Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fashion on Campus

Corey and I hit the pavement Monday once more to bring you a little fashion inspiration from the University of Waterloo. Sadly, this may be the last fashion post I do at UW as exams are beginning and I start at Western in September, but hopefully not. Enjoy the mix of casual, hipster, and glam!

I really liked this almost slip looking dressing
in the shocking hot pink, with the tiny bit of lace trim
at the bottom. Paired with gladiators sandals
in a sky high heel, it was almost too glam for
school, but nonetheless a great fashion statement.

This man has lived all over the world, New Zealand, Victoria,
and is a Waterloo alum. His converse sneakers paired with
his plaid shirt were just a little bit hipster, and
the distressed jean a little rock and roll.

Sadly, this young lady didn't speak much English, but
her clothes did all the talking for her. Denim blue heels
with a peep toe are a rarity, especially on campus.
Thanks to her friends who translated for us!

This outfit was a mix of everything and I just couldn't
place here in a fashion genre. Contrasting prints, a skirt
paired with boots, and her almost military jacket
gave this outfit a lot of originality.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fashionable People at Hillside

Here are the promised photos of the fashionable men and women of Hillside! Note the eclectic mix of rock and roll and bohemian style featured, these aren't your parents' hippies.

Although the photo may not show it, she was in bare feet,
which seemed to be a style statement in itself. Something about the
earthy colours of her floral printed dress just makes this very 1970's for me.
These two men were so well dressed for the festival,
I wish I has asked where they were from.
Straight tapered jeans, long sleek dress shoes, and slicked
back hair that was a little John Travolta in Grease.
It just simply worked for me.

I loved that this 50's era dress just randomly showed up at
a heavily hippie dominated festival. From the curled
hair to the white shoe, 50's housewife was the siren call.

A Guide on How to Dress Your Boyfriend

When I worked at a unisex clothing boutique I often would get a lot of questions from women asking how to dress their boyfriend, or update his style. I think many of us have been in this situation, having a cute boyfriend who has no style. I'll admit myself that I've turned down men because of the way they dress, or tried to change it to no avail. Here's a step-by-step process to employ to turn your boyfriend into a style maven.

One. Buy him something you like. Anything at all, a belt, hat, jeans, shirt, anything! A gift is the best way to win a man over. He'll be so impressed by your good natured gift giving that he'll automatically be more open to anything else you suggest.

Two. Ask your friends, or even one of your friend's boyfriends, to compliment the new item you bought (although, often this comes without even asking). This cements the idea that what you bought suits him, and automatically makes him feel more confident. Now, he'll be putty in your hands.

Three. While flipping through magazines ask him which male celebs he thinks look cool, make a mental note of what they're wearing, and then next time you're out suggest similar clothes to him.

Four. After buying four of five articles of clothing, analyze the style you think you're man is developing and try to encourage it, whether it be prep, hipster, athletic, business casual, etc. If he has been into graphic tees, maybe suggest a nice blazer or vest for him to pair it with. Next time he's out, he'll remember your thoughts and possibly gravitate towards those items. Brand loyalty is also a sign to look out for. Is your man shopping a lot at the GAP? Try introducing him to Banana Republic and Club Monaco which are similar clothes but a little higher end. By keeping him in his comfort zone, he'll be more likely to wear the clothes you suggest to him.

Five. If all else fails, sit him down and play an episode of What Not to Wear. I promise, he will realize he is breaking rules and feel ashamed. Clinton and Stacy can really make a person feel guilty.

A very stylish friend of mine recently had a discussion with me about how to dress boyfriends and he pointed out this how-to style look book on GQ. It features Penn Badgley, one of the cast on the show Gossip Girl, and some other great photos, including how to get the look for less. It's a great gallery to share with your boyfriend, or even to get ideas on how to update your man's look. See the photo gallery here.

Just looking for some fresh new ideas on how to dress your boyfriend? Here's a couple:

Blazers, especially navy are coming back into style for fall.
Aviators and Ray Bans are hotter than ever.
Dress shoes worn with cuffed jeans and no socks are huge in Europe (and will hopefully be here soon too).
Watches, especially with a large face, can really add to your man's look. A watch is always a classic accessory.
Brands I love to see my boyfriend wear include Lacoste, Kenneth Cole, Buffalo by David Bilton, Banana Republic and Mexx. Other brands I recommend include Calvin Klein, Levi's, Club Monaco, and Fred Perry.

Hillside '09

For those of you who have never heard of Hillside in Guelph, you must go! It’s a wonderful event full of independent artists, craftsmen, and musical performers, all with an environmentally friendly twist. All food vendors served drinks and food in plastic cups and plates, which then were rewashed at several dishwashing stations and reused. Garbage was non-existent, for a large part so were shoes, but fashion had evolved into something much more organic and relaxed at this festival.

