Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Keep it demure when wearing animal print

Animal print is always a tough look to pull off, but many of us just can't seem to resist the allure of jungle and safari patterns. With summer just around the corner, these fun and flirty designs are sure to be just as stylish as ever. With so many prints to choose from - leopard, giraffe, zebra, cheetah - how can you pick just one? Keep in mind, though, that just as with all good things, moderation is key.

Animal print is sexy on its own, so if you're going to wear it, you need to make sure you don't go with a gown that's too over the top. To see how it's done, have a gander at what Mary J Blige wore to the 2011 Billboard Music Awards recently. Channeling a Victorian aesthetic, Blige's dress featured a high neck and cap sleeves as well as a long, floor-length train. A little solid paneling on the sides kept the gown's leopard print pattern from becoming overwhelming, so Blige looked sexy and demure at the same time - quite a feat!

Ladies of all sensibilities can pull off animal print - the trick is in keeping the look subtle. If all-over cheetah print is too much for you, start off small with an animal-print clutch or a pair of zebra-striped high heels.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Looking to shine like a star at an upcoming formal event? Then you should probably consult the sultaness of sparkle, the guru of glitter herself - Taylor Swift. Miss Swift has been known to sport more than a few shimmery dresses, and she always looks fabulous. Her look at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards recently was, not surprisingly, no exception. Swift continued her string of fashion hits with a gorgeous strapless gown that can teach all of us a thing or two about pulling off the glitter-glam look.

Taylor looked absolutely flawless in a floor-length dress glimmering in gold and silver. The column-style gown was cinched at her waist, highlighting her trim figure before falling elegantly to her feet. Taylor wore her curls in a soft, wavy style and pinned them to the side so they cascaded down over one shoulder, leaving the other bare for a touch of sexiness. Like Taylor herself, the look was the perfect marriage of innocence and elegance.

If you want to wear a glittering dress but want to avoid looking like a 5-year-old's art project, the trick is to combine a sophisticated style with a shimmery fabric. No ruffles, tulle or frills here, unless you want to look like a Disney princess. Stick to classic silhouettes, and you're sure to be the bijoux-ed belle of the ball.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Spring, in dress form

Hilary Swank is one of those stars who just seems to score fashion hit after fashion hit, and we love the springtime look she rocked to the preview of the "Choose You" documentary about cancer prevention, which the Oscar winning actress executive produced. The Isaac Mizrahi Spring 2011 dress, which she wore to the screening at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City recently, was yet another win from Ms. Swank!

The dress was the very embodiment of summer with its textured fabric, yellow and white design and floral-inspired pattern. It almost looked as though the actress had rolled around in a field of daffodils or glued the petals of several daisies to her dress! Paired with champagne pumps, the neutral palette of the outfit was perfect for the season. We do wish, however, that Hilary had shown a little more skin - it's far too warm to be covering up with such a high neckline and bulky sleeves.

We want to encourage all the ladies attending formal events this summer to let the season inspire their fashion in as many ways as possible. Whether it's color, texture or cut, its time to say goodbye to your winter wardrobe and start embracing the sunny styles of spring.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Deep blue sea

Now that the weather is warm, are your formal dress options limited to soft pastels and other light, feminine colors? Some might say yes, but we beg to differ. Deep, scintillating blues and greens can work just as well in the summer as they do in the winter - and Karolina Kurkova proved it at the Cannes Film Festival Opening Ceremony.

The model wore a fabulous Armani Privè Fall 2009 gown, which, despite being designed for the cooler season, looked perfectly at home on the summertime red carpet. Maybe it was the way the dress' deep sapphire tone contrasted with the cloudless blue sky and the gently lapping aqua sea, or maybe it was the gown's summery off-the-shoulder sleeve (yes, singular - her other arm was bare). We're not sure, but we do know that she looked absolutely stunning in this mermaid-hemmed number embellished with Swarovski gems and organza and crinoline details on the shoulder.

Paired with strappy high-heeled sandals, a simple black clutch and stately diamond jewelry, this look would work for any time of year.

So there you have it, ladies - no need to put those jewel-toned gowns in the back of your closet. Sumptuous colors like this can work in the summer with the right accessories and styling.

Something a little similar... 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Brides' hemlines on the up-and-up

Weddings may be a thing of tradition, but even wedding dresses are subject to a bit of flux and change now and then. Surprisingly enough, brides are hiking up their skirts a bit as of late to feature mid-length and even minidress-level hemlines.

