Sunday, May 31, 2009

"Show off your skin" - Black cut-out dresses

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Guys, finally summer has arrived in northern Germany too - the weather is incredible, sun and about 22°C. And now the best thing: Till Thursday there's no school. Sigh, what a great life after this period of busyness.

Just left the beach chair for a little update in fashion:
Remember Ashley Olsen's appearance at last year's MET Gala? She wore a black maxi-dress with lateral cut-outs by Diane von Fursteburg and looked simply breathtaking. Who knows maybe Ash gave the essential impulse for the come back of the 90's inspired dresses - wouldn't be all that absurd since she's an Olsen. Anway similar cut-out gowns appeared as well at many spring and fall 2009 fashion shows and have become a leading trend for the current/up-coming season. Of course the stars and starlets follow the new hype and wear black cut-out dresses in short or long shape. Miranda Kerr even chose a 20's inspired Jil Sander creation in this style for the these year's MET Gala and I think she managed beeing a good "descendant" for Ash.

What do you think about these dresses? A trend you'd go with?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Giveaway Winners!!!

And four lucky ladies are...

...Alissandra, Lily, Teagan and Miss Eponine! Congratulations and thanks to everyone who entered! :)

God bless! xoxo


Friday, May 29, 2009

Out Of Africa

If you've flipped through any of the "evil" fashion magazines that fill the racks next to most store cash-registers *wink*, you may have seen some of the ads for Ralph Lauren's Spring 2009 Collection. These have a very neat "safari" look to them - they literally make you start to feel like you're out in the hot summer sun - and I figured the collection would probably provide some pretty and interesting pieces. I was right, especially about the latter adjective. But let's start with the good and work our way down to the ugly...

First of all, we've got some incredibly classy and sweet dresses, just perfect for a summer garden party, formal event or wedding. As a disclaimer, I'll state right away that I am totally not into the black turban. This is one piece that is rarely pulled off well, and much better left alone. But the dress is so classic and (hooray!) extremely modest. It's got some real vintage glamour and would look lovely with a few long, multi-strand necklaces. And peep-toe shoes are probably my favorite thing ever. ;)

This white gown is exactly the style I want and need right now. (I have to make a new dress for the Benefit Concert.) What a timeless look (reminds me of my beloved 1930s)! I just love cream chiffon, and the bodice draping and ruffled split up the front are perfect. The straw cloche is pretty much my choice of the ultimate summer hat (remember my last post?) and the skinny belt and strappy sandals provide just the right finishing touches.

Sometimes you are exposed to harsh environments in the summer, and you have to cover up. There's no better way to do this than in pure white; it reflects the sun and keeps you cool. This over-sized, double-breasted coat does it's job well, adding sophistication to the ensemble. Brown accents on the shoes and tote keep the look from being "too much of a good thing". (BTW, can I just say that I am totally digging white pants right now? So sad that my only pair no longer fits!)

Cropped trench coats are so chic. Especially in white. (Well, for that matter, any jacket in white is especially chic. Agent 99, anyone? ;) And this safari hat, although not my particular style, definitely looks like it would do the job. No sunstroke allowed here!

And now...drumroll...we've got another edition of Trends I Hate. I pretty much dare any of you to defy me on this one...Harem Pants.

These are not your cute-sy, poofy, gathered-at-the-ankle pants (alá Jasmine's wardrobe in Aladdin). These are saggy, baggy, ugliness. Period. How any woman could expect to look attractive with the inside-leg seam hanging to her knees? Ouch. Please don't do it. :P

Oh yeah, and if you haven't entered the print giveaway yet, please do so now. It ends on Saturday!!! There's lots more great things coming along in that area, including a new web site. Stay tuned!


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Topping It All Off

"There's just something special about a woman in a hat..."

It may very well be that a good hat is one of the most cherished possessions in a woman's wardrobe. When you run across the one that is right for you, you'll know it. Something incredible happens when that "perfect hat" is on your head, and if you've got sense, you'll snatch it up...unless, of course, it is beyond your carefully planned budget. Going over what we can afford is not good. But, that said, "an [unbelievable hat], who can find?". It's not easy. My best advice: Look around, try them on, and don't buy one until you know it's just what you're looking for.

I think it's totally fabulous that something so functional can also be so fun! Not only does a good hat make you feel confident, ladylike and ready for anything, but it keeps your ears warm, the rain off your head, or the sun out of your eyes, depending on the season.

Hats are especially practical in the summertime, when the glare of the sun can hurt your eyes. And, of course, you don't want to fry when you're out at the beach all day. At least, I don't.

A favorite "milliner" of mine is the absolutely brilliant Louise Green, who draws inspiration from the lovely designs of the past. There's nothing so beautiful and romantic as her pieces (many which you can find online at Victorian Trading Co.) - each one is definitely something to be treasured. (Thanks to Laura for reminding me about this great company and "inspiring" this post!)