Flowing skirts, paisley and floral prints, braided hair and dreads were all very much alive, giving a throwback to the hippie 70’s fashion our parents once wore. I myself wore a tunic, tights and ballet flats, and was completely out of the style loop at this festival. Much more deconstructed pieces seemed to reign supreme here, even a few odd rock and roll homage’s were thrown in, like cuffed jeans, dress shoes worn with no socks, and motorcycle jackets.

The fashion seemed to me to be reminiscent of Woodstock, of Forest Gump (the scene at the Washington monument), and of John Travolta in the film Grease. The fashion invoked a feeling in me that was of days gone by, was anything but mundane. It left me feeling a little too pretentious in my outfit. For once, I didn’t quite fit in when it came to fashion and it was okay. I saw a lot of outfits and pieces I loved at the festival and really feel like I stepped out of my comfort zone of accepted fashion ideals. Outfits (and bare feet) that I would normally balk at I took time to reconsider. I think experiences like this are needed to create new ideas and fresh feelings in fashion and I’m grateful I was able to realize this. Photos from the event and a ‘Fashion at Hillside’ will be coming later today, so check back soon!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Locks of Lust

There seems to be a shift once again in the style of hair. Long hair is out and the shorter styles seem to be in. One cut in particular, a shoulder-grazing cut with a slightly longer styling at the front. This cut is so popular in fact that Vogue devoted an entire two pages to this style in the UK edition in May. Their columnist argues that the cut is a precise one, and that a mistake in the cut could altogether miss the look of the hairstyle. Regular trimmings are most necessary to keep it just above the shoulder length. Girls at my work in particular are queuing up to chop off the locks they’ve treasured and grown long for years to get this new short hair cut, and other variations of it. No less than three of our staff of nine has this new, hot haircut. What’’s the name of this haircut you ask? I like to call it the Katie Holmes (or is that Cruise?) cut. It’s just one style of many she’s spurned this summer, including the boyfriend jean.

However, I’m not one to encourage fads, and this haircut is doomed to be one. Instead, I’m here to tell you to embrace your long locks and make them stylish. By this time next year, you’re going to be hearing long hair is the new style, and you’ll regret cutting your hair. I myself have been growing my hair long for nearly two years, although I will admit I do need some style to my hair. One of my friends who was stuck in a style rut has updated her look, with an almost Zooey Deschanel inspired cut, complete with bangs. The great thing about the cut? It looks great up or down, it’s functional for the gym, plus she got to keep her long locks. Enjoy the photo of Michelle M.'s haircut!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Boyfriend Style

Wondering what the boyfriend style is? It's been around since Yves Saint Laurent debuted Le Smoking Suit, arguably the most famous classic tuxedo suit for women in 1966 and has come into mainstream fashion in waves since the 60's. It occured most prominently in the late 80's with the advent of shoulders pads in over sized men's suits. In past years however, it has come into style in the form of a jean, known simply as the 'boyfriend jean'. A baggier, slouchier cut than we've seen in recent years, it is meant to be rolled so it has a small cuff. This jean has mutated into one of the wardrobe staples of the season, and is being retailed at stores as different as Aritzia and as mainstream as American Eagle.

The GAP, one of the most stylistically mundane stores to grace malls across the Americas, has based their new collection entirely around the boyfriend style. Aptly named, the Boyfriend Collection, the new line features clothes inspired by your boyfriend including the boyfriend sweater, boyfriend jeans, the textured boyfriend shirt, and schoolboy blazers. The look really harks back to style basics; structured jackets, v-neck t-shirts, crisp white blouses, and long v-neck knits. However, the creativity factor is really zero. How does something become boyfriend style? Well if it's slightly over sized, comfortable, neutral and looks like something you'd wear from your boyfriend's closet you have perfected the look. Not to say I don't like this modern boyfriend style, but I prefer the old fashioned clean lines and stark silhouette of an YSL pant suit, rather than jeans that make me look a little fat but are comfortable.

My suggestions on how to make the boyfriend style work would be stick to flattering styles, avoid the boyfriend jean unless it is a dark wash, and when wearing the slightly over sized sweater, blazers, or t-shirts keep your bottom streamlined in either cigarette/straight leg jeans (or slacks) or a pair of shorts. Personally, I like to wear a men's style shirt tucked into shorts with a brown belt and leather sandals, or a over sized v-neck sweater with a pair of straight legged jeans and moccasins. Add wayfarers or a fedora for instant style. Found another way to wear the boyfriend style? Post a comment or photo!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Who is Jason Wu?

