Sidney

Nov 112012
 

Zara Fashion

Zara is today a household name for being one of the best “fast fashion” companies that provides affordable fashion to the masses. It is part of the broader Inditex’s brands — Zara, Zara Home, Bershka, Massimo Dutti, Oysho, Stradivarius, Pull & Bear and Uterqüe and they all follow the same model of making fashionable clothes and accessories following the latest trends that are well made and far cheaper than most other expensive brands.

The New York Times published a nicearticle about Zara and fast fashion that I highly recommend reading. Here are some insights from that article:

1. Fast fashion like Zara is picked up by demand and consumer comments. If a lot of people comment to the store attendants that they like red pants, this is sent to the headquarters. If the same input is coming from stores across the country/world, it is a trend and Zara is going to act on it.

2.  Celebrities like Kate Middleton have been photographed wearing Zara. It no longer seems to attract a snobbish look that Zara is just imitation. They indeed have mastered the process innovation rather than product innovation. They are able to identify trends quick and act fast on it to make money and sales.

3. Fashion trends are global according to Zara. This is good news for this company because they can mass produce the latest trend for all cities. They say fashion in New York to London, San Paulo to Paris is pretty much the same. It is interesting to note how soon fashion trends travel the globe. Local tastes and preferences matter little.

4. However, there definitely ARE some local preferences. According to Zara, Brazilian girls prefer bright colors and Parisians use more of black. Wonder what New Yorkers tend to prefer!

5. Fashion follows trends based on neighborhoods and not countries. This is an interesting fact. It is possible that fashion trends are different 5 blocks from each other but similar to one half way around the world. Isn’t that sort of fascinating?

According to Zara, the store on Fifth Avenue in Midtown New York “is more similar to the store in Ginza, Tokyo, which is an elegant area that’s also touristic,” he said. “And SoHo is closer to Shibuya, which is very trendy and young. Brooklyn now is a wildly trendy place to go, while Midtown — well, no New Yorker is actually shopping on Fifth Avenue now.” The buyers there are suburban tourists, he meant.

6. The path of a fashion trend is complex and interesting. It doesn’t mean that people all over the world are reading the same fashion magazines and therefore buying the same fashion. Instead, it is a dynamic mix between what stores like Zara sell, what their customers tell them they like and of course, global fashion trends in general seen through the eyes of celebrities and fashion magazines.

7. According to Zara, trends for kids are the same as that for adults. Isn’t that interesting!

What are your thoughts?

Photo Credit: Elvert Barnes

Nov 082012
 

White stilettos

If after looking at these pics, your thoughts are “the 80’s are calling and they want their white stilettos back”, I am with you. If you’re wondering what the hell white stilettos are doing in mainstream fashion, you know the answer: fashion has a sense of resurrection. White stilettos have long been associated with everything that is wrong with the fashion sense of women and as far from elegant as Pluto (Neptune?) from the Sun. Yet, they are making an interesting comeback.

What comes to your mind when you think of white stilettos? Trashy? Tacky? The Essex girl look (For my non-British readers who don’t know what an Essex girl means, read this short Wikipedia entry on Essex Girl)? Common and unelegant? Well, it is time to change these perspectives.

The Guardian recently ran an interesting article on how white stilettos are back in the fashion world and being endorsed on the red carpet by celebrities. Of course if such a piece comes from The Guardian, can the Daily Mail be far behind?

What do you think of white stilettos?

 

 

 

 

 Posted by at 3:37 am
Oct 312012
 

Amancio Ortega Zara

I still don’t have power at my place after the hurricane Sandy, but here is a quick shout-out. Bloomberg just broke the news today that Amancio Ortega, the billionaire founder of the chain Zara, is now richer than Warren Buffett and is the third richest person in the world behind Carlos Slim and Bill Gates! For all those who think bringing fashion to the masses isn’t profitable, think again.

Here’s the story as it appears on Bloomberg:

This is a pretty big deal for Ortega. He’s been the richest European for a while, but displacing someone as popular as Buffet is something that doesn’t happen often. And to top it all off, he still retains a mystery around him – no one seems to know much about the world’s third richest person. If you don’t believe me, just look at this short stub of an article on Wikipedia about Ortega!

