Fashion tips for holiday parties

Taking the confusion out of dressing for holiday parties.

The holidays are upon us. This means shopping, budgeting, watching that we don’t go overboard on all the delicious food and holiday parties. The parties are fun. It gives us a chance to mingle with those we love, those we don’t always see and even those we only semi-like. However, for many people these parties are something to dread because they never know what to wear.

Do women always have to wear a dress? Do they have to wear heels? Do they have to give up their favorite pair of jeans? It depends on the type of party.

If it's an office party, the first rule is not to show too much skin. This means you can wear a dress or a nice skirt. However, skip the minis. If the invitation states that you should dress your best, you can add a little flash and flare with a little bit of metallic or a pair of red pumps. Yes, heels are ideal for this type of party (if you can stand them). A red purse is ideal, as well.

Invitations that read “Creative Black Tie” is a formal invitation. This means you can wear that full length dress. You can also dress it up with some jewelry and a really nice purse.

Festive attire is another name for a casual party. This would be an event that you could wear your favorite pair of jeans, if they are nice. You can dress them up with a satin blouse or simple white top paired with a green blazer. You can also dress up your look with jewelry or bold shoes.

Yes, red is the main color for holiday parties. Yet, if you don’t like red or don’t look good in it,Remember green, black and silver also look great. Plus, wearing these colors shows that you have some imagination.

If you plan on going shopping before any of the upcoming parties you wish to attend, try to purchase items that will work for the party and other engagements you will have throughout the year. This way you will be getting your money’s worth.


Chelsea Clinton in Vogue Magazine

Brains, beauty and fashion?

I’m old enough to remember when the talk show hosts got in trouble for making fun of Chelsea Clinton. You might think that you’re old enough, too, but you have to keep in mind that her dad Bill was the President of the United States at the time and the  Right Wing political pundits were making fun of her appearance. 

If I recall correctly, Chelsea Clinton was 12-years-old at the time. 


No one is saying anything like that about Chelsea Clinton now. The intellectual/politico has just been featured in Vogue Magazine for an exclusive interview, which can be read HERE.

Chelsea reported to Vogue that she would not rule out the possibility of following in her parents’ footsteps with a run for political office and I don’t think anyone is laughing now. It’s not as if one of the Bush daughters is considering a run for office. 


Chelsea is exceptionally gifted, articulate and obviously benefited from the combination of her parents' brains. It doesn’t hurt that she now has a PhD in International Relations from Oxford. Growing up in the public eye has something to do with it as well; Chelsea remarked that she was asked if she wanted to be a governor. The problem, as she sees it, is that she was four years old at the time. 


Hilary Clinton is also an inspiration to Chelsea Clinton; one only has to admire the accomplishments of Hilary Clinton while standing next to Bill Clinton while he was president; Hilary Clinton’s accomplishments as a Senator from New York; and now as the Secretary of State in the United States to recognize what a strong, smart woman can accomplish. 


The Vogue interview also focuses on the personal life of Chelsea Clinton; is she now a fashionista? The answer, according to her friends, is probably now, but she is definitely more striking and fashion-conscious than she was in the past. When the writer complimented Chelsea on her ensemble, one of Chelsea’s friends said, “Don’t encourage her.”


Because of her position in the media, her association with the Clinton Foundation, and her academic role, Chelsea Clinton is fortunate enough to hob nob in circles that others wouldn’t have access to. She claims she is treated kindly and that many people are grateful for the role her father played in their lives when he was President of the United States. 


ANTM: Westerners in Hong Kong

After last week’s surprise double elimination—baby-faced Ebony and supermodel-in-training Alisha, the final three contestants seemed beside themselves with happy surprise.


The final three contestants this season weren’t, for the most part, very predictable. There’s hypersexual American Laura who wooed the judges with her bendy-curvy pictures and rock-‘n-roll chick persona. Annaliese is short and pretty and seems more like a presenter—to the judges and the viewers—than a model. Blonde Brit Sophie is starting to annoy everyone with her constant talk about sacrifice and waitressing, but she looks quite a bit like Twiggy.

This week, we find out if the inevitable battle of the blondes is avoidable.

To begin, new evil bitch judge Kelly Catrone tells the contestants that they have to go on bookings in Hong Kong. Although it seems like a difficult task at the outset, it’s soon made lamer by the insertion of Chinese male models who take the girls around. The pot is thickened by the incentive of $500 that the contestants can win if they book four go-sees. $500? Thanks so much, ANTM!

Turns out, Laura is a really terrible walker—remember how she got fired for her walk in Toronto Fashion Week?—and Sophie wins the challenge. Catrone changes her mind about Annaliese—the real prize—saying that a great personality could help Annaliese overcome her height issue and make it in the modeling world.

Next, the contestants are supposed to sell ANTM’s fragrance to young teenagers, who are supposed to tell their mothers that they want/need/gotta have the perfume. There goes all that bullshit that the models are always spouting about being “role models” to young girls. Truly, the show just wants to sell them stuff.

The fashion shoot in conjunction with this idea is totally lame. The models have to pose inside a giant perfume bottle—that has nasty handprints all over it—wearing pouffy pink dresses and tulle skirts. They are supposed to look like princesses, apparently.

After a poor performance in the go-sees, Laura continues trying to nail her own coffin shut. She says that she only knows how to be edgy or sexy, that she doesn’t know how to just be pretty.

Luckily for her, the other contestants don’t perform particularly well, either. Sophie wins best picture—advancing her to the finale—but the judges say she looks too old. The judges also say that Annaliese looks like a tennis player in a catalog in her shoot—she really did—so they send her packing long, long after she should have left. She’s an actress.

That leaves the inevitable: the Brit and American blondes battling it out for the win.

Going Retro

Just how old do you feel when your elementary fashion comes back in style?

Wedging my face away from the grasp of my palm, I peek up again to see the sight yet again—little girls, ages seven and up, sporting the same side ponytail that I used to wear when I was a pre-teen. The scrunchies have been replaced with thinner, trendier hair ties, sometimes adorned with little plastic doodads, but otherwise it is the same—a ponytail on one side of the head, much like a pigtail missing a mate.

When did this happen? I feel so old all of a sudden, I suppose as old as my mother felt when her 70s pants and peasant tops came back into style when I was in high school and I really wanted my own set. It turned out that she still had a couple of such items in her closet, though they didn’t exactly fit me. Nevertheless, this odd flashback is unsettling because it’s today’s youth, not your own peers, wearing these styles—and I am sure if I went out with a side ponytail it would be considered a pretty laughable matter.

The same goes with shirt tying. Remember knotting your shirt just below or level with your navel, sometimes with a hair clip or scrunchie, sometimes by simply tying it? That’s a pretty big fashion style in schools right now from what I have seen. My best friends’ daughter demanded to have her shirt in this style the other day, and when her mom tried to tie the knot like we did when we were kids, her daughter did NOT like it! She wanted a ponytail holder on her shirt like the other girls were wearing, even though her mom told her she’d be the only one with the tie and all of the other kids would beg to have their shirts tied, too.

What’s next? Slap bracelets? Hammer pants? Leggings with stirrups covered by leg warmers and socks? Oh, I suppose I am dating myself now—even though I was born in the early eighties these fashions were still pretty hot during the early nineties when I actually cared about anything like that—but I have to laugh when I think about how today’s children will react when their own fashions come back to haunt them in twenty or thirty years. Layered tops, jeans with holes (what is it with jeans with and without holes alternating on the style-ometer anyway?)… I suppose I’ll just find out when my daughter laments about today’s fashion to me in thirty years, just as I am doing today.


Project Runway: Finale, Part II

The winner is announced.

The second part of the Project Runway: All-Stars finale pitted Austin’s, Mondo’s and Michael’s six-piece collections against one another. This season really was a sprint—these designers had to complete their limited collections in a mere four days, while earlier seasons gave contestants months to complete their runway-ready looks.

Per his wacky, glammed-out design aesthetic, Austin’s collection drew its inspiration from the clothes of Hasidic Judaism combined with the sensibility of an 18th-century vampire. Nope, nobody understood that either when Austin described it at the beginning of the show.

Austin’s show consisted of models with side locks wearing either leatherette and pink ensembles, or huge, full-skirted, over-the-top dresses. He made a really beautiful wedding dress with a skirt full of mock flower petals that was his most memorable look. The judges decided that Austin’s collection was beautiful, but that his ideas were far too scattered. Rather than a single collection, they argued, Austin had started creating several.

Michael’s inspiration for his collection was, per usual, simpler than Austin’s. He made looks that would fit in on a expensive, deluxe safari, using silk leopard prints and the like. He made a number of well-draped pantsuits and dresses, but his idea was too simple to create much of interest. The judges said that his looks would sell straight off the shelves, but seemed to think that Michael’s collection was too one note.

Mondo was so stressed out by the final collection, he drew his inspiration from the idea of clinical therapy. He made his own Rorschach inkblot-patterned fabric, used maniacal polka dots and circles in each one of his outfits, and styled his models’ hair to make them seem as though they’d just escaped an insane asylum. Although the irony of the “tortured” artist forced onto the reality TV show should not be ignored, Mondo’s collection was still really cool. It was particularly cohesive with matching red sleeves, and black-and-white fabrics. His final red, white and black brocade dress was particularly impactful, but his Rorschach white dress was his best piece.

The judges first eliminate Michael because he is so commercial to be unattractive. Mondo may not have enough ideas, they argue, but Austin may not be able to edit well. In the end, Austin’s sins turn out to be more severe, and he loses, and is given a tepid second place prize of a plane ticket to Paris. Mondo is the winner—a well-deserved honor.

The Illusion of Pulled-Together

How I get by on a Daily Basis

I’ll admit that I’m not exactly very good at getting out of bed in the morning. In fact, it’s rare for me to not hit the snooze button at least three times. This is part of the reason that every day when I venture off to work, I usually look like a thrown together mess. In spite of this, there are things I like to do for myself and to convey to the general public a message of: “I swear I don’t always look like this, I am capable of pulling myself together if I want.”

I’m now 31 years old and I still don’t wear makeup to work on a daily basis, in fact, unless its Christmas card photo day, I won’t be wearing any. However, I could not live without my once-every-two-week schedule of getting my nails done and relaxing with a pedicure. I was talking to another girl at a party last week and she said pretty much the same thing, “There’s no real need for me to get my nails done, but no matter what, I just feel a tiny bit more pulled together when they look good.” My theory exactly.

I’m fortunate to work in an office environment with little to no dress code, where in the winter I can throw on jeans and a hooded sweatshirt (or shorts and a t-shirt in summer). Sometimes I do actually wish that my job forced me to pull myself together a little more in the mornings though, I’m sure I could get used to it if I had to.

For now though, I’ll keep my easily maintainable fashion presence intact. How about you? Are there things you simply can’t live without to make yourself feel pulled-together, even if it’s just for your own benefit?

Project Runway: Nanette Lepore

The designers learn to budget.

Project Runway is really coming down to the wire, so I love the completely conventional challenge that the designers have this week. I think that the emphasis on wearability and budgeting this season has been thanks to wonderful new mentor, Joanna Coles, the Editor-in-Chief of Marie Claire. She tells the designers—who are mostly gay men—that women like to wear bras with their looks or emphasized the fact that most women won’t buy dresses slit down to their navels, giving these designers a taste of the real woman consumer who they need to impress. Fashion is not only art.

This week, designer Nanette Lepore is brought onboard to help the designer talk about budgeting, and making dresses that will appeal to larger consumer bases. She speaks to each designer about keeping their designers within a price point, and subsequently, they get only a certain amount of fabric to stay within their budgets.

Despite his early struggles with sketching (he doesn’t do it) and pricing (he doesn’t get it), Mondo won the challenge, thereby securing himself a place in the final three. He makes a multi-color, multi-fabric sheath dress that would have been really cute if it didn’t have a weird, curtain-like pink ruffle at the bottom of the dress.

Joining him in the top three is Austin who made a burgundy-colored raincoat with a little tie around the middle. I really wanted to see Austin’s collection, but there is something lost in translation from the actual runway to the television screen. His outfit looks rather sad sack on my computer screen.

On the bottom two are Kenley and Michael. Kenley made the same dress again—which actually works for this challenge—but uses a bright purple peacock feather print that she doesn’t fit together particularly well. The judges call it dowdy. Michael makes the same dress he made for the gelato challenge—will the judges ever crack down for this—a low-cut, flowing Grecian-style dress in a beachy blue-and-green pattern.

In the end, Kenley is sent home, and Michael is sent to fashion week. We’re not entirely sad to see her go—there were many designers with more range than Kenley’s who were sent home long ago.

Next week’s finale episode looks really exciting, with the contestants having to write for Marie Claire magazine, as well as design new outfits spur-of-the-moment for their fashion week collections. Will you be tuning in to see who is crowned Project Runway: All-Star?

When Thin is Deadly

In the aftermath of recent Fashion Week shows around the globe, I’ve been seeing numerous articles around the internet debating whether or not lawmakers need to take a stand in the “too-thin” model controversy.  Recent research speculates that by monitoring and regulating the size of runway models, many teen girls could be saved from lives of anorexia and bulimia.

Several countries in Europe have banned these waifs from walking their catwalks. In the United Kingdom measures are being put in place in both the modeling and advertising worlds to encourage designers to use “healthy” looking women to be role models for younger girls. How long until these laws are seen being researched and enacted in the United States?

Studies show that presenting younger girls with more realistic models could reverse the rapidly expanding epidemic of eating disorders. Models have become little more than walking clothes hangers for designers to show off their wares. Many of these women speak little to no English (or the language in which they are being communicated to in) and many who also come from underdeveloped nations and because this is their way out of previous circumstances, they have no say in what they are being encouraged to do to their bodies.

Is it solely the fashion industry’s job to present young girls with a healthy ideal? No. Should families and friends encourage healthier ways of life for these adolescents? Yes. Will the fashion industry be swayed by these public outcries? Probably not, but hopefully. For now we have to hope that other designers will follow suit with those that have already made the socially conscious choice to use “healthy weight” models in their runway shows.



Project Runway: Dress in Lights

Design a dress for the dark.

In recent seasons of Project Runway, most of the challenges have been recycled from earlier seasons in one way or another. They usually have to make some sort of outfit from a recycled material from a pet or dollar store. They almost always have to design an outfit for some celebrity or other. But this week’s challenge was in a league of its own, and is pretty cool. The designers have to make a dress that will stand out on a dark stage. That means that they’re designing dresses with LED lights, neon black light tape and big strings of lights. The outfits need to look good when lit normally, as well. Mondo makes a sort of Austin Powers Femmebot look using Missippi pearls and neon plastic.

He gives his model a space-agey helmet thing to top off his not-particularly-exciting futuristic look. The judges say his look is a little Tron-esque. Jerell makes an outfit using fiber optic lights and magnets that looks like a tribal warrior in neon blue. He’s really sticking with his “ethnic” aesthetic. He also gives her a light to wear in her mouth, which is gross, but Isaac says is sexy. They tell Jerrell that the look is a little to rave-ish. Kenley makes the same A-line dress with a flouncy skirt, but this time she’s used some neon tape to create her own plaid. I hope she finally gets dinged for being two one note. She tops the dress with a see-through, fairy-lit shrug and a pale pink, Nicki Minaj hairpiece.

Surprise again, they tell her that she has stretched herself, but it looks like the same dress to the rest of us. Austin makes a cool black tulle and blue fairy light dress, but he doesn’t use the lights as purposefully as the other designers did. His dress itself looks cool, but the lights themselves look rather haphazard. The judges think it’s really beautiful, which is great because Austin has been the most consistent and lovable contestant throughout this season. Michael makes a samurai warrior outfit out of green neon tape and el wire. It looks really good, but the judges may say that it’s too literal. The judges say it’s too overdone.

In the end, Austin’s fairy dress wins, and Jerell is out. Jerell’s made some pretty whacky dresses, so I’m not really sure why they even kept him around this long. Are you watching Project Runway: All-Stars? Who do you think will win it all?

Project Runway: World Pieces

The designers travel to the U.N.

Project Runway lost South African designer Kara last week, and her two biggest buddies—Kenley and Austin—are pretty upset about it. They say that Kara was more talented than Mila or Jerell, a claim which I find hard to substantiate about a woman who consistently hoped that the judges could see her aesthetic in baggy pants and shapeless shirts.

Regardless of their upset feelings, Kenley and Austin have to get it together for this week’s challenge. This week, the contestants have to schlep their way to the U.N. where they get to choose a country’s flag by which they are to be inspired in terms of colors and culture. The reason why the U.N. wanted to get involved with an American fashion show is anybody’s guess, but the challenge is still an interesting one.

Mondo won last week’s challenge so he gets to choose his flag first. He chooses Jamaica because he likes the color.

Jerell chooses Indian because he likes the colors and thinks the country’s clothes are “ethnic,” an inherently offensive term, but whatever! He starts creating a sari and Joanna tells him that he better reel it in lest it be used as a model for Indian Barbie’s outfit.


Austin chooses Seychelles, a country with a flag of many countries and a culture that he doesn’t know anything about. He chooses it because he wants to expand his horizons, but understanding the culture of a new country on the lawn of the U.N. seems pretty unlikely.


Mila chooses Papua New Guinea so that she can make a black, white and red color-blocked dress. I really like what she makes, but it’s obvious that she’ll be dinged for staying within her comfort zone yet again.


Kenley chooses Chile and starts making a polka-dotted silk dress with puffed sleeves and a high collar. You could give this girl any assignment and she’d still make a dress that was beloved by Minne Mouse aficiandos the world over. She’s one designer that should have been shipped off the island long ago.


Michael picks Greece because he is Greek and makes a Grecian white-and-blue bedazzled dress. It’s incredibly predictable and Joanna calls him on it. She also reminds the gay male designers that women like to be able to wear underwear with their dresses, but these Honey Badgers don’t care!


In the end, Mondo wins this week again, and Mila is sent home for a dress that really wasn’t that bad. Again, Jerell’s look was seriously awful, but he’s given reprieve.


What did you think of this week’s episode of Project Runway?