Thursday, August 14, 2014

Summer Swimwear Round-up

Look out, all you shorts-wearing, sandal-sporting fashion fans. Our warm days are coming to a close, and though the pools are still teeming with those in search of a refreshing dip, summer is winding down. Soon we'll be swapping our swimsuits for scarves and storing away our breezy tees in favor of cozy sweaters.

I don't know about you guys, but I've had a pretty fabulous summer and have loved soaking up these beautiful rays. In honor of my recent adventures, I've compiled a collection of swimsuits with themes I've spotted in my summer outings. Here's to hoping these alternative trends, that highlight atypical styling, withstand the fashion grind for next year's summer season!

Happy summer-ing in these next few precious weeks!

Nordstrom: Betsey Johnson 'Retro Revival' One-piece
Classic - One-pieces, aren't just for teetering tots anymore! In fact, in the last few years, monokinis have become a symbol of classic sensuality. This adorably mod suit has a feminine sweetheart neckline, sheer detailing at the neck and a matching dotted mesh waistband. Streamlined and cute, one-pieces are all the rage!

ASOS: Raisins Beach Day Bali Fringe Bandeau Bikini
Girly/Bohemian - I spotted plenty of fringe on the beach this past year, but this suit has a few key details that keep it anything but ordinary. Instead of a typical triangle bikini, this bandeau features a flirty keyhole in addition to the fringe. Hip ties on the bottoms and a bright yellow hue keep things fun!

ASOS: Open Strappy Triangle High Waist Bikini
Sexy - When you've had enough of being subtly coy, slip into a bold cut-out ensemble. This attention-grabbing suit in shocking purple is a guaranteed remedy for hum-drum swimwear! Flashes of hip on a high waisted brief are unexpected. A unique strappy bikini tops it off with just the right amount of itty bitty.

Dolls Kill: This is a Lovesong Mermaid Bikini
Funky - Boring bikinis be damned! Get your awesome on with this ultra cool sorbet-colored suit. A graphic "Mermaid" script, sporty briefs, and contrasting pastel trim let gawkers know you're one of a kind. An urban edge tempered with a simple cut, this suit is ready to get weird! (Warning: pigtail buns not included.)

Dolls Kill: Castles Couture 5-0 Bikini
Sporty -What would the beach be like without a few serious surfers? This scuba-inspired two-piece peppers in a dose of athletic chic with modern color blocking. The result? A functional suit that is sleek and hip. And check out that back! Get ready for some stares as you're swimming laps around all those waders.

-Michaela Neu
Model and AFM blogger

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Festival Fashion: Then & Now

Fashion and music have always been a partnership, with musicians using fashion to create a persona and designers using music to set the mood at runway shows. It's certainly not a new concept but it is worth noting that the fashion-music entanglement has never been more apparent than this past March, when Kanye West graced the cover of the almighty Vogue just weeks before Rihanna was announced as the 2014 CFDA Fashion Icon of the Year.

Fashion writers worldwide debated whether or not either one of these musicians were legitimate "fashion" choices. But the truth is, just as much as "Blue Suede Shoes" and "F*** Me Pumps" inspire songs, the singers themselves have always inspired fashion. David Bowie, for instance, doesn't just sing "Fashion," David Bowie is fashion. The originality in his designer costumes have spawned countless Bowie-inspired runway collections (see DVF Fall 2013, Jean Paul Gaultier Spring 2011, etc.). 

The point is, fashion people love music and music people love fashion. We are all united through the desire to express oneself through art, so a music festival can never really just be about music. According to Newton's laws of physics, or at least according to the made up laws in my head, it will always be a parade of peacocking fashionistas who were born to date drummers and inspire trends. A trend in motion stays in motion, or something like that. 

 Anyway, here is a retrospective look on music festivals and the fashion movements they have inspired...

Maybe you've heard of a little concert called Woodstock? The '69 festival touting "Peace & Music" left it's mark in fashion with its rebellious, carefree bohemian styles. And also for a whole lot of nudity. So you know, clothing is optional for this look, but if you want to cover up, loose layers, fringe, and bohemian prints strike the perfect chord.

And then there was Live Aid, the massive same-day, dual-continental fundraiser that housed pretty much all of the most massive musical acts of 1985. Style-wise, this was a far cry from Woodstock. Government officials, including the royal family, were in attendance meaning a more laced up vibe overall. Nonetheless, it was the mid-80s so graphic prints, candy colored blazers, and over accessorizing still reigned supreme. 

