How to Dress Fashionably

OK. In a short article we can’t cover all the ground from fashion do’s and don’ts from A-Z- it would need a book and/or a TV series! But there are some tips and wrinkles, hints and suggestions, homilies and handed-down wisdoms that may point you in the right direction. First off I have to say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and when you behold yourself in the mirror wearing something that is ultra-fashionable, but that you don’t like, then drop it. Just as people wearing “cutting-edge” fashion (in other words odd or weird the first time you see it) can often pull it off because they exude confidence, the converse is true. Wear the best set of threads on the planet but if you look uncomfortable in them, people will pick up on that and either turn away, or worse, start sniggering behind your back!
First thing is to “cleanse & purge”. Get all your clothes out and critically decide what should go to the charity shop or sell on eBay. That will be those that don’t fit, those that are so clearly of a style that won’t come back this century, and ones that you haven’t worn in years. Why would you suddenly wear it next year?
Second, know your body type. There are lots of guides on the internet, and (good) friends who will help you decide what you are if you’re not sure. You can be fat, thin, tall, short, pear-shaped, apple-shaped, even banana shaped (lol!) but there will be clothes that can make your body shape look good, and many that won’t. If you don’t know your body-shape, then you’re fighting fashion with one hand tied behind your back!
What style(s) do you prefer? Referring back to the confidence issue, what style of clothes do you think you and your friends look good in? Classic? Hipster? Professional? Hippy-Dippy? Sexy but sophisticated? Goth even? (perhaps not!). Ultimately, clothes that you love and feel good in will be worn more confidently by you. It has less to do with today’s fashion and more to do with how you present yourself, though both are intertwined. And would you be prepared to change your hair style to better fit in with the style you prefer? Always tricky if you’ve kept the same hair style for years.
What clothes for what occasion(s)? You won’t wear a ball gown or hot pants to the Office, and you won’t wear a three-piece to a club (Hmmm possibly…). So make sure you are buying clothes that a) suit your body shape, b) your style preference, and c) are suitable for the occasions you are planning to wear them.
Now start shopping, but unless you have unlimited funds, consider what clothes might go with other clothes. A versatile wardrobe is one where you can mix and match many of your clothes successfully. That outrageous orange tunic is going to find few combos to suit, possibly only one. The more clothes that can be paired with other clothes in your new wardrobe the better!
Finally spend quite a lot of time acquiring accessories and jewellery that will complete your look. It is often that inexpensive hat or bangle or statement wide belt that people will comment on favourably, ignoring tour Saatchi dress!
Good hunting and have fun!

Men’s Summer Fashions

As summer slips into autumn, the sun is still quite warm and you should still be sporting your summer clothes acquisitions. What were they? Well there was more than a hint of retro on offer this year. We are talking tie-dye shirts, cargo-style shorts, deck shoes all topped off with a nice straw hat- better if slightly battered. You’ll find these sorts of clothes on offer from many fashion houses, including Dries Van Noten, Burberry, Our Legacy and Rag & Bone.
Hawaiian shirts may seem a little over-the-top but there are some great colours and styles out there- ideal for barbecues in the garden or an afternoon in your local pub’s beer garden. But some men just get down from the loft last year’s summer-wear and make little effort to get the best from their clothes by combining them in certain ways, and of course buying some new clothes to expand your wardrobe.
John Targon is a co-designer of Baja East and he says thoughtful subtlety is the way to go. Baja East’s spring/summer collection featured ikat-printed shorts and bajas (that’s those Mexican surfer hoodies) in a dove-grey cotton. When worn with denim or khakis, it appears that you haven’t tried too hard to be “trendy” but have achieved coolness with little apparent effort. Way to go!
Here are some other tips for the fellahs.
Hats. Straw hats in particular. Go for as plain a style as you can, with only natural straw colouring. One band of material or ribbon around the centre is just about permissible, but definitely no feathers or things hanging down like corks to deter flies. Most importantly, never wear the straw hat on the back of your head- it will make you look like a cross between Farmer Giles and a Boy-Band reject. The straw hat should be seated firmly and proudly on the crown of the head.
When it comes to this season’s printed shorts, it seems that solid dark colours are popular with a subtle pattern barely visible from a distance.
The tie-dye retro 1960s/70s look is in with a vengeance, but don’t go for one that looks like Jackson Pollock has thrown fifteen tins of coloured paint at it. Go for two or at most three colours only, and the colours should be similar and not too bright. Try more sombre colours and match it with your best black, charcoal or navy suit.
Wear your leather Espadrilles for street wear- they won’t look good on a beach (and will be too hot for your feet anyway). Match them with smart trousers or distressed jeans. Canvas deck shoes are the way to go on the beach or promenade.
What about jewellery? Accessories? A bum-bag? A bum bag is out, it should never be in. Whoever bought it for you was doing you no favours! Accessories- nothing more than a simple wrist band made of some natural material like jute or hemp. Avoid a necklace. But a smart watch will look good. A Fossil or a Swatch perhaps.

