Friday, May 22, 2009

Men's Summer 2009 Fashion Report

I always find men’s fashion trends a little more comprehensive and easier to follow than women’s fashion because the themes generally don’t stray from the classics, and there are far less trends to get distracted by.

For women, this summer, we can choose from: men’s tailored details, bohemian-hippy, tribal, English garden, 80’s punk, 90’s hip-hop, Americana yachting slash country club, the list goes on. It’s enough to give a person an identity crisis. Men’s trends, on the other hand, are much more forgiving and can flex and mix with your own personal style and tastes because the trends tend to be more classic and less frenetic.

Now onto the Summer 2009 trends for men:

The global opinion of America has significantly improved since the inauguration of President Obama. Less and less is there a need for Americans to sew Canadian flags onto their hiking bags when traveling abroad. The popularity of the U.S of A has done a 180, and the fashion world has taken notice.
Ralph, S/S 2009

This spring and summer the Americana theme is especially current for men’s fashion trends – when else have we seen red, white and blue boating shoes? Not since JFK was in office (I think?).
D&G boating shoes, $495 (ALDO makes a version for around $100)

Overall, vintage is the way to go. Especially the look of the 1950's and 1960's, think "Leave it to Beaver" mixed with James Dean. If you’re stuck between slick sunglasses circa 2008 vs. 60’s Clubmasters/80’s Aviators/90’s Run DMC shades, go with vintage. You cannot go wrong. Who knew the 90’s were considered vintage now?!
Ray-Ban, Clubmaster sunglasses, $100 (H&M make great knock-offs of these and other vintage look-alikes. Head to Kensington market in Toronto for an even better deal)

If kicking it in madras print shorts and saying “golly gee!” all summer isn’t exactly your thing then just look to this summer’s blockbusters for your inspiration.
Wolverine Tshirt, French Connection

Star Trek has been released and inspiration from the movie can be seen in clothing stores already. Just a sidenote: I LOVED this movie. I recommend it to everyone, trekkie or not.

Streamlined is the best way to describe the trend – modern, slick and muted. Grey is a huge colour for guys this season, as boring as that may sound, but look for clothing and accessories with subtle details in this colour and it’ll set you apart from the fleet (ha).
YSL, S/S 09

Terminator Salvation will be just as influential on men’s trends this season as Star Trek. Tough guy accessories, shoes and clothing give you the chance to emulate John Connor.
Rag & Bone, S/S 2009

Finally, shoes are big this season. Yes, it's summer and it's always easier to slide into sandals (oh god, please not TIVAS) or ratty old running shoes, but what better time than summer to experiment in the style department? I think ALDO is a great store for men's shoes because the price point is decent and they're always on trend, while always stocking classics too.

I think shoes are the best clothing item a man can have in his wardrobe. Jeans + basic t-shirt or dress-shirt + awesome shoes = winning outfit (that will set you apart). I think shoes are even better when it's unexpected.

A personal favorite styling tip is pairing clothes and accessories that compliment each other, but are from two totally different worlds. Hard and soft, frilly and sporty, urban and preppy, etc. Try it out! **Create a similar feel to "frilly and sporty" by embracing the colour pink but balancing it with masculine items.

Another great way to create that contrast is through layering. Pick lightweight fabrics and simple details so you're not overwhelmed.

General style tips (my humble-ish opinion):

It can be really boring when you look at someone and you can essentially assess their entire being just based on their outfit. Trying not to make generalizations here, but I often find guys are the worst. Really, in cases like that it should just be called a uniform. Try something new, guys! Here are some case studies:

Case A: Baggy pants, Addidas trainers, beater tank and a hoody.

Let me guess, you're saving up to buy your next diamond/diamonelle chain and you live in the suburbs. Oh yeah, and you can get me a discount at Best Buy.

Style solution:
  • Switch out the baggy pants for dark wash, straight leg jeans.
American Eagle, $39.99 (on sale now in Canada!)

  • Layer over the tank with a graphic t-shirt in a bright colour
The Gap, $29

Case B: Busted khakis, old, three-sizes-too-big tshirt, and tennis shoes.

You know every secret code ever created for all playstation games. As a result, 90% of your paycheque goes towards video games and not to clothing purchased in this decade.

