Kim Kardashian’s Style, Improved?

Whilst reading through my list of favourite blogs this morning I came across a post on Style Snooper Dan’s site, in which he refers to Kim Kardashian’s style evolution of 2013 as the ‘Most Improved’. Of course style, like beauty, is subjective. Whilst the general consensus would have it that, since the reality TV star has been linked with Kanye West, her style has seen many better days, the fashion world appears to be embracing her more so than ever.

Needless to say, having a ‘Fashion God’ as a fiance, who has a very special and personal relationship with the likes of hash tag worthy Givenchy designer Ricardo Tisci, won’t hurt your fashion career and presence in the industry. Let’s be honest, Kim’s beauty, body and sex appeal are what put her in the face of the media. She’s no Miroslava Duma or Anna Dello Russo or any other street style star papped to popularity by street style photographers because of their strong sense of style. So, besides the fashion god fiance and the acceptance from fashion’s cream of the crop, such as the aforementioned Ricardo Tisci, Carine Roitfield and praise from the likes of fashion bloggers such as Style Snooper Dan, my ultimate question is, has Kim’s style REALLY improved?

As Keeping Up With the Kardashian’s began to establish itself as a staple on Channel E and Kim’s face slowly and miraculously began to change its shape, her style also took on a new form too. In the first series or so of KUWTK, Kim would showcase her life hanging about the cluttered and mis-match Kardashian-Jenner home wearing the tacky Clobber, Jane Norman and Bay Trading (remember Bay Trading?!) type garb we all stopped wearing when we left secondary school. At this point Kim definitely needed to revisit her image. Girls dressed head to toe in Primark could have put together a more chic ensemble than what she was rocking at this point in her career. 

However, as expected, as the fame and the money came rolling in, no doubt a stylist rolled in with it and this would be when Kim became ‘stylish’. She started to adopt a far more stylish approach to her dress, which would see her papped  throughout the day in a simple top and jeans ensemble with a statement jacket and shoe. The jeans were skinny, sometimes ripped, sometimes sleek, the jackets were smart, the shoes were edgy, admittedly sometimes a little too high for day wear, but this just added a little frivolity and glamour to the whole thing.

In Kourtney and Kim Take New York, Kim’s style danced between the polished, sleek and put together with precision approach to dress – similar to an approach you’d imagine the likes of Olivia Palermo or Victoria Beckham might take and the excessive glamorous, dressing to display wealth; wearing luxurious fur stoles and coats with large floppy hats, clunking gold Hermes bangles and pave diamond earrings, a style typical of Jennifer Lopez. Later on staple Kim K ensembles were shirts and camisole tops tucked into high waisted skirts – usually stopping above or just on the knee, leather trousers worn with a blouse and a pair of stilettos and the occasionally piece of statement jewellery.

And when dressed for the night, club openings and appearances, because let’s face it, before Kanye West there weren’t many red carpet events or front row opportunities, Kim dressed in body con dresses and towering heels that would display her well honed hour glass figure perfectly. This would be when the true Kim Kardashian emerges. When Kim shows the world exactly why she has found a place in the world of entertainment, why she is not only a Reality TV star, but the queen of  Reality TV, and that is  for no other reason than the fact that she happens to be the most impressive to look at and of course, because sex sells. Kim is dazzlingly beautiful, she’s ridiculously hot and she has a body so womanly and overtly sexual that no matter what she wears, no matter what she might do with her career, her greatest talent will always be her body.

Of course, the likes of Jourdan Dunn, Cara Delevigne, Rosie Huntington Whitely or any model for that fact, have all come to fame for the genetics they too have been blessed with and we enjoy their to be looked-at-ness just like we enjoy Kim’s. But the difference is, models circulate in a world that is considered far more cultured than Kim’s. Models embody the vision of  some of the most creative, talented and influential artists on the planet (if you believe that fashion is art). What does Kim embody? Fame, celebrity, sex, glamour, vanity, excess…?

