Monday, January 31, 2011

my fabulous twenty-fourth birthday

     My wish list these days include fashion books that I want to read and movies/documentary that I want to see and of course clothes and shoes that I've been obsessing over [no surprise there]. And so my birthday is no exception. Take a look inside my gift bag! 

  • French Connection 'Winter Sun' coat from my parents. I've been eyeing this coat for ages and I finally convinced my mother to get it for me as a birthday gift. This coat was retailed for $298 and we got a pretty good deal on it. 
  • H&M yellow, tiered dress and Heritage 81 ruffled-sleeve coral dress from my sister. [yes I picked these out!]
  • Finally have a copy of The September Issue and Coco Before Chanel [definitely going to be reviewing that movie!] 
  • Books: Stylist -- The Interpreters of Fashion, 100 years of Fashion Illustration, The Gospel According to Coco Chanel, and The Little Dictionary of Fashion by Christian Dior all thanks to my wonderful boyfriend [and my Amazon wish list]. More books for me to share to you all! 

Cheers. Here's to 24 more years for me. xo. 

Love, KB

2011 SAG Awards

    Last Night's 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards sure didn't disappoint...or at least when it came to the red carpet fashions! There were a lot of strapless, sweetheart necklines last night which I loved, belted looks, and dresses with dramatic leg slits [scandalous!] I immediately fell in love with three looks which made choosing my best dressed favorite really challenging. Love in first sight, I loveloveloved Mila Kunis in Alexander McQueenClare Danes in floral blue Louis Vuitton by Marc Jacobs [love!], and January Jones in black and gold lace Carolina Herrera. It's such a tough call but I have to give it to Mila Kunis as my best dressed pick of the night.  

     Mila Kunis wore the late and great Alexander McQueen -- a strapless, floor length, floral gown with a sweetheart neckline [whoah tongue twister] from the Resort 2011 collection. She was in my top best dressed picks from the Golden Globes this year in an emerald, one-shoulder Vera Wang dress, but she definitely won me over this time.   She looked so chic and so polished in this dress and the loose curls, subtle eye make up [which illuminated her beautiful eyes perfectly], Cartier jewelry, and Alexander McQueen clutch complimented her look so well -- messing up one of those elements and the whole ensemble would have been completely thrown off. I loved how she wore a belt with this dress to accentuate her waist, which was one of the biggest trend of the red carpet that night.  Like the Globes, she was nominated as the best supporting actress for her role in Black Swan, but in this McQueen dress, I felt like she looked like the leading lady.  

Oscar de la Renta
     Tina Fey of 30 Rock in a red, strapless de la Renta gown and Lea Michele of Glee in a shimmery de la Renta dress with a plunging neckline. 

Monique Lhuillier 
     Julia Stiles, who was there for the hit Showtime TV show Dexter, wore this beautiful, navy ombre Monique Lhuillier dress. Angie Harmon was also in a Monique Lhuillier floor length gown, except her dress was this whimsical pink strapless dress adorned with feathers! [i love feathers].

Cast of Glee
     I don't watch the hit show, but I must say that the leading ladies definitely caught my attention this time. As previously mentioned, Lea Michele wore an Oscar de la Renta dress. Dianna Agron was in a black Chanel Haute Couture gown,  Jayma Hays was in a dress by a designer named Jenny Packham, and Heather Morris in Romona Keveza

     Other red carpet, head turning classics were Modern Family's va-va-voom star Sofia Vergara in a very flattering royal blue, halter Roberto Cavalli dress. From the Emmys to the Globes, I've seen Sofia in strapless gowns, but I think giving her "frontal assets" [she's got ginormous knockers!] she looks best in a halter-styled dress, because they show of those mentioned assets in a flattering way. Strapless dresses give her a uni-boob effect [yuck], which doesn't suit this beautiful Columbian actress. In addition, this royal blue dress had a criss-cross stretch effect, which made the dress very form fitting and ultimately complimenting her figure.   Another red carpet pick for me [out of nowhere] is Rosario Dawson in a nude-toned J. Mendel dress with jewel-colored drop earrings. I love that little hint of color given the subtlety of the dress.

Love, KB

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What's in your purse?

