Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Streetstyle Crush [Leighton Meester]

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A while ago, I was considering doing a weekly fashion review of the looks seen on Gossip Girl after each episode aired on Mondays. After all, the fashion is my absolute favorite part of the show. How each character has their own style and how the clothes reflect their current place in life draws is really interesting. But while I was looking through on-the-set photos of the outfits on Gossip Girl, I came across a slew of behind-the-scenes photos of Leighton Meester and fell in LOVE with her streetstyle.

I have to say, I don't know much about Leighton the actress. To me she is Blair Waldorf and I forget that her personal style isn't prim and proper like our Queen B. Quite honestly, I really dislike Leighton's red carpet style. I feel like she's trying too hard to be edgy sometimes at major public events. The strange cutouts, the odd color combinations, and the overly done makeup, sometimes she really hits an off note.

But looking through these pictures taken while Leighton was arriving or leaving the set, her everyday style when she isn't trying at all is completely fabulous. I love that she has this laid back, well put together, non-prissy sense of style. She is definitely not Blair, but it works on her really well. I feel like her casual, yet polished style would be a perfect example to follow.

My main focuses on emulating her style:

-Clean cut, light weight, looser clothing. The button down dresses and the simple shirts she wears aren't skin tight, but they show enough of her form to look chic. Its the perfect tailored balance between super structured and effortlessly thrown on. [Here] is a similar gorgeous dress at JCrew.

-Strappy, edgy, chunky heels. The shoes Leighton wears have a sturdy heel and criss cross her feet with thicker straps of leather. There's not any dainty details here. Its all about adding a rougher touch to her look. [Here] is a sweet pair at Aldo.

-Well fitting skinny jeans. We can't all have slim legs like Leighton, but a good pair of skinnies can flatter anyone. She tends to work an army green cargo pair. I love the slim look they give her while still keeping that relaxed feel. [Here] is a cargo pant at Urban Outfitters.

-Drapey, soft, relaxed tops. The shirts she wears all look like they are made of the most comfortable sweatshirt material ever. But they are all cut perfectly so she doesn't look dowdy. They hang and drape, but are cropped and tight in all the right places. [Here] is a cute studded top at Forever21.

-Cats eye sunglasses. Or just over-sized sunglasses. Leighton rocks any pair that have a bold frame towards the outside of the lenses. All of her sunglasses are huge, but stay within a good size for her face. They also have heavy gradient tinting, which give her an extra ounce of glamour. [Here] is a great pair at Asos.

Hopefully these observations have helped you out too if you are as inspired by her style as I am. Thanks for reading!

Rach:]

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Blogger Sketch Sunday [Gala Darling]

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Hey bloggers! Welcome to the Sixteenth edition of Blogger Sketch Sunday. Each week I like to post a few sketches of bloggers who inspire me. This week's post features Gala of Gala Darling, whose blog is one of the most unique blogs I've come across in a really long time.

3 Reasons I love this blog:
-Gala is like the ultra edgy cyberpunk girl who grew up to be the kickass pin-up version of Carrie Bradshaw. I love the way this blogger writes. And she addresses issues that I think about all the time in much better wording than my scattered brain can put together. Her idea of Radical Self Love is captivating. I love her drive to spread the word that every girl needs to love and respect herself. Gala Darling is just the blog I want to read when I'm feeling a little lost. She's made me realize that yes, I want it all, and that's okay.
-When other girls were worshiping Abercrombie clad Queen B's in high school, I wanted to be like girls such as Gala. I used to love that crazy neon hair, the tattoos, and the insane makeup. Sadly my conservative upbringing kept this version of me from becoming a reality until I just outgrew the stage. But I hadn't seen any of these girls on the blogging map until I came across Gala. She makes me want revert and go out and grab a bottle of purple hair dye and a black glitter top hat to go with it.
-Gala's style is MINDBLOWING. I mean like really. Shes a collision between a retro pin-up icon, a Japanese fruits girl, a 50's housewife, and a Parisian princess. From the pink sparkly Louboutins, to the pink Balenciaga motorcycle bag, to the pink Betsey Johnson frocks. Gala doesn't shy away from girly pieces, but somehow finds a way to incorporate them into a tough girl look. I love that she knows what she loves and fearlessly embraces it.

If you haven't seen her blog, you need to check it out. I've located the link where I first named the blog above!

Rach:]


And on the school front ...



