Step into the blue-Spring must have!

“The blue sky is my first artwork”, were the words French artist Yves Klein said to his friends when asked what course his life should take. A few years later Yves Klein developed his own particular brand of the colour blue called IKB (International Klein Blue).

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This spring/summer pantone fashion colour is very blue. There is a wide array of blues on view this season and my favourite is the IKB.

imageA mixture mixture of blues with whites and reds makes it a happier and more colourful Spring. The good news is that the Klein blue works with all skin tones so anyone can rock it. If the outfit is not doing the business, there are always shoes and handbags to help.

imageDon’t feel blue this Spring. Stay calm……. be mesmerising and colourful in whatever hue of blue takes your fancy.

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Mad Men’s Groovy ’70s Style

I’ve been on hiatus off from the blogging world for few weeks but I’m now back.

Let’s talk about ’70s’ fashion. I’m watching the 7th and final series of Mad Men at the moment and loving it! The office ladies are all about showing legs. Everything is short; short dresses, short skirts and top dresses.

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Mad Men Season 7 cast

What I like most is not the shortness of the ladies’ apparel but the colours they use and how they wear them with such panache. These days, I find most office attire is all about blacks, browns and other safe colours but wouldn’t it be so much more cheerful to see a lot of vibrant, bright and beautiful colours in the office.

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Sola Bamas as Shirley in Mad Men _ Season 7, Episode 2

Scientific research has shown that brighter clothes make you happier and I can prove that people are more likely to notice and make comments when you are wearing bright colours and that, in turn, can boost your mood and help lift the spirits of those in your environs.

I know it’s not warm yet to wear short attire but there are always stockings to save the day and they come in all colours. So ladies, lets bring a lot of cheerfulness and smiles into the office with some colour!

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Blanket wraps….essential winter accessory!

This weekend I was thinking about an interesting conversation I had with a friend from the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho few years ago about the country’s people and culture. I was more interested in the blankets which I have seen Basotho men and women wearing. She explained that the blanket is a status symbol and a token of cultural identification. The blankets are gifted for occasions such as birth, initiation ceremonies into adulthood and marriage.imageBeside it being a symbol of culture and pride of its people, the Basotho blanket is also an essential daily protective garment against the bitter Lesotho winters. Men usually wear the blanket as a cape, while women tend to wrap it around their waists or their body and fasten it at the shoulders.imageI have seen these Basotho blankets trending on the world stage in the last few years. Fashion giants such as Burberry and Louis Vuitton have turned these tribal blankets into fashion accessories by introducing a series of capes, jackets and shawls for both men and women.image.jpegFrom a traditional blanket to catwalk

The high street outlets have also adapted the trend with a variety of blanket wraps this winter. Unlike the traditional firmer woollen Basotho blanket, most high street blanket wraps are made from much lighter synthetics but are nevertheless cosy and warm.imageThey also come in many different colours, so they go with outfits of any colour.  If you want to add some tribal colours and warmth to your winter accessories this year, get yourself a blanket wrap!image

 

Is Valentine’s Day too commercialised?

There has been some memes doing rounds on social media lately of guys temporarily breaking up with girls just until Valentine’s day is over then make up again. These are just social media jokes of course but one would wonder if there was some truth in that!

imageIs there pressure for loved ones to be extra romantic on just one day of the month just because the world is telling them to do so and they feel obliged?

Valentine’s Day is everywhere and there is no escaping it. TV ads are all over, restaurants are over booked, every retail shop is adorned in red hearts, teddies, chocolate boxes tied in pink ribbons and cards with love poems which makes it hard not to think about it.

It’s nice to celebrate love but in reality it has become a very commercialised day. They say love and happiness doesn’t cost a thing but in this generation, it is an expensive thing and we have no control over it.

imageValentine’s Day is about love so to those in love, enjoy  time with your loved ones and to my single friends, spread the love with family and friends. Let love be in the air everyday not only for one day. Happy St Valentine’s Day!

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Warm-up your winter wear with Tweed

As the days continue to be short, dark, wet and cold, we are all bringing our knits and woollens out but behold, there is a fabric that is rather rich and has a varied history you might need to add to your winter wear – Tweed!image.jpegPhoto: Courtesy of Vicky Garnett Photography

As soon as you hear ‘tweed’, your mind might have raced to the royals, Dr Who, nerdy professors, Sherlock Holmes, politicians or those aging men in Harris or Donegal tweed hats in your local pub. Whatever your associations with it, tweed redefines the complex history of gender, class and fashion from the 19th century until now. It had functional characteristics that were attractive to 19th century gentlemen and aristocrats who had an interest in virtually every sport and adventure activity – shooting, hunting, fishing, golf, cycling, motoring and mountain climbing.image                                             Dr Who in tweed jacket

In the 1890s British tweed became popular when it was included in ‘tailor made’ garments for women which consisted of a jacket and long skirt. They were warm, functional, durable and were the ‘power dress’ for contemporary office women.