     For our first round of "what's in your purse?" I'd like to share the contents of mine and justify its specificity and importance: 

  • iPhone 4 -- Enough said right? I cannot leave the house without my phone because I feel naked and disconnected from the world without it. Not necessarily for the Twitter or Facebook applications but for the texting, phone, and internet capabilities. 
  • wallet -- Just as obvious. My wallet contains my debit cards, ID, cash, insurance cards, etc. 
  • keys -- To open doors. [duh]
  • chapstick -- Regardless of the season, I always have a stick of chapstick in my purse. Nothing is worse than having chapped lips all day.  
  • hand lotion -- Ever been to a public bathroom, washed your hands and realized that your hands are dried out from the soap they always have in there? Solution: bring a tiny bottle of hand lotion with you. I usually have hand sanitizer in there, but that won't moisturize your hands as well as hand lotion. I like the Dolce & Gabbana hand lotion because it smells just like my everyday perfume! 
  • Tide To-Go -- This instant stain remover pen is the newest addition to my must-haves in my purse. I over-prepare for things I have to do and I over-pack for trips that I go to so naturally, I over-prepare for events that may or may not happen. I don't like to take chances. So when I'm at dinner at a sushi restaurant and a drop of soy sauce gets on my dress no big deal, stain pen to the rescue. 
  • mascara & eye liner -- I don't wear a lot of make up, rarely if ever, and especially during the day, but on days when my eyes are looking pretty tired and puffy and concealer under my eyelids just isn't enough, I like to put on a little bit of eye make up on to take away the attention from those black circles under my eyes. I love Covergirl's lash blast because of the bristles and black liner is the best. But for day time, you can even opt for a brown mascara and eye liner because it's not as heavy and dramatic as the black. 
  • compact mirror -- My worst nightmare is not knowing that I have something on my face or worse, my nose, [*gasp] and I'm completely unaware of it. It's great for checking your make up, your hair, etc. especially if you can't get to a bathroom mirror right away. 
  • iPod ear-phones -- When I was in college I would always take the campus bus everywhere. There have been many instances when someone sitting near me is blabbing away about their weekend and I just don't want to listen to every single detail of that phone conversation. So I simply put on my earphones and tune them out. Although, I don't like to have them on when I would walk from one class to the next because I feel as if it would make me look somewhat antisocial. And I'd like to know if some impending object [bike or god knows what] will be speeding past me to kill me. Safety first people! 
  • sunglasses -- It's pretty obvious what you would need sunglasses for, but one purpose that I've read about in Rachel Zoe's book, Style A to Zoe, [she's known for calling them sunnies] which is pretty brilliant, is that sunglasses can serve as a DO NOT DISTURB sign to other people. I have a pet peeve of people wearing sunglasses inside, but when you're out in a public place and you're just not in the mood with dealing with people or making awkward eye contact, having sunglasses on is the best remedy for that. The ones featured here are my Diane Von Furstenberg sunnies that I've recieved as a graduation gift. 
I would like to make this a segment where blog readers can share the contents of their purse and tell me about it significance and maybe we'll all learn a new trick or two about a new item/gadget to keep in there. Send in your "what's in your purse story" to 

Love, KB

Saturday, January 29, 2011

2011 Golden Globe Awards

     In honor of this Sunday's upcoming SAG awards [watch out for that blog on Monday!] I figured I'd dedicate an entire blog of this year's Golden Globe Award's fashion. There were definitely a lot of fashion hits and misses, but since this is a fashion blog that's about positive fashion, I'm only going to be talking about the red carpet moments that I absolutely loved from this past Golden Globes(January 16, 2011.) My best dressed pick this year is Olivia Wilde in a black and gold Marchesa ombre, tulle dress with this gold-spiked Christian Louboutin peep-toe booties. I DIE when I saw her on the red carpet. Even her hair styled straight was perfect because it didn't take away from the dramatic volume and intricate details of the dress and it had such a effortless chic feel to the entire look [per-fec-tion]. The rest of my favorite looks are as follows:

  • January Jones wearing Versace
  • Leighton Meester wearing Burberry Prorsum
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones wearing Monique Lhuilier
  • Mila Kunis wearing Vera Wang
  • Emma Stone wearing Calvin Klein Collections
  • Anne Hathaway wearing Armani Prive'
  • Eva Longoria wearing Zac Posen
  • Kaley Cuoco wearing Catherine Kidd
It's amazing how I spotted and loved a lot of my favorite designers. Let's see what the SAG Awards will bring this Sunday, January 30, 2011!