What are your thoughts about Zara and Ortega being richer than Buffett (even as Spain reels under massive unemployment now)?

 Posted by at 10:49 pm
Oct 272012
 

Kate Beauty in Insanity

I had the opportunity to interview Kate from Beauty in Insanity. It is a great fashion blog, but don’t mistake it for an outfit blog alone! Yes, she does post her lovely outfits and she does have a pretty unique sense of fashion, but the blog is much more interesting than that, and Kate isn’t afraid to open up a window into her personal thoughts and feelings. This makes the blog a lot of fun to read and there is usually something appealing to everyone!

Kate is from Bulgaria, so I couldn’t personally meet her for this interview, but it was a pleasure communicating with her through emails and she was kind enough to respond. She also offered to buy me beer if I visit Bulgaria, so looking forward to that!

I highly recommend her blog to all fashion lovers. In the interview below, she shares a lot of things about her fashion, her blogging experience so far and about her life in general. Hope you enjoy the interview.

Sidney: How did you get into fashion? Was this something you were always interested in or did something trigger this interest.
Kate: My love for fashion was a slow transition. Few years ago, I didn’t pay the slightest bit of attention of how I was dressed. I just didn’t care. But as time passed, I developed a new relationship with my wardrobe. For me, the trigger were those web sites with photos of thousands of different styles of girls around the world – for example lookbook. I saw them as some sort of art pieces, and I wanted to be part of that art too.

Sidney: Is fashion your first passion or are you a girl of many talents?
Kate: Does eating a whole bowl of gazpacho count as a talent? Hahah, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t 😀 But I do love photography. Nowadays everyone with a decent camera can produce beautiful images, but I try my best to make photos that are different and inspirational. I love to pour my own feelings and understanding of life in a photo. I wouldn’t post them on my blog yet, but maybe some day!
Another passions of mine (which I’m not sure counts as a talent) are books. If I had to choose to have a meaningless conversation with friends, or stay at home with a cocktail and a book, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose the second.

Sidney: If you had to use one word to describe your overall style, what would it be and why?
Kate: One word? Oh, that’s a bit difficult. I think my style incorporates all sorts of styles in one, so maybe…sporty? Sporty, because I feel good in my skin with more boyish and comfy outfits. Sneakers are the love of my
life!!

Kate Beauty in Insanity

Sidney: How did you get into blogging about fashion? Tell us a little about how you started and your journey. Are you happy with the progress so far?
Kate: I got into blogging when I was lonely and when I was very disappointed with my life. I was studying something, which I gradually began to hate, I was living with boyfriend and he was at work most of the day, I didn’t have a lot of friends, just my sister. I didn’t have anyone to talk to, so blogging was a way to express my opinions, dreams, cravings. It was a way to let out steam. Right now I’ve finally graduated and looking forward to my Masters degree, we’re starting our own business with boyfriend and I’m always smiling like a dumb-ass. But I would never stop blogging, I love it too much, and I’ve gone too far to stop now. And I love all my readers, they’re the coolest!

Sidney: Where do you get your fashion inspiration from?
Kate: I get my inspiration from other blogs and other sites on fashion, sometimes from other girls I see on the street. I get inspiration from everywhere!

Sidney: Which blogs/magazines do you read/follow regularly?
Kate: I don’t like women’s magazines, I think they’re boring as hell. But my favorite blogs would be
All things bright, bling and everything in between<http://iloveagudbargain.blogspot.com/>,
EDGYMIX Travel for Fashion <http://www.edgymix.com>,
HYBRID HUNTER<http://hybrid-hunter.blogspot.com/>and
jazzabelle’s diary <http://jazzabellesdiary.blogspot.com/>.
And a lot more actually!

Kate Beauty in Insanity

Sidney: Do you have any specific brands you love? Where do you usually shop for your clothes and accessories?
Kate: Well a lot of my clothes are from second hand shops. I prefer thrift stores, although from time to time I buy expensive stuff, but then feel bad, because I spent 70$ on a cardigan -_- I love Mango, Pull & Bear and Asos. Oh, the first time I saw Asos, I was like : “Shut up and take my money!”

