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Spice up your wardrobe with summer accessories

15 Jul

With the warm weather and increased opportunities for casual get-togethers with friends, summer is the perfect time to wear over-the-top accessories. Perhaps it’s because the season just makes everyone more cheerful, or that we wear less in the heat and need another way to express our sense of style. Either way, bold jewelry, shoes, or bags are always a great and easy complement to any tank and shorts combo or sundress.

For a trendy way to incorporate accessories, try one of the biggest fashion trends of this season: black and white. Whether it’s in the form of a classic black and white checkered bag seen at Louis Vuitton or a mod pair of white-framed sunglasses at Moschino, opposites attract in this summer accessories trend. Because the colours are neutrals, black and white accessories will go well with all shades of clothing.

Black and white at Louis Vuitton's spring/summer 2013 show

Black and white at Louis Vuitton’s spring/summer 2013 show

Clear, lucite details have also been making a strong impact in jewelry, bags and even the platform and heel of shoes. Gucci and Chanel both created translucent purses for the season, while see-through details such as heel straps and side panels were spotted at many designers such as Michael Kors and Givenchy. For those who want to carry a translucent bag but prefer to keep some of their items concealed, store them in a small separate pouch before popping them into the see-through purse. It’ll also provide a tidier look.

Rock the lucite trend with this wedge shoe by Jeffrey Campbell.

Rock the lucite trend with this wedge shoe by Jeffrey Campbell.

Gladiator sandals are also in for shoes. But what makes this season’s trend different from the gladiator sandals popular a few years back is the bolder, knee-high approach. Presented in a multitude of shows such as Altuzarra, Tom Ford and Alexander Wang, the dramatic look is definitely not for the fashion shy. Try pairing it with a basic black dress for a stylish night-on-the-town outfit. Be wary of awkward tan lines if you’re rocking the knee-high gladiators trend in the daytime, though!

Overall for shoes, the trend is to leave the skinny stilettos in the back of the closet and opt for stacked, chunky heels. Balenciaga showed oxfords with cubed heels, Fendi studded the block heels of their shoes, and Chloe accessorized their models with an updated version of Mary Janes. The trend is a throwback to the 70’s when blocked and platform heels were de rigueur. At least this season’s shoes won’t have you sinking your heels into the lawn at backyard barbecues.

Chunky Mary Janes at Chloe's spring/summer 2013 show.

Chunky Mary Janes at Chloe’s spring/summer 2013 show.

For bags, crossbody purses and small satchels were popular on the runway. Lanvin, Stella McCartney and Diane von Furstenberg all showcased smaller but bold handbags in their collections. On the opposite end of the spectrum, shopper totes are also trendy. Perfect for the beach or picking up dinner ingredients at the farmers market, totes are ideal for those warm days where spontaneity takes rein. You’ll be at the ready with a tote packed with essentials such as sunscreen, swimsuit and shades.

Tote at Fendi's spring/summer 2013 show.

Tote at Fendi’s spring/summer 2013 show.

For sunglasses, oversized ones are always popular. But this year’s trend is also for round framed retro glasses reminiscent of John Lennon’s. Although if you’re planning on investing in a pair of sunglasses, find one that will complement your face shape instead of following a seasonal trend. For round faces, go for oversized rectangular frames. More angular faces will suit round frames while aviators will flatter those with heart-shaped faces. Most frame styles will go with oval faces, but I’m partial to shades with slight cat-eyes for a little retro glam.

Oval faces will suit this pair of round oversized, slightly cat-eyed shades.

Oval faces will suit this pair of round oversized, slightly cat-eyed shades.

Another easy accessory trend to incorporate is gold. Accent your day and night ensembles with gold sandals, belts or chunky link chains. Gold cuffs always make a striking impression to an otherwise neutral look. For a more bohemian look, add some fringed elements. Try a fringed necklace for a cheeky touch on a minimal ensemble. Bright dangly earrings are also popular for summer. Dolce & Gabbana accessorized their models with long earrings made up of colourful beads and clusters of raffia. Whatever your sense of style summer’s a great time to experiment with accessories, so go wild!

