Tag Archives: summer

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.]

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.]

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.]

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.]

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.]

His and hers summer hairstyles

18 Jun

The warmer the weather gets, the less time we want to spend fussing with blow dryers, straighteners and curling irons. Keeping a low-maintenance, yet stylish, hairstyle will ensure more time will be spent playing in the sun than primping in front of the mirror. This month I talk to the experts at Suki’s in Richmond to get their take on the most popular styles for the season.

The new highlights

For colour, ombre hair is the hottest trend of the summer, according to Suki’s colour designer Esther Kim. Seen on the likes of Jessica Biel, Jennifer Lopez and Lauren Conrad, Kim said the soft and sexy ombre look works for every hair type and length.

Lauren Conrad’s ombre locks.

“[Ombre] is the lowest in maintenance as far as colour goes because the whole effect of the ombre is darker towards the root area and gradually lighter toward the ends,” said Kim. “There are endless possibilities in the way that we can make this look achievable by customizing which areas of the hair and face you’d like to enhance.”

Go glam with a blowout

For women with longer hair volume is still very in for the summer season, as spotted on the runways of Versace and Anna Sui. Stylist and Suki’s salon manager James Valiant suggested pairing voluminous hair with a centre parting to showcase one’s features. To achieve this look, Valiant said to start by towel drying clean hair and apply a blow dry enhancing cream.

Jessical Biel sports both the blowout and ombre trends.

“Using products will protect your hair from the heat and it will ensure you have texture and hold,” said Valiant. Then separate hair into sections and blow dry using a round brush, brushing away from roots to create volume.

“Once the hair is dry, make a centre part and brush the hair out,” continued Valiant. “This will give bounce and fullness to the hair.” He said an alternative to the brush and dryer technique is to use Velcro rollers. The smaller the roller the more body and curls; big rollers will create volume but less body. Valiant suggested the use of medium-size rollers to achieve the right balance.

Pomp(adour) and circumstance

The summer hair trend for men is the undercut style. Popularized by celebrities such as David Beckham and Michael Pitt from HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, the undercut is short and tapered on the sides and back, but the top is left longer. Valiant said the bold undercut look is very versatile and can be styled slicked back, in a pompadour, or given the indie rock treatment.

Michael Pitt’s undercut worn slicked back.

For a slicked back look, use gel to hold the hair in place. To get the rocker style hair with an undercut, Valiant recommended using lightweight gel or paste.

“Sweep the hair forward and create details on top as you wish,” said Valiant. The end result will be a relaxed style.

The pompadour takes a little more effort but is well worth it. Valiant called it “the coolest style for men.” A look where the hair is swept upwards from the face to create height on top, he said the pompadour can be worn textured or smooth for guys with straight hair.

David Beckham’s undercut styled in a modern pompadour.

“Blast a blow dryer on high and use your fingers to work the hair upwards while drying,” instructed Valiant. “Pull the hair forward and then bend it back so you get the quiff shape, and ensure you don’t miss the roots while drying. The main trick is to keep working your fingers through the roots — this will create an insane amount of movement from within.”

Whether you end up colouring your hair or making a drastic cut, wear it with confidence. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles this summer; after all, hair will grow back!

[Article first appeared in the June 13 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.]