Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Halloween Special: The Scary/Sexy Conundrum

I decided to call this blog post "The Halloween Special" to give it that air of ambiguity that stems from this term. As a frequently used term, it is associated with that "special" time of year where we all dress up in frightening (or sexually frightening) costumes that inspire outrageous behaviour. In light of my most recent post on the "weird", Halloween happens to be quite a propos because it is the only time of year when we are encouraged to wear something we wouldn't be caught dead in on a regular day. Whether a witch costume, a life-size milk carton, or a minion (the most popular choice last year), we are encouraged to be someone we're not.

Throughout the year, the way we dress is a reflection of ourselves and how we'd like others to perceive us. On Halloween, we want to hide that self and inspire intrigue in the average masked figure. We want people to look at us and to inspire wonder and perhaps, fear, in that person.

As a widely commercialized holiday, Halloween has become all about the costume.

Where do you buy it?
What do you wear?
How do you find an original idea?
Should you be sexy or scary?

via Pinterest
When pondering Halloween, we don't just select a costume out of the blue. Some of us do. But others put a month's worth of thought into their choice. For something that is not meant to reflect the self, an abundance of energy is being put into this look. Is it possible that our Halloween costume is yet another extension of our inner selves? Is Halloween an excuse to become a person we secretly desire to be? For those in zombie costumes, this is probably not the case. But why are there so many articles offering tips on what to wear on Halloween? Yes, we seek variety because it is a difficult choice, but how do we come to make that choice? 

It all comes down to a simple game of Would You Rather. When faced with two decisions, we mentally process the consequences of both and make a selection. For the sake of this game, we're often faced with two terrible choices, but when it comes to Halloween, it's more about which one fits with the kind of person we want to be that day. Do I want to be THAT girl wearing bunny ears on Halloween or will others perceive me as unoriginal, boring, and conventional. Perhaps if I choose to be scary, I might be perceived as bold, daring, and confident. Or maybe I'm over-thinking it.

Ponder It,

Oh, and Happy Halloween.

XOXO,

Bella

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Fashion's Obsession With The "Weird"

A common misconception about the fashion industry is that it's all about an idealized version of beauty. P.S It's not. I am well aware that women are being touched up on all our favourite magazines from A to Vogue, skinny is the dominant trend, and makeup, a tool used for beautifying, is an industry in itself. But what people don't know is that fashion is not the pretty girl in your English class that gets all the attention. Fashion is personified by the other girl who sits in the back with the gapped teeth and bushy eyebrows. What was once an industry that promoted a singular look is now a realm of versatility on a constant quest to find the "weird". From gap toothed models to whimsical prints, fashion loves to counter established notions of beauty with unusual silhouettes and bold accessories simply because it can. After all, mother knows best.

When you take a moment to look at a runway show from Alexander McQueen or Marc Jacobs, you enter a world where beauty is undefined. The general public calls it "weird", but can we really define "weird"? What does the word "weird" even mean?

via ivheesalvador.wordpress.com
Once upon a time, the word weird referred to anything supernatural. Today, we call that girl who eats paste in kindergarten a weirdo. In fact, anything that differs from our own reality appears "weird" to us. Unfamiliar foods, unconventional haircuts, and oversized hats are deemed weird because we don't see them on the streets every day. But what if we did? What if the entire world decided to embrace their inner weird and do something they've always wanted to do but didn't because they thought it would be interpreted as weird.

When you look at a fashion trend, how do you decide if it's "weird"?
Is a giant fur stole weird or flamboyant?
Is flamboyant a euphemism for weird?
If so, why are we so keen on the word flamboyant, but cringe at the word "weird"?

via www.womenzmag.com
Weirdness is frowned upon in most societies. You can't just walk up to a stranger and strike a conversation. It's weird. You can't make strange noises in a public setting. It's weird. You can't wear a wizard's hat at school. It's weird. You're not Harry Potter. Fiction can be weird, but you? Definitely not.

If you're weird, you risk being rejected by your peers. Who will accept you if you're too weird?
How would we know if we avoid the weird? What is the appropriate amount of weird that society can tolerate?

Designers embrace weirdness because society doesn't. Fashion aims to be original, unique, and slightly bizarre to challenge those regular folks. That's what keeps it fresh. If we all engaged with our weirdness, would the world be a more creative space? Or would it be a raucous circus?

Ponder It,

XOXO,

Bella

Monday, October 27, 2014

#ForTheSakeofFashion: UNTUCKED

via myamethyst-shea.com
In the current social climate, the prefix "un" has attained a high level of popularity. Consider this list of words:

Unfiltered
Underpants
Unmotivated
Underachiever

My personal favourite? Untucked.