And as a child of the 90s, my personal favorite- Lollapalooza. Originally created as a farewell tour for Jane's Addiction, it has since warped into a 2-3 day festival that has exposed some of the biggest names in rock music. This look is garage band grunge all the way. A little dark and moody, a little thrift store charm, and a whole lot of DGAF.  

 It could be said that South by Southwest is the thinking man's festival. Starting off small in 1987, it has since grown to a music, film, and interactive event popular with hipsters everywhere. As well as the standard festival fashion fare, SXSW-goers are often seen in quirky prints, modest silhouettes, and all things vintage. 

The Miami-based EDM festival, Ultra, brings out the loudest looks on the list. If a toddler took molly and dressed you up in its rainbow pony dreams, you would basically be all set for Ultra. Light up neons, sparkle unicorns, fur boots, and stacks and stacks of beaded bracelets are the norm. You can incorporate elements of this look into your style through playful graphics and prints, childlike accessories, and hologram accents. 

And the pièce de résistance, one of the largest, most famous, and most profitable music festivals in the United States- Coachella. With countless celebrities flocking to the festival, fashion magazines and blogs cover Coachella like it's Fashion Week's rebellious sister. And the style is the ultimate mash-up. If you took pieces from each of the previous festival looks and put them all on together, you would basically be right on trend for Coachella.

And Columbus fashion and music lovers have something to be really excited about this month with the most buzzed about festival event this city has seen yet!

Fashion Meets Music Festival

Labor Day Weekend, August 29-31

Arena District and Short North, Columbus

The nations largest fusion of fashion and music, FMMF will host over 120 musical acts including NGHBRS, Cold War Kids and Local Natives, to name a few, and a slew of runway shows, most notably for us, an AFM exclusive show as well as private collections by many of the AFW designers.

See you all there!

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Home Decorating... With a twist!

I've been busy trying to get all of my (many, many) things all packed up and ready to move into my new apartment, and it has been crazy. I accidentally packed all of my clothes (so I am now living out of a suitcase), I misplaced my computer for several hours, and somehow managed to pack one of every shoe so that I have no single pair to wear. UGH. Plus, I didn't know that I owned this much stuff! It never ends!

Anyway, to pull myself out of the stressful, panicked, and worrisome mind frame of moving, I've been de-stressing by window shopping for the new apartment. It's been really fun finding elegant and alternative ways to style a room to fit your personality, and so I thought I'd share my favorite things.

First up is this skull planter from Mudpuppy, which I am completely in love with. I'm a really big fan of having plants in the home, and finding creative ways of displaying them can be ridiculously fun. Plus, I like that this particular planter could really go with any style: punk, goth, soccer mom... Okay, maybe not soccer mom.

Next is this Rococo style vanity/dressing table, which is so pretty (and inexpensive), that I have been having to speed scroll past it so that I don't buy it immediately. It's totally okay to have three vanities in your home, right? RIGHT?

Then there's this beauty, which I kind of want a million of so that I can one in every room of the house. And maybe outside, too. I especially love that this is also subtle and isn't too gaudy, and could fit into different styles of living and taste. It's just so pretty!

And these neat little steampunk votives are adorable, and again can go with any style. I really love that they're all different shapes and sizes, and could go anywhere in the home. I want a million of these, too. Clearly I'm having a bit of a problem with portion control.

Now, I have literally had this pipe bookshelf on my wishlist for YEARS, and every time I move I completely forget that I want to put something like this somewhere in my new apartment. I haven't forgotten this time, though, especially after learning that you can use this same set up to display heels, too. My walls are officially a goner.

And speaking of things I've wanted for a long time... Printed plates are some of my favorite things to look at, and personally I can't wait to own my own set sometime soon. The thing I love about these plates in particular is their use of flowers with the skulls, playing the skulls down a little, and making it a little more fancy and a little less cheesy. There are tons of different serving-ware you can choose from, from cups, utensils, plates, and more. I've had my eye on so many that I may just have to forsake normal plates altogether, and sell my kidneys to get them all. They're just so lovely!

And for the sake of not having this entry be a mile long, I'll leave you with this lovely little jewel. I literally want everything that Polopuentearanda has to offer. I mean. Seriously. Looking at it makes me feel as if I died and went to steampunk heaven. 

Anyway, wish me luck on the move! If you have any links or images of little knick-knacks, furniture, or decorating blogs that you especially love, send them my way! I looooooove looking at home decor, and could do it all day long if I could. 

Hope you're enjoying your week!

