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Summer party looks

12 Aug

On humid summer days, even dressing up for an event can feel like a chore. But with some simple yet stylish party look ideas, getting ready will be easy breezy. Whether attending a garden party, barbecue or outdoor wedding, have a few outfit, hair and makeup looks in mind for quick, fuss-free ensembles.

A chic alternative to dresses this season are jumpsuits and rompers. One of this season’s hottest trends, the one-piece is a fun go-to party look. Characterized by a top attached to either pants or shorts, jumpsuits and rompers allow a streamlined, unbroken silhouette. It’ll also save you the hassle of determining which top goes with which bottoms.

Slip on a romper for an quick summer party look.

Slip on a romper for an quick summer party look.

For a more understated look, go for jumpsuits and rompers in solid colours. Solid colours will also make it easier to pair the garment with shoes, bags and jewelry. Belts are an especially good way to break up solid jumpsuits and define the waist. For a more dramatic look, patterned jumpsuits will ensure you stand out from the crowd. Jersey and linen fabrics also offer a casual vibe while silk and satins are better for nighttime or more formal events.

If you prefer shorts to beat the heat, try changing it up with patterned versions. They can easily pair with a solid blouse or tank in a complementary shade. Subtle patterns such as stripes and polka dots are a great way to venture into the trend while the fashion bold can rock colourful prints such as batik, animal or giant florals. The key to finding flattering patterned shorts is fit. Baggy patterned ones tend to enlarge your hips and make it appear like you’re wearing a short skirt rather than a pair of shorts with defined lines. Whatever the length of your shorts, go for a patterned pair that is fitted without adding bulk to your lower half.

Add some colour with patterned shorts.

Add some colour with patterned shorts.

Summer party outfits aren’t complete without fun accessories, makeup and hair. Since hot days call for easy to maintain hairstyles, waves are an excellent, romantic option. This season calls for carefree loose waves that don’t need to be overstyled. One of the simplest ways to get the look is through braiding damp hair. Once dried, tousle the hair a bit with your fingers. And since messy side braids are also popular this summer due to the athletic fashion trend, you can work a braid for the daytime and untie the plait for the evening, creating beachy waves.

Braids were the highlight of the Calla show.

Braids were the highlight of the Calla show.

As for party makeup, piling on heavy foundation is the last thing we want to do in warmer weather, so it’s no wonder that a sheer, natural face is in this season for a base. Makeup artists backstage at the fashion shows relied on dewy moisturizers and light coverage this season, letting bold colours on either the eyes or lips do the talking.

For a bright pop of colour on the lids, aqua colours such as shades of blue and green were popular on the runway. Marc Jacobs and Miu Miu, for example, incorporated turquoise shadows and cobalt blue liner to eyes of their models. Prefer a less dramatic alternative to try the trend? Switch out your black or brown eyeliner with navy.

If you want to play up your lips, the hottest hue this season veers toward orange lipsticks. Spotted at the Rag & Bone and Prabal Gurung shows, try an orange-red for a more natural shade. Matte fuchsia is also a big trend for those who stick to pink lip colours.

Whether you’re making a statement on your eyes or on your lips, finish off with some mascara and a touch of bronzer or blush for a healthy glow. Summer’s the season to incorporate wild colours and patterns into your outfits, so have fun with your party looks!

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

Summer accessory trends

2 Jul

With summer arriving it’s easier to let your personal style shine through accessories rather than layers of clothes. So take some fashion cues from this season’s biggest  trends and update your warm weather outfits with chic extras.

The art trend is huge for spring and summer, translating to paint-splattered accessories, sculpted heels, hand-painted bags and jewelry. Saint Laurent showcased patchworked shoes while elaborated painted boots were a showstopper at Miu Miu. Another example of the art trend is also one of the most dividing accessories of the spring 2014 season the graffiti printed canvas backpack at Chanel. If you like the look, avoid the hefty price tag and create a version of your own for your next DIY project. All you’ll need is a plain canvas bag, fabric spray paint, and some design ideas.

chanel

Globally inspired details are also on trend this season. Look for accessories with traditional embroidery, tribal beadwork and fringed tassels in vivid patterns and colours. The idea for this trend is to accessorize with items that look like souvenirs from an exotic trip. Even better if it’s authentic! Try adding a woven clutch in a bright hue to a neutral ensemble for a pop of colour.

Florals, of course, is always popular for the warmer months. Shoes adorned with flowers paraded down the runways at Christian Dior and Dolce & Gabbana, while floral prints made their mark on handbags at Nina Ricci and Christian Louboutin. There are a multitude of ways to incorporate floral accessories to your wardrobe, but for a festive touch try adding a floral pin or headband to your updo at the next party.

