Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Designers behind African Fashions

I was looking through some runway pictures and that gave me an inspiration on what to write today.  I’m not talking about the interesting dresses that rocked the runways; I’m talking about the people behind African fashion who have made it a mainstream in the fashion industry?  I give kudus to all the designers out there who have really made an exceptional effort to showcase the beauty of the African style in their choice of fabrics, prints and designs.

With my inclination towards simple cuts, prints, and vibrant hues, obviously enough, I want to go first with those designers that has captivated me with their take on the fusion of colors and created a striking balance in giving a modern touch to the traditional African fashion.

Korto Momolu, the fashion designer who won first runner-up on the fifth season of the hit show Project Runway has always caught my attention with her expert taste in the selection of fabrics and rich hues.  Her designs are truly inspired by her African roots and she has shown this in many glorious ways.  Check out a few of her designs that never went out of style.

Syl Anim has done many creative designs that are always awe-inspiring.  With her passion for intricate handmade weave designs, she has showcased a style that is also uniquely African.  For her creations, she uses authentic African fabrics, beads, wood, wool, and many other embellishments that she sets her eye on.  See one of her work below.

Gloria Wavamunno creates a fashion statement that is uniquely inspired by the culture, music, and colors of Africa.  See how she has brought a fresh take to the African prints.

These few designers have made excellent contributions in bringing African fashion to what it is today.  Not only are they big on talent, they have a big heart.  They have supported many charitable institutions with their work. I hope to see more of their designs showcased in the runways.  There are still a lot more I want to feature and many designs that a want to talk about next time.  It’s really amazing how talent can help the world.
Thursday, June 23, 2011

Apples or Pears?

Because not all women are born with a very well proportioned body, I want to feature some styles that are fitting for some specific body types. If you are bottom-heavy or top-heavy, then this feature is for you.  Be your own stylist and never allow those extra pounds to keep you from looking good and flattering.  Now take a closer look at yourself (while stark naked) in a full-length mirror and determine your own body type.
Flatter a Bottom-Heavy and Top-Light Figure (Pear Shaped Figure)
  • Put more focus upwards.  Look for flattering necklines and bright hues to accentuate the upper body. Other great options for the top half are prints, stripes, plaids, and floral.  Keep the lower half in solid and dark colors.
  • For fitted suits, go for fitted jackets that end down to the widest portion with structured shoulders.  Opt for form fitting bottoms that are not clingy and not tight.
  • Wearing jeans can flatter your figure. Go for the boot-cut leg opening that slightly flares downwards.  This creates a striking balance to wide hips and full thighs.  Choose dark washed jeans and avoid embellishments at the back pockets.  Pair it with high heels for an ultra flattering and thinner look.
  • For dresses, opt for full skirts with a fit and flare silhouette.  Go for strapless dresses to draw attention to your upper half.  Other option for those with a lot fuller hips and thighs is to go for the empire-waist, or raised-waist dresses.

Flatter a Top-Heavy and Bottom-Light Figure (Apple Shaped Figure)
  • Think minimalist for the upper half and accentuate your bottom half.  Avoid wide and high necklines. Go for V-necks, scoop and sweetheart necklines to give out a lengthening effect for the top portion.  Avoid breast pockets and heavy embellishments around the chest area.  Keep tops in solid and dark colors.
  • Give your bottom extra emphasis with flared cuts and A-line skirts for a more balancing act. Choose flat front flared pants and skirts that are low rise.  High waist bottoms only draws attention to your large chest area. 