Sidney: How often does your hair change its length, style and color!
Kate: Waaaaay too often! I love change, change is good, people shouldn’t be afraid of it.

Sidney: Any fall fashion advice for our readers in 2012? Also, any advice to look chic and fashionable without spending a ton of money?
Kate: I don’t think I’m a fashion icon, so any advice from me would sound like: “hey I’m cooler than you!”, which I’m not! But I would advice girls to spend more time at the thrift store, if they want to save up money. Clothes on sales are still expensive, just because they’re on sale, doesn’t mean they’re reasonably priced.

Sidney: If you had to pick one outfit to wear for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Kate: Wow….that’s a hardy. Hmmm…Maybe- a t-shirt, gray hoodie, leather jacket, jeans and sneakers!

Kate Beauty in Insanity

Sidney: Which cities around the world do you think have the best overall sense of fashion? What is your dream fashion event you’d like to attend?
Kate: Hmmm… I hadn’t done a lot of traveling, so not sure how to answer this! Maybe New Yorkers? I’m not into fashion events either, they seem kind of stuck up.

Sidney: On an average, how much time do you spend blogging?
Kate: Not as much as I want. Maybe an hour or two.

Sidney: What are your pet peeves when it comes to fashion blunders? Feel free to rant.
Kate: I don’t have a lot of those. My most dreaded would be those shoes without heels. I mean what’s up with that? It’s just uncomfortable and weird.

Sidney: How do you like the overall sense of fashion of Bulgarians? Do you think it is very different from America?
Kate: Oh yes, Bulgarians are very different from Americans. We have a whole different lifestyle, so it’s only natural for us to wear different things. Bulgarians women are one of the prettiest in the world, but we dress sloppy waaay too often. We have crappy, ugly, dirty streets and it’s kind of hard to dress fashionably while you’re trying to make your way through a river of garbage. Another thing is that people here are not used to seeing girls dressed differently, so they stare and comment and it’s irritating.

Check out Kate’s blog Beauty in Insanity

 Posted by at 5:34 pm
Oct 202012
 

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 Posted by at 6:00 pm
Oct 052012
 

Data Dress

Data dress is an awesome concept originating in the London Fashion Week of 2012. Essentially, the Data Dress is made up of photos taken during the event and woven into a dress. In the age of rapid technological and social changes, it only seems appropriate that fashion should pay a tribute to social media and data. What do you think about the data dress?

We generate so many photos of so many events all around us. Wouldn’t it be a perfect commemorative gift if we just weaved together all our memories into the intricate tapestries of our life? May be they should do this more often – create dresses from photos during major events. May be even sell them at a cool rate. Did I just give away a cool startup idea for free?

Photo credit: R4vi

 Posted by at 12:51 am
Oct 012012
 

Webster Hall Party Girls

As a fashion blogger, I am always on the lookout for events that display a sense of fashion of ordinary crowds. I was excited about getting a media invitation to cover the Boys and Girls Night Out event at Webster Hall on 9/28/2012. Webster Hall is one of the most vibrant clubs in New York and it attracts an interesting crowd – a splendid mix of everything, from the sophisticated to outright weird. Just like New York!

This event at Webster Hall, like most others, was a great hit with the crowds. The club has four dance floors and the music is vibrant and upbeat. If you are looking to have a great night out with your friends, nothing like it. Of course, when you visit a club like the Webster Hall, you want to look your best. There are always interesting fashion patterns at such events. What’s more, it reflects accurately the current prevailing fashion trends of a cross-section of the city.

There are plenty of clubs in New York, but Webster Hall does stand out from the crowd. Their Facebook Page contains detailed events and photos for further reference. I did meet interesting people here – from models to tourists. Yes, as it turns out, Webster Hall is famous in Japan!

 

The crowd at Webster Hall is always interesting. Realistically, you might not spot current celebrities, but you never know about the future ones! These are some of the few models who regularly visit the place.

Webster Hall Models

And what better way to stand out among thousands of people by wearing a crown with a pink dress! Yes, in a lot of these clubs, it is all about defining yourself and how you’re different from other others, most of whom are beautiful.