Take a look below at some AMAZING "untucked" outfits:
...


"Un", unlike the singular french article word "un" (which sounds similar) refers to something that is done in reverse. It is that backspace button we wish existed in our day-to-day lives. When speaking of "untucking", I like to call it the rejection of proper forms of dress in exchange for something a little more "undone". Pull out your shirt, but only halfway. A fully untucked shirt is UNflattering, while a half tucked one is #IWokeUpLikeThis cool. It says "I'm put together, but not enough to appear as though I'm trying to impress anyone". It's that laissez-faire quality we love in Parisian style and wish we could recreate. But alas, we're just not cool enough. Our only attempt is leaving our sweaters or button downs slightly undone to convey a nonchalant model-off-duty look. It's our key into the realm of fashion.

The half tuck is not practical, sirs and madams. It is an expression of rebellion. It is the product of many years of our parents telling us to tuck in that shirt on our way to grandma's house. It is, dare I say it, #ForTheSakeofFashion. Duh.

The half tuck is one of my favourite fashion trends because it can transform a professional look into one that is slightly more casual. It can take you from day-time to evening in a matter of buttons. That's a great deal if I ever heard one.

The half tuck can be sensual. It can also signal a walk of shame. When done properly, it can even be worn in PUBLIC. Some fashionistas are pro half-tuckers because after all, it is a skill. Jessica Alba, Leandra Medine, and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley are a few names that come to mind.

What do all these ladies have in common?

They ALWAYS look stylish.

So if you're looking for a fashion risk to take that isn't all that risky, try the half tuck. By tucking a section of your shirt into your bottoms, you can reinvent your wardrobe. I would know. I've tried it.

Ponder it,

XOXO,

Bella

Friday, October 24, 2014

#IconCity: I Know It's Cliche, but Kate Middleton The New Jackie O

This biggest feat I've ever had to surmount was to select my favourite Kate Middleton looks because she may just be a Duchess in England, but to me, she is the Queen of fashion. Ever since Kate entered the fashion sphere, we've been enviously ogling at her brilliant style choice and aspiring to attend galas simply to justify dressing with that much elegance every day. Don't get me wrong. I'm sure that Kate wears jeans every now and again, but in my book, her pyjamas consist of a selection of Oscar de la Renta suits. It's clear to see that Kate is the new icon in the monarchy as she invades social media platforms every time she leaves the White House. She is the epitome of chic in every circumstance, whether a golf course or a derby. And don't even get me started on those fabulous hats.

Here are five of my favourite Kate Middleton looks.

LOOK 1
Kate knows how to take a simple look and make us all swoon. From the Charleston hat to the sleek pastel coat, this outfit is nothing short of perfect.
via Vogue.com.au
LOOK 2
Let's all marvel at Kate's incredible taste in coats. She pulls off military chic better than any of us.
via www.princesswithapen.hubpages.com
LOOK 3
Kate Middleton looks ravishing in pastel purple. Clearly, pastel is her shade of beautiful.
via www.people.com
LOOK 4
Amazing coat number three. Can I please steal all of Kate Middleton's coats please?
via www.huffingtonpost.com
LOOK 5
Yet another coat I'm in love with. I'd like to place an order.
via fabsugar.com
What do you think of Kate Middleton's style? How many coats of hers do you dream about every night?

Ponder it,

XOXO,

Bella

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How To Prepare For Winter And Avoid Hypothermia

Caution: This will not be a scientific analysis on cold temperatures or hypothermia.

As a Canadian, I am inherently qualified to give advice on how to dress for winter. For some, it seems basic, but you'd be surprised at the curve balls this season might throw your way. In the summer, all you have to worry about is the sun and the rain. In winter, there could be a snowstorm at any given moment, hail, a rainfall, sub-zero temperatures, and above zero global warming temperatures. It really is the luck of the draw. So, how do we prepare? Runway collections teach us how to dress for fall, but what happens when winter comes along? Essentially, if it goes down to 10 degrees, we're ready to face it. Unfortunately, Canada is the land of igloos and a cute wool coat often won't suffice.

Here are some style tips for the winter snow angel (aka YOU).


