Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Vintage lingerie & silhouttes

The fashion world has been interested in all things burlesque (the style icon status of burlesque performer Dita Von Teese having much to do with this) for many years now and with this has come a resurgence in interest in the pin-up girls of yesteryear (many of whom interestingly enough seem to be named Betty)

Now what seems to be following is an interest in vintage lingerie, beyond the burlesque-style corset. I believe that last season's year's high-waisted skirts & pants paved the way for the current love of the high waisted underwear that is very much this era.

The Catwalk Queen reports on UK Elle featuring high-waisted knickers on it's June cover, while the wonderful Agathe has written and posted pictures of her vintage lingerie searches on the highly-addictive Style Bytes.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Throwing a party that would make Holly Golightly proud

When it comes to having social style, the ability to throw an amazing party is a skill you cannot be without.

To be honest, there's nothing worse than getting all dressed up and excited for a party to find that the host has put little effort in at all.

Many people assume that they can just invite over a collection of people, make sure there's some dip & crackers, throw on a bit of music and think the night will be memorable. It just isn't that simple.

But that doesn't mean that throwing a Holly Golightly-worthy event is complicated and beyond you either.

What every sister of style needs in her arsenal is a fool proof plan for throwing a fabulous party. With a bit of time and practice, this plan will become a built-in check list and you will find yourself the hostess with the mostess, throwing legendary parties with ease.

The Study of Style Guide to throwing a fabulous party:

1. Decide in advance what sort of event it will be

Great parties rarely just happen. Decide in advance whether the party will be formal, relaxed lounging, sassy cocktails, sexy, light-hearted etc. Once you have decided this you can organise the guest list, lay-out, decor, food, drinks & entertainment accordingly. It gives you a central theme to come back to when making decision about the party. It will also help you decide how much effort to put in. A formal cocktail party to celebrate a major event for example will require far more input on your behalf than last-minute casual drinks.

2. Put some thought into your guest list

If you want your party to be interesting, make sure that you don't just invite people who know each other. As much as that might be comfortable, your guests need to walk in and see at least a few faces they don't know to spice things up a little. That being said, if you invite a series of random people that all know no one at the party except yourself, you are going to be babysitting all night.

Invite people who will get along but make sure there's some diversity.

Lastly, ensure that your guest list isn't comprised of entirely couples. It is great to mix couples and single people to create some balance (rather than creating a social situation like the creepy couple dinner party in Bridgette Jones' Diary). A mix of ages if possible can be a great thing too.

3. Build expectation with your invite

The expectation that people bring to a party contributes a lot to the atmosphere. Now, once you have yourself a reputation for throwing parties that aren't to be missed, this isn't such a problem. However, initially you need to create the mood way before people walk through your door. If the event is worthy of paper invites, make them funky and a little different, maybe with a mysterious little teaser about the night ahead. Even if invites are of the casual e-mail variety, add a great pic and make sure you word things a little differently. Predictability is an aspiring Holly Golightly's worst enemy.

4. Get creative with your decor

If paper streamers and half limp balloons are your idea of party decorations, get some help. Flick through magazines or search online for some stylish party decor ideas and set about creating a scene that will wow your guests a little, even if it is simple.

Go classic with tea light candles and an abundance of fresh flowers all in one colour, or funk it up with brightly coloured Chinese paper lanterns, loads of floor cushions and incense.

Party decor doesn't have to be expensive, check out your local op shop (or thrift shop for our North American style queens) for collections of kitsch punch bowls, candle holders and more.

5. Prepare food to die for

Think about your guest list and the type of food they will enjoy. If you have a room of burly men to feed (and good for you by the way), chic petite cocktail food alone will not do the job and there is nothing worse than people leaving your event early because they're starving.

But if you can, refrain from serving the same old same old. I find nothing more boring than going to a social event and being able to predict the menu before even arriving. Even if it is good food, there's nothing creative in serving the same collection of food that everyone else has at their parties.

Have a few tried and tested favourites but mix it up a little. It can be great to have a few pantry stand bys that you know you can whip some great party food up with when last minute parties happen (as they do).

Make sure that you have at least one dish or snack that is exceptional, the kind that people will talk about the next morning. You don't necessarily have to make it, even if you cannot afford to have your party catered, you can buy pre-made platters of antipasto or sushi to supplement your own offerings.

