Friday, April 14, 2006

Happy Easter!

Dear Readers,

We're taking the day off to spend time with our friends and families. We'll be back on Monday with more fashion advice. As always, if you want to ask us a question, our inbox is always open.

Have a lovely Easter!


Las Fashionistas

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Look into my are getting smoky...

Jackie writes:

“Hey Las F., I’ve always been curious about what they call "smokey eyes" or a "smokey look", and I’ve seen it done well on peoples' eyes before, but when I try to do it myself it just looks really... bad. And a dark mess. I realize it’s more for an evening look, so I know it wouldn’t look right for just going to work. Do you have any tips for pulling it off? Is there a method to the madness? I saw this totally cute makeup brush at Sephora with short bristles called a smudge brush.. I imagine this might help but I’m sure it’s been done without one. Thanks!”

Jan answered,
“Jackie, you can also use a q-tip to smudge your eyeliner. But regular eyeliner pencil is too greasy to work, you have to use black eye shadow, cake liner, or a kohl pencil to line your eye to get the smoky look to work.

I love to see this sort of exchange on Las Fashionistas! That’s what this site is all about! To answer Jackie’s question further…

The smoky eye is a bold look best reserved for night time wear while out on the town. Like a bright red lipstick, you've gotta have courage to wear this--it really makes a statement. If your eyes are your best feature and you want to play them up, you might want to try this trend. It is best worn with more subtle cheek and lip make-up. A light blush on the apples of your cheeks and a sheer, nude lip gloss work perfectly.

First, prep your eyelid by applying an eye shadow base or a little loose powder. Some women also like to apply foundation to their eyelids, but I find this causes the eye shadow to slide a bit.

Next, apply eye liner in black, brown or charcoal gray. As Jan noted, a kohl liner works great; it‘s “smudgeable,” but doesn‘t fade. You may want to make the liner a little thicker on the outer edges (a cat eye) or thicker at the center of your eye. Apply liner to the base of your lower lashes as well. The closer you can get to the base of your lashes, the better the look, but some people want to line just outside their lower lash line for hygienic reasons, and that is perfectly acceptable, too. You may want to smudge a little eye shadow along your lashes as well; this will help set the eye liner.

Then sweep a dark color from your lashes to the crease of your eye. (Some people start with a light base color, such as cream or white, but you can also wait and apply this color just to your brow bone.) Blend, blend, blend. The eyelid surface should look soft, not cakey.

Depending on your eye shape, you may look best with the color reaching slightly above or below your eye crease. Asian fashionistas often look best with a thick smudge of color along the upper lash line.

Finally, curl those eyelashes and apply your favorite dark mascara. The look is perfect is your eyebrows are well groomed as well.

Experiment to see what works best for you, but don’t be afraid of how bold it looks in the harsh light of your bathroom mirror. In a sultry restaurant downtown, your eyes will look gorgeous!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Project Antique Chic

Every fashionista needs a boudoir that’s just as fashionable as she. A design trend referred to as “Shabby Chic” features deliberately worn and deteriorated items including furniture, fabrics, lighting and accessories, and is perfect for a fashionista desiring understated splendor and charm.

So, what is it? The style originates from the early-half of the 1900s when ornate Victorian pieces merged with simple, plank-like construction. Its comfortable, casual look boasts a simple elegance found in the details. Facets of the style include assorted shades of white accompanied by pastel shades of pink, green, blue and purple.

Shabby Chic champions affordability, claiming unique finds at flea markets, antique malls, retail centers, the internet, and the ability to custom make your own pieces. The queen of Shabby Chic is interior designer, Rachel Ashwell, founding her own vintage empire of merchandise bearing the style and name. Ashwell’s line can be purchased at Target stores. Additional Shabby Chic merchandise can be purchased at,,, and

Antique Furnishings

Shabby Chic style prides itself by offering several varieties of furniture from which to choose. Swanky mirrored pieces add a glamorous touch. Overstuffed sofas with slipcovers are a staple, as are gently distressed wicker and weathered wood pieces. Pieces should exhibit signs of gentle wear and tear, while remaining structurally strong. White is a common paint color among Shabby Chic style furniture, with many layers of paint and wood peeking through. The white color exhibits a sense of freshness that balances the worn shabbiness.

You can create your own distressed and weathered furniture by sanding corners and roughing-up existing pieces of wicker or wood furniture. Distressing kits are also available at your local craft store.

Not all furniture must act as its typical function suggests, such as sitting. A sturdy, distressed wooden chair can be used as a bedside stand or a corner table to hold a vase of flowers or a stack of books.

