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Personal Style

Personal Style

Ask Biki- New Mum Style

Question

Dear Biki

I am a new mum who lives in the States and I need your help finding a new style. Pre-baby, I had my style (all the way from my hair to my shoes) and invested a lot of time in planning my look for each day/event/occassion. With a new baby and a growing corporate career, I struggle to find time to plan my outfits, accessories and most times just pick the easiest thing to wear (which isn’t always the chicest :-)) and I haven’t had any time to go shopping in a while. I don’t want to fall into a style rut and need your fashion advice.
 
Ideally, I would like fashion guidelines for (a) work outfits (b) saturday outings (mall, park, playdates) with my lil’ munchkin. Your ideas would need to be low maintenance, build off some base pieces and not take too much time to make work.
 
Thanks so much!
Ebony mama

My Answer

Dear Ebony mama

The key here is to invest in pieces (which you may already have or need to buy) that can accommodate your new lifestyle.  I believe that for both your casual and corporate look you can have a uniform, stylish look.  Reason being, a uniform look saves you the trouble and time of having to search for a new X to go with a new Y every morning.  Furthermore, a uniform look need not be boring, when the emphasis is on quality not quantity.

My advice is that your Saturday afternoon look should revolve around two essential and low maintenance base pieces‘the jacket/blazer and denim jean’ combo.  If you don’t already own a pair of fitted denim jeans- a dark-wash pair (as opposed to a faded or distressed version which never looks as sophisticated) should give you freedom of movement whilst running after your lil’ munchkin.  A statement jacket or blazer will give you a polished air as you nip around the grocery store to do your weekly shopping. 

Katie Holmes is one of my favourite stylish mothers as I believe she flies the ‘Practical yet stylish looking Mum’ flag well-

www.singerzz.com

Two more pieces that should be part of your ‘uniform’ look are a statement oversized bag, that allows you to chicly carry all the vital items for your little bundle of joy and a pair of flats or leather boots with a heel that is stable and wearable for long hours.  With the vertiginous heels that Victoria Beckham wears she would probably give the opposite advice, but then maybe flats would put a smile on her face as opposed to the trained scowl that we are so accustomed to seeing.

To take you out of your ‘style rut’ and bearing in mind it is Fall season in the States, the following pieces will give you new ways to regularly and quickly add variety to your uniform, ‘Denim jeans and jacket/blazer’ combo

  • A few machine-wash friendly jumpers in your favourite colours
  • An array of oversized scarves in your favourite colours and textures- accessories are the cheapest, most effective way to update an outfit.

Your corporate look should revolve around the same ‘uniform look’ principle.  For your corporate look I would advise on 2 main looks-the skirt suit and the shift dress suit. When choosing the style and hue of these two looks, make sure you go for what suits your figure and skin tone, as opposed to the latest trends.

Suit from www.kaspertaharisuits.com

Variety can be incorporated into your skirt suit ensemble by investing in-

  • Different styled smart blouses with interesting detailing like, the pussy bow detail
  • Button-down cotton shirts in your favourite colour

If you don’t have one already, investing in a smart, shift dress suit (in a similar tone to your skirt suit) will offer you a more chic way to effortlessly take you from work to office drinks or events.

Naomi Campbell in tailored jacket and shift dress combination, courtesy of Xfinity.comcast.net

The following pieces will allow you to quickly and easily spice up your shift dress suit on a regular basis-

  • An array of skinny belts in sombre colours– as I mentioned before, accessories are the cheapest and often, most fun way to update an outfit.  The great aspect of a skinny belt is that if it is in a separate but complimentary tone from your shift dress, it will ‘break up’ your outfit nicely, making you look taller and leaner.
  • The same blouses and shirts you have for your skirt suit(this was why I mentioned earlier to buy a shift dress in a similar tone to your skirt suit).

    http://blog.smashion.com

I would also advice you to get a shift dress and skirt suit with similar length and tone, so that either style can be alternated with a pair of the same style shoes.  This will save you a lot of time on those busy, multi-tasking mornings, when the last thing you will want to be agonising about is what pair of shoes to wear.

On a side note, a great way to wrap up your new, stylish corporate look would be to invest in a S-wonderful floor-grazing overcoatOpt for a lean, tailored style that will give your city-slick drama.

Paul & Joe- A/W 2011, courtesy of www.style.com

Finally, you mentioned that you hadn’t found the time to go clothes shopping in a while, so I have listed a few e-tailers which you can browse through on the go, that offer you great style at the click of a finger.

 www.net-a-porter.com (The luxury womenswear Mecca)

www.reissonline.com (Great for affordable stylish, corporate wear)

www.donnaida.com (The authority for women’s denim jeans)

Personal Style

Hot Boys in Cool Clothes

At the F95 Fashion Store opening party on Thursday 13th October, I couldn’t help but notice the interesting style of some of the men there.  Well, if I’m being honest, I noticed their looks first!  As superficial as it sounds I love it when good looks and style work in perfect harmony, can I get an ‘Amen, Hallelujah!’.