Love, KB

Friday, January 28, 2011

DIY Fashion Project: Fashion Journal

My Fashion Journal 

     In my previous blog, Janie Bryant talked about a fashion DIY project that I suggest everyone should do -- a fashion journal! It's very easy to do and definitely affordable and most importantly it's a great tool to catalogue your style and thoughts on fashion. I kind of think of it as my mini inspiration board on the go [super portable]. Here are some steps to help you begin your very own fashion journal:
  1. Purchase a notebook or journal that has a sturdier binding [i'll explain why later] that you love. I suggest pick one with lots of colors! Or at least go with something that feels like you. 
  2. The must-have details it should contain are: your measurements (bust, waist, hips, inseam, etc), most flattering colors and silhouettes, and shopping needs [which are pieces missing from your wardrobe] and your favorite outfits as you discover them. 
  3. CUSTOMIZE. Take step #2 and put your own twist to it -- add elements that you feel is appropriate and relevant to your fashion journal. As I have mentioned from my previous blog, I took the 'jot down your favorite outfits' idea and have taken polaroid pictures instead since I'm such a visual person [and it's so much prettier that way!]
"Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening"
- Coco Chanel 

     Aside from the polaroids of my favorite outfits as I discover them [that's my favorite part, discovering never before thought of outfits] I have several other additions to my fashion journal. As previewed above, I have pages dedicated to fashion quotes, a section that I appropriately call 'words of FASHION wisdom,' that I've read in a book or interview of a famous designer or fashion icon, or well known documented quotes, like that more familiar Coco Chanel quote that everyone knows by heart -- "a girl should be two things: classy and fabulous." 

     Another feature of my fashion journal includes an entire section [with cut out pictures!] that consists of classic fashion items that I would like to own someday. I said "someday" because you can't particularly purchase these item at Urban Outfitters or the jewelry section at Forever 21. These pieces are timeless and so iconic [as iconic as the two interlocking Cs of Chanel] and that's what makes them so special. These items include an Hermes Birkin bag, Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, and Jimmy Choo shoes, a Hermes collier de chien bracelet and Hermes scarf [yes, I love Hermes], a Missoni crochet knit cardigan, Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress, a Yves Saint Laurent suit, and of course a Chanel tweed jacket. These are just some of the items I would like to have in my fashion archive one day [crosses fingers]. 

"When you open your closet, even though they're just clothes, they're also great friends"
- Diane Von Furstenberg

     Another section that makes that above mention wish list possible are the fashion geniuses that created them, the grand couturiers and new and upcoming talent -- the designers. Also paired with portraits, I thought it was appropriate to categorize my favorite designers based on old-school, classic/iconic designers and new-school, fresh faces. 

My list of favorite (living and late) grand couturiers include:
  • Coco Chanel                                                             
  • Karl Lagerfeld
  • Valentino Garavani
  • Diane Von Furstenberg 
  • Oscar de la Renta 
  • Roy Halston Frowick
  • Giorgio Armani 
  • Yves Saint Laurent 
  • Ottavio and Rosita Missoni
  • Christian Dior 
  • Hubert de Givenchy 
  • Cristobal Balenciaga 
  • Emilio Pucci 
  • Christian Lacroix 
  • John Galliano 
My list of favorite new-school designers include:

  • Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig of Marchesa
  • Marc Jacobs 
  • Zac Posen
  • Erin Fetherston  
  • Alexander McQueen
  • Betsey Johnson 
  • Joyce Azria with her father Max Azria for BCBG and BCBGeneration
     However, one section is dedicated to what I call the interpreters of fashion, based on a fashion book I've read, which are merely a collection of my favorite stylists and creative directors like Grace Coddington, the creative director for Vogue, Havana Laffitte a fashion editor/stylist for Teen Vogue, and Rachel Zoe, a celebrity stylist. 

     Aside from the images and lists that are in my fashion journal, it also includes my thoughts about my fashion [writing, ironically enough]. I have pages describing my style and favorite details in garments and accessories that I love. I hope in the near future to add pages that will chronicle my style history that will stem from my family and old photographs of me and my sister growing up, my mother, and grandmother. There are these pictures of my mom when she was in college that I love looking at, because I love seeing how she dressed in her youth. And I will never forget my grandmother's [my mother's mother] Gucci watch that she often wore and that classic Gucci handbag that she owned complete with the iconic pattern and the green and red stripes [flashback!]. I would love to piece all of those images together to tell my fashion story in my journal. 


"Take it with you when you travel. You'll never know when inspiration might strike whether it be street fashion, something you saw in a window display, or a pattern or image from your surroundings that you want to sketch."

     One of the things that I love about my Vera Bradley journal [color + patterns galore] is that it has an accordion-style pocket on the back flap. So when I go on road trips or go overseas, I can put magazine tears, post cards, photographs, and other fashion related memorabilia in there that I would like to integrate into my fashion journal. The reason that I advise that you purchase a journal that has a studier binding , as opposed to a notebook-style metal-wired one, is that when you travel you basically live out of a suitcase where your days are chaotic and your things get jumbled around. You want to be able to have this journal forever. I know that if and when I have a daughter one day [when she is a little older], I want to give her this journal and encourage her to make one of her own, because fashion is a great way for self-expression and creativity and it's also a remarkable source of joy and fulfillment [why do you think I have a blog dedicated to fashion?! It makes me sooo happy!] Enjoy assembling your own fashion journal! I know you will love it. 

