The East Draws Zest From Layered Patterns
By: Rose Bennett Gilbert
Q: I was intrigued by your recent column on decorating with Moroccan style. I’ve always loved it when there were a lot of different patterns used together (Matisse is my favorite artist). But I’m afraid to try it in my own home. Are there guidelines that would make it easier to put a lot of designs together?
A: There are only three rules you need master to create a successful mix of patterns, Western-style. 1. All the patterns must have a common color denominator. 2. There should be a discernible difference in the scale of the patterns: large, medium, small. 3. A successful mix includes both geometrics and florals.
But that’s talking pattern mixes, Western-style. When it comes to the Moroccan way of layering patterns, the rules are slightly different because you’re mostly dealing with geometrics. You also have more surfaces to decorate. As author/designer Maryam Montague points out in her colorful, new book (“Marrakesh by Design”), Moroccan floors often wear wall-to-wall patterns.
Often, the pattern is on the ceramic tiles, for which the region is famous. However, in the bedroom we show here, borrowed from her book, the cement floor has been stencil-painted (by the author herself). The interlocking design underscores the other patterns in the room, including the red carpet that speaks to the red in the overall floral pattern on the bed throw.
Here, the walls and ceiling are plainly painted. Other rooms in Maryam’s vibrant book have lively tiled walls — especially wainscot-high — and dramatic ceilings, often stencil-painted in exotic colors.
Q: My sister-in-law has a theory that you shouldn’t paint your rooms certain colors because they make people look ugly. I am about to do my bath over in chartreuse (with navy accents). What about it?
A: Chartreuse and navy — so smart together — anywhere but in a bathroom.
Your sister-in-law has a point worth discussing. It’s all about physics. Color bounces. Surround yourself with chartreuse walls and you’ll end up looking greenish yourself. Not what you want to see first thing in the morning.
The good news is, once you understand this phenomenon, you can harness its power and use it to good advantage. So go paint your dining room red, your bedroom a warm rose and enjoy basking in these warm colors’ reflected glory.
Operation Homefront partners with Sierra Providence Health Network for the Back-To-School Brigade
Operation Homefront and Sierra Providence East Medical Center along with Sierra Medical Center have joined forces this pre-school season to collect backpacks and school supplies for military children on Fort Bliss.
Operation Homefront of Texas, the non-profit that provides emergency financial and other assistance to military families and Wounded Warriors, along with area community partners will be collecting donated backpacks and school supplies, and monetary donations, to be distributed to the children of service members at the beginning of the school year in the fall.
The Back-To-School Brigade program is a nationwide campaign by Operation Homefront and Dollar Tree, now in its sixth season. Last year, more than $3 million of supplies were collected thanks to the generosity of Dollar Tree patrons nationwide.
“We are proud to assist military families and help prepare their children for the upcoming school year. It is our hope that the donated school supplies will help motivate the students and provide them with a strong foundation for a successful school term,” said Sally Hurt, CEO of Sierra Providence East Medical Center.
Donations can be made at all Sierra Providence East Medical Center, Sierra Medical Center, all Dollar Tree Locations, WFSS Inc., Casa Ford, and Balfour Beatty on Fort Bliss.
Both hospital locations will collect supplies July 30 – August 10. Once the program ends, Operation Homefront volunteers will collect and distribute the gifts to military children during the back-to-school season in August and September. Log on to OperationHomefront.net for more details on how to contribute.
Cash contributions are collected throughout the campaign to purchase backpacks by checks sent to Operation Homefront of Texas, 10157 IH 35 North, Suite A, San Antonio, TX 78233 or online at www.operationhomefront.net/texas.
Back To School Trends, A Colorful Fall
by: Sharon Mosley
It’s time to do your fashion homework, even if it is still the middle of summer. You can study up on some of the latest trends and make your shopping that much easier, according to Todd Christiansen, divisional merchandising manager for Lands’ End Kids.
