Fashion Resolutions for the Year 2013

With every New Year, there come 365 new days—365 new chances for making a fashion statement. Three-hundred and sixty-five new days for confronting the world with an identity crafted by the precise tailoring of a skirt, by the unusual color of a blouse. For the year 2013, a year some people never imagined we would reach, I have made five resolutions that I intend to honor. My five resolutions focus on the ways I have worn clothing and the possibility for re-inventing certain elements of my style.

  1. Expand my color palette beyond a shade.
  2. Embrace at least one new texture: velvet.
  3. Try a T-Shirt.
  4. Go vintage without looking too far.
  5. Abide by the motto: “I am what I wear.”

Expand my color palette beyond a shade.  Whenever someone asks me about my favorite color, I always say black, an answer that would quickly be followed by a snarky comment, such as “Black is not a color. It’s a shade.” While I still maintain that black is and probably always will be my color of choice, I have noticed that my wardrobe has a redundant number of black dresses, shirts, and boots. To celebrate the New Year, I want to expand my color palette beyond black and indulge in some unexpected colors.

Papaya Vionnet Gown

Papaya Vionnet Gown

Bordeux Dress

Bordeux Dress

Images courtesy of http://www.shopbop.com

White-Gold Dress

White-Gold Dress

Image courtesy of http://www.lulus.com

Embrace at least one new texture: velvet. I’ve always played it safe when it comes to textures, and when I venture into new territories, I tend to choose the safer options. However, I’ve always wondered if velvet, which I usually associate with frumpy, less modern styles, can become new for me. After scouring the Internet, I’ve found that the best velvet looks are ones that emphasize the romance of velvet and downplay the formal nature of the texture, like this burgundy velvet dress and J.Crew t-shirt.

Mink Pink Snow Palace Cutout Burgundy Velvet Dress

Mink Pink Snow Palace Cutout Burgundy Velvet Dress

Image courtesy of http://www.lulus.com

Deep Blue Velvet Tee

Image courtesy of http://www.jcrew.com

Speaking of t-shirts, I’ve decided that for my third resolution, I am going to try a t-shirt.  Aside from the gym and the airplane, I refrain from wearing t-shirts in public. I suppose they always seem so basic and boring to me. And if I do wear a t-shirt, I’ve usually added two or three layers on top of the initial garment. This year, however, I want to try wearing a t-shirt and letting it speak for itself. I’ve recently found some t-shirts that express both my inner book-nerd and love for Game of Thrones.

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Images courtesy of http://www.threadless.com

Go vintage without looking too far. By vintage, I mean old, and by old, I mean the past three or four years. Recently, a friend of mine pointed out a dress that I hadn’t worn in at least two years. Paired with some cowboy boots and a necklace, the dress became a new look. Instead of buying a whole new wardrobe, I’ve decided to re-asses what I never wear and create new looks from my old apparel.

Abide by the motto: “I am what I wear.” After attending UNC’s fall sustainable fashion show, I’ve been thinking more pointedly about the ways in which my clothes are made. I’ve started to search for sustainable or environmentally friendly clothing stores in the area that don’t sacrifice style for a conscious soul. I came upon a small store in Brightleaf, Durham, named vert &vogue, and I immediately fell in love with their super-chic, environmentally friendly clothing.

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Images courtesy of http://www.vertandvogue.com/index.php

Now that I’ve made my New Years fashion resolution, what are yours? They don’t have to be drastic resolutions, and some of the fashion elements can already exist in your wardrobe. Just think about the concept of re-shaping your style for all the days left in 2013.

 

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XOXO, Gossip Girl’s Final Fashion Show

Gossip Girl’s sixth and final season is coming to a close, signaling the end of an era characterized by schoolgirl headbands and scandalous affairs. While the show’s drama has been the main source of attraction, many of us come back for the clothes. Eric Damian, the show’s stylist, has cultivated the wardrobes of each star to perfection over the past six seasons. And even if the outfits border on ridiculous at times, causing many to question whether or not a seventeen-year-old in high school would ever wear such clothes, this is the Upper East Side. And the two queen bees of the Upper East Side, Serena and Blair, rule their fashion empire. From their time at Constance Billard School for Girls, to their trip to Paris, and to their final appearances in season six, it’s clear that their clothes have become characters of their own. Although Serena and Blair’s love lives may take center stage at times, their friendship has always been the strongest and most compelling relationship of the show. In celebration of that friendship and the final season, let’s take a look back at the stories their clothes have created.

Image courtesy of http://www.collegefashion.net/fashion-tips/how-to-dress-like-blair-waldorf/

Image courtesy of http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/serena-van-der-woodsen?before=1335876784

In the early days, Serena and Blair were restricted to wearing uniforms, but the two put their own spin on the classic plaid and starched white shirt. Blair defined her style through ladylike tailored blouses and colorful headbands while Serena opted for a sexier, more laidback style.

