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Warm up with fall fashions

29 Sep

Spring and summer fashions focused on athletic styles, crop tops and artsy prints. And while we do see some overlap in the trends transitioning into fall, this season is all about the mod vibe, cozy textures, bold graphic prints and colour combinations. With trends ranging from low-key, casual knits to dramatic patterned dresses, the fall and winter season has something to suit every style.

One of the biggest trends to hit fall collections is the 60s look. Gucci channelled the swinging 60s vibe with structured, collarless pea coats. Over at Dsquared, 60s glamour and shorter hemlines owned the runway as the designers displayed fur trimmed shift minidresses and blue python microminis. Youthful shift dresses at Saint Laurent paid homage to London’s 1960s mod and music scene. Characterized by A-line coats and short hemlines, complete the retro 60s silhouette with mock turtlenecks and knee-high boots.

60s mod revived at Dsquared.

Sixties mod revived at Dsquared.

In terms of fabrics for this season, the cozier the better. Befitting the colder weather, knitwear is a huge trend for fall and winter this year. And the main idea is to go big or go home. Overexaggerated sweaters and head-to-toe knit ensembles were spotted at Celine and Marc Jacobs. Michael Kors, meanwhile, paired their luxuriously long cardigans with chunky knit scarves. And the normally glamorous Lanvin added some casual elegance to his collection with ruffled-hem sweater dresses. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s fashion line The Row, in particular, took knitwear to another level with a look consisting of an extremely oversized cowl-neck cashmere sweater and matching knit skirt. For the fashion forward, rock the sweater trend with knit pants this season.

Cozy up with knit on knit fashions as seen at Celine.

Cozy up with knit on knit fashions as seen at Celine.

Shearling is another huge texture trend for this season. The plush fur, faux or real, can add a sophisticated touch to any outfit. The easiest way to incorporate shearling is through a coat or vest like at Isabel Marant. Whether lined with the fur or just small trim details like at Oscar de la Renta, the textile creates a luxe Aspen vibe. Prada and 3.1 Phillip Lim both showcased colour-blocked, patchwork shearling coats, Marni mixed the fur with metallic.

Perhaps it’s to offset the grey skies coming our way this seasons, but in terms of colour trends, designers opted for vibrant shades in their fall/winter collections. The “It” piece that had fashion audiences reaching for their camera apps was Joseph Altuzarra’s bright pink and grey wrap coat. The hot pink provided a striking contrast to the otherwise muted robe coat. Dior also created a showstopper with their bright pink and green dress combination. Reviving the colour-blocking trend from previous seasons, Prabal Gurung used a more traditionally warm autumn colour palette such as auburn, orange and reds and paired them with greys and black.

Bright psychedelic prints at Dries Van Noten.

Bright psychedelic prints at Dries Van Noten.

Eye-catching prints are also hot for fall. Marc by Marc Jacobs showed graphic prints and patterns fit for a tough biker chick. Kenzo embraced dark surrealism using embroidery and printed fabrics while Proenza Schouler created a cool effect with multi-layered prints and 3-D textures. Even Chanel incorporated funky geometric patterns onto their coats and dresses. A mix of rave culture, optical illusion and art exhibit, the print trend this season is not for the fashion shy. Ease into the trend using graphic print accessories such as bags, shoes or caps and keep the rest of the ensemble relatively simple. Sometimes one statement piece is all you need to make your outfit stand out.

Fall is always a great time to experiment with personal style since we can layer items we already love with new trendy pieces. So explore this season’s trends and have fun with fashion!

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

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.]

Revamp your wardrobe with spring trends

18 Mar

With snowfall earlier this month it still feels like we’re in the middle of winter, but this Thursday marks the first day of spring and fashion is already looking ahead to the warmer months. Transition into the new season by updating your wardrobe with some of spring’s best trends.