"Short is the new long for red carpet dressing," Net-a-Porter's U.S. editor Tracy Taylor told MSNBC's TODAY.com, regarding the high volume of short dresses at the bridal fashion showcase in New York, "and for brides to look different, the short wedding dress is the way for her to be different, stand out and show off her best assets."

According to the news source, this is also a reflection of the tendency for brides to buy two dresses - a longer one for the ceremony and a shorter one they can dance in at the reception.

So what will you be kicking your heels up in at your upcoming wedding? A short dress doesn't have to be dressed down or less lavish than a gown with a long train - brides can still sport luxurious materials, embellished details and decorative accessories in their tresses.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Updating the classics

While it's always fun to show up to a party in something totally avant-garde and unexpected, sometimes your best bet for fashion success is a tried-and-true style that has already withstood the test of time. If you want to have your cake and eat it too, the trick is to find a modern take on the classic looks of the '50s and '60s - just like Megan Fox did at Jaguar's 50th Anniversary of the E-Type.

Just like the car, Fox was the perfect marriage of modern daring and regal elegance. She showed up to the event sporting a chic pencil-skirted dress with a loose halter-style bodice, which draped flatteringly over her bosom and tied in a perfect knot right between her collarbones. The tight, form-fitting skirt hearkened back to the office styles of the '50s and '60s, but the top was all modern. Plus, the dress' subtle mint green color was the final touch on a flawless style. Paired with tousled hair and glossy lips, Megan was the picture of retro glam.

You can rock this style too if you keep your eyes peeled for looks that combine classic sentimentalities with a handful of modern touches - like a fresh color, a unique detail or a splash of sparkle. Keep your accessories and hairstyle current and you're sure to be the talk of the party.

Friday, May 13, 2011

An all-new neckline

Just when we thought we'd seen 'em all - boat, sweetheart, strapless, v-neck, collared - along comes a brand new neckline that we're just not quite sure what to call. Rose Byrne took a chance (and it paid off!) on a totally unique neckline at the Los Angeles premiere of her new movie Bridesmaids, and you can too at your next formal event.

Byrne wore an electric pink dress with black detailing - including two black straps that held up the gown's one-of-a-kind top. The artistic neckline laid straight across Byrne's clavicles, and the two straps held it up perfectly. But that wasn't all. In the fact, the same fuchsia fabric created a beautiful, elegant drape. Additionally, the bold knee-length dress featured a black sash around the waist to show off Byrne's trim figure. A pair of black peep-toe heels and a red clutch completed her spectacular look.
 Byrne's neckline is just one way that you can customize a dress to be all yours at your next formal occasion. Keep an eye out for a detail unlike any you've ever seen - a special hem, a unique slit or a one-of-a-kind applique can be all your need to make your dress all your own.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Trends for mothers of the bride

Attending your daughter's wedding is a famously emotional time for dads, who often stand at the altar to give their little girls away, but it can be just as exciting and emotional for moms, too. Plus, while dad only needs to wear his best tux, mom has to navigate a complicated fashion world to find the ideal mother-of-the-bride dress that won't distract from her daughter's big day. Luckily, The Knot is here to help.

According to the website, pastels and neutrals are hot colors that will look beautiful in pictures next to your daughter's wedding dress. Pastel pink, lavender, light blue and especially champagne are some gorgeously simple choices that won't steal attention away from the bride in wedding photos.

Of course, just because you're of a certain age doesn't mean you have to be all covered-up. Modesty is always in, of course, but today’s mother of the bride is "younger-looking and sexier than ever, and she wants to dress that way," Carmen Marc Valvo, designer extraordinaire for celebs like Katie Couric and Beyonce, tells The Knot. Don't shy away from styles that show off your shoulders or reveal a bit of your decolletage. Strapless gowns look gorgeous on ladies of all ages, so show off a little clavicle - it'll help you keep cool on those hot summer wedding days, too.

No matter how you choose to dress, remember that your daughter's wedding is her special day. We know you're focusing your attention on her dress, but don't neglect your own style, either!

New line of dresses! VM by Mori Lee

VM by Mori Lee Social Occasion Dress 70320

 VM by Mori Lee Social Occasion Dress 70224


Friday, May 6, 2011

Matchy-matchy bridesmaids a thing of the past?

The stereotype of the hideous bridesmaid dress feels about as old as time, but do you really need to deck out your friends in ugly dresses just so you can look gorgeous on your big day? (We're betting you don't.) Don't force your closest friends into garish gowns! Instead, try out a fun new wedding trend. Instead of matchy-matchy bridesmaid dresses, give your girlfriends a few guidelines - a color, a silhouette or a hem length, for example - and let them pick out their own dresses.

