Saturday, May 29, 2010

Style Guide [Blair Waldorf]

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Although Jenny is my favorite character, style wise, on Gossip Girl, no one can deny the stylistic genius that is Queen B. Blair Waldorf is pretty much a style icon on the upper east side. During her reign as Queen, every girl at Constance tried to imitate her look. Despite their efforts piling on headbands, pearls, brightly colored tights, and peacoats, no one quite rocks this look like B. However, there are plenty of articles out there about how to dress like Blair Waldorf in her high school days, so I've decided to put together a guide on how to dress like the post-graduation college-girl Blair.

When the third season of Gossip Girl first started, I heard that Blair would not be working her epic headbands much longer. I wondered how she was going to keep her iconic style without her headbands or her Constance uniform. The third season Blair is still true to herself in style, but she has just taken it to a more mature level. Gone are the ensembles in red, white and blue sporting layers upon layers of ribbons, frills, bows, lace, and more. In its place, clean cut pencil skirts, sleek sheath dresses, and sharp trench coats emerge. Blair's new style is very professionally eclectic. She dresses like a polished secretary, but make no mistake, this girl is your future boss[or Queen].

Elements of Blair Waldorf's Style:

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1. Pencil Skirts with Blouses
Everyone has their go-to uniform that they rely on to get dressed in the morning. Blair's go-to look is a high waisted curve-hugging pencil skirt paired with an airy feminine blouse. This girl is always about showing off a slim ladylike figure. The skirt shows off her small waist while the blouse lends some flair. She usually works a solid colored skirt with a printed blouse that either has ruffles or a bow near the collar. This ensemble is a way for Blair to appear put together and chic while still retaining a delicate feminine feel.


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2. Sheath Dresses
If Blair wants to reach for something a little more simple and sleek, she reaches for a sheath dress. Body conscious without looking too tight or skanky, a sheath dress is modest but still shows off her narrow figure. It covers up her cleavage and shoulders, so Blair looks like she knows what she's talking about. It also nips in at the waist and hips to show off her hourglass shape. This dress is the epitome of the new Blair; clean cut, dramatic, and powerful.


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3. Wrap V-neck Dresses
On occasions when a little skin is necessary, Blair rocks a lower cut V-neck styled dress. The dress has a nipped in waist, highlighting her most slender point, and flairs out into a full skirt. The wrap neckline shows off a little cleavage, but the straps over the shoulders are still broad enough to remain modest. These dresses allow Blair work a flirty 50's silhouette and still retain her ladylike poise.


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4. Blair's Silhouette
Although I have repeated this many times already, showing off her slim ladylike physique, is a key part of Blair's style. All of her dresses, no matter what the style, are cut to flatter her narrow figure. She doesn't have bombshell curves like Serena or endless legs like Jenny, so body-conscious clothes don't appear trashy on her and her hemlines stay at a respectable length. Essentially Blair's clothes reflect her dainty yet powerful persona.


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5. Patterns and Textures
This is where old-school-Constance-Blair kicks in. Blair loves different prints and materials in her wardrobe. For prints, she usually has something with a floral print in her outfit, highlighting her feminine side. Sometimes she ventures into a houndstooth pattern or a brocade. The textures Blair incorporates usually comes from a tone on tone fabric or from her hosiery. While at Constance, she worked solid bold brightly colored tights, Blair has now grown up into sheer zigzag or lacy textured tights.


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6. Vintage Hats
In replacement of the headbands, Blair wears many different hats throughout the third season. All of them are old fashioned shapes such as the cloche hat that many women wore during the 20's. I feel like this is the perfect hat for Blair because the 20's was a era of women gaining power in society while remaining glamorous and dramatic. Occasionally Blair will wear a bucket hat that has a similar short downward brim. Her hats always compliment her outfit and accentuate her dark curled hair.