Kim may shed her fake eyelashes, the hair extensions – that were at least twenty inches long and a few layers of make up, so we might see her actual skin tone and the fashion industry may well and truly embrace her. Carine Roitfield may feature her on her Fashion Book cover, Ricardo Tisci may be her new GBF and her boyfriend may even be a fashion designer himself, but the bottom line is, Kim Kardashian does not translate in the world of high fashion. The effortless chic look that she is currently championing with the bed head blonde hair and the barely there make up is refreshing, if anyone ever doubted whether Kim would still be pretty without all her glamorous armour, now they know. Nevertheless, style is a personal expression, it’s what makes fashion and trends unique to its wearer and I can quite confidently say that this new image is no personal expression of Kim’s.

Whilst she might try to play down her sexuality with the way she is fashioning herself, her actions say something different. She’s still laying across a motorbike faking an orgasm in Kanye West’s Bound Two video and she’s still posting almost naked pictures of herself on Instagram. Unfortunately neither the video or the post baby body Instagram picture appear artistic or fashion, like an exposed breast on a catwalk would. They serve no other purpose than to be sexual, as she is, and there is nothing wrong with this. Kim is sexual and sexy and it’s this that is HER style, she does it well and it’s ultimately what she does best. She made the most style mistakes by far in 2013 trying to deny herself of this.

Since becoming a mother it would appear that Kim seems to have re-established her style a little more. Full length coats, jersey tees tucked into pencil skirts and delicate stiletto heels seem to be her go to look. Yes the full length coats are chic, would I personally style someone of her height and shape in such a coat? No. The pedal pusher type leggings she has been wearing of lately are a complete fashion faux pas, mostly just in general, but again because they just aren’t flattering for her shape. The latest Paris ensemble that was the black long sleeved leather peplum top and velvet midi skirt, worn with black heeled sandals and tights (yes Kim wore tights!) wasn’t a bad outfit – if it was worn by Victoria Beckham and definitely without the tights, however, worn by Kim it’s just not working.

 Admittedly, Kim’s world has changed and being ‘fashionable’ definitely includes knowing how to style and dress yourself appropriately, as well as fashionably. No, the lashes, the big hair, the eye makeup fit for an Arabian princess and the towering platforms Kim once wore, aren’t exactly Parisian chic. Her new world, her frequent trips to Paris, her consorting with the fashion aristocracy – most of which are European and with a European sense of style – and motherhood should change her style and it has. Albeit, I might argue that this evolution seems a little too tactical to be deemed as personal style, unless social climbing is what she is trying to convey in her dress.

So, in answer to my question, has Kim’s style improved? Does she dress any better? I can quite simply answer ‘No’. Her style has undeniably changed, yes. But why would we think it has ‘improved’? Because Carine Roitfield says so? Because she’s now attending red carpet events that are a little more significant than a new club opening? Kim is dressing for the world she aspires to and as she is welcomed by the world of high fashion, she is alienating the fans that supported her in the world she’s leaving behind. No, Kim’s style hasn’t improved, she’s just dressing for a different audience – a more cultured, more elite and more powerful one.

allblackerrthingus:Everything Hip-hop/FashionJanuary 6, 2014 - Kim Kardashian shopping in Beverly Hills.-

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An Ode to The Half Tuck

Half tuck layout

This tucking phenomena has been around for some time now, but so in love with this simple garment manipulation am I, that I just had to commend the trend and write an ode to the Half Tuck! In my humble opinion the half tuck is the perfect and most simple way to manipulate almost any garment worn on the upper body, be it a shirt, t-shirt, jumper or whatever else we might care to wear. Unlike say, the embellished collar trend, that’s dependent on many factors; it requires a shirt with the perfect collar,  a statement necklace – the necklace needing to be the right size to sit perfectly between the front band and point spread of the collar and it has to do this without dishevelling it, the half tuck doesn’t require nearly half as much technique. It’s merely a tuck! Having said that, there are many ways to wear the tuck and many reasons to do so; Those of us  rocking the half tuck will have our very own reasons to rock this upper garment manipulation and will have perfected our very own way of tucking – one that works for just for us! The rule of thumb would have it that the less contrived the tuck appears to be, the better it looks. This doesn’t mean, however, that the tuck isn’t contrived!