Webster Hall Crown Pricess

And yes, it is not just New Yorkers who come here in search of awesomeness but also tourists and visitors. This is a girl from Japan who had heard of Webster Hall as the club to explore the nightlife of the city. That’s interesting!

Webster Hall Tourist from Japan

Although it tends to be on the younger side, the crowd is definitely mixed. Here is a great couple with an amazing sense of fashion – the perfect definition of elegant dressing. What’s more, they both sizzle in white!

Webster Hall Elegant Fashion

The crowd is here to dance. It is a good mix in general.

Webster Hall Crowd

Then again, there is no shortage of talented people in the club. If hula-hoops isn’t your thing, don’t try this out in front of a thousand people, but if you can pull it off, no one is going to forget your amazing performance. What a great way to have fun!

Webster Hall Talent

Webster Hall Talent

Again, it is always interesting meeting people. This girl approached me and said everyone takes her pic, but no one posts it! Well, I promised you that Understand Fashion would, so here’s to you!

Webster Hall Girl

The staff is friendly and nice, from Maxx who was coordinating the event and who provided Understand Fashion access to the club to cover it, to the handsome bouncers!

Webster Hall Maxx

Webster Hall Friendly Bouncer

Overall, Webster Hall is a nice place to have fun, meet people, and explore the nightlife in the city.

 Posted by at 3:06 am
Sep 212012
 

Street style older women

Photo Credit: Advanced Style

Street style for older women isn’t easy to find in the glamorous world of fashion with its “young-waifs” donning the catwalks and product placements. Luckily, the internet has brought its fair share of democracy to this part of our world-view as well. Yes, older women can be beautiful and incredibly well versed with fashion. Better than you could have imagined, in many cases.

Street style is a whole different can of worms, but these elders do it with charm, grace and elegance. The best resource for this is the blog called Advanced Style. It is a complete journey of one man who roams the streets of New York in search of street style fashion for older women with real life examples. It is a great blog that has been covered by some major media but still remains a little on the obscure side. If you are looking for a fashion blog that is different and interesting, this is definitely the one to check out.

There are all kinds of interesting fashion blogs and resources for everyone. All you need to do is dig a little deeper. What gems have you found in this sphere?

 

 Posted by at 11:59 pm
Sep 202012
 

The Mirror On The Wall BloggersThe Mirror On The Wall is a fashion blog started by three students about 6 months ago. It is a personal fashion blog that almost seconds as a photography blog as well. It’s success is enviable, with close to 7500 visitors last month alone. There are lots of tips and insights into the lives of these bloggers.

I really like the idea of a blog reflecting the thoughts of all three of the bloggers in one place. Another great thing? The posts are written in English and Spanish for a multi-cultural and multi-lingual experience. The blog isn’t a typical run-of-the-mill outfit blog which is nice. There is some high quality photography and a natural street-style sensibility to most outfits. There is a natural tendency to make their fashion intuitive and affordable which is a nice angle to cover. Wish them all the best!

The people behind the blog

They all go by the first letter of their names.

*M*

The Mirror On The Wall Blogger M (Maja)

Maja is an American student who has lived and worked in six different countries. She is studying international finance and marketing, and has developed a love for fashion after interning at Gucci at age 19. Writing has always been a passion of hers, and she contributes stories to a local Bostonian fashion column. As a result of her upbringing in several countries, she has a profound appetite for understanding different cultures, and tries to infuse this into The Mirror on the Wall.

*E*

The Mirror On the Blog Elena (E)

Elena has a dual French and Spanish nationality and speaks four languages (French, Spanish, English, and Italian). She was born and raised in Madrid and developed her love for photography from her father. Since she was very young, she loved styling her own outfits, but it was at age 16 that she really became fascinated fashion. Since then she has been collecting editions of Vogue from around the world in order to get a full understanding of fashion beyond borders.

*A*

The Mirror On The Wall Alexandra (A)

Alejandra is a Spanish accounting student, who is also fluent in French, Spanish, and English. When she attended the University of the Arts London summer styling program, she became fascinated with the creative aspects of the fashion industry. She has been learning photography from her father, and her love of the subject has only increased with the blog.