Winter was all about punk and grunge aesthetics, but set your distressed motorcycle leather jackets aside this season and go for a sporty bomber instead. One of spring’s biggest trends is the athletic look, so take a few style cues from the recent Olympic Games and incorporate sporty pieces into your attire. Satin varsity jackets were paired with metallic trainers at the Marc by Marc Jacobs show, while Balenciaga’s collection included track shorts, muscle tees and tanks. Even the usually glamorous Tom Ford added a few sporty elements to his collection, such as a loose leather net tank reminiscent of a basketball jersey. The key for wearing spring’s sporty trend is to find pieces with athletic silhouettes in unusual fabrics, such as leather, silk, neoprene and mesh.

Crop top trends and athletic looks at the DKNY show.

Crop top trends and athletic looks at the DKNY show.

If your style is less sporty and more dressy, then the metallic trend may better suit your taste. High shine dresses and metallic detailing were all the rage on the runway this season. Lustrous satin, lamé and brocade silks made up the majority of Lanvin’s spring collection. Proenza Schouler, on the other hand, presented a more subtle approach to metallics by adding silver and bronze strips to pleated maxi skirts. Don’t be afraid to break out the metallics for daytime. Try adding some shiny accents to your office wardrobe with metallic accessories such as belts, bags or jewelry.

Metallic detailing at Proenza Schouler.

Metallic detailing at Proenza Schouler.

Another huge trend for spring is the crop top. DKNY showcased sporty midriff-baring tops in pastel blue while Diane von Furstenberg paired her collection of bustier tops with printed knee-length skirts and pants. Over at Narciso Rodriguez, the crop top was more understated and showed only a hint of skin. For a simple and less daunting way to try the crop top trend, wear the top with high-waisted skirt or pants. It’ll limit the exposure of skin but still allow you to play with proportions.

One trend everyone can get into for spring is the oxford shirt. A true classic, collared button-ups graced the runways in a variety of styles and outfit combinations. Boyfriend-style dress shirts were worn over boxer shorts at Alexander Wang, while Christian Dior revealed a more feminine version of the button-up with an oxford shirtdress. Prabal Gurung modernized the silhouette of the shirt with structured sleeves, and paired it with minimalistic pencil skirts for a clean, clinical look. A wardrobe essential, the oxford shirt is a great layering piece for any style. Pair a crisp white dress shirt with a cardigan and pleated skirt for a preppy look, for example. Or go rocker chic by coupling an oversized button-up with leather leggings.

Seen at Alexander Wang, the dress shirt is spring’s must-have.

Seen at Alexander Wang, the dress shirt is spring’s must-have.

In terms of prints, pop art was a favourite among the designers. Inspired by art murals, Prada’s collection featured portraits of women on dresses, skirts and coats. It also revived colour-blocking for the season. The other collection that ignited the fashion as art trend is Chanel, with patterned fabrics resembling paint swatches. And, as usual, florals are back for spring. However, this season’s florals are less subtle and more of a statement piece. Marni created layers of textured petals for her ensembles and Mary Katrantzou also added a 3-D effect to her florals using embroidery and decoration.

Artistic flair at Chanel’s spring show.

Artistic flair at Chanel’s spring show.

As for texture, the trends this season are pleats, fringe and sheer fabric. Dries Van Noten’s spring show encompassed all three trends. The designer showcased ruffled and pleated metallic skirts, fringed tassel accents on embroidered tops, and veiled skirts with sheer fabric overlays.

Spring is great time to refresh your wardrobe, so have fun with fashion and try out a few trends this season.

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

Fall fashion trends

18 Sep

It’s time to put away the scuba dresses, black and white striped pieces and anything neon. Fall fashion has arrived along with a new set of trends. For this season the theme is a play on feminine and masculine styles with a bit of androgynous punk thrown in.

For their fall show, Versace’s usual glamour was mixed with punk details.

For their fall show, Versace’s usual glamour was mixed with punk details.

