Obama and InStyle team up for handbag collection

While fashion helps us look good, it can also do good — and that’s exactly the aim of a new handbag collection from First Lady Michelle Obama and InStyle.

Fresh off her stint as covergirl for InStyle‘s October issue, People Style says Obama and InStyle channeled their working relationship into a new line of handbags that will benefit the Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Fund, the First Lady’s project to “to help adolescent girls around the world attend school since more than 62 million girls are currently not in classrooms due to physical, cultural, or financial barriers.”

Teaming up with American designers, the line features several limited-edition tote bags that depict a country of the designers’ choosing in which “Let Girls Learn is working to provide education to young women who need it,” reports People Style, and the resulting design is inspired by the culture of the country.

Designers like Carolina Herrera (who chose Peru), Prabal Gurung (who chose South Africa), Jason Wu, DKNY, Diane Von Furstenberg, Tanya Taylor and Narciso Rodriguez all joined in on the project, offering stylish tote designs that People Style says will be available only at shop.InStyle.com starting on Oct. 10 (pre-orders started on Sept. 12).

Totes start at $52, says People Style, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Let Girls Learn.


She Leads, You Follow: amfAR Inspiration Gala Edition

Fashion and fundraising came together in the Oct. 29 amfAR Inspiration Gala, held at Milk Studios in Hollywood, California. Launched in 2010, the series aims to celebrate men’s style while also raising money for amfAR’s AIDS research programs. Last Thursday’s gala certainly accomplished both goals, with stars turning out high fashion to support the worthy cause.

One of our favorite looks of the night came courtesy of the always-fashionable Sarah Hyland, who wore a blush Jenny Packam gown with beaded embroidery. InStyle says Hyland completed her gala look with Lorraine Schwartz jewelry.

Following Hyland in a more whimsical look was Diane Kruger, who donned a Carolina Herrera gown in a faint sheer pink with black and white embroidery. InStyle says that Kruger polished off her look with a Charlotte Olympia box clutch and Harry Winston jewelry.

Interrupting the parade of gowns was Zendaya, who opted for a tailored blazer and shorts suit. She injected her look with some femininity by adding a black strappy heel and floral earrings.

Lea Michele rounded out our favorite looks of the evening, wearing a coral strapless gown with an origami-style curved neckline. A diamond bracelet and earrings completed her gala look.

Although these ladies are dressed to impress on the red carpet of a charity gala, there are several things we can learn from their style and apply to the way we dress every day:

  1. Simplicity makes a statement – All of these outfits have one thing in common: they are all fairly simple. While some included embroidery or beading, they all employ solid colors. While solid colors can sometimes be considered boring, these ensembles certainly prove otherwise. Their simplicity allows us to focus on each woman wearing the outfit; because we are not distracted by loud prints or overwhelming layers of material, which lets us see them and their natural beauty. When styled with bold jewelry, as these ladies did, it can create a striking, fashionable look.
  2.  Fit is everything – Another common thread running through each of these outfits is their fit; each ensemble is perfectly tailored, and good fit automatically elevates the inherent style of each piece. For example, Zendaya’s blazer fits perfectly at the shoulder and at the waist, accentuating her hourglass shape. Michele’s gown fits in a similar way, with the exaggerated neckline emphasizing her bust while the rest of the gown hugs her curves all the way down to its hemline.
  3. Proportional jewelry – Each woman also has jewelry that is proportional to their outfits; that is, because their outfits are simple, they could wear larger jewelry pieces. Notice, however, the mix of sizes in their jewelry; for example, in Michele’s outfit, she chose a smaller earring with a larger cuff bracelet. Kruger, though, opted for earrings and a bracelet that are fairly equal in size, while Zendaya chose for a bolder earring to counteract her menswear-inspired look. Hyland, however, chose the smallest jewelry, most likely to avoid competing with her bold lip color.

She Leads, You Follow: Wimbledon Edition

This year’s Wimbledon championships not only attracted some of the best tennis players in the world, but also some incredibly well-dressed guests.

The championships, which officially ends on July 12, has been graced with the attendance of several A-list celebrities, from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge William and Catherine to Hollywood power couple John Legend and Chrissy Tiegen. But despite the celebrities in attendance, THL has only been starstruck by the impeccable Wimbledon fashion.

The first Wimbledon attendee to catch our eye was Sienna Miller, who showed up to the semi-finals on Friday in an elegant white jumpsuit by Galvan. Miller doubled up on Alexander McQueen accessories, pairing her look with a McQueen tote as well as McQueen tortoise shell sunglasses, according to Vogue

While Miller kept it simple in a sleek white jumpsuit, People StyleWatch reports that Pippa Middleton opted for a printed Carolina Herrera peplum top with a matching cigarette pant to attend Thursday’s match. She completed her look with a black espadrille wedge, a cream colored clutch and classic aviator sunglasses.

