeans into your wardrobe with a nod to the trend this spring 2012. Style may be deciding to wear one blouse in 30 different ways in a month, or to not repeat any article of clothing for an entire month. Style may be in the way you say hello, or in the way you sign your receipt. “Style”, is open to interpretation.

As an image consultant, I have learnt that there are three components of image – ABC: appearance, behavior, and communication. And I plan on studying each of these in my muses.

At themuseflash, I plan to muse about a muse-of-the-month each month in the upcoming year. I may choose a character from entertainment, a friend who you know, or someone who has always influenced me – my muse will be someone I find inspirational, creative, and stylish. Inspiration is a necessary part of life, and I have been writing about it here since the very beginning. Inspiration is what leads people to explore, achieve, and reach for more.

I was inspired by a dark brown chocolate truffle (mint flavor) to dress in those colors the next day – have you ever tried wearing a white shirt, brown trousers with a mint colored scarf or mint heels? They’re beautiful together. Emma Pillsbury of Glee inspires me to find a way to incorporate details which use bows and bright colors, and Addison Forbes Montgomery of Private Practice inspired me to wear more printed dresses. Inspiration can be found anywhere – in food, in art, on the street, on television, in your friends – you just have to keep your eyes open.

For the rest of the year, we’ll talk to inspiring people about what inspires them. Although January and February have just whooshed by before I realized it, the year is still new – there is much to achieve and always room for growth. Somewhere, somehow, I hope my muses will inspire you the way they influence me.

It’s going to be a great year!

AKG

On the Bullet Bra

In On Entertainment, On Fashion, On Fashion History on February 23, 2012 at 4:42 pm

I always thought that the conical bra came from Jean Paul Gaultier and Madonna of the 80s. I was intrigued when I found that he was inspired by the “Bullet” bra – a highly structured conically pointed bra that was popular back in the 1940s. Also known as the “Torpedo” bra, it was designed for maximum projection – it was used for the ‘Sweater Girl’ image, the image of a busty, voluminous, ‘girl next door’ whose clothes accentuated her enhanced curves. The outer and under wires were prominent in these clothes – this bra actually has history.

It had all started during World War II, when there was this idea that bras and girdles were protective, and companies often strictly enforced that workers wear bras for 3 main reasons: good taste, anatomical support, and morale. Lizabeth Scott, an actress of the 40s and 50s, remembered also for her sultry voice, was the pinnacle of the lovely Sweater girl – the camera loved her. She had a unique quality – the audience would know what her character is thinking of feeling just be seeing her – no words necessary. Of course, the conical bra became more and more wearable and was featured through many ads. Late 40s/Early 50s fashion. The postwar boom in the economy thereafter obviously saw changes in fabric, padding, colors, and more – fashions changed, and the conical bra was left behind for more comfort and a natural look.

bullet bra - 50s

Bullet Bra, as seen in the 40s and 50s

In the 80s, Madonna brought the conical bra back – and since then, there have been many interpretations of this fashion style. Featured below is the series of sketches of the costumes that Jean Paul Gaultier designed for Madonna for her Blonde Ambition Tour  in 1990 – all with the trademark of the conical bra.

Jean Paul Gaultier's sketches for Madonna's Blonde Ambition Tour

Jean Paul Gaultier's sketches for Madonna's Blonde Ambition Tour

Madonna Blonde Ambition Tour 1990 - feat. the conical bra

Madonna Blonde Ambition Tour 1990 - feat. the conical bra

Rihanna by Zac Posen - Grammy Awards 2008

Rihanna by Zac Posen - Grammy Awards 2008 - reinterpretation of the conical bra

While Zac Posen for Rihanna at 2008 Grammy Awards wasn’t nearly as severe as Jean Paul Gaultier for Madonna at the Blonde Ambition Tour, it makes it more obvious that the ‘bullet’ bra is certainly inspiring, and here to stay. It’ll be interesting to see how stylists and style icons reintrepret and recreate the ‘bullet bra’ in the future. Perhaps, this may be an idea for your Halloween costume this year, or maybe this style will be seen in more street fashion? Regardless, I hope you enjoyed this piece of history as much as I did.