Romantic Fabrics

Shabby Chic fabrics are created to look old, worn, faded and soft. Fabrics are used for furniture slipcovers, pillows, bedding, bath linens and accessories such as handkerchiefs, aprons and table cloths. Various prints and colors are meant to be combined, including florals, stripes and checks. The goal is to mix-and-match, keeping in mind similar base colors. Surprisingly, unique patterns and colors work well together.

New fabrics can be made to look old by a process known as tea-staining, where the fabric is rinsed in freshly brewed tea, rinsed with cool water and then allowed to dry. New fabric is sold by the yard at your local fabric store or at or at

Vintage Lighting

A crystal chandelier is an essential ornament for any authentic Shabby Chic-themed abode, but is far out of price range for many fashionistas. Nevertheless, there is hope for the thrifty fashionista. I purchased this authentic Venetian crystal chandelier last year from for only $99. It required assembly, but the price was worth the minor inconvenience!

Additional desirable lighting includes lamps with a porcelain or crystal base, or sconces with crystal pendants, beads or embellishments.

Nostalgic Accessories

Accessories are the most exciting component of Shabby Chic style. Locating the balance of elegance with old worn in the style can be attributed to accessories. Imperfect accessories bring out authenticity, style and interesting detail to a shabby chic space. Functional pieces include crystal door knobs, glass vases, ornate candlestick holders, and mismatched floral porcelain plates. Ornamental pieces include jeweled or mirrored photo frames, decorative hatboxes and vintage dress forms. Look for Victorian-themed accessories at

Vintage photographs can be found at antique stores and provide an inexpensive and authentic way to enhance tabletops, shelves or walls. Colors in vintage photographs range from true black and white to sepia-toned. Antique cameras can also be purchased at antique stores and at bargain prices and make intriguing conversation pieces.

The packaging of Crabtree & Evelyn bath and beauty products compliment a powder room vanity nicely, along with antique perfume bottles and a distressed, beveled Venetian mirror.

Complete your Shabby Chic aesthetic with fresh cut flowers, especially roses and peonies. They add a fresh look--and smell--to every well-dressed room!

A Classic Case of Horizontal Madness

I thought this tied in well with yesterday's post.

OK. I will be the very first to admit that I love Jewel. I've loved her since the very first time I heard her way back when she released "You Were Meant for Me" and it took her so long to work her way to stardom. I admire her courage in being herself instead of a sex symbol, her classically trained voice, her thoughtful lyrics, and the way she's not just put out album after album for the sake of money or fame.

And I happen to know that she is quite short. And petite.

But this dress? Ouch, honey. It is so close to being smashing, and yet so far. WHY with the horizontal ribbon?? You have this great line going, and then it was like the designer said: "What, you wanted graceful? No way! What kind of statement does graceful make?!?! No trust me, everyone will copy this dress and it's imperative that all civilian women feel as ugly as possible!"

So maybe that wasn't exactly what they were saying...but still. Jewel manages to partly atone for this mishap by being so naturally beautiful. Don't try this at home. RESIST THE RIBBON.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Swan Syndrome-Looking Great for the Vertically Challenged

Lots of our readers have asked us for advice on fashions for shorter women. You all have slightly different figures, but the problem is the same--how does a short girl find clothes to flatter her figure in such a tall world of fashion?

Petite readers, I share your pain. I'm short, and tend to look broader from the front than from the side. In addition I have a short neck and a short torso. Never fear! These are all easy hurdles to overcome if you're realistic about what does and does not compliment your unique figure.

Of course I could write reams on this topic. But you all might get bored. So instead I'll give some general hints that have worked for me:

Be realistic. I realize that I say this all the time on this site. However, in my experience I am the happiest with my looks when I wear things that flatter MY figure, not a figure with the circumference of a Japanese Maple. Nothing says fashion faux pas quite like denying one's own figure foibles! You can choose to ignore your own figure's little pitfalls in favor of trendy dressing, but this never turns out well. Usually the foibles are about ten times more obvious to everyone else. You've all seen those types at the mall..."Oh, HONEY...What were you thinking?"
Figure out what looks best on you, and stick to it!

Gain Fresh Perspective.Go shopping when you have plenty of time to spare. Ask the sales people for help, or take a fashionable friend whose opinion you trust. Listen to the opinions of those around you! Often a new set of eyes can lend a fresh approach to your wardrobe.

As I was culling the Internet, looking for ideas, I came across this picture of Kate Winslet at the Oscars last year:

Let's examine what Kate has going for her. She's always been curvy. You can tell from this picture that she has a short waist as well as a short neck, but she doesn't let those attributes stop her from looking truly fabulous. What does she have working for her?

Her hair is on the long side, and when she wears it down, it draws the eye away from her shorter neck. This is NOT to say that short girls can't have short hair. If you have a short neck, however, longer hair can cover the fact that your neck isn't all that long.

Kate has recognized what all smart women eventually recognize: V-necks elongate