Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mixing fake and fine jewellery

When discussing fundamental matters of style, it's hard to avoid mentioning Jackie Kennedy.

Are you aware that Jackie used to mix real and fake jewellery? Yep, me neither, until I researched this post. It became widely known when Sotheby's auctioned off Jackie's baubles in 1996. Some of the fake pieces include the three-string pearl necklace she was famously photographed in with her son John.

Also in the sale were a pair of cheap Liz Claiborne earrings in pearl and diamante as well as some long strings of black beads. Inevitably, the aforementioned pieces fetched astounding prices (the pearls, valued at $65, went for $211,500, and the beads for over $100,000), all of which illustrates the point that with jewellery, as with so much else, it's not what you wear but the way that you wear it that counts.

Here it is again....

Perhaps Jackie's greatest genius was her ability to mix fake jewelry and the real stuff with aplomb. It was a very modern approach at a time when social and style mores could have suffocated a lesser woman. Jackie would have undoubtedly approved, then, of the current trend of wearing whatever one wants and of mixing not only fake and fine, but any and every metal and medium.

The other queen of fake jewellery was Coco Chanel. If you google Chanel jewellery, you will see the volumes of pieces which have been made.


Chanel jewellery mixed with a whole lot of other costume & real pieces....

Nowadays, yes, quality and craftsmanship are still king, but versatility and femininity also play a big part in a purchase. You have to love it. It needs to be rare, to stand the test of time, and it needs very much to be able to be worn with everything.

Nowadays its all thrown in together....

After all, we don't live at Downton Abbey and we no longer want to shut our jewelry away in a drawer to wear only on special occasions.

David Yurman ring....

Charm bracelets are the perfect example of what's required now by jewelry buyers. However, nobody wants to "wear their wealth" any more. There has been a trend recently toward softer, gentler stones, like pink spinels, aquamarines, sapphires and tourmalines—these are stones and pieces with character, rather than bling.

On top of the trend toward understatement and versatility, there is an idea now of "living in" our jewelry. Jewelry doesn’t only mark occasions now, it literally becomes part of our life experience. Many women buy pieces that mean something—maybe their daughter likes a particular stone, or they are having, say, their grandmother's diamond ring remade into something more modern that they can wear all the time. The key is that what you are wearing says something about you but also something to you.

You could say that the wearing of jewelry right now is almost counter intuitive. Witness the legions of women out there wearing cheap friendship bracelets with their expensive watches, bracelets and rings. In fact, uncut diamonds that only the wearer knows are really diamonds are popular because they say something about you and not your economic group.

Even the humble watch has taken on a new role. You no longer need a watch for telling the time; that can be done for you in so many other ways. If you are a woman, you should treat your watch more like a bracelet and purchase accordingly. In other words, a timepiece is now just another piece of jewellery.

Jewellery lifts what you are wearing, but it shouldnt be something that changes with the seasons or with your clothes (unless you want it to, of course). You should just love wearing it. And you should want to wear it all the time.

The bold lip

Just like there are trends in clothing, there are make up trends. Ok, You know this. Great.

One of the biggest trend questions in respect of make up is “the lips” or “the eyes”? That is, makeup trends cycle back and forth between the lips and the eyes. When one is having a moment, the other takes a back seat. The trick is to know which trend is current ATM.

Currently, the lip is the winner – specifically, "the bold lip" which makes lipstick a consistent focal point, even with casual wear.

One of the earliest places it appeared was in J Crew catalogs, which have been showing the look for a while. There was a recent catalogue where fresh-faced models in slim pencil skirts and faded skinny jeans wore hard-to-miss orangey-red lipstick.

"There's something incredibly modern about clean skin, pulled back hair and a strong lip," says James Boehmer, director of global artistry for NARS Cosmetics. Amen.

Think of the bold lip as an accessory.

It can be difficult to pull off the bold lipstick look, though. Some women tend to overdo it, because they don't tone down the rest of their makeup. And it is high maintenance, requiring frequent touch-ups and spot checks for smudging.

Lipstick used to be a spontaneous pick-me-up. Leonard Lauder coined the idea of a “Lipstick Index” a decade ago to show how lipstick sales rise in a bad economy. This theory didn't completely pan out in the latest downturn, though. Now nail polish, with a lower price tag and a broader range of colors, is the frugal splurge. Nevertheless, lipstick may be less price sensitive because it is only bought every three to six months.

Bold lipstick goes hand-in-hand with an emphasis on bold color in fashion this season. Designers from high end to high street showed neon lips with their brightly hued spring runway shows.

Makeup can provide the same eye-popping effect. "You get one super-bright great lipstick that's the exact right color for you and you've completely changed your look," says Nicole Masson, vice president of global product development for MAC Cosmetics. Fashion and style blogs often suggest women "add a red lip" to give an ensemble an extra oomph.

