January 29, 2011

PATTERNS COLLIDE

DARE TO MIX AND MATCH PATTERNS

Model Nataliya Piro for LUSH magazine, spring 2010. 
With spring just around the corner, designers are beginning to produce more patterns and prints (especially floral) in their apparel. Patterns help create a fun vibe to a simple shirt while giving more attitude and personality to any article of clothing. Yet, if you're like me and enjoy sticking out from the norm, mixing patterns is a great way to bring your own individual uniqueness of fashion to the table. Mixing patterns help intensify a look, give MORE attitude to an outfit while creating variety and diversity. The trick to mixing patterns successfully is to ensure your outfit looks cohesive regardless of the different prints and patterns you're wearing. 

ME wearing H&M tube top worn as a skirt, H&M men's fedora, F21 blouse, vintage Liz Claiborne handbag, Bebe heels.

HOW TO MIX AND MATCH PATTERNS TOGETHER
1) Keep a consistent color theme: Your patterns should always share a similar color scheme to create a sense of unity. Always make sure that your two different patterned clothing articles are sharing at least 1 mutual color. In example, if wearing a floral print skirt with pink, white, green and blue in it, make sure your top has at least one of those colors on it.
2) Make sure your patterns aren't competing with each other: In other words, make sure your pattered article of clothing compliment each other. An easy way to do this is by having 1 stand out pattern and another pattern that's more low-key. In example, pairing a simple striped top with a busy and bold patterned skirt or a crazy patterned dress with simple patterned accessories or stockings work well.
3) Create variation in the scale of the patterns: Mixing in large patterns with small patterns help create a sense of balance. This also allows for one clothing item to subtly stick out more than another.  Wearing big prints with another big print can create an overbearing situation and create questionable views. Wearing small prints with another small print can end up looking too busy. This trick works best when wanting to wear the same type of pattern in 1 outfit.

Olivia Palermo: wearing a busy small leopard printed dress, with a medium size leopard printed belt 
DIANE VON FURSTENBERG: Spg 2011, sharing similar color hues & a large printed top with small printed bottom. 
RODARTE: Spring 2011, similar color hues in each outfit with complimentary patterns that are't competing.
photography credit: mandywong

January 26, 2011

HAREM, HAREM

HOT TREND ALERT: HAREM PANTS

ALEXANDER WANG: spring/summer 2010 ad campaign, model Anja Rubik (on left) & Mirte Maas (on right).
Harem pants have been a super hot trend for the past few seasons and I can see why. The big billowy pants are not only comfortable and light, but define volume, allowing one to play around with proportions. Gathered in the waistline, slouchy around the hips and thighs, and tapered down to the calves, harem pants actually help form that hourglass shape of a women's body that many find attractive. Although tricky at first glance, you'll be surprised at how many complimentary ways you can wear harem pants. Available in an array of fabrics, cuts and colors, harem pants can be worn casually or professionally, and always fashionably. 

Uniqlo harem pants, Bellatrix silk top, thrifted belt, Dolce Vita Pela wedges, Jaye Hershe black clutch.
HOW TO WEAR HAREM PANTS:  
1) Tuck it in: The focus point of harem pants lay in the hips and waist, where the volume takes place and the droop begins. In order to not take away from the harem pants, tuck in your shirt. This not only clarifies where the volume begins but also helps define your waistline and hips. 
2) Keep the shirt slim: The tricky thing about harem pants is that you don't want to look full throughout. Therefore, you must play with proportions correctly to counter-balance the volume. Easiest way to do this is by wearing a slim fitting shirt. 1 thing I love about harem pants is that they're so stylish and unique that you can pair it with the most basic of tee's and will still look fab! Simple slim fitting v-neck tee's work great.
3) Find your right pair: There are various styles of harem pants out there with differing amounts of droopiness. Some harem pants have an extremely big sag, these tend to work better on taller people because they have the longer legs to help keep proportions aligned. Yet, if you're like me and are not the tallest of all, find harem pants that are a bit leaner with a more comfortable billow amount. This will help you avoid loosing your figure in the harem pants. 
4) Pair it with a heel: Sometimes harem pants can make you appear shorter than you really are (this depends on the length of the harem pants, like if they end at your ankles the likelihood increases). The easiest way to avoid this is by adding some extra height to your legs by wearing some heels. This oomph of height will help elongate your legs, help you look more proportionate/balanced and give your harem pants more leg to work with. ;)

