The “Skin-Tone Look”

In fashion, a shade closest to natural skin tones is called “nude”. However, natural skin tones vary from pearl to mahogany. So essentially “nude” is not a color, but more of a concept come up with by individuals who naively thought that “one shade fits all”. Ballerinas were required to wear “nude” ballet slippers and it used to be virtually impossible for people with darker skin to find “nude” nylons and stockings that matched their skin tones.

Nevertheless, fashion is constantly evolving. Back in 2015, Christian Louboutin added 4 shades to its “The Nudes” shoe collection, embracing an au naturel look for all women.

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Hence, the trend I am writing about today is the “skin-tone look”. On the one hand, it is incredibly feminine, sophisticated and understated. On the other hand, if the color blends with the person’s skin tone impeccably, it creates a striking effect that makes the ensemble astonishingly distinctive and gorgeous. Here are some great examples for various skin tones.

Ivory/Pearl

Blush/Bisque

Beige/Sand

Sun-kissed/Golden

Honey Bronze/Chestnut

Caramel/Toffee

Espresso/Mahogany

Red Carpet Looks

Yeezy

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Although I am not personally a fan of “sports casual chic” or sweatshirts, Yeezy has to be mentioned. The collections and choreographies of the fashion shows sparked controversies as references to the racial diversity and inequality across America and beyond. Kayne however denied the political connotation of his clothes, making a statement in 2015: “It had nothing to do with race. It was only colors of human beings and the way these palettes of people work together and really just stressing the importance of color, the importance of that to our sanity, these Zen, monochrome palettes…” His collections have been received far more favorably by the public in spite of bigotry encountered by the rapper in the fashion world. But there is one thing I will agree with, “Every color is beautiful.”

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“Gender Fluidity”

You may agree with John Gray that, “men are from Mars, women are from Venus.” However, style is undeniably universal and one of the biggest fashion trends for Millennials and Generation Zs is “gender fluidity” – the blurring of gender identities. A gender-fluid individual can identify themselves with men, women, and a combination of both — or nothing at all. A gender-fluid style is an expression of ourselves by how we dress that shifts between masculine and feminine.

Marlene Dietrich was known for having a distinctively androgynous style. She started dressing in menswear as early as 1920s and was often seen in tailored men’s suits, loose-fitting white shirts/black pants, and uniforms. She was openly bisexual and enjoyed the thriving gay scene in Berlin. One of her most famous lovers was Greta Garbo, who was equally mysterious and ambisexual, also became a silver-screen sensation — despite the controversy surrounding bisexuality. And ironically, both actresses fully exploited their sexuality against men — on and off screen, and unlike many Hollywood counterparts, lived well into their “zoomer” years (91 and 85).

Since then, the gender fluidity trend became officially on the rise. Here are some exemplary photographs.

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Julia Robert’s men’s suit at Golden Globes
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Diane Keaton in Annie Hall with Woody Allen
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Jared Leto’s long ombre hair blurs the definition of “masculinity”
Wurst, the bearded transgender winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, performs during a concert at the European Parliament in Brussels
Conchita Wurst, the bearded transgender

However, today I am going to show you how to pick up the trend in a slightly less “theatrical” way and to wear some of our favorite pieces with just the right amount of feminine flair.

Crisply Tailored Blazer

A well-tailored blazer can make a cocktail dress more sophisticated, a pair of old jeans more dressy, and those extra few pounds disappear. It is pure magic! Its versatility also allows you to pair it with stilettos, slip-ons, boots as well as sneakers.

Strong-shouldered Military Coat

Another highly adaptable piece for your wardrobe — the military coat, is a perfect transitional piece for the cooler temps and gray days . They offer warmth as well as a little extra strength and security that we sometimes crave.

“Rebel without a Cause” Bomber 

A bomber jacket is an essential for spring and fall seasons, creating the “cool girl” image without taking away the soft look of the woman. Pair it with a dress or skirt for a sleek vibe or a crop top and your favorite pair of destroyed denim for a casual-chic look.

Banker’s Button-down

It is looser-fitting than a woman’s dress shirt but just as sexy. You look like you just threw on your lover’s shirt the morning after yet still appear effortlessly chic. Casually tuck it into your jeans or skirts and pair it with some flirty heels and you’re good to go!

Suspenders

The suspenders are making a comeback. They are quirky and funky additions to your feminine outfits. On the other hand, wear it with loose-fitting pants and tailored jackets and it will scream Parisian chic.