Syle solution:

  • Throw out t-shirt and running shoes - no one needs to see these ever again
  • Replace old t-shirts with graphic tees, collared shirts and cardigans or hoodies
  • Invest in 3 good pairs of shoes: Black dress shoes that can take a polish; converse sneakers, a boating shoe or another type of sporty, casual shoe; finally, an in-between shoe that is acceptable to wear to work on casual days and can get you past the red rope at clubs - usually this is a brown loafer, but for the style adventurous it can be your fashion-forward shoe.
  • Replace old pants with 2 new pairs of jeans that fit (dark wash, straight legs & looser casual jeans)

Formal, black dress shoe:
Calvin Klein, $199

Sporty, casual shoe:

Penguin (Town Shoes), $90

In-Between shoe:
Philip Sparks (Town Shoes), $155

Case C: Jeans with manufactured rips, striped polo shirt (popped collar) with generic animal emblem or logo belonging to overpriced store, and skate shoes.

You don't know how to skate. Your entire wardrobe is one label. Your shirts consist of varying shades of the same shirt, likewise for your pants. You are always clutching a can of Rockstar energy drink and/or Heinekene.

Style solution:

  • Replace skater shoes with bright, baskeball inspired high-tops - these give anyone personality.

Lacoste (Town Shoes), $135

  • Switch up your ripped jeans for grey, straight legged jeans (trendy this season)
  • Mix up plain t-shirts and collared shirts with vests and blazers. Layering is a great way to inject personality into your outfit.
Overall this summer in men's fashion trends its all about fun and flexibility - no rules at all. Take inspiration from movies, your favorite music, or a decade you're currently obsessed with. It's all about individuality and comfort.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Summer 2009 Fashion Report

Trend Guide for Spring/Summer 2009

Jeans - anything goes, but the main focus is on wash. Acid wash is trendy, but not necessarily flattering for everyone - test out a reasonably priced pair at a store like Forever 21. I'd put money on the "Slouchy Boyfriend jean" as the it jean for summer '09. To get a similar feel to the boyfriend jean without losing the definition that a skinny jean offers, try rolling up the cuffs (the messier the better) on your favorite pair of cigarette jeans. Slouch is also trendy for shorts. The best place to find them? Thrift shops. Find a decent pair of men's jeans that fit you but aren't tight, cut off the legs (don't make them too short) and roll up the hems to create that, "I hike", feeling. High waisted shorts are back this summer too - stick to dark washes to avoid adding weight to your midsection.
The Gap, Boyfriend Jean, $58

Crayola Brights are back and huge for summer (I say they're back, because bright colours are always on trend in the summer). What better time than now, right? We all need a little cheering up, and whether you get a new bright bikini or incorporate colour through accessories, it's a great way to embrace the heat and lack of winter layers. I believe that bright colours are really set off by neutrals - too many bright colours all at once compete with one another, and the end result is child-like. Think bright colour + neutral (black, brown, navy, tan, white, grey, metallic) = fierceness.
The Gap, Ombre scarf, 19.50

Boho is always big in the summer months. Boho-chic personifies summer because the fabrics are loose and transparent and the style is eclectic and haphazard..or at least gives the impression of effortlessness. In my opinion, Boho looks best when paired with modern, strong pieces - try grounding your outfit with a black belt or metallic gladiator sandals. Avoid that total hippie look (like sporting a headband a la Mischa Barton) because it becomes too costumey.
Yana Couture (Kitson), silk dress, 275.

Preppy is returning this spring/summer. But the twist is in the details - incorporate men's tailoring details like a loose fitting vest, or moccasins/loafers, to balance super girly pastel colours. Big chunky watches are a great way to bring out your inner yacht-owning self.

80's Punk is STILL infiltrating trends this spring/summer. Bummer. I'm sort of over the trend, but I can definitely still appreciate a shot of neon now and again. This is a great trend to follow for nights out on the town, just throw on a jumper (yes, jumper) or mini-dress with punk-rock inspired zipper, slick on some neon orange nail polish, and you're set.
Forever21, jumper, 28

Accessories. HUGE for summer. Guess why? Because now we can actually see them! They're not all covered up by gloves, jackets and scarves defending us from the bitter winter. Whether you're into following trends in accessories (think Tribal, English garden, rock'n'roll), or you're more of a pearl earring, sterling silver girl - bust them out and wear them! Statement peices are especially popular this season - look for chunky necklaces, bracelets and cocktail rings. Wear one piece at a time, mixed with subtle jewelry.
Forever 21, tribal bangle

House of Harlow, cocktail ring, 38.