Sure, it looks nice in photographs when all your brides are wearing the same dress, but let's be real - unless your friends are all 5'11" models, there's no one gown that's going to flatter them all. Some gals look better in A-lines while others prefer sheaths, and still others like sweetheart necklines or cap sleeves. Why not let your bridesmaids express their individuality? We know the day's all about you, but this is a special occasion for them as well. Let them look back on these photos happily by letting them show off their best sides, too.

To keep things organized, we recommend selecting a color for all of your bridesmaids to adhere to. For example, if your hubby-to-be's groomsmen will be wearing blue ties, suggest that your bridesmaids find dresses in a flattering aquamarine hue. For a black and white wedding, tell your bridesmaids they'll need to wear their best LBDs. The colors can be vague - "Just wear something red, girls!" - or crazy-specific, like aubergine or champagne. The choice is yours, but the dress is theirs.

Of course, if you want to make sure everything looks perfect and everyone's in the same gown, that's your prerogative as the bride. But may we just advise that you pick something that's not totally ugly? You're going to look beautiful, no matter what they wear - promise.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A gorgeous twist on a classic

Prom is usually a sea of shimmering taffeta and cascading tulle ruffles, but some girls know that less is more. Instead of a gown that's exploding with frilly details and over-the-top patterns, why not opt for something so simple and gorgeous that you're sure to be the talk of the evening? Aimee Teegarden knows what we mean - this pretty young ingénue went for an updated Grecian look that was uncomplicated yet so intriguing that we just couldn't wait to share it with you.

Appropriately, Teegarden wore this breathtaking gown at the premiere of the new movie Prom - and we think she's the perfect example of just how beautiful you, too, can look on the biggest night of high school. The silver floor-length column dress featured a strapless sweetheart neckline and plenty of shiny silver beads to give it texture and depth. For a gal with such a thin figure, Teegarden managed to give herself some stunning curves thanks to a cinched waist and a flattering décolletage that emphasized her small bust.

The dress is a great example of how sticking to the classics doesn't have to be boring. Look for a gown that features an established shape - like an A-line, a Grecian-inspired look or a sheath - and pick out special textures and colors to give it a modern twist. Throw in a few bold accessories, and voila! You'll be looking glamorous and flirty in no time

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

How to wear satin

Satin's a tricky fabric. While it can be unforgiving if you pick the wrong size, the right satin dress will glimmer and gleam in all the right places - showing off your curves and highlighting your trim figure. Just ask Leighton Meester.

The Gossip Girl actress picked out a gorgeous brown satin gown to wear to the DKMS' 5th Annual Gala in New York City. The shimmering Vera Wang creation was a look so flattering, style maven Blair Waldorf - Meester's television alter ego - would most certainly be proud. The flattering dress showed of Meester's hips while cinching around her tiny waist. Plus, with a one-shouldered neckline, this outfit was the picture of youthful elegance.

Meester paired her satin look with a red clutch and some orange heels for an autumn-inspired pallet that, somehow, feels right at home this spring.

If you're thinking about wearing satin to your next formal event, there's one cardinal rule to keep in mind - always get the right size! Too large will create unflattering bumps and lumps where there are none, and too small will stretch and strain. Just right, however, will look positively flawless, so this is one fashion risk that's worth taking.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The wedding that launched a thousand dresses

After months of speculation, Kate Middleton finally unveiled her wedding dress this morning. As the former commoner officially became Princess Catherine, she walked down the aisle in a stunning Alexander McQueen creation designed by Sarah Burton, who also designed the bridesmaid gown worn by her sister, Pippa. Now it's only a matter of time until "commoners" everywhere are demanding dresses just like Kate's.

The surprisingly modest selection featured a seven-foot train, lace sleeves and a plunging v-neck that allowed the slim Kate to show off her decolletage. Does the new princess' choice mean that brides everywhere will be returning to more demure styles, instead of strapless gowns and shorter hems? Yes and no.

Plenty of brides-to-me might be moved by Kate's dedication to classic royal elegance, and they'll likely start thinking about a return to sleeves, modest necklines and long trains. However, others will find a way to incorporate the most beautiful details of Kate's gown - like the unique neck, the gorgeous embroidered lace and the long, sheer veil - into a design that's slightly sexier for a summer wedding or an outdoor celebration.