“It makes sense that parents are doing their research to make their dollars go further. If kids’ backpacks fall apart or they tear through the knees of their pants, it’s not only money that’s wasted, but the time it takes to replace them.”
A survey conducted by Lands’ End revealed that 3 out of 5 parents love to shop with their kids “because they love seeing the new styles and products.” And a whopping 96 percent of parents said they would share first-day-of-school pictures on Facebook.
So what fashion trends will kids be posing in for those Facebook photos?
Here’s a roundup of the latest must-haves for girls and guys going back to school:
“The key for girls to make the grade this back-to-school season is color,” says Jennifer Coccaro, senior merchandise manager for Lands’ End Kids. “Color is everywhere, whether as a striking statement in pencil-fit pants and skirts or a more subtle surprise in shoes and accessories.”
—Colored bottoms — Look for denim and corduroy in the season’s hottest silhouette — the pencil leg. It doesn’t have to be tight, just slim and trim. Mix it up with a fun skirt with a ruffled hem that has a little bit of flounce.
—Space-dye style — The trendy, striated space-dye pattern is fun and comfortable when done in French terry separates such as hoodies, long-sleeve dresses, ruffled knit skorts and rolled-up pants.
—Detailed Tees. Forget the plain Jane T-shirts. This fall, dress up everyday jeans or skirts and blazers with Tees embellished with delicate ruffles and pin-tuck detailing.
—Dresses and Leggings. They’re the perfect duo offering style and comfort. Solid color leggings make a great accent for any printed dress, while mixing-and-matching prints and patterns lets girls create their own personal looks.
—Long-Sleeve V-neck cardigans. To top it all off — these cardigans are the most versatile layering pieces that can add a playful pop of color to any outfit. Longer lengths are perfect because you can belt them for a more tailored look.
For the boys:
“Boys will break the mold in back-to-school this back-to-school season with looks that are rugged, tailored and comfortable,” says Adam Napier, senior merchandise manager for Lands’ End Kids. Here are five must-haves for the boys on your back-to-school shopping list:
—Graphic rugbies — The stripes are on the back-to-school playing field. Embroideries, screen prints and dip dying make the Rugby shirt a go-to-fashion-must-have for the guys.
—Cadet-inspired pants. These rugged pants are a sure style hit this fall. Dressed up or down, these are the official pants of fall.
—Hoodies — By now, a collegiate favorite, the hoodie is updated with a lining of super-soft cotton Sherpa fleece.
—Five-pocket corduroy pants — Jeans may be an all-time basic, but cords are back in style in pigment-dyed rich colors such as rust, blue, mahogany and gray.
—Long-sleeved button downs — Whether it’s a colorful washed oxford or a long-sleeve plaid shirt, these are classics that will mix and match with denims and cords alike.
Olympic Fashion Fever
By: Sharon Mosley
Time to wear your true colors — red, white and blue! To celebrate the upcoming Olympics in London, many fashion companies are offering lots of ways to get inspired both here and across the pond. Here’s a roundup of some of my favorite things to get you in the winning spirit, just in time for the summer games.
—The official site — Start your search for Olympic-inspired fashion here at www.teamusashop.com. It’s chock full of everything from collectible pins and accessories to T-shirts, hats and jewelry for the whole family. My favorite is the USA flag logo bracelet made of stretchable paracord. It will stretch 15 feet if you ever find yourself in a situation demanding a strong rope. Fifty shades of red, white and blue? Hmm … $44.95.
