How to Dress Like a Man | Part III

Saturday, 28 December 2013

How to Dress like a Man is a new series of posts on What's Alexandra Waring in an attempt to understand male fashion better and to define the basics of good dressing for men. This week, gentlemen, we shall be conversing over the topic of shirts and T-shirts! If you didn't catch the first half of this new series, you can catch up here and here... 

Tee-ase me

The first rule when it comes to tees is to keep it plain and classy. Nothing screams 'GET AWAY FROM ME', more than slogan tees designed to make you stare so that men can get an eyeful. Bloody disgusting.
Secondly, a tee needs to be fitted (if you're very skinny, don't be afraid of fitted tees- they'll look ten times better than an ironically 'oversized' tee, drowning you in material and in fact, making you look skinnier). One thing I will say is....if you're pumped, then please avoid tees that look like they've been sprayed onto your torso. I take one look at you and know I will never be able to compete with your pecs for your attention... and I'm out. You don't need to wear something like that to attract anybody!
Another thing to note about tees is that they can be easily dressed up or down. A slightly baggier tee (this can be an exception!) with tighter jeans looks quite casual, especially with pumps or nice loafers. Dressed up, under a suit jacket will look swish enough for lunch with the parents or a smart-casual meeting, especially with smart jeans and a nice watch to accessorise.

Time to get shirty
A shirt is a timeless classic that can easily be dressed up, down, underneath jumpers, draped over tees, tied round the waist- one of the most versatile pieces in a male wardrobe. To that end, it's vital to have a good variation of them to compliment your different looks.
Obviously, every man will have their preferences and how far they'll push themselves style wise. Why not make like my babe Joseph Gordon-Levitt (above) and prove your manliness with a wacky print shirt and tie? Or dress it down at the weekend with a preppy denim shirt (and push the boat out there with double denim!). 
Also, give different looks with shirts a try. Buttoned all the way up, all the way down, a few buttons done up etc. Accessorise with different printed handkerchiefs in your top right pocket, roll your sleeves up, try out some cufflinks... they're incredibly versatile!
The best thing to do is have a bit of an experiment and try things on that you like in shops. Don't be afraid to have a go- remember, first impressions count, gents!
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The Healing Power of Fashion

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Lately, I've been going through some pretty emotional times and I feel like its time for a pick-me-up. When feeling low, I've found that you need to focus back on yourself and what makes you happy, to be able to get up in the morning and live your life for you. I've never been good at the whole 'picking myself back up again' thing, but I truly think I've found the best medicine to remedy it.

Now, you may think it silly of me to cite fashion and style as my best healing power, but there really is nothing quite like it (for me anyway). It's akin to the same sort of feeling I get after singing or balling my eyes out to an Adele power ballad. It's a release like no other that allows me to be creative with how I'm feeling.

All we hear about these days is how fashion ruins people. Graduates in debt before they even start working life, size 0 phenomenons causing eating disorders in teenagers, plastic surgery becoming more and more prone in young women... etc etc. Yes, I agree there are detrimental sides to this business- but where would we be without it?

I've suffered an eating disorder, not at the hand of fashion, but due to a lack of my own self confidence. Fashion gives back what you put into it and when I'm upset or low about something, I put life and energy into that medium and it brings me happiness. Self confidence is a blessing that very few people have, so what is the problem with reaching it through fashion and style?

Self confidence can be affected by many many things. A bad score in an exam, a stupid off-hand comment from a work colleague, letting people down- all of it can make you feel like you're not good enough. Putting on a killer outfit, maybe one that you know shows off your hips/bum/shoulders/[insert body part here] or one that you got for £20 in a vintage lock in- choose something that will make you smile throughout the day. 

As Valentino says: 'What do women want? They want to be beautiful'. 

Beauty doesn't have to be superficial, but for me- dressing the way that makes me feel amazing is the first step. I get incredibly defensive about style when people try to knock it. When I see someone wearing something totally wacky down the street, I don't recoil in horror! I smile and think, "wow... I wish I had their self confidence!". It's almost a statement about how you're feeling and a way of making other people realise that you're a confident person. Where did power dressing come from, if not the age-old problem of confidence? 

One of my favourite things to watch and read when I'm feeling like this is Advanced Style- a fashion blog documenting street style of older generations. The brains behind the project, Ari Seth Cohen, has a YouTube channel which captures little snippets of these people's lives. Older ladies and gentlemen tend to have a self confidence that is so hard to find amongst younger generations. One of my favourites in the Advanced Style cohort is Ilona Royce Smithkin- a singer, artist and fantastic dresser. Her approach to life is wonderous and shows through her eclectic style choices.

These men and women are truly inspirational, and they all share one common factor: Self Confidence. And none of them are looking back at the past or idolising it in some strange form of nostalgia. 'Fashion's not about looking back. It's always about looking forward'- Anna Wintour

'As Oscar Wilde said, "Be yourself. Everyone else is taken."'

Even if fashion isn't a particular interest for you, find something to put your life's energy into and make sure that it will keep giving that sense of self confidence back to you. That way when you're feeling low, you'll always have something to rely on to make you the person you want and need to be.

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Boohoo Wishlist

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Boohoo Wishlist

Well, I'm not too sure what happened over at recently, but it seems that they've managed to take all of the seasons latest key pieces and combine them on their website... just LOOK at these beauties!