Whichever is your body type, there’s always a dress, a suit, a pair of pants that can flatter your figure.  So play up with your best assets and down play with the problem areas.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dress Up, Thin Down

Dressing up to look a lot thinner is one of the ways many of my chubby friends are gloriously indulged in instead of the usual crash diet and work outs that other girls might go for.  So for those of you who want to learn the power of fashion when it comes to looking slender despite the extra weight, then this is for you.  Here are a few tricks I learned to looking 20 pounds thinner:
  • Look light in black!  Try to match your separates with an all black ensemble and see how you can look a lot slender in them.  Check out how Raven Symone looks hot in an all black figure flattering mix-and-match of belted tunic over slimming leggings and a pair of boots.  Spice it up a little with some stylish accessories and you've got the sizzling appeal.
  • Go for wide belts.  Wide ones have more slimming effect that those thin ones.  Pick those with a nylon stretch that makes a comfortable fit.
  • Dress up in the right proportions.  Create a balance with every wardrobe that you want to wear.  For miniskirts, match it with a longer top. For wide leg pants, match it with a fitted top.  Never go for over-sized outfits – it can only make you look bulkier instead of trying to hide the problem areas.
  • Be confident in red. Yes, red can make you look sultry and bold.  It is a color that can give you that extra boost of confidence.  Now imagine yourself in a red dress just like Jennifer Hudson.
  • Make your face look slimmer by pulling your hair up and away from your shoulders.   For rounded face, wispy bangs can do the trick.  Other hair dos that work best in thinning down the face are chunky highlights on the sides, loose curls, and body waves.
  • Wear the most flattering heels with jeans.  See how Raven rocked her look with jeans, sheer top, and the great heels.  Another plus is the nude color heels that makes the perfect slimming footwear complement.  The nudes work best on bare legs, try these nice heels with knee length skirts. So if you are aiming to look taller and leaner, work it out with comfortable heels.

Dressing up is just one way to looking good.  A healthy work-out and proper diet is always nice to maintain a slender frame.  So think about it… make dressing up a start of a journey to a beautiful you.
Saturday, June 18, 2011

How to Wear a Maxi Dress

Great lengths are making a striking comeback this season.   In true bohemian fashion, spice up your wardrobe with fabulous maxis that can be pulled off in an instant.  The glamorous combination of floor-grazing hemlines and vibrant prints brings together a look that exudes confidence, elongates the figure, and provide an excellent balance of modesty with subtle sultriness.   With minimum effort, this lengthy frock can create a maximum impact.  Anyone can rock a maxi, young and old, tall and petite, slim and chubby.  So don’t worry, there’s always a maxi for all shapes and colors.
For casual occasions, wear your maxi dress with a flattering or embellished sandal for a summery look.  If you need to put on some height, try wearing a nice fancy wedge.  For formal occasions where you want to be dressier, then the stiletto is the way to go.  Just make sure that the floor-sweeping length doesn't really drag the floor, otherwise, you will look real sloppy or be in a total disaster.

With the maxi’s long flowing silhouette, important details are embodied on the upper half of the dress.  Usually, the top portions are fitted on the bust or on the waist. Thus, when choosing a maxi, make sure it fits your upper body perfectly.  Make sure the bust area is about the right size to avoid dragging the entire dress down.  For strapless maxis, watch out for bodice that makes the perfect fit – too tight makes your skin pop out from the sides and too loose only means trouble.

Never go overboard and tacky with your maxi.  Maxi dresses makes a statement from its long silhouette and elegant prints, so don’t go for more ruffles, bell sleeves, bows and more fancies.  Do not overkill with accessories like fedoras, furs, or funky beads.  Retro and maxis just don’t blend well.  If you want to accessorize, think modern and chic.  Sleeker accessories can update the maxi look with effortless drama.

Maxis are ultra refreshing and breezy.  It can go overtime from formals to casuals.  It is simply an all-season staple, so never hesitate to wear one!  A touch of make-up and nice colored nails along with your maxi, and you’re all set to go.
Friday, June 17, 2011

Dauntless in Animal Prints

Animal prints can take you to a whole new adventure with fashion.  We see them now and we have seen them before, simply put, animal prints just never go out of fashion.  To some, it takes one to be wild and bold to wear them. To me, I should say, it’s fun and trendy to wear one.  It’s how you wear them that make a difference.

