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Day Dressing For Ladies

Tra La La Ladies: Weeee, isn't this so glamourous and fun

The summer with its warm beams of sunshine is often rammed with social engagements – from weddings and bridal showers to birthdays celebrated on outdoor terraces.  For occasions such as these, forego your usual skinny jeans and forget the flimsy t-shirt.  Dressing up is an integral part of the celebration! You can still be stylish and keep your cool.  Every day, I graciously accept compliments to the point that perhaps I take them for granted.  In a gesture of good will, here are my secrets to lady-like dressing.

Fresh as a Mint Julep – The easiest way to make an impression is to wear a day dress in a jewel tone lightweight cotton or linen.  Both have a tendency to crinkle so make sure your event is of the standing, sipping spritzer and mingling variety.  Vibrant colours often accentuate the glow of sun-kissed skin and make you stand out from the crowd.  I love the combination of bright red lips matched with a sunflower hued dress.  The best are A-line styles that flare at the waist into a full skirt – this is best for lithe girls who want more volume or for those who want to accentuate a tiny waist.  Add a skinny belt in a contrasting colour, presto 25% cuter!  Channelling Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday.  Yes please!  

Classicly Refined: Alice + Olivia Grace Blouson Dress

Look Ma, no tan lines: Swish your skirt in this Rebecca Taylor Button Dress

Blinded by the Lights – When wearing a solid coloured dress, make sure to pop with a bold statement necklace.  Use the natural rays of the sun to make your jewellery sparkle.  Clear facetted or bezelled gems often radiate more than naturally smooth stones – it’s the cut that makes them more reflective and glittery.  If you are going to an outdoor party, why not beat the mosquitoes by pinning yourself with a faux insect such as a rhinestone encrusted bumble bee.  It’s a great ‘wink-wink’ conversation piece.  Hi-larious.

Mmm, this has an Antique Flavour: Aqua Pearl Necklace with Brooch

Bzz Bzzz: A Bumble Bee Ring for extra flare. You can often find these inexpensive pins or rings in Kensington Market.

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July 11, 2011   No Comments

Mysteries of Granada

For me, part of the allure of travelling is learning about the cultural roots of a destination.  It is most intriguing to discover the daily rituals of long-lost inhabitants and about the historical influences that shaped the culture of present day.  Granada, a city tucked in Southern Spain retains much of its Moorish heritage with its winding streets, dusty stone masonry and arab souks.  Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, the majesty of ancient Granada continues to inspire awe and wonder.

Mystical and Spiritual: Come with me inside the Nasrid Palace's inner courtyard.

Alhambra – Perched atop a hilltop vista, the entrance to the vast grounds of the Alhambra is a steep hour & a half trek uphill.  Book your ticket a week in advance as entry is regulated to half hour intervals and regularly sells out weeks in advance.  To make the most of your tour, take at least a half day to stroll the grounds in their entirety.  From the glorious vibrant zilij and ornamental inscriptions of the Nasrid palaces, to the lush gardens of Generalife and the panoramic tower views of the city, there is much natural beauty to take in on your excursion.

The Hammam traitionally consisted of a warm bath, massage, steam and cold shower.

The Arab Baths – Take a brief tour of the remains of the Banos Arabes, a non-descript building which leads into many ancient adjoining chambers housing steam rooms and communal baths.  Stare aimlessly at the interesting ceilings accented by rays of sunshine gleaming through the star motif carvings.  Then book a relaxing traditional arab bath at The Hammam of Granada, quietly nestled in the Albaicin.  Enjoy an early evening doing the water circuit (cold, tepid and hot followed by a steam) and sample a cup or two of refreshing Morrocan tea in your bikini.  Glide onto the streets with your post-spa high, recline on a fountain while sampling a new flavour of gelato.  ‘Tis life!

Beware Gitanas (gypsies) in the Albaicin. Do not accept random herbs or palm readings from strangers. Trust.

Alcaiceria – Due to Spain’s proximity to Northern Africa and the Middle East, there are many exotic influences that continue to dominate the city landscape.  The Alcaiceria, once the Moorish silk bazaar, now houses numerous souvenir shops.  Brightly woven textiles, tooled leather purses, Morrocan teacups, evil eyes, filigree lanterns and harem pants can be purchased in the narrow lanes (a gypset’s heaven on earth).