—Boden USA — One of Britain’s well-known retailers for women, men and children, established by Johnnie Boden in London in 1991. Boden was launched in America in 2002. This summer, you can find all kinds of stylish accessories online, too. The Union Jack flag charms are memorable additions to a charm bracelet. (www.bodenusa.com)
—Judith Leiber clutch purses – Another way to get into the British spirit big time. Judith Leiber is famous for her jeweled minaudieres, which have become a collector’s item since the Hungarian-American designer founded the company in 1963. This year, Leiber has new crystal clutches that are tributes to the Olympics. My favorite features the Union Jack flag, priced at a mere $3,495. (www.judithleiber.com)
—Gemvara stackable rings — In celebration of the 2012 Olympics, Gemvara is introducing a limited edition of stackable-style rings inspired by the official Olympic rings. The online retailer of fine jewelry produces more than 1,500 original designs that can be customized using your choice of gemstones and precious metal options to create one-of-a-kind looks. The rings cost $150 to $250. (www.gemvara.com)
—Dannijo necklaces — Dannijo is another luxury jewelry company named after two sisters, Danielle and Jodie Snyder, whose designs have a rock ‘n’ roll vibe. (Beyonce is a favorite customer.) To celebrate the Olympics, the Snyders created unique “collar” necklaces studded with red, white and blue Swarovski crystals, making a bold style statement and another jewelry collectible for $995. (www.dannijo.com)
—Old Navy T-shirts — You don’t have to actually go to London to show your team spirit, you can just pick up a “Team USA” T-shirt at Old Navy stores. Check out the dozen or so graphic Olympic-inspired shirts ranging in price from $6 to $22. And while you’re there, pick up a pair of red, white and blue flip-flops! (www.oldnavy.com)
—Union Jack boots — Yes, this has to be one of my top picks! Clark’s has come up with a great-looking pair of canvas desert boots with the Union Jack flag printed on them. Talk about real show-stoppers, and they’ve got to be really comfy! Grab ’em quick. They are on sale for $89.99 at www.piperlime.gap.com.
—Red, white and blue nails — Nails Inc. celebrated their British heritage with red, white and blue nail polish shades for the Queen’s Jubilee. Paint alternate shades on each finger or create miniature Union Jacks, the ultimate tribute to the Queen. In “St. James,” a classic blue red, “Floral Street,” an opaque white, and “Baker Street,” a cobalt blue. Priced at $9.50 each, these nail colors are available at Sephora and Sephora.com. I’m going for the “Baker Street” blue; I’ve always had a thing for Sherlock Holmes.
Donate at Your Local 7-Eleven and Support Special Olympics Texas
WHO: Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) – Greater El Paso area…
WHAT: …invites you to help make a difference in the lives of athletes in your community. Stop by any local 7-Eleven convenience store through July 31 and make a donation at the cash register. A $1 contribution makes you a bronze medal donor, a $2 makes you a silver medal donor and a $3 donation makes you a gold medal donor. Your donation, no matter how small, will support more than 2,000 athletes in the Greater El Paso area.
WHEN: through July 31, 2012
WHERE: any local 7-Eleven store
WHY: Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) is a privately funded non-profit organization that changes lives through the power of sport by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect. SOTX provides continuing opportunities for more than 44,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities throughout the Lone Star State to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage and experience joy and friendship. To learn more, visit www.specialolympicstexas.org or call 800.876.5646. Engage with us on: Twitter @SOTexas; fb.com/SpecialOlympicsTX; youtube.com/specialolympicstexas.
Coca-Cola Refreshments, Food Town, H-E-B Tournament of Champions
Charitable Trust and the Law Enforcement Torch Run
Summer Style Hits to Buy Now and Wear Later
By: Sharon Mosley
The heat is on, and summer fashion is heating up with sizzling bargains on sales now in your favorite stores and online shopping sites. So with plenty of warm weather left to celebrate, now’s a perfect time to take advantage of these hot deals. Then with a little twist on the styling, you can easily wear them right into fall and winter.
—The maxi dress — What started out being a staple of the hippie-chic generation in the ’60s has turned into a modern-day take on laid-back bohemian style — a great way to dress up for summer, whether it’s for a barbeque in the backyard or an evening stroll at the beach. Bold floral prints are the favorites for the long dresses this time around, but colorful solids will brighten up your wardrobe, too. For cooler days, top off these summer dresses with cotton cardigans.