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7. Oxford Heels
At Constance, the classic Blair Waldorf shoe was the sassy and coy Mary-Jane. Upon beginning college, Blair has now graduated into a more sharp and clever Oxford shoe. Inspired by menswear, the Oxford heel gives a sense of masculine power, while still revealing a hint of feminine sex appeal. The perfect representation of Blair. Her Oxfords usually have a wingtip, lace up the front, and sport at least a 4 inch heel. She keeps it playful by experimenting with peep toe styles, different colors, and various textures.


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8. Statement Necklaces
Most of the time the term statement necklace in fashion is used to describe huge, almost breastplate like necklaces. In this case however, it just portrays a necklace that has a bold look to it. Blair tends to wear chunky necklaces that compliment her outfit and draw the eye up to her face. She avoids mixing various smaller necklaces together and instead opts for one single dramatic piece.


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9. Structured Purses
With bags, like with all the other aspects of her life, Blair prefers some structure. This girl always carries a purse with a defined ladylike shape. All with very sharp rectangular forms, Blair's bags vary in textures such as croc, leather, and quilted and range in a number of different colors. Her purses are as clean cut, polished, and no-fuss as she is.


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10. Natural Makeup and Loose Curls
Previously on Gossip Girl, Blair's makeup was much more dramatic and apparent. While attending Constance, she always had red glossy lips and pink rosy cheeks. The amount of precise lipstick and blush she wore made her appear like a delicate porcelain doll. Now though, Blair has toned down the severeness of her makeup. She's all about a soft naturally pretty palette of taupe eyeshadows, faintly peach blush, and berry lips. Her makeup is about flattering the features she already has. Her makeup is very minimal and almost unnoticeable, but gives her a girly fresh feel.


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At Constance, Blair's hair was always done in tight perfect dark curls and topped with an extravagant headband. In the third season, however, Blair's hair started to lighten in color and relax into soft waves. Her hair still appears very polished, but it has lost that artificial overly-perfect quality it had before. To imitate her hairstyle, I would suggest blow drying your hair with a diffuser, working a light styling cream throughout your head, and wrapping each 1 inch section of hair around closed barrel of a curling iron. Finish with workable hairspray and you'll have yourself a sassy and polished Blair Waldorf hair-do.


I felt nervous doing a Blair Waldorf style guide, because she is such an icon in modern day commercial fashion. Hopefully, I did our Queen justice in this break down of her post-graduation style. I really enjoy writing these style-how-to's and I really hope you enjoy reading them. As I did with Jenny Humphrey's style guide, I will follow this post up with a few outfits inspired by Blair. Until next time!

Rach:]

[Photo credits:
http://www.tvfanatic.com/shows/gossip-girl/
http://www.leightonmeesterweb.com/]

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Yellow Fields of Flowers


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[Cotton moto jacket-Decree. Skirt-thrifted. T shirt-Target. Heels-Simply Vera by Vera Wang. Studded belt-borrowed. Necklace-thrifted.]

When my mother first saw this skirt hanging on my wall she immediately proclaimed that I, inheriting her short gene, was not tall enough to wear it. She is probably right. But for some reason I have become uncontrollably attracted to long flowy grandma skirts. My collection only stands at 4 skirts right now, but I keep eying more and more at thrift stores. Perhaps its the comfort level that has me addicted. Seriously, a long floor length skirt is the girly equivalent to guy's sweat pants. Its loose, baggy, and kept up by an elastic waistband. But, of course, it looks much prettier!

Rach:]

***EDIT***
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Lol. I just got asked if I was dressed up as Snow White in these photos. Well, there is a small resemblance...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Outfits Inspired [Jenny Humphrey]

In my previous post, I listed the elements necessary to achieve Jenny Humphrey's style from the third season of Gossip Girl. As I mentioned at the end of that post, I put together some outfits that I think Jenny would wear to help illustrate these elements. All of these ensembles have more color than Jenny would wear, but I think that they are more realistically wearable than some of the looks she works.

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1. This outfit revolves around the mint green fedora. It lightens the feel of the blacks in the shoes, shorts, and purse. The gray cardigan keeps its edge factor by sporting some interesting slits up the back. I could picture Jenny striding forward with the cardigan flowing behind her, boots clomping on the sidewalk, and hat perfectly perched on her blond hair.