This week as been so hectic! Our digital models were due in my animation studio. I pulled an all-nighter for these little piggys. Hope you watch and like!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Animations: the park, a tire, and talking eggs

Now I understand that many readers probably look at the buttons on my sidebar and aren't confused about any of them except for the last one. After all, being passionate about fashion, food, and art frequently come together. Animation however, not so much. But computer animation is my major and what I spend all of my energy, not to mention all-nighters at the computer lab, working on. Fashion is something I think about at the back of my mind most of the time, but animation is where all of my efforts are being put into.

This post probably seems disjointed from the rest of my blog, but I thought I'd share a few of the animations I have made in my last studio course.



Drawing from Experiences
This video was made for an assignment requiring us to portray a haiku we wrote about this park behind the library on campus. I used a series of stop-motion photos of myself drawing on paper and a few video clips from the park to create it. The notion of the video is that I am imagining a world and creating it with my own two hands (and a pen!). It was put together using Adobe After Effects and the biggest challenge with it was getting the illustrations to match the images of the video clips.


Tire Retirement
This video portrays the story of a tire named Frank who works on an 18-wheeler and wishes to retire someday. He comes across some misfortune when the truck runs over a nail and he is thrown into a garbage dump. But his dream comes true when a little girl discovers him and turns him into a tire swing. This is the most complicated 3D animation I have worked on, it was done in Blender which is not quite my forte. The most challenging part was getting the girl's dress to 'bake' and flow like natural fabric (which is barely seen anyway).


Fame and Eggs
Random title right? This was probably the most fun I've had working on a project. As you see, I have this liking of giving inanimate objects life. The video tracks a carton of eggs on their quest for fame. The eggs few being made into a sunny-side-up eggs as the ultimate stardom (something on par with getting the lead role in a blockbuster movie) and being made into a cookie as the worst (something like being an extra in a straight-to-DVD movie). This entire video was done in stop-motion with thousands of individual photos. The most challenging part was lip syncing the mouths drawn on the eggs to the audio recorded.

In the highly off chance that anybody actually watches even one of these videos, I thank you for your time and interest. Its not an outfit post, a recipe, or a drawing, but these took me many hours and degrees of my sanity to create. Thanks for watching!

Rach:]

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Blogger Sketch Sunday [That's Chic]

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Hey there and welcome to the Fifteenth edition of Blogger Sketch Sunday! This week's post features Raych of That's Chic whose blog is located in Orange County, CA.

3 Reasons I love this blog:
-Raych's blog goes back quite a long ways. That's Chic has been running since way before the fashion blogger storm hit. I've sat down and gone quite far back into her blog archives. Its really interesting to see a blog evolve and take flight. I really feel as if she blogs for the sole enjoyment of it. Every time I'm on her blog, I feel like I can ignore the white noise of a billion other fashion blogs being created at that moment because her's proves that time, patience, and true passion win over all.
-This isn't the biggest reason I'm an avid reader of this blog, buts its something I have to mention right off the bat. I had been stopping by That's Chic for months before I noticed in a post she mentioned a blazer that had her initials on it. "RN" which also happen to be my initials. I always begin to associate bloggers with their blog's name and not their actual name. So it kind of startled me to finally catch on that Raych, whose whole name is Rachel Nguyen, not only has the same first name as me, but is of some of the same ethnicity. Having never met anyone of my own lineage with the same name, its kind of a funny random coincidence.
-I've never come across a blogger with style like Raych's. There is just something about those almost grandma-y vintage florals being edged up with black leather pieces that I really love. That bold leather and gold belt, the vintage Ralph Lauren blazer, and all of those cut out shoes. I love love love it. I feel like her style really doesn't fall a specific category. You can't really slap a label on it or picture all of her ensembles as one cohesive fashion show, which is a good thing. Raych just seems to wear whatever the hell she feels like wearing, how gloriously uninhibited is that?

So if you haven't ever come across her blog, you should most definitely go check it out. The link is located where I first named her blog.
Until next time bloggers!

Rach:]

***Temporary Lack of Photos***


Apparently I went over my bandwidth for Photobucket, so as you can see they've disabled my links. Hopefully these photos will be visible by next month, but until then please excuse the mess below. And I will be using Flickr to keep updating with new posts.
Thanks!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Craving for Fall

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[1] Black Jean Leggings: Urban Outfitters
[2] Woven Leather Belt: Forever21
[3] Gray Suede Wedges: Topshop
[4] Hooded Leather Jacket: Urban Outfitters
[5] Graphic Tee: Topshop
[6] Military Bomber Jacket: Delia's
[7] Tweed Gray Blazer: Delia's
[8] Turquoise Cuff: Charlotte Russe
[9] Chain Rhinestone Necklace: Charlotte Russe
[10] Black Bandage Skirt: Arden B
[11] Cargo Skinny Jeans: Forever21
[12] Chunky Platform Ankle Boots: Steve Madden
[13] Carpet Bag Floral Purse: Topshop
[14] Red Leather Bag: Forever21