[Article first appeared in the July 10 issue of Richmond Review.]

Emerald: 2013’s Colour of the Year

17 Jan

Take a page out of Kermit’s book and go green for your New Year’s fashion resolution. Emerald was selected as Pantone’s Colour of the Year for 2013. A global leader in manufacturing colours, Pantone sets the standards for the design industry. A shade is chosen for Colour of the Year after observing trends in fashion, art and interior design.

Emerald lace trench coat at Burberry Prorsum’s spring show.

Emerald lace trench coat at Burberry Prorsum’s spring show.

Emerald made a splash at a number of recent spring collections. Burberry fashioned one of its illustrious trench coats using a lace version of the green hue. Stella McCartney sent a few of her models down the runway in sporty, oversized emerald outfits. And though the colour spectrum was fully embraced at the shows of Vera Wang and Akris, it was the emerald pieces that really stood out. The luxe shade was even included in a few of the pre-fall collections that were just revealed, such as at 3.1 Phillip Lim, Gucci and Oscar de la Renta.

These emerald wide leg trousers are definitely not for the shy.

These emerald wide leg trousers from Ruche are definitely not for the shy.

A vividly lush green, emerald represents renewal and growth — perfect for a fresh start to the year. Compared to previous Colour of the Year winners such as tangerine tango, a bright red-orange, and honeysuckle, a cheerful reddish pink, emerald is more versatile and easier to incorporate into daily ensembles. Emerald green is known as a universal colour, meaning it’s flattering towards all hair colours and skin tones. So break out those pieces usually reserved for St. Patrick’s Day and work them into your wardrobe rotation.

Depending on your love for the colour, emerald can be worn as an accent piece or layered with other green tones, such as the ever popular mint, for a bold trendy look. When it gets warmer, try an emerald skirt with a pale mint blouse for a cool outfit that screams springtime. To prevent going overboard with green layers and looking like a leprechaun, find printed or patterned pieces with green shades in them. It’ll help tie the look together without being a green overkill.

Turn some heads with this verdant embellished dress from TFNC.

Turn some heads with this verdant embellished dress from TFNC.

Jewel-tones such as emerald, ruby or sapphire, are always great options for evening outfits if you want to veer from the traditional black. To bring out the vibrancy, go for fabrics with sheen like silks, satins and velvets — emeralds will look more luminous. Just think of Keira Knightley’s slinky emerald silk dress in Atonement or Viola Davis’ green Vera Wang number at last year’s Oscars. For even more flash, opt for an emerald sequined piece.

Emerald will also go wonderfully with the neutrals that will be trendy for spring (black and white, in particularly, were huge on the runways). Michael Kors mixed black and green together in rugby striped tops and geometric dresses for a polished elegance. To make a bolder statement pair emerald pieces with bright, complementary colours such as cobalt or a deep purple.

Add some subtle glam with Simon's emerald earrings.

Add some subtle glam with Simon’s emerald earrings.

If adding emerald clothing to your style is too extreme, ease into the trend with accessories. Emerald is a great colour for bags and shoes, since green is a standard colour for croc or snakeskin accessories and easy to find in stores. Plus the shade stands out even more against gold or silver hardware. Emerald costume jewelry is also a classic and nice to have for cocktail parties or dinners.

Brighten up your fingertips with green polish, such as Essie’s Pretty Edgy.

Brighten up your fingertips with green polish, such as Essie’s Pretty Edgy.

Another simple way to wear emerald is on the nails. One of my favourite polishes is China Glaze’s Emerald Sparkle, a deep green jelly with glitter. For the daring, try emerald liner or eye shadow. Green eye makeup was used on the models at Michael Kors, Stella McCartney and Derek Lam this season. The colour provides a modern balance to peach or pink cheeks and lips. Use a cream or gel liner for a more intense look and pencil for a softer one.