Although you may not be attending a fancy sporting event anytime soon (don’t worry, we aren’t either!), there are some aspects of Miller’s and Middleton’s outfits that we can work into our own wardrobes.

  1. Jump into a jumpsuit – Jumpsuits are such an easy option, not just for the summer but all-year round. Similar to dresses, just put on a jumpsuit and you are instantly dressed. However, there are certain things to be mindful of when shopping for your perfect jumpsuit: first, make sure that the jumpsuit clearly defines your waist. This means looking for jumpsuits with obvious seaming or even a belt at the waist. Next, be sure to try on the jumpsuit before you purchase it, ensuring that the waist of the jumpsuit falls at your natural waistline (your natural waistline is the smallest part of your torso); this ensures that your legs look long because your legs will seem like they start at your waist, making you look taller overall. Finally, make sure that the jumpsuit isn’t too long; the last thing you want is material to be pooling around your ankles, as this can make your legs look shorter and reverse the illusion of a longer leg created by defining your natural waist.
  2. All-over prints are A-OK – Pippa Middleton’s all-over printed ensemble shows us exactly how to pull off such a bold look. First, she chose pieces in flattering silhouettes; remember, peplum tops are universally flattering, as they not only have the ability to define your waist and emphasize your curves, but also to hide anything you may be worried about in your stomach area. Her cigarette pants are tailored closely to her body, giving her a fitted, long and lean shape. Next, she chose a print that is proportional to her frame; at a tall and slender 5 feet 9 inches, she can pull off a small to medium sized print, and this white-on-black print certainly fit the bill. Finally, she kept her accessories simple, letting the print be the star of the show while her accessories played a supporting role; note that she opted for accessories in similar colors to those in her outfit and kept those accessories in solid colors. While you can add a pop of color to something as simple as black and white, make sure that you do not introduce another bold print to compete with the main print of your outfit. You can introduce another simpler print, however, so long as it is small enough to read as a solid color from a distance.

Fashion Statement or Lack Thereof?

In my travels around the Internet yesterday, I stumbled upon an interview from The Washington Post featuring world-famous designer Carolina Herrera. Amidst surveying Herrera’s own crisp, classic style and her modern yet timeless designs, The Washington Post’s Robin Givhan asked Herrera for her thoughts on the ‘nearly nude’ trend (think Beyoncé’s Met Gala dress) that has been popping up on red carpets this season.

And Herrera certainly made a statement with her response, saying “Some designers think ‘it’s so modern to be naked or almost naked. They think it’s going to attract younger people if they do those dresses. No!'” She went on to say that gowns like these are only trying to draw attention to the wearer, but she instead thinks that there should be “‘a little mystery'” in the way stars dress.

Her best point on the nearly-nude trend was yet to come. In speaking on the celebrities that wear these barely-there gowns, Herrera said, “‘They’re supposed to be fashion icons and they’re not wearing anything.'”

After reading her thoughts on this trend, I knew I was not alone in my distaste for these gowns! Showing a little skin is one thing, but bearing it all with the risk of a wardrobe malfunction at any second is completely different story. In my opinion, it can be just as sexy or appealing to wear something that only shows one of your favorite ‘assets’ and leaves the rest to onlookers’ imaginations, or as Herrera says, leaves “‘a little mystery.'” This was proven this past weekend when Jennifer Lopez, who tends to partake of the ‘barely there’ trend, wore a demure Valentino ballgown to the Tony Awards. She looked just as sexy as she always does, but she also looked sophisticated and elegant, and she managed to do so all while being completely covered!

What is beginning to happen as a result of the nearly-nude trend is that many teens are beginning to copy this trend in their prom gowns, which oftentimes goes against their high schools’ rules. It is really not appropriate for teenage girls to be copying this risqué trend at such a young age; girls should instead pick one element of the nearly-nude dresses that they like and find a way to incorporate that into their gown. For instance, if they like an illusion neckline, find something with an illusion neckline, but keep the rest of the dress free of cutouts, high slits and cleavage.

Although being covered seems to be ‘uncool’ lately in Hollywood, I agree with Carolina Herrera; how can these stars be “‘fashion icons'” when they barely wearing any material? Fashion is all about how material is cut, sewn and worn in a way that new and progressive – if we judge these barely-there gowns by this standard, then it is not fashion at all. It instead has become a competition of who can wear the least possible amount of material without having a wardrobe malfunction.

Giorgio Armani once said, “Elegance is not about being noticed, it’s about being remembered.” These barely-there dresses certainly get noticed and have their moment in the spotlight, but not because they are elegant. True fashion icons dress elegantly at all times and are remembered for an eternity.