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Fashion Evolution Chronicles: A Rainy Day

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ersonal style changes when you move to a new city… especially London, England. I recently moved to the UK, and it didn’t take long for me to act on all of the great fashion inspiration the city has to offer. Follow me through my Fashion Evolution Chronicles, one story at a time.

Photo Credit: ELLE
Photo Credit: ELLE

I’d like to paint you a quick picture. 

London: Where there’s a constant drizzle of spitting rain and the sun seems to prefer isolation from any sort of human contact. The cobblestone sidewalks are full of puddles, huge raindrops fall from awnings and overhangs of brick buildings, and the right raincoat is just as much of a fashion statement as the shoes on your feet.

Now, imagine that post-rain/fresh-dirt smell mixed with faint whiffs of tobacco and car exhaust. Busy work women walk by on their Bluetooths, couples nuzzle and hold hands while sharing an umbrella, and daughters and sons run ahead of their parents, all of these people talking different languages. I’m totally romanticizing, because I’m still new here. But basically, London is busy, buzzing, and wet. Close your eyes and think about these things for just a moment…

You’re practically here, right?

Personally, I like this kind of weather. The only problem is that when I think I look like this:

I actually look like this:

Say it with me: “Dressing cute for rainy weather is hard, staying cute in rainy weather is harder.”

So how to all of these people look so effortless, put together, and chic all the time? While I’m sure years of living in this climate have attributed to their successful acclimation, but above all, I believe that Londoners dress with intention. Every purchase is pre-meditated; every outfit planned carefully.

Londoners’ Rainy Day Fashion Essentials

What are some of the staples that these city folk swear by? From what I’ve seen, there are three specific things:

The Trainers (Sneakers; Tennis Shoes)

Sneakers for rainy days

Products: Gray, Blue, All Black Sneaker, Red, Black Slip-On

The thing about getting around London is that 90% of traveling consists of walking, running to catch a train, or doing that polite, half-jog thing crossing the street in front of cars. Basically, Londoners are on their feet all day. This means investing in a comfortable pair of trainers (a.k.a. sneakers in America) that are chic and functional is a must.

If you’re actually in London, it rains or snows more often than not. You’re definitely going to get these shoes dirty, so purchasing pearly-white slip ons is a moot point. Think of a pair that will go with lots of things in your wardrobe. Versatility is another key here, because these shoes are worn every day!

The Big Bag

rainy day big hand bags

Products: Colorful Stripe, Red, Brown, Yellow, Black and White

I have a tote of my own, but I love my nifty black clutch with all of my heart. It’s perfect for my cards, cash, and bobby pins. Sometimes I can even fit mascara in it. I’ve noticed here, however, that women are not worried about how much stuff they’re toting with them. And I mean toting. It seems like four out of five women here have giant bags in tow, which keeps me wondering what’s inside. Do you have a dog in there? Your next three meals? A change of clothes and shoes? Your first-born child? Seriously, that bag is huge and you look like you may even be leaning to the side a bit.

No matter what’s inside the bag, these women aren’t afraid to make a statement. Street style here on a daily basis is very minimalistic, and the big bag often acts as the statement piece of the outfit. Whether it’s a bright pop of yellow to contrast the cloudy day, or a menagerie of stripes, the handbags here are head-turners.

The Go-To Jeans

rainy day denim

Products: Flares, Skinny, Dark Wash Cropped, Light Wash Mom Jeans

Denim, denim, denim. You either love it or you hate it. And if any woman in London hates it, she is very good at hiding it. Jeans are part of the daily uniform, and every individual picks a certain cut that fits perfectly into her style and aesthetic. Two really big trends right now are bell bottoms, like these from AE, and mom jeans, like this pair from Mango.

If you’re not comfortable enough to go out on a limb with trendy jeans, dark wash is always a safe route to take. A classic skinny or cropped jean goes with nearly everything, and the dark wash is universally flattering.

3 Ways to Wear White This Labor Day

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3 Ways to Wear White This Labor Day

I don’t know about you, but I have a harder time thinking up Labor Day outfits than I do for any other holiday. Christmas and New Year’s are all about festive sparkle, but what does one wear for Labor Day? 

