A straight guy's perspective on women's fashion
June 23, 2011Posted by on
It would be fair to say that we’re all fairly used to seeing Kristen Stewart in dark colors at this point. As such, I was confused as to why this particular look stood out when it could be lost in a sea of similar images. In what would normally be a problem for most people, the lack of contrast in this outfit actually plays to Kristen’s strengths.
Rather than wearing a lighter color from her color palette to create contrast, the contrast in this outfit comes from Kristen’s beautifully milky skin tone. Notice how the sleeves are a shade shorter and the pants are rolled which expose large amounts of skin to complete the look. Another piece I like is how the cotton in the shirt is woven to give an almost sheer look (which would be more subtle under normal circumstances due to the brightness of the camera’s flash). This sheer quality, along with the rolled cuff and bunching of the jeans at the calf, adds depth to what could become an overly simple look.
One word of caution if you’re over the age of 35 – going with a completely dark look like this can cause whatever wrinkles you may have to appear deeper and thus more noticeable. As such, it can cause women to appear older than their age which is why I recommend wearing lighter items around the face in those situations.
June 13, 2011Posted by on
As important a staple if there ever was one for summertime, sunglasses have the ability to either make or break outfits. Having the correct frame and coloring in a pair of sunglasses is paramount in framing the face correctly – it’s this reason why purchasing glasses should be done with the utmost care. When launching their own line, the people over at TOMS have refined the frame to 3 main styles but have given a variety of styles to choose from within that scheme, something you can take a look at here. As TOMS employs the One for One campaign with their shoes, they have taken the same approach to their eyewear. While curing blindness seems a bit more ambitious than giving away shoes, it will surely have a greater impact on people around the globe. According to their video, of the 165 million cases of blindness, something like 80% can cured through glasses or surgery. So the next time you’re out shopping for a new pair of shades, consider purchasing a pair of TOMS sunglasses… and feel good doing it.
June 12, 2011Posted by on
As far as what a pre-collection for autumn and winter is, exactly, is beyond me. From what I can tell in the colors used in the Frankie Morello lookbook, it appears to be a collection that is geared towards the early to mid parts of fall (rather than the months before autumn and winter, the season formerly known as summer). After browsing through the lookbook, the outfit that garnered most of my attention was this simple jeans, sweater, heels combo that would look right at home on the streets of a rural town or NYC.
I’m not overly thrilled about the fur as I find that the jeans steal most of my attention. For casual looks, I’ve always thought that jeans and heels were one of the sexiest combinations drawn up. The heels not only blend wonderfully with the sweater but become highlighted due to the light coloring of the jeans. The light coloring of the jeans also help to accent the model’s blue eyes, something you wouldn’t imagine as being possible due to the distance between the two.
While I’ve spoken out against white during the darker months, it works fine in this look as it is not the primary piece of clothing. Using white as an accent piece becomes perfectly acceptable here as the white shirt both calls attention to the top, but also ties the light colored jeans and dark colors in the sweater together. Even though I dislike winter, I must admit I’m getting excited for the trends that may be coming along with it.
June 11, 2011Posted by on
Every time winter starts to come around I think back about that scene in the September issue – the one where Anna Wintour berates Yves Saint Laurent Head Designer Stefano Pilati for lacking color in the winter collection, then scoffs at his excuse that navy and dark green were what she was referring to. Luckily for us, it seems that this upcoming winter will have a moderate array of colors for those dark and dreary months. Behold, the Burberry Prorsum Autumn/Winter 2011-12 collection:
Blacks, navy, brown, etc. all have their place on winter racks – they are the tried and true staples of winter fashion. The problem with a look composed entirely of these winter staples is that it causes you to blend in against the backdrop, something to be avoided at all costs. Thus the issue then becomes finding those colors that are both acceptable for the lighting conditions and the surrounding environment. That is the reason why I feel like the colors used here by Burberry are so striking; they’ve used bright colors that, although uncommon, will do well when the sun’s light is longer and at it’s least vibrant.
The other piece I appreciate is how the trademark Burberry print in the handbags is less the primary focal point and more of design element. When the designer print is the primary focus, it distracts from the overall look by calling out it’s brand rather than working itself into an outfit. The quality of the materials and design of the bag should supersede any print from a particular designer. By using similar colors and styling found in the central piece, the coat, Burberry uses their bag to add the finishing touch creating a polished and timeless look.
June 7, 2011Posted by on
There’s no question that the right outfit can help you create a slimmer silhouette by tricking the eye, something you can see here, here, and is done with a blazer here. We can now add a couple more to the list:
This Volcom Time Lines One Piece is similar to the Anthropologie suit I wrote about earlier but seems to be more effective in creating that hour glass shape.
This VENUS Razor one piece is pretty straight forward but I feel like the simplicity of this suit can be appreciated over the busyness of the others. Images originally found on fashion findz.
May 31, 2011Posted by on
Here’s a peek at the H&M lookbook for next season.
This look here is fairly similar to above. These looks wouldn’t work near as well without these colored leggings that help the eye fall across the whole look rather than pausing on the skirt. The good part about the outfit below is that you can grab whatever color from the skirt and use it in your blouse. As I’ve explained before, using a color that is in your face near your face does wonders.
I don’t like how oversized the coat is here but it feels almost necessary due to the oversized sweater. Whereas the previous two looks are obviously more for the fall, the colors used in this outfit will work great for those winter days. I don’t know if I would have pulled these three colors out of thin air… After looking at the sweater and tights, however, the olive coat gives a much better balance than a standard black coat would. Although it might be hard to find, a navy coat would be great in this situation also.