Love, KB

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Book Review: The Fashion File

     Katherine Jane Bryant, better known as Janie Bryant, is an award winning costume designer for the hit 1960s inspired tv show Mad Men. FACT: the 1960s was my absolute favorite era in fashion [actually everything in between the 1920s-1960s I absolutely lovelovelove]. I love everything about it, the volume, the drama, the silhouette, and the feminine details in the clothes, the waves in the hair, and the cat eye look. But this book draws inspiration from all of the great eras of fashion from the roaring 20s to the super-sized glamour of the 80s. 

"Knowing your 'character' is the key to cultivating your style. Who do you want to be today? With the right clothes, you can be whomever you want to be. And you can change your 'character' from day to day, depending on your needs and whims."

     The first immediate reaction that I had to the book is how beautiful the illustrations are. Janie Bryant is a costume designer after all so it only comes with the territory! Aside from the aesthetics, the book is very organized and flows very well. Every illustration, photograph,  and image of a piece of jewelry are appropriately placed throughout the book which makes for an easy transition from text to image on every page. [If you can't tell already I'm very particular about how things are organized.] Another very obvious reaction to the book is how passionate Janie is to her work. In the foreword written by January Jones, who plays Betty Draper, she described how emotional Janie Bryant would get when everything would come together with the costume. She would even plead her not to cry when she has seen her finished work. On top of which, her love for vintage and her impeccable taste in the classics is definitely evident -- she had an entire chapter dedicated to her passion for vintage! 

"Janie is a firm believer that you don't have to spend a lot of money to look fabulous. You can find something vintage and alter it and make it really special."
- January Jones

     In addition, another first impression-based reaction that I had was how she incorporated some very relevant history about fabrics, colors, and origins [beauty and brains!] Inevitably, shapewear and undergarments and defining your silhouette and shape was also greatly emphasized. Dressing for your body type is a must and a very obvious call [at least for most of us]. By knowing your correct measurements like your bust, waist, and hips, and body type/shape makes all the difference in the world when it comes to fit and the visual aspect of a garment. But the topics of shapewear [like Spanx] and undergarments was kind of one of those 'duh' moments. January Jones and Christina Hendricks who play Betty Draper and Joan Holloway, respectively, attest to the fact that having the correct undergarments beneath those costumes [girdles, long-line bras, and stockings] contributes to making them feel, walk, and maintain their postures for their roles. And this point is totally relatable because when I'm trying on strapless dresses without the correct bra, the fit is completely off and it doesn't look right. Or when some women wear racerback tanks with the bra straps showing, it's just plain sloppy or worse, muffin tops [disastrous]. Lessons learned: learn thy measurements and the correct undergarments and shapewear is the foundation to a polished look! 

       My absolute favorite ideas in this book are: 
  • Putting together a fashion journal
  • The cocktail chatter and checklist  after every chapter
  • Calling your closet a dressing room 
In chapter 3 titled "The Dressing Room," Janie encourages readers to start a fashion journal. In this journal she suggests you jot down your most basic information like those before-mentioned measurements, shoe size, most flattering colors and silhouettes, and shopping needs. She also suggests that you jot down your favorite outfits as you discover them. I took this advice and began my very own fashion journal and formatted it a bit differently, but with the same basic idea. Among several other additions of my own [topic of next blog perhaps?!], I used the idea of writing down your favorite outfits, but since I'm such a visual person, I took polaroids instead [and i wish to invest in a dress form very soon so that the outfits will be more neatly presented!] 

   I also loved how she included a checklist after every chapter which summarizes a lot of her key points. This not only serves to jog your memory of what you've just read, but also serves as a place of suggestions and MUST-TRY! ideas, like trying on pieces in colors you've never worn before and practicing walking around the house in heels with the correct posture! The cocktail chatter segment that comes along with it is filled with a lot of interesting facts about history and fashion [now you can impress your friends at your next dinner party!]

"Conceptualizing a fantastic outfit requires viewing an open landscape of possibilities."