Depending on your personal taste, you can rock this look with an impressive statement.  For the super trendy, going all out is easy.  But for those who are still doubtful if they can pull it off, then small doses of prints might help to get you started.  There are a variety of ways to getting a spectacular look; you can try the prints from scarves, bags, dresses, tops, skirts, and shoes.  Animal prints are obviously found in almost every fashion item you can think of.  And we can get a lot if inspiration from runways, magazines, streets, and from our favorite celebrities. 

Creating a balance with the prints is essential to avoid getting an over-the-top look that ultimately leads to a major fashion disaster.  If you want to wear a dress all in animal print, then avoid wearing other prints and over accessorize.  Try to tone down your look with neutrals and a natural looking make-up.  If you are wearing a simple piece of outfit, then glam it up with a printed scarf or animal print accessories.  This trend can simply work on its own, so don’t overdo with it.  A pop of print can work wonders all by itself.  See how these stars create an exceptional statement.

You can wear animal prints any time of the day for any occasions.  For special occasions, make a cool attitude by making the print as the focal point of the wardrobe.  For daytime affairs, tone it down in pieces that you can wear with denims.  For a more casual occasion, try wearing it with shorts or oxfords.  At the office or night affairs, wear it with a blazer.  If you go for the printed heels or bags, then tone down your wardrobe to neutrals or classic black in simple cut.

Tiger prints, zebra prints, leopard prints - you can be uniquely stylish in whichever print that suits you.  By the way, African Fashion has a lot of prints to brag about.  Have fun with prints and be the fashionista that you are!
Wednesday, June 15, 2011

On the Bright Side

It’s a bright day today and I can’t help but be amazed at how a bright sunny weather can bring a refreshing and enthusiastic aura.  A punch of pink, a zest of yellow, shimmering floral, and a hint of teal… aren’t they just the colors that sets the mood for a beautiful day ahead? Don’t they just bring a smile, a boost of your confidence, and a picture perfect glamour? Now, don’t pass up with the coveted trend of colors, lift your spirit up and try on the cocktail of bold dresses in chic styles that are amazing for everyday and party get-up. With a few inspirations from my favorite celebrities and models, cheers to these shining examples on how to get the bright stuff absolutely right.

Yellow has never looked so sublime!  Simply dazzling in a yellow shift dress, Taraji P. Henson gives this bright shade a lively spin.  Pulling of a yellow hue is made easy with a nonchalant yet sexy cut, but never ever overdo with the style and fabrics.  It’s a shade that shouts fun, playful, and stylish, so don’t be afraid to try it.

A bright floral dress is just ravishing for any occasion.  Thandie Newton is simply elegant with a summer and spring staple that never goes out of fashion.  Floral is sweet and romantic but try to tone down the brightness with a hint of black or neutrals just like this simply styled dress.

Steal a glorious moment in teal.  Fashion accents in teal always look fresh and stunning.  This pleated dress is just an amazing ensemble in a show-stopping vibrant shade. 

Hot pink can make you look even hotter!  Summer will be in full swing soon and embrace the warm weather in this pretty hue.  A touch of pink never fails to exude femininity and alluring charm.  Solange is just sizzling hot in this fuchsia sultry cut number.

A dash of color from time to time can give you an exciting fashion experience.   If you are constantly in neutrals and blacks, then it’s about time to surprise yourself.  For more choices on the bright side, check out a few dresses online. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Dose of Inspiration

What makes you look forward to waking up in early mornings?  To a teacher, it could be seeing her pupils learn how to read and write.   To a doctor, it could be seeing her patients heal and recover. To me, what inspires me on Monday mornings?  Working in the corporate world may not be as rewarding as being a doctor or a teacher, and sometimes mornings can be a totally drab routine of rushing to work.  So what makes waking up a totally new and exciting experience?

Simple as it is, I make dressing up in the mornings an interesting event instead of being an obligatory routine to start the day.  I dress up for myself because I find it as a liberating experience to express myself in fashions that are defined by who I am.  Every day is a reason itself to be happy and have fun.  Finding the right dress to work is just a head start, ultimately it sets the mood for the entire day.  Trust me; if you feel good with the way you look, no one can put you down.  You may think it’s trivial to dress up, but its effect is quite soothing much more than you realize it, it has that uplifting effect on women!