—Colored pants — Move over black, and step into some red jeans, yellow crops or turquoise Bermudas. Putting your color on the bottom is where it’s at this summer, and you can plan on this trend continuing right on into the fall season. Pick up at least one pair and banish the boring black for a while. Colorful printed pants are another fun option; check out the new graphic ikat prints. For more ways to extend the life of this trend, see “color blocking” below.
—The one-shoulder dress — If you’ve got a festive occasion to attend this summer — a wedding, a graduation party or even a gala fundraiser — the one-shoulder dress is a stylish way to dress up for the event. And again, forget the traditional little black dress and cool it off with an icy white. White also promises to be a winter favorite this year, too. For a holiday party, wear the one-shoulder white dress, and pair it with a frosty fur wrap.
—The peplum — These flouncy ruffles at the waist — peplums — are adding a fresh touch to summer’s best skirts and dresses. One word of caution: Peplums are great ways to show off slim waists, but they can add pounds to hip areas. Mix and match short jackets with these skirts and dresses for fall.
—Hi-low hems — Want to shop for something a little different to wear? Skirts and dresses with high hems in the front, tapering to longer ones in the back are alternatives that will give your summer outfits a different kind of vibe. Team them with strappy sandals this summer and wear them into fall with tights and boots.
—Color blocking — This trend is tricky, but it can provide lots of creative style to your wardrobe now and going forward. Look for colors that you love, and experiment by mixing them up in new ways. For summer, you might wear a pair of dark emerald jeans with a robin’s egg blue T-shirt and for fall, pair them with a darker cobalt blue jacket; or team a pair of red cropped pants with an orange tank for summer and add a dark crimson sweater for fall.
Choosing Art to Live With Is a Real Art Indeed
By: Rose Bennett Gilbert
Q: We just finished fixing up our little place at the shore … a lot of hand-me-downs from our city house, plus neat stuff from local yard sales. With the walls all newly painted, I haven’t hung anything on them yet. My husband would kill me for too many nail holes (just kidding). But seriously, what kind of art is most appropriate for a lake house?
A: The answer is the same for any house anywhere: What’s appropriate is what you like.
Hanging art on the wall is like accessorizing a dress: It’s the finishing touch that completes the outfit. It’s also an expression of your individuality and taste. And, in the case of a second home, the “accessories” could logically relate to the home’s location: Think seascapes, canoe paddles, fishing gear … you get the idea.
Have fun shopping, but don’t rush the process. Make each selection contribute to the overall personality of your little place. Here’s inspiration from designer Phoebe Howard (aka “Mrs. Howard,” the design columnist), borrowed from her attractive new book, “The Joy of Decorating.”
She made the “art” she’s hung in this seaside breakfast nook: four pairs of bright Bernardo flip-flops framed in Lucite boxes. She found them at an antique show, Phoebe writes: “thirty pairs … all in size 7-and-a-half and all in perfect condition. I loved imagining their former owner — clearly a woman after my own heart when it comes to shoes!”
Following her example, you could frame anything from a shell collection to sand dollars to ship miniatures — there’s almost no end to the nautical-but-nice options.
In fact, the more eccentric the art, the more interesting the interior. I just visited a new housing development in a former lumber mill in Richmond, Va. (Beckstoffer’s Mill Lofts & Apartments by the nonprofit Better Housing Coalition), where antique woodworking machinery is revered as sculpture. There’s a huge molding jointer in one apartment complex lobby, a band saw preserved in another.
Sir James Dyson the English inventor (“cyclonic” vacuum cleaners, bladeless fans and the like) may be one of the world’s richest men, easily able to buy any old masterwork he desires. But when he and his wife renovated the antique mill on their 300-acre estate in Gloucestershire, they refurbished the giant old waterwheel and made it the looming focal point of their dining room.
The bottom line — and a good lesson for every home decorator: Art is whatever you can envision.
Q: What do you think of covering books in matching paper so they all look alike on the shelf? I saw this done at a designer show house last month. The designer wrapped all the books in chartreuse paper. It looked great but somehow it seems wrong. What do you think?