By the 1920s Coco Chanel was simplifying fashion with her innovative forward looking ideas on female clothes. She borrowed items normally worn by men and transformed them into pared down stylish female apparel, for example simple jersey and tweed suits.114822515.jpgThe Time Lifestyle Magazine – 1960s Chanel tweed suits 

Although tweed might be associated with old-fashioned values and upper-class country sportswear, fashion houses have made it popular again by adding new lighter tweed weaves that are perfect for modern street wear.imagePhoto: Courtesy of Vicky Garnett Photography

It might look like an itchy, stuffy and heavy fabric but tweed is practical, warm, versatile…….and classically stylish. Perfect central heating for those winter walks!!

Pygama Pants? Let’s go back to the 1930s

Mo, you’re still wearing your pyjamas!” That’s what a male friend, with a big smile, said to me this week at work. I looked down at myself, as if for the first time ,and I had to agree that the colourfulness and width of my trousers may have led him to mistaking them for pyjama bottoms………but it didn’t rattle me, I adored them!

image.jpegLess than a century ago it was daring and rather scandalous for women to be seen wearing trousers. Wide leg trousers first began as lounge pants, becoming increasing popular as ‘beach pyjamas’ or resort clothing in the late 1920s. By 1930s the wide leg trousers took a more practical purpose as sports attire and women adopted this new set of clothing regardless of whether they played sport or not. Despite the popularity of the fashion trend, it was still unacceptable to wear them in public, apart from when playing sports or vacationing.

imageSource – Beach pajamas 1930s

imageBeach pyjamas featured in a German fashion magazine in 1931

Things changed in the late 1930s and 1940s thanks to actresses such as Katharine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich, whose then-ridiculed outfit choices paved the way to women’s freedom to wear pants.

imageKatharine Hepburn posing in a pair of wide leg trousers in 1930 – Source

When I laid my eyes on these Roxy trousers for the first time, I fell in love. It was the only pair left in the shop. The discounted price was very enticing, the colours were dazzling and when I tried them on they were perfect fit. I was just like someone who have found true love, I felt it was only the best thing ever!!imageAs a break from my usual outfits made up of skinny trousers, dresses and skirts, I usually wear these trousers in winter as they are corduroy fabric. They are warm, comfortable, sleeky, easy to wear and they are so colourful that they cheer up the dark evenings. The colours also makes it easier for me to choose a top to wear them with. Every colour top goes with the trousers and that’s one less headache if you’re in a hurry.

If you ever decide to buy a wide leg trousers in the future, here are some helpful tips:

  • Wide leg trousers looks great when worn with heels and certainly look better when they slightly hide your high heels
  • For a classic look, wear them with a well fitted top as it creates a lovely silhouette….especially if you are ‘heavy on top’.
  • If you are short, wearing striped wide leg trousers can give you the look of longer legs and even add a perceived few inches.image

So while my friend saw my wide leg colourful corduroy trousers as pyjamas, I saw them as a ‘love at first sight’ fashion statement!

Christmas jumper revolution!

Since that scene of Mark Darcy’s ugly Christmas jumper in Bridget Jones Diary movie , I have never looked at Christmas jumpers the same way. Who would want to wear something so cheesy and hideous I thought? How I was wrong!! Walking on the streets of Dublin the days towards Christmas was like re-living that movie scene hundred times over.

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What is it that is making Christmas jumpers so popular each year? Fashionable, trendy or just people trying to be different? Most of the people I saw wearing Christmas jumpers were going to parties, so I would assume this is the new Christmas party look and a lot of people want to be part of it.

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I admire people who can rock those jumpers but here is why a jumper with Christmas trees, santas, reindeers, tinsels and lights won’t be on my shopping list anytime soon.

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Reason #1: I want to get my money’s worth. Why should you spend your money on a jumper you can only wear once a year?  I will be inclined to buy a jumper that is timeless and practical which can be worn off season too.

Reason #2: It’s nice to be different but great to look unique. It won’t matter whether your Christmas jumper is from Primark or John Lewis, what matters is that 10 or more people are also wearing the same jumper decorations as you, so it end up feeling like you are wearing a uniform!

It will be interesting to see how the Christmas jumpers revolution will do this year, as for me I will stick to my neutral winter jumpers.

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Wishing you a Happy 2016!

Culture and fashion meet in Salvador!