To get around this dilemma, I wanted to turn one of the most commonly-broken fashion adages, white after Labor Day, completely on its head. In the spirit of ignoring one of the biggest outdated fashion rules in the book, here’s how I’m rocking white this Labor Day – and every day after!

1. The Friday Night Party

Products: Dress, Sandals, Clutch, Lipstick, Hat

The start of a new school year means mixers and parties. A shift dress is a great throw-on-and-go option for nights out, and I love the edgy mesh detail on this one. I’m also totally obsessing over strappy flats right now, so I went with this pair from Zara. That said, a dress this basic will go well with any pair of heels you might have in your closet.

If you’ve read my May and June posts, you’ll know I love hats of all kinds. They’re great transitional pieces for fall, and they’re wonderful for adding something unexpected to an otherwise ho-hum dress-and-strappy-shoes combo.

2. The Beach-house Saturday

Products: Bikini Top, Shorts, Tank, Cross-body, Sandals, Sunglasses

If you’re still squeezing beach days into your social calendar, you’re not alone! Nothing says ‘waving summer out with a bang’ quite like a pineapple-print bikini. Pineapple prints give me total beach vibes, and I’ll be rocking them until midriff season is well and truly over.

Pumpkin spice is to fall what Frappuccinos are to eighty-degree weather – and this crop top is an incredible ode to the summery confection. When paired with this statement unicorn crossbody, it’s a super-fun way to celebrate the amazing four months you’ve just had.

3. The Sunday Brunch

Labor Day white outfit - Ripped jeans, crop top, blue accessories

Products: Top, Jeans, Heels, Bag, Necklace

I love white lace tops, but when paired with white boyfriend jeans? Yes please. They’re both white, which makes them look completely cohesive and tones down the edginess of the juxtaposition.

My favorite outfit accent color is red, but cobalt blue is a crisp shade that’s a little more low-key. I love any bag that reminds me of Chanel’s classic Boy bag, and this crossbody comes in an eye-catching shade and unusual finish.

How to Dress in Summer-Time: Look Sharp Without Sweating Your Balls Off

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Summer Style for MenSo summer has finally arrived.

The sun is out, temperature is up, and you’re left wondering how to dress during this season and keep looking sharp.

In fall, winter and spring, you can have a lot of fun with layers, but in summer, wearing more than one layer can have you sweating like a roasted pig. And the last thing you want is to be walking around with Niagara Falls gushing from your forehead.

You want to dress well, but you also want to stay comfortable. (And you’re absolutely right, because obvious discomfort is the most unstylish thing a man can wear.)

So what can you wear this summer that keeps you looking sharp without causing you to overheat?

Well, dressing well in summer isn’t as hard as you might think.

You don’t need multiple layers to look your best. You can look great wearing just a single layer. And if you invest in summer-appropriate clothes, you can even still wear layers without ending up a sweaty mess.

How?

Well, let’s find out.

3 Summer Fabrics That Keep You From Overheating

If you often overheat and break out in sweat during the summer months, you probably point your finger at the scorching sun and temperature.

Well, you’re not entirely wrong, but it might also have another cause.

The other (and possibly even bigger) cause is poor air circulation. You might be wearing clothes that don’t allow your skin to “breathe”.

This is why most men prefer to wear shorts in summer; they allow the skin to breathe more which makes them more comfortable to wear than pants. But, if you wear pants that are made of summer-appropriate material, you might find you actually prefer them — but more on that later.

When buying summer clothing, you want to invest in garments made of lightweight, breathable fabrics.

So let’s go over a few of these fabrics.

1. Cotton

Almost all summer clothing will be made out of cotton.

Make sure that whatever you buy is 100% cotton. If you see any kind of rayon or polyester blend, just say no. These materials are the opposite of breathable.

Cotton comes in a number of varieties though, and you want to make sure you get one that’s summer appropriate.

Before you buy any item, do the following to test its weight and breathability.

  • The breath-test — Put the fabric over your mouth and try breathing. Can you literally breathe through the fabric? If you have to suck hard to get air, don’t buy it.
  • The light-test — hold the garment at least a foot away from a light source. Can you see through it? If not, don’t buy it.