A: What do I think of blinding books for decorative purposes? Not much. Sure, it makes a design statement, but what it says to me is “Duh. We really don’t read.”
Nailing It: Nail Fashion Trends
By: Sharon Mosley
When Britney Spears, Katy Perry or Miranda Lambert want to make sure their nails stand out as much as their dresses on the red carpet, they let celebrity manicurist Elsbeth Schuetz take their hands and paint her magic on their fingertips.
“Nail art is very hot right now,” says Schuetz, who has received numerous beauty industry awards and works with a Los Angeles-based agency using Nailtini and Nails Selection products. “Not only can an inexpensive polish creation brighten our day without breaking the bank, it has also become de rigueur for starlets and musicians to rock attention-getting nails on red carpets and in magazines.”
Schuetz, known for her custom nail art and keen eye for color, works at high profile entertainment events including the Oscars, Golden Globes and “Dancing with the Stars.” “There are literally thousands of different nail art looks out there,” she says. “And there are certainly a few that are not only stylish but also can be created easily whether you’re a nail artist or a DIY-er.”
One of the nail artist’s favorite designs is currently the hand painted “gradient nail” or “ombre” look. To achieve this look at home, Schuetz suggests applying a base color to the entire nail. Then add a different color randomly on the free edge, heavier on the tip and lighter as you go toward the cuticle. While still wet, you can blend with a toothpick or a fine art brush. Finish with a topcoat. “This look can also be done with the many ‘gel colors’ available to pros and consumers now,” she adds.
Schuetz also finds that nail trends currently are sparkling. “Glitter polish with various size glitter speckles applied over a clear base coat is another looks that is hot and easy to achieve,” she says. “No longer is it required to use a colored base first and then glitter on top. In fact, you can use different glitter colors and sizes for one manicure to create even more distinct effects.”
Another hot trend in nails is the “foiled nail,” says the celebrity manicurist. “Buy gold leaf at any art and craft store and place it with your tweezers on the still wet polish.” She also suggests another craft-store find to rock on your nails — large gemstones. “Just glue them on a nail or two — or 10, before a fun night out.”
Schuetz also likes the trend of wearing different colors on different nails. “Do one or two fingers in a completely different color and let folks guess your inspiration,” she says. “If you want to do more nails, try to maintain some balance by wearing different shades of the same colors or adding polka dots in the alternate color to resist looking like an Easter basket!”
She also likes classic color combos for nails. “Black and white — no matter what the design — is a never-failing nail-art look also. Simply powerful.”
Schuetz is enjoying the resurgence of the popularity of nail art. “Nails are getting their due as an important fashion accessory,” she says. “After all, if your nails aren’t done, you’re not done. A martini glass or a gorgeous clutch looks much better held by a fashionably manicured hand!”
Men’s Fashion Trends for Spring
By: Sharon Mosley
Father may not always know best when it comes to his fashion choices. But this Father’s Day you’ve got a chance to help your dad step up his style game.
“When it comes to style, men have it so easy,” says Sherrie Mathieson, fashion expert and author of the Baby Boomer’s guide “Forever Cool: How to Achieve Ageless, Youthful and Modern Personal Style.” “For one thing, men’s fashion trends don’t change as often — or as drastically — as they do for women,” admits Mathieson. However, she does find that many men often “stumble into some of the same fashion pitfalls.”
The fashion stylist urges men to re-evaluate their physical size occasionally. “Do you really still have a 34-inch waist or is it closer to 40? Men often cling to formula dressing that should have been retired long ago.”
She also urges caution when it comes to borrowing ideas from the younger generation. “Think twice before you indulge in the excessive or outrageous,” she says. “The goal is to find comfort and style in a look that is simple, unaffected and masculine. It’s not about being a fashion plate — it’s about simplicity in both color and style.”
