Archive for December, 2011

Two Thousand and Twelve… and Who Knows What

After the fireworks have sparked out.

After the parties have kicked out the final stragglers.

After the late night traffic dies down.

After the sky turns its darkest colors untouched by the street lights…

…that’s when the New Year will really begin. Read more…

The Three Laws of Layering

The temperature dips lower and lower by the day and your closet is full of things you can’t wear because they’re not warm enough… or are they? Layering clothing is an art that can exponentially enlarge your clothing options, but it’s also an art that’s tough to master. Here are the three laws of layering plus some outfits ideas, a short video, and a list of fail proof layering items to get you started in the right direction. Read more…

Now It’s Your Turn…

 Hello my dear readers!

A few weeks ago I began my website with an impulsively concocted series called The Twelve Style Statements of Christmas, a random collection of fashion and beauty tips for both men and women during the holiday season. And even though the series has officially concluded  I am going to post at least one style tip a week from this point onward because, let’s be honest, it’s always fun to talk about the art of personal presentation.  More commonly known as looking hot… gorgeous… handsome… you get the idea!

Now what I want to know is…. what do you want to know? Read more…

Unwaterproofed: A Fairy Tale

In the midst of London on the bank of the Thames River there once was a little shop. This shop was filled with umbrellas that lined the walls, stacked up from the floors, and hung from the ceilings. There were black umbrellas of several sizes, grey umbrellas of some sizes, and brown umbrellas of small sizes.

Read more…

Christmas Carols and Love Songs

 

What is it about the classic Christmas carols that sweep me away into the beauty of the season? Listening to them is like wandering into an enchanted forest where heaven scented words dangle from the snow dusted trees and where the birds must be singing the angelic chorus from that night so long ago, a chorus that has been passed down from each feathered generation to generation with reverence and wonder.  They are songs telling of God Himself setting aside His divine majesty and picking up the shameful frailty of men, all to the purpose of romancing the entirety of humanity. These songs are the types of things you want to whisper to listening children by candle light or shout aloud on the crowded city streets – because these words tell of a romancing God, they’re the sound of True Love calling to your heart.  Can’t you hear it?

These are some of the Christmas love songs that have made up the soundtrack of my soul this season. …. What are some of your favorite carols right now and why do you love them?

Christmas Bells

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I Heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!

 

It Came Upon the Midnight Clear

By Edmund Hamilton Sears

It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold;
“Peace on the earth, good will to men,
From heaven’s all gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay,
To hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurl
And still their heavenly music floats,
O’er all the weary world.
Above its sad and lowly plains,
They bend on hovering wing
And ever o’er its Babel sounds,
The blessed angels sing.

Yet with the woes of sin and strife,
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled,
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not,
The love song which they bring:
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.

And ye, beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow
Look now! For glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing
O rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.

For lo! The days are hastening on,
By prophet bards foretold,
When, with the ever-circling years,
Shall come the Age of Gold;
When peace shall over all the earth,
Its ancient splendors fling,
And all the world give back the song,
Which now the angels sing.

 

O Holy Night

By Adolphe Adam

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining;
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices.
O night divine, O night when Christ was born.
O night, O holy night, O night divine.

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here came the wise men from Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our friend.

Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices.
O night divine, O night when Christ was born.
O night, O holy night, O night divine.

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His Gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His Name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy Name.

Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices.
O night divine, O night when Christ was born.
O night, O holy night, O night divine.

 

The Holly and the Ivy

By Unknown

The holly and the ivy,
Now both are full well grown.
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown.
Oh, the rising of the sun,
The running of the deer.
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.

The holly bears a blossom
As white as lily flower;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To be our sweet Savior.

The holly bears a berry
As red as any blood;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
To do poor sinners good.

The holly bears a prickle
As sharp as any thorn;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ

The holly bears a bark
As bitter as any gall;
And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ
For to redeem us all.

The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown.

The rising of the sun
And the running of the deer,
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.