Three varieties of cotton that are especially great for summer are:

  • Seersucker: Seersucker is a thin, puckered fabric. The thin puckered texture allows the fabric to rest away from the skin, which allows for comfortable airflow. Seersucker clothes can be quite expensive compared to regular cotton though..
  • Chambray: This is often confused with denim, as the two look very similar. This weave is easily identified by having a white thread going one direction, and a colored thread in the other direction. These make fantastic summer shirts.
  • Madras: Madras is most notably recognized by its distinct plaid patterns. What makes this weave unique is that it uses short cotton fibers instead of long fibers. This creates a specific texture and can only be hand made.

(Note: Seeing madras in a store might not actually be real Madras — just the iconic plaid patterns on regular cotton. Might still be good for summer, but test before you buy!)

2. Linen

Linen has been the warm weather cloth of choice for centuries for good reason. It’s super lightweight, breathable, and absorbs moisture exceptionally well. Linen has a very distinct look to it.

The downside is that linen wrinkles a lot. But that is all part of its charm. This is the only time you can get away with wrinkled clothes. .

Linen shirt

With linen, looking a bit wrinkly is a-okay

Because of the way linen is made, it doesn’t really take patterns well. You will often see linen made in solid colors only — white being the most common.

3.Tropical Weight Wool

You might be surprised to see wool on this list as it’s typically associated with the colder months.

But wool actually has a very wide comfort range and adapts to almost any weather condition. Wool is typically woven in weights to match the climate — you can get heavy wool for cold winters as well as a lightweight and breathable weight for the warmer weather.

For summer, you obviously want to go for the latter. Tropical weight wool’s unique properties make it especially great for summer.

  • Moisture-wicking: When you sweat, wool actually pulls the water away from your skin, into the fabric, and then dissipates into the atmosphere.
  • Odor Resistant: Wool is naturally odor resistant. Not only does it help keep you dry, but it keeps you from getting smelly.
  • Wrinkle Resistant: Good quality wool does a great job of resisting wrinkling. It will actually bounce back into shape if you let it hang up in your closet — which means minimal ironing.
  • Easy to clean: Because of wool’s natural odor resistance and moisture-wicking properties, if you just leave it hanging in your closet and wear the garment once every 7-10 days, it will be good as new. The only time you really need to get wool dry cleaned is if you spill something on it and need to get a stain out.

The most obvious way to tell the difference between the two different weights of wool is the label. Luckily, they often advertise tropical weight wool as being appropriate for warm weather (it might actually be called “tropical weight”).

That’s not always the case though, so another ways to separate the two is to look at the weaving of the fabric.

Winter weight wool will likely be woven in a serge weave, which has a diagonal pattern woven into it. Tropic weight wool is woven in a plain weave, which has a more straight pattern, with horizontal and vertical lines.

Difference between serge and plain weave

Also, when you do the “light” test, Tropical weight wool will look almost see through.

Colors You Should Be Wearing in Summer

So, summer is the absolute best time to be wearing colors.

In fall and winter, colors tend to be more dark and/or muted, for summer, you want to go light and/or bright — but never overdo it on the brightness. One bright-colored piece per outfit is more than enough.

Lighter and brighter colors are more summer appropriate because they better reflect the summer mood. The sun is shining, flowers are bloomed, everybody’s feeling happier (except for summer-haters, I guess).

Bright colors reflect this change in atmosphere — just like muted, darker colors better reflect the winter months.

Summer Colors

In Summer, You Want to Light & Bright

The big benefit of wearing light & bright colors is that they keep you cooler in the sun. As most people know, dark colors absorb the heat, so you should avoid those. The lighter your clothes, the less heat they’ll absorb.

With that in mind, you want to avoid wearing outfits that are too dark. You can wear black or dark pieces, but going too dark shows everyone you have no clue how to dress in summer. It kinda makes you look like a social pariah.

So don’t be afraid to get out there with your colors! That is the whole point of this season.

Note: The darker your tan gets, the better bright colors will look on you. Those with paler complexions are better of avoiding the brighter options and choose lighter ones instead.