While your dad may not be ready to step out in the latest trim swim trunks or a colorful pair of suede wingtips, there are definitely some ways to update his wardrobe this summer. Here are some of Mathieson’s tips:
—Skip the bold, overwhelming colors. Look for more understated hues to combine in both sporty clothes and suits. Tone-on-tone charcoal and blue are two of the most popular color combos this season. Think “Fifty Shades of Grey” and give Dad a new charcoal silk tie!
—Make sure clothes fit. There’s nothing worse than baggy T-shirts and shorts that make men look older than they are. “No piece of clothing should be too tight,” says Mathieson. Experiment with high-tech fabrics that offer form and function in casual clothes. And while the “skinny” jean has loosened up this year, trousers and pants are still on the narrow side and can be much more flattering than pleated, slouchy styles. “Front pleated denim pants are neither jean nor trouser,” says Mathieson. “They belong in no-man’s-land.”
—Steer clear of “problem prints.” We’ve all seen these — from the other end of the mall. Hawaiian floral prints are still around but very toned down in more subtle colors. And there are plenty of other newsy “prints” out there in more sophisticated checks and plaids.
—When it comes to accessories for men, Mathieson’s No. 1 pick is a watch. “It’s as good a clue to his personality as handwriting analysis,” she says. “The watch you choose can scream, ‘I’m wealthy’ (think gold, encrusted with diamonds) or it can speak quietly of self-confidence with its spare elegance.”
—Ditch the Mr. Magoo oversized glasses and choose eyewear that’s modern and in a shape that flatters your face. Horn-rimmed glasses are a classic.
—Belts should always complement your shoes in style and color. A black or brown belt in plain leather with a simple buckle will work well. And remember, you don’t always have to wear a belt — especially with shorts.
—Shoes should never be considered a mere necessity or afterthought, says Mathieson. “A classic shoe is always a safe bet (black or brown Oxfords in a wingtip or cap-toe), but if you opt for something trendy, make sure it’s well designed and understated.” And please skip the knee-high socks with sandals. That’s a definite fashion “don’t.”
—”The more extensive your repertoire of accessories — those you buy each season for updating and those classics you’ve collected over the years — the more options you’ll have for mixing-and-matching, and increasing the potential for multiple outfits whether they’re casual, professional, or dressy,” adds Mathieson.
Opening Your Home to Old Family Members
By: Rose Bennett Gilbert
Q: We found some great old family portraits when we were cleaning out my great aunt’s attic and garage. I don’t know who they are and don’t care but would love to hang them in our living room. This would have to happen over my wife’s protests because everything else is pretty contemporary. Any thoughts?
A: I think you should already be reaching for the hammer and picture hangers: nothing adds more personality to a room than personal artworks, especially family portraits.
The trick is to blend them in with the overall decor of a room. “Nothing should be noticed,” to quote Bunny Mellon (she, with her husband Paul Mellon, enriched all our lives with extraordinary bequests to art museums around the country).
Mellon meant that everything should work together in a room. The whole is always greater than the sum of its parts in decorating, too.
The room we show here offers a good example. It’s in the Chicago home of architect/designer Suzanne Lovell (we borrowed the photo from her handsome new book, “Artistic Interiors”). In keeping with the carefully balanced furniture arrangement in her living room, Lovell has hung two l9th-century portraits of family members so they flank a large piece of contemporary art.
The portraits’ gold frames complement the golden glow of the larger piece (a tar! painting by the contemporary artist Greg Stone), and echo the gold in the leopard print used in combination with longhaired cowhide on the art deco-style armchairs.
The portraits balance the room arrangement, just as the sofa’s chaise is balanced by the large, low coffee table. Note how the dark backgrounds of the painting are offset by the dark upholstery and end tables.
Achieving such balance is a dance best done by eyeballing, at which Lovell is a seasoned pro. But don’t let that keep your newfound family members out of your home. There’s nothing wrong with trial-and-error decorating. Helpful hint: Put a square of masking tape on the wall before you drive in the picture hanger. It keeps the plaster from shattering, so you can rearrange things without too much collateral damage.
Q: Where do new designs and patterns come from?
A: Forget the stork: SURTEX brings them.
