Archive for the ‘style translation’ Category

Gwyneth Paltrow has been one of my favorite celebrities ever since she looked like a picture-perfect princess at the Academy Awards in 1999.  Looking back at those pictures, I still think she looks divine, and that’s saying a lot since 90s style oftentimes makes me cringe a bit.   She has looked gorgeous and stylish for over a decade now and shows no sign of decline, making her a perfect candidate for a style translation.  After all, don’t we all want to be timeless?

(wearing Ralph Lauren)

Style Tip # 1: Always dress appropriately

Gwyneth knows how to dress for every event that she goes to, whether that’s the Oscars or taking her children to school.  She knows that the only thing worse than underdressing is overdressing and that looking perfect means striking the right balance.

Gwyneth looks like the ultimate cool mom here while taking her kids to school.  She looks great but she doesn’t look ridiculous.  As much as I like celebrities like Victoria Beckham, it always blows my mind seeing her wearing 6 inch stilettos while taking her boys to the toy store or playground.  I much prefer Gwyneth’s school outfit.

Look cool like Gwyn while taking your kids to school or running errands or going to school yourself by throwing a leather jacket over a vintage band tee. You can find cute leather jackets at a lot of places.  H&M has a lot of cute faux leather options while department stores like Nordstrom have a lot of quality options at various price points.  For cute vintage tees try checking local vintage shops or eBay.

(in Isabel Marant)

Here Paltrow looks super cute yet still casual and comfortable for a night out with friends.  Anyone can dress up a simple sundress with a stylish belt and gorgeous strappy sandals.  J.Crew has beautiful leather belts that would go perfectly with any sundress.  Gwyneth’s sandals are Givenchy, but you can find similar sandals at department stores or discount shoe stores like DSW.

For more casual, low key events Gwyneth goes for simple, on-trend pieces that are amped up with eye-catching accessories.  She makes a big statement with her subtle style that’s much more appealing than other starlets with their predictable tight mini dresses.  You can add interest to a simple outfit by adding a pretty necklace (try online store Etsy for unique pieces made and sold by the artists with stores through that site) and a stand-out clutch.  A good clutch is hard to find, so keep your eyes open and, if you see one you like, get it!  You’ll always need one or two pretty party bags.

Finally, Paltrow is at her best for big red carpet events.

Style Tip #2: for the big events, GO BIG OR GO HOME!

Gwyneth knows when to keep it simple and when to bring out the big guns.  Here are some of her best red carpet moments.

(in Stella McCartney at the Met Ball)

(in a super sexy Roksanda Ilincic, also check out her beautiful Christian Louboutin Lucifer Bow pumps!)

(this is Meg’s favorite look, in Calvin Klein at the Oscars)

She knows how to stand out on the red carpet and she’s never afraid to take a risk.  Recently, she wore a midriff baring Emilio Pucci dress to the Emmys

It was a risky choice, and I’m sure some of you will hate this look, but I think she looks great and she stood out in a sea of predictable ball gowns and skin tight bandage dresses.  When dressing up for a big event go with your heart, pick a dress that you love and don’t be afraid to take a risk!

Style Tip #3: Complete any look with awesome footwear

Gwyneth is a shoe lover.  Her shoes make a statement, they are never boring.  I love that.  (If I see another pair of Brian Atwood Maniac pumps I’m going to die of sartorial boredom!)

(here she dresses up a sexy suit with gorgeous Gian Vito Rossi peeptoes)

(Gwyn spices up a bright Rachel Roy gown with Camilla Skovgaard sandals)

(a simple Calvin Klein sheath is dressed up with beautifully detailed nude Sergio Rossie sandals)

Follow Gwyneth’s lead by leaving boring, basic pumps at home and slipping your feet into eye-catching shoes that enhance your outfits!

Bonus Tip: Always have perfect hair!

I’ll leave you guys with one last tip, take good care of your hair!  Gwyn always has beautiful locks.  She recommends New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Vitamins saying “Pregnant or not, this super vitamin made my hair grow thick, long, and healthy when I was taking it”.  Check out her other hair tips here.