ALEXANDER WANG: silky black harem pants. Paired with a slim fitting shirt, casual  jacket & heels
TRAID: ivory harem pants, less billowy than most & stops at the knee to help the legs looking long. 
Kim Kardashian in high-waisted harem pants, paired with a white button down shirt tucked in for a professional appeal. 
Start your search for the perfect pair now!
1) American Apparel: Cotton Spandex Harem Pants comfortable billow amount, stops at the ankles.
2) Rick & Skinny: Silk Harem Trousers gray and silver for a more unique and upscale look.
3) Forever 21: Simple Pleated Harem Pants just the right amount of proportions everywhere to suit all heights.
4) Torrid: Cropped Harem Pants just because you thick already, don't mean you can't go harem!

photography credits: mandywong

January 23, 2011

RETURN OF THE RUCHE

SHOW OFF YOUR BODY'S NATURAL CURVES IN RUCHE

Alessandra Ambrosio: magazine shoot for Harpers Bazaar Espana, February 2011 
Ruching (sounds like roosh-ing) and draping can tremendously add definition and an interesting appeal to any solid colored clothing article. I love this technique because it's flattering on all body types, is aesthetically pleasing, and hugs your body in a pleasantly surprising way. The multitude of layers that scrunch up and wrap around the garment instantly hides your body flaws such as body fat & bulges. Thats because ruching has the ability to tighten your figure by hugging your skin, while blending in your figure flaws into the garment. So, if you desire to wear body hugging dresses but are self-conscious about the possibility of unwanted curves sticking out, go get yourself a ruched piece of garment! Hide your unwanted curves while showing off your true body's natural curve!




ME wearing Forever21 ruched skirt & bangles, American Apparel dolman sleeve t, H&M men's fedora, Nordstrom necklace and socks, Aldo heels and Jaye Hershe black clutch. 
HOW TO CLEVERLY WEAR RUCHE:
 1. Wear ruche in area's you want to detract figure flaws: The secret to ruche is that the multiple layers of folds that are embedded into the garment create a cleverly distorted but maintained look. The trick is, wherever you want to hide your figure flaws, have the ruching seam located near that area. In example, if wanting to hide your hips or side muffin tops, get a skirt with ruching on the side seams. If wanting to hide your belly area, find ruching that goes down the center of your stomach (as shown in photo 2, Iceberg). If wanting to hide a lot more than 1 area, get ruching everywhere! (as shown in photo 1, Burberry)
2. To emphasize physical assets, get small ruche detailing: The smaller the ruching - the tighter the garment - the more it hugs your body. Therefore, smaller folds hide a lot less body flaws.
3. To disguise unwanted body curves, get loose ruche detailing: The bigger the ruching - the more loose the garment - the more it hides your unwanted curves. When the ruching is bigger, the fabric will drape over your body's natural shape, smoothing your natural curves while hiding your unwanted figure flaws. Your unwanted body curves and bulges will get lost and disguised into the ruched garment. Clever and magnificent!

BURBERRY Prosum sp/sm 2010: dresses and skirts with draping and ruche techniques
ICEBERG: spring/smr 2010: allover ruched jumpsuit
LANVIN sp/smr 2011: stretched washed metallic gabardin deep v-neck ruched dress (worn by Gwyneth Paltrow)
Ashley Olsen wearing yellow ruched skirt and Alaia heels and belt
Some of my favorite ruched garment pieces: 
1. Anarchy Street: Twisted Drapey Skirt $52 (currently sold out =( )
2. Nasty Gal: Laced Draped Dress $58
3. Top Shop: Premium Grecian Zip Front Drape Tunic $100
4. Shopbop: Cheap Monday - Ruched Skirt $90 but now on sale for $45! 

photos by mandywong

January 20, 2011

CHUNKY HEELS

DARE TO GO CHUNKY WITH WOODEN HEELS


One of spring 2011's must haves is chunky wooden heels. Brands such as Steve Madden, Michael Kors, Jeffrey Campbell, Top Shop and Dolce Vita all have wooden heels in their spring 2011 collection. Wooden heels are not only more comfortable than your normal heels (due to their thicker stature), but also also give off a spring like appeal while simultaneously drawing casual yet bold attention to your feet. Sometimes shoes can make up the outfit, and in this case, they most definitely do.