So I know its already September and here in Texas, the heat is still in full force, but I'm looking forward to breezier crisper weather already. Honestly I'm more of a Fall/Winter season sort of person. The only thing I love about Summer fashion is being able to wear my many many pairs of homemade jean cutoffs. But colder weather opens up all sorts of possibilities clothes-wise.
This Fall I'm hoping to dress in grungy yet polished attire. Think monochromatic grays, leather, dainty chains, army twill, and earthy stones. My main focus is to keep an eye out for a well-cut pair of black skinny jeans and a sharp gray blazer. I also might try out a sleek black bandage skirt or a rugged military jacket. And to add some special touches; I'm looking for a vintage carpet bag, the chunkiest pair of boots, and an authentic turquoise cuff.

Of course with a change of seasons comes a closet clean out as well. I always keep my closet pretty pared down and functional, so I thought I'd share a few tips on how to keep your wardrobe at its best.


How to Keep Your Closet Uncluttered:

1. Change Seasons
I don't have a lot of room in my closet, being a college student living in a small student living apartment, so whenever the seasons change I have to pack up last season's clothes and bring them back home until next year. This means that coats and heavy sweaters aren't taking up space in the summer and that cut-off shorts and sandals aren't taking up space in the winter. If you aren't going to wear it in the next month, pack it away. This is a good basic habit to get into.

2. Keep it Light
In addition to having a small apartment space, I also move apartments very frequently. So whenever I move, I lighten the load I have to transfer to my new place by leaving behind clothes I know I don't wear anymore. And when I say leave behind, I actually mean try to give to my younger sister or donate to charity.

3. Be Picky
Sounds like a simple process right? But getting rid of things you don't wear anymore, as every girl knows, is harder than it seems. When going through all that you own, ask yourself 'Does it fit me oddly now because it has shrunk/been stretched?' 'Do I not wear it anymore because it makes me feel uncomfortable?' 'Has my style completely changed and it no longer suits me?'. If any of the answers to these questions are a 'yes' then out it goes.

4. Let Go
This a very sensitive subject for most girls, but don't keep clothes around that you can't fit into anymore. I will never understand why people keep 'skinny jeans' around that they fantasize about wearing. When I can't fit into a pair of jeans anymore I throw them out. It is emotional baggage to keep things that used to fit you. You will always see it in the corner of your eye when you get dressed in the morning, and who needs that much of a downer everyday? Let it go and move forward. If you want to be that size that you used to be, you will be more likely to succeed without the pressure of those 'skinny jeans' looming over you. Self confidence is priceless. You can go buy another pair of jeans.

5. Fix It's
On the other hand, set aside a box outside of your closet for items that you don't want to give away and can still fix. By this I mean that gorgeous dress you've got that has an unraveling hem. That amazing jacket that some jerk spilled beer on. Or that cardigan that got snagged on a tree branch. Keep them, but keep them separate from your functional wear. A hem can be sewn, a stain can get taken out, and a snag can be fixed with some thread.

6. DIY's
If you are like me, you tend to thrift things that you aim to alter yourself in someway before you actually wear. Set aside a box of Do It Yourself projects (next to your box of fix it's of course) to keep all of these items separate from your closet. If you mix DIY items with the rest of your wardrobe you will lose track of or forget about the DIY projects you were so amped about.

7. Shop Wisely
Sometimes the trick to having an effective wardrobe is being an effective shopper. It sounds obvious, but investing in timeless basics will take your closet so much further. When I buy a new piece of clothing I make sure that the only reason I wouldn't wear it 3 years from now is if it didn't fit anymore. This means that its better to have an array of white or black tees and tanks, dark flattering jeans, and a solid wool peacoat than thousands and thousands of trendy items. Coco Chanel said it best herself, "Fashion fades, only style remains the same."

8. Keep It In Order
Organization is really key to every well functioning system. I'm not saying you should have your entire closet color-coded and alphabetized by designer, but separating tees from blouses from sweaters will go a long way. Group things by style and locate them closer to the front of your closet based on how often you wear them. All wide-legged jeans go together, then flared jeans, then skinny and then bootcut. This order is pretty much how much I wear them, boot-cut being the most and at the front of my closet and wide-legged being the least and at the back. You just need to find a system that works for you.