6. Don't forget the music

Downloadable music makes it so easy to have a perfect party mix on standby. I like to have a party compilation on my laptop ready to go that just gets updated (or completely changed) every couple of parties.

I have found a good party mix to begin with ambient tunes (think Buddha Bar or Cafe Del Mar), moving into a bit of soul and funk before moving into your dance music tunes (if that's the sort of party you're after).

As a back-up, the Ministry of Sound Chilled Sessions albums are a great place to start.

7. Think of the little extras

If you want to move your party from the realms of OK to the realms of utterly fabulous, go above and beyond the call.

Put yourself in your guests shoes and imagine what little extras would make the night an absolute treat. A quieter, dimly lit area for people involved in deep conversations (or intense flirtation), lip gloss and perfume in the bathroom, plenty of ice for guests drinks, some pre-ordered cabs for the end of the night, a spare bed made up for the guest who ends up staying the night, funky party favours for people to take home - the list of the little things that make a night memorable are endless.

8. Its all about the atmosphere.

Don't go to the effort of organising a wonderful party and then hide yourself in the kitchen. Your food, music and decor can be second to none, but if people feel uncomfortable, they'll be looking to escape.

Make a fuss of people as they arrive (genuineness is the key here), offer drinks, food, somewhere to put their coat, introduce them to people who you think they would get along with and generally set them up for a great night.

Learn to read your party. If things seem to be dying a little, pump the dance music and get the dance floor started, if people seem to want to chill out a bit more, pull out the floor cushions and invite people to sit down.

These simple things can make a huge difference to some one's experience on the night.

9. Relax.

There's nothing worse than being at a party thrown by an anxious person. Even if you have been running round the house like mad preparing up until the moment guests arrive, have a glass of champers and relax once they get there. After all, if you're throwing the party o the year you want to enjoy it as well.

If your parties would make Miss Golightly proud, please feel free to add your suggestions in the comments.

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Workout style


Keeping your sense of style while working up a sweat. Is it possible?

Mireille Guiliano, CEO of Clicquot & author of 'French Women Don't Get Fat' has quite a lot to say about style. But when it comes to style + exercising. Mireille points out that for most French women, exercising in the traditional sense is not tres chic. She encourages increasing your movement throughout the day. No sweat, but a 'slow burn' as she puts it.

Wise advice, but for many of us running, the gym, yoga - these are all a necessary part of our healthy life.

So I must pose the question - can one sweat stylishly?

In her gorgeous interview with Australian Harpers Bazaar, Dita Von Teese broached the subject of being impeccably maintained all day long. We've all heard of her 16.5 inch/14 cm waist, surely that takes at least a little bit of sweat to maintain?

Von Teese states:

"There are degrees of dressed up. Do I go to my yoga class with red lipstick, false eyelashes and heels? No. But I do hide my yoga clothes under a great trench coat. Yes, I wear a bit of mascara and lip gloss... It's easy to be comfortable and still elegant if you want"

The issue of mixing exercise with style was obviously an idea thrown around in a few brainstorming meetings at Adidas and Puma a few years ago. Puma has partnered with supermodel Christy Turlington to create the Nuala range, while Adidas wisely jumped on board the Stella McCartney train for their stylish exercise collection.

While Turlington's Nuala has some cute pieces such as the peasant top and messenger bag...

... I think Stella's range for Puma leaves it for dead. Enjoy the entire range here

Study of an Icon - Vivienne Westwood

You've got to give it to Dame Westwood...she is an icon for individuality of style.

Modern-day bad boys and girls of fashion (think Alexander McQueen or Australia's Ksubi) owe a lot to the pioneering work of this designer and artist.

Westwood has been designing since the 70s when her famous affiliation with the Sex Pistols marked the beginning of her reign as the Queen of Punk.

For some great pics of the last 30 years of her life and work, check out the Vivienne Westwood website (but be warned, in our era of instant gratification, Westwood's slow-loading website but be a little bit frustrating for some)

What is the Study of Style?

The Study of Style is exactly that… an exploration of everything inspiringly stylish.

Fashion, design, icons, beauty, etiquette… it goes far beyond clothes.

Stay tuned, this could be interesting…