Image courtesy of http://jolie-petitefille.blogspot.com/2010/09/introduction.html

Image courtesy of http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/serena-van-der-woodsen/images/1321045/title/serena-van-der-woodsen-photo

Even outside of school, both Serena and Blair used their clothes to showcase their personalities. Blair stuck to classic silhouettes that reflected her obsession with Audrey Hepburn, and Serena chose more casual yet effortlessly cool clothes to represent her free-spirited personality.

Image courtesy of http://www.instyle.com/instyle/package/general/photos

Image courtesy of http://lifeisroyalty.blogspot.com/2010/11/you-know-you-love-this-d.html

By the time season two rolled around, the girls were still choosing clothes that matched their styles from season one. Always youthful and fun, their outfits at the White Party in the first episode of season two were particularly memorable.

Image courtesy of http://www.buddytv.com/articles/gossip-girl/gossip-girl-season-3-premiere-30920.aspx

Image courtesy of http://coffeefashionandtv.blogspot.com/2011/12/how-to-dress-like-serena-van-der-woodsen.html

Season three was a confusing time for these two ladies, as they settled into college, Serena indulged in an affair with a married man, and Blair had incredibly dramatic relationship problems with a certain Chuck Bass. Their wardrobes reflected this fluctuating state, as Blair lost the headband but still retained some of her immaturity from high school. And Serena started wearing more sophisticated looks but maintained her upper-crust boho-chic vibe.

Image courtesy of http://www.posh24.com/gossip_girl/gossip_girl_takes_on_paris

Image courtesy of http://neverenuffstuff.com/2010/09/gossip-girl-fashion-episode-1-season-4.html

By season four, however, there was a change. The dresses became more sophisticated, the accessories more impressive, and the shoes even higher. Perhaps this reaction stems partially from their amazing style during their trip to Paris. While Blair perfected her use of color and patterning without ever seeming gauche, Serena balanced dressing sexy with tailored blazers or funky accessories.

Image courtesy of http://screencrave.com/2011-11-22/gossip-girl-season-5-episode-8-all-the-pretty-sources-tv-review/

The clothing of season five showcased Blair as a princess-to-be and Serena in more sophisticated dresses. Take a look at their evolved styles with this snapshot of the two at Blair’s wedding shower.

Image courtesy of http://www.wetpaint.com/gossip-girl/articles/gossip-girl-season-6-will-blair-and-serena-ever-be-friends-again-poll

Flash-forward to season six and it’s apparent that Blair and Serena are no longer teenagers. Blair still mixes her colors and patterns but in more demure silhouettes. Serena, on the other hand, still dresses in her customary sexy style, but the more bohemian aspect of her style has disappeared and in its place is a more sophisticated taste.

Image courtesy of http://coffeefashionandtv.blogspot.com/2011/12/how-to-dress-like-serena-van-der-woodsen.html

Images courtesy  of http://fashionasliterature.wordpress.com/tag/style/

And finally, my two favorite outfits from the show’s entire run. Nothing makes a statement quite like Serena’s grey lace Zuhair Murad dress or Blair’s red ruffled Oscar de la Renta gown.

Lovely Leather

There is no denying that leather is a force to be reckoned with this season. Paring a leather item with any outfit is an easy way to give your look an edgier touch. While genuine leather is on the pricey side, there are many synthetic leather options that provide you with all the bang for fewer bucks. This trend has also been a huge hit among celebrities. A-list stars such as Beyonce´, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez and Kristen Stewart have all been seen rocking the trend. While you may be thinking that wearing tight leather pants or a tiny leather dress is a little too bold for you, there are a multitude of ways to tweak the trend to fit your personal style. Not a fan of black? No worries, there are plenty leather pieces available in this season’s hottest colors. All in all, leather is extremely versatile and should be a staple in every woman’s closet.

Leather Skirt

While leather skirts are typically seen as nighttime attire, this season feminine pleated option allows you to wear the trend day or night.  If you are looking for a sexier option, pair a leather pencil skirt with a peplum top and you’ve got the perfect mix of sexy and classy.

Leather Dress

When it comes to leather dresses there are a wide variety of options available. For the bolder fashionista, who is not afraid to show off her curves, a bodycon leather dress will be perfect. Those who are more modest may prefer a dress with leather accents.

Leather Pants

Remember liquid leggings? Well, they have been replaced with far more stylish, and breathable, leather pants. These pants will give any outfit a chic and edgy twist.

