Monday, 29 August 2011

The cute, practical crossbody bag

Cross-body bags were once reserved for moms and mailmen. But as with other ‘80s staples that are reappearing for the fall, savvy designers have given it a glamorous makeover. The new cross-bodies are made of buttery soft leathers, redone in contemporary shapes, and adorned in hardware.
What’s so appealing about the cross-body bag? The hands-free factor is liberating. I particularly opt for these styles when running errands or going out at night. I also love how they can instantly lend an outfit a relaxed vibe. Of course, as a fan of contrast, I prefer wearing these casual bags with girly things – frocks, florals and frills. Few things are chicer than a fabulous dress with a long chain bag draped on your shoulder.
To keep the silhouette polished and not juvenile, it’s key to choose a size that doesn’t overwhelm you. Look for shapes that lie effortlessly against your body, whether it be saddle, pouch, or bucket. Don’t wear it too long or it looks sloppy.
Convertible bags earn extra points for its versatility and multi-use purpose. You get two or more styles out of one great bag. Hey, it’s a recession. Shop smart and get more bang for your hard-earned buck.

Chanel started the trend of the mini quilted cross body chain bag, but a few companies have taken the trend and added their own twist. One of my favorites is the BR Monogram miniature bag. It is sleek and simple and will hold your credit cards, money, lip gloss, and keys while keeping you hands free for a day or night out. Taylor Momsen was seen with a cross body mini chain bag on the set of Gossip Girl yesterday in New York City with her Doma Leather Jacket with Hood and Ray Ban aviators.
Though I’m usually into spacious over sized bags, minimalist-inspired cross body bags have been on my radar for the past few months. Cross body bags are great for those times when you don’t need or want to carry a ton of stuff with you–think simple shopping trips, nights out, or house parties. And since you have to fit all of your things into that tiny space, you’ll make sure to pack only the essentials, right?

Why It’s a Favorite…

  • Security. Not only can you swing a cross body bag over your shoulder and walk with confidence knowing it won’t get in your way, but when you wear one across your body, it makes it difficult for anyone to swipe your stuff. That’s a plus any way you look at it!
  • Convenience. Let’s be honest: carrying around a cute clutch gets obnoxious sometimes! (Case in point? One of my good friends once brought a big silver clutch to a club and got so sick of carrying it that she threw it away!) And while we love wristlets, they can be annoying when you’re attempting to dance or grab a drink. With a cross body bag, though, you’re covered. Grab your things, slip it on, and forget about it until you need to touch up your lip gloss.
  • Cost-effective. Small purse, (usually) small price tag! Need I say more?!
  • Cute! I love the look of a cross body bag with just about any outfit. They’re a little bit sporty, totally chic, and work well whether you’re in an over sized sweater and leggings or a flirty bandage skirt. The hands-free style is catching on and some of our favorite celebrities seem to agree– so make sure to be on the lookout for cross body bags this season!

Tips for Purchasing a Bag of Your Own…

  • Pick a length that’s right for you. As with any other bag, when choosing a cross body purse, you should consider the length of the strap. Finding a length you like and that flatters you is fairly easy (and intuitive–short girl, shorter strap, tall girl, longer strap!) and many of today’s bags feature a strap that’s adjustable. Bonus points if you want to carry your cross body on one shoulder like a traditional purse!
  • Consider your shape. Cross body bags generally hit around the waist or hip. If you want to play down either of these areas, a larger bag in a solid color is a good bet. Want to show off your shape? Try a small, brightly-colored bag! The width of the strap of your bag will also highlight your shape, so choose accordingly.
  • Show your style! Consider yourself a boho babe? Try a distressed leather4 or ethnic-inspired bag! Classic? Go for a vintage leather satchel! Preppy? Go for a swing pack. Edgy? Look for studs, fringe, or bright colors! No matter what look you rock, you’ll be able to find a cute cross body bag to accent your outfit.

The cross body bag allows you to stay hands-free. As the name indicates, the strap crosses your body for security. Cross body bags, messenger bags and backpacks are perfect for students, commuters, shoppers and anyone else who wants the convenience. They are a bit too casual for the office, but perfect for casual wear.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Kaftans: the new summer offering for women

An off-white kaftan with red and orange applique work, flared chiffon dress with shaded French knots and twigs and a turquoise kaftan with dull gold dabka work -- all this and more form designer duo Isha & Nitin Kartikeya's new summer collection for women. The Delhi-based designers brand is called Dozakh.

"Dozakh finds a way to bring incomprehensible emotions like love, lust and obsession to the free spirited soul through the art form of fashion. Through the collection we have created some of the master pieces, which will depict our signature style," Isha said.