So think about how you can load your wardrobe with stuff that makes waking up worthwhile.  Make shopping for the right clothes as an investment instead of just mere impulse.  Choose those that make you feel pretty and happy.  Give yourself time to look for bargains and search online, whichever suits you.   This is something that you owe yourself after a hard day’s work.

For my friends in Afrawear, I’m pretty sure each morning is a new day to celebrate African fashion and share this passion with other sistahs out there.  It is in knowing that with a piece of an item sold, it means that a child in Africa can eat three times a day.  It is always inspiring to read a beautiful slogan to greet each morning: Buy a Dress and Feed an African Orphanage.  Isn’t that great?

What about you? What makes waking up an exciting experience?
Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Feather Fashion

Feather-in-the-hair look has invaded the fashion world with such rave that the demand for feathers soared so high and I never once expected it would turn out to be this hot and trendy.  Feather clip-ins, hair extensions, headbands, and earrings top the list of fashion must-haves recently.  And since many celebrities are always seen wearing the feather style, it has swept the fashion world to a new global trend.

 I just love the way the feathers has gone more colorful, brighter and bigger!  See how the lovely plumage made these celebrities look in even more in style.  A striking touch of hot pink gives Gwyneth Paltrow an ultra dose of youthful flair.  Garcelle Beauvais hit of blue looks bold with a playful aura. The single flight of feather gives Vanessa Hudgens a jolt of exotic and breezy feel.  Drew Barrymore simply looks glorious in a dash of long plumage.

Feathers on hats are not yet lost in regal fashion. If you have seen the royal wedding, you would know what I mean.  Fedoras and feathers carried the timeless charm that never seems to fade through time.  However for yuppies like me, that seemingly vintage tradition is fitting for formal occasions.  And since I want something wearable for everyday, feather-in-the-hair trend is more interesting.

This trend is ethereal, chic, and colorful – feathers make a statement that is unparalleled. It comes in different colors and patterns giving you that one-of-a-kind feel. With a myriad of options to choose from, finding the perfect hue to complement our hair color and complexion is never a problem.  Mix and match of dresses and tops are also made easier and fun.  Whether you want to look retro or punky or alluring, feathers can help you do the trick.  All-natural feathers with remarkable quality can even keep up with hairdryers, washing, and curling irons.  I just hope that prices don’t go sky high now that everyone I know wants to jump in and join the trend.

So would you style the feather way?  As for me, I would definitely go online shopping for the vibrant feather earring like Garcelle’s!
Sunday, June 5, 2011

How Technology Revolutionized Fashion Reality

Online shopping experience has really kept me up so late last night and I’m still craving for more.  I was not actually splurging online, I was enjoying the moments of “window shopping” at the comforts of home.  This is the marvel of technology – “if you can't bring me to your store, bring your store to me."  I must admit that this innovation has really made my life easier and my closet always updated.  It’s amazing how I can actually feel a dress on me by just viewing how the dress hangs and looks virtually.

Technology has emerged to virtually revolutionize almost every way we do things from banking to service offerings, and the fashion world has become a part of that reality.  Social e-commerce like Facebook and Twitter has proven to come out as two of the most popular and most viewed sites aside from Google.  Blogging also allows designers and consumers to go personal with anything they could possibly talk about fashion (like what I am doing now!).  The World Wide Web has a lot to offer and we are in for the ride!

Apart from using computer solutions, fashion retailing is without a doubt also going mobile.  Businesses and designers have taken advantage of the interactive feature that technology has to offer.  Ultimately this will elevate the face of fashion to a more advanced ways of connecting designers direct to consumers in order to seize the opportunity to keep up with what’s in and what’s not.  I’m pretty sure that in many years to come, fashion is headed to an even more technologically heightened era.  Imagine how you can just visualize dress up and the next day it is right on your doorstep?