On my recent trip to Salvador, I learnt a few things about the Afro -Brazilian culture and religion…..and it’s African roots.

imageThe city of Salvador, the capital of Bahia, has the largest population of African descendants, hence the African culture is more prominent there….so I blended very well.imageOne of the many famous places in Salvador is the city’s historical and oldest centre, Pelourinho, a listed UNESCO World Heritage site. It is here that you can explore the site of the former slave market, with its colourful colonial architecture, pillory and it’s baroque-style churches.
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As you stroll around Pelourinho, you will notice Bahai women in traditional attire posing for photos in their sassy headdresses and vibrant skirts. The typical Bahian dress is white lacy top with an enormous bouncy skirt. They look like they are wearing layers and layers of doilies.(Sometimes, instead of white, various bright colours are utilised).
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The moment I tried to be one of the local woman!
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This is the town’s sense of style and you find this apparel also worn by women serving acaraje, which is a traditional dish.

In Pelourihno, every night is a party. You can find free shows on the street, like drums bands, samba or capoeira circles.

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Salvador is extraordinarily beautiful. It’s white sand beaches, the lovely coco trees and warm Atlantic waters give you that heavenly feeling.

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imageThe city has beautiful, welcoming and warm people who embrace their country’s culture and heritage. Someone once said, “the best thing about memories is making them”. I will forever cherish the moments I had in this amazing country!

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From São Paulo with fashion -Rhodia 1960s Fashion

São Paulo is a big and vibrant city. I only had two days to have a feel of life in this dense city with its skyscrappers. I was told the most encompassing way to absorb the essence of São Paulo was to explore around Jardins which is one of the most culture- centric and artistic area of the city. Lucky for me, my friend lives a block away from Avenida Paulista, ‘São Paulo’s Wall Street’ so it was easy for me to get around.

imageSão Paulo street art – Jardim da Luz

Few hours after my 17 hour flight and I was wandering around shopping malls and I also took a lap around Rua Augusta which is a hipster-esque area with colourful and vintage shops. I decided to escape the noise of the traffic for a bit and visit the Trianon Park which is just off the Paulista Ave. The fresh breeze and sound of birds chirping made me forget that I was still in a big city of near 12 million inhabitants.

imageOne of the highlights of São Paulo was the Museum of Modern Art (Museu de Arte de São Paulo – MASP). The MASP architecture is very interesting. Suspended from two large columns, the building hangs in the air like a large block of concrete – amazing engineering!!

imageI decided to check what was being exhibited and i was in total awe with what welcomed me. Yes, there were rows and rows of clothes!

imageFor the first time MASP was showing 79 pieces of its Rhodia fashion collection which featured clothes created through a collaboration between artists and designers in the 1960s. This collection in MASP is the only one still remaining.

imageI was mesmerised by the colourfulness of the collection. A mixture of afro print and a touch of Asian fusion gave the collection a very rich look. These two evening dress were my favourites.

imageThis printed palazzos were also amazing. They were well tailored and the fabric was well weaved. This could be a lovely evening wear if you are bold enough to wear it.

imageThis well presented collection showed that fashion certainly revolves, because what was fashionable in the 1960s is certainly unique and inspire creativity today. Judging from excited faces in the gallery, it will inspire creativity and boost current fashion system.

image.jpegMy trip had no fashion on the agenda but São Paulo unexpectedly brought history of Brazilian fashion to me. What an adventure!!

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The boardroom to happy hour dress code

Professional life is becoming a 24/7 norm these days. We are constantly running around from one business meeting to another. However, in all that hustle and bustle of work life, there remains a need to reconnect with our social side. Everyone wants time to just mingle and giggle to none work related jokes over drinks or dinner once in a while. We all need the happy hour!!

So, you have a business meeting out of office which will go for the whole day but you also have that overdue dinner, drinks or cocktail party with your friends or colleagues. You are so excited about the day ahead but you find yourself in a dilemma on what to wear. If you are like me, bringing a separate set of clothes is just excessive baggage – totally inconvenient, going home to change is time consuming and by the time you get to the bar, happy hour is over. So what do you do? One easy solution is to wear an outfit that can easily take you from day to night hustle free.

The Good Wife

Sheath dress– is something you can easily wear from work to happy hour. A well-tailored, full or quarter sleeved, not too tight, and not too short sheath dress can bring a lot of class and femininity in a business meeting that is full of suits. If the dress is sleeveless, then wear a blazer to accompany it.

imageThe Good Wife’s Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) is an inspirational example of how to power dress for the office and for the night out and her collection of blazers is to die for.

image                           Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick series THE GOOD WIFE

imageA pencil skirt – wear a pencil skirt with a crop top and throw a blazer on top and you are ready for that big business meeting, you take the blazer off when out.

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Black tights – Another accessory that can transform your outfit are black tights. Yes, you don’t really have to worry about the length of your hemline and you can look respectable and ladylike. After the meeting, you can bare your lovely legs again for the happy hour.

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Jumpsuit – is another quick fix to the day to night transformation. If you are not keen on blazers (why wouldn’t you though!) then wear a jumpsuit instead. It’s simple, quick and It’s easy to wear and you will look the part in both places.

imageAlways follow the business fashion etiquette, which is to dress classy but keep things professional even during happy hour!!

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