-Brianne Jeanette. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Festival Phenom: Cultivating Your Summer Fashion Sense

Fashion Gone Rogue, Stylebop Designer Collaboration

It seems these days, summer is synonymous with festivals, and for good reason! Columbus alone, in recent weeks, has hosted a bevy of acclaimed annual festivals. Red, White and Boom; Comfest; Pride Fest; Columbus Arts Festival; and Park St. Festival are just a few of the fests gracing the capital city as of late. I even found myself at Utica’s Ice Cream Festival in late May, primed to take in the delicious wonderment of Velvet Ice Cream’s hometown.

There nearly countless other fests to come for our beloved town. The Ohio State Fair, Irish Festival, Fashion Meets Music Fest, Oktoberfest, monthly Moonlight Markets and more are all on the horizon. But festivals aren’t just for us Ohioans. They can be found all over the nation (Bonnarroo, Lollapalooza, Coachella, Electric Forest and Sasquatch are all heavy-hitting music fests drawing thousands of fans each year) and they all require a killer wardrobe to brave the activities and the elements in style. Denim cut-offs, floral headbands, the occasional dreadlock…you know the game.

Over the past month or so, as I’ve started my summer celebrations, I’ve taken note of alternately wonderful and wild attire in order to deliver straight from the street sartorial advice for staking a claim in the festival fashion scene! Here are a few of my favorite summertime trends that fit in well with the festival culture. 

ASOS, Elastic Waist Pant
Tapestry pants – Either cropped at the ankle or cascading like wide-leg trousers, tapestry pants, as I’ve dubbed them, typically come in an array of bold prints and colors. The shape alone speaks for itself, but the patterns aren’t for the faint of heart either, which is why they’re one of my favorite festival go-to pieces. Wear with confidence!

Nasty Gal, ReverseForget Me Not Kimono
Kimonos - Elegant yet hip all wrapped up in one svelte garment. I'm in love with this concept! Re-invent your look by simply throwing on a slinkly kimono. Here, festival mainstays like denim shorts and a loose tank top are spiced up with this beautiful piece. Kimonos have been all over the place lately, so finding one to suit you, like this one bearing an adorable floral motif, should be a breeze.

SparkleHaus, Queen Crop Top
Geometric and southwestern prints - When the temperature rises, there are few things I love more than sporting a rich tribal print. Elevate your look with a dose of worldliness while simultaneously showing off that sun-kissed glow. The two styles above incorporate this print favorite along with the still-popular crop top wave!

Lulu's, Daisy If You Do Floral Print Maxi
Maxi skirts - Floor-skimming skirts and dresses have been de rigueur the past few spring and summer seasons and the forecast still looks bright for these extended hem pieces. From solids to prints, maxis are a great way to keep cool while staying protected from the sun. Play with proportions by pairing them with more revealing shirts or go all-out flowy with a kimono topper! This skirt also emphasizes summer's floral and sheer trends.

Pia Pauro, Embroidered Bag with Tassles
Fringe and embroidery - Fringe and embroidery are two more themes that are tough to ignore in festival land! This gorgeous purse employs daintier tassles for embellishment, but full on fringe is never far from sight. Embroidery is another popular technique that can be spotted on clothing and accessories alike. In short, this bag is everything.

So there you have it! A few fun styles to pepper in with your current clothing to stay fresh and on-trend during the festival season! Keep in mind that many of these looks can be adjusted slightly to be made appropriate for other warm-weather occurrences like small parties and BBQs, weekend shopping, nightlife and everything in between.

For a full list of local festivals, check out this link and get to planning your looks!

-Michaela Neu
Model and AFM blogger

Monday, June 30, 2014

Red hot pro-tips for your own looks, inspired by Alternative Fashion Week 2014 runway looks

The Finale Runway show of Alternative Fashion Week 2014 was nothing short of extraordinary. It featured 18 original designers and their over the top imaginative works of art. From clothes to shoes, hair and makeup, the Finale show was not only alternative but EVERYTHING in between. In my opinion, Fashion = Inspiration. Fashion IS inspired by everything and fashion CAN inspire anything. This show was no exception. 

Here are my picks for accessories inspired by some of my favorite looks from the Alternative Fashion Week Finale Runway Show 2014. Not only are they fun and adorable, but budget-friendly!

I love this AFW runway look from Oliver P. Zhang because of the color blocking. This bold orange paired with pink is the perfect summer color combination!

(photo = Sen Bai; fashion = Olver P. Zhang (by Peng Zhang)

Now here's the inspiration for your own summer looks:

(From left to right: Handmade, hand painted, wooden color block (TopazandOpal) for only $25.00. Coach boyfriend watch, $148.00. Dolce & Gabbana 100% silk scarf, $39.99. Dee Platform Wedge- $88.00.)

The neon yellow of this look, also from Oliver P. Zhang, is one of those colors that's always sure to turn heads.