Maybe you know him, maybe you don't, the fact of the matter is, you should. Jason Wu is the designer that many now know as Michelle Obama's Inaugural dress creator. Remember that white chiffon, one-shoulder gown covered in fluffy appliques and beading? That was a Jason Wu. Jason Wu has been well known in the fashion community for some years now, since early 2006, but it was Michelle Obama's choice of his gown that has really destined him for fame. The young 26 year old American designer is indicative of the First Lady's style; fresh, bold and American.

Jason Wu showed his first collection in 2006, prior he studied in Paris and in New York, at the Parons School of Design. Wu claims he began to sew at the very early age of 9, and decided to be a fashion designer while in senior year in Paris. His current Spring/Summer '09 collection is meant to emphasize the natural shape of a woman, the hourglass. He does this by using soft, sensual fabrics and fresh colours, giving the wearers a youthful and relaxed look. Wu not only designs clothes, but high end collectible dolls, making a dent in the toy industry as well.

Want a piece of Wu for yourself? His designs retail at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Holt Renfrew, and Bergdorf Goodman.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Fashion on Campus

This past Wednesday, I spent the afternoon on campus trying to find some style inspiration. Enjoy the photos of the fashionistas I found that day! Thanks again to Corey for the great photos! (P.S. See if you can spot yours truly in the photos)

Apparently, this was her worst fashion day of the week.
It was still better than everyone else so bravo!

Fedoras and wayfarers are becoming a fashion staple,
in both men's and women's fashion. Love that bag too,
and of course it's vintage. Good luck finding your own.
Great casual style for campus. Striped dresses are all
the rage and this one looks great pared with leggings
and a black cushioned patterned bag.
We barely had a chance to talk to this young lady,
we just slipped her our business card and took her
photo. I loved her cardigan, it was diamond patterned
and sort of see through, plus she had two purses.
This outfit had so much going on. Tribal jewelry,
striped shirt, short vest and skinny jeans. Want
to copy the look? The shirt and vest are from H&M.
This young man we were very lucky to photograph as
he is actually a model! He was also very opinionated
as to fashion on campus, pointing around to different
people and declaring, ‘Fail, fail, fail!’.
Needless to say, we loved him.
This was one of Corey's finds, great moccasins and
ripped jeans, plus we loved the way she looked
sitting against the tree reading a book.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Lessons From A Shopaholic

Anyone read the book or seen the movie 'Confessions of a Shopaholic'? I read a few of Sophie Kinsella's books over the years, and have to admit I liked 'Shopaholic and Baby' best, however I found the movie about the first book in the series pretty entertaining. The adorable Isla Fisher-Cohen stars as an out of control shopper, who is hiding from debt collectors, making up any excuse she can about Finland and working for a finance magazine giving real life debt suggestions. However, her character is in financial ruin herself and trying to get help for her 'addiction' by attending a shopaholic support group.

In the film, Fisher's character writes an article discussing cost versus worth. This is something I often think about as a shopper and someone who works at a retail store at the mall (that charges a little too much for their clothes). What exactly is worth and what is cost? Cost I think of as literally how much did this cost to get from the cutting floor to the store. You're paying for the materials, the manufacturing, the shipping, the label, and the shop girls salary. Truth be told, a dress that cost $100 at my store, which shall remain unamed, has an 100% markup value, and would have cost somewhere between $10 to make and $5 to ship, making it cost a grand total of $15.

The real question though is what is it worth. Do you love this dress, and will you love it a year from now? Will you wear it season after season? Is it quality? Is the material rich? These questions will determine it's worth to you. I bought a dress at a vintage store for $10, it probably retailed for somewhere around $250 originally, it's 100% silk and has boning in it... it isn't worth $10 to me or $250... it's worth to me is determined by how much I wear it, how many compliments I earn, and how confident it makes me feel. My $10 find makes me feel like a million bucks, so maybe that's it's worth.

Some questions I tend to ask myself to determine cost versus worth are... Was this made in China or another third world country? In almost all cases yes. Is this fabric organic cotton, one hundred percent silk, or leather? Sometimes, always read the labels though ladies, a dress may be masquerading as 100% silk when really it's a polyester. Is this silk dress worth $250? Debatable. Like I said, look at the craftmanship, is it pleated, has lots of intricate stitching, embroidary, an expensive cut? Chances are, whoever made it took their time if there is a lot of detail and this is the reason behind the price. However, sometimes a dress is just a dress, and the price has nothing to do with the dress but everything to do with the label. This is when I have to ask myself, do I want the dress, or people to know I wear the label?

Isla Fisher's character in Confessions of a Shopaholic may as well be wearing clothes from Target for all I care, because her stylist was made her look ridiculous. Sometimes, wearing Louis and Christian and Prada for the sake of it is a mistake, especially when you look as lurid as she did. For the record, I really hate most cat walk fashion.