Daytime or evening, there are a variety of fun ways to include the Colour of the Year into your fashion repertoire.

[Article first appeared in the Jan. 16 issue of Richmond Review.]

‘Tis the season to party: Holiday accessories and makeup

13 Dec

With office parties, family festivities and other holiday gatherings on the social calendar, it’s a good idea to plan your event outfits in advance. And whether it’s a low-key celebration or a sophisticated soiree, you’ll want a different look for every occasion. A simple way to elevate a basic ensemble or change up a little black dress is with accessories and makeup. The holidays and New Year’s Eve, especially, are the perfect time for glitz and glamour.

Add some bling to your outfit with a statement necklace.

Add some bling to your outfit with a statement necklace, such as this one from ASOS.

Don’t be afraid to incorporate costume jewelry, bold shoes and embellished bags into your ensemble. Jewelled collars are big this season and an easy way to add sparkle to a plain shirt or dress. Similarly, statement necklaces and bibs are also great for mixing and matching with outfits. Try jewelry inspired by art deco or baroque — two of the hottest trends for winter. Look for geometric patterns and jewel tones in an art deco piece, and oversized, lavish black and gold details for baroque accessories.

Accessories adorned with fringe, feathers or furs are another fantastic way to add unexpected texture to your party look. Channel the flapper era with a little fringe purse, add some drama with a feathered hair clip, or stay warm and chic in a faux fur wrap. Jewelled headbands and sparkly bobby pins add some festivity to hair, whether it’s left down or in an updo.

Shine from head to toe with metallic footwear.

Shine from head to toe with metallic footwear. Sandals by BCBG.

For shoes, go embellished or vibrant if the rest of the outfit is casual. Something like an embroidered pump or a lace bootie would spice up a simple jeans and blouse outfit. Don’t forget to finish off your holiday party look with a bag. Go for clutches — they’ll streamline your silhouette without adding bulk and are easier to tote around when mingling. Metallic shoes and clutches are great additions to the wardrobe. Gold and silver go with almost any colour and adds lustre to neutral outfits. Make a black dress pop with a metallic belt and heels. And even if you’re already wearing metallic clothing, like a silver sequined dress, don’t be afraid to experiment with bold jewelry and accessories. Play around until you find a combination that takes the outfit up a notch.

Bring out your inner rock star with this studded clutch from Aldo.

Bring out your inner rock star with this studded clutch from Aldo.

Extend the glitter into your makeup look as well. Holiday parties are a great excuse to dig out that shimmery eyeshadow or daring lipstick from the back of your makeup bag. Try metallic or glitter eyeliner for a different look. But to give your eyes more emphasis, line them with your regular, dark liner after you apply the metallic. This way, the metallic colour will still be visible without losing the outline of your eye. If you don’t normally wear makeup but want to play up your eyes for parties, look to palettes to make choosing eye colours easier. They usually come with a highlighter, eyeshadow colour and liner shade.

Black liner frames the eye, while the gold adds festive shimmer.

Black liner frames the eye, while the gold adds festive shimmer.

For lips, red is a classic and particularly striking when combined with a neutral outfit. Balance the makeup so your lips and eyes don’t fight for attention. Keep your eye makeup simple if you’re going with bold lips, and pair dramatic smokey eyes with a natural lip colour. It’s also a good idea to use primer so your makeup stays put if you plan on being at an event for hours (such as New Year’s Eve). For fingertips, a trend that’s hot right now is the caviar manicure where tiny coloured beads cover the nails. Fun for a night out, they’ll have everyone flocking for a closer look.

Whatever look you decide on, the best accessory is always confidence. Believe you’re looking fabulous and you’ll be shining even at an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party.

[Article first appeared in the Dec. 12 issue of Richmond Review.]