What to Wear Now (my take)
images from

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Summer 2009 Beauty Report

Summer is a great time for a change-up and what better way to introduce change then by simplfying your daily beauty routine. The rising heat and humidity force us to take a look at our beauty collection and assess how it will stand up to the change in temperature (thanks God for that! 6 hours of daylight, no more!)

Intense moisturizers and layers of eyeshadow don't cut it in 30+ degree weather, and neither does a big head of hair; so I've compiled a list of summer 2009 trends, products and haircuts to help inspire you.

Eyeliner - skip the heavy eyeshadow and slick on a simple eyeliner pencil in turqoise, bronze, or classic black. Smudge with a q-tip or brush and apply 2 coats of mascara. Find a budge proof eyeliner if you're prone to smearing throughout the day or if you know you'll be physically active. Eyeshadow has a tendancy to crease and fall on the cheeks especially when it's muggy outside.
Revlon ColourStay automatic eye pencil - stays put

MUFE's Aqua Eyes eye pencils - love this kit. These are the colours for summer.

Colour - summer is the best time for experimentation - if you ask me - because it is the most forgiving season, as everyone generally looks their healthiest. Definitely test different trends that catch your interest (such as grass green nail polish or fuscia lipstick) because even if it doesn't work on you or work with your style, there's no commitment necessary so no damage done!

O.P.I's "Go On Green" - really fun shade, works on all skin tones.

Bronzer - take advantage of the new bronzers that come on the market this time of year. Every brand makes one now, so find a product that suits your skin tone and texture. Opt for a gel for staying power; a lotion or cream for dry skin; cream to powder or powder formula for oily skin; and any version you prefer for normal skin.
Benefit's "Hoola" Bronzer - universal bronze shade
Luminous skin - regular exfoliation and proper sun protection results in beautiful luminous skin. It's a must for summer, especially after 9 months of bitter cold weather. A really nice way to accentuate that inner glow is to apply a luminizer - they come in many different forms. Using liquids or cream based products will create a dewy glow, while powders create an airbrushed look and are better suited to oily skin types. However, word to the wise! Avoid glitter and sparkles at all costs in the summer. The summer sun picks up any slight sparkle and magnyfies it, sometimes creating a greasy or tinkerbell-like effect. Stick to products that say "subtle shimmer", here are some suggestions:
Benefit's "High Beam" luminizer for the skin - soft pink colour suits everyone. **Can be mixed in with moisturizer or foundation to create dewy effect.

M.A.C's mineralized skin finish in "Refined"

Protection - we've never known as much as we do now about sun damage and skin cancer. Stop deluding yourself and start slapping on the protection. SPF comes in everything now and at every price point, no excuses any more.
Neutrogena's Ultra Sheer Sunblock - available in every SPF imaginable. Pick up the body mist formula if you hate greasy sun block.

Self-Tanner - take a look at my previous article on self-tanning for a breakdown on how to get natural bronzed results minus the orange. Push aside the embarassment and buy a bottle of faux-tan, you'll never do anything better for your self-esteem or skin (besides applying spf every day).

Here's an Estee Lauder promo pic to encourage you: fyi the bronze is all fake, but you can't tell, can you?! Exactly.

Haircuts for Summer 2009:

Choppy shoulder length hair is ideal for growing out bangs and/or folks in need of a clean break from damaged hair. Don't go shorter than this length - graze your shoulders - if you're going from super long hair, to avoid cutter's remorse. You'll still be able to pull it back into a cute pony-tail when necessary.This haircut is not for the faint of heart - but it is my favorite by far. If you're looking for a drastic change, go for this shape. Long in the front, super tapered in the back. This works for most hair textures, even curly. Just remember that this cut is a pain to grow out, and you will need to see your hairstylist every 6 weeks to keep it looking super edgy.

I had this haircut (or a variation of it) a few months ago. It's ideal for someone who is looking for a chic change but doesn't want the maintenance of the previous haircut. It's easier to grow out than the Agnyss haircut too because the back and sides aren't taken right to the head. I'd describe it as a bob with a deep side part, with slightly tapered sides and back. LOVE this for summer 2009. Loose layers (not chunky) compose this haircut. Ashley's haircut is ideal for those of you who have long hair and want to introduce subtle layers, or, for girls trying to grow out their bangs. Just wrap the front sections of your hair in a curling iron, making sure to blend the bangs with the longer peices of hair in order to camouflage the difference in length. Center parts are still all the rage. My trick for this trend is to separate my hair into a center part, and then move it over about an inch or so to the right (or left). It's an 'off-center center-part' that is less harsh than a true center part - less grade 4 too.

