Posts Tagged ‘best self’

Sleeveless: The New Micro Mini?


The right to bear arms.

Absentmindedly, while giving myself a pedi, I was watching a show on Fashion Television, where Jeanne Beker was interviewing two sisters, who I believe were writers – forgive me,  for I only caught the show well into more than half of it. In the interview, she asked if, in their opinion, people, specifically women, ought to dress their age. This question was met with dead silence, which seemed to have lasted forever, but I’m sure in reality only lasted a couple seconds. The writers looked at each other with a bit of a puzzled look, followed by a smirk, and then a huge grin.

Indeed, a controversial topic, if ever there was one.

Should we dress our age?

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In the end, it seemed that the both writers agreed that it would be recommended, although one was more emphatic about that view than the other, expressing utter shock and horror at women ‘of a certain age’ wearing sleeveless tops… or exposing their necks.

Poor Jeanne, who was visibly shocked at the response, or perhaps I should say more so disappointed. In light of the fact as, in light of the fact that she revealed that, though she was currently wearing a turtleneck, she is, in fact, a lover of the sleeveless. It was evident that she didn’t share the same view, though, though she was aware that, in some circles, this may be considered a major fashion “don’t”, as she recalled commenting on her arms – on camera, during one of her shows. See for Jeanne, she sees fashion as more of a mindset than an age thing.

Or should we dress our minds?

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Maybe there is no black and white answer.

Perhaps we ought to dress how we wish others to perceive us, or at least dress in what we feel most comfortable and powerful in, – outside of sweats *cough*.

“Dress your lifestyle, and you’ll always be relevant.”

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If one’s clothing doesn’t match one’s lifestyle, there will never be balance, and so, perhaps the problem is bigger than the clothes.  Just my opinion.

I’d be the last to condone dressing to please anyone else, but there must be the acceptance that there is a generally understood concept – how you present yourself to the world, is one of the factors which help communicate to the world exactly which point of view you are coming from.  It’s all a part of the ‘body language’ conversation really, and less so rocket science. Though complex as individuals, as a species humans are simple – It the end, it’s all about vibes.

What vibes are you giving off?

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Side note: The writers threw out an interesting statistic – That one in three (3) things we purchase, is a mistake, i.e. it either is not flattering, or is not the best look for us, aka it’s just wrong. E. Gad, say it ain’t so.

Perhaps the whole notion of dressing your age may be related to that. Logically speaking, the older we get, the more in tune with our personal style we ought to be, and so the less mistakes we are likely to make. But of course, it’s never that simple, is it. That high-waisted, fuschia, American Apparel leggings for example that I purchased with a matching navy one, and standard black long tank comes to mind – Yeah, about that statistic, I get you.

Having it all

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Something else that caught my attention was a conversation about “Having it all’. One of the writers said that she found it interesting that at every graduation, at every turning point in young woman’s life, there is a well accomplished woman who, by all appearances has it all, (which is why I suppose she was asked to address the young women in the first place), who is usually the greatest advocator that it’s not possible to have it all. Funny. She later concluded, less often regarded fact to this discussion is that to have it all requires a great deal of hard work, sweat and perhaps more than a few tears. That, perhaps that it’s less so that it’s not possible and more that it’s not a path for the weak willed, or lazy among us.

Right about here the sister of the first writer offered her two cents – that having it all simply means that you are at a point where

“…what you want, and what you currently have are in balance.”

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Simply, it does not necessarily reflect the balance on your chequing account, the number of kids you have, or if you are married or in any sort of committed relationship or not. She then recounted a time when she had just gotten a divorce, was living in a tiny apartment, and was a struggling writer, but at that moment in her life she felt like she had it all – that is to say, she was in a place where she was happy. She was doing exactly what she wanted to do, at that point in time, and felt that she was well on her way to success on her terms.

I’ve read that success is not the key to happiness, but that happiness is the key to success. So ya, I get it. I get it now.

In the end, it always seems to come down to balance, doesn’t it?

b FiercelyFabulous

Photo Credit

How to | Summerize a Simple Frock

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Fall may be fast approaching, sure, but summer is still here.  Starting with a simple dress, even a black one, here are 5 ways to bring some Summer into your life, and your remaining wardrobe, without busting the bank.

1. Add Stripes

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Nautical stripes (blue and white) is the most widely associated with spring and summer, but really any sort of stripes will do. A striped canvas bag/ tote, striped espadrilles, a striped headband – anything striped will work.

Prada’s multicoloured stripes were most popular this spring/ summer season, perhaps evidenced by the fact that it has been so widely duplicated from anyone from H&M to the chinee shop down the road, and everyone in between.

2. Add Shimmer

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Replace your customary blush with a bronzer, which you can layer under your blush when you re-introduce it in the Fall.

Mix a bit of loose golden/ bronze pigment/ shimmer powder/ loose shimmer eyeshadow – whatever you have, with a dab of your normal lotion and apply it to your skin – particularly your arms, legs and whatever else you will be baring. Blend well. Of course you can just buy shimmer lotion if you want to, but I try to find ways to use the ridiculous amount of coloured cosmetics that I own, don’t use and have a difficult time throwing away for whatever reason.