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2. The leather jacket plays a key role in this outfit. It brings out the toughness in all the other items; the heavy chain necklace, the black t-strap on the heels, and the motorcycle glove on the clutch. Jenny would wear this going out to a laid back dinner date; striped tank tucked into her high waisted skirt, jacket left open unzipped, and mixed chains tumbling over her chest.


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3. This look is all about the red bag. Nothing competes with it. The gray leather vest lends a soft rocker touch while the necklace adds a bit of glam. I envision Jenny wearing this outfit while out shopping; red bag swinging on her arm, vest lapels fluttering, and jewels gleaming at her neck.



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4. This is a close rendition of Jenny's schoolgirl look. The body con denim skirt and the plain white tee act as a base for the red croc clutch, the bold jewelry and the dramatic ankle boots. I can see Jenny holding court at Constance; heels clacking up the Met steps, layers of chains swinging side to side, and glossy bag settled under perfectly manicured black fingernails.



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5. The ensemble here is a play on different textures of black. The black leather, black lace, black fringe, black ruffles, and black glitter all work together to create a more multidimensional look. I see Jenny wearing this to a dressy casual event; sweater vest thrown on haphazardly over her shoulders, glimmering clutch tucked under her arm, and lace clad legs crossed before her.


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6. This look plays with the muted tones of the pink leather bag and the gauzy mint green scarf. The loose knit sweater and the cage heel boots add some interest to the ensemble. This is as casual as Jenny gets. She'd wear this going out to see a movie; sweater hanging off one shoulder, thin scarf trailing behind in the wind, and studded bag gleaming at her side.



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7. All attention here is immediately drawn to the intricate lace in the skirt. Its classy pencil shape inspires other ladylike elements to be paired with it such as a quilted clutch, a string of pearls, and channel earrings. I can picture Jenny wearing this look to a refined event held on the Upper East Side; leather vest adding some edge until she removes it at the door, iconic gold double C's glowing at her ears, and glass heels clicking on the marble floor.



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8. The peach trench coat brings lightness to this look while adding structure with its black piping. Everything else in this outfit is extreme in material but all in black. The black feather clutch, the black sequin dress, the black leather gloves, and the black mesh booties compliment each other while still holding their own. Jenny would wear this to a ball held for her school; trench coat perfectly cinched at her waist, black leather clad fingers adding dramatic flair, and bare legs stretching into almost sheer ankle boots.


Thanks to all of you that have commented my last post, I know it was extremely long and a little excessive. I hope reading it and reading this post has been fun. I plan to eventually continue this theme and post my own Jenny-inspired outfits sometime in the future. Thank you again, you guys are wonderful!

Rach:]


Monday, May 17, 2010

Style Guide [Jenny Humphrey]

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Although her character seems to have gone downhill this season, Jenny Humphrey has always been my favorite dressed character on Gossip Girl. I think her best style moments were at the end of Season 2 and the beginning of Season 3. Now at the season finale of the 3rd season, her hair extensions have gone out of whack and make up is far too dark and dramatic. But previously, I think she looked stunning in amazingly put together ensembles and lighter but still bold make up. So this is my guide to dressing like Jenny Humphrey in her prime.

Many people tend to confuse Jenny's style with that of the actress who portrays her, Taylor Momsen. Although its clear that Taylor's rock and roll style [she's got her own band, The Pretty Reckless] has influenced her character's style, there is a clear difference between the two. Jenny's style is more refined but still keeps that rebel chic edge, while Taylor's is more grunge and sometimes very provocative.

Elements of Jenny Humphrey's Style:

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1. The Leather Jacket.
This first element is an absolute must. Jenny is rarely seen not rocking a leather jacket. While there are many cuts and styles for leather jackets out there, such the bomber jacket or more of a blazer cut, Jenny always works a motorcycle-cut leather jacket. With it's usually double-breasted lapel, more fitted shape, and excess amounts of zippers and buckles, a leather moto-jacket adds that tough girl edge to Jenny's look.