If you want dig deeper into the hat mania, you can check out the post I wrote up for last summer's "Hat Fair". Or if you're looking to enjoy a lovely book, pick up The Romance of Hats, by Victoria Magazine. It's the perfect read to take with you when learning "how to spend an early summer afternoon"... ;)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Audrey Style

It's been nearly a year since I featured the lovely Audrey Hepburn on the blog, so I felt that she needed to be showcased once again. Not only was she THE most iconic fashionista of the 20th century and one of the most successful actresses of the golden age of Hollywood - she was unbelievably humble and loving woman, who lived life gracefully and reached out with kindness to everyone she met.

This photo is not one of the typical studio glamour shots I usually post, but is relaxed and full of quiet serenity. I'd like to title it "How To Spend An Early Summer Afternoon". Here's my thoughts on the subject (drawing heavily from Audrey's example)...
  • Wear something cool and comfortable. An ivory linen skirt and soft, sleeveless top are perfect. Slip on some matching ballet flats and bring along a big straw hat, in case the sun is shining too harshly.
  • Bring your favorite thoughts along with you. Whether you refer to a beloved book, or leisurely write down new musings as they pop into your head, it's always a plus to have something nice to think about.
  • Find a peaceful spot. Make sure it's quiet and full of beauty. Like Audrey, a favorite place of mine is the woods. They stay cool on those hot summer days and are full of the nicest sounds and smells. The mossy ground beneath an ancient old tree makes a throne fit for the grandest queen.

Mmm...I think I need to take time out of my own busy schedule and do this more often. It's amazing how a little bit of real afternoon relaxation (and I don't mean surfing the internet!) can help give you the boost of energy needed to live out the rest of the day. :)

I hope everyone has a glorious weekend! God bless you all...


Thursday, May 21, 2009

fashion dresses

Teens Can Hone Entrepreneurial Skills With Fashion Dress Up Games

Fashion DressesYou may have thought that playing online games for girls is just about giving fun dressing up an avatar. But fashion dress up games can also be a real entrepreneurial experience. Websites such as GirlSense enable teens and tweens to create their own e-boutiques, where they exhibit and sell clothes that they have created. Everything can be designed with the advanced user interface: the boutique colors, and the clothing styles and patterns. Teens and tweens can sell their designs to other girls for virtual money. Now, with help of a new feature called MarketPlace, girls can buy and sell their personal designs in a virtual auction house. MarketPlace works just like a real auction house: you can bid, view highest and lowest prices, and see the time remaining until the auction ends.

All these features can give teens and tweens a real sense of satisfaction. This is because they are not merely fashion dress up games, but also a real grown-up experience. Furthermore, by creating their own boutiques, girls get to express their own sense of fashion as well as their individuality.

Games for girls are currently very popular with teens and tweens, who enjoy the freshness of the concept, as well as the traditional aspects of playing games. To play fashion dress up games, girls create the design of their choice by dragging and dropping items from the e-boutique selection onto an avatar. To make the whole experience more real, online clothes games, such as those featured on GirlSense, include e-boutiques based on real fashion brands.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I used to be colorblind...

...But I met you and now I find
There's green in the grass. There's gold in the moon. There's blue in the skies.
That semi-circle, that was always hanging about, is not a storm cloud; it's a rainbow.
And you brought the colors out...
Pardon the cheesy classic musical moment... ;)

Completely black and white outfits were long the fave fashion fare of mine. Then, a few years back, I was introduced to the incredible power of color, and my life was forever changed. Most people don't realize how much a special shade can make you look totally fab - it's an instant pick me up.

That said, I did revert back to "the good old days" and go "black and white" for church on Sunday. It's definitely easier to pull off a color (black), that usually washes me out, when I've been to the beach and got a bit o' sun.

What I'm Wearing:
Black knit top - by Very Important Pieces from K&G
Flowered silk skirt - by grace from Savers
Black sandals - by MUDD from Kohl's
Silver and pearl necklace - from Target
Oh yes, and that is, once again, the "artsy" water tank, covered in pitch and graffiti...

You may remember this post last year, where I shared the beginnings of my adventures in "self fashion portraits", which are practically mandatory for fashion bloggers. I've learned a lot since then (and produced a lot of "blah" pictures ;) and I want to reiterate some of those tips. Remember that AmandaBeth Fashion Week is just over a month away - so if you don't have a friend or family member to shoot your pics (or just prefer to do them yourself, like me), now is the time to get practicing! 