I hope these tips have helped you in some way and didn't just repeat a bunch of information you already knew. Personally I love organizing my closet, I always get to regain valuable closet space. It gives me a clear idea of what I have and what I'm missing so I won't keep making the same shopping mistakes.

Rach:]

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blogger Sketch Sunday [A Closet Fashionista]

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Hey there its the Fourteenth edition of Blogger Sketch Sunday. Usually I post a few sketches of a blogger that inspires me. This week however I'm featuring Megan, a blogger who commissioned me for a blog header for her amazing blog, A Closet Fashionista.

3 Reasons I love this blog:

-Megan is a recent Graphic Design major with a dream of working at Vogue one day. I love people who dream big and aim high. Its inspiring to see someone figure out what deep down inside they want to do with their lives and go for it. More often then not, the average person just gets caught up in making ends meet, fulfilling expectations, or simply giving up. I really hope that Megan keeps pursuing her goal because I know anything is possible if you have the passion for it.
-Every week, Megan ranks the looks created in the most recent episode of Project Runway. I love this aspect about blogging. That you can hear other people's opinions on a show or competition from someone other than the judges. Its much better reading Megan's intelligent observations than the obnoxious Youtube comments from people who clearly don't understand grammar. You know what I'm talking about.
-This blogger also does requests for "Dress for Less" posts where she finds cheaper alternatives for people based on what look they are going for and their budget limit. I think this is positively ingenious. As someone who frequently online window shops myself, I start to take note of items that looks similar at different price points across the web. Not everyone is as much of a procrastinator as I am and they don't have that much time to look around. For them, Megan does the generous work of finding the same look at a lower price point.

So if you're thinking of requesting a "Dress for Less" yourself or you've simply never come across her blog you should go check it out. The link it located where I first named her blog.


And to any of you guys who are deliberating commissioning a blog header, don't be afraid to email me! We can discuss style, price point, and subject matter. I'm pretty flexible when it comes to ideas, but I love it when people are open to whatever and I can take creative license. I'm just full of ideas and you won't be disappointed.

For Megan's header, all she requested was herself coming out of a closet and that her favorite clothes be incorporated into the design. She liked the look of "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" so I decided to so with a Victorian wardrobe that looks like it could lead to Narnia. I drew Megan stepping out from behind the door in clothes she just ordered from Forever21 (the pencil skirt and the miu miu-like mary-janes). Behind her a clothes line shoots out to spell the title of her blog with her favorite clothes hanging from the letters on clothes hangers. It was really fun to do this and I'm super glad she was happy with the result.

Rach:]

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Chanel Cupcakes and Birthday Memories


"If you want to be irreplaceable, you have to be different."

-Coco Chanel

A few weeks ago was my 21st birthday. To celebrate I had all of my friends from studio gather for a sushi dinner and for an after party at my apartment after wards. Although I appreciate my college friends attending, I have to show greater gratitude to my two non-studio friends for driving several hours to celebrate with me. Thanks go out to Dave, my UT friend from back when I lived in Austin, and Marissa, my old high school friend who helped me make the awesome Chanel cupcakes you see below. I just watched 'Coco Chanel' the 2008 film with Shirley McLaine and LOVED it.

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Me and Marissa out on my balcony. Now you know what I look like in a more cheesy photo, rather than a super fashion-blogger posed one. But since this is a fashion blog after all, the purple sheath dress is from JCPenney, my sandals are from Target, this supercute leather bow purse was found at Goodwill, and my friend Amy bought me this bowler hat a few hours before the party from Forever21.

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Our Chanel cupcakes! Marissa did all the baking and most of the difficult work. I just made the Chanel-inspired fondant toppings. We used a ton of black food coloring and a butter knife to imitate black quilted leather. The double C's were just cut from a cup's imprints. We finished all the other cupcakes with pearls to add to the Chanel theme.

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My little sister and my cousin made this adorable Domo cake for me and a matching card. Although they claim I'm not asian enough to understand Domo, I appreciate their effort.

Yes, Blogger Sketch Sunday did not occur this week. But only because I decided to concentrate on illustrating a header another blogger commissioned me for. I really enjoyed making it for her, so look for it on this Sunday's post!

Rach:]

Friday, September 3, 2010

Style Guide [Rachel Bilson]


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There are actually very very few celebrities whose style that I like. I just don't get the fascination with celebrity style when in reality most celebrities just throw on whatever their stylists decide for them. In my opinion all of you bloggers out there with your own unique and remarkable outfits are much better inspirations.

