Fashion takes a BOW . . . as in the kind made out of silk, satin, or grossgrain . . . usually ribbon . . . that you tie . . . in a knot . . . with two loops . . . around your waist . . . or your neck attatched to your blouse . . . or as some kind of accent . . . as in already attatched to a shoe or purse . . . or decoration . . . say a scarf haphazardly adorned to a strap. Ffewww! Now that we have that trend explained and out of the way we can move on.
After a decade long career, Tom Ford showed his final collection for Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche by reviving the house's 1977 "Chinese collection." These Asian influences include a Mandarin collar, frog closures, and puffed sleeves coming off Pagoda shaped shoulders. For Gucci he brought back his white liquid-jersey dress (slightly revised) from his '96 collection. Another much talked about moment happened at Balenciaga, where Nicolas Ghesquiere went to the archives and recreated six vintage couture pieces (coats, dresses, and tops) from the 1932 to 1968 collections of Cristobal Balenciaga.
Fashion for 2004 marks the return of the curve and the return of the tweed suit. Fur was everywhere and on everything. Overtly sexy is out and demure, ladylike dressing is in. Nipped waists celebrate the hourglass shape of the woman's body. The shapely silhouette hints at what lies beneath the clothing without showing much skin. So put away that mini for now and embrace the knee length (or below) pencil skirts. Even Donatella Versace showed suits (although still very tight and bold) for fall. Divas of the 40's and 50's served as the inspiration. Think Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford, Audrey Hepburn. Vintage has been cemented as a statement in style, the trend du jour for the best dressed. From Oscar nominees (who could forget Renee Zelleweger in the canary-yellow Jean Desses gown in 2001), sociallites, and 'It' girls in vintage couture gowns to schoolgirls in their polyester party frocks, vintage has exploded into the mainstream. Different eras and different looks are on-going "inspirations" to the ever changing fashions each new season brings. Unfortunately the popularity also drives the prices up and makes designer names harder to find. Luckily there is Vintage Designer Clothing to meet our fashion needs.
The Autumn/Winter 04/05 catwalks have tapped into the old-school glamour. Sometimes cheekily reffered to as "granny chic" - of course your granny would need to be Jackie O' since these looks include tons of fur, luxe fabrics and skins, and a heafty price tag (especially if you buy new) to boot. If you haven't already, you need to start acquiring some classics - a mink stole, a fur trimmed coat or fur collar; full (as in two piece) wool/tweed suits; cashmere cardigans; beaded, sequined, embroidered, or brocade sweaters, boleros, and jackets; pencil skirts; wool trousers; wool blazers; hand-knitted shawls or vintage ponchos; belts of all shapes and kind; a trench; feminine blouses in silk or satin; roundtoe pumps, something snakeskin, something with an ankle tie; snake, lizard, eel, alligator, or croc bags; a chain handled bag; a beaded clutch or vintage silk, satin, patent leather, or wool evening bag (with a thin chain handle if possible); gloves; fur or dainty pillbox hats; pearls and broaches.
My it's fun to be a woman . . . .
More on what this means for you . . . . Alright, so lets discuss the pencil skirt . . . contrary to some fashion experts (you can stop holding your breath now) . . . they are not for everyone. Good news though, you can get variations to suit you. Those will be discussed in a bit. Trenches and long belted coats are for everyone. Another huge trend - ponchos and shawls . . . are also for everyone. It's up to you to pick your favorite. You can buy them new, but I can honestly say the vintage ones are much better to get. You won't see another woman wearing the identical one. They are better quality (most are handmade) and better priced. Do I really need to say anything else? OK . . . trenches, ponchos, and shawls are ultimate pound shredders too. Yes, I am serious.
Make the most of your figure by knowing what pieces and cuts work for you. Wear your clothes, don't be uncomfortable and don't let them wear you.
So now we'll cover some of the different body shapes, sizes, and heights . . . .
The "apple" shaped body. This is the woman unfortunately blessed (an extremely small percentage of women are naturally born this way) or have purchased (Pam Anderson) a large, curvaceous upper body attatched to unproportionally narrow hips. To accentuate and show off your entire body you should wear a sleek, fitted (but not skin revealing) top to maximize your assets. The professional woman (or any of us) can pair this with narrow fitted (pencil . . . yeah!) skirts or tailored pants and heels (pointed for pants, rounded more for skirts). If you want the illusion of an hourglass figure, balance out your bottom half with an A-line (tight on the waist and fuller on the bottom - pleats are also an option) skirt. And you have to get a waist defining (belted) coat. If you're self conscious and trying to hide your chest, bulky tops don't work. In fact they work exactly opposite. Don't pile on the layers on top 'cause it'll make you look fat and frumpy. Also, stand straight . . . don't round your shoulders forward or hunch over. It gives off a bad impression and wreaks havok on your back. And we don't want that.
The "hourglass" shaped body. You have the most (historically) feminine shaped figure. You have a proportionally small waist and ample curves above and below. Petite (Salma Hayek) to lanky (Stephanie Seymore) to fuller figured (Queen Latifah), wrap dresses are fabulous for you. This body type should wear form fitted clothes that nip the waist. Knee length pencil skirts, tailored pants, tucked in blouses, and fitted jackets. If you happen to be on the overly volumptous side, to avoid the "sausage" look, simply choose a looser fit (darker colors disguise more) and a longer belted jacket.