While her minions are seen wearing metallic or red versions of this jacket, Jenny usually sticks to the classic black leather. If she isn't in a black leather jacket, she's either wearing a dark gray leather moto-jacket, a dark denim moto-jacket, or a black leather moto-vest. If its humid where you live I suggest wearing the vest version and if you are weary of harming animals in the process of wearing leather, there are many convincing faux-leather jackets out there or you could find a denim jacket with the same cut.

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2. Textures in Black.
Jenny wears predominately black clothing most of the time, but she keeps it interesting by incorporating different textures of black into her look. Whether it be black sequins, black lace, black fishnets, black satin, black ruffles, or black leather, she mixes a variety of materials to give her ensembles a more luxe feel. For more formal occasions she tends to glam things up in black sequin dresses. On an everyday basis it seems she always wears black sheer, lace, or fishnet stockings. By never wearing flat solid head to toe black, she adds more dimension to her outfits.


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3. Layers of Grey.
It seems as if Jenny always has on at least a dozen layers on a casual day. She tends to throw on gray knitted scarves over gray thick bulky sweaters over thin gray tees or tanks and tops it off with gray ribbed beanies and gray fingerless gloves. This element of monochromatic gray is simple to make work because all values of gray will work together, which isn't true for different shades of black. The use of gray creates a neutral canvas for anything else she adds on top. An easy way to mimic Jenny's look is to start collecting an assortment of gray cardigans, tops, and winter accessories. Throw them on without over-thinking it too much to get Jenny's laid back almost effortless look.


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4. Red & Blue.
The only deeply saturated colors Jenny wears are red and blue. The blue element is usually attributed to her Constance School uniform, but you can still incorporate navy blue in other ways. Jenny's school outfits barely even seem like she's wearing a uniform at all. At a very close glance you can see the sliver of a blue school tie or a hint of a navy blue pleated skirt. Her Cotillion dress had strips of dark blue worked into the black. Sometimes she is more bold with blue when she works in blue plaid scarves or royal blue ankle boots into her look. While blue is usually the backdrop for her outfits, Jenny uses red as a bold punctuation. A deep red skirt or a blood red bag adds a pop to her ensemble and adds an accent to anything else she is wearing.


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5. Muted Pink & Green.
For more dressier occasions when Jenny gets a little bored of her dark ballgowns, she opts for a very muted, almost beige pink or a very light, mint green. An easy way to get Jenny's style if you don't already wear a lot of black or dark clothing is to pull a dress you currently own in one of these shades. Jenny keeps these two otherwise very springy colors from looking too innocent or girly by pairing them with dark make-up and tough-girl accessories.


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6. Jenny's Silhouette.
Each girl on Gossip Girl has her own body feature she plays up. For Serena, its her bombshell curves and tall stature, for Blair its her dainty waist and hourglass figure, and for Jenny its her thin frame and mile long legs. On an everyday basis, Jenny tends to wear very short hemlines with tall heels to show off her legs. She keeps from looking too immodest by wearing looser baggier layers up top. She doesn't have the assets that Serena has, so wearing bigger clothes up top fills her out more. That way the attention goes directly to her barely there skirts and legs that never seem to end. For formal events, Jenny does break out some very form fitting frocks, but because she doesn't have as much as Serena, it doesn't come off as too revealing.


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7. Ankle Boots.
This girl seems to perpetually wear high heeled ankle boots 24/7. Sometimes they are metallic and sometimes they are gray, but most of the time they are black. Jenny has a variety of different types of ankle boots. Some lace up the front, some have zippers, some have studs, and some are peep-toe, but all of them have at least a 4 inch heel and go up to right below her ankle. A quick way to add some of Jenny's rebellious edge to your look would be to go pick yourself up a pair of simple black ankle boots. Places such as Aldo, Steve Madden, and Topshop have plenty of Jenny-worthy options.