Look Lively People!

Blake Lively is going places… In fact she has already been to many places and is going to go to a lot more. She was one of the major head-turners on the Cannes Film Festival red carpet 2014. And that was a rare outing for her, because she’s been spending a lot of time with her husband of two plus years Ryan Reynolds. And why not? But that just makes her appearances all the more memorable and compelling. Look Lively- we are taking a snapshot celebrity profile of the talented actress and model, one Blake Ellender Brown. Better known to you and me as Blake Lively.
She started her acting career early, having had a small slot in the 1998 film “Sandman” directed by Lively’s father. Oh come on! A little bit of nepotism never hurt anyone at the start of their careers? She then starred as Serena van der Woodsen in the CW teen drama series Gossip Girl, and has appeared in such films as the curiously titled “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”. She had a good break in 2012, when she starred in Oliver Stone’s “Savages“alongside Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Salma Hayek, and acting legend John Travolta. That very same year, she entered the fashion world in a big way as she was selected to be the face of the new Gucci fragrance Gucci Premiere both in posters, and in mini-film advertisements on the TV. The next year she was named the new face of L’Oreal, marking her first major makeup campaign.
Her Gucci loyalties clearly run deep because on the red carpet at the 2014 Met Gala and later at the Cannes Film Festival, she word Gucci. At Cannes she wore a stunning burgundy coloured Gucci dress with a provocative thigh-high slit, but that wasn’t as big a head turner and jaw-dropper as what she wore to the premiere of her new film “Mr. Turner”. Switching to Chanel from Gucci for the evening Blake wore a dress from the 2014 collection a gown that almost defines the word “iridescent”. It was a plunging eye-popper that was clinched at the waist with, wait for it, a corset-like back affair. Add sparkle and folds and swishy sweeps and you have a dress to die for. She paired the dress with a neutral and unassuming white shawl, plus pink pumps by Sophia Webster and jewels by Lorraine Schwartz. As far as make up was concerned, how about pale pink lips, smoky eyes and of course her trademark free-form blonde hair in strands. When asked about her stunning looks in the past she said:
“I always like very natural hair and makeup. I don’t like hair too coiffed or done. I like looking like you can end the night running barefoot through a fountain in Central Park.”
Blake is a one-off and she can run round my local park anytime soon… Please! I am quite convinced that Blake is already and effortlessly moving up the rungs of celebrity-hood and will in a year or two be a major force in modelling and of course as an actress.