The Interview

I got a change to interview Maja, one of the three bloggers who co-own The Mirror On The Wall. She mostly speaks for all three of them though. Here is what she has to share.

Sidney: Your blog is a really nice mix of the thoughts of all three of you. Tell us more about how you met and how long you’ve known each other.
Maja: The three of us met in September 2012 through an international business school program, where we would all study and work in France for 1-2 years. We became roommates in Paris that January, and started our blog after realizing that we shared an immense passion for photography, fashion, and writing. We wanted it to be a creative outlet for us, and it became so much more than that!

Sidney: Who came up with the idea of a blog? Did any of you blog before?
Maja: None of us had any blog experience before this, so it was a substantial learning curve at first! While I proposed the idea of the blog, it was all three of us that came together in the end and decided to create it. It has been a team effort throughout the process, and this has actually led us to increase our level of creativity! What we wanted to do was create a blog that not only generated fashion inspiration, but also took advantage of our various backgrounds to provide insights about different cultures.

Sidney: In your travels through Europe and US, which city did you find to have the best sense of fashion in general?
Maja: This is a difficult question to answer because all of the cities that we have visited have their own unique and wonderful style. However, in terms of men’s fashion, Rome was definitely a winner because their focus on tailored suits and beautifully crafter leather left us awestruck! For the women, Paris was definitely one of our favorite fashion capitals, emphasizing elegant and classic looks that proved timeless.

Sidney: Where do you personally prefer to shop for your clothes and accessories? Any favorites?
Maja: Zara is definitely a huge favorite because it incorporates constantly changing inventory and really funky items into its collection. Also, it is much more affordable than luxury brands! Additionally, in Paris, we discovered a vast array of vintage stores, which were especially neat for discovering bold retro items distinct from what’s trending at the moment.

Sidney: What’s the future of the blog now that you are in the US and your friends in Europe?
Maja: It is a bittersweet phenomenon that we are separate by an entire ocean, but we are extremely excited to continue posting from all different locations. This will enable us to give readers a broader perspective, incorporating international styles from around the world.

Sidney: Which is the best fashion event that you’ve personally attended?
Maja: Last March, the three of us managed to sneak into the Steffie Christiaens fashion show at Paris spring 2012 fashion week! This was the first major fashion show that we attended, and it was beautifully executed, exuding a cool, funky atmosphere and exhibiting great, wearable looks. Maybe it was the adrenaline rush of getting into the show, or the fact that it was our first one, but this definitely stands out in our memory the most!

Sidney: Any general advice for people looking to be fashionable without spending a fortune on clothes and accessories?
Maja: Truthfully, most of the clothing on our blog is very affordable. We try to take our favorite ad campaigns and looks of them season, and reinvent them in our own way using brands at decent price points. Fashion should not be about who can spend the most money on a particular brand, but rather how well you can put pieces together to create something unique. Zara and H&M are two of our favorites!

Sidney: How would you describe your blogging experience so far?
Maja: Our blog experience has been absolutely wonderful thus far. Not only have we discovered new and creative passions, but it has strengthened our friendship significantly, and leads us to communicate daily with each other across the Atlantic! Blogging has inevitably increased some of our knowledge of the fashion industry and photography, as we constantly try to incorporate something new.

Sidney: Are you happy, overall, with the popularity of your blog? Did the actual performance overwhelm or underwhelm your expectations?
Maja: When we started our blog, we did not expect to get many views at all, so our expectations have definitely been exceeded. We have even developed friendly relationships with fellow bloggers, and hope to continue to grow the success of our blog in the future.

Sidney: What fashion magazines and blogs do you regularly follow?
Maja: The Satorialist is a great and inspiring blog that I look to for daily inspiration. It has a significant focus on stunning photography and street looks so that it stands out from the rest. The author has a different perspective from the rest of the bloggers, and it is what makes this blog so unique.

In terms of magazines, the three of us all prefer Spanish Vogue because it differentiates itself from the rest. It incorporates a lot more street style and places emphasis on creating great looks, rather than focusing 75% of its publication on advertisement. The content creates value for the user and we find it very inspirational.