*all pictures courtesy of People.com

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One of my favorite Hollywood celebrities has to be Vanessa Hudgens. I think she is a great style star to emulate for petite young Asian and Indian girls because she has a small frame and similar coloring of skin and hair. What’s more, she has great taste in casual clothes!

I’ve created a wallpaper of sorts for you to explore Vanessa Anne Hudgens’s style and fashions. For some of the outfits I’ve labelled brands that are easily accessible (i.e. UO= Urban Outfitters; VS = Victoria’s Secret; AE = American Eagle) to the average college-going girl.

Check it out! Then come back to me here and we’ll go over the basics:

Click on the image to see it in its larger form!

Feeling inspired? Here are some outfit ideas and Vanessa Hudgens staples:

  • On spring days, pair dark wash jeans with neutral flats, a long neutral cardigan, and a long floaty scarf with a pop of color.
  • Another spring outfit might be an embroidered cami paired with a ripped denim skirt and a long dark cardigan. Top it off with a beanie or slouchy hat to look Cali cool.
  • Wear cotton dresses with a single chain necklace, sandals, and a large hobo bag. Pair with shades.
  • Try oversized designer t-shirts (Vanessa likes Free People for this) worn off-shoulder over leggings and Ugg boots.
  • For sporty looks, pair Victoria’s Secret yoga pants or Abercrombie & Fitch/Hollister sweatpants with fitted tanks and tees.
  • In the fall, throw on a button-down over black skinny jeans. Finish the look with a pair of taupe-colored boots.
  • In cold weather, wear an elegant dark peacoat with a solid colored scarf in purple or red for a hint of vibrancy and femininity. For footwear, opt for dark leather heeled boots.
  • Try a Hollywood favorite outfit: pair a dark-toned Juicy Couture velour tracksuit with Ugg boots in chilly weather.
  • Tone down a bohemian maxi dress with a neutral cardigan and leather sandals in the summertime.
That’s all it takes to get Vanessa Hudgens’s casual street style! Be sure to check out our How to Look Like Vanessa Hudgens makeup guide for mini breakdowns of Vanessa’s fabulous looks!

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The world’s eyes may be on U.S. President Barack Obama, but the eyes of the world of fashion are all tuned to his lovely wife Michelle.  Poised, intelligent, down-to-earth Michelle has stepped into the role of First Lady with tremendous grace, all while being a wonderful and attentive mother to her two young daughters.  Mrs. Obama has dazzled the world with her easy charm and impeccable style.

Michelle Obama doesn’t seem like a logical choice for a style translation (like, say, Rachel Bilson) because, well, at nearly the same height as her husband, there aren’t many Asian women with figures like hers.  However, I think Michelle’s style appeal goes much deeper than that.

I’ve long maintained that Michelle Obama isn’t a style icon in the same way as a Jackie Kennedy or a Princess Diana.  Jackie and Diana were fashion trail blazers, they made unique, sometimes risky, choices and really changed the way people dressed for their times.  Michelle is different.  She hasn’t shaken the fashion world and changed its landscape; she’s simply been impeccably well-dressed.

I think that Michelle Obama took her immense intelligence, the same one that made her an Ivy League-educated lawyer, and applied it to fashion.  She knows exactly what she likes and exactly what flatters her.  Her choices aren’t that of a fashion guru, but rather of a very smart woman who knows how to look good.  And she does it on a relatively normal budget, famously wearing a lot of accessible brands like The Gap and J. Crew.  That is why we can all learn from her.

Michelle has a formula for every fashion situation she’s in.  Then she keeps from looking mundane by varying colors, textures, and accessories.  Let’s take a look!

Scenario 1: Casual Lady

Whether she’s taking her daughters to school (accompanied by the secret service of course) or touring the Eiffel Tower or planting in her vegetable garden at the White House, Mrs. Obama always looks presentable.  And it’s no wonder why, as a public figure she understands that she’s always under scrutiny.  Now, the rest of us don’t necessarily need to always operate under those assumptions, but it never hurts to look well put together.