(photo = Sen Bai; fashion = Olver P. Zhang (by Peng Zhang)

Here are some ways to incorporate this electric hue into your daily fashion:
Clockwise from top left: Flora Lime Hard case clutch,, $38.75; Ophra neon yellow bag, , $26.98; Orly yellow nail lacquer (GLOWSTICK), , $8.50; Stone fragment statement necklace, , $24.99

Anything MINT is just meant to be in my closet, like this flirty lingerie from Isolda Couture.

(photo = Sen Bai; fashion = Isolda Couture by Isolda Marie Meade)

Here are some minty pieces to freshen up your summer wardrobe:

(Clockwise from top left: Chevron canvas beach bag,, $30.00mint green seersucker bowtie, (LaurenPerkin), $36.00; iPhone case by Rikki Knight,, $7.99)

The power of the flower is real this season. Recognize it!

(photo = Sen Bai; fashion = Elizabeth Ashleigh Designs by Betsy Stevenson)

Here are some flowery ways to power up your wardrobe:

(Clockwise from top left: Floral print stretch headband, www.shopellamadison.comFloral print Fedora, , $7.50; $30.00; Kate Spade New York reversible belt,, $88.20; Center: Floral print block heel sandals w/ankle strap (CADAUDDA), , $80.00)

I hope this inspires you for some of your potential summer looks. It sure inspired me!

                                                   Until next time, STAY FASHIONABLE!

                                                         ~The Fashion Wordsmith

Friday, June 20, 2014

Runway to Reality: Getting the Looks from AFW

Alternative Fashion Week gives designers a chance to express themselves with complete freedom and that's an opportunity that wasn't missed during this year's Grand Finale Runway Show. From hand-felted dresses to those made entirely out of hair, the runway event was a truly spectacular expression through clothing. 

Below are some looks I've put together inspired by some of the noticeable trends from the show and what I took away from the collections...

First things first, when it comes to "alternative" fashion, edgy looks are always on trend. From the dominatrix-style pieces seen at House of Baboski and Isolda Couture to the glam rock styles at Shannon Kelleher Designs and Ryain, tough, sleek, and sexy was a popular combination.

To get the look, think strappy and black, like the dress and heels shown below. 
Edgy metallic accessories, like the handcuff clutch, and bold makeup, like the oxblood lipstick, lend a touch of glam to a tough ensemble. 

Another trend emerged through the use of lace, florals, and ladylike silhouettes at Elizabeth Ashleigh Designs, Carrol + Cleopatra, Anti.Label, and Phlipped Fashions. With nods to 30s and 40s silhouettes, these designers showed how to make vintage look current.

This style is all about an edgier take on femininity. Hourglass silhouettes, like this peplum top and high-waisted shorts, mixed with precious prints, like polka dots, florals, and hearts, lend a classic feminine air. While unexpected twists, like the use of leather, keep the look cool.  
top | shorts | watch | shoes | bag | sunglasses | eyeliner

And some designers said "screw everyday" and showed collections that were complete fantasy. HubbleScope went dark with a steam punk fairy vibe, Synthetic Rebellion went full-on Rapunzel, and Glamazon Jayne told a woodland nymph romance story.

Capture the essence of the fantasy life with layers of silk, lace, and ruffles. Get the braided goddess look with a faux plait headband and golden braided bag. Classic boots lend a steam punk air while rich lipstick and layered metals give some needed toughness to a very pretty look.
skirt | top | bag | headband | lipstick | necklace | boots

Raw edges and layers of hand-crafted fabrics look artistic and casually cool. Asymmetrical pieced layers that focused on draping and hand detailing were seen at Torn AngelJefferey Steele Designs, Molvar=Stewart, and Katelyn McClain Designs.

To get this style, either do a lot of DIYing or just look for items that are already distressed, like this tee and boots. Items that look hand-painted or hand-crafted, like the skirt and earrings, help add an artsy feel. Added layers and textures, like a draped fringe scarf and crackle nail polish, provide even more levels of visual interest.
top | shoes | skirt | nail polish | scarf | earrings | bag

Minimalism has been a major fashion movement in recent seasons and the designers at Arlo Menswear, Lydia Hopmann, and Oliver P. Zhang, took the look a step further with futuristic influences. Exaggerated shapes, unexpected materials, and solid color-blocking help add to the out-of-this-world feel.

To get this look, opt for silhouettes that are both simple and exaggerated, graphic elements, metallics, and geometric shapes. Space-age influences, like the moon boot-style sandals and astral ring, help propel your style into the future. 
dress | necklace | bag | ring | bracelets | nail polish | shoes

Now tell me: what's your favorite look?

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