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8. Studded Bags.
While no one can forget that bold purple Valentino bag Jenny wore first season, the third season Jenny seems to always carry a bag made of black leather and covered in metal accents. All of her bags have a very slouchy unstructured shape to them and sport silver spikes, gold studs, or lots and lots of chains and zippers.

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9. Mixed Jewelry.
There is an old fashion rule that states that metals should never be mixed when it comes to jewelry. Silver goes with silver. Gold goes with gold. Jenny Humphrey clearly does not follow this guideline. In addition to mixing gold and silver, she throws in rhinestones, pearls, and black beads. Layering jewelry is a must for this girl. With necklaces usually she combines thin silver chains with dainty gold pendant necklaces and strands of pearls. If she isn't wearing many necklaces, she puts the emphasis on large bold dangly earrings or chunky random stacked cuffs.


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10. Heavy Makeup & Bleach Blond Hair.
Nicknamed 'Raccoon Eyes' Jenny definitely lives up to her title. On most occasions, Jenny is sporting extremely dark eye makeup. However, unlike the second season Jenny, whose raccoon eyes were the work of thick black eyeliner or black matte eyeshadow, Jenny has moved on to create her raccoon eyes from glossy deep plum, gray, or burgundy eyeshadows. The trick to Jenny's new look is to not concentrate the shadows on the rims of the eye, but to cover the entire eyelid in a soft wash of shadow. Also the eyeliner should be extremely subtle and the eyelashes extremely evident. A lengthening and thickening mascara should do the trick.

My favorite look for Jenny is when she goes lighter on the makeup. When I say lighter, I mean a lighter shade, not a decrease in the amount of makeup she has on. Unlike the first season Jenny who barely had any makeup on at all, now Jenny always looks pretty made up. Her lighter look utilizes soft silver or creamy pink eyeshadows instead of dark hues. Overall her lighter makeup looks kind of dreamy and compliments her pale skin.

For the lips, Jenny usually has very dark lipstick on. Towards the end of the third season, her lips were a kind of matte zombie-esque purple tone that I wasn't a fan of. The girl looks much better with bold red glossy lipgloss or sheer nude lipstick on.

While its a rule to always only emphasize one feature with makeup, the eyes or the lips, Jenny doesn't really follow this guideline either. She'll wear dark eye makeup with dark lips, dark eye makeup with light lips, light eye makeup with dark lips, and sometimes light eye makeup with light lips. The combination I favor the most for Jenny is light silver eye makeup with heavy bold red lips.


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I absolutely loved Jenny's lighter curlier hair at the beginning of the third season. She no longer had plain boring Serena-wanna-be golden blond hair or that choppy mullet cut. The perfect hair moment for Jenny was when she first claimed her role as Queen at Constance. Her hair was a respectable length 5 or 6 inches past her shoulders, it looked full and voluminous, and her bangs looked perfectly in place. Later unfortunately her roots always looked a little greasy and her hair extensions looked too long, thin, and ratty.

For Jenny's best hair, I would suggest:

1. First blow dry your hair and take especially good attention to the way your bangs fall.
2. Create a side part and spray your hair with some sort of curl holding spray.
3. Clip up the top half of your hair to reach the bottom layer thoroughly.
4. Curl each .5 inch piece of hair at a time with a 1 inch barrel curler.
5. Let the top half of your hair down and repeat step 4.
6. Flip your hair over and finish with hairspray.

Hope this entry was helpful in evaluating Jenny Humphrey's style and that you feel inspired to incorporate a few of her elements into your wardrobe. Be sure to watch more my next entry which will present many outfits inspired by Jenny and demonstrate the elements I have described here. Until then!

Rach:]

[Photo credits:
http://www.tvfanatic.com/shows/gossip-girl/
http://www.taylor-momsen.net/
http://fuckyeahmomsen.tumblr.com/]

Saturday, May 15, 2010

5 Trends

When people describe the way I dress, I really hate it when they say that I am 'trendy'. For some reason the word makes me think of cheap mannequins at the mall. I'd like to think I just dress the way I like to dress and leave it to other people to categorize what type of style it is. So, instead of 5 'trends', this is a list of 5 reoccurring elements in fashion that appeal to me. I tried to pinpoint a few that weren't too obvious. I'd love to hear a list if 5 reoccurring elements you've noticed too!