ME wearing Target wooden heels, Nordstrom Socks, Mink Pink leather shorts, American Eagle peasant blouse (from 2003), Forever 21 skinny belt and necklace, vintage Dooney & Bourke handbag. 
FUN WAYS TO WEAR BOLD WOODEN HEELS:
1. Wear them with socks or nylons: Having a skin tone relatively close to the color of the heels, I wanted the heels to pop out, not blend in. Thus, wearing socks or nylons in a differing color from the heels can do just the trick to make your heels pop by creating contrast, while adding a feminine touch to the heels.
2. Pair it with a fun, full summer skirt or maxi dress: The fun thing about chunky heels is that the bulky heel and platform actually create the illusion of slimmer calves, while elongating your legs. Pairing bold heels with voluminous bottoms such as full skirts, can help capture a fun summery look while keeping it sexy with slim, long legs.
3. Pair them with some wide leg trousers: One of my favorite ways to wear bold wooden heels is with wide-flared jeans. (flare denim are back in style! Paige carries a great selection). Not only does it look great together, but the bulky heel along with the wide leg trousers add just the right amount of proportions together. Because flare denim creates a statement towards the feet, pairing it with bold wooden heels help compliment the flare denim while adding that boost of height to prevent the denim from touching the floor (because flare denim tend to be longer in height).
For more on flared denim, click here

 CItizens of Humanity Spring/Summer 2011 Look Book: Wooden Clogs
Vanessa Hudgens: in brown wooden heels, and a fun & flirty summer dress. 
Lauren Conrad in wooden heels, skinny denim and a red button up collared shirt.
Kylie Minogue in wooden heels, flared denim, and casual white button-up shirt.

photos taken by mandywong

January 16, 2011

EVERYDAY LEATHER

WEAR LEATHER PANTS IN YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE

Model Bianca Balti for Cesare Paciotti Ad, Fall/Winter 08-09,
Leather pants have been and especially are now a staple piece in fashion. They're also seen everywhere on the runway shows from Balmain, Roberto Cavalli, Derek Lam and Isabel Marant. They're extremely fashion forward, provide an effortless high street allure look and can be worn in several ways to compliment different styles. Wear it with a utility jacket to pull off a utilitarian look, or with studs all over for a rocker chick look. You can even pair it with a simple, solid colored top for a minimalist look, or with a loose button up shirt (tucked in) for a professional look. Although leather pants can adjust to all these different styles, what I love most about leather pants is that it also has the flexibility of being day wear to night wear. Meaning YES, you can wear leather pants during the day for a casual look.

ME wearing Forever 21 Leather pants & belt, Aldo heels, Urban Outfitters sweater, Nordstrom BP necklace & thrifted red clutch
HOW TO WEAR LEATHER PANTS IN YOUR EVERYDAY LIFE
1. Fashion Forward Denim Substitute: When you think of leather pants, DON'T think of "leather pants". Think of it as substitute for denim but in a more fashion forward way. The surprising thing about leather pants is that it actually pairs well with many different types of clothes. Meaning yes, the outfit you're about to wear with denim, can be worn with leather pants instead. The reason? 1) they're black, everyone knows that black goes with EVERYTHING. 2) they're skinny, skinny denim also go well with everything. And 3) they're snug and stretch, contouring to your legs the same way denim do. 
2) Pair it with a casual, comfortable top: The best way to wear leather pants effortlessly is mixing and matching it with casual pieces. Easiest way to do this is with a basic white shirt or a chunky knitted sweater (which is also very much a trend right now). I love mixing and matching different styles of clothing together because it keeps your look eclectic and looking new and fresh. It also creates an effortless appeal to it.
3) Avoid being too "matchy-matchy": Meaning avoid pairing your leather pants with a leather jacket. Doing too much of a certain style can over-intensify a look, creating a "trying to hard look". It usually also never looks aesthetically pleasing when you have too much of 1 style going on with an outfit. The exception? leather shoes. I actually love wearing leather heels, pumps or boots with leather pants, keeping it all leather from the waistline down, but casual comfort waistline up.
4) Accessorize: Pairing your leather pants with a simple tops and using accessories to "tell the story" can help avoid a matchy-matchy disaster. Accessories also come in a variety of styles too, so find one that compliments your personal style and pair it with your leather pants! 