You may not be near a beach, but the city has a definite boho vibe: Tibi Lava Print Caftan

SATC 2: You could totally wear this on vacation in Granada. To-tal-ly.

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June 27, 2011   1 Comment

Florals In Massive Bloom

All The Pretty Girls Wearing a Garden Variety: Stella McCartney SS 2011

While it’s no surprise that Floral has made a return this Summer as a print that adorns many a top, bottom or dress, it’s the way in which you interpret your flowers that makes the bold difference.  Through my travels, there appeared to be a “go big or go home” trend on the streets and in the magazines, with PYT’s (pretty young things) pairing various garden motifs in one ensemble.  Daring, yes.  Impossible, no! 

Let me impart some loving words of wisdom on the matter:

  • Clash of the Rhododendrons – In nature, it is common to see lillies growing alongside roses and daisies.  Actually, it is quite lovely when you observe the wildness of these disparate florals come together.  Very English garden.  Alas, I digress.  Why not try a chiffon top in miniscule pattern with a maxi skirt in an abstract?  To subtley reduce the visual tension of these prints, keep the fabrics in the same family (ie. silky or chiffon) or try colours that sit adjacent to each other on the colour wheel (ie. red-purple-blue).  Another trick to soften the look is to wear a few solid colours in between – a simple ribbed tank top, a camel coloured belt, a neutral wedge, etc.

Who's That Girl? Knock their socks off with this Aqua Floral Printed Gown

Count your blessings: If God giveth you twigs for legs, try these DKNY Floral Silk pants. Ruche them to your ankles and sport some sandal stilettos. Trust.

  • This Old Thing – Florals have a vintage-y sentiment attached to them.  If you feel ill prepared to have blossoms running wild all over your outfit,  try accessorizing with a gauzy scarf, a dainty cocktail ring or a cabbage rose sitting atop your very chic chignon.  Oh yes, I am campaigning very adamantly for a giant floral headdress revival.  Wait for it!

Forget your Buffalo Check for a Moment: Tie this Accessorize 50's Floral Silk Scarf in a bow and channel your inner Stewardess

Tell tall tales with this Accessorize Catwalk Flower: "I took a siesta in the garden and when I awoke this was sprouting from my head."

Painter Meets Muse: Loving the look of this Free People One Desert Floral Maxi. Dress it up. Dress it down.

Alhambra in Granada: The legend of the Generalife Rose Gardens is that princesses would have secret rendez vous with suitors among the many mazes of roses. (Dreamy) Le sigh!

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June 15, 2011   No Comments

A T&G (tanned & gorgeous) Homecoming

Last month, after a prolonged period of all work, minimal play, I decided to throw caution to the wind and book a plane ticket.  One week, I was here, the next week, I was off.  Seems impulsive, non?  But I am young and free…at least in my heart.  Eager for adventure and inspiration, I travelled armed with my sketchbook and just the right 2B pencil.  After an extended sabbatical galavanting through parts of Europe, I finally returned home. 

What I experienced was the high of travel – sampling local cuisine, strolling zig-zag pathways through cobbled boroughs, soaking in the history of ancient buildings, immersing myself in the arts, watching dance performances and meeting fellow travellers.  For me, there is no greater luxury than taking a timeout to travel.  It expands our global perspective, awakens our senses and teaches us to appreciate our blessings.  For me, my innate cultural curiosity is an itch that needs to be scratched on a yearly basis. 

In my next few posts, I hope to share some of the excitement of my trip – from the heat and grandeur of the Feria de Abril in Seville, to the opulence of the Alhambra in Granada.  My journey took me to tiny hilltop towns in Andalucia and the cosmopolitan city streets of London and Copenhagen.  From international fashions to hidden gems and experiences not to be missed, I will give you insights to fashionistah travel without smashing your piggy bank (aka shoe fund).  In telling my fanciful tales, I hope to ignite your dreams of white beaches, cerulean seas and destinations off the beaten track.