Fall and winter shows coincided with the anticipation of Metropolitan Museum’s fashion exhibit, Punk: Chaos to Couture, held at the Costume Institute earlier this year. These events culminated in the alternative trend currently found in stores and as a part of street style. For fall, Rodarte showcased their punk sensibility with deconstructed dresses and oversized motorcycle jackets. Hardware details, vinyl pants and tangled layers of necklaces were spotted over at Versace. Even Chanel designed thigh-high leather boots draped with metal chains. To get the punk look, try pairing a distressed leather jacket with skinny tartan pants and combat boots. Incorporate details such as studs, chains and spikes. An additional and easy way to add a touch of punk to your ensemble is with an ear cuff. Seen at Jean Paul Gaultier and Thakoon, the ear cuff is definitely undergoing a revival.

Glitzy ear cuffs at Thakoon.

Jewelled ear cuffs sparkled down the runway at Thakoon.

Another returning 90s fashion trend is grunge, mostly due to the collection at Saint Laurent. For a grunge style, the key is to look like your outfit was assembled from thrift store finds. Flannel shirts, oversized sweaters, babydoll dresses, patterned tights, and jean jackets and vests were the essence of this subculture’s fashion.

Grunge at Saint Laurent's fall 2013 show.

Grunge at Saint Laurent’s fall 2013 show.

For silhouettes, both menswear-inspired and feminine 1940s shapes are on trend. The two were perfectly encapsulated in Dries Van Noten’s show. Slouchy, oversized contours were mixed with feathered textures and brocade pieces. The 1940s style was seen at in at a multitude of shows, such as Prada, Rochas and Lanvin. Characterized by nipped-in waists and full skirts, the refined ladylike look would fit right into Hitchcock’s film noirs. For menswear, the idea is to look like you borrowed a coat or blazer from your boyfriend’s wardrobe. Try oversized single- or double-breasted topcoats. For a more figure flattering approach, buckle a belt over the waist of the coat. Menswear-inspired style was spotted at Stella McCartney, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Chloe.

A dress at Lanvin that combines both the 1940s and pink trends.

A dress at Lanvin that combines both the 1940s and pink trends.

Another way to try out the menswear trend is through fabrics. Pinstripes, herringbone, houndstooth, tweed, argyle and Glen plaid are easy to incorporate into a fall wardrobe. Ease into it by adding a patterned piece to an otherwise neutral ensemble. For the bold, try wearing head to toe patterns. The key is to anchor the look by picking pieces from the same colour family.

A menswear-inspired look at 3.1 Phillip Lim.

A menswear-inspired look at 3.1 Phillip Lim.

Always popular for fall and winter is fur. Whether real or faux, fur pieces were all over the runways from accessories to dresses. Fendi even incorporated the texture into the models’ hair for a furry mohawk. A range of fur were seen at the fall shows, from colourful dyed fur seen at Lanvin and Versace, to classic fur stoles shown at Marc Jacobs.

For colours, both warm and cool tones ran rampant in the fall collections. Reds and pinks were popular for warmer hues while blues and greys ruled the cool shades. Even Valentino strayed from his signature red, aside from a few pieces, and focused on blue dresses. Over at Dolce & Gabbana, red gowns made a dramatic finale at their show. Cotton candy pink dresses and coats were refreshing amidst the dark ensembles at Simone Rocha. If you want to splurge on a trendy item for the fall, make it an oversized yet structured coat in a tone of red or blue. It’ll be perfect for layering over a chunky sweater.

Pink, a refreshing colour trend for fall, was the highlight of the Simone Rocha show.

Pink, a refreshing colour trend for fall, was the highlight of the Simone Rocha show.

Fall accessories also follow the masculine and feminine trend. Menswear-inspired flats such as oxford shoes and loafers are popular this season. For a girlier touch, there’s ankle-strap heels, stacked pumps and over-the-knee boots. As for bags anything goes in terms of size, from small clutches to big portfolio bags and slouchy purses.