AKG

On R.I.P. Whitney Houston

In On 80s Fashion, On Entertainment, On Style on February 13, 2012 at 5:27 am

There are many reasons to mourn the passing of the regal Whitney Houston, one of the world’s biggest pop stars. Her self-titled debut album (released in 1985) sold 25 million copies worldwide. Since then, she released seven albums and three film soundtracks. Sold over 200 million albums and singles worldwide. Winner of six Grammys. Earned 30 Billboard Awards, 22 American Music Awards and two Emmy Awards. Who knew what she was going to bring us next?

She IS an inspiration; her music moves millions. Close your eyes. Listen to a ballad start slow, build into what some call “a cheesy smooth-pop flourish”, go down a few octaves only to come back to an unbelievably high note, and maybe belt out an amazing ending with her. That is the real reason to mourn her loss.

I feature here, my favorites: “One Moment in Time” and “I Will Always Love You”.

Seriously. Turn the music up. Any of the others even. “Greatest Love of All”, “So Emotional”, “Count on Me”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”…the list goes on. Sing along with her, sway with her, even if you’re off-tone and singing through your nose on the song’s peak notes. You may feel an incredible shift.

Many of her songs were about friendship, love, freedom – about believing, dreaming, and achieving. This month, remind yourself of why you love you. Dream. Believe in yourself. Walk with your head high.

Much could be said about her style. She was a true diva – her fashion epitomized 80’s glam, complete with the big shoulders, big hair, and glittery sequins. Her shoulders shrunk as fashion changed, but her glamorous style and big hair never did.

But I will remember Whitney Houston more for her fearless style than for her glitz. She was stylish because she was never afraid to be her ridiculously vocally gifted and talented self. In a time when the industry was judging her for cold technique, she brought ballads to a crescendo that tug at your soul.

Oh, R.I.P. Whitney Houston – your stirring music, your unforgettable style – you will live in our hearts forever.

AKG

On the Outlet Shopping Spree

In On Discounts, On Fashion, On Luxury, On Shopping, On Style on February 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm

I think it’s the energizing “ee” ending. Bee, Glee, Free, Gee, Flee, Toffee – you get the gist. Perhaps they’re all so ‘happy’ because they end on such a high, happy note. “Ee”!.

I digress. Today is all about one of the happiest “word” of them all – happier than weddings maybe, because isn’t half the excitement of the wedding the shopping? The nonstop finding of one perfect thing after another until you have so many bags you need help carrying them. Last weekend, I had the best shopping spree ever – at the Wrentham Premium Outlets in Wrentham, MA. They have Theory, BCBG Maxazria, Michael Kors, Kate Spade New York, JCrew, Coach, Aeropostale, Harry & David, and so many other absolutely amazing stores (well over 200 in #) – something for everyone. For a first real outlet shopping experience, this place is awesome – I had my first Cracker Barrel and Friendly’s experiences.

The fall/winter sale made this trip even more opportune. At the Bloomingdales Outlet, boots already on sale were an additional 65% off. I kid you not. I made the most amazing purchase in my entire life. Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzels from Harry & David. Yum! Seriously though, I bought knee/thigh high Sergio Rossi wedge boots (dark brown leather) – for my mom – originally priced at $1390 for $130 dollars. *happy dance* An additional 20% off coupon that a friend found me made this trip perfection – almost everything I bought that day was 80% off and above.

I realized that outlet shopping sprees may be the only kind that are actually legitimate for most budgets. A few of my favorite finds: the perfect JCrew dress, made only of diagonal stripes, olive Hunter Willingen Suede and Leather Boots, and Juicy Couture starter bracelet. Outlet shopping is such a great way to build your wardrobe – you may or may not find something that’s “in season”, but you’ll definitely find something that is right for you at a discount. I may just make this an annual tradition.

A few words of caution: Make a list, and use coupons that can be found online to get the deepest discount possible – get value for your money.

Limit yourself – for example, only buy things on sale.

Pay attention to the quality – Coach, JCrew, and many other stores have a separate factory line, that they sell at these outlets. The quality is likely different from their regular store – not necessarily bad – but look closely.

The perfect time for an outlet shopping spree, in my opinion, is when all stores have their end-of-season-sales going on – things will likely be at their lowest price.

Last but not least, have fun!

AKG

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