The Bold Lip in Four Steps

1. Use textured lip cream to buff away dry or flaky skin.

2. Lip primer, much like paint primer, helps keep the color in place.

3. Don't use a lip liner that matches the lipstick color. Instead, opt for a clear liner, to set boundaries without the severe line.

4. Use a lip brush to help control the amount of lip color applied. Or use lipstick straight from the tube for a more dramatic matte look.

I know girls who wear the same shade every day and buy multiple tubes at a time, keeping one at home, one at work and one in their purse. Like a signature colour.

The bold lip requires some courage at first. "I had always been a Chapstick kind of girl," says Jenny Rauch, a 24-year-old in Arlington, Va., who works in television ad sales. She tried easing into the new look with colorful glosses but eventually just went all in, with a bright-red shade from CoverGirl. "It didn't look like me," Ms. Rauch says. "It was a bit alarming." But after getting a few random compliments on the street, Ms. Rauch moved beyond the awkwardness. Now, she says she is known among her co-workers for her red lipstick. She doesn't wear it every day, though, she says. "I'm still growing into it."

There are steps women can take to make a bold signature lipstick work, says Sarah Lucero, a makeup artist for Stila Cosmetics, who gave models wine-colored lips during New York Fashion Week. Keep the rest of the face simple—clean eyebrows, minimal blush—and avoid colored lip liner if possible. If you must, she suggests adding it at the end, to even out imperfections. "It should not look like you've stolen your grandma's red lipstick," she says.

Some women couldn't get the look to work because they were adding bold lipstick without dialing back the rest of their features, resulting in a heavily made-up look, รก la old Hollywood. To avoid overdoing it, apply lipstick before tackling the eyes – that way will be easier to get the hang of where enough is enough.

But lets face it, the only real rule is whatever you do, have fun with it.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Revenge episode : Charade - the frocks

Are you watching Revenge?


The plot is starting to go completely ridiculous, so the only thing keeping me hanging is Emily's frocks (& occasionally Ashley's frocks)....Victoria seems to be keeping the Alaia business (BCBG Max Azria) afloat & I am getting a bit bored with her wardrobe....

Here are some snippets from the Charade episode (which screened in Australia today)....

Firstly, Emily's green wrap is a Pucci - super expensive and super lovely.....great colour for blondes

Secondly, Ashley's gold brocade dress also worn for the Grayson's anniversary dinner.

PS: Brocade = huge for winter.

Its a Theyskens Theory frock.

Frankly on an exotic brunette like Ashley, I find beige is a wasted colour.
She'd be better in vibrant colours.

Thirdly, Charlotte's dinner frock was a teal green Rebecca Taylor.

Which is your fave? Why?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cue inspired by Dries Van Noten

Cue inspired by Dries Van Noten


Cue AW 2012

These Cue clutches are designed by Peter Lang for Cue, $210 & $215 respectively,

Now, see anything familiar with.......

Dries Van Noten SS 2009

The Dries bags would have had a price point close to $1K.

I guess its a matter of weighing up quality/originality v price.

Getting back to the comparison, sure the materials differ (leather v cloth), even the actual embellishments differ (leather v sequins), but the idea and the concept is the same.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Being deliberate is being well dressed

Many years ago, someone said something to me about being well dressed and I have never forgotten it.

Interestingly, I have forgotten who told me, but the comment has stuck with me like glue.

The comment which was made to me was that "being well dressed requires one thing & one thing only - "to be deliberate about your appearance, from top to toe".

First lets clarify what this means & then I will give you a great example which recently came up.

In this image industry you are always hearing about wearing the right colours, knowing your body shape and dressing for it, knowing your style type and dressing for it, blah, blah, blah. These guidelines are all well & good, but ultimately if you want to summarise the "blah, blah, blah" into one phrase its "
be deliberate about your appearance, from top to toe".

Being deliberate means that as long as you have thought about what you are wearing/how your hair/make up looks etc, then you ARE presenting the most appropriate "you" and this is what being stylish is all about. The knock on effect is that if you are well dressed, you will give the appearance that you care about "you" and others will respect and care about you too.

In the alternative, if you dress without putting any thought into your clothes, hair, make up etc etc, you will present sloppy and unprepared, like YOU dont care about "you". If that's the impression you choose to give out, how is anyone else going to care about you or respect you?

I certainly dont want the latter scenario going on in my life! Do you? I didnt think so.


Lets look at the example I found recently - here is a recent photo of Elizabeth Olsen, the 23 year old aspiring actor who is the sibling of the Olsen twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.