The Twelve Style Statements of Christmas Part Twelve – Chanel

There are many individuals who have influenced the course of fashion, but there are a rare few who brought revolution to the runways. Coco Chanel was one of the latter. Transitioning from the corset and over-the-top embellishment Victorian Era, Chanel helped to make the modern woman and establish an ideal of good taste that remains to this day as trends have come and gone.  Follow the link below to see some of the most recent work that has been designed under her name, and read on to discover some of the keys to the timeless look that Chanel created.

 

 

 

 

In the Victorian Era black was a symbol of death and mourning – the attire of widows, funeral goers, and heartbroken fiancés. So when Chanel started wearing the color simply because it looked good, she turned the fashion world on its head and set shock waves through the masses. Now black is a wardrobe staple that should be flaunted. Go monochromatic with an all- black outfit, play with a mixture of black and greys, or add vibrant pops of color to that all-black ensemble for a dramatic flair.

The ultimate piece of ladylike jewelry, pearls may as well be a synonym for high class. This Chanel favorite can be worn in seemingly endless ways, so experiment to your heart’s content.

 

Thanks to the elaborate times she came out of, Chanel went reactionary and swung towards minimalism. Keep it sleek and keep it classy.

 

 

 

The Twelve Style Statements of Christmas Day Eleven – Fair Isle

Midway through December, when the weather has shifted from nippy to freezing and Christmas shopping is on your mind, it’s time to bust out the thick knit sweaters. But don’t just settle for any average piece of knitwear – go Fair Isle. Named after a tiny island off the north of Scotland and brought into the height of fashion thanks to the oh-so-chic sweater vests of the Prince of Wales in the early 20s, this knitting technique has become a cozy classic. Try the pattern in a dress, legwarmers, hats, scarfs… or anything else you can think of for that matter!

 

 

The Twelve Style Statements of Christmas Day Ten – Nutcracker-esque

I have been eagerly looking forward to writing this post because there is so much Christmas idealism wrapped  up in The Nutcracker ballet! And since fashion is about ideals… and ideals about beauty… what better place to find fashion inspiration? The Nutcracker is a painfully plotless, beautifully scored (Thank you Tchaikovsky!) piece of artistry that captures the charm of a winter fairytale. And who doesn’t want to add a bit of fairytale to their look? Here’s how to do it.

 

I am fully convinced that if a daydream was a piece of clothing to be worn, it would be sewn with tulle. Apparently the ballet agrees with me, because tulle never seems to exit the stage. Insert a hint of tulle into your wardrobe with a skirt, scarf, pin, or as a detail on a shirt.

 

 

The no white after Labor Day rule is an outdated fashion standard which should never haunt you again. Instead, evoke some winter wonderland with snowflake white clothing pieces.

 

 

Throw aside the deep reds and greens of the season for a moment and add just a bit of candyland glamour to your look with pastel colors. The key to making a fashion statement is wearing what others are not, so while everyone else is keeping their mint greens and soft pinks in the closet till spring, you wear them now.

 

 

While you might not be able to stand on point like a ballerina, now is the perfect time to wear ballet flats. This footwear classic comes in all sorts of designs and every girl should have a few set of slippers she can twirl about in.

 

 

 

The classic ballet hairdo is a bun pulled tight on the top of your head. You can slick it back authentically, or loosen it up just a bit.  The easiest way to do this style is flip your head upside down and gather your hair into a ponytail at the top of your head, then flip right back up so you can smooth out any bumps and then tie the pony tail with an elastic. From their you can either twist the ponytail around and bobby pin it in firmly, or if you don’t have that much hair to work with you can tease it to make it look fuller and then take the pieces and bobby pin them loosely into place.

The Twelve Style Statements of Christmas Day Nine – Eyeliner Revisited

Eyeliner is one of the most essential items in a woman’s make up bag. Even the tiniest dash of it in the right place is pure transformation! Sadly though, in the rush to get ready in the morning and get the day going we all tend to settle in a makeup rut – putting on the same things… the same way… every day. So shake up the pattern and try your eyeliner a little differently this Christmas season with some of these ideas.