The kaftans and dresses, a nice amalgamation of contemporary design trends and mythical elements, will depict the glamour, sophistication and feminine side of women in the age group of 16 to 56 years.
Giving details about the design concept, Kartikeya said, "The dynamic and classic textiles on the garments is characterised with patterns which is a mix of gothic and baroque imagery combined with abstract and surreal prints. All thematic and conceptual assortments have interesting historical essence attached to it."
The price-range of the collection is on request and is available at 1A, Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi.
The designer duo ventured into the world of fashion in the year 2006. Isha's panache and originality and Kartikeya's intuitive and rebellious style sense brought them together.
Their inclination towards dark and revolutionary themes led to the conception of their label and stand alone store Dozakh in the same year.

"Dozakh is a capital's bespoke fashion wear destination which aims at catering to the mainstream by challenging the off-beat. It works towards making fashion as a form of entertainment to be watched and admired not just simply worn," Isha said.
Isha and Kartikeya also participated in fashion shows such as Autumn winter 2009 by Fashion Foundation of India (FFI) at the Delhi Fashion Week and are a regularly at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week.

 I do love a kaftan, there's nothing better than swanning around swathed in sheets of billowing fabric to make you feel like a glamorous version of Endora from Bewitched, non? Only one problem with kaftans, they don't photograph well. Case in point, Milla Jovovich here.

And this is a good one. Milla is 5"9 and has chosen a kaftan that has a drawstring waist. She also cleverly places her hand on her body to give herself more shape. Otherwise she'd look like the marshmallow man. Seriously. And that's not a good look, I should know. I once worse a beautiful kaftan to the Cleo Swimsuit party when I was Editor, and while I looked great in person, when photographed, I looked like a multicoloured blimp. I then had to publish those photos in the magazine. True story. And one we can learn from.

1. Unless you're excessively tall, or Elle Macpherson floating about on Valentino's yacht, do not invest in a shapeless kaftan.
2. Wear one that has a drawstring, or is sheer enough to spot your body through.
3. When posing in photos, always, but always put one or two hands on your hips. MUST.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Ballet flats & love!

Ballet flats or Dolly shoes are derived from a woman's soft ballet slipper, with a very thin heel or the appearance of no heel at all. The style usually features a ribbon-like binding around the low tops of the slipper and may have a slight gathering at the top-front of the vamp (toe box) and a tiny, decorative string tie. Ballet slippers can be adjusted and tightened to the wearer's foot by means of this string tie.
The essence of the ballet flat has existed since at least the 16th century, in which men wore a similar shoe, then known as pompes. In medieval times ballet flats were popular with both men and women. They only came out of fashion in the 17th and 18th centuries when the high-heeled shoe came into fashion after Catherine de' Medici requested that her cobbler add two inches to her wedding shoes. Heels went out of fashion quickly after Marie Antoinette walked to the guillotine in a pair of heels. Functional shoes: sandals, boots, and flat shoes prevailed in the 19th century. Ballet flats took off again when Audrey Hepburn wore them with skinny jeans in Funny Face in 1957.
More recently, variations of ballet flats have returned as a current fashion trend, often referred to as ballet pumps or ballet sneakers and designed for outdoor wear, using a variety of fabrics and usually with a rubber sole.
Ballet flats are popular with girls and women of all ages. They are also a great alternative to heels, and they are seen with many tweens and teens at school dances and proms instead of heels. They are often worn by teenage girls to school, as they are more convenient and less formal than high heels but dressier than sneakers.

How to Wear Ballet Flats

Ballet flats continue to be a popular style this season. If you value comfort and style, ballet flats are sure to please. Learn how to wear this popular style.
If you're looking for casual shoes that are still pretty, feminine, and sexy, then ballet flats might be the perfect option for you. Ballet flats are both comfortable and stylish and can be worn with a wide variety of fashions.

What are ballet flats?

Ballet flats are inspired by footwear traditionally worn by ballet dancers. They are usually very slipper-like, although different styles vary in terms of construction. Ballet flats are often low-cut with a closed-toe, although many of this spring's popular styles include and open-toe.

Ballet flats also come in a variety of materials, ranging from suede, leather, satin, velvet, canvas, and more. Recent styles produced by Ked's are a great example of fun, canvas ballet flats, while designers such as Marc Jacob's have created many styles in dressier materials.

Will ballet flats make me look short?

Not if you choose the right style. Look for ballet flats that are low-cut or try colors that match your outfit to create a seamless line, which can add the illusion of height. If you prefer a bit of height, look for styles that utilize a slight heel for an added boost.

What fashions work best with ballet flats?

The great thing about ballet flats is that they work well with so many different styles. Dress up casual jeans with a pair of metallic or satin ballet flats. Pair embellished styles with Capri's or Bermuda shorts for a fun, summer look. Ballet flats are also a great alternative to uncomfortable or clunky work shoes. Try simple styles in a neutral shade to complement your office-wear. Avoid thin fabrics, glittery, or embellished styles for workwear. Look for new styles in patent leather, soft suede, or loafer-type leather that look both professional and polished. No need to worry about cramped feet or pinched toes, since ballet flats are some of the most comfortable styles available.