I personally wear the half tuck for its slimming effect. Being that I am curvier than model straight up and down, wearing a jeans and shirt ensemble for example, with the half tuck makes all the difference. The tucked in element reveals my waist – exposing one of the smallest parts of my body. Consequently, the loose element of the shirt conceals my derriere – a particular advantage for me when I’m wearing skinny jeans. I wear my skinnies tight enough to be a second skin, to make my legs look slimmer, however this also pronounces the derriere – which I am not always entirely comfortable with – especially when I am in the office. The half tuck offers some concealment of my derriere. Of course shirts worn loose, particularly if they are over sized or loose fitting, disguise my derriere too, but in the meantime they also disguise my waist line – the half tuck allows me to reveal and conceal all at the same time.

The way the tuck’s worn can be dependent on a number of things – the length of the garment being tucked in, the occasion we’re dressing for, the type of garment we’re pairing our top with, the belt we might be wearing – if we’re wearing a statement belt we won’t want our shirttails disguising the statement, our body shape and many other factors. Some of us half tuckers might tuck the front of our garment in, others will tuck just the front corner away and some might tuck one side of the shirttail into a waistband whilst wearing the other shirttail loose. Some of us will tuck in every which way possible. Regardless of how we’re tucking, those of us that have adopted the half tuck will appreciate the aesthetic brilliance this effortless manipulation can have on an ensemble.   I would argue that the half tuck is miraculous – I really would. I think I first discovered the half tuck being worn on Victoria Beckham seven or eight years ago and I’ve been half tucking in this fashion ever since!

Of course the half tuck isn’t all about accentuating waistlines, disguising bottoms, flat or rounded, saggy or wide, this tucking of the upper garment adds a stylistic edge to an ensembles; making a simple jeans and white shirt appear effortless yet stylish, a sheer shirt and black jeans ensemble appear more casual as opposed to stuffy and make an otherwise sexier or more revealing garment, cutaway shorts or mini skirt for example, appear less sexual and more relaxed and easy. For all the half tuck’s massive feats it must be celebrated!

 

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LEEOLIVEIRA-TaylorTomasi-Hill

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Olivia Palermo wears the half tuck

gold and black boots

Rosie Huntington Whitely

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hakf tuck - floral jeans

Be charmed, stay inspired! x

Kim Kardashian – Kueen of the Kourt Shoe

Kim Kardashian jacket, jeans and court shoe ensembles

Denim skinny jeans
lipstickalley.com

My heyday, my early twenties, was a time of complete and utter frivolity – I suppose as it is for most. I had no concern for my health, no concern for my future and absolutely zero responsibilities. My main concern in life was how many new dresses I would need to purchase every month to go out dancing in, how long the fake hair I would apply to my own hair would be before I bordered on looking like black barbie and how few calories I could consume in a day to remain a size eight, to allow me to fit into the hundreds of Lanvin inspired party dresses I had accumulated but would never wear anywhere more than once.

During this period, which I always look back at with such delight, I had a number of completely impractical and ridiculous fashion rules. The kind of rules that nobody required to function in daily life could live by. My rules were, never wear black and white, to be fair I know a lot of people that implement this rule,  never wear flat shoes – possibly this one too, never wear jeans and never wear court shoes.

To be honest, I have been unable to shake the black and white rule. When I do wear black and white, it is indeed a conscious effort. I feel comfortable, even stylish, in a Breton striped t-shirt with black jeans and red lipstick ‘a la Chanel’ or a digitally printed monochrome pair of leggings with a black tunic and gold sandals. But pairing plain white bottoms with a plain black top, or vice-versa, I simply cannot allow myself to do. I associate the colour coordination too uniform, too predictable.

In regards to the flat shoes, barring intricate or shiny gold sandals and expensive riding or biker boots, I would refuse to wear anything flat on my feet…not even a ballet pump. In fact, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still find ballet pumps pretty generic, but since commuting for work I am now the proud owner of a pair of brogues, a pair of driving shoes and a pair of moccasins.

