Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Paisley Bikini

A good swimsuit can be hard to find. There are lots of reasons for this. A big one is that swimsuits don't give designers all that much room to manoeuvre. After all, the number of shapes and the type of fabric are fairly limited. With the exception of color and pattern, most swimsuits look pretty similar.

Then there's the issue of figure flattery. Of course you want something that's going to do what it can to distract from the parts of your body that aren't quite how you'd like them. My personal belief is that a bathing suit's ability to do this is entirely minimal. Sure, a large bust needs support and the rule that dark colors are minimizing still applies, but you're basically wearing 2 ounces of fabric. Ninety-five percent of your body is completely exposed and the rest is encased in the thinnest layer of spandex. You can run but you can't hide (besides, running and cellulite jiggle do not a happy combination make).

For these reasons, I absolutely cannot fathom spending a lot of money on a swimsuit. I usually buy them off-season and stash them until I'm next on a sunny beach. I look for styles that are going to be supportive and not dig in at any awkward places, but beyond that, I don't fret much about the cut of the suit. The biggest factor I look for is an interesting pattern or color. For a few years now, I've been buying bikini tops and bottoms at different times and from different places, and have had fun mixing and matching them. I gravitate towards the same colors and patterns as I would in other clothing - nothing garish and nothing completely plain (the all-black swimsuit is dull, dull, dull).

I really like this bikini from the November Harper's Bazaar:

The paisley is playful yet classic. The colors warm but subdued. And I like the subtle cross-over detailing on the top, too. The price is reasonable enough to consider buying even before it goes on sale.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Nighty Night

With the slight exception of Elle, this month so far the fashion magazines have been a complete wash-out in terms of inspiring images. Lucky, Marie Claire, Fashion and even Vogue have all been unbelievably slim pickings. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Harper's Bazaar, which should be arriving any day now.

In the meantime, I've been looking at some of the photos from the past couple of months and found two that I haven't yet shared but which continue to impress. Both show loungewear, both are delicate and feminine, but one skews sexy and the other more cozy.

I'm loving cream and black as a color combination right now. So much more old-world than black and white, almost as though it has been faded by time but still with a crispness and a unisex appeal. The colors must be the only gender-neutral aspect of this negligee though. Everything else is so demurely sultry: the dress-like cut, the silk, ribbons and lace, the body-shaping underwire.

Still sexy, but more in a girl-next door vein, is this set:

Of course, it's made of cashmere, so it's soft as opposed to scratchy. I'm thrilled by the lavender color, which seems to have fallen from favor in recent seasons. I love the casually elegant shape of the top, which is loose but not shapeless, with flowing, on-trend sleeves. I'm also a big fan of the pointelle lace-inspired knit pattern on the panties.

It can be hard to justify investing in beautiful loungewear when there are so many gorgeous pieces of clothing that one can actually leave the house wearing. But then again, maybe true style is about what you wear (and do) even when no one's watching.

First image from Harper's Bazaar, October '07. Chemise by Guia La Bruna. Second image from Elle, October '07. Sleepwear by Huit.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Prada Prints

Ignore the scowls on the models' faces and focus on the prints. Aren't they charming? It's been a while since we saw these kinds of florals: large-scale flowers, more realistically rendered than stylized, spread out widely across the fabric, leaving plenty of background for breathing space. The colors are fabulous, too. Rich plums, midnight blues and butter yellows instead of the girlish pastel pinks or garish cherry reds that one frequenly encounters with florals. It's also refreshing to see a variety of less commonly depicted flowers like fully blown poppies and mini carnations (or are they asters?) as a variation on the usual theme of roses, roses, roses. Here's hoping that Prada sparks a trend and that we see more of this kind of gutsy patterned fabric showing up on clothes in the next few seasons.

Images from Elle, November '07.