Tag Archives: bcbg

‘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.]

Fall 2012 fashion trends

20 Sep

Pack away the pastels and summer basics — this season is all about embracing darker tones and lavish textures. From gothic leather and Shakespearean baroque pieces, to a revival of military detailing, this year’s fall trends will have something for every style.

A cobalt dress from the Stella McCartney fall/winter 2012 show.

Colours

Orange was a big colour trend earlier this year, but the cooler months will see an influx of vivid blues and reds in stores. Usually paired with black, blues were dominant on fall runways at the collections of DKNY and Stella McCartney. Cobalt, in particular, was a designer favourite. Easy to wear, blue tones also look great paired with silver for a chic, modern look. Reds were also a standout colour in the fall collections. From deep burgundy to bright scarlet, try incorporating this trend with a bold red coat or dress to add some flair to cold grey days. For dressier ensembles, go for the gold — a slew of metallic gold dresses were spotted at Elie Saab and Michael Kors. For the day-to-day, limit gold to accent pieces such as belts, bracelets, coat trimming or small detailing on a blouse. For celebratory soirees, take the look to full items and dazzle in a gold sequined jacket or skirt.

Oxblood, a deep red, is another hot colour for fall. Find this dress with an embellished collar at H&M.

Fabrics

In terms of texture, leather is always huge for fall. Whether it was because of the popularity of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or just a general moodiness in culture around the time designers were creating their collections, the tone translated into gothic leather pieces such as matte trench coats and embossed dresses. A highlight of the Proenza Schouler and Givenchy shows, leather has the capacity to be classic and rebellious depending on the fit, style and texture. Another trend similar to leather is the fascination with PVC and other waxy material. Channel Fendi’s futuristic take on PVC with a shiny black skirt made from the plastic textile.

With its leather pants and black/blue combo, this ensemble from BCBG hits a few trends at once.

For a more romantic and soft fall texture trend, look no further than velvet. The lustrous fabric is not just for holidays and kids under ten anymore, as evident on the runways of Gucci and Marc by Marc Jacobs. Try a velvet blazer in a jewel tone for a luxe look or a structured dress for that extra indulgence. Fur is always a big trend for autumn but this year, the material is kept more for small accents than a coat made completely of pelts. Whether you want to follow this trend with faux or authentic fur, find items such as a top with fur collar trim or a skirt with fur panelling.

Styles

Military styling seems to return every few seasons and it’s back again this fall. Structured army jackets were prominent at Jason Wu and Tommy Hilfiger. Look for tops and coats with epaulettes, pockets and round, gold buttons. Baroque and Shakespearean influences were also featured heavily in the collections. Try this renaissance trend by sporting opulent pieces with heavy embellishments and intricate designs. Brocade, through the use of gold and metallic threads, is also characteristic of baroque style.

A military-inspired coat from Zara.

Pantsuits are another popular choice for this season. Go sleek and polished with a suit in a solid colour or, for the more adventurous, with matching patterns. Prada and Louis Vuitton both sent models down the runway with printed pantsuits. Try a jacket and pant combo in matching florals, tartans or checks. Oversized silhouettes, especially for coats, are also trendy. Look for roomy, slightly baggy coats that drape away from the body. Another trend that falls in line with the oversized look is exaggerated hips. Peplum is continuing strong from spring and summer, but for the daring there are dresses and tops with panniers — extra fabric that extends from the hips to give it extra oomph.

Whatever style you’re drawn to, update your wardrobe with a few of this season’s trends. Fall and winter is always a fun time to play with fashion.

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

Sun, sand and swimwear

12 Jul

Summer at English Bay, Vancouver

Summer feels like it has finally arrived in Metro Vancouver. Before you go flocking to the beach to take advantage of that well-deserved sunshine, consider giving your beach look an update. For most, swimsuits get worn only a few times a year so it’s no wonder swimwear becomes more of an afterthought than a priority on the shopping list. But take into account that swimsuits start to lose their shape after frequent wear — chlorine and UV rays take a toll on the fabric — so it may be time for a new piece. To make the task of swimsuit shopping a little easier, keep in mind these tips to find one that will flatter your body shape.

Mixing and matching

A main concern when looking for a swimsuit is fit. The ideal piece will make you look proportional, while also flaunt your best assets and conceal any flaws. Most stores offer mix and match separates, which is essential for finding a suit since we’re most likely not the same size on top as we are on the bottom. If you’re small chested, look for embellished details on top: ruffles, bows, front ties, ruching, or fringe. It’ll create the illusion of a fuller bust. The same embellishments also work on boyish, ruler-shaped bodies — a bikini in a bold floral or animal print would add femininity while breaking up the straight lines. Horizontal stripes also work for small busts and you can get away with the tinier triangle bikini tops. Look for tops with padding too, especially if it’s a bandeau style. Bandeaus are great for minimizing tan lines but they tend to flatten the bust, no matter what size it is. So if you’re in the market for a bandeau, make sure it comes with padding to give your top some shape. For bustier women, try tops with v-necks, such as halter styles with thick straps. Swimsuits with built-in underwire also provide extra support, as do tops with a wider band on the bottom.