Gladiators are slowly becoming a classic style for summer sandals. So it’s no wonder another trend for this season is the warrior look. Bold metal cuffs, chunky buckled sandals and multi-finger rings made an impact at the shows. The key is oversized metals such as giant gilded belt buckles, statement necklaces with metal plating, and chokers — thick necklaces worn close to the collar bone.

Two trends in one, accessorize with a cuff like a global warrior.

Two trends in one, accessorize with a cuff like a global warrior.

In terms of shoes, mules and slings are making a big comeback, as seen at Fendi and Celine. Whether low or high heeled, pointy or round, closed or peep toed, designers gave their modern take on the mule. Rochas sported a feathered number, while beach-ready mules made of cork and fringed canvas were spotted at Chloe. As long as the shoes are backless, they’ll be on trend this season.

This season’s hottest shoe style, the mule.

This season’s hottest shoe style, the mule.

If heels aren’t your thing, then the sporty footwear trend may be more up your alley. Complete your outfits with athletic accessories such as sneakers and chic duffel bags. From Prada’s sport sandals to visors at Marni and DKNY, don’t be afraid to pair sporty extras with dresses and skirts. Slides and backpacks are also popular accessories stemming from the sport trend. A more polished alternative to flip-flops, slides can also be dressed with down boyfit jeans or dressed up with maxi skirts.

As for purses, bucket bags are the “it” accessory this summer. Roomier than most clutches and the ever so popular crossbody bags, bucket bags were found on the runways at Louis Vuitton and Chloe. Characterized by a structured sack silhouette that clinches at the top like a drawstring, there’s a bucket bag for every style. Look for a studded version if you’re more punk rock, for example. Or if you prefer a more glamorous style, go for a metallic leather bucket bag.

Stash all your summer essentials into a bucket bag like this one from Zara.

Stash all your summer essentials into a bucket bag like this one from Zara.

Accessories are the perfect starting point to explore outside your personal style. And with all the different fashion trends for the season, there’s definitely something for everyone.

[Article first appeared in the June 18 issue of Richmond Review.]

Spring trends for men

20 May

 

Though men’s fashion trends may not be as varied as women’s, they can often overlap. Borrowed from the boys, the oxford dress shirt is one of womenswear’s biggest trends this season. Over on the menswear side, spring fashions take a hint from the stereotypically feminine floral prints, with dark flower patterns making a statement on the runways. Designer menswear collections can be a bit over the top for the average guy who prefers the casual combination of jeans and a tee, so the key to making trends wearable is to incorporate them in small and subtle ways. A great way to experiment with the latest trends is through accessories. For example, add a floral print tie to your dress shirt or use a silk scarf as a pocket square.

Sporty and floral trends at the Dries Van Noten show.

Sporty and floral trends at the Dries Van Noten show.

The floral trend was in full bloom at a number of the biggest menswear shows. A new and fashionable spin on the tacky Hawaiian tropical-print shirts, Prada presented big and bold floral tops in primary shades of red, blue and yellow. At Dries Van Noten, the designer made flowers his theme, printing dark floral patterns on everything from button-ups and blazers to pants. Gucci also exaggerated the floral trend, sending models down the runway rocking full floral-printed suits. For a less dramatic but still unexpected way to wear florals, switch out your usual button-up with a floral print dress shirt. The smaller the pattern, the more subdued the print is. For the fashion forward, try a large floral pattern as a statement piece.

Floral prints also tie in nicely with another menswear trend, the dandy. An inspiration for collections such as Dries Van Noten and Haider Ackermann, the dandy romanticizes an era where men donned full suits, silk scarves and played with lively combinations of colours and patterns. A bit flashy but always well-dressed, the dandy was represented by metallic three-piece suits at Dolce & Gabbana. For a more casual approach to dandyism, try a variation of the outfit spotted at Dsquared2. A patterned bomber jacket was paired with a classic dress shirt and white pants. The trick for the dandy trend is to complete the look with chic accessories, such as thick-framed glasses, a bright bag or neck scarf.

The Dsquared2 dandy.

The Dsquared2 dandy.

A hot trend this season, for both menswear and womenswear, is the athletic look. Designers all over were inspired by sports, even taking cues from cycling, surfing and skating culture. Alexander Wang showed off sporty ensembles complete with leather baseball caps and sneakers. To avoid looking like you’re just heading to the gym, try this trend by pairing a sporty piece with something dressier. It’s also a great way to tone down a more formal item in your closet. At Gucci, sporty anoraks were worn with sleek dress pants.