 

 

If you tend to avoid eyeliner at all costs or feel a little too shaky with application to do it very often, an easy way to experiment is with eyeshadow and a small angle brush. Moisten the angle brush, dip it in the eyeshadow, and apply it like eyeliner. This technique is very forgiving and if you do mess up you can blend it in softly to hide any errors.

 

 

 

You may be a proficient in eyeliner, but might not have tried it with your inner waterline. If you don’t know what that is, locate your tear duct and notice the line next to your eyelashes that touches your actual eye, and you’ve found it. Inner waterline makeup used to be a model only look, but it’s becoming more common place on the streets and deserves to be experimented with. But be very careful with what eyeliner you use so as to not cause any eye damage. Speaking from experience, not all liners are created equal and some can leave you with burning and swollen eyes. Avoid my mistakes by keeping away from hard pencils and trying it in something softer like the traditional Kohl or, my personal favorite, Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner.  Line just your inner waterline for a subtle look, or do normal eyeliner along with it for added drama.

 

 

The cat eye is all about angles and if you are as horrid at geometry as I am – that is a terrifying thought. Avoid both mathematical equations and sloppy freeform drawing by using scotch tape to create a template. Take two medium sized pieces of tape for each eye, placing the first piece on your upper eyelid angling from the inner corner of your eye up to where you want the tip of your eyeliner to reach. Take the second piece of tape and place it beneath your bottom lashes, angling up to meet the first piece of tape. Now you have a basic template and all you have to do is take your eyeliner, fill in the space you created, gently peel the tape off, and see your perfect cat eye. No more guess work required.

 

 

Don’t limit yourself to black or black-brown eyeliner – play with some color! One of my personal favorites is Maybelline Eye Studio Master Drama Cream Pencil in Vibrant Violet. If you don’t want to invest in colored eyeliners though, use the eyeshadow to eyeliner trick I mentioned earlier.

 

 

Twiggy had a very distinctive look that can be achieved by false eyelashes or layer upon layer of clumpy mascara, but part of the technique is in painting on “Twiggies,” – fine lines drawn beneath the lower lashes with liquid eyeliner to make the lashes look fuller. You can go all out and draw Twiggies all along your lower lash line in different lengths (which might be best seen only at costume parties), or you could draw just a couple at the outer corners of your eyes to create the illusion of fullness.

The Twelve Style Statements of Christmas Day Eight – Dressing in Menswear like a Woman

The crisp lines of a tuxedo, the classy detail of a French cuff, the vintage quirkiness of suspenders and bowties, the undying awesomeness of a three piece suit, all these wonderful things just help to prove that menswear is the ultimate source of understated elegance. And there is no reason why the ladies can’t steal a look or two from the guy’s closet of classics. But dressing in menswear can go terribly wrong (please don’t ask me how I know this fact), so here’s how to rock the guy’s suit, tux, and neckwear like a woman.

 

 

Wear different components of the suit or try them all together – slacks, suit jacket, vest, and even the pocket square. Keep it ladylike by wearing the pieces but in softer fabrics like lace, chiffon, and satin, or wearing them in more feminine colors. Another option is instead of wearing pants, try it with a skirt. Also add some classic jewelry like diamonds and pearls, and need I mention the quintessential sign of womanhood, the high heel shoe?

The tux is at its best in the traditional black and white, keeping things modern and sleek. So add your feminine touch not so much in the clothing itself, but in the makeup that you wear with it. Have an extreme smoky eye, or wear flaming red lipstick, just don’t do both at once! And it bears repeating here – high heels.

 

 

Neckwear is the part of menswear that many men have no clue how to handle. Please avoid the clip-ons and pre-done ties at all costs and learn how to do neckwear the real way. There are numerous techniques for ties, but above is how to do a bow tie, and follow the link below to two ways to do the traditional tie (the Windsor technique as well as the Four in hand).

http://www.esquire.com/style/tips/how-to-tie-a-necktie?click=main_sr