Boohoo is famed for their affordable lines of clothing (despite maybe forfeiting on quality) and this season have really hit the nail on the head. Combining patent textures, seasonal sparkles, obligatory faux fur and lashings of vibrant prints... yumyum!

Someone please stop me before I blow my savings for Colombia on this website...

I'm currently on my year abroad in St Petersburg, Russia. If you'd like to keep up with my travels then follow my year abroad blog here... 

Valentin Yudashkin

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Last week, I took a night train to Moscow from St Petersburg to have a gander at the Motherland's capital city. Along our adventures, we found the Pushkin Museum of Fine Art which, aside from being a total farce (everything was a plaster cast or recreation of original sculptures/ art.... nice try, Russia) was ridiculously good luck as we stumbled upon a celebratory exhibition of Valentin Yudashkin's work.

For those that don't know, Yudashkin is the King of Russian fashion, being perhaps the sole reason that Russia is even on the fashion map and blessed with a fashion week twice a year (although Putin probably had something to do with it too...). 
However, there is a serious reason behind his triumph. He is perhaps one of the best contemporary designers I've yet to come across. There's Prada and then there's Yudashkin. There's Givenchy and then there's Yudashkin. There's Tom Ford and then there's Yudashkin.... you get the picture.

He's basically the McQueen of Russia.
Yeah, I went there. He's that good.

Just being in the presence of these dresses took my breath away... and there's not many things that can do that to me anymore! He manages to combine the elegance and hauteur that is so so so rare to find these days. I can only imagine what it must be like to wear something like this... every bead is hand-stitched, every dress fully contoured to a woman's body and nothing is too extravagant. Screw the red carpet, you'll want a golden one to match colour of your aura when wearing one of these total beauts.

The exhibition itself was just stunning. The dresses were set against sculptures (or should I say plaster casts?) from classical Rome and Greece and they just set off the dresses perfectly. If you ever needed a better setting for these beauts, this would have been it. They were perfectly nestled in between, around and in front of these huge stunning pieces of history, just like they belonged there with them. Below is one of my favourite set-ups....

So hats off to you, Yudashkin. If I wasn't already in love with Russian fashion enough, you've topped it all off with a sharp soviet swish. 

I implore you- if you're in Moscow, go and see this. 
The exhibition is housed in the Pushkin Museum of Fine Art until 15th December 2013.

I'm currently on my year abroad in St Petersburg, Russia. If you'd like to keep up with my travels then follow my year abroad blog here...

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Key Season Piece: Oversized Polo Neck

Thursday, 31 October 2013

One of my favourite trends from this season is the oversized-look. Not only does it give me an excuse to buy everything in XL and not get a weird look from the cashier, but it also means that I can snuggle up all good 'n proper in the depths of the motherland (Russia, Y U SO COLD?). 
However, I stumbled upon one of the best ways to wear this trend very recently on hearing about the crazy buzz surrounding the sweatshirt pictured above by Acne. 'Why all the fuss?', I hear you ask! Well, personally its not something I'd usually wear, but the interesting thing about this piece is the high polo neck feature that adds a whole other dimension to the look. As high-necks were also widely featured on catwalks this season, this the answer to my ideal outfit! You can even double up with a proper chunky knit scarf and huddle over a pumkin spiced latte to guard against vile vile temperatures (Starbucks, I miss you more than you can imagine).

I recently saw this jumper on the gorgeous Victoria's blog and I love the way that she styles it...
Modeled by fashion and beauty blogger, Victoria of In The Frow

By rolling up the sleeves on an oversized piece, you can create a casual-chic look that gives the impression that you just threw your look together (a skill that many of us would kill to have!). It also helps to keep you looking shapely- drawing attention to your figure, despite the fact that you're wearing an oversized jumper. Trés clever.
Keep accessories to some bold earrings and basic silver stacked rings or go like Victoria and make the look preppy with some bold frames. Note: heels (or even just little kitten heel boots) will help keep you looking sharp and chic and avoid a 'just-got-out-of-bed' look. 

Here are some of my favourites for you to try out- the vast majority of which are from ASOS as they're MASSIVE advocates of this trend!

I'm currently on my year abroad in St Petersburg, Russia. If you'd like to keep up with my travels then follow my year abroad blog here...

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What's Alexandra Waring to Fashion Week Part II?

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Today was part II of fashion week in St Petersburg, Russia for me today as I continued to scout the frow for the latest trends! Here's what I wore to the event:

Top- Zara
Skirt- Primark
Belt- A New Shop
Boots- Vintage
Bag- H&M

I also decided to include a make-up shot in todays post as it turned out rather well (it's amazing what you can do with a filter...). I kept it smokey today to go with my all-black look. Toning the eyes with an overall luminous light purple to give a slight sheen, I then added mocha brown shadow closer to the lashes and sculpted in some black shadow round the rim to give a smokey look. I also love this dark purple shade- my answer to A/W gothic romance! I can't remember where I got it from, but all I know is, I'm glad that I did. Finish it off with a strong sculpted brow for a fashion week look to be proud of ;)

That's it for fashion week fun, but you can follow more of my fashion-adventures abroad on my international blog- Where's Alexandra Waring?

Keep in touch via Twitter and Facebook xx

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