Kristen Stewart: A Reluctant but Real Style Icon

Kristen Jaymes (love that middle name!) Stewart was born on April 9, 1990, in the United States. She is probably best known for her film roles which include Bella Swan in The Twilight Saga film series, The Runaways, Snow White and the Huntsman and this year Clouds of Sils Maria. While she has film projects lined up for the future (including starring roles in Still Alice and Equals) she also has a reputation in the world of style and fashion: On 11 December 2013, Chanel announced that Stewart was its “new face” for a Western-inspired fashion collection.
This was no flash-in-the-pan knee-jerk quick-buck-making overnight venture. The campaign was shot by Karl Lagerfeld and was released online in May of this year. Subsequently Balenciaga released a new fragrance, Rosabotanica, with Stewart being the face of the brand.
So why Kristen Stewart? She is not the most, how shall we say it, natural poser on the red carpet or head-turner at events. But therein lies her secret. Whereas others we could name will immediately turn to face the sound of clicking cameras and cries of “over here miss!” and present a set pout or pose, Kristen will not. She will actually admit to being a bit of an awkward icon when in the shot of a lens, but therein lies her charm. Her naturalness. Her indifference is, well, different and refreshing. She actually makes black tie dressing look cool. And she takes risks. Do you recall the Zuhair Murad nude number she sported up for the LA premiere of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2. This was basically see-through lingerie masquerading as a frock. Very risky rather than risqué in anybody else’s catalogue, but because there’s a lot of goodwill and encouragement for someone who doesn’t follow the pack, she pulled it off bigtime! If you wanted another example of her poo-pooing of celebrity chic, there was an occasion when she matched up a truly jaw-dropping sheer Marchesa dress with a pair of really distressed trainers/sneakers. This on a red carpet- I kid you not!
Kirsten is a great fan of those difficult to get right jeans… the skinny jeans. But on Miss Stewart they look excellent when teamed up with a music tee shirt. In fact, when not at big events and red carpet bashes, it’s more fun to try and spot when she isn’t in her skinnies!
Another Kristen trade-mark, which she will decry as such and laugh it off, is her dressing in men’s clothes- usually her boyfriends’. This includes Vans, plaid shirts and Harrington jackets. If you are one of her boyfriends, then better check your wardrobe quick!
Kristen loves to mash things up and challenge you fashion-wise. The French would probably call it ‘jolie-laide’. I call it provocatively satisfying. In Dallas earlier this year at the Metiers d’Art fashion show, she presented us with Camel leather trousers, a grey cropped sweat shirt, and a different grey knit around the waist. On paper, that’s bad. But did it look bad? No! That’s because Kristen has an innate inner talent to mix ‘n muck about. She’s not trying too hard. In fact she’s not trying at all a lot of the time, but even when she wears a reverse peaked sports cap- so last decade it’s laughable, it looks cool and college-girl ace.
Good for Kristen Jaymes Stewart- a real style icon, even if she as pains to show reluctance in that field!

Go Retro With Toxic Vision Clothing

When you look at a lot of clothes stores today it is easy to how so many of us end up dressing the same. But there is one brand, led by Sharon Toxic, that will ensure you are never caught wearing what anyone else is and that’s because she consistently creates retro delights on a weekly basis!

Don’t get us wrong, these clothes might not be for everybody. The Toxic Vision label is one that takes its inspiration from the days of Queen and Twisted Star and as you can imagine you will definitely be making a statement when wearing some of their gear. Think along the lines of rainbow-coloured leopard print and bold neons, Sharon Toxic takes pride in the fact that these pieces are devoid of the obvious and all too common influences that are found in national clothing chains.

In fact Sharon refuses to even look at other designers work when she is creating a new piece, preferring to “come up with my own ideas and modify and recreate designs that I’ve worked on in the past”. Of course she does have her influences if the likes of Alice Cooper count!

So how did this interest in alternative fashion come about? Sharon found she had a strong desire when growing up to be a part of the fashion industry. She had a desire to be self-employed and the fact that she was never able to find clothes that she wanted to wear in regular shops ended up directing her into designing her own. Since those early days Sharon has come a long way and Toxic Vision has since hosted its first fashion show in Los Angeles.

But she notes her real break being when she met Kat Von D on a recent trip to Los Angeles and since became friends. The tattooist was so impressed by Sharon’s work that she began to wear Toxic Vision on LA Ink, this of course began to give the range even more traction though it is success that hasn’t come without sacrifice. When Sharon started it was just with an interest in creating her own unique clothing and all she had was her sewing machine. Of course she stuck with it and slowly taught herself new techniques and it has opened up a wealth of opportunities for her.

Sharon is the perfect example of how a bit of determination and hard work can help you to make a career out of your passions. There is also plenty more to come as she says she is planning a huge takeover of the fashion world and hopes that one day her Toxic Vision brand will become a household name. Of course she has a few more realistic goals in the short-term, most notable of these are for her to design the stage outfits for some of her favourite rock stars, obviously including the likes of rock legend Alice Cooper and Ronnie James Dio.

If you are a fan of the unique and creative then this is definitely a range that is worth your time.

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