1950’s-inspired wide pant legs and double-breasted blazer at Michael Kors.

1950’s-inspired wide pant legs and double-breasted blazer at Michael Kors.

For those with an affinity towards a more vintage style there’s the 1950’s trend. Characterized by high waists, spread collars and pleated pants, 1950’s-inspired casual looks were presented at Bottega Veneta and Missoni. Michael Kors, inspired by the 1940’s and Cary Grant, put out a collection consisting of vintage looking high-waisted pants with full legs, double-breasted blazers and wide lapels. A more polished silhouette, the 1950’s trend is great for emphasizing the waistline.

Blue colour-blocking at Calvin Klein.

Blue colour-blocking at Calvin Klein.

As for colour, blue is the “it” shade of the season. Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani all displayed a wide range of blues in their collections. Inspired by the sea and sky, the creative director of Calvin Klein’s menswear line, Italo Zucchelli, showed a multitude of blue on blue ensembles. Colour-blocking with varying shades of blue were applied to sweaters, cardigans and jackets. One of the simpler trends to incorporate into the wardrobe, an easy look would be to pair blue jeans with a top of another blue shade.

Whatever your style, this season is sure to have a trend to suit your taste. Fashion trends are all about experimentation and going out of your comfort zone, so try a new look this spring!

[Article first appeared in the May 14 issue of Richmond Review.]

Hot weather style

18 Aug

With the temperature rising and everyone trying to get the most out of the remaining summer days, it can be easy for fashion to fall by the wayside and throw on any old tank and shorts combo. But with some tips and tricks, it can be just as simple to be stylishly cool in hot weather. And while our weather stays pretty mild compared to cities like Bangkok or Las Vegas, it doesn’t hurt knowing how to dress to beat the heat in case of spontaneous trips to hot and humid locales.

When it comes to hot weather, it’s always a good idea to skip the skinny jeans and go for flowy, loose-fitting garments. It’ll help circulate air around your body and keep fabric away from your skin, which is also what makes textured fabrics so appealing. Clothes made out of textured material such as linen, seersucker and madras are favourites for summer because they allow the skin to breathe rather than suffocate under tight, unbreathable fabrics like polyester. Especially in summer, try to wear clothes made out of natural fibres rather than synthetic. Cotton is always a good choice for casual looks. If you need a dressier outfit, go for silk. Items with sheer panels and lace will also allow any breeze to pass through.

Keep cool with one of summer's hottest trends, the maxi skirt.

Keep cool with one of summer’s hottest trends, the maxi skirt.

As for actual pieces, sundresses were made for summertime. Casual and feminine, it’s an easy outfit that doesn’t require much coordination — just slip on a pair of sandals. Maxi dresses and skirts are popular options for the season too. For a more sophisticated yet comfortable ensemble, try pairing a boxy shirt with pale linen pants. It’ll take you from an elegant brunch to a nighttime stroll along the beach. For a more eclectic look, try colourful kaftans and tunics made out of cotton or linen. Avoid unnecessary layering since that’s just additional fabric that will add to the heat. Also check your skirts and dresses for lining material. Linings made with satin or polyester will trap in heat.

Whether at an air conditioned office or a more formal event, look chic with a linen blazer.

Whether at an air conditioned office or a more formal event, look chic with a linen blazer.

For colours, it’s probably common knowledge at this point that pale and pastel colours are better in reflecting sunlight. So for those hot summer days, try to stay away from dark colours as it absorbs light and heat. A favourite I always make sure to have multiple versions of is a casual white dress. Not only does it scream summer, it’ll also contrast nicely with your tan and go along well with any bright accessories. It might also be a good idea to avoid colours that will make sweat patches more apparent, such as grey.

Aside from sunglasses, which are a necessity for this time of year, I always like to keep accessories to a minimum in hot weather since it’s just one more item that will be sticking to my skin. One way to show off your sense of style without bulky accessories is with nail colour. Fun vibrant colours are perfect for summer festivities. Another stylish but practical way to incorporate accessories is with straw hats. The material will let heat escape from your head while keeping your face in the shade. Try adding a floppy style hat to your look for a chic touch.

Stay in the shade wherever you go with a straw hat.

Stay in the shade wherever you go with a straw hat.

For makeup, avoid heavy layers of coverage for the summer and opt for a natural, dewy look instead. Sometimes a combination of tinted moisturizer, little cream blush, mascara and lip balm is all you need. Or skip the blush and go for a bronzer to give your skin a healthy glow. Whatever you put on your skin, make sure to slather on sunscreen first!

[Article first appeared in the August 14 issue of Richmond Review.]

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.]