Don’t forget to check out their lovely blog at The Mirror On The Wall

Sep 142012
 
Red Open Back Dress at Party

Glamorous open back dress at a party. Photo credit: Casey Kelbaugh for The New York Times

Open back dresses can be a great asset for a lady to rock a party. Open back dresses have increasingly been associated with prom, and indeed they can be a great prom dress, but that doesn’t preclude this from being an eye turner at a party or cocktail. The photo above is from a Hermes party before the start of the Fashion Week in New York, which attracts the who’s who of the fashion world. You can easily find open back dresses at any such cocktail event or party and it can be very popular among women who want to carry a classy and elegant look (although you can also don a sexy look with this piece of clothing).

Of course, like any other dress, an open back dress isn’t for everyone. You need to be able to carry off the look. Also make sure the dress is appropriate for the event. It is bold. It makes a statement. It is an eye-turner. If the event you want to go to is a networking event to meet potential future employers, you are probably better off dressing more conservatively. However, if you want to stand out and boldly stand out, the open back dress can be a great tool.

Types of Open Back Dresses

There are several different types of open back dresses. By this, I mean you have the option of wearing it with other pieces of clothing or accessories. You can go dig your wardrobe to find out what else you want to wear and are comfortable with.

Open Back Mini Dress

Open Back Dress

Photo credit: Julie Bridal Shop

This is one of the bolder looks that you can go for. It is a mini-dress, which means it shows off your gorgeous legs in addition to your back. Since your legs are clearly visible, make sure you wear matching heels with your dress, because if you don’t, the combination can be odd and even a turn-off.

Once again, dress for the occasion. This is not a conservative look and you want to turn heads, not roll eyeballs. Since this dress shows a good deal of skin, accessories are instantly visible. If you want to show off your latest bracelet or earrings, this is the perfect occasion to do so.

Here’s another open back mini-dress, this time in black, from the side and front views. This type of a look can also be used for a night-out on town.

Open Back Dress Short Black Side

 

Open Back Dress Short Black Front

Open Back Prom Gown

Open Back Prom Gown
Photo Credit: NewDresses2011

Open back prom gown is a usually reserved for a very specific event – the prom. However, although the name might suggest that it is a once in a lifetime investment, it is usually not. Open back prom gowns can easily be worn at a cocktail where you want to look more classy than sexy. It is definitely something which shows a lot of character.

These are prom long dresses, which means they cover you all the way down. The only skin you show is your back, so make sure it is well taken care of. Your hair is important when you don this look. Also, unlike the previous case, your legs are covered. This means you can go for more comfortable shoes because they don’t stand out in this outfit. However, long earrings that reach your shoulder certainly do, like the above picture. This is easy to understand – your shoulders and down is what attracts the attention of the eye and your earrings sit right on top of this sweet spot.

Once again, you don’t have to limit this look just for the prom – look for any appropriate event that it might be relevant to.

Open Back Clubwear

Open Back ClubWear

Photo Credit: HereComesTheGirls

This is the boldest look in this category. You can combine your typical clubwear with an open back, to make it all the more sexier than usual. Make sure you’re able to carry off this look and make sure you’re able to handle that extra bit of attention. If you want to really make heads turn and make a memorable impression, go for this.

It goes without saying that this isn’t for every occasion. I wouldn’t even recommend this for cocktails. Just go to the club with your girlfriends and have a blast.

Open Tie Back Dresses

Open Tie Back Dress

Photo Credit: Victoria’s Secret

These are another great category of open back dresses that I classify as “cute”. Don’t be deceived though – they can be as elegant as any other dress you’ve even owned. It can be playful, naughty, classy or sexy depending on the dress. They all do have one thing in common – that cute tie at the back that everyone is staring at and wondering how wonderful it looks!

You can change the level of ‘flirtiness’ of this great dress by choosing the colors well and selecting the right accessories. Earrings and bracelets go well with open tie back dresses. Make sure you’re prepared to sport this look.

Finally, if you just want to make heads turn, you can try the really sexy open back dresses, like the below.

Sexy Street Fashion Naked Back Dress with Short Leather Skirt

What are your thoughts on open back dresses? Do you wear them or dread them? Any other types I am missing here? Love to hear from you!

 Posted by at 2:18 am