You see there’s a pattern here with the rules that I had stipulated for myself; I clearly had a desire to display a more put together, thought out and contrived appearance as opposed to an effortless and simple look. More Olivia Palermo and Kourtney Kardashian as opposed to Kate Moss or the Olsen twins. I would avoid wearing jeans because anyone could wear jeans, now I struggle to avoid wearing my jeans and blouse ensemble, because it is so easy, never fails to look sexy and because I don’t have the time every evening to prepare a fashion forward ensemble for the next day. It sounds terrible, but it’s true!

The last rule to finally be broken is my rule of the court shoe- a rule that was only recently broken. Amidst my shoe collection, that my partner refers to as a disgrace to poverty, are every kind of shoe you can imagine; multi-coloured,  wedged, laced, zipped, red, nude, Mary Jane, Miu Miu, Gucci, Cesare Paciotti, spike heeled, stack heeled, banana heeled, mirror heeled, too big, too small, too painful to wear – you name it – I have it somewhere. What I did not own, up until recently, was a pair of court shoes.

In my early twenties the only shoes I needed were the shoes that I wore when I hit the club. Most had heels bordering on the height of a stripper shoe and were as intricate and as elaborate as possible. Studded, strappy and extremely seductive. Victoria Beckham has always championed the court shoe, most predominately those wonderful almond toe YSL court shoes, and anyone who knows me will know that Victoria Beckham has been one of my most inspirational fashion figures, but I could just never get down with the whole court shoe thing. I knew my shoe collection was missing a very important shoe and I knew it was the court, but I couldn’t bring myself to purchase such a simple shoe when there were so many more exciting heels out there.

Kim Kardashian has helped me discover my love for the court shoe. Recently, I was idly clicking through pictures of Kim online, as you do, when I noticed that the reality star often opts to adorn her feet in court shoes, even when she’s attending an event. Court shoes would be the last shoe I would ever wear to a special occasion or event.  I associate such a shoe with work or business meetings, but naturally Kim looks fabulous each and every time she dons her court shoes, no matter the occasion or the outfit. And that’s when it dawned on me, court shoes don’t have to be boring or serious and they’re not a fashion cop out.

Indeed they are simple, but how they elongate the leg, enhance the foot’s natural arch and leave the ankle exposed, the ankle being an appealing and understated sexy part of a woman’s body, makes them the perfect balance between sexy and classic – which is just what you need as you approach the maturer end of the 25 -29 age box. So, all the reasons that I had  refused to wear or purchase a pair of court shoes beforehand are now all the reasons I now can’t get enough of them. I love their simplicity and, more than anything, I love their versatility.

As I don’t go out as much as I did in my heyday, I no longer need that elaborate shoe that I once wore clubbing, but I still need an edgy shoe for the evenings. I love that the right court shoe can totally transform a jeans and shirt ensemble for the day, but with a high enough platform, will still look amazing with a little body-con dress for a night out. I love that they’re classic and that they’ll still look super chic twenty years from now – even after fashion has changed, reformed and reacted. But what I would love more than anything, would be to have a court shoe collection populated with as many Christian Louboutin pumps (as the Americans call them) as Kim Kardashian’s. After all, surely it was Mr Louboutin that made the masses realise the fashion credibility of a court shoe!

As they say in life, never say never. And isn’t fashion totally emblematic of that sentiment? Gotta love it!

Be charmed, stay inspired! x

Costume Jewellery

Last weekend I watched X Factor whilst tweeting, shoe shopping and searching for that one piece of jewellery that is going to heighten my wardrobe for the christmas period. Florence Welch belted out her wondrous, thick and sweet, powerful and angelic voice adorned in a particularly unique off-white dress.   The dress in itself was probably phenonomenal enough to write about, but it wasn’t so much her dress that appealed to my own aesthetic tastes, it was the magnificent Art Deco embellishments that featured in the staging. I have been dying to purchase a pair of wonderful, dangling Art Deco inspired earrings for ages, but the fear that they’d only end up amidst the rest of my precious costume jewellery, that sits on shelves, in trinket boxes and overspilling vanity cases, looking pretty but with nowhere to wear them – I have always opted to save the money.