As far as haircolour, I think that the trends are probably pointing towards natural looking hair. Who knows if trends pointing towards being natural is a reaction to the economic climate or not, but it definitely helps the ole wallet too. When you next go in for a trim or a drastic hair change, ask for a few highlights around your crown and the front of your face. They'll catch the light and add sparkle to your hair, and will only look better as they start to grow out and fade. The more they're woven in, the less up-keep they'll require - if any! Avoid getting an entire head of highlights as this is requires a lot of up-keep and tends to make hair look overprocessed and fake. An alternative is to ask for a glossing treatment or toner to brighten up your existing colour.

Change is good, so is summer! I can't think of a better way to emalgamate the two then through a few simple cosmetic additions and a haircut!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Some further thoughts on acne and why there's a band-aid on my face

I just finished re-reading a recent post I did on acne - I read it again because I'm in need of some inspiration here people!

I'm currently sporting a band-aid on my face, right beside my mouth towards the chin area. No, I didn't get a cut or a's a pimple with a mind of its own. At one point it was migrating towards my mouth - that was enough to scare me into doing skin treatments every 5 minutes and consider flying to the Nepalese mountains for Nepalean goat's milk or some such remedy that Nicole Kidman uses, I'm guessing.

I'm desperate, folks. This thing is the size of Nepal, and so the obvious action to take - duh! - is to press on a huge 'skin colour-which-is-actually-not-my-skin-colour-and-so-stands-out-like-a-soar-thumb' bandaid. Ya, that'll hide it.

Ok, so putting aside that the band-aid is painfully visible and just BEGS the question "what happened to your face?", at least now I can lie and say "bug bite" because no one can see that in actuality it is a freak zit with its own heart beat.

My strategy works three-fold actually; The band-aid protects the open pimple/cyst (it's both at this point!) from further infection, it stops me from touching it, and it stops the Neosporin I applied from rubbing off or evaporating. I slept with a clean band-aid last night and I can already see a huge improvement in Frau Pimple. I'm calling it Frau Pimple now.

So, I guess I'm reaching out to any readers and letting you know that skincare is not fool proof. Skin is an organ, and therefore I'd like to think has a mind of its own. One month it's totally fine with say, Neutrogena, but the next month maybe they'll have a falling out and your skin will purge like there's no tomorrow.

I think my skin had a falling out with my diet (not enough water and too much soy) and Cetaphil, and their illegitimate lovechild is Frau Pimple.

So, while my skin sorts out its PH levels and I down as much water as possible, the best I can do is protect Frau Pimple and not infect it further.

What I've learned through this painful process:

- Drink water. You can never drink too much (I mean, you can, but you probably won't) and it's free. Take advantage.

- Streamline your face care routine. A mild cleanser and moisturizer are all your skin needs. If acne is a persistent issue for you then do Aspirin masks regularly and apply Benzoyl Peroxide to disinfect pimples. ProActiv is a great idea because it's three products in one simple kit - I recommend this for people with consistent, moderate acne.

- Protect and hydrate pimples that are healing - my routine of choice is an Aspirin mask to bring down swelling, then some Neosporin to rehydrate and protect spots.

- If your skin is hurting due to cystic acne pop 1 or 2 ibuprofen (Aspirin) and drink as much water as possible to allow your body to flush out the toxins.

- Do not touch your face. Do not pick!

- Change your pillow case every day if you can (Buy 7 cotton pillowcases and change it every day). If this seems extreme or unnecessary for you then at least change your sheets once a week.

- A friend reminded me of this recently and it calmed my fears: Remember that any new skin care product you introduce to your skin takes time to adjust. This counts especially for acne. Allow your skin to adjust and purge for 4-8 weeks. If you're not happy with the results then you should consider changing your routine again. The worst thing you can do is to think the product isn't working and then introduce yet another new product - thus starting the process all over again.

Keep Frau Pimple in your thoughts, will you? I need all the help I can get. Fingers crossed I'll be band-aid free by next week.

And as if admitting that I have a huge zit isn't reason enough to trust my skin suggestions, read my previous article for a refresher course on acne (it's research based, ha):