Whether your usual style leans more towards ladylike, menswear-inspired or punk, there’s a fall trend that will complement and update your existing wardrobe. So layer up and have fun with fashion!

[Article first appeared in the Sept. 11 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.]

Menswear trends for spring

24 Apr

Much like womenswear, the spring trend for men’s fashion is minimalism. Clean lines and toned down shades of neutrals, navy and olive were rampant at the spring and summer shows. Simple silhouettes were spotted on the runways of Raf Simons and Prada — basic suited ensembles cut with classic tailoring.

Prada Spring 2013 Menswear

Minimalism at Prada Men’s spring show

Another huge trend that is still going strong for both womenswear and menswear is the athletic look. Alexander Wang embraced the sporty side of minimalism by creating a spring collection of baseball caps and hoodies. Kenzo presented their most popular item of apparel — their tiger sweatshirt. Over at Louis Vuitton, outfits were inspired by water sports. Wetsuits and hooded anoraks that would fit right in on a boat were the standouts of their show. Baseball bomber jackets in bold metallic colours were showcased heavily on the runway at Burberry. But for a more daytime-friendly look, try a baseball bomber jacket in an earth-toned leather. It’ll go well with most outfits since it can be dressed up over a shirt and tie or casually worn over a graphic tee.

Add some street style with a baseball bomber jacket such as this one from G-Star.

Add some street style with a baseball bomber jacket such as this one from G-Star.

An item that should already be in every man’s wardrobe is the versatile polo. An essential for the warmer seasons, polos can work with a variety of styles. Pair one with shorts or khakis for a preppy look or go casual chic with a blazer over a polo and trousers. Both classic and on trend because of the polo’s sport association, the key is fit. Look for one that will provide a streamlined silhouette and avoid the oversized, boxy type that was all the rage in the 90s.

Stay stylishly cool in a coloured polo by Superdry.

Stay stylishly cool in a coloured polo by Superdry.

Fitting in with the minimalist trend is the sockless look. Appearing to go sockless in shoes from sneakers to loafers has become big over the years. Seen at the spring shows of Gucci and Louis Vuitton, to name a few, the look has been featured in a number of fashion editorials in men’s magazines. To prevent odours from sweat, try no-show loafer socks and look for ones made of antimicrobial material.

Wear two trends at once by going sockless and sporty as seen at Louis Vuitton.

Wear two trends at once by going sockless and sporty as seen at Louis Vuitton.

More often than not, guys tend to play it safe in neutral coloured ensembles. Even the menswear runways were awash with shades of grey, navy and olive. But the warmer months are all about colour. Whether you’re clothes shopping for yourself or a boyfriend, avoid the basic black, white or grey version and go for the more vivid colours. Play around with hues of pastel or bold blocks of complementary shades. For an easy transition from a monotonous wardrobe, add a splash of colour to a neutral suit with a bright shirt.

Don’t be afraid to incorporate prints into your wardrobe as well. Florals may seem intimidating at first, so start with smaller doses such as a floral tie. Trendy prints that are easier to mix into menswear are camouflage and stripes. Dries Van Noten revived the camouflage print again for this season, while stripes were seen at Dolce & Gabbana and Jean Paul Gaultier. For something a little more unexpected, pair printed bottoms with a solid shirt. Neutral stripes usually look sharp when combined with a solid, bold colour. Try wearing a striped tee with coloured denim for a smart, casual look.

Bold stripes at Jean Paul Gaultier's spring presentation.

Bold stripes at Jean Paul Gaultier’s spring presentation.

Accessories are always an easy way to add some presence and update your wardrobe. Bags, ties, sunglasses, belts, hats, jewelry and watches are all great for showing off your personality and sense of style. Fashion trends are about experimentation so have fun with it whether you’re out shopping or choosing an outfit for the day. It can help set the tone for your confidence, attitude, and how others react around you.