   And finally, I thought that it was creative how she calls her closet her dressing room, a term she described as a "more glamourous moniker." The whole point of having a so-called dressing room is to get dressed and to get dressed very well! And in order to do that, everything needs to be visible, as stressed by the quote above. I cannot tell you how many times I've overlooked so many pieces in my closet because it's overflowing and so many good options were hidden beneath the massive cluster of clothes [fashion confession]. Organization and placement is also just as important as the visibility of your closet. Janie Bryant advices that you archive your clothes based on seasons and in the order in which you would dress - tops and blouses up top and skirts and pants on the bottom. And of course, rid your closet of pieces that no longer fits or stained and basically anything that's beyond repair. So read up and find your inner Betty Draper or Joan Holloway! 

Love, KB

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Video Obsession: Animating Chanel by NOWNESS

Animating Chanel 
Peter Philips Brings His Beauty Kit to Life for the Brand's Cheeky Short

A jet-propelled robot, a beaming sun god and an impish spider are not the likeliest of characters to embody the ultra-luxurious world of Chanel, but Peter Philips, the innovative mind behind them, has made his name pursuing the unexpected. Chanel’s Global Creative Director of Makeup took a break from conceptualizing cosmetic gold to don the animator’s cap for today’s short, a work inspired by a series of headdresses he crafted from beauty product packaging for a Vogue Paris shoot. Built from a trove of compacts, glosses, brushes and more, Philips’s characters embark on a journey that begins with a lipstick-powered automaton blasting through the clouds and ends on more familiar ground, with a model whose chic ensemble channels Mme Chanel herself. Philips came to the task with the requisite technical skills, having studied graphic design before attending Antwerp's Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts. But he did concede on one creative point—the music. “If it were up to me it would have been disco,” he confesses.

Courtesy of NOWNESS

To learn more about NOWNESS go to

Love, KB

Paris - Spring 2011 Couture Shows

Christian Dior - John Galliano 
January 24, 2011 

     Without disappointing, John Galliano displayed lots of colors, volume, and drama [of course!] in this collection. American supermodel, Karlie Kloss [love her], opened the show in this voluminous red coat hemmed with tulle with a feather scarf and feather hair piece. There were a total of 32 looks filled with graphite smears, pencil strokes and scribbles, erasure marks, and gouache washes of  illustrations which were duplicated in cloth and embroideryThe most dramatic effects was called chiaroscuro which is the interplay of light and shade, duplicating the wash of watercolors and the shadows of classic couture photography. I'm a sucker for volume, tiers, colors, bows, cinched waists, and floral details -- all of which was featured in this collection. The make up was minimal and tame for a Galliano production [love the red lips], but still suited the collection perfectly. Some of the looks were even adorned with elaborate hair pieces with 1960s-esque waves hairstyle. My favorite piece was this pastel yellow gown filled with tulle -- such a princess moment [as Rachel Zoe would say] I lovelovelove strapless dresses, color, and tulle and this dress bursts with all of the above. Here are my 14 favorite looks -- 

Armani Prive' - Giorgio Armani 
January 24, 2011 

     For this 41 looks collection Georgio Armani said that he was inspired by the gleam of gemstones, therefore he wanted to produce a collection that came from another planet. That description clearly became literal with the metallic saucer hats produced by Philp Treacy, the famous hat designer. The collection shimmered around the models' bodies and according to Tim Blanks of "by some feat of fabric technology, a mirror effect managed to give organza a reflective quality. Silk was threaded with metal to produce a sheen. Sweeping collars and bodices that looked molded from some hard alien material were actually supple and light. The sci-fi aspect was reinforced by silhouettes curved and carved to rearticulate the body." Despite the futuristic feel to it, my favorite piece was this very structured and tailored multi-colored blazer, with really strong and broad shoulders [love]. Olivia Wilde who was spotted front row at the show was quoted saying that the collection was very "Tron-y" in light of her latest movie.  My top 4 looks are as follows -- 

Chanel - Karl Lagerfeld 
January 25, 2011

"I was sick of all those Eiffel Towers, sick of all those violent colors"

     The quote above explains why Karl Lagerfeld's spring couture collection was very muted with a little splash of color in some looks, but at the same time, the collection was very luminous in its delicacy and sparkle. After all, it was reported that ten million beads were used in this 66 looks collection [holy Coco!] Again, according to Tim Blanks of "light is not only illumination, it's also a lack of heaviness. There was a precise, balletic grace to the shifts, the tops, the fitted jackets, and floating chiffons, all of them built on sequined leggings." And what's more is that all of the models wore flats! [blasphemy or pure genius?!] Everyone should know that I'm also a sucker for classic and romantic pieces so it was inevitable that I fell in love with the flowy and tiered skirts and the classic Chanel lady like jackets. I also love the hints of color, florals, and explosion of ruffles in some of the pieces. The details in this collection was so beautiful it makes you gasp for air. Here are my top 11 looks -- 

Love, KB