I find that moisturized skin that shimmers looks instantly healthier and toned. Seeing that I haven’t been to the gym all summer, that’s an optical illusion that I can work with.

3. Add Colour

Colour can come from anywhere really

- Makeup

Coloured lips, either lipgloss or lipstick – your preference, is the easiest way to add some colour to your makeup. Pink and coral tones are most widely used, largely because these tones are easiest to wear and most flattering on most skin types. Coral lip colour will carry you through fall, so feel free to still cop one that flatters your skin tone.

Adding a coloured eyeliner, like a teal, turquoise, forest green… can up the ante on your summer nights look, as would coloured mascara. But please, unless the  eyeliner and mascara are the exact colour, do either or.

- Shoes

Pumps, moccasins, sandals, wedges, Keds, Vans, whatever you choose to wear, add some colour or patterns to the mix.

Please, flip-flops are for the beach and belong nowhere near an office.

- Bag

Choose whatever style of bag matches your personality. A fanny pack if you are a no-fuss minimalist. A tote if you have a kazillion must haves. A knapsack. A messenger bag if you are more the ‘ready, set, gone’ type. Whatever bag your personality craves, get a coloured/ patterned one.

- Accessories

Add hair accessories like bandeaus, flower pins/ clips, stack statement tatement bangles/ necklaces OR add brightly coloured earrings. Choose one and work it.

One thing to make sure when earring shopping – most bold earrings tend to be heavy so make sure to check out the weight of them before purchasing. 5lb laptops are near passe, why would you want to carry a 10lb earring? Stretched earlobes, much like a back injury, cannot be reversed.

- Belts

Thick/ thin/ woven/ metallic/ leather/ pleather or otherwise, a coloured belt can take your wardrobe up a summer notch.

Tip: Let your physical size, both girth and height, be your guide to choosing the width of your belt. The more petite your are, the more flattering slimmer belts will look. Likewise, the taller and/or wider you are, the more flattering a wider, brighter, coloured belt will appear.

4. Add Sandals

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I’m a stiletto girl myself eh, but even against the fushia-est, peep-toe, stiletto pump, there’s really no mistaking the ability of  the simplest, nude-leather, thong, flat sandals, to make even the blah-est dress feel like summer. Perhaps it’s because, unlike the pump, there’s no thought of wearing thong sandals in any other season without risking a dread frostbite in ya tail.

If you must go tall, wedges are a lot more summer-y than stilettos. Throw in cork, or the woven espadrille typed soles and you’re even more in the mix. Also, peep-toe (rather than closed-toe) or sling-back, styled wedges, look more like you consciously opted to wear wedges, and less like needing to wear them for orthopedic reasons.

5. Smile

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It’s summer for crying out loud. Longer days, ripe for patio dinners and sangria with friends and family over a never-ending, ever-amorphous convo. Festivals. The beach. BBQs. Road trips. No  jackets.

*Spoiler Alert*: If you can’t find a reason to smile now, then your life would really suck in a few months.

Carry on.

b Freakin’Fabulous

Elevate Your Summer Style.


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Summer Staples: A wide-brimmed hat. Vintage shades. Sandals. A good book. Sangria.

Carry your Summer Style to another level with these few tips.

1. Lighten Up

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In every aspect of your life. Starting with your:

- Clothing
Starting with the colours and fabrics of your summer wardrobe. Cotton blends work best to beat the heat and still look fashionably crisp. The words ‘wool’, ‘ flannel’ and/ or ‘tweed’ have no place in a summer wardrobe.

- Makeup
Start with swapping your cream foundation for loose (or compact) powder, and coloured cosmetics in deep rich hues for fresh, golden ones. Or skip the powder altogether and just apply a bit of bronzer on cheeks and the bridge of your noze, a coat or two of mascara and some lip gloss. No long talkin’.

- Food
Swap ground provisions and hearty soups for lighter fare that doesn’t weigh you down, and keeps you hydrated while you check out the various scenes and festivals of the season with your chosen few.

- Drinks
Substitute the hard liquour for the season’s crisp wines. If you insist on beer, try the ‘lite’-r versions.

- Attitude
Quit taking yourself so seriously. Noone else does.

Half the year is gone. There is great opportunity for physical and emotional cleansing during Summer; Take advantage of it.

2. Accessorize

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Layer chunky necklaces, bangles, and rings. Don statement bags, hair, lightweight scarves/ pashminas (for when the temperature drops in the evenings). Step out of your tunnel and get creative.

And colour it up. Add colour wherever you can – busy patterns, loud and proud brights, neon nails, coloured capris (guys included), colourful kicks… just one at a time though.

3. Keep a clean scene

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Hygiene. It is imperative that this is kept at an all-time high.