How to Dress in Summer: Your Guide to Summer Clothing

So in summer, less clothes is usually more. You generally don’t want to layer up too much — two light-weight layers at most — as this will only increase the heat. But that doesn’t mean you can’t look sharp.

Same as during any other time of year, getting the fit right, keeping it simple and making smart color combinations will get you very far.

Let’s discuss some specific clothes and how to make them work in summer heat.

1. Shorts

ShortsProbably the one garment most associated with summer are shorts.

When the sun starts scorching, everybody’s quick to grab a pair of shorts, but few known how to pull them off with style.

So what you should remember about shorts, and this should be obvious, is that they are casual by nature. There is no formal occasion in which shorts are acceptable. Not a one. These aren’t office-appropriate garments, guys!

Also, avoid any shorts that have cargo pockets. The goal is to have nice clean lines, which makes cargo-shorts the opposite of stylish. You always want your garments to closely follow the lines of your body, and shorts are no exception.

Shorts should be flat front and should hit you right above the knee.

You can certainly keep your color choices simple with shorts — and it’s wise to have at least one or two neutral options — but shorts give you a great opportunity to have some fun with color. They’re so casual, you can easily get away with louder colors and even prints.

If you are going to wear loud shorts though, wear it with something neutral to balance the outfit.

Speaking of which…

2. T-Shirts (and Variations)

Summer TeeT-shirts get a bad rep sometimes. I often get e-mails from guys telling me they want to move on from T-shirts and jeans, but neither of these garments are unstylish by nature — in fact, they’re both men’s wardrobe essentials. Many guys simply choose to wrong type or the wrong size.

So first off, I would tell you to avoid graphic tees and go for either a solid or striped piece. If you absolutely must go for a graphic tee, make sure the graphic is relatively subtle and not too in-your-face. Oh, and on no occasions should you ever wear a “funny” tee!

You can go for a crew-neck or a V-neck. I personally prefer the latter, but it’s a matter of taste. Another great option though are Henleys (a.k.a. Y-necks).

Oh, and let’s not forget about polo-shirts.

They’re not technically considered t-shirts, but I think they should classify as such, don’t you? I mean, the only thing that separates them from tees is the collar!

Anyway, I think every guy should have a few polo-shirts in their wardrobe. They’re as comfortable as simple tees, but they have a collar. And a collar always adds a level of style to a garment.

Really, you ought to have a couple of variations of T-shirts. Don’t stick to one type and get it in a bunch of different colors. Mix it up a bit!

3. Shirts

Summer shirtOf course, you can (and should) also throw some shirts in your summer style mix.

Shirts are a stylish step up from plain T-shirts. They’re just classier. I don’t think you always have to be wearing a shirt, but definitely when you want to make a good impression on someone.

As discussed earlier, make sure your shirts are made from the right fabrics. Many shirts are made from less-breathable fabrics and they’re not as comfortable when the temperature starts to boil.

Having a few neutrals is always a good idea, but remember that it’s summer, which means time to have a bit of fun with colors and patterns.

4. Pants

Summer pantsIt might seem counter intuitive, but often times pants can keep you cooler than shorts. Pants have the added benefit of keeping your skin shielded from the direct sunlight. With the right kinds of fabrics, you will sweat less and actually be more comfortable wearing pants than shorts.

Stick with lighter colors for your pants and keep them mostly neutral as they’ll go with more of your summery, colorful wardrobe.

If you feel brave, you might get some bright-colored pants as well. But make sure to keep the rest of the outfit neutral, as bright-colored pants make enough of a statement on their own.

Lastly, you might wear your pants with a canvas belt instead of a leather one. You might’ve seen them in stores before and wonder when you’d ever wear them. Well, summer is the answer. Canvas belts make for a great casual piece and also look great with some canvas shoes.

5. Footwear

Summer sneakersSo, in summer you have lots and lots of shoe options, especially when it comes to casual wear.

And while I generally recommend guys to wear leather shoes, summer is the one season where I’d recommend otherwise. Leather is okay to wear in summer, mind you, but suede or canvas shoes will keep you much cooler.