The ruffle and ruching details on this Simons bandeau bikini enhance smaller busts.

For long torsos, consider cut outs, fun prints or stripes to break up a long line. Those with shorter torsos look fantastic in suits with fun, colourful details on top, such as beading or a one-shoulder strap. If you’re uncomfortable revealing your stomach or want to conceal a tummy, opt for a tankini style. Tankinis with ruching or panels on the sides offer additional help in hiding a slight bulge. Or look for bottoms with adjustable waistbands that can be folded higher, or a retro high-waist cut. Also, a belted one-piece helps create an hourglass shape and swimsuits with a higher Lycra content are better able to keep stomachs in.

Emblazoned with palm trees and sunsets, this swimsuit from We Are Handsome just screams “summer.” The high-waisted bottom is also ideal for more coverage.

As for the lower half of your swimsuit, bottoms with rings and ties at the sides are more flattering and allow you to adjust the piece as tight or loose as desired. Avoid boy shorts if you have larger hips, they usually cut at the widest part of your thighs and draw attention to the bottom half. Colour block your swimsuit so a darker colour covers the part you want to slim down while a lighter shade plays up the part you want to flaunt. If your figure is pear-shaped, consider high-cut bottoms since they elongate the legs. For curvier women, high-waist bikinis and retro styles were made for your body type. Chic solid colour one-pieces complement hourglass figures and will leave your silhouette looking sleek.

The classic two-toned halter style of this Pour Moi suit helps slim down the lower half while drawing attention towards the face and bust.

Beach necessities and accessories

Don’t forget the beach cover-ups. Maxi dresses, linen tunics and crochet tops are just a few examples of items to easily pull over swimsuits. Add a pair of shades, perhaps a hat, definitely some sunscreen, and you’ll be ready to go enjoy the beach. And remember, the best accessory is confidence!

Protect your peepers with sunglasses in a classic cat-eye style, like this pair from BCBG.

[Article first appeared in the July 11 issue of Richmond Review.]

Sizzle with summer style: Dressing for weddings, grads and parties

23 May

The days are longer, the smell of barbecue is in the air and everyone is thinking about their next vacation — the summer party season is officially upon us. Whether you’ll be attending a wedding, graduation ceremony or just a general celebratory event, summer parties are the perfect occasion to ditch the rubber flip flops and jeans, and play a little dress-up. There’s guaranteed to be a bunch of photographs taken during weddings and grads, so it’s crucial to look your finest while remaining comfortable enough to enjoy the festivities.

Add some romance with a vintage-inspired floral dress from Ruche.

When finding an outfit for weddings, the most important rule is to not outshine the bride and groom. There’s the obvious tip about avoiding white dresses, but also take into consideration the couple’s culture. For example, Chinese weddings are big on the colours red and gold since they represent luck. The more modern brides will be fine with any colour, but their elders might disapprove of a little black dress since the dark colour marks somber occasions.

Comfortable and trendy, this French Connection maxi dress can go from a beach to a wedding.

Other factors to consider while deciding on a look for any summer celebration include the weather, location, time and activities. Weddings taking place on a beach or garden are usually more casual than those at a traditional venue. Go for flowy dresses with flat sandals. Keep the stilettos at home since they’ll be difficult to walk over sand or a lawn; opt for wedge shoes if you really want height. If you’re unsure how formal the event will be, a good indicator would be the invitation. If your invite came in the form of an ornate embossed card, it’s a good idea to dress more formally than if the invite was more on the rustic and simple side. Evening events are also fancier than daytime ones. If a dance floor is involved, try a less restrictive dress and comfy shoes such as flats or platform heels. Strapless dresses are also fantastic for the summer but consider using double-sided (or fashion) tape if you think you’ll be dancing a lot.

A little colour-blocking mixed with art deco, this BCBG dress is sure to turn heads.

For those participating in a graduation ceremony, pair your convocation gown with understated elegant shoes such as short pumps or flats. You want to keep the attention on you, not your shoes, as you cross the stage to collect your diploma. Also avoid full skirts or ones with extra long hems as they create odd silhouettes with the graduation gown.

There are a lot of options for summer party outfits, from trendy to classic. If you want to incorporate trends into your look, go for the four P’s. The most popular ones are pastels, peplum, prim, prints and 1920s — they were all big on the runways for spring and summer. Try a pale yellow shift dress if you like the pastel and prim trends, or a drop-waist embellished dress for a Great Gatsby or Downton Abbey 1920s look. Maxi dresses are a safe bet for any occasion since they’re a blend of casual and formal. If dresses aren’t your thing, pantsuits can work for formal events and are available in a wide variety of bold colours for the warmer months. Printed skinny pants are also in for the season and can easily be paired up with a solid blouse for a chic look.

Pair this Zara jumpsuit with fun accessories and heels and it would be perfect for chic summer parties.

Don’t forget your accessories to glam up even the simplest of outfits — especially hats and sunglasses since summer events usually take advantage of the nice weather and are held outside on patios or in backyards. Bring along a cardigan or shawl in a fun complementary colour for when the temperature drops at night and, most importantly, remember to use sunscreen!

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