Keep nails clean and at a decent length. Exfoliate heels regularly and moisturize with a thick cream at night. As gloriously, luxurious as reality TV may make this appear, this process doesn’t have to be expensive. Invest in a nail file, a nail clipper, a foot file (or pumice stone if you prefer). In terms of moisturizing, you’d be surprised how effective cocoa/ shea/ coconut butter, applied to heels at night before bed, is against ashy feet/ cracked heels. Even olive oil from your pantry can work, so there is really no excuse.

Keep hair at bay, especially in the pits and nether regions. For women it’s best if the pit area is all clear. For men, well the jury is out on that, but at least control the “RARH” effect with a trim every so often. Line up the nether regions and keep it low, if not only because the heat and humidity of the summer climate increases the chance of [foul] odours.

Ladies, I think it’s generally accepted that all hair be removed from legs if you are going to put them on display. Different hair removal methods are discussed here.

In a crunch and didn’t have time to wax/ shave? Wear sheer, coloured, leggings under a short frock. The general public would be non the wiser, unless of course you are over 2 weeks overdue. In that case. opt for opaque ones.

4. Underwear

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Because of climate and temperature restrictions, there’s only so much $$ I’m willing on spend on summer gear that I can wear for, and within, a maximum of about 8 weeks from the purchase date.  As such, my Summer season wardrobe is probably the collection that consists of the most ‘disposable’ elements – You know, brand, spanking new items  that cost $21.50 or less, tax inclusive. The jersey dresses, maxi or otherwise, the light-weight knit bodycon  dresses, and the ever present racer-back-tees-and-lightweight-knit-pencil-skirts combo are staples. Simple, easy to pack and carry, can be dressed up or down, and effortless to pair with anything at anytime. Can go from work to patio dinners to the club. Plus no ironing necessary; Everything in life should be this simple.

Perfect for the most part, only thing is that lightweight materials provide very little structure in terms of holding the body parts in. Invest in some decent shapewear with the money that you’ve saved on copping inexpensive summer gear. And most importantly of all use it, especially under that white, stretch, H&M, tube, Maxi dress… O_o

Oh, and brightly-coloured, thong underwear under white clothing naaaaaah mek it.

5. Swimsuits

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Surprise us. Do something different and try a fashion forward, one-piece why not.

Carry on.

b Freakin’Fabulous

Colour-Blocking 101

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Image: Denim Magazine | Aug ’11

Tips on working on of my fav. Summer trends ever.

1. One trend at a time.

Either Colour-Block OR Animal Prints. Not both. The end is never good when two divas are placed in the same room. Opting for the color-block look is eye-catching enough; Having one trend compete with each other just screams trying too hard.

My two cents would be to choose colour for now and save your animal prints for Fall – it’s right around the corner.

2. Choose your colour battles.

Keep colour in the same family, (oranges with reds, pinks with purples, use the same colour in different shades) …  or not, if your personality would allow you to get away with it. Pair fuschia, orange and light-but-bright blue as Malinda Williams does on the cover of Denim Magazine here, but remember to ground your look elsewhere.

“Either boldly coloured clothing OR accessories OR shoes.”

The “Nicki Minaj” fashion statement only works on Nicki Minaj.

If you choose to wear boldy coloured clothing, keep accessories to a tasteful minimum, and ground the look with nude shoes/ sandals. to pair black shoes with such a multi-coloured, get-up would be a tragic, amateur mistake.

If you choose boldly coloured shoes, let that be the focal point of the look and go with a more neutral or mono-toned clothing choice. The same goes if you choose to wear bold accessories.

P.S. – Neon nail colour also counts as accessories on Grown folk.

Taking heed to this either, [either], or, will be the difference between looking skillfully put together, and looking a saucy mess. It’s a razor thin line, but the results are worlds apart.

3. The Fit-&-Flatter Concept

Bold clothing will attract some level of otherwise unintended attention, so this concept right here is key. With so much going on, colour-blocked items usually work best when worn in a body-conscious silhouette, meaning that the clothing fits very close to the body. Be sure to wear the right underwear/ shapewear if necessary. the tag may say “One size fits all” but all what? All models? All size 2-8s? Definitely not all human beings on this planet. That is physically impossible. What is it made out of? Ballon plastic? Even that has a breaking point. There is a reason why even condoms come in different sizes.

The hotter the trend, the less room there is for mistakes. Know your size and the tensile strength of the fabric that you are wearing. And oh, Spanks don’t catch everything eh, especially if the brand is “fanks”.

4. Tone down the makeup

Another secret to pulling off this bold trend is to keep makeup to a minimum. There is never an excuse to wear red lipstick with this trend. Please and No.  No neon-clothing-with-fuschia-lips-and-blue-eyeshadow combo.  At least not for normal daytime activities for you will look like a 0.99c special. Clown days are over. Less is more.

5. Confidence

As with all other statement trends, the real clincher is here genuine confidence. The kind that emanates from the depths of your soul. The kind that is reflected in the pep in your step, and not store-bought, or BS kind – that’s not substantial enough. It’s very important for you to be comfortable in whatever you are wearing. Pick your peonie and ROCK. IT. HARD.