Some examples of great summer shoes (ranked somewhat from casual to formal):

  • Espadrilles
  • Slip-ons
  • Canvas sneakers (like Converse or Vans)
  • Boat shoes
  • Driving shoes
  • Suede loafers
  • Suede brogues or derbies

When you’re wearing shorts, you want to keep your shoes casual. Also, when you wear shorts, your shoes should never rise above your ankle. Of the shoes listed above, I’d recommend to wear shorts only with the first four (but you should always feel free to rebel!)

Also, like mentioned before, you want to go either sockless with shorts or wear invisible socks. But if you are wearing your shoes barefoot, you will NEED to have shoe trees for your shoes and a deodorizing spray. Your shoes, and your feet, are going to stink if you don’t take care of this on the front end.

6. Jackets

summer jacketWhile So, in many cases, wearing a jacket during summer might be overkill. In casual situations, it’s just another unnecessary layer. But still, you might find yourself in more formal situations where you need a jacket, and they might come in handy on cooler evenings.

The trick to wearing jackets in summer is simply to get them in the right fabrics, as discussed above. And while you can certainly wear a darket jacket, to keep yourself cool, you might opt for jackets that are bit lighter in color as well; so instead of charcoal or navy, you might opt for a light-grey or camel.

Don’t wear a jacket when it’s not necessary though. During other months, I’m all for wearing jackets in casual situations, but in summer months, it can look a bit try-hard. It won’t make you look smarter when the added heat from wearing a jacket is making you sweat more.

Stay Cool and Look Cool in Summer Heat

Summer is here, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on being stylish.

You just have to be stylish while wearing fewer clothes. And that’s totally doable now that you know how to dress for summer heat.

I won’t promise you won’t sweat at all, but if you invest in the right fabrics, wear the right colors, and keep your outfits summer-appropriate, you’ll keep from feeling like you’re suffocating.

The temperature might be rising, but you’ll stay comfortable.

And you’ll keep on looking your best.

How To Look Taller: 14 Fashion Tips That Really Work

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If you’re petite, your height can feel like a serious impediment to your style. (You’re probably BFFs with your tailor, no?) Until science comes up with a way for short folks to add a few extra inches, however, your best bet is to rely on a few clever fashion tips and tricks to fake those extra inches. Below, we outline how to look taller using the fashion you’ve got in your closet.

How To Look Taller

Read on, and be sure to let us know in the comments your tips for looking taller!

 

flared jeans look tallerPhoto: Shut Up I Love That Shirt on You

1. Try flared jeans.
Fitted jeans with a distinct flare at the bottom create the illusion of a longer leg— especially when the hem hits the top of your shoes (heels, of course!) The trick here is to keep the fit of the jean super-slim through the leg, and to make sure the waistband hits your natural waist—not any lower. For optimal height, be sure to pair your flares with a waist-length top, or a blouse you can tuck in.

how to look taller

Photo via Stockholm Street Style

2. Don’t discount maxi skirts!
It’s common fashion folklore that small women simply cannot wear floor-grazing skirts and dresses, but luckily that’s been proven entirely false. In fact, a well-cut maxi skirt can actually give you the appearance of looking taller, as evidenced by petite gals like Rachel Bilson, Rachel Zoe, and Mary-Kate Olsen.

Choose solid versions that skim the length of your body, which will create a long vertical line (forego anything with thick pleats or too many layers.) Be sure to keep your top fitted—a tucked-in T-shirt and a cropped leather jacket, for example—so as to not drown in fabric. Also, make sure the skirt’s hemline is as long as you can go without tripping, and add a pair of wedges or heels underneath.

how to look taller

Photo via Atlantic-Pacific

3. Choose heels with a low-cut vamp.
Here’s small trick that can change the way you shoe shop: Shoes that have a low-cut vamp instantely elongate your leg (and make them look slimmer, as well) when you’re wearing skirts, shorts, and dresses.

What’s a vamp? It’s the portion of a show that cuts across your foot at the front. So, a low vamp cuts across the base of the toes, while high vamp can come up the foot and possibly up to the ankle. If you’re able to find a pair that matches your skintone, like the image above, that’s even better to give the illusion of mile-long legs.

how to look taller

4. If you’re going short, go short!
When you’re petite, it’s just a fact that—when it comes to skirts and dresses—you should either go super-long, or super-short (translation: avoid calf-length and knee-lengths). Mini-skirts show more skin, which creates the illusion of a longer leg. Here, petite It-girl Miroslava Duma pairs her mini-skirt with a matching top (see tip #6!) and sky-high platforms.