D Squared2 - Fall 09, leather pants paired with a cargo utility jacket creating a more casual look.   
Hilary Duff wearing leather pants paired with a casual scarf, and black boots. 
Victoria Beckham wearing leather pants, patent pumps and a simple casual jersey tank. 
Blake Lively wearing leather pants, a basic white shirt & a grey boyfriend blazer for a casual but professional look.
photo credits: bonnienguy

January 14, 2011

THIGH HIGH

STAND HIGH WITH THIGH HIGH BOOTS
Model Hasse Nielsen for Harpars Bazaar Russia October 2009 issue 
Thigh high boots have been been a hot trend for a while (09-11), but it's just recently that more woman have been sporting this look. I always tell myself that if a style or trend lasts at least 2 season's, (thus fall '09 and fall '10), then it's a sure bet that the trend will stay in for a good while.
On the other hand, if a style or trend lasts just 1 season, then it's because by the end of the season enough people realize how ridiculous of a trend it was and dare not to repeat it. Another pro of having a trend last a couple seasons is that by then, more people build up the confidence to wear it, and more retail stores have them available making it easier and more affordable to access.
Moving forward, from my beliefs and assumptions many woman are intimidated by this thigh high boot trend in fear they may look like they belong on a street corner, in the middle of the night.... Well fear no more!
Guess thigh high boots, Express silk blouse, H&M tube top worn as a skirt, Forever 21 belt, Chloe handbag
HOW TO WEAR THIGH HIGHS WITH CLASS
1. If pairing your thigh highs with a skirt or short, keep the length reasonable: Meaning when you put your hands down to your side, DO NOT let the bottom of the skirt or shorts go above the knuckles on your hand. The last thing you need is your boots drawing attention to your upper thighs, and then your skirt drawing attention to your groin area. Other option? Wear a long jacket with a long shirt/dress underneath at a reasonable length.
2. Avoid thigh high boots made of patent: Patent has a sheen to it that will draw more attention to your thigh highs due to the glossy texture. It will also cheapen the look. Patent is also often used for halloween costumes, so avoid anything that looks like it could be made of patent. The last thing you need is someone questioning whether you're wearing real thigh-high boots or boots from last years halloween costume. Material recommendations? Suede or matte leather.
3. Keep the top classy: Avoid wearing low cut tops, netted shirts or an itty bitty shirt (like a tube top or spaghetti strap tank). Your boots need to compliment your wardrobe and you need your wardrobe to defend your boots. An easy solution is pairing it with a conservative top or a loose silk shirt (silk has a professional and luxurious appeal to it helping maintain a classy appearance).
From Left to Right: Antonio Berardi, March Jacobs, Hermes and Isabel Marant.
Model Chanel Iman wearing extreme thigh high boots. Paired with a long boyfriend blazer.  
Kim Kardashian: Thigh high boots paired with slashed denim, conservative casual tee & a classy blazer. 
Click here for a more current post of me wearing thigh high boots. 

January 10, 2011

ANIMAL FEVER

Touch of Leopard or Cheetah
Oct 08' Vogue photo shoot, Theme: Natural High; Stylist: Marie-Amelle Sauve; Designers: unknown

When I think of animal prints, the words fierce, bold and sexy all come up. Words I LOVE. Although leopard and cheetah print have made a a huge trend in fashion this past season, DO NOT get confused. Animal prints are not just a trend, it is a STAPLE PIECE that belongs in every women's closet. All of the great woman of the past such as Marilyn Monroe and Aubrey Hepburn have worn leopard print in their time. Animal prints are not only symbolic of fashion but also of woman of power. Every woman deserves to feel powerful in one way or another. So why not feel powerful and sexy by rocking that leopard print dress, jacket, pumps, lingerie or whatever it may be =).


