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.

“Velvet Goldmine”

One the most controversial bands in music history, The Velvet Underground, took its name from a nonfiction paperback, which narrates the kinky sexual practices in American suburbia. David Lynch’s film Blue Velvet is a surrealist tale that explores sensual lunacy and peculiar venereal behavior. But ironically, in fashion history, velvet was originated for royals in both Eastern and Western cultures. It was the embodiment of nobility and luxury.

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Isabelle Rossellini in Blue Velvet

Nowadays, velvet has become much more accessible and affordable, yet it adds an opulent feel to the austere winter palette and gives your wardrobe an instant dose of royal cool. It is versatile and can be worn for formal affairs as well as casual outings.

It is ultra soft yet dense. The feel of the fabric is one of most important parts of decision-making when it comes to shopping for apparel. Because if it doesn’t feel good on my hand, how is it going to feel good on me?! Velvet can be made from several different kinds of fabrics. Traditionally, it is made from sumptuous silk, but many velvet items we see now on the market can be made from cotton, linen, mohair, and wool.

It also doesn’t matter if you’re petite or curvaceous. With the right color and fit, velvet can look good on anyone.

Velvet is fun and can look fantastic in many colors. You can also pair it with flats, stiletto heels, boots, or even sneakers.

In addition to velvet dresses, jackets, and coats, velvet pants, skirts, and jumpsuits add an extra haute edge and vintage allure to your ensemble.

Velvet shoes are perfect for modern daywear as well as evening looks in the form of glossy flats, flirty heels, and statement-making boots.

The downside of velvet is that it can be a bit difficult to store and maintain but modern dry-cleaning methods have made it a lot more unchallenging to clean. Sometimes, crushed velvet and polyester-blend velvet are okay to machine wash but it is not a guarantee, so read the cleaning instructions carefully. It is also said that a tough stain can be cleaned naturally with a very diluted mixture of baking soda and lemon juice. But NEVER iron it because the heat will ruin the clothing. Nonetheless, I believe it is worth the little extra care and time for maintenance. After all, to preserve beauty is one of the very few meaningful things we can do in life.