While ankle straps typically aren’t ideal for short ladies (they cut off your leg), they can work with super-short skirts since more skin is being shown. Of course, if you’re wearing a mini, make sure it’s not offensively short—let’s keep it chic, ladies.

 how to look taller

Photo via Wander with Style

5. Rock a top knot!
Obvious, yes, but piling your hair on top of your head really does gives a taller impression, again creating a more vertical line. Same goes for hair that’s simply voluminous—it adds inches! Time to put away that flatiron, friends.

 How To Look Taller: 14 Fashion Tips That Really Work

Photo via Vogue Spain

6. Wear all one color.
Using color to enhance the illusion of height is a highly effective strategy, as it helps create a vertical line. While wearing head-to-toe black is the simplest—and eternally chicest—option, saturated hues work well, too (a look that’s incredibly now, as well.) The trick to monochrome dressing: Keep each silhouette crisp and tailored.

stockholm street style

Photo via Stockholm Streetstyle

7. Say yes to high-waist bottoms!
High-waist bottoms get a bad rap, possibly thanks to an unfortunate Jessica Simpson style mishap, but when worn correctly, they can trick the eye into thinking you’re taller by elongating your lower body. Whether you choose skirts, shorts or skinny jeans, be sure to make the elevated waist visible by tucking in a tailored blouse, or opting for a slightly cropped top.

 How To Look Taller: 14 Fashion Tips That Really Work

Photo via Auds3/Instagram

MORE: What to Wear With a Jean Jacket

8. Wear pointy flats.
Since nobody can be expected to wear sky-high heels every day, petite gals should invest in a pair of pointy flats. Why? Because it’s a known fact that shoes with pointed toes lengthen your leg line.

 How To Look Taller: 14 Fashion Tips That Really Work

Photo via The Pink Peonies

9. Rock out with vertical stripes.
It’s the oldest trick in the book for a reason: Vertical stripes create long lines, thus making you look, well, longer. Bonus: Stripes are one of spring’s biggest trends, so you’ll have absolutely no problem locating some cute striped options.

black leather etsy bag

Image via Etsy

10. Ditch the gigantic shoulder bag!
Keeping your accessories appropriately scaled to your body size is a smart move for petite girls, starting with that oversized bag. Here’s why: Every time you cause the eye to take in width, you reduce the amount of height it takes in. That means smaller cross-body bags, clutches, and small top-handle totes are your best bet.

wavy bob ombre

Photo via Joujou Villeroy

11. Chop your hair.
Long hair drags petite girls down, while shorter hair does the opposite. For the wary: A wavy lob (long bob) is the best option—it shows off your shoulders and your neckline, which makes you look taller (plus, it’s so chic!).

Daring gals should go even shorter: a super-sleek chin-length bob or an elegant gamine-esque pixie.

belt skinny

Photo via Lookbook.Nu

12. Stick with skinny belts.
When it comes to belts, short girls should always opt for a skinny version—it’ll define your natural waist in the most flattering way possible, but won’t cut you in half the way a super-thick belt can, which causes you to look shorter.

sincerely jules style

Photo via Sincerely Jules

MORE: 101 Fashion Tips and Tricks Every Girl Should Know

13. Be mindful of proportion.
When you’re petite, it’s imperative to be sure all your clothes fit properly (a good tailor is key!). Wearing cropped skinny jeans? Make sure they’re not too cropped and that the hem hits the ankle area—small gals should avoid anything resembling capri pants, as they cut your leg awkwardly. With blazers and jackets, always make sure the seams sit perfectly at the bony tops of your shoulders and that the sleeves hit exactly at your wrist.

geri hirsch

Photo via Because I’m Addicted

14. Wear V-necks.
Tops with plunging V necklines give the illusion of a longer, leaner torso, so keep that in mind when you’re shopping for new tops this season!

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