If you haven’t heard of SURTEX, that’s because it’s a trade fair, a market that’s open to the trade only — the manufacturers, retailers and other sources that come to the show to buy or license original design ideas and patterns to use on new products.
They’re coming some 6,000 strong from all over the globe to New York this week, where the 26th annual edition of the show will feature about 300 exhibitors, artists and agents. They have the art and patterns you’ll be living with in 2013 and 2014, on everything from fabrics and bedding to greeting cards, table- and giftware, apparel, stationery, toys, and books.
It’s a global market with sales estimated at $150 billion, and who knew? Now you do.
Swimwear Tips and Trends
By: Sharon Mosley
Time to dive in and take the plunge … into the deep waters of swimwear fashion. For some, it’s a murky pool, but there are ways to tread through the shopping experience that most women dread no matter what their size. Here are some tips and trends to get you ready for the summer season ahead:
—First of all, you need to face the facts — the body-shape facts. You don’t have to wait until you get in front of a dressing-room mirror to figure this one out. If there is any sagging or drooping in your midsection, a string bikini is not for you. Opt for a one-piece instead.
—Get support. Speaking of sagging, you don’t want to go there. Make sure you choose a suit that offers plenty of support, if you need it. There are plenty of swimsuits available that have slimming features and fabrics that will keep you cinched in and not expose any bare assets.
—Flatter your figure. Instead of dwelling on those figure flaws, look for suits with details that flatter your shape. There are great suits this summer that have asymmetrical straps that draw the attention up to the shoulders; ruching or gathers will also disguise problem areas. Skirted suits will provide coverage of heavy thighs. High-waisted bottoms —part of the retro Hollywood pin-up look this season — are another way to flatter less-than-perfect stomachs.
—Size matters. Remember that just because you wear jeans in a size 8 doesn’t mean that you will necessarily wear a size-8 swimsuit. Don’t be afraid to take several sizes into the dressing room with you and choose the one that fits you best. Be prepared for a reality check: Swimsuits are usually a larger size than what you normally wear.
—Check out trends. If you’ve worn that black one-piece for the last 10 years, it’s time to update! The hottest looks for this summer’s swimwear are bold and bright. Color blocking is a big trend in ready-to-wear, so expect to see vivid colors hitting the beach, too.
—Look to the past. Retro-inspired swimwear is also making waves this summer. Think Hollywood starlets posing in their high-waisted swimwear, peplum skirts and halter-tops a la pin-up style.
—Celebrate red, white and blue. It’s anchors away with nautical stripes and sailor style.
—Flaunt your flower power. Floral prints are another way to blossom in a new swimsuit this summer. All-over tropicals get graphic in bold colors that stand out at the beach. Animal prints are another way to make a wild statement at the shore this summer.
—Get active. Athletic-inspired suits are also diving into the trend pool just in time for the Olympics. These suits — most in colorful brights – are perfect if you actually want to do some swimming!
—Mix and match. There are so many options available to mix and match and create a whole swim wardrobe with layers of tops and bottoms — shorts, skirts, camis, cover-up tunics and sarongs. Yes, you can be ready to go from the beach to the cafe with a little planning and creativity. Life is a beach, dive in!
Cracking the Office Dress Code
By: Sharon Mosley
Grab your handbag; grab your iPad; grab your flip-flops? Whoa, not so fast. Dressing for the office may be a little more relaxed now than it was in the days of padded shoulders and stiff suits, but it is still important to look polished and put together when it comes to work wear, says Jenny Levin, author of Harper Bazaar’s “Great Style: Best Ways to Update Your Look.” “Whether you spend your day in front of a computer, in meetings or at luncheons, dressing professionally and appropriately counts,” says Levin. “Thankfully, fashion has become more interesting, and there are loads of exciting options out there that will pass muster even in a conservative office environment. So while many of us are restricted by our office dress code, that doesn’t have to mean boring and basic.”