This is how to incorporate classic tailoring into an otherwise casual outfit.  I also like the way he sported his leather gloves as a kerchief.  P.s. doesn’t he remind you a bit of the Marlboro man

When I stopped being hypnotised by this boy’s eerie blue/grey eyes, I was interested to learn that he had his trainers customised by Nike

This gentleman sported an interesting mix of clashing patterns and prints, and he is wearing one of my ultimate menswear pieces: a trenchcoat

 If I’m being honest, it wasn’t this man’s dress sense but his London. Chelsea/King’s road look and demeanour which caught my attention as it reminded me temporarily of home-

A statement accessory like a chunky wool scarf can go a long way-

As illustrated above and below, Berlin boys love their diamond-print jumpers

Personal Style

Ask Biki- First Date Style Query

Question

Dear Biki

I have an evening, drinks date this Saturday with a guy in West London.  The thing is, he thinks I’m 26 and although I am 30 and proud, I like the way he’s thinking. 

We are just going out for drinks so it will be a pretty chilled affair.  What do you suggest I wear?

Libby

Answer

Dear Libby

No matter what people say all first dates are actually interviews.  However the key to this one, fashion-wise, is to look trendy not trend-led and easy-going not easy.

I would advise wearing the ultimate casual, functional bottoms- denim jeans (preferably slate-grey).  However, I would opt for a skinny or slim-fitted pair with a bit of a rock-edge in the detailing.  This can be illustrated through a slightly worn out or distressed detail.  A pair of dainty, statement flats will punctuate your ‘easy-going and youthful’ nature nicely.

With your bottom half being low-key you can afford to up the stakes on your top half.  Go for a vintage-like blouse with lace detailing (this A/W ’11 season, the Victorian trend is ‘in’, thanks to International designers like Alexander McQueen, Giles Deacon and Tory Burch) and wrap things up by pairing your ensemble with a smart blazer.

Also go easy on the makeup and accessories twenty-something girls don’t need all the bells and whistles to reign in the herd.

 

Personal Style

Menswear- Invest in Sharp Tailoring this A/W 2011

This Autumn/Winter 2011, Mango mannequins illustrate that when it comes to menswear this season, men have two choices.

They can either invest in a sharp tailored look from head to toe, with matching sombre autumnal tones like so-

Or they can mix things up by investing in a tailored piece packed with heritage like a trench coat and match it with more casual pieces, like a pair of denim loose-fitting blue jeans.  On a side note, I have to add that I think it should be legal and mandatory for every man above the age of 18 to possess a trench coat.  There is just something about the traditional and functional apparel that can turn a mere boy/man into a sexy, formidable ‘man’s man’, and with the one below coming at a reasonable £119.00– it shouldn’t be too hard a law to follow-

Personal Style

Berlin Tattoo Ink Lovn’

When I first came to Berlin a few years back, it didn’t take me long to work out that Berlin women love their ink.  What I found particularly interesting was the more petite and ‘innocent looking’ the woman looked, the more ‘in your face’ her tattoo was.  I’m aware that London girls fly their tattoo flags high as well, but now I live in Berlin, from the considerable artful displays I’ve seen adorn the bodies of their female population, I think that Berlin girls fly theirs a tad higher.

When I’ve been out and about, I’ve always wanted to stop the Berliners I see with the most interesting tattoos, but so far, I haven’t had the guts.  For some reason, I find it easier to stop randoms on the street to take street style pics.  So I got very excited when during my fashion editorial shoot last week, I saw that the photographer’s assistant- Tintin Jonsson– had a mighty fine artistic display creeping up her arm, and I decided to pry into each one-

My Fashion S/ash Life- Talk me through your tattoos, which is the first one you got?

Tintin- That would be this old Irish-pattern tattoo I got when I was 16-

Tintin- I really wanted to get a tattoo at 16 and when I asked for my parents’ permission, my dad gave me his blessing- he is actually covered in tattoos, so he was like ‘Yeah, for sure, do it!’

My Fashion S/ash Life- What came next?

Tintin-  Then I got this roses friendship tattoo

My Fashion S/ash Life (laughs)- Wow, that must have been some friendship!  What came next?

Tintin- My whole family is Catholic, so I got this Virgin Mary tattoo

My Fashion S/ash Life- Well, you certainly found a more visually arresting alternative to going to church! Who out there inspires you when it comes to getting tattoos- apart from your father ofcourse!

Tintiin (laughs)- Actually, my dad has awful tattoos! I’m really inspired by the French tattoo artist called Guy Le Tatooer and he comes to Berlin every second month to do tattoos at the AKA shop.  The shop often has guest tattoo artists and it also doubles up as an art gallery.

I think Guy is amazing and he is famous for doing these Mandala, super detailed black and white tattoos and this is the Mandala tattoo he did for me-

My Fashion S/ash Life- What’s a Mandala tattoo?

Tintin- I think it has its roots in Hinduism/Buddhism and it’s when the tattoo starts at the centre and then goes out in shit-loads of detailed, repeated patterns.

My Fashion S/ash Life- Any plans to get more tattoos done?

Tintin- Yes, but although I love colour in general, I really want to focus on super-detailed black and white tattoos.

My Fashion S/ash Life- Do you plan to get these tattoos to follow-up your arm?

Tintin- Yes, I’m going to continue on my arm that already has tattoos and then I’m done.  I think!

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