Leather Jacket

The leather jacket is a classic piece that can easily transform and pull together any look. A fun way to wear this season’s biker jacket is to pair it with ultra feminine dresses and skirts to add contrast to your outfit

The Perfect Fall Accessory

Temperatures have cooled considerably in the past few weeks—days that once fluctuated between hot and cool have now descended into slightly warm and cold. With the newly settled chill of fall, keeping warm is imperative. However, walking in and out of rooms of varying temperature, waking up to a cold morning but encountering a warmer afternoon, and changes in wind all affect our levels of warmth during the day. So layering becomes key during the fall, and the perfect fall layer is also an extremely fashionable accessory: the scarf. When deciding to wear a scarf, make the conscious choice not to simply throw any plain cloth around your neck. Pick out scarves with particular patterns, textures, and styles that make an outfit truly stand out, and experiment with different ways of tying a scarf to mix up your looks throughout the week. Below are 10 fun, interesting, and chic scarves to try out this fall.

Image courtesy of http://usa.hermes.com

To start off this list is the most classic of all scarves: the Hermès silk scarf. The French luxury brand is renowned for its sophisticated scarves that epitomize taste. This particular Casques et Plumets scarf mixes bright colors into delightful images.

Image courtesy of http://usa.hermes.com

This Kilim scarf, worn as a headdress here, is also classic Hermès. Try to emulate this style by wearing your hair down and wrapping a silk scarf across the top of your head. This slightly offbeat style is not only a standout, but it can also keep the front of your head warm!

Image courtesy of http://www.madewell.com

With Hermès scarves comes a hefty price, however, so for scarves in a lower budget range, try out Madewell. The new collection of Madewell storyteller scarves mirrors the sophistication of Hermès scarves without the same price tag. This black and white storyteller scarf from Madewell has a beautiful graphic pattern that could potentially be worn with many different outfits.

Image courtesy of http://www.brooksbrothers.com/

I love this cable cowl neck scarf from Brooks Brothers—it fits the All-American style of the brand but offers a unique blend of textures (lambswool and silk). This infinity style scarf is a popular one for this fall, so why not put your own spin on the style with a mixed texture scarf.

Image courtesy of http://shop.nordstorm.com

This Michael Kors toggle neck warmer scarf is on this list for two reasons. First, the color is absolutely gorgeous and appropriate for fall. Second, the toggle clasp sets this scarf apart from others, adding an interesting design element that gives this scarf a laid-back but chic feel.

Image courtesy of http://shop.nordstorm.com

Oblong scarves are also extremely popular for Fall 2012. This Eyeful Embroidered scarf has such a great blend of neutral colors with pops of pink and orange. The pattern is interesting, and the fullness of the scarf allows for all different kinds of scarf tying.

Image courtesy of http://shop.nordstorm.com

For a sleeker look, try this Nicole Miller optical gradation silk scarf. This look is definitely unique and noteworthy for its tricky patterning.

Image courtesy of http://shop.nordstorm.com

This Alexander McQueen tulip skull scarf works so well for this time of year, especially on a slightly warmer but still cool fall day. The playful pattern of skull and flowers creates a striking look.

Image courtesy of http://www.anthropologie.com

For much chillier days, try out this greyscale fringed loop scarf from Anthropologie. This particular scarf incorporates the fringe trend and will help you stay warm between classes.

Image courtesy of http://www.asos.com

Finally, this Spratters & Jayne Infinity Chain Scarf will also keep you toasty throughout the day. Designer Rachael Warner uses ultra-chunky Peruvian Highlands wool to create her fashionable scarves.

Image courtesy of http://shop.nordstrom.com/c/scarf-video?origin=leftnav

If you want to find out more ways you can tie your scarves, check out this great video from Nordstrom. The instructional film illustrates all different kinds of scarf knots, from the “cowgirl knot” to more classic ties.

Fall Foliage for the Wardrobe

Autumn has been in full swing for a little less than a month, but one key factor seems to be missing—fall foliage. As a native of Chapel Hill, I expect the usual blend of vibrant red, orange, and yellow around this time of year. However, I have found that there is a dearth of fall colors around campus this year. I trample over dead leaves everyday, but I don’t actually see the beautiful mix of colors that usually evokes Halloween, Thanksgiving, and apple cider. Although this lack of fall ambience is disappointing, especially when I see friends from New Jersey posting pictures of fall foliage at its best, I have decided that the best cure for the lack of color is to incorporate fall into my wardrobe.