May 27, 2011Posted by on
After doing a bit of shopping yesterday, I realized how easy it is to forget about the colors that are in your color palette. Walking around the stores you’re bombarded with high value contrast outfits, a style that can only be worn by a small selection of people. Why is it, then, that such a small group of people get marketed to the most in the stores? Because high contrast value outfits get noticed and sell because of it. Yes, that navy and white outfit looks good on a mannequin but the likelihood it would look good on you is pretty slim. That’s why I have my color palette bookmarked on my smartphone so I’m never more than a couple seconds away from being able to instantly compare clothes to it (something I recommend for you to do as well).
So when you’re out shopping over this extended weekend, keep this in mind – there is nothing more attractive than a girl wearing the clothes that work best for her. Noticing the girl is far superior to noticing the clothes.
May 24, 2011Posted by on
Ah, the blazer… I love this look, especially when it is paired with something a little sexy like these rolled up jorts and a corset type top (image via sietske on lookbook.nu).
I love how the attention is focused on the eyes as they are emphasized against the light coloring on the top half of the outfit. The other thing to note is how the coloring of the light pink top allows the lips to harmonize wonderfully into the rest of the look.
Prior to seeing this look, I must admit that I always had a slightly negative feeling towards showing the bottom of the pocket with jean shorts. However, after imagining this look without the pockets showing, I feel that this style not only works, but is necessary for this look to work correctly. If the jean shorts were not actually rolled up to where they are, they would look drastically out of place as they would be lost against the sensuality found in the corset top.
May 20, 2011Posted by on
In the first part of this post, I covered how to use colors that are within your color palette and how they help harmonize your features into an outfit. In this next part, I want to explain some pieces that can help accentuate your face but still balance the attention to your outfit as well.
For this next part, I want to talk about this look that Fergie wore to the 10th Annual Spring Fling Party in New York City (image via California Style):
Without doing a color analysis for Fergie, I think the colors she’s wearing work well with her palette. The picture overall is generally poor due to the flash, spontaneity, angle, etc. but that is not what I want to talk about. While I believe she tackled the color issue that Tilda Swinton faced in part 1, there is nothing bringing your eyes up to her face to help frame it due to the light colored jacket and light gray top. Her face isn’t necessarily being washed out, it’s just that there is no color around her face when compared to the rest of the high intensity colors she’s uses through the bottom half of the outfit.
How do we solve this? How about a more interesting necklace than the one she’s currently wearing (Image via Citizen Couture):
Here we have an extremely simple dress that is topped off with a great eye grabbing necklace that, due to the gold links and blonde hair, frames Joanna Hillman’s face perfectly. The benefits of using colors in her palette around her face can also be seen by how much attention the lipstick draws. In Fergie’s look, her issue of getting color around the face was complicated due to the styling of the motorcycle jacket, a style I’ve disliked from the beginning. I think Fergie was on the right track with the long necklace but I would recommend a gem with more color (amethyst perhaps?) along with a chain that was slightly shorter to get more attention upwards.
Coming back to Joanna Hillman’s look, the only thing I would change is to put her in a shoe that incorporates one of the colors from her necklace or face. Considering how plain the bottom of the look is, the rest of the outfit almost seems uninteresting. To show how to pull this off perfectly, I have to point back to an image of Giovanna Battaglia that I wrote about earlier.
Rather than a necklace, Giovanna uses a dark scarf accenting her dark features like her hair, eyes, and eyebrows. She then equalizes the attention between her face and her outfit by adding black heels which then bracket the white Valentino dress. Giovanna has an very good sense of how to style outfits, something you can observe here.
So whether you use a scarf, jewelry, or a blouse of a color from your color palette, the key to bringing the most beauty to your face is to frame it accordingly.
May 19, 2011Posted by on
I don’t think anyone would disagree that the colors used in an outfit either make or break your look. To prove this point, let’s start with the much celebrated picture of Tilda Swinton at Cannes last week (via zap2it.com):
The first thing that pops into my head is ‘wow, that’s a pretty high contrast outfit for someone with very little contrast in their face.’ What seems to be happening here is that Tilda’s outfit is completely overriding the natural beauty that she’s trying to play up by not wearing any make up. Your gaze is naturally pulled down to the blouse and skirt and away from the face because the colors in her face are so light and the colors of her outfit are dark and contrasting. For starters, the blue skirt she’s wearing is already too dark and having such a light color of blouse only compounds the problem even further.
Thus, if our goal were to bring more attention to her face and less attention focused on her clothes, we would accomplish this in a couple of different ways. I’ll get to the second part later, but first and foremost, the colors in this outfit need to be changed. I went through the color analysis I’ve recommended in the past, and nowhere in Tilda Swinton’s color palette is such a dark shade of blue found:
Light Summer Color Palette
(Sidenote: If you haven’t done your own color analysis via this site, I highly recommend it as a free alternative to the other options. One word of caution – read every ‘characteristic’ listed, even if you think you have already found a match. Unfortunately when the webpage lost it’s ability to be a straight forward guide from when I had first recommended it.)
What I’ve done below is kept a similar look to what she was doing originally, I’ve simply updated the colors to ones that are in her palette. I think the difference is quite noticeable:
Due to the yellow of her shirt, the first thing I notice is the hair. This is a wonderful accomplishment as it creates a frame around her face which is where we want the attention. You’ll remember before that her dark skirt and light blouse stood out which stole the color from her face. The other thing I noticed before was that her eyes became beady because it was the only part of her face that had dark colors similar to her look. Now with the lighter colored skirt and better coloring around her face, you actually notice her lighter colored lips and cheeks evenly against the darkness of her eyes.
So now that we have the majority of the look fixed, we can continue on in accentuating her features – a piece I will cover in part 2 of this topic.