Carry on.

b FiercelyFabulous

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Springing Forward —–>


Spring time!

Well, with the temperatures that I’ve been experiencing over the past week in these parts, it feels more like summer but I know better than to say it too loud let alone BELIEVE temperatures may not dip again until September.

Still, gotta love Spring though.

It brings with it a sense of renewal, endless possibilities and just a general feeling of rebirth. And why not? The days are longer – extended by an easy 5 hours at least, the sun is out, the place is brighter and the great depression that is winter season is but a distant memory. Hell, I feel like I’ve moved cities. Winter blues what? Arguably, the best of all, there’s little [no] need to pop those ‘happy’ [Vitamin D] pills – Goodbye Seasonal Affective Disorder!

It’s like the ‘April showers’ washed away the proverbial death, darkness and gloom and have made way for the reawakening of the earth.

Just yesterday, I peered out my window – my view of the road below obscured by bare and barren sticks attached to branches on the grandfather tree that appeared to have called it quits after the winter had it’s way with it; All signs of life removed.

Only to wake up this morning and there is it – LIFE. Leaves a’ sproutin’, branches be swayin’ in the wind, and once again, there is abundant life. As harsh as the winter wants to be, with every spring hope returns. Without fail, there is renewal every year.

“Do you worst…”, said the tree, “.. for I have what I need to weather your fiercest storm”.

You see, though all of the auxiliaries may be lost – the flowers, the leaves, even some of the branches – the root… the core… the soul remains in tact, and therefore regeneration is always possible.

Likewise, in our trials, sometimes we may lose some stuff along the way – people, possessions, sometimes even family, but as long as we hold tight to our core self, we are possible. It is when we are stripped down to our bare selves, that we find there is opportunity to re-emerge – Fresher. Healthier. Happier, and with any hope, smarter.

After all, when we’ve hit rock bottom, and dug downward the furthest we can go till we hear the ‘klang ‘klang of metal against metal, there is really no other direction left to go but up. And on this trek back upward, with the help of the sun shining  though, we can see clearly now, because guess what, we’ve past it all on the way down!

Only now, we’re armed with the knowledge of what is and isn’t for us this ’rounds. So it’s really up to us to choose not to pay that tuition twice.

Just now to pull out the microfiber and dust off our [vintage] glare blockers, aka hater mace, and, with a little a pep in our step, move smartly along with our determination to push on through.

b Freakin’Fabulous

Photo: razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Body Concious | Rocking Ruffles

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S2011| Emilio Pucci

Ruffles, much like the graphic prints of the season, add detail to a garment, but more than that, they also add volume.

They are dramatic, and bring attention to the area. With this in mind you can use ruffles to your advantage, by incorporating them in areas that you may find, well, lacking.

The size of the ruffles that you don should coincide with how much drama you wish to attract to that specific area.

How to Make Ruffles Work for You

Generally speaking, the placement of the ruffles will depend on your body shape – Pear, Inverted Triangle, Apple, Hourglass or Athletic – As ruffles, along with other embellishment trends like as feathers for example, work at attracting attention to an area, which, as a result, then removes the focus from other areas that you’d prefer not to play up as much.

The basic rules that apply when working the ruffles, feathers or embellishment trends on the above body shapes are as follows:

1. PEAR

Shoulders, chest and waist proportionally smaller than hips and thighs.


S2011 | Valentino

Focus ruffles in your top half, and keep lower half simple.

Ruffles located along interesting necklines like boat, and cold shoulder styles, draw attention away from lower half.

2. INVERTED TRIANGLE

Proportionately larger top half. Wider shoulders, little or no hips, slim legs


S2011 | Giorgio Armani

Balance broad shoulders with ruffled volume on lower half. Create the illusion of a waist by adding a belt.

3. APPLE

Proportionately larger waistline. Smaller shoulders, chest and hips. Slim legs.


S2011 | Alberta Ferretti

Whereas adding a belt a tied waistband will draw attention and add weight to the midsection,  ruched fabric in the the midsection area works at both camouflaging and minimizing waist.

Intricate necklines, and asymmetrical hems will also help divert attention away from midsection

Horizontal ruffles placed off center gives the illusion of an elongated torso. Alternatively, ruffle detail may be placed along V-neckline and/ or along hemline (either at knee or floor grazing, not in-between).

4. HOURGLASS

Proportionately smaller waist, chest and hips are wider and somewhat balance each other.


S2011 | Prada

This body shape naturally has volume in the desired places. Add ruffles in areas that do not put the flow in imbalance, like at the hem of a knee length pencil skirt ala Prada.

5. ATHLETIC

No areas are particularly wider, or narrower than the rest. Negligible difference between chest, waist and hip measurements.


S2011 | Jill Sanders

A blank canvas – add ruffles wherever there is desire to add more volume

  • Up top to enhance cleavage
  • Around waist to make a statement or
  • Around hips to add curves.