  1. If possible, shoot outside. This will greatly improve the quality of your photos and should allow you to turn the flash off. If you have to shoot indoors, find a place that has as much light as possible.
  2. Paint yourself on a simple "canvas". You don't want a busy and distracting background, unless you are lucky enough to pose in the center of Paris or some other famous city. I like to find a surface that is in a "neutral" shade and has some texture to it (helps keep the photos from looking "flat").
  3. Pieces of furniture can be great accents, but don't go crazy. You don't want the size and color of the furniture to "compete" with you in the photo. I was walking around the water tank the other day when I stumbled against the bench, placed where you see it now. Nobody seemed to know where it came from, but one of my cousins accused me of placing it there for my self portraits. Not a bad idea... :)
  4. Choose a flattering angle. Most people look best when being shot from above, so extend the tripod as much as possible. I actually shot lower in these photos and, accordingly, had to make some adjustments. Poses work differently from different angles.
  5. Find you best pose! OK, this is a funny one, but it's amazing how much of a difference can be made from how your turn your face, position your hands, and et cetera. For example, I find that (for me, anyway) straight-on shots tend to be harder to pull off. Turning your face and/or body to a 3-quarter position usually works better. Also, tilting your head down or up tends to be most flattering to all your facial features.
  6. Take a million photos. You can delete most of them later, but trust me, only 1 in 5 will turn out how you want it. Don't just take 2 and be done with it, and always check whether you like the photos on the computer - they don't look quite the same on your camera view-finder.

I hope these give you some ideas to try out - I am so excited about seeing everyone's fashion pictures, starting on June 21st!

Oh yes, and I just have to share a picture of my new little nephew (Melissa and Jordan's baby), William Locksley. I love him to bits already and only wish I could be there to cuddle him! :)

Happy Tuesday! :)


Friday, May 15, 2009

"Balle! Balle!"

Over the past few years I have developed a sort of "Bollywood" fascination, partly due to some crazy friends of mine (lol), and partly because, who couldn't fall for this kind of high fashion? There's no denying that the vibrant colors, lush fabrics and elegant beading are irresistible to every girl's inner "Indian Princess" (even if you happen to be of the fair, hazel-eyed type, like me ;)... features some of the most ornate and beautiful saris and choli skirts/dresses. I don't know about you, but I simply fell in love with these. To be sure, they're rather elaborate for most occasions, but there's no denying that one of these amazing pieces would make you feel like royalty. And who wouldn't love to be married in something like this? ;)

On the more practical end of things, be sure to browse Designer Salwar Kameez for some equally stunning pieces that could be easily adapted into your contemporary wardrobe. I think that lots of these would make adorable tunics (worn with your favorite blue jeans? :) and could even be pulled off as a wispy summer dress.

Oh yes, and for the record, I am descended from a real Indian princess. Unfortunately, she came from Canada instead of Mumbai. ;)

Ah...I just love these so much. Out-of-this-world gorgeous, and feminine through and through. In fact, this yummy style of apparel (and a funny Bollywood musical) inspired this set of "luxury pjs", which I finally just finished last week!

Anyone else want to help turn these styles into a new international trend? ;)

Images: Slumdog Millionaire photo from (I haven't seen the film and therefore can't recommend it) / /

Thursday, May 14, 2009

spring fashion

Spring Fashion For Plus Size Women

With Winter on the way out, it's time to put those thick cable knit jumpers into storage along with your coats, thick trousers and opaque tights... Spring is on the way, and along with it a selection of the latest new trends and fashions!

For Plus Size women, shopping is nowadays a pleasurable and enjoyable experience, with many high street, online and designer stores offering their fashion ranges up to sizes 20 and beyond, and with specialist clothing designers offering bespoke lines specifically designed to flatter larger figures and show off those curves!

The great thing about Spring fashion is that you can mix lighter items from your Winter wardrobe with key new items for the warmer weather. Try picking up a few key items which can form the basis of a flexible wardrobe. For example, you might wish to splash out on one of the trendy tea dresses or maxi dresses, and team it with one of your Winter cashmere knit cardigans with a belt at the waist to show off your waist. Or try teaming Winter trousers with a lighter top in this season's fresh colours - peach and corals are set to be big this Summer and flatter Winter pale complexions if worn correctly.

Nude colours are also huge this year and look fantastic layered on curvier figures. Team them up with strong statement jewellery pieces - larger figures can really carry off striking looks such as pendants and beads.

If prints are your thing, try dresses with bold aztec or folk prints. Choose well fitting items which skim your curves rather than swamp them. Show off dainty calves with pretty sandals and don't forget detailing - nude nailpolish gives a fresh clean look and well groomed shiny hair will never go out of fashion! Block colours are another key trend - great for tunic tops or longer dresses - and neon brights will look great when teamed with neutrals or deep colours - go for an item such as a top or scarf, rather than all over neon. Marks and Spencer has some great kaftans and tunic tops with the latest fashions such as embellishments, prints and new colours - as do Etam, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Debenhams - who also do great concessionary designer lines up to larger sizes.