Let’s start with the reds. A particularly popular fall color this year is oxblood. Deemed the “it” color for this fall, Megan Buerger, a writer for The Washington Post, says, “Some see it as a deep red with splashes of purple and blue, nearing burgundy or berry. Others see it injected with chocolate brown and closer to the color of, well, blood. It’s everywhere in fashion this season, from chunky waffle scarves to shiny leather dresses, as dark as a plum lipstick and as light as a sheer merlot.” AllSaints Spitalfields, the British retailer based in London, has made particularly good use of the color in their fall collection. Try this oxblood dress or this oxblood biker jacket from AllSaints for an unconventional take on the casual dress and the leather jacket. And although there are no AllSaints stores located in North Carolina, their online shopping department is great, and shipping is free within the US.

Images courtesy of http://www.usallsaints.com

If you want to wear a brighter shade than oxblood, add a pop of cherry red or pink-red to your wardrobe. All you need to do is add an accessory in one of these shades, like this great scarf from Madewell, a store that recently opened at Southpoint Mall. I love the interesting print on this scarf and the bright red may seem unusual for fall, but it still works in small doses.

Image courtesy of http://www.madewell.com

As for orange, look no further than this autumn appropriate outfit from Madewell’s big sister brand, J.Crew. The lighter orange blazer layered over the deeper orange sweater is chic but laid-back. Blazers are a definite must for the fall, and this slim-fitting blazer combined with the festive sweater makes for a perfect orange outfit.

Image courtesy of http://www.jcrew.com

Finally, embrace yellow this fall by experimenting with yellow boots. Although unorthodox, yellow boots can make your outfit a standout. For instance, these yellow moccasin boots are not for the faint of heart, but they make a statement with their unusual coloring and decorative beading.

Image courtesy of http://www.shopbop.com

If you’re feeling a little less daring, try out these soft yellow-brown boots.

Image courtesy of http://shop.tsum.ru

And if it’s raining, try out these not so mellow yellow rain boots.

Image courtesy of http://habituallychic.blogspot.com/2008/03/not-so-mellow-yellow.html

 

Breaking the Symmetry

I don’t know if it’s the above average temperatures in Chapel Hill or the rapidly approaching New York Fashion Week that is making me excited for spring trends, but I’ve been anticipating the upcoming season by scoping out fashion websites for must-have spring pieces.

One of my favorite trends for the upcoming spring season is asymmetrical, solid-colored skirts and dresses. I’m talking maxi skirts with an edge. This look is the perfect combination of sexy and subtle. It’s conservative, yet reveals just enough leg to keep you guessing. Whether chiffon, cotton, or some other material, let’s face it—they’re fun, flirty, and perfect for the spring. Check out Miranda Kerr in this pastel pink Eva Brazzi dress. She looks gorgeous.

You can find this modern-age Cinderella look on websites like Anthropologie.com and Shopbop.com. Here are a few:

Anthropologie Skirt $138

Preen Skirt $462 Shopbop.com

Kevork Kiledjian Skirt $750 Shopbop.com

Blue Life Skirt $108 Shopbop.com

Topshop.com dress- currently not sold in the U.S.

The beauty of these skirts and dresses is that they are statement pieces. You really don’t have to do much else to make these outfits look good. In fact, for an awesome day look I would suggest pairing your asymmetrically-cut skirt with a simple top—a basic cotton tee will do! If you’re looking to dress this look up for a night on the town, try pairing it with a chunky, bright-colored necklace and some sexy heels. I’m telling you—it’s so easy! These pieces are sure to make you stand out in the crowd.

cute swimsuits for this summer & 4.99 bikinis!

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the price for several basic bikinis on Forever 21’s web site: $4.99 each for tops and bottoms! They have halter tops and basic bottoms in royal blue, and string bikini tops and bottoms in royal blue, a light coral and basic black. While these aren’t the most detailed bikinis you could wear, they’re classic styles for a great price!

 

Forever 21’s Floral Paradise bikini is another cute option. It’s brightly patterned, and although it’s not as cheap as the bikinis above, it’s still a deal at $10.80 for the top and $9.80 for the bottom. The top is even reversible, in case you want to tone down the pattern a bit or de-emphasize a larger chest by wearing a solid pattern on top.

If you have a regular to small chest, a bandeau swimsuit is a cute option for your body. I absolutely love the Purple Multicolor Bandeau swimsuit from Victoria’s Secret! It’s bright, bold, patterned and perfect for the beach. The back closure is adjustable and it comes with a removable halter strap in case you want a little more support or security, since bandeau tops can sometimes slide. Top, $29; bottom, &20.

Another great bandeau option is Target’s Mossimo Polka Dot Twist Bandeau separates. The suit has a retro feel and is available in black, purple, brown and teal, all with cute white polka dots. The top has a removable halter strap, and the bottom has mock ties on the sides, so that you get the cute ties without the danger of the knots coming undone! Top, $17.99; bottom, $17.99.