ADDITIONAL TIPS

1. A smart way to wear ruffles is to wear small ones horizontally on a sheath dress silhouette – considered to be  universally flattering. This way, like stripes, the ruffles elongate rather than widen.
2. Ruffles, like feathers or jeweled embellishments, are noisy beings.  So that you do not start answering yourself, at least not in public, keep accessories minimal and  makeup natural.

b Freakin’Fabulous

Dodging Fashion Roadkill | The Maxi Dress



S2011 | Micheal Kors

As long as there are women, there will always be the Maxi dress. Designers must find this fact annoying because, perhaps in an effort to relieve their boredom, they’ve decided to inject different textures and structures into this spring/ summer staple. The possible result? An epic miss, with some of the most unflattering combinations known to man… or in this case, woman.

The word “Maxi”, as it applies to a dress (or skirt), refers to either length (usually floor grazing) or fullness  (voluminous) – either way there is a whole lot of fabric. The goal of a Maxi dress is to create the illusion of easy sophistication, but this punchline can easily get muddled when designers run with such wild abandon in the park of imagination,  that they miss the mark  totally.

Most of trends for this Spring/ Summer 2011 (S2011) may be seen somewhere on a Maxi Dress near you. Beware of the pitfalls.

1. The See-Through-Maxi

S2011 Trend: Lace/ See-through Fabrics


S2011 | Giorgio Armani

The issue: Visible underwear, isn’t Sexy. [Visibly] going without underwear, tramp style, is worse.  No-one is interested in seeing your ‘titillating’ ‘assets’. This dress will flatter noone with an ounce of flesh. Much more than the sheer fabric will be… bouncing… in the wind.


S2011 | Givenchy

The solution: Go sheer without going bare. Printed sheer materials can offer less translucency that plain coloured ones. Also, well placed detailing can detract, or conceal, areas of perverted interest. Depending on the dress, you can wear a (modern) slip.

2. The Bright, Boxy, Structured, Maxi

S2011 Trend: Bold Colours/ Menswear/ Suits



S2011 | Jill Saunders

The issue: Your waist called. He misses you.

May be laid back,  but this look is definitely not sexy. All that’s missing here are the potatoes, which is ironic because that’s probably the last thing that’s available  on that menu.

Proportions. Proportions. Proportions. An hourglass shape, or the illusion of one, is the key to classic style. Also,tThe overly structured look of this dress defeats the purpose of a Maxi dress.


S2011 | Lanvin

The solution: The bold colour rocks. Keep the structure to an asymmetrical neckline and a belted waist.

3. The Retro Maxi

S2011 Trend: Retro/ 60s Ladylike/ Red carpet glam


S2011 | Vivienne Westwood

The issue: More like 60s/ Ladylike Prom, and looks like the dress equivalent to helmet head – Untouchable.


S2011 | Lanvin

The solution: Switch up the fabric. Interpret the retro ladylike, rather than raid your mother/ grandmother’s closet. Similar silhouette, different reaction.

4. The Graphic Maxi (I)

S2011 Trend: Floral Prints


S2011 | Jill Saunders

The issue: Large prints, like this floral overwhelms petite frames. The dress’s voluminous nature around the waist area also does not complement a woman’s figure.


S2011 | Marc Jacobs

The solution: Choose a floral print that is proportional to your size – larger frames are better able to carry larger prints. Add interest to a floor grazing floral number with a contrasting detail in a complementary colour at the waist. Peek-a-boo skin, unveiled through a v-neck, gives balance to a potentially, visually dizzying number.

5. The Graphic Maxi (II)

S211 Trend: Bold Colours/ Geometric Prints/ Asymmetrical hems


S2011 | Vivienne Westwood

The Issue: An effort is made to highlight the waist with a twist-tie, but the  over-sized vertical stripes + no structure + peculiar dress length + bold colours+ excess fabric = Please Stop. My head hurts.


S2011 | Marc Jacobs

The solution: One voice at a time. Keep silhouettes, to dresses in busy fabrics, simple. The ruching detail in the right places breaks the monotony, and gives a flattering look to even the no-no horizontal stripe rule.

6. The White Maxi

S2011 Trend: All White/ Minimal/ 60s Ladylike


S2011 | Chloé

The issue: The abundance of fabric on the top half, in white no less, coupled with a gathered waist would make for an excessively commodious, unflattering look on most humans.


S2011 | Chloé


S2011 | Chloé

The solution: A wrap dress, or one that mimics it, is universally flattering, even in white, as it breaks up the details, as well as highlights the natural waist.

Tip: A V-neck works better than a round neck for fuller and/ or curvier figures.

7. The Unfinished Maxi

S2011 Trend: Asymmetrical Hems / Metallic/ Sheer/ Unfinished Detailing


S2011 | Vivienne Westwood

The issue: The first issue is the trend itself – Unfinished garments. Unhemmed garments, unclipped trimmings. A frayed, fuzzy look with thread dangling everywhere. Why? I’ll file this in the juvenile section, right next to destructed jeans.