[Article first appeared in the April 17 issue of Richmond Review.]

Start fresh with spring trends

22 Mar

Fall was all about opulence and lavish textures with its embellished details, baroque styles and layering trends involving leather, fur, velvet and brocade. But for spring, the fashion industry went down a more minimalistic route. The biggest trend this season is the simple, high contrast black and white. Usually designers stray from black and opt for soft pastels in their spring and summer collections, but the graphic duo of black and white made a huge impact at most of the major shows. From Calvin Klein in New York, to Céline in Paris, to Milan’s Moschino, black and white ensembles rocked the runways in a variety of styles. A combination that’s super wearable for everyone and suitable for day and night, black and white is now both timeless and on trend.

Step out in the hottest trend for spring: black and white.

Step out in the hottest trend for spring: black and white. (Dress from Zara)

For an updated way to wear black and white, try incorporating pieces with bold stripes or monochromatic checks. Marc Jacobs sent a number of his models down the runway with black and white striped and checked outfits. Stripes are another big trend for spring, so you don’t necessarily have to incorporate black and white versions of striped clothing. Michael Kors featured rugby stripes of red, navy and green in his collection while Christian Dior used bold lines of pink and black. Easy to incorporate into any style, try a navy striped tee with shorts for a nautical look or black and white striped denim for a Balmain-inspired rocker vibe.

Marc Jacobs spring/summer 2013

Marc Jacobs spring/summer 2013 (Photo credit: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/GettyImages)

Another trend this is season is the boudoir look. This means adapting pieces we normally would associate with lingerie into transparent items for our everyday wear. Look for sheer and light fabrics such as organza, silk chiffon or mousseline. In terms of style, the transparent look comes through in lace details, mesh panels, cutouts and high slits. On the runways, Alexander Wang showed deconstructed dresses with sheer panels and cutouts. Crop tops and slip dresses were spotted at Rochas, and Akris presented a multitude of transparent ensembles. For a wearable and fun night look, pair a cropped tank with a high-waisted skirt or pant. Or swap a blouse with a bustier to wear under a blazer. The key is to keep things subtle — show just a hint of skin that isn’t normally revealed with the usual jeans and tee.

Cutouts featured at Alexander Wang’s spring show.

Cutouts featured at Alexander Wang’s spring show.

The luxe sport trend is also big for spring. Bomber jackets were seen at Stella McCartney and sporty dresses were included in a lot of the collections. A great way to wear this trend for the warmer months is with scuba dresses. Characterized by a higher neckline, exposed zipper, fitted sleeveless bodice, and usually with black panelling down the sides, the skirt of a scuba dress can either be a-line or more body conscious. Dress them up with heels or pair them with canvas sneakers for a more casual look.

Look sporty with a scuba dress like this one at Victoria Beckham.

Look sporty with a scuba dress like this one at Victoria Beckham.

Still going strong from autumn are the leather and pantsuit trends. Perfect for the transition into spring, opt for suppler, lightweight leather in unexpected colours and styles such as a flirty oxblood leather skirt. With the power suit, both masculine and feminine shapes were spotted on the runways. For a cool and versatile twist, pair a suit blazer with formal shorts or cropped pants, as seen at Tory Burch and Helmut Lang.

For smaller details, ruffles, exotic patchworks and Japanese silhouettes are also in. With frills prominent at Gucci, Givenchy and Chloé, the ruffle is an updated variation on the peplum trend from previous seasons. If you want to add a big splash of patterns and colour into an outfit, try a patchwork top or dress such as those seen at Rodarte or Proenza Schouler. Similar to a collage, the modern patchwork combines different textiles in complementary colours and patterns. And to emulate the Japanese-inspired looks at Etro and Prada, look for kimono-style wrap tops or dresses with wide, structured belts.

The patchwork trend at Proenza Schouler.