Michelle stays comfortable and ladylike by pairing nicely tailored pants with structured tops.  Tailored pants does not mean suit pants, but rather pants that have structure and fit well.  For example, Michelle wears jeans and khakis all the time, but they’re always perfectly fitted and the absolute perfect length for her.  If you think that’s because she has the body to find pants easily, think again!  She’s around 6 ft tall and by no means possessing a supermodel’s figure.  Her pants don’t fit because she’s lucky, they fit because she gets them tailored!

Michelle Obama likes to wear little jackets or her signature fitted cardigans over simple tees or comfortable feminine blouses to give her upper body structure and shape.  To add interest she might wear a scarf, a sparkly brooch, or simply bright colors!  She knows how to stand out in a good way.

To channel this style first make sure the pants you have already fit well.  If they don’t, take them to the tailor!  And remember, one pair of well-fitting jeans are worth five pairs of ill-fitting ones.  Make an investment of it and purchase a pair of high quality jeans, like J. Brand or my personal favorite Adriano Goldschmied, and spend the money to get them tailored.   You won’t regret it.  Also, remember that designer jeans don’t always have to come with a designer price tag.  Stores like Anthropologie often have them on sale for a fraction of the original price and you can often find good deals on designer jeans at outlet stores like Nordstrom Rack or Neiman Marcus Last Call.  Then try Obama favorites like The Gap or J. Crew for colorful cardigans, cute blouses, and shape-giving little jackets.  Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, and department stores like Macy’s would also have good options.

Finish the look with a pair of kitten heels in a bright matching color!

Scenario 2: A Lady’s Lady

Mrs. Obama has many occasions where she must look every inch the lady, from when she’s meeting the UK’s Prime Minister to when she’s descending Air Force One to when she’s on the cover of a national magazine.  She’s put this look together so much she could probably do it in her sleep.

She always wears dresses or skirts in two figure-flattering cuts: the A-line or the pencil.  And when I say pencil I’m not talking slutty secretary, but rather a classic, very straight, pencil skirt.  On top, Obama keeps it consistent with pretty blouses, structured jackets, and her signature colorful cardigans.  For chillier days Michelle will often switch out her cardigan or little jacket for a long, knee-length coat.  Fun tip: accentuate  your waist and create an hour-glass figure by following Michelle Obama’s lead with a waist belt!

To channel this look, try the same stores as her first look or look into some of Obama’s favorite designers: Jason Wu, Isabel Toledo, Ralph Lauren, Peter Som, and Michael Kors.  Complete this look with the same accessories as before, and kitten heels.  My favorite Michelle Obama accessories are always her brooches.  To find interesting brooches of your own look at vintage stores, specialized designers like Tom Binns, and your mothers/grandmother’s jewelry boxes!  Chances are, they still have a few from when brooches were the must-have lady like accessory!

Scenario 3: Elegant Lady

As First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama has had more occasion than most of us to get full-out dressed up.  But she’s done it so well that, were an occasion to arise, I would channel her black tie style in a heartbeat.  Why?  Because she’s not a model or an actress or a celebrity.  She’s a normal, albeit incredibly talented and intelligent, woman whose husband happens to have one of the most high-profile jobs in the world.  She has a real woman’s body, and she’s learned to dress that body well.

Michele Obama always pics gowns with fitted, interesting tops and flowing skirts that begin at the lower part of her waist.  This style accentuates her hourglass shape and elongates her legs.  She makes sure that the skirt is flowy but not too poofy, so she doesn’t seem too large or too much like a little girl dressed up like a princess on Halloween.  Michelle also likes to highlight her nicely toned arms by wearing short-sleeved or sleeveless gowns.

Look for dresses in this shape at department stores like Macy’s, Nordstrom, or Saks Fifth Avenue, and at local boutiques.  Make sure to try on your gowns with the exact type of underwear you would wear on the day of your event.  Oftentimes, you might need specialized under clothes, like a shift with a built-in bra, to look your best in evening clothes.  If you love a gown but the fit is slightly off, see if you can alter the gown without damaging it.  Usually this isn’t a problem, but sometimes dresses made of very delicate materials or that have a lot of hand-made detail are hard to alter.