More than the hems, the statement is undone in this crinkly, scratchy, bed-head looking kit, the draping of which also makes for an unflattering profile. Besides, if you are going to tote all of this fabric, and still have a peep show, why not just don a fitted, loosely crocheted dress instead? Oh yeah, that’s also a don’t.


S2011 | Micheal Kors

The solution: Just because the fabric has a metallic finish, doesn’t mean it has to look like it will cut you. Switching up the fabric to a touchable knit, (one that is also less sheer), and tightening the silhouette a touch, gives the still-asymmetrical look an easy-going, figure-enhancing flow. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

8. The Body Concious Maxi

S2011 Trend: Body Concious/ White/ Lace/ Sheer Fabrics


S2011 | Emilio Pucci

The issue: The combination of the above trend may make for a body conscious, but not a body flattering combo. Perhaps this would be better worn as resort wear, in the form of a beach cover-up.


S2011 | Emilio Pucci

The solution: Emphasize your curves in one trend. Either in lace/ sheer fabrics OR a body hugging silhouette.

OTHER USEFUL TIPS

1. DO give unexpected skin via a high slit or an asymmetrical hemline to give overly voluminous , or excessively lengthy dresses a modern edge, as Emilio Pucci does here.


S2011 | Emilio Pucci


S2011 | Emilio Pucci

2. DO play with the Military trend with ‘sober’ colour choices – e.g. olive green, navy, combined with subtle masculine detailing.


S2011 | Lanvin

Whoever said that Power can only be unleashed in a pant suit must have never experienced the Power of a Maxi.

b Freakin’Fabulous

Foot Fetish | 10 Steps to a Spa Pedicure

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The Beyotch of all Pedicures.

The Spa Pedicure is one of the ultimate luxuries to pamper your digits. At a reputable nail salon, i.e one that takes the necessary precautions against the spread of diseases/ infections in a nail salon, this indulgence can run anywhere upwards of $75 a service, with a Spa Mani/ Pedi combo running at least an easy minimum $100.

In a bid to differentiate themselves from a fellow competitor, it is not uncommon for nail salons to present creative names for these services.

“The Ultimate Pedicure”

“The Signature Pedicure”

“Hot Lava Pedicure”

As a nail salon owner, the point here is to differentiate yourself. Get creative.

These types of pedicures are primarily found in middle to high end salons because of the sheer time it takes to get all of the goodies done - anywhere between 50 – 120 minutes. Usually, the longer the time taken, the more expensive the service.

So what is a Spa Pedicure anyways?

Typically, what differentiates a Spa pedicure from a Classic pedicure is pampering time. Therefore, Spa pedicures will probably include a scrub, a (perhaps extended) foot massage, as well as extra care to smoothing hardened soles of the feet. Uber high-end salons may also include a foot mask, paraffin treatments etc. These are inexpensive add-ons for the Spa, so the charge  largely comes for the use of the  therapist’s time. Additionally, there is also an additional cost for callus removal in a pedicure . Why? because any of these above processes can add up to 15 minutes each.

It is important to remember that Spa services , as opposed to other beauty services like Hair  services for example, are charged per minute rather than per service. Arrive late for your Spa service and you have only the remaining time in your reserved slot to get your service done, if they will grant you the the service at all, never mind, *swipe*, your credit card will be charged either way.

Why?

If the colouring service on your new hair colour/ cut/ style ‘do takes longer than anticipated, the stylist cannot exactly leave you mid service and tell you hard luck can s/he? Not so much. This is why there is normally a cancellation policy (usually 24-48 hours) for spa services. Time is money baby!

Can you achieve a similar service at home?

With the knowledge,  an hour, some patience, and the right tools, you sure can!

Here are 10 steps to an at-home Spa Pedicure, complete with tips to getting it right, polish optional.

Remember, practice makes you better.

YOU WILL NEED:

- Pedicure bowl with lukewarm water (warmer if you can tolerate it)
- Small to medium sized bowl with clean, lukewarm water
(warmer if you can tolerate it)
- Orange stick and/ or nail pusher
- Nail Clipper,  made especially for clipping toes
- Nail File (180 grit)
- Foot soak/ Pedicure soak/ Mineral Salts/ Epson salts etc. (your choice)
- Hydrating Foot lotion
- Cuticle Oil
- Nail Buffer (white)

- Foot File

– 2 Hand Towels

- Nail polish remover and cotton balls (if necessary)


OPTIONAL ITEMS
- Cuticle nipper
- Foot Mask
- Callus softener
- Intensive Heel balm
- Base Coat, Top Coat, Nail polish

Time Required: 60 – 120 mins

1. Soak Feet

In pedicure bowl, mix foot soak in a generous amount of lukewarm water as per foot soak instructions. Place feet in bowl for up to 10 minutes.