There is however, one celebrity whose personal style always inspires me and that is Rachel Bilson. Best known for her role as Summer on the television series The OC, she has always been someone whose fashion sense I admire. There is something so effortlessly chic about the clothes she throws on during an average day. Even though most celebrities are known for their special event looks, I think Rachel Bilson shines more on the sidewalks than the red carpet. There is just something about her everyday street style that I love. I've collected quite a few images of her day to day wear, so I thought I'd put together a guide on how to get Rachel Bilson's street style.


Elements of Rachel Bilson's Street Style:
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1. All Styles of Pants
While most women tend to stick to one cut of pants that they know flatters them, Rachel experiments with all sorts of styles. She is fearless when it comes to the cut of her jeans. One day she will be rocking really skinny cut jeans only to flip completely the next day to wear a wide-legged pair. Other days it could be a flared, boyfriend, or trouser styled pair of bottoms. No matter what cut she works, she always makes sure to balance her silhouette with the right top and heels.

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2. Leather Jackets
I absolutely love leather jackets, but many people assume that they only work for the tough biker chick look. Rachel proves that a well cut leather jacket can be incorporated into any outfit. She tends to use them to tailor her look and streamline her shape. The jackets are used as an element of polish instead of grunge as they are normally worn.

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3. Quality Neutrals
Many people underestimate the value of plain quality neutrals in their daily wear. People are so easy to over do it in attempts to be trendy by piling on as many busy separates as possible. Rachel proves that simple jeans, tees, and cardigans are easy and effortless to wear. She knows that it is better to look chic and understated rather than gaudy and over-the-top.

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4. Yellow and Black
When Rachel does wear color, her favorite color combination is yellow and black. Which also happens to be my favorite color pair. The black is so simple and versatile while the yellow gives an unexpected pop. It automatically lightens the look and keeps the outfit from looking too dark.

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5. Cobalt Blue
Also one of my favorite colors, Rachel frequently accents her ensembles with touches of this hue of blue. Its the perfect shade to work with because it gives plain basic jeans and tees a little kick. This color catches the eye more than a navy or sky blue would, but still keeps that calming feeling all blues have.

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6. Ethnic Details
When it comes to adding a bit of a unique touch to her outfits, Rachel always turns to ethnic details to give her look some interest. Whether is is an embroidered scarf or skirt or a woven bag or belt, the foreign elements lend something out of the box to her ensemble.

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7. Boots, Boots, Boots
Rachel seems to have an array of boots that she wears frequently. But you won't find any stiletto heels or pointy toes in her collection. She always opts for chunky heeled and rounded toe boots. Rachel works them at ankle, calf, or knee height, but they are always made of leather. Her boots give her outfits a more grounded rugged feel. They add an element of toughness without taking away from chicness.

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8. Vintage Style Bags
Rachel tends to carry purses that have a vintage detail such as a chain strap, structured shape, or metal accents. Many times she seen to have a Chanel 2.55 hanging from her arm or a bag with a similar shape. These bags give her outfit a more polished retro edge.


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9. Wayfarers
Almost everywhere, Rachel is seen rocking these classic and timeless framed sunglasses. Not only do they flatter her face, they are super versatile and go effortlessly well with anything she wears. She owns a few basic black and tortoise pairs, but she also has a bold red framed pair from Ray Ban and a unique green framed pair from Chanel.
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10. Beachy Natural Makeup and Easy Undone Hair
Rachel Bilson is through and through a very laid back California girl when it comes to her hair and make up. She doesn't ever pile on the heavy foundation, deep lipstick, or glitzy eye-shadow. To get a natural look like hers, I would suggest restricting yourself to a sheer tinted skin moisturizer, peachy blush, kohl pencil eyeliner, and a light lip balm. Rachel wears so little makeup most of the time, it doesn't even look like she is wearing any at all. The only thing she ever plays up are her dark eyes with a little smudgy black eyeliner.

For her hair, Rachel is never seen with super tight unnatural curls or dramatic over-done do's. While in her OC days, Summer would always have perfectly straightened hair, but now Rachel relies more on the natural texture of her hair. To mimic her hair I would suggest getting long layers cut into your hair if you don't have them already and style it with just a blow dryer and a round bristled hairbrush.

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Sometimes it seems like Rachel Bilson's street style is so close to my own personal style that I can't decipher what elements were inspired from her and which are from my own experiences. Either way, I love this girl's style. If I could have any celebrity's closet I would choose her's over any other celebrity's red carpet wardrobe full of glitzy uncomfortable gowns any day.

I hope this style guide has inspired your style a bit and of course, was fun to read too. And I'd like to know, whose personal style inspires you?

Rach:]

[Sources: http://rachel-b.org/
http://rachel-bilson.net/]