The patchwork trend at Proenza Schouler.

There’s a trend for every look this season. And with black and white pieces already in your wardrobe, you’re set to start out spring with style!

[Article first appeared in the March 20 issue of Richmond Review.]

Hats off to headwear

19 Feb

Hats and headwear made a big statement on the runways for the upcoming spring season. Whether it was the dramatic black hats seen at Alexander McQueen, whimsical animal ears spotted on the models at Anna Sui or biker caps at DSquared2, there were hats for every personality and style. Not only does the perfect hat take your outfit up a notch, it’s also great for covering up bad hair days and keeping your head warm during the colder months.

Alexander McQueen spring 2013

Alexander McQueen spring 2013

One hat trend that’s easy to wear and fantastic for the winter is a slouchy beanie, otherwise known as a tuque. Close-fitting around the head and loose on top, slouchy beanies come in a variety of colours, patterns and knits. Wool fedoras are also a popular, albeit more formal, option for this time of year. Try finishing off your outfit with a fedora at night if you want a dressy, polished look. For even more glamour, you can accessorize with a wide-brim felt hat, as seen at the Saint Laurent show — designer Hedi Slimane topped off his rocker chic models with 70s-inspired floppy hats in neutral tones.

Saint Laurent spring 2013

Saint Laurent spring 2013

An alternate approach to picking hats other than trying the trends is to go with one that will suit your face shape. Much like a hairstyle or a pair of glasses, hats can also help in flattering and framing the face. For oval faces, you’re in luck! Just like haircuts, oval faces are suited to most types of hats. Try a beanie without too much excess fabric at the top so you don’t elongate the face. To complement longer faces, stick to big circular hats such as thick beanies and Russian fur hats. Oblong faces also work well with curved brims like ones found on newsboy caps, cloches and floppy hats. You want to add width, not height, to your face. Another trick is to pull the hat forward to cover more of the forehead.

Look cool while keeping your head warm with this slouchy beanie from ASOS.

Look cool while keeping your head warm with this slouchy beanie from ASOS.

For round faces, look for rigid, structured hats with angled brims and aren’t too circular at the crown. You want to add angles instead of roundness. Fedoras, newsboy and conductor caps are great for rounder faces. If your face is more heart-shaped, try slouchy beanies or berets to balance out and soften angles of the jawline and cheeks. Heart-shaped faces are also best suited to hats with medium-sized brims such as cloches, as shorter ones tend to enlarge the forehead and longer brims will make small chins appear pointier. And for faces with square jawlines, opt for feminine hats with large brims and curved crowns, like trilbies, floppy hats and bowlers.

Get ready for spring with a straw trilby from Topshop.

Get ready for spring with a straw trilby from Topshop.

To prevent hat hair, choose hats made from natural fabrics like cotton, wool and cashmere. They’re less likely to cause unruliness from sweating of the head. Also take into consideration how snug the hat fits: tight beanies are more likely to cause hat hair while slouchy, loose berets are less likely to. Control flyaways and static with hairspray after wearing your hat. Spray some into your hand and run it over your hair for flyaways, and into the roots for a boost of volume. Those with short hair can also put in some volumizer before donning a cap. For longer haired ladies, you can pull your hair into a loose bun under a hat. Once it comes off, you’ll have waves since the hat insulates heat.

Baseball caps at DKNY spring 2013.

Baseball caps at DKNY spring 2013.

Hats are an easy addition to change up an outfit. Just think of the different styles conveyed when a hat is worn with a simple jeans and tee look: glam with a fedora, androgynous with a newsboy cap, or even urban chic with a baseball cap as seen at DKNY. Play around with how the hat sits on your head, tilting it for different angles to find the right balance for your face. You can also individualize your hats with brooches, ribbons and studs. Like any accessory, hats can be an extension of your mood and style — have fun with them!

[Article first appeared in the Feb. 13 issue of Richmond Review.]