AKG

Posts Tagged ‘chic’

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 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 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

On V For Vanity

In On Fall/Winter, On Style on December 23, 2011 at 4:10 am

I always laugh a little when I hear or read about “the biting cold” my friends and family in California or India are facing. Try -6 and -12 temperatures, on good days. The sun is so deceptive, shining through the window in your home. Believe me; it does not mean you’re in for a warm day. The Boston winter is here. More posts about beautiful warm layers upcoming. Today, is all about my discovery of A&F sweatpants.

Abercrombie & Fitch makes sweatpants that have a perfect butt fit, with a banded hem. There are options for the looser kinds. But they have these skinny and super skinny sweatpants that are warm, comfortable, AND they look good – just like leggings. Believe me. It’s sweat-pant perfection.

(Take a look here if you’re interested.)

We were walking around one evening to get some fresh air during the week before finals week when a friend of mine joked that I was being “vain” – I had refused to walk into a restaurant wearing these.

I realized then, that, – vanity, in small doses, is important. If I didn’t have a little bit of vanity, I would never want to play with my clothes, and experiment with the different ways I could wear my new black sequin dress, or my sleeveless tweed dress. I wouldn’t care about what stared me back in the mirror.

Without vanity, I wouldn’t care about any weight gain, or about a bad haircut. While I strongly dislike the men, women, girls, and/or boys who are truly vain, I appreciate modest vanity. It’s what gives people the oomph.

C’mon people, have a little a pride. Try a new hairstyle – find a new nail color. Find something that makes you feel a little brighter, something that puts a bounce in your step. Like a new shoe? Or even if it’s the new Lancôme mascara. Sample something new. I found this fur poncho, a fitted blazer with a knotted back, and wine colored shoe – all by BCBGMaxazria. I’m in love.

Find out what makes you feel better about “you”. Perhaps change the light in your bathroom? What about taking a DIY tip to your old bag or shoe? Or experimenting with new eye shadow?

There’s a world full of options – have a little fun with this tempered vanity. Like the sweat-pants, it’s perfect in small doses.

AKG

On the Hermes Sari

In On Luxury, On the Sari on November 16, 2011 at 5:10 am

I read today in the Economic Times and on Forbes.com that Hermes has launched its saris again. Last time Hermes launched saris, it was a limited edition for it’s Millenia collection. Recently it expanded in China with leather goods and opened a flagship store in Mumbai.

Clearly, luxury and fashion are moving East.

To me, this brought further clarity to what Amitabh Bacchan said on the the Lead India campaign regarding the two Indias. One India has come so far, that there are 27 story private homes, and printed saris for $6000-$8000 – 3 to 4 lakhs.

The other side of me recognizes that it’s not just any printed sari. There’s value in the Hermes print and logo on 6 yards of beautiful fabric. It also fills me with pride, that the Indian sari has become such an icon, that Hermes recognizes its importance and value. There have already been rich Indian prints on many Hermes scarves. But now Hermes is going one step further to pay homage to the Indian tradition.

And it’s true. That while Indian women and girls wear Western clothing very commonly now, there is definitely a strong pull towards the traditional and graceful sari. For formal occasions and weddings, most women still prefer to wear the sari.

There’s definitely a graceful elegance that is inherent in the sari, and the Hermes prints will no doubt add to this. There are a total of 28 saris, created in Paris, in fabrics varying from cashmere to twill silk. One line of saris is priced at 3 lakhs, while the other is at 4 lakhs. Obviously, only the wealthy can afford this gorgeous luxury.  Two of Forbes top-ten billionaires reside in India, though (Lakshmi Mittal and Mukesh Ambani). It’s not hard to imagine the French couturier’s target clientele.

^Mumbai flagship

Did you also know that a recent global affluence study show that India has more wealthy households than many European nations, including Germany and France. Of course the West is coming back to India as soon as India is getting rich again.

Can you predict what the celebrities or Ambani women will be wearing at their next event? I can!

Speaking of which…It’ll be interesting to see what kind of impact this has on the top Indian designers, who until now, were the only creators of designer saris around the world. Hermes’s foray into this niche market isn’t very surprising. Hermes adds a layer of chic luxury to the already sophisticated, elegant sari. I’m hopeful that the price tag and lack of traditional quality inherent in Hermes will keep a large percentage of the wealthy from having or wanting wardrobes of Hermes saris.

But, this is a note to Indian designers. You must now do more than splatter paint, dye, and/or Swarovski crystals all over the sari to charge over 3 lakhs now. Step it up!

AKG

On Bond a la Tom Ford

In On Menswear, On Tom Ford on November 13, 2011 at 6:02 pm

This post is dedicated to my dear friend Riley.

Not only has the upcoming Bond film title been announced – Skyfall – but so has it’s designer! Have you heard?!

Tom Ford, the designer of all things sexy chic, has been chosen to dress Daniel Craig for Skyfall, the new James Bond movie. (just as he did in the Quantam of Solace). I’m not sure if I can emphasize the kind of eye-candy that will likely result from this.

James Bond epitomizes the Tom Ford man. Tom Ford’s love for luxury and elegance, coupled with his style is perfect for developing the iconic Bond character.

Tom Ford is working with costume designer Jany Temime (of Harry Potter films) to create the superspy’s wardrobe. There’s going to definitely be eyewear that will be Bond exclusive, and amazing accessories to accent the evening wear, suits, knitwear, and ties. They’re going to be handmade in Italy. *sigh*

It’ll be interesting to see what Tom Ford will do differently for this film (relative to the Quantum of Solace). I learned recently from “The Cut” that there’s a method to Ford’s genius: the suits must be cut so that Daniel Craig can be “Bond”. The skirt of the suit must be roomy enough so that he can run after villains, climb up a variety of structures, leap from buildings, jump into water, and/or blow things up – all while looking dashing.

The Skyfall press conference is probably indicative of how fabulous this movie will be…

Take a look at what Daniel Craig was wearing – all Tom Ford, of course. His gray two-piece notch lapel suit with a classic collar shirt and the beautiful silk (jacquard?) tie just oozes Bond.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sam Mendes is directing. The extraordinary cast? Daniel Craig, of course. and Javier Barden is playing the villain’s role. Judi Dench is back as M!! Berenice Marlohe, a French actress, is rumored to be the next Bond Girl, “Severine”. There’s Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney, Naomi Harris, and maybe Helen McCrory and Ola Rapace from the Harry Potter films. I’m so excited to see this come alive on screen. There is so much potential here!

“Bond’s loyalty to M [Dench] is tested as her past comes back to haunt her. As M16 comes under attack, 007 must track down and destroy the threat, no matter how personal the cost.”

dun, dun, dun…

AKG

%d bloggers like this: