Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Beach Season

Temperatures are rising, which means clothes are coming off. As people head to the beach to catch summer sun and waves, the perfect bathing suit is a must. 
Years before you picked out your favorite bikini or one-piece, women were competing in sports around 5600BC in bikini-like attire in Rome, as seen in the mosaic above. 
Centuries later, in the 1800s, women flocked to the beach in wool and flannel dresses. Enjoying the water in the Victorian era required the utmost level of modesty…and sweat. It’s hard to imagine heading to Miami Beach or Hilton Head in a wool dress. For respectable Victorian women though, bathing dresses and pants were the norm as they dipped their toes in the water.
It wasn’t until the early 1900s that suits became more streamlined and practical as swimming was popularized as a sport. Some of the earliest versions still had a bit more coverage than what we see today, with dress-like details and cuts that covered the female form.

Silent film director Mack Sennett embraced the youth and beauty of women in their bathing suits to promote his 1920s films. Who could resist the captivating “bathing beauties” with their smiles and boundary pushing bathing suits? It was scandalous to see their knees!
As bathing suits evolved from the dress-like styles of the bathing beauties and 1920s to one-pieces, it wasn’t long before the iconic bikini made headlines. 
Prompted by the fabric and material shortages of WWII, Louis Reard designed the bikini in 1946. Named for the island of Bikini Atoll where atomic bomb testing was held, the bikini was fit for a bombshell beauty.
Never before had the belly button been on display for all to see. Such a scandal had the Pope weighing in on the issue. It would take time and starlets like Brigitte Bardot to help make the style more widely accepted.
Beach Party film, 1963
Many women wore high waist two-piece swimsuits as a more conservative option. The stylish brief continues to find its way into modern bathing suits, providing a dash of retro flair.
 Christian Dior Resort 2008
Whether heading to the shore, lake or pool there’s a swimsuit for the occasion. Options from designers like Chanel, Dior and Tory Burch are sure to inspire your next water-filled outing.
 Chanel Resort 2013 (above) and 2018 (below)
Pools, beaches and lakes are beckoning with their cool waters and bright sunshine. Are you ready to channel your inner bathing beauty? 
Tory Burch Spring 2016 (above) and 2013 (below)

Runway photos: Vogue
Bathing Suit History: Wikipedia, allthatsinteresting.com, cbsnews.com 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Southern Charm

After living in Georgia for several years, I’ve said goodbye to the Peach State. But that doesn’t mean that its southern charm is far from my mind. Georgia and other southern states like South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi induce a sense of calm, warmth and charm. They are often synonymous with the nostalgic notions of genteel manners, grace and lazy days in the sunshine.

A spring or summer day in the south means plenty of sweet tea, home-cooked comfort food and romantic dresses that help you stylishly survive the rising temperatures. 

The spirit of southern style was captured by Arthur Alegort for Vogue in 2005 with model Gemma Ward (above) and more recently by Annie Leibovitz in the photos she took of Elle Fanning in 2017 (below). 
The grand oaks became a character in the photos as they stand majestically with branches spread wide and moss dangling delicately above the earth. Landscape always plays a central role in painting a full picture of the south. 


The land of the south varies, from flat stretches to soft rolling hills. Oak trees with moss accents are common, as are colorful azalea bushes, delicate dogwood trees and blooms of every shape and color. Against nature’s backdrop, historic Victorian and plantation style homes bring with them stories and history of lives once lived in their walls.

History runs rampant across the south, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for modern day interpretations and advancements. Cities like Atlanta, Savannah and Charleston flourish, where the old and new co-exist.

Designers like Zac Posen and Kate Spade  showcase a love of history in their style choices, while remaining relevant for today’s world. Dresses in their latest collections are inspired by classic silhouettes like a fitted waist and full skirt, complete with romantic details that would surely please a southern belle like Scarlett O’Hara.
 Kate Spade Spring 2018
Delicate details, florals, flowing skirts and romantic vibes channel the spirit of south. Are you ready to wear the charms of the South this season? 
 
 ZAC Zac Posen Spring 2018


Runway Photos: Vogue.com 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

American Royalty

It was the era of the mini skirt, culottes and go-go boots. But it was also the era of the pillbox hat, tailored suits with short boxy jackets and prim high heels thanks to Jackie Kennedy. As First Lady, she became synonymous with American style and these timeless looks from the 1960s.

Alongside her husband John, Jackie helped build a legacy of style and grace. Whether attending a political rally, hosting a gathering at the White House or traveling to new destinations, Jackie always dressed in style. With the help of her personal designer, Oleg Cassini, her years in the White House (1961-1963) cemented her place as “an American Queen.” 

Pictured with Queen Elizabeth I and Phillip, 1961 

Jackie’s chic ensembles were characterized by attention to detail through tailoring, simple lines and colors. Her suits and dresses were often accented with a strand of pearls, white gloves and the ever-famous pillbox hat. 


The Spring 2018 designs from Zac Posen took several cues from the 1960s and Jackie. The tailored skirts and matching short jackets in the collection easily could have been a part of Jackie’s wardrobe.



The suits from Zac Posen are similar to ones she wore during the televised White House tour and while out on campaign excursions.

Though not necessarily a part of Jackie’s public wardrobe, the culottes made their way into fashion history in the 1960s. This classic and tailored version could have been the perfect travel suit for Jackie.

The period featured simple, geometric shapes in clothing, including A-line dresses and straight-line jackets. Clean lines like those of the 1960s continue to speak of style of good taste. 


Formal attire also embraced the simplicity of geometric shapes with column-like gowns that fell straight to the floor. A touch of embroidery and layering of fabrics adds a bit of pizazz and sparkle to the geometric shapes, as seen in the Zac Posen designs.



But not all evening gowns had to remain simple. Some featured fuller skirts and cinched waists like the one worn by Jackie during her evening hosting a political event. 
The cinched waist was also a part of daywear dresses in the 1960s. By gathering the fabric with a bow or pleating, the feminine form was emphasized. 

Nearly 60 years after Jackie called the White House home, her style continues to infuse modern fashion. She proved that style doesn’t have to be complicated to be beautiful while demonstrating the true meaning of timelessness. 


Runway Photos: Vogue
Photos of Jackie: WhoWhatWear, Vanity Fair, The Enchanted Manor, Huffington Post, Vogue, MPR

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Princess Style Diaries

Ever since Meghan Markle began making headlines as the sweetheart of Prince Harry, her style choices have rippled across headlines, blogs and social media. It is like the princess diaries for fashion, or more accurately, the Duchess diaries.

She has showcased looks ranging from laid back girl-next-door to a prim lady of the English manor. Her choices like blue jeans and a white top communicate a sense of accessibility and all-American charm. As she has taken on more duties as a representative of the palace, she has embraced more classic English attire, complete with fine tailoring and whimsical hats. 
Like other royal ladies, Meghan has the power to start trends, support brands and inspire style choices of women around the world. What message she will choose to send in the future remains to be seen, but she might find some inspiration from the women that have come before her. 


Her sister-in-law, Kate, has had several years of practice in the realm of royal fashion. Kate has embraced classic lines and feminine details. She is always the image of poised beauty. Understanding her ability to send a message through clothing choices and support English brands, Kate embraces brands like Alexander McQueen.


Magazines from the 1980s and 90s were filled with images of Princess Diana. Years before Kate and Meghan, their mother-in-law harnessed the power of fashion. She understood the importance of a well-tailored suit or dress, but also how to remain chic in casual choices of jeans or gingham. 

Regardless of the occasion, her classic sensibility helped position her as the most stylish woman in the room.


Like Meghan, Grace Kelly became an American princess. She left the Hollywood hills for the palace of Monaco. She maintained the classic and feminine styles we often associate with her time in Alfred Hitchcock films like Rear Window. Details like a fitted waist, full skirts and tailored suits kept her look timeless.
 The style diaries of these women vary, but often share a common thread of classic and feminine details. How Meghan will choose to write her own duchess diaries will be up to her, but is sure to keep the world’s fashionistas talking. 
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