Travel, especially when it is outside of your comfort zone is not always easy.  But let me just say, that I asked the universe to support me on my trip.  Whenever I needed aid lugging my suitcase up a flight of stairs (because there is nary an elevator in Europe), a kind stranger appeared to offer their assistance.  More on that later dearies. 

Stay tuned… xo The LC

Feel free to shout Ole at any time: Daria works her T&G on the cover of ELLE Spain May 2011

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June 10, 2011   No Comments

Every Fashionistah Needs Her “Kelly Cutrone”

Mama Wolf tells it like it is. Little lamb, if you can't hack it, we'll just feed you to the coyotes.

Recently, I read If You Have To Cry, Go Outside, the autobiographical fashion and business book by Kelly Cutrone.  Watching her on MTV’s The Hills or The City, many people often lament that they would hate to have such a tough boss.  But I have a lot of respect for Kelly because I myself, as an impressionable, young fashionistah, had my own version of a ‘Kelly Cutrone,’ a hard as nails, no nonsense successful fashion boss that mentored me and took me under her wing.  There are so many fashion wannabes (“Look at me! Look at me! ooh I chipped a nail”) show ponies (of the generational wealth, entitled Olivia Palermo variety) and back-handed, bitchy cutters (“You look really nice.  Is that last season Chanel?”), that when someone hardworking, smart and authentic comes along, it’s a breath of fresh air.  I totally get it. 

She had such faith in me, she would often ask, “What do you want?”  I would tell her and the next day I would have an interview and a referral.  She would sing my praises to anyone who would listen.  And when I was ready to leave the nest of her office, she took me to dinner and told me, “I am waiting for you to rule the world.”  World domination, of course, is still a work in progress. 

The ‘Kelly Cutrone’s of the world want you to succeed but only if you have passion, are willing to work for it and are open to learning.  Fashion is a tough industry so you better grow a thick skin.  Your twenties are about taking the time to learn from industry professionals, cull your attitude, your style and your work ethic.  I highlyx3 recommend Cutrone’s book for any aspiring fashionistah who is still discovering who are they and who they want to be.  And for the jaded fashionistah to help you remember what it’s all about.

Never go to a meeting without a notebook and a pen. Take your glasses if you want to channel Lisa Loeb/or look more studious. For creative types, Moleskine Storyboard Notebook.

Do not show up to intern in your precious Giuseppe Zanotti platforms! a) Impractical for schlepping b) costs more than your boss' rent

Ferragamo, Ferragamo, Ferragamo. Learn the difference between between Fendi, Gucci, Missoni, Bottega by reading a book or magazine. Pronounce it properly.

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April 22, 2011   No Comments

Chiffon Floaty Things

Joie Silk Georgette Blouse: This top bids you to write me poetry, serenade me, massage my feet, etc.

I know I’m jumping the gun here.  Chiffon is a Spring fabric you say. 

Close your eyes.  Envision a warm summer day, you in your chiffon parachute top, skinnies, accessorized with a statement necklace, bangles up to there and those wooden peep-toe platforms you bought for a song.  Your hair is done in that perfectly unperfect tousled way and the sun is hitting your hair in all the right places.  Suitors swoon and fall over on the sidewalk.  You nonchalantly walk over them without missing a beat.  See, now you want to wear chiffon…like right now.

If you didn’t guess, I’m partial to chiffon.  It’s the bohemian in me, the one that likes the translucence, the floral print, the casual draping and peekabo of a shoulder.  Right now, chiffon tops can be layered with gauzy knit cardi-wraps, with a fitted blazer or a little bolero.  Here is my favourite styling au moment…Volume on top begs for tight on the bottom.

Forever 21 Flowers & Heart Top. Enjoying the bell sleeves and the tiny belt action.

Perfect for an afternoon of heartbreaking: Forever 21 Flowers & Heart Top

Haute Hippie Tee in my favourite colour, champagne. Hrmm...I wonder why.

Black Legging Addiction is the new Crack: Paige Premium Ponte Leggings. I myself swear by my BCBG black legging-pants fusion.

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December 29, 2010   1 Comment