Here are some tips Levin says to remember when dressing for work:
— Obey the rules, whether you like them or not. Dressing against office dictates won’t impress the boss — or your colleagues.
— Never show your midriff. Wear shirts of a proper length, and shun pants that ride too low.
— Avoid revealing too much cleavage. Work is definitely not the place for it.
— Keep your straps under wraps. Never let your bra show, and make sure your shirt is buttoned up properly.
— And don’t wear anything see-through without proper underpinnings, ever.
— Keep your hemlines in check. Even if you have great gams, super short skirts should be saved for evenings out or weekends. A few inches above the knee is the shortest you should go.
— Save your flip-flops for the beach and your sneakers for the gym. Wear a pair of simple flats for your commute instead.
— Use your best judgment: Save slinkier styles, like lacy camisoles and strapless dresses, for the evening.
— Try not to go too tight. The office isn’t the right place to hug every curve.
— Don’t get too wacky. It’s fine to express your personal style, but keep it refined. Crazy hats, over-the-top makeup and raucous patterns or colors will make you seem too eccentric.
The traditional two-piece suit is the office standard. In a well-cut jacket with matching pants or a skirt, you know you’ll always look smart. There is a suit to flatter every one of us. Stick to the classics and you can’t go wrong.
When it comes to dressing professionally, polish is what it’s all about. And that isn’t restricted to suits. The right dress can say power just as much as a suit, and since frocks are an all-in outfit, they are even easier to wear than a suit.
By: Sharon Mosley
With warm weather wafting our way, shorts are heating up the ocean beaches as well as the city streets. One of the season’s biggest fashion hits, shorts are turning up everywhere and becoming a mainstay in wardrobes all year long.
This summer, the short stuff is anything but basic. From office-worthy culottes and rompers to casual, sassy denim cutoffs, there’s plenty of short shorts out there to choose from — that is if you want to show off your legs — and if you don’t, don’t worry, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy wearing shorts when the weather gets chilly — just team your shorts up with tights!
For a more professional look, belt longer shorts and pair them with a blazer and pumps; for more casual offices, sweaters and flats are great with shorts.
Here’s what’s trending on the short list right now:
—Denim cutoffs. An old favorite — reminiscent of Farrah Fawcett who may have worn them best with her bikini top — these frayed shorts are always a laid-back option for lazy summer days. The more faded and soft the shorts, the better. Check out Levi’s 501 Worn Cut-Offs.
—High-waisted shorts. A glamorous retro style inspired by Hollywood pin-up starlets. Often belted or buttoned up with sailor-front style, these shorts add feminine curves to slim waists. Or go for a high-waisted short with a fold-over waistband, if you want to emphasize your hips. Check out Paul & Joe’s polka-dotted “Reviens” shorts.
—Booty call. These shorts are only for those of us with really, really, really great legs. Often dubbed “booty” shorts or “hot pants,” these very, very short shorts often look almost like bikini bottoms and therefore should probably remain poolside or on the runway — definitely not on the street! Check out the printed floral shorts with matching bustiers from Jason Wu at jasonwustudio.com.
—Soft shorts. There are lots of shorts that look a lot like short skirts. In soft, silky, drapable fabrics, these shorts resemble “tap pants” and are one of the most flattering silhouettes because of their breezy style that moves like a twirling dance skirt. In longer “culotte” styles, they are perfect for casual work places. Check out the “Surf Luxe” version at topshop.com.
—Rompers. This one-piece short set is one of this summer’s most popular looks. In colorful prints, it’s a playful way to dress for the hot weather. Check out the cute prints at American Eagle, ae.com.
—Walking shorts. They’re the classics and the backbone of many summer wardrobes. Whether they’re medium length and tailored or longer Bermuda styles, these shorts are the most versatile in linen or cotton. Check out the easy flat-front styles at J.Jill, jjill.com.
— Textured shorts. Shorts will be on fall fashion’s short list, too. Watch for the short stuff in leather, colored denim and sequins. Then you can pull on the tights and slip into the boots!