Getting the foundations right are essential for voluptuous figures, so get properly measured for a well fitting bra - try stores such as Bravissimo which cater specially for larger busts. Control knickers also smooth out any lumps and bumps when wearing close fitting skirts, dresses or trousers.

Online stores such as Marisota are great if you prefer shopping from home. Their lines go up to sizes 32 and they do shoes in larger sizes and wide fits to finish off your new items. Simply Be is another great online plus size store and they currently have some great plus size dresses for Spring including Aztec maxi dresses, grecian ruffled spring dresses and nipped in waisted dresses for a nod to the 50s. You might also want to try 'Curvy Girl' - an online boutique selling the famous tummy tuck jeans which flatten your tummy and lift your behind for a truly knockout look!

By : Marie Hilland

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

fashion sketches

Design Sketches - Know the Prime Requirement For Business

A sketch is made of overlapping lines, and it is an art of freehand drawing. Generally, sketches are used to save ideas that are used for a long time. It is very easy to make a sketch, and it saves lots of time rather than making an actual painting on a particular subject.

Generally, sketches are designed as applied arts in the field of engineering and fashion designing. Mostly, sketches are used to create graphics for any business purpose or to provide good looks to the object. In the field of fashion industry, fashion designers create sketches to develop latest styles of dresses. These sketches provide a better guideline about the final look of the products. You will usually see designers prefer dry painting media to prepare the sketches as it saves lots of time and effort. However, you will find many people who are using watercolor and clay to design sketches.

Sketch designers may use eraser frequently while designing a sketch. Erasers are very important in subtracting the extra lines and give attractive look to the image. Sketches are used generally for creative work that is done as an initial step of painting. It can be slightly different than the final product as sketches are only the rough work. They are always not as per an actual product, and they are often repetitive too.

Nowadays, if you are able to create sketches in a quick time it is the biggest benefit. Even the police department takes help from designers to create a quick sketch of criminal to find him out as quickly as possible. The sketches are very popular which were designed by famous artists Leonardo da Vinci and Edgar Degas. You will find many sketches that you can use for thoughtful studies and also the casual sketches designed by famous artists.

To take a look at more articles just like this one, click here: Sketching

You will be taken to the registration page where you give your name and email address and you receive every 4 articles on canvas, oil, watercolor painting and pencil, cartoon drawing.

By : Murtaza Habib

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Say It With Flowers

Although we've talked quite a bit about flowers and nature-inspired designs already, it bears mentioning that buds and blossoms can be used in many more fashion-y ways than simply hair decoration. In fact, one of the most enduring spring fashion trends is the explosion of brightly hued floral fabrics. These high-end designer pieces showcase the best and most beautiful prints and combinations - there's some serious flower power going on here!

Who says that you can't mix two different patterns in one ensemble? This may be one of the hard and fast rules of "fashion etiquette, but I believe it is one that can be successfully (and non-offensively :) broken. Try pairing a large print with a small one (two large prints of different designs would be super distracting!) and keep them in the same color family for a bit o' harmony.

To really make that special "pop" of color up-front and center, consider choosing a cover-up that accents and enhances your brightly patterned top. Here, the embroidery on the jacket echoes the design of the blouse without copying it too closely. Oh yeah, and there is nothing so cool as an white suit with a colorful top to keep things interesting. My absolute favorite look.

On the flip side, a floral-patterned dress with a darker background is super flattering. I like this one because of the unusual pairing of white, yellow, navy-blue and grey. The horizontal stripes at the hem add unexpected interest and the sash provides waistline definition (something we all want! ;).

Never underestimate the simplicity of a full, flower-y skirt. It exudes beauty and grace and is easy to take from a casual day look to a more sophisticated soirée ensemble. An understated solid top in a great color keeps things from being too distracting and focuses the attention on your smiling face. (Oh yes, and remember those contrasting shoes - love them!)

Three cheers for sleeveless blouses! This is probably my favorite summer piece because it makes me feel pretty and feminine, yet capable and ready for action. I love the little details on each of these tops. The first one has these little "poofy" rosettes at the shoulders and the second has each of the shoulder straps clasped in a little band of fabric, giving a ruched affect.

Remember that the size of the floral pattern says a lot about your look. Smaller prints give a sweet, demure attitude, while larger prints look bold and exude confidence. So, how are you feeling today? :)

And don't forget those accessories! If the rest of your clothing is "neutral", here's a fantastic place to throw in the color and a bit of fun! The shoes may be too much for most people, but it is amazing what a bright floral tote or clutch brings too your look. Here's your chance to break into the flower-y trend without changing your wardrobe too much.

Be sure to click each image to be taken to the Neiman Marcus page, where you can zoom in for details and gasp over the insane prices. I think I'll stick to digging up my floral pieces at Kohls... ;)

Images: Neiman Marcus