Bow Tie

The bow tie, an attribute of a formal dress code and true gentleman’s symbol, has been part of the modern woman’s wardrobe since the beginning of the 20th century. No matter it is a flowy YSL silk bow tie or a neat ribbon bow tie, it adds a flirtatious vibe to your ensemble. And for the bold and brave, channel your inner Marlene by wearing a tux with a classic structured bow tie.

Loafers

Loafers go with everything, from jeans and white tees, to dress shirts and flowing skirts. They are incredibly comfortable, perfect for office as well as casual outings. They make your easy denim-and-button-down look more posh and your formal attire more down-to-earth.

Combat Boots

I owned a pair of combat boots in college and they were my go-to boots for parties because they looked good with almost everything and I never had to worry about getting stepped on by other drunk kids. They are perfect for winter wear as well as summer music festivals to compliment your boho chic ensembles.

Men’s Watch

I never wear watches even though I seem to alway get them as gifts. However, if I have to pick a watch to wear, it will be a big men’s watch that covers almost the entire surface of my wrist. There is something incredibly sensual about a woman wearing men’s accessories to show her daring and independent nature.

Best Fictional Films for Style Inspiration – Kinks & Winks

Today I will continue to introduce some very stylish films. Some of them will be slightly kinkier than the ones in my Personal Favorites (okay, maybe not The Dreamers) but equally amazing.

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And God Created Woman (1956)

The 60s was not complete without Brigitte Bardot. She was so uninhibited, free, innocent yet insouciantly provocative all at the same time. She shook up the post-war conformist France with body-conscious garments — button-front shirtdresses, boatneck wiggle dresses and simple white polo necks paired with hip-hugging pencil skirts, exemplifying the sexy looks that left just enough to the imagination.

 

Belle de Jour (1967)

Yves Saint Laurent’s designs were the epitome of ‘classic modernity’. He successfully captured the haute bourgeois chic by designing some amazing pieces — tailored sheaths, a safari dress, a vinyl trench, and sumptuous rounded coats for the stunning Catherine Deneuve. Although Deneuve was never my favorite French actress, she was the embodiment of quintessential femininity and exquisite sophistication. Instead of showing the free spirit and romance of the archetypal French woman, she always played stern and controlled roles with an aura of mystery. Nonetheless, the film is a must-see for fashion addicts.

 

9 and 1/2 Weeks (1986)

This film is the 80s version of Fifty Shades of Grey but 10 times better. Basinger was the ultimate embodiment of 80s’ cosmopolitan fashion and minimalist simplicity. The tousled waves, red-stained lips, darkly lined and smudged eyes — or what I like to call, the morning-after look — is all the rage now. And she rocked the modern working girl ensembles as well as the slouch combo of a banker’s button-down with EG Smith Boot socks — alongside a devilishly attractive Mickey Rourke.

 

In the Mood for Love (2000)

Wong Kar-wai has made an abundance of highly stylized films (2046, My Blueberry Nights, etc.) and is one of the very few reasons why I still hold hope for Chinese filmmakers (artistically speaking, not commercially for obvious reasons). Regarded as a milestone in Chinese film history, this movie was a major stylistic influence on the past decade of cinema. In this melancholy tale of love and loneliness, Maggie Cheung impeccably showcased the grace and sensuality of qipao (also known as cheongsam) with her slender figure and fragile beauty, creating a nostalgic ambiance and an aesthetically pleasing viewing experience. The opalescent silks and floral prints subtly juxtapose the quiet passion embedded between the characters.

 

Mulholland Dr. (2001)

David Lynch is a bonafide genius because this was the film that changed the course of film history and the way I watch movies. Hell, the first thing I did after getting my Nissan was going to Mulholland Dr. I practically risked my life by driving on the meandering road and that was how much I loved this movie. The cinematography, the score, the underlying message, the evocative acting, and of course the costumes complemented one another immaculately, making it one of the cinematic masterpieces of the 21st century. Dark locks, crimson lips, white button-down, halter dresses, and Laura Harring’s cheekbones represented the true essence of Hollywood glamour.

 

A Single Man (2009)

Two words to sum up the film – Tom Ford. He translated his immaculate taste beautifully to cinema with fastidious attention to detail and filled the poignant moments with an exquisite style and elegance. We see throughout the film the white oxford shirts – the very image of quality and refinement, classic thick-framed glasses – hallmark of American hipsters, corduroy jackets – a nice boho touch of the 60s, and of course, Italian style custom-tailored suits. In short, the film is an aesthetic perfection.

 

Some of the films have been proven a bit too much for some. So brace yourselves. 😉

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