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Leather for Spring? Here’s How to Pull it Off

7 May

Leather might seem difficult to pull off in the warmer months. It’s tough and brings up images of biker gangs and rock stars, and can seem heavy for sunny days. But with these tips straight from the runway, you can rock it in the warmer months.

1. Make it girly.

Take a tip from Burberry Prorsum and pair leather pieces, like a jacket, with daintier fabrics, like florals or lace. This will loosen some of the edge while still keeping it cool.

2. Try a new hue.

Throw on a colored leather skirt or short, and lose the dark black. Colorblocked brights are in right now, and this is a fun way to play with the trend. This Jil Sander green skirt looks right at home with pink and purple. And Christopher Kane’s lace printed leather looks very springy.

3. Keep the leather in the details.

Throw on a pair of leather ankle boots, or a glossy handbag. Below, the bright yet tough heels at Versus. Accessories are great for the leather-shy.

4. Embrace your inner rebel. 

Like to look like a rockstar? Make an outfit Balmain-style with shorts or capris and lots of ripped detail.

The New “New Look”

7 May

From the 1920s to the 1940s, skirt lengths rose considerably. Women loved the ability to showcase their gams in knee-length hemlines. They relished the freedom it offered them, the progressive ideas of sex represented in the short hems.

But in 1947 Christian Dior had a different silhouette in mind. Instead of following the trend, he went against the grain and designed mid-calf, full skirts, which Harper’s Bazaar christened the “New Look.” Some women picked up on the fashion statement. And others rebelled, angry that their legs were now going to be hidden and their movement restricted.

Longer skirt lengths are making a comeback in the fashion industry, and I like to think of this as a second coming of the “New Look,” since they’re a departure from the knee-length and above-the-knee lengths that fill most modern women’s closets. They were seen on many a spring 2011 runway, from Rag and Bone to DKNY (pictured below. Different from the New Look of before, this longer hemline is streamlined, usually keeping the maxi close to the body. There are also less demure aspects to this trend, with some designers choosing to make skirts in translucent chiffon to still show some leg.

Jil Sander S2011

This trend today is still in its early stages. It’s mostly the early trend setters that are wearing mid calf and floor length silhouettes rather than the oh-so-popular mini and knee-length skirts seen by the masses. There hasn’t been any real retaliation to this trend yet, probably because women are maybe ready for a change. And more mass retailers are picking up on this trend. For instance, on American Apparel’s skirt page, ankle-lengths are featured first. It will be interesting to see how many women adopt this length in the near future.

More Plus Size Models Won’t Make Women Obese

7 May

A recent study came out linking a rise in the number of plus-size models to obesity, claiming that if women see plus-size models, it will raise the ideal body size and make them more comfortable to eat more. It says that if a culture is generally underweight, plus-size acceptance will make them healthier, but the opposite is true if the culture is generally overweight. While I do believe that the fashion industry has a large influence on women’s body image, I find this study ridiculous. Raising the ideal body weight will actually make a lot of women healthier.

Plus-size models are actually not unhealthy or vastly overweight. They are simply bigger than a size 0 and, while closer to the average size of women, they are usually smaller than the average women’s size 14, at about a 10. They have to maintain an ideal body shape, just like other models. They stay active and eat well. They are actually healthier than “normal” runway models, because they actually eat the recommended amount of calories per day.

Emaciated runway models present an ideal body image that is unachievable for most women, and has influenced women, (including models themselves), to chase this weight, often making unhealthy choices in the process. The idea that super-thin is perfection isn’t the only cause, but it contributes to the high rates of eating disorders. Eight million Americans have eating disorders, about 2 out of every hundred people, according to the South Carolina Department of Mental Health (see more statistics here). Yes, anorexia and bulimia are psychological disorders, but the influence of this skinny ideal cannot be helping those suffering from the disease.

There is case after case of models struggling to stay thin. Crystal Renn (pictured at right), one of the most famous plus-size models, suffered from anorexia shortly after she was discovered at age 14. She was told by agents that she needed to lose weight to be a model, so she starved herself for years to succeed. She fought the eating disorder, and came back to the modeling industry as a size 12, much healthier than she was before. She has since lost a lot of weight, and is about an 8, still considered plus-size by the fashion industry.

If plus-size models were more accepted, maybe women who are overweight would be given hope that they too can achieve a body they can be proud of. They’re still smaller than most American women, and would give them a lower weight to work towards. The plus-size models can only help by possibly lowering eating disorder rates and giving women who aren’t a size 0 more self esteem.

Yellow Clover by Sarah Elizabeth

7 May

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Sarah Elizabeth, a fashion designer based out of Providence, at the Liberty Hotel the night she was showing her collection for Fashionably Late. I believe she’s one to watch; her clothing is beautiful and innovative with a vintage girly flair. We’ll be seeing a lot more of her in the future. She’s showing again at Providence Styleweek in August, and her clothing should be available in Boston boutiques soon.

Read my full profile and check out her website.

Why I’m Excited for Boston Fashion Week 2011

5 May

I attended Boston Fashion Week events last year, and while a lot of them were enjoyable, it didn’t have the cohesiveness of other fashion weeks. A lot of the calendar skewed more towards cocktail party than fashion show, and didn’t do the designers’ work justice. The venues were mostly bars, hotels, and malls, spread across the city. Turnout was somewhat low for a city of Boston’s size, and people seemed disinterested. There was one event I attended that seemed to have very minimal tie-in to fashion, and seemed to be more about the socialization than the small trunk shows going on.

I’m excited for this coming fashion week in September because I recently learned that the format is changing. The organizers are finally purchasing a tent, which will be in a centralized Back Bay location, to house all of the fashion shows. This will allow for real runways, lighting and sound, more like Providence Styleweek, Boston Fashion Week’s more professional and respected sister. The fashion shows will showcase the clothing more, rather than an open bar. And that’s what fashion weeks are about, after all–the fashion.

How to Wear Heels: A Primer

5 May

How to Wear Heels from Sarah Jones on Vimeo.

Wearing heels can be easy; you just need to know which ones to buy and how to walk in them. Here’s a quick look at how to pull them off.

Met Gala 2011

4 May

I always look forward to the Met Gala, because it puts the focus on the celebrities of the fashion world–the designers, models, and industry insiders. Because of its focus and guest list, attendees dress to the nines in high fashion, as opposed to the more mainstream looks seen on other red carpets.

There were numerous Alexander McQueen ensembles, fittingly since the gala was in honor of the McQueen exhibit opening. My favorite was Daphne Guinness, one of McQueen’s dear friends, who wore a dress from the McQueen spring 2011 line, the first collection designed by his predecessor Sarah Burton. She wore the slightly avant-garde molded dress the right way, keeping her hair and makeup simple.

Other notable McQueen ensembles were Coco Rocha’s black and gold feathered frock, Anna Dello Russo’s bolero pantsuit, and Gisele Bundchen’s red hot gown.

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