She is wearing:

Jacket - Chanel
Dress - The Row (MK & A's high end label)

Shoes - Chanel

When I posted this on my Facebook site and asked for feedback, readers came back with comments like:

- too old
- she should stop wearing The Row
- too boring

- a dont

No one posted anything positive.

Today I was in the city & having forgotten my camera, I had time to think about all sorts of things. This photo came to mind - random, yes I know, but its better than thinking about it in the shower, eh?

Nothing in this photo looks deliberate.

OMIGOD! Yes, that's it.

1. The hair isnt wavy & it isnt straight. It just looks unstyled.

2. The jacket and dress dont look co-ordinated - dont get me wrong - I am not talking about matchy-matchy - I am talking about having added an element to pull them together (even though they are separates) - maybe via some jewellery, a belt, something.....

3. Her neckline looks like she forgot something - jewellery perhaps?

4. The jacket looks too big.

5. The shoes, well they are lovely alone, but are cutting her off at the ankles.

6. It looks like she has put on a jacket, dress and shoes & walked out the door without even checking in the mirror.

7. Hey I wonder if she even put on any undies - oops, lets not go there.

This photo shows a classic non deliberate look. The "image" she is projecting is neither here nor there. It looks like she is in fashion no man's land.

I realise being deliberate in the way you dress does take time & effort - achieving anything good does. But considering how important your visual impression is, isn't it worth the time spent to be deliberate about your appearance?

Tips for being deliberate

1. Plan your clothes/accessories/look from the night before (especially if you work).

Frankly, this is my favourite part - I have collected so many beautiful things over the years, I deliberately think/rotate (especially my jewellery) so I dont forget anything.

2. Make sure the pieces you need for tomorrow are available, dont need mending & are not still sitting in the dirty laundry basket.

3. If you have worn an outfit in the past and it worked well, take a photo and place it on the wardrobe door, so you dont forget the elements that made it special. for next time.

4. Always keep a spare pair of hose at work (if you tend to wear hose).

5. No visible panty lines (VPL), no bra fat & get fitted for a bra every 2 years or if you have had a major body change (like gotten pregnant). No exceptions here.

6. Before you walk out the door, take a look at "you" in a full length mirror. No exceptions here.

7. Being deliberate applies to men as much as it does to women.

Where to from here?

Yes, I am making sure you dont miss this part.....

Of course being deliberate requires you to know what impression you want to make.

I have posted many times about "know thyself" - by knowing who you are and what you like, what you need and what you are comfortable with, you can then easily decide what impression to make. This is SO crucial to the big sartorial picture folks - I cant underestimate this enough.

If you happen to be uncertain about your "look" - perhaps in a bit of a fashion no man's land? - let me know - I can help you with this.

Once you know what impression you want to make, the next phase is to learn to use clothes/grooming to make that impression. I can help you here too! That's where body shape analysis, colour analysis etc comes in.

...and we'll cover this type of analysis in future posts too.....until then.....ciao

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Le smoking slippers


This post is written by two pairs of smoking style slipper loafers owned by Valerie, which have been in Valerie's shoe closet for about 17 years. Here is a photo of us.....

From left to right - a tan mini woven style with red/green ribbon trim and a gold bar, a navy leather with a checked navy/white bow edged in a gold tabs. The tan ones have sheepskin inners as I bought then 1 size too big - they were on sale....We are both an Italian brand called Donzella - which tends to sell on the north shore in Sydney.

We have been in our boxes and looked after. The last time we were out to play was approximately late 1990s. We weren't sure we would ever see the light of day, but this year, we have.

We also have another sister, in a dark chocolate brown with a suede bow with gold tips at the ends - but Valerie cant find their box ATM - she is in the middle of re-organising her shoe closet you see.

It appears that these types of loafers are huge now, especially for winter, hence our return to the real world.
They have been done by high end labels like Christian Louboutin and Ralph Lauren Collection all the way down to the high street like Zara and Topshop.

There are many styles - velvet, suede, leather, pony skin, leopard, zebra, cheetah....the list goes on....

Antonio Stefanelli - look at the trim and the finish of these - very good quality....

Velvet by Ralph Lauren Collection - the uber top line of womens Ralph Lauren

Leopard by Christian Louboutin....

If Kate wears them, we gotta be in good sartorial company!

& these are my FAVE - I LOVE the metal chain on the metal toe cap.

In case you dont know, le smoking slippers are the epitome of luxe-casual footwear - they used to be the department of well-to-do men. Halfway between ballet flats and man-style loafers, the preppy silhouette works perfectly with cropped pants or jeans.

The moral of this post is that SOME things come back. Assuming you have the space, so that storing the old stuff doesnt compromise your ability to find the new stuff, by all means store away

But in all likelihood, all those years down the track, you are going to have to style the item in a different way - otherwise you'll look too retro.