Rach:]

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[Karla's Closet, Rachel Bilson, Chictopia]
1. Cobalt Blue.
The color cobalt blue is technically described as a sort of desaturated blue. I think it reminds me of the blue used in Van Gogh's Starry Night. Its the perfect accent color to an otherwise neutral outfit. Its not a bold neon color, but its bright enough to catch your eye.

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[DSquared2, Miroslava Duma, Blumarine]
2. Leather Jackets with Long Skirts.
Although it seems like a simple idea, there's something unexpected about pairing a flowy floor length skirt with a sharp leather jacket. Most of the time, leather jackets get thrown on with a pair of rugged tough-girl jeans or a overly feminine frilly pink tulle skirt. This combination works because it takes something slightly girly and adds the right amount of edge to it.

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[Elenita, Hand it Over, Karla's Closet]
3. Vintage Tees and Blazers.
Breaking out the old band tee has always been on trend, but a worn in tee usually lacks in structure and polish. This is where throwing on a blazer changes the look. The blazer keeps a smooth and streamlined form while the vintage tee underneath adds a bit of character and keeps the ensemble from looking too stuffy.

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[Alexis Bledel, Marc Jacobs, Karla's Closet]
4. Complimentary Colors.
Artists throughout history have always known their color wheel and fashion designers are no different. Shades opposite from each other on the wheel always look striking when paired together. Blue with Orange, Purple with Yellow, and Green with Red will always be popular combinations.

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[Moschino, Chanel, Milly]
5. Black with Gold.
Black always seems to be paired with silver chains, studs, and spikes, but recently gold has replaced silver as the go-to metal. Gold adds a warmth to black outfits that silver lacks and it tends to stand out more from the dark shade.



Saturday, May 8, 2010

Return Again

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Leather jacket-Vintage. Shorts-Thrifted. T-shirt, Tights-Target. Heels-Simply Vera by Vera Wang for Kohls.

Its been a while since I have posted anything regular here on Visual Basic. Those of you who have been reading every now and then may have been confused by my last posts that seem off-topic from my usual fare. Truth is, my previous entries have been ideas for one of my animation studios in school. I am truly sorry for the divergence, but I am back on track now and here to stay.

After such a long period of being m.i.a. I feel like I should re-introduce myself and this blog. My name is Rach and this is not a fashion blog. This blog is a slap-dash of all of my interests. Which happen to include fashion, photography, animation, food and art. Pretty much the best things in life.

Recently I had an epiphany that I should probably have realized years ago. I want to be a fashion designer. As aloof and out there as it seems, I feel like this is where my dreams keep gravitating towards. I keep making excuses for myself to not pursue this, like the fact that I don't have the knowledge about fashion, the formal education, or the experience in making clothes. But those things will come in time. Along with my schoolwork in computer animation, I plan to work on drawing and creating designs on the side. I don't expect to be the next Vera Wang, but I expect I will be happy trying my hand at something I have a passion for.

To begin this long journey, I've started to sketch up some fashion drawings:
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This one is very Blair Waldorf inspired. Notice the headband of power? I imagine the blouse being a sort of small print and the coat being a purple tweed.


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The skirt here is supposed to resemble the lace up stockings lingerie uses. Instead of two parallel lines of ribbon, the skirt has two rows of zippers.


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This is pretty much the skirt I want to wear on my birthday. I imagine it in a khaki twill with brass military buttons with a loose black tee.


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I really really want a leather vest for the summer, but I haven't found one that fits correctly on me. The perfect vest hangs like this one.



I hope to keep coming up with more sketches like these on a regular basis. Hopefully the life drawing class I took and frequent practice will evolve my style more and more.
Thanks to my readers who have enough patience with me to come back to my blog after this long hiatus! You guys are the best!
Rach:]