Hanes White-Tee, Forever 21 Faux Fur Cheetah Print Coat, thrifted vintage belt, DIY denim shorts (originally A&F denim), Nordstrom nylons and socks, Aldo booties.
4 WAYS TO EFFORTLESSLY WEAR LEOPARD PRINT:
1. Accessories can make the outfit: I am a HUGE fan of accessories because the way you accessorize can easily add so much character and uniqueness to an outfit. Leopard print accessories such as pumps, flats, belts, a clutch, earmuffs or a scarf can draw that attention of a confident, audacious women with style. I always recommend people to start off small if they feel they can't pull off a particular trend or style. In this case, accessories is the best way to start.
2. Black, white or leather: You can never go wrong. Because leopard print is composed of neutral colors, pairing it with other neutral colors creates an effortless and harmonious look. Leopard print also especially looks great with leather because it builds to the sexiness. Some great combinations are a leopard tank and a leather skirt, or a leopard jacket, white tee and leather pants. Seamless, timeless, effortless. Sexy, bold, and fierce.
3. NEVER double leopard: Although leopard prints derives from the actual leopard, you do not want to LOOK like the actual animal. To stray away from over-doing it, stick to 1 leopard print piece per outfit. Doing too much can make it seem like you're trying too hard. You do not want that image & I do not want that image for you.
4. Simplify the rest: Because leopard print already creates a bold statement, keep the rest minimal to avoid looking like a costume wreck. In example, never pair leopard print with neon colors, sequins, rhinestones or fringe. An easy quote to remember for this trend is, "play up the leopard piece, let everything else take a back seat"
Zara's: Cheetah print jacket, simple, black everything else. Can never go wrong.
Dakota Fanning: Leopard print dress, simple hair and touch of modern glam accessories.  
Sienna Miller: Leopard print skirt, basic black tank top & cardigan, classic Chanel handbag.
Photo taken by my wonderful boyfriend, Steve Bui

January 7, 2011

ALL BLACK SHEER

SHOW OFF YOUR SKIN IN SHEER

MODEL wearing Giambattista Valli silk sheer top and fringed leather skirt, Christian Louboutin snakeskin/leather caged heels




Sheer instantly gives off that effortless sex appeal look. One of my favorite fabrics to wear is anything sheer. It automatically adds dimension to your outfit while exposing your body in a sensual but non-sexual way (well, depending on how you wear it of course). 
I also love the way sheer fabric moves. If loose, it flows with your every move and delicately drapes down your body. If tight, it hugs your every move showing off your curves and skin with a hint of color. 

ME wearing Cotton On black sheer dress, Chloe handbag, misc. thigh high nylons, Forever 21 and Nordstrom accessories, Forever 21 heels
HOW TO PULL OFF SHEER IN A CLASSY WAY 
1. Cover up w/o covering it all: In order to not take away the illusion of sheer, leave parts of your body exposed. If wearing a full on sheer top, wear a bra/bandeau underneath the sheer top, baring the rest. If wearing a sheer skirt wear some bootie shorts underneath it baring the rest of your leg. 
2. Wear the same color lingerie or bandeau on as the sheer topThe last thing you want to do it draw so much attention to your chest that it becomes difficult to have an "eye-to-eye" conversation with someone. So pairing the same color undergarment on as the sheer top will help illuminate the sheer top by blending in the pieces that fall underneath it. Oh and might I add, please make sure the undergarment is sexy and subtle. 
(btw: American Apparel has great bandeau's in several colors)
3. OR wear whatever bra you want and pair it with a cami in your same skin color (nude or dark brown for most): I love this trick when I wear black lace tops because it gives off the illusion that I could be bare underneath when in fact I'm not. It's also most comfortable because you now know your whole upper body is not as exposed as some may perceive it to be. ;)
3. Pay attention to minimal sheer details: I love pieces with just hints of sheer such as interesting sheer necklines, sheer cut-outs or sheer sleeves on tops and dresses. It adds just that hint of interesting to an article of clothing. 


VALENTINO spring 2011 collection: multiple layers of sheer fabric creating an overlay
ZAC POSEN spring 2011 collection: from hint of black sheer to full on black sheer wraps.
photo taken by bonnienguy