2. Remove any existing polish from nails on both feet. (If necessary.)

3. Cut and File Nails

- Remove right foot from pedicure bath. Cut nails using nail clipper.
Note: cutting nails too short can damage the nail. Avoid cutting nails with too sharp of a  downward curve at the edge / sides of the nail, where the nail meets the side of your finger, as this may result in ingrown/ hangnails. Ouch.

- Using a nail file, file nails so that there are no sharp edges left by nail clipper, so that nail edge is smooth.

4. Clean the edges of the nail plate

- Using orange stick or nail pusher, GENTLY clean bottom of the nail bed, where it connects to the finger.

- GENTLY push back the cuticle using orange stick/ nail pusher.
Dead skin cells of the cuticle collect here, as well as residue from hand lotion, environmental dirt, etc. It is important not to scrape the nail bed in this area too roughly, as grave, possibly permanent, damage may be done to the nail bed.

- OPTIONAL – Cuticles may be clipped at this stage, but it is important to clip ONLY the dead, and not the living, tissue. If you are unsure of what is dead and what is living tissue, skip this stage altogether, as clipping live tissue can result in cuts, bleeding and damage to the cuticle.

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5. Buff nails and clean under free edge

- Using a white nail buffer, GENTLY buff nails (no more than 10 strokes per nail).
Buffing to smooth the nail bed. Overzealous buffing however, will result in thinning and possible damage to the nail plate, which is a common occurrence in professional manicures.  The amount of buffing that ought to be done will depend on the condition of the nail. It is important to  note that, depending on the depth of the ridges of the nail, it may not be possible to smoothen out all ridges, without removing the entire nail bed.

- Using orange stick, clean under free edge (the area at the top of the nail where gook collects when you use your nails to scratch… something) of any residual nail that may have collected here during the filing/ buffing stage.

6. Apply cuticle oil to cuticles

- Critical step to well manicured nails.

7. Apply callus softener and wrap foot

- Optional, if applicable, apply callus softener to any calluses/ hardened areas on soles of feet, and wrap foot in a towel.

Repeat steps 3 – 7 on left foot.

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8. Smooth calluses

- Starting with right foot, remove towel and smooth calluses/ hardened areas on soles of feet  with a back and forth motion using foot file. Repeat on left foot. And please, never use a razor blade.

9. Apply and remove scrub

- Starting with right foot, apply foot scrub for 2-3 minutes. Rinse with clean water from small bowl into the pedicure bowl. Repeat on left foot.

OPTIONAL – Apply foot mask
To right foot, avoiding the tips of the toes, and wrap in a towel. Repeat on left foot and let both feet stand for 5-10 minutes.

Rinse mask from right foot using clean water from bowl. Repeat on left foot.

10. Massage feet

- Massage hydrating foot lotion to right foot, including legs. Pay special attention to heels. Repeat on left foot.

- If necessary, apply heel balm to cracked heels, on right and left foot.

- Apply cuticle oil to cuticles.
*TIP – Cuticle oil is quite possibly any nail technician’s secret weapon as the application will make nails in any condition, look healthier. Guaranteed.

POLISH APPLICATION PREP (OPTIONAL)

For nail polish application, remove any traces of lotion from nails using a cotton ball with nail polish remover. Apply polish in the following order:

- Start with one coat for base coat to all nails.
- Follow with a coat, or two, of nail polish (one coat a time).
- End  with  Top coat application.

Finish with application of cuticle oil to cuticles, as in step above.

It’s easy to have a foot fetish with kissable feet!

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Not quite at this level? You can still have kissable feel with an at-home Classic pedicure. **Coming soon.**

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b Freakin’Fabulous

For more info. on how to protect yourself against infectious diseases in nail salons, click here.

Photo: Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you do one thing for the Holidays…


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There are two types of people in this world. Those who fuss about the holidays, and those who don’t.

You know, the ones who stress themselves out about what everyone else will think, only to stress and bicker some more that the people who they were fretting for didn’t give a rat’s behind. Then there are those who live on the flip-side of this planet – the ones who don’t so much as buy a card for nobody, including moms.

If you do one thing to prepare for the holiday season, DETOX. Physically and mentally.

The festive season is usually a time of great excess, so prepare yourself for it in order that you don’t overindulge, over do, and over be, only to then be pressured into setting unrealistic goals for yourself. Goals of which you do not express loudly of course, because, nowadays, telling people that you’ve set ‘New Years resolutions’ for yourself is soooooo last decade. *Goooooosh*.

It’s all about the winging it, innit? Forget the goal setting, just freestyle the next 365 days of your life. Brilliant!

I digress.

The Holiday Season.

Excessive food.
Excessive conversation.
Excessive drinking.
Excessive spending.
Excessive skin teet.

Prepare your body and mind for it. Eliminate the the current build up of toxins, before you open up and indulge in new ones, so that come 01022011, you don’t feel chock full of bile and regret. Allow yourself enough psychological and physicial space to properly deal with excesses drama that don’t belong to you; the stuff that messes with your zen and makes your year start off with a *Pfffft* rather than a *How you like DEM apples!” kinda thing.