It’s pretty predictable of me to adore Art Deco design. All the opulence and drama, the glitz and glamour walk hand in hand with my love for the 1920’s, the Jazz Age and of course, the man I try to live up to every time I sit down to write my own novel, the stupefying F Scott Fitzgerald. I am not saying that I am glamorous or glitzy, but I have battled with my inability to be understated for many years. I am not sure I will ever master the art of understated chic, but I think I have finally found a balance. I find myself residing somewhere amongst, formal, classic, occassionally trendy, but always with a hint of glamour.

I express my love for glamour nowadays with my jewellery. My social life consists of dinners, gatherings, cocktails, going into the office or attending  meetings. Jewellery is  the only way for me to express my luxurious attraction to glamour  tastefully and practically.  I don’t go clubbing that frequently and unfortunately have never been invited to a red carpet event, therefore my life seldomly requires me to be dressed as glamorous as Kim Kardashian. Having said that, I’d take her jewellery, shoes and fur coat collection any day of the week.

For those who too love the 1920’s, whether it be for the Art Deco design, the feathers and the glitter, the mentality of the Flapper or simply the literature, I can’t think of a better time of the year to be extravagant and express the inner flapper than the next few weeks leading up to Christmas. There are many Christmas parties to be attended, copious amounts of alcohol to be consumed and lots of fun to be had. I am looking forward to Christmas so much this year I am almost combustible. I am looking forward to spending time with my family, I am looking forward to endless days of curling up on the sofa not having to worry about going to work, but what I am most looking forward to – is reverting back to being a child. And by child I mean, twenty one, without responsibilities and lots of opportunities to dress up.

Nothing shows a bit of frivolity like a stunning piece of costume jewellery. It’s all in the name, ‘costume’. It’s fantastical. One powerful piece can define an entire outfit. I am completely excited by the impact a statement necklace can have on a simple shift dress for example. My excitement is not only evoked by the aesthetic of the combination, it’s the actual communication. That necklace combined with that shift dress says, ‘I care just that little bit more than I need to.’ Granted, it doesn’t communicate anything particularly profound on the grand scheme of things, but its enough to tastefully nod towards glamour. Besides,  the way we dress and embellish our atire says plenty to the people that we want to communicate with.

That necklace worn against that shift dress could be vintage, that’s kudos from the vintage fiends. It could be Givenchy, that’s kudos from the designer divas. It could have been designed specifically for a Vogue shoot in the 1920’s (undoubtedly the average Jo wouldn’t be able to get their hands on it),  that’s kudos from fashion journos, editors and all the fashion big wigs. If you happen to come across a figure who embodies all of the above then all the more powerful a statement that statement necklace makes.

Lisa Salzer  of Lulu Frost says, ‘Jewellery is transformative.’ There was a time when my casual wardrobe consisted of little more than skinny jeans, long line vest tops and boyfriend cardigans. I dressed simply just so I could pile on my jewellery. Transformation through accessories has been my number one style tip since my parents stopped buying me designer clothes. My jewellery collection is vast and predominately costume. Unlike when I was younger, my collection now grows at a much slower pace. Having said that, my collection is far more powerful. Instead of buying ten pairs of earrings from Topshop and Accessorize at any one time, and having to replace them once they change colour, I am starting to invest sensibly in beautiful, admittedly more expensive, transformative pieces of jewellery.

I am now in search of one transformative piece of jewellery that I’ll wear proudly over the christmas period. My search has been dominated by chunky necklaces and chains, solid cuffs and bangles, broches and of course the art deco inspired earrings. I thought I’d share with you my findings and show you which designers, shops and jewels I am coveting to glamourize my christmas wardrobe.  It is to be noted that I don’t tend to wear many sequined or beaded garments on my upper body, so my jewellery preference is big, bold and strong!

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