For a whole new shopping experience, why not start now? Try my trusted site on African Fashions and you will surely fine something that fits your personal style.  With just a click, you are one step ahead of improving your wardrobe! 

What are you doing to stay ahead in fashion?  Share your thoughts on mobile apps or other ideas where an innovation in fashion has changed your life in any way.
Saturday, June 4, 2011

3-Minute Make-Up Trick

Make-up done in three minutes?  You must be kidding me…

While I was looking through some dresses at a specialty store, I unexpectedly heard something that caught my attention.  So I walked across the hall, stood there amazed as I watched and listened to the demo on some tricks to looking good despite all the demands of the daily grind. I learned some tricks from one make-up artist of a popular cosmetic brand and I tried it right away when I got home. To my surprise, it worked on me.  Now it’s your time to do the trick in just 3 minutes.  You can even set a timer if you want!
So here it is, the 3-minute make-up magic:
  1.  Apply a generous amount of blush to the cheeks.  Make sure the brush does not go beyond the cheek bones.  Use the brush in circular motions to the plumpest areas of the cheeks.  Proper blending will take around a minute to do.  Liquid or creamy blushes also work great even with just a tap of the fingers.
  2. Now you might be wondering why we applied the blush first.  According to the make-up guru, a blush under the powder can achieve a more natural look.  Indeed it does.  So apply the powder using the proper brush for full coverage.  This can be done in 30 seconds.
  3. Eye make-up takes forever to get done.  So if you’re in a rush, then the perfect gadget to instantly glamorize the eyes is using a colored eye liner. Blue or green liners are perfect to make the eyes pop with color.  With a light hand, trace the upper eye lashes, narrow at inner corners, thicker in the middle, and swept up a tad at the outer edge.  Apply the liner for the bottom lashes from the outside in.  But if you have wide-set eyes, line only the lower line halfway across.  This will take about a minute to accomplish.
  4. A dash of red lipstick or pink gloss completes the look.  It only takes a few seconds to do this.
There you have it sistahs.  The basics always come in handy.  In just three minutes you are all set for the day. Never allow a busy day to keep you from looking pretty.  So good luck and have a great day!
Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Art of Nail Fashion

Nail art is no longer exclusive for models and celebrities. You can actually do nail art at the comforts of your own home without the price tag.  Of course, let’s leave the most intricate details to the professionals and make the most of our creative and feminine side.  Nail art can actually add a fabulous zest to your usual look and gives a touch of unique flair to any dress.  With a few tips and some tools to get you started, you too can begin to spice up and brighten your nails with colors and patterns that are surprisingly amazing.

First things first, make sure that your nails are healthy, clean, and shaped nicely. Before starting the designing routine, get all the materials you need in place to avoid ruining the mood while you are doing the art as well as avoid messing the paint.  To start off, give your nails a pretty and neat canvass, meaning you have to apply a base coat in any color of your choice.  Make sure the coat gives a neat finish and dry enough for the designing layers.

There are a lot of ways to make designs on nails.  You can use jewels, stickers, and glitters to make versatile and fascinating innovations. To make more intricate patterns, you can airbrush your nails and use stencils or masks. Pre-printed artificial nails also come in handy if you prefer the readymade once.  But for me, I would prefer that you bring out the creativity in you by trying some artistic patterns that truly gives an expression of nail fashion at its best.  For starters, simple dots forming a floral pattern can do magic.  You can use a nail art pen, bobby pin or even tooth picks.  Make simple abstract patterns with trailing dots, swirls and swish strokes.  To ensure that the design lasts, apply a clear top coat.  Trust me, its fun, easy, and invigorating!

Found this online for inspiration, see if you can recreate the dots like this… simple yet elegant.

Remember that art is the product of your creativity and you can learn it with enough practice and patience. So go easy on yourself, give enough leeway to perfect the craft and not be stressed out while doing it.  Be the artist that you are and enjoy painting and embellishing your nails!

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