And while you are detoxing yourself, why not clean up your environment?

Schedule a Fall cleaning.

Declutter your space and make room for everything that you will and hope to receive in the new year.

SORT OUT YOUR *ISH.

Give the lightly used, clothing or otherwise, to charity, to someone you know, or to a family in need. For some of us, the unused stuff that you got on clearance because it was a ‘deal’, and paid no mind to the fact that it neither fits, nor compliments your shape nor anything else in your closet for that matter, also qualifies. Let’s face it, if you haven’t used it in a year, worse if you live in a climate that does NOT change for the entire year, then chances are you aren’t using it for a reason.

“Fabulous” fits and flatters. “Unfabulous” doesn’t.

Do yourself and the public at large a favour and give unfab away. Freely.

And while we’re getting busy with it…volunteer.

So you can’t buy something for everyone that you know is in need, but you can give of your time, your energy or perhaps of your experience. It is said the the less time that you spend focusing on yourself, the more you appreciate what and those that you have, especially when you spent your time with people who are less fortunate than you are.

Theory of relativity.

That’s like me stressing out yesterday about having lost my son’s bag, and his entire ‘LIFE’ along with it on the subway.

Stressful? Sure. I guess someone got an early Christmas. But when I think about the fact that I could have lost him???… well, losing a fun-filled knapsack ain’t so bad in the grand scheme of things. Go ahead and enjoy.

b Freakin’Fabulous.

Photo credits: dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

That’s the Spirit

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If I’ve ever had a doubt about my ability to make lemon martinis, well not anymore!

Call me a bartender.

Being doused in freshly squeezed, premium lime does burn a little, hell a lot, but it sure does clean you up well. *Sparkel*

Lemon juice gets rid of all the dirt and grime, the excess layers, and magnificently leaves a shine in areas that were over scuffed.

2010 is soon coming to a close. For most of us its a happy time of year. People generally have, at least, decent moods, companies give away food and booze, and you get to see your boss behaving in ways you’d never imagine, which of course ensures that your job is secure for at least another year. Guilt is a hell of a thing.

Living in Canada, I get to celebrate Thanksgiving twice. The first time, when Canada celebrates it, and then another when the ‘rest of the world’ , or so the US believes, celebrates it.

  • More food.
  • More good times
  • More shopping sure, but more importantly,

more time to reflect on why I ought to be thankful, and, despite however I may feel during what can seem to be an incalculable amount of  ceiling-mounted, fire-blazing hoops, why I am truly blessed.

Blessed beyond measure.

Then, on the heels of Thanksgiving, comes the jolly old Ho.

Well, the Ho, Ho, Ho, Ho-liday Season. A time where kids believe and receive; something that we often seem to lose as ‘adults’ because, oh…

“Santa isn’t real”

Some of us can be such party poppers. What IS real?

My perception, IS my reality. Party poop that.

After all, isn’t that what ‘Santa’ is really about? ….Believing?

It’s not about being able to circle the globe in one night, Stupid. We all got over that decades ago. It’s not about religion or politics, or about who got the best present, who’s sucked, and who got none at all, because we all get presents.

We get presents everyday. We get the gift of opportunity; the opportunity to create or squander, to live and learn or to mentally and emotionally succumb to our thought processes.

“Santa” is about  the spirit of happiness; that of thankfulness; that of believing.

The selfless act of giving and receiving, of sharing fun times with family and friends, and learning how best to endure those members of your family, who,  at some point in your life you’ve secretly prayed to, one day, not be related to – not in public at any rate.

I believe in Santa. Party Poop that.

Know that you will never receive anything unless you believe. Not happiness, not material gain, not friends (outside of the electric friend generator) and definitely not presents.

So yeah, I’m reflecting a bit early this year. Hell, this year was so special I was reflecting since March.

Reflecting on what I’ve achieved this past year, how my plans have panned out or not, the wagons that I jumped on and those that i was violently thrown off. Reflecting on the experiences that I enjoyed, but would never in life do again. On the goals that I’ve attained and the ones that no longer fit into my life script. Giving thought to those individuals who I have had the privilege to meet – those who have helped me unveil a landscape that I’ve neither seen nor experienced before, and who I’ve been sanctified to finally depart ways from.

Hallelujah and Amen.

Departure from what was once good, but has over time become rancid and toxic is good all the time, and all the time it is good. It’s like a fantastically yummy nugget of self-renewal; a guilty pleasure. The euphoria associated with finally being able to put down that knapsack full of porous, limestone rock that you’ve been carrying around on your shoulder blade for a minute, only to discover that you never, ever in life have to pick it up again.

Relief!

There’s some good to grating a barrel of limes after all. For in the end, no matter how haphazardly things are thrown in the air, all must fall and settle on the ground once again. I am most appreciative of the fact that no sharp objects collided with me on the way down.

There’s lots to be thankful for in this life.

I am thankful for my lemons; all of them, for it is because of them I know who I am.

Pieces.

be Freakin’Fabulous

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