Finally, accessorize with jewels, a glossy up-do, and (if you really want to be glamourous) gloves!

Michelle Obama is truly a lady, one that I’m proud to call my First Lady.  She’s an admirable woman with admirable style.  Anyone can channel her looks with great success because she takes classic, tried-and-true outfits and makes them unique and personal by adding accessories and color!

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This is the first Style Translation post i’m writing and I’m very excited.  While we love finding inspiration in Asian celebrities, we certainly don’t think that inspiration should be limited.  I get the majority of my fashion inspiration from western celebrities.  The trick is to know what works for you and what doesn’t. 

For example, it’s pretty hard for any woman (let alone Asian women who tend to be shorter and more willowy than most Caucasian women) to channel the style of someone like Adriana Lima.  Why?  The woman is a Victoria Secret Supermodel!  She’s like a perfectly toned, outrageously generously proportioned amazon. To get Adriana Lima’s look you basically have to, well, look like Adriana Lima. 

But not to worry, there are tons of stylish celebrities that aren’t complete natural anomalies for us to emulate! 


Which brings us to one of my favorite stylish celebrities: Rachel Bilson.  You might remember her as Summer from the TV show The OC or the horrible action film Jumper or the even more horrible film New York, I love You.  Or you might simply recognize her as the cute brunette who’s always in magazines or the girl who’s in those Magnum Ice cream ads that are always on TV.  So …  her acting credentials aren’t exactly top notch, but she’s always dressed cute, right?


Bilson is also a perfect candidate for a Style Translation because she has an easily Asian-relateable figure.  Bilson is quite petite and, while she is slender, she’s not a skeleton.  She’s got hips like the rest of us. 

Bilson’s daytime style downtown chic with a little bit of California cool.  She wears a lot of Isabel Marant, Rag and Bone, Madewell.  She also loves to layer and is a perfect example of  how someone who more petite can layer.  She makes sure that when she adds layers she’s not adding bulk.  Rachel also loves to accessorize with scarves, hats, fabulous bags, and her signature Ray Ban wayfarer sunglasses.  During the day time she’s usually wearing either interesting flats (like strappy sandals) or cute, casual booties. Fun Tip: to elongate your legs, cuff your jeans by rolling the bottom up twice in 2 inch increments to show a bit of your ankles.  This creates the illusion that your legs are longer. 

For evening, Rachel might just add some sky high heels to a daytime look, add a bit of makeup, and be ready to go.  But, other times she likes to have a bit more fun with her outfits.  And I love it.  Rachel, though hardly possessing a model’s physique, is never afraid to take a fashion risk.  She makes unique, fashion forward choices that prove to anyone that you don’t have to be a model to be truly fashionable. 

Still, she always remembers what works for her.  She chooses looks that elongate her body and accentuate her legs, making sure to add heels for height.  And she continues to layer for interest, without added bulk. 

To imitate Rachel’s fun, casual style try to do the same!  If you’re wearing a sundress, throw a small, fitted denim jacket over it.  If you’re wearing jeans and a tee, add a blazer and a scarf.  If you’re wearing shorts and a blouse, add a fedora and some sunnies.  Try to add items without adding to your overall size.  This doesn’t mean though that everything has to be fitted.  In fact, Rachel wears lots of loose items.  The trick is to reign in the looseness with a structured item.  For example, below Rachel is wearing

a flowing maxi dress that you wouldn’t expect to work for someone so petite.  She makes it work by adding a fitted blazer on top that gives her a distinct shape and by choosing a maxi dress with a skirt that flows close to her body. 

For a night out, do you same but try and combine neutral items with pops of color.  For example, add a  brightly colored blazer to a nude dress (like Rachel does above) or throw a little black leather jacket or blazer over a patterned dress.  And don’t forget to add heels!  Nothing lengthens the body like actually adding height. 

Hopefully this was interesting and fun and you’re not motivated to try some of Rachel’s cool girl style!

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