The "boyish" shaped body. This is the woman with a very small waist to hip ratio. You may be very skinny, very athletic, or just not have many curves. However, you can create the illusion of more of an hourglass shape. A (very) cinched waist makes the hips and bust look fuller. Layers (obviously) add volume. To avoid just looking bigger all over, don't add head-to-toe volume. Wear an oversized top (bulky sweater or blouse) with snug jeans, or try high-waisted pants with a fuller cropped jacket (a vintage mink or bolero work too). Baggy pants that fit at the waist and hips and cargo pants with large pockets also widen hips. Lighter colors make you look larger. Jumpsuits are a cool option and look best on thin frames.
The "pear" shaped body. You are all hips and butt. It's all about balance for you. Don't choose too full of a skirt or baggy pants because they'll make your bottom bigger. Wear a form fitting (black is best for slimming) or slightly looser tailored bottom with a blouse tied (or detailed) at the neck. Wide neck tops also draw attention to the shoulders and again add balance. Flared jeans and small pockets are good too. Fur jackets work wonders at balancing the curves and pulling the eye up. Wrap dresses also minimize the lower body while accentuating the waist. Very tight or strapless dresses are most likely unflattering for you, but since your top (chest) is small you can show some skin in a V-neck dress with a floaty bottom (J.Lo.- but more conservative). Don't forget a belted coat.
The "petite" in stature (aka "short") woman can add the illusion of more inches by wearing fitted (tailored so you're not stepping on them) pants with a sharp crease down the front. Pinstripes, verticle stitching, and heels also lengthen legs. Avoid pants that are cropped unless they are (petite sized or) tailored to your legs because the wrong length will make you appear shorter. Verticle stripes add length while horizonal ones add width.
The "tall" (aka sometimes "Amazon") woman can also find properly tailored clothes and be proud of every inch. You can blend in more with flats or maximize your height by wearing heels (I always do when I go out).
Everyone should know their sizes, but more importantly their measurements. At Vintage Designer Clothing we thoroughly measure everything so you will know if it fits.
My confession . . . . OK, I confess, I'm guilty. I love my stomach and still show it off by wearing short tops and low-rise jeans. I also wear baggy mens sweats to the gym, go sans makeup, and usually either ponytail or knot-bun my hair.
My bags and accessories constantly vary, but my daily staples include tank tops, designer jeans, and flip flops (Uggs when it's cold). Please stop cringing. Old habits are hard to break and most models I know don the same "uniforms" too.
Yes, that does come from the book of excuses. But I promise, I'm not always lazy. I always choose something appropriate for the event or situation. I love getting dressed up and experimenting. I also enjoy dressing to fit my mood.
More on why I got into fashion . . . . As I've said before, I've always had my own sense of style. I knew what I wanted and what I liked. I've definitely always wanted detail and quality and fell in love with vintage at a very early age. I loved raiding my mom's closet and borrowed everything I could. I could never quite fill out her incredible collection of customized Mr. Blackwell dresses (she had the body of Bridget Bardot and has an exquisite face resembling Sophia Lauren). However, her blouses, sweaters, amazing coats, purses, shoes, furs, and jewelry became fair game. Of course, now she raids my closets especially for exotic skins, large handbags, animal prints, and silk scarves!
We didn't buy designer clothes when I was growing up, but I would talk my mom into buying expensive material and have a family friend (Blanca) alter my fancy dresses and bring my designs to life. She even let me come over and began teaching me how to sew. I started designing my own outfits, but didn't have the time to make everything, so I mixed and matched and accessorized.
I had an average body the first couple of years of high school, but went from 5'2" at 14 to 5'9" (and 108 pounds) at 17 and stretched to 5'11" at 19. I have just over a 34" inseam and I used to hate wearing pants because they were never long enough for me. At least not in my size. In fact most of my clothes didn't quite fit me right. It took quite a few years to find the perfect fits, but now I know which designers fit my body best and in which sizes (and they vary by designer) and can look at the item and know how it will look and fit without even trying it on.
When I began modeling and moved to Europe I had instant access to high fashion. I started to explore different designers. Living in Milan I bought Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Gucci, Valentino, Gian Franco Ferre, Giorgio Armani, and tons of Onyx. But it was still so expensive. Then I went to Paris and discovered the flea market. It was the coolest thing. It was 1996 and vintage wasn't mainstream, so I was finding snakeskin, lizard, alligator, beautiful scarves, beaded sweaters, jackets and silks from the Orient, fabulous ties, cool belts, purses, heels, furs, you name it. There were clothes from designers like Christian Dior, Givenchy, Yves St. Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Oscar de la Renta, Oleg Cassini, Emanuel Ungaro, Pierre Balmain, Halston, Escada, Balenciaga, Diab'less, Byblos, Guy Laroche, Sonia Rykiel, Diane von Furstenberg, Krizia, and Kenzo. Even Ferragamo and Bruno Magli shoes. And I could afford it.
I began revamping my wardrobe and buying for friends and family. I starting buying things I liked (with no one in mind) just to have. I just started collecting and bought whenever I could. I paid a fortune for excess baggage every time I came home, but I'm so thankful I did. Now you can't get finds like that and the prices have skyrocketed.
So everywhere I traveled I hunted. In London I discovered Portobello Road where I found Burberry, Diane Freis, Vivienne Westwood, Betsey Johnson, Vera, Ghost, and lots of handmade wares from India and Hong Kong. Again, it's so much different now than it was . . . .
I could go on but I will stop for now. This was just some thoughts and suggestions. Once again, fashion is what you make of it! Enjoy . . . .
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