TIP 1: Wear a parka.
I know you want to look stylish and a parka makes you look like you ate your doppelganger, but it is essential to winter survival. Recently, fashionistas have been spotted wearing these monsters on the streets at Fashion Week. Designers have integrated them into their collections and we could all breathe a sigh of relief as they come to be recognized as fashion staples. These two looks from the Diesel Black and Gold Fall 2014/2015 collection are ideal for those chilly winter months. However, I wouldn't advise wearing them without pants.
via www.denimjeansobserver.com

TIP 2: Add some furccessories.
Fur is all the rage in the fashion world and the only reason we can all proclaim our love for winter. This season, fur takes on so many forms that you don't need the fluffy coat to feel glamorous. Whether a fur trim on your gloves or a Fendi fur stole, there are enough options to keep you warm and chic.

Option 1: The Fur Hat
For the bolder type...
via www.fashionisers.com
Option 2: The Fur Scarf
For that subtle glamour...
via www.fashionisers.com

TIP 3: Opt for REAL winter boots.
Lies fashion people tell you: you can wear leather boots all winter. At a certain point, those thermal socks probably won't cut it. You'll need something a little warmer for days where it hits -30 degrees. Get yourself a pair of insulated winter boots. Tommy Hilfiger knows what I'm talking about.
via www.style.com

TIP 4: Embrace the hat.
Lucky for us, hats are currently a major trend. Keep your ears warm with a cozy wool hat. It can be stylish. I promise.
via www.fashioniser.com

TIP 5. Wear pants under your skirt or dress. It's high fashion.
This may seem quasi-crazy, but all the designers are making it acceptable. Just when you thought you could never do such a thing (in public), it becomes a fashion statement that we're all secretly dying to try. This was definitely a shout-out to Canadians.
via www.womensfashionstyles.com

TIP 6: Invest in thigh high socks. They can be SO chic.
If pants under skirts is just not for you, try a pair of cozy long socks. Worn with the current mod trend, this look reminds us of the best part about high school uniforms. If Tory Burch did it, why can't you?
via www.live-life-in-style.com

TIP 7: Don't forget your gloves.
Your extremities can make you freeze faster than your average ice cube. Cover them. They will improve the state of your body in a matter of minutes. Try long gloves for added warmth as shown at Vera Wang, Altuzarra, and Christian Dior during Fall 2014 Fashion Week.
via www.fashioniser.com

TIP 8: Buy a large variety of oversized sweaters
Oversized sweaters are my favourite winter piece. They're cozy AND stylish, which makes them a seasonal must-have. Buy a few in wool or acrylic to make sure you stay warm under your parka.
via www.stylecaster.com
Ready for winter yet? Follow this list one step at a time and you'll be prepared to face December in head-to-toe style.

XOXO,

Bella

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In Memoriam: 10 Oscar de le Renta Gowns That Made Your Jaw Drop

Oscar de la Renta passed away last night at the age of 82 and the whole fashion world erupted in tears. Yet another legend has left us too soon and we can only look back at his legacy with nostalgia as we peruse through each of his previous collections. Oscar was a man who knew what women wanted. His designs always conveyed elegance, glamour, femininity, and that wow factor we all yearn for when award season comes along. Any celebrity wearing an Oscar gown knew she'd be on a best-dressed list in a heartbeat because Oscar knew how to make everyone fall in love with his designs. To commemorate this iconic designer, let's take a look at some of the best Oscar dresses that graced a red carpet in the last few years.

NUMBER 10
Lea Michele was a vision in pink at the 2011 Golden Globes. The intricate folds of the dress enhanced its feminine appeal while the fitted bodice highlighted her curves. This was the ultimate girly dress and it embodied the essence of Oscar.
Golden Globes
via www.popsugar.com
NUMBER 9
Back in 2012, Carrie Underwood wore the famous cloud dress, named for its fluffy skirt and misty colour. This dress may be reminiscent of a stormy night, but it was probably a romantic one from a Harlequin novel. Oscar's dresses had that mystical effect on us all.
Billboard Music Awards
via www.popsugar.com
NUMBER 8
The expression "fit like a glove" probably came from celebrities wearing dresses like these. Alba's mermaid gown from the 2013 Golden Globes was one of her most memorable looks due to the gorgeous colour and elaborately pleated skirt. Simply looking at this dress, you knew that it had to be Oscar's work.
Golden Globes
via www.zadenrow.com
NUMBER 7
Kerry Washington ALWAYS looks amazing, but at the NAACP Awards back in 2013, she looked breathtaking. Of course, she wore Oscar. The lovely lace detailing and long elegant train instantly give it away.
NAACP Awards
via www.glamazondiaries.com
NUMBER 6
Remember when Amy Adams wore this to the Oscars and you were completely dazzled? Remember when she won an Oscar in this very gown? Knowing that you're up for an Oscar is always the perfect indication that you MUST wear Oscar.
The Oscars
via www.aloversanthology.com
NUMBER 5
Sarah Jessica Parker was the belle of the ball at the 2014 Met Gala. Every aspect of this dress was reminiscent of Carrie Bradshaw from the long white gloves to the full skirt. Though the black and white made it a classic look, the design was anything but simple. Oscar knew how to take classic elements and transform them into a drop-dead-gorgeous gown.
Met Gala
via www.glamazonsblog.com
NUMBER 4
For the Noah Premiere, Emma Watson decided to go gothic chic in this stunning Oscar de la Renta gown. Though the long sleeves and full skirt are conservative, the deep V at the back gives it that sexy wink to complete the look. Oscar knew that overt sexuality is not always the key to a beautiful dress, but rather, subtle sex appeal.
Noah Premiere
via uk.lifestyle.yahoo.com
NUMBER 3
Taylor Swift looked pretty in pink at the 2014 Met Gala. The deep V at the back and fabric manipulation at the tail are typical of Oscar de la Renta. You can tell that this man LOVED beautiful fabric.
Met Gala
via www.popsugar.com
NUMBER 2
Natasha Poly killed it at the Cannes Film Festival in this gothic, yet feminine, Oscar de la Renta dress. One of my favourite pieces from that collection, she gave it all the attention it deserved with pulled back hair and minimal jewelry. Everyone knows that an Oscar dress has to be the centre piece.
Cannes Film Festival
via www.fashionvent.com
NUMBER 1
Finally, who can forget the most recent tribute to Oscar: Amal Almuddin's wedding gown. This very picture was taken at her fitting with the designer himself. That had to have been magical.
Wedding
via nypost.com
R.I.P Oscar de la Renta. You'll always be remembered as the man who knew how to dress a woman in a way that made her fall in love.

XOXO,

Bella

Monday, October 20, 2014

Do You Have To BE Athletic to LOOK Athletic?

...
Images via Vogue.com

Karl Lagerfeld introduced the concept of sneakers on the HAUTE COUTURE runway.
Donna Karan had her DKNY models wearing NYC baseball caps to showcase their pride in their city.
Mulberry's new Cara Delevingne backpacks lean towards chic practicality for the average school girl.
So, it shouldn't come as a shock that Alexander Wang's H&M collection consists entirely of sportswear. From casual wear to athletic street gear, gender lines are getting more blurred by the minute.

"Anyone can get dressed up and glamorous but it is how people dress in their days off that are the most intriguing." No truer words have ever been spoken by a wise 30 year old designer also known as Alexander Wang.

As stilettos are getting replaced as cool shoe of the moment by Adidas Originals, casual, nay sporty, becomes the new chic. It's the beginning of a new fashion era where comfort dominates the streets and feminism is a term being swooshed around like a hockey puck. While the mod movement remains the trend du jour and 90's nostalgia is all the rage, sportswear is taking centre stage, as it becomes the cool new kid on the block. In light of society's growing obsession with the gym and kale, everyone's talking about staying fit and taking up a sport has never been cooler.

But what if you aren't the athletic type? Does that mean Alexander Wang's new H&M collaboration isn't for you? OR are you allowed to fake it? Is wearing a gym getup on the street the equivalent of Drake saying he's from the street?

via lifestylemirror.com
In the fashion world, your outfit is a reflection of your personality and you are defined by your ability to express your individuality through your personal style. If that is the case, how can a girl wear basketball shoes if she doesn't play basketball? Is it possible to pull off sportswear without looking like you're trying too hard to be someone you're not?

According to Alexander Wang, the collection is NOT just for the athletically inclined. Phew. Despite the sporty themes, these pieces are meant to be transitional looks that can be worn in other settings. In fact, it sounds a lot like he's telling us to wear these items #fothesakeoffashion and not purely for recreational purposes.

Many moons ago, sportswear was only meant to be worn when playing sports. Often, it wasn't very stylish, but merely a necessity with the right qualities to suit the game at hand. Soccer shoes were for soccer because they had cleats. It was a given. No questions asked. For this reason, fashionistas were appalled at the thought of being caught in their sports attire. 

But what happens when we start loving our sportswear? 
What happens when the fashion world decides that being athletic can be fashionable? 
What happens when your Nikes become a fashion statement rather than just a sports shoe?
And what happens when you're choosing your Nikes over your Louboutins?
Will this inspire some of us (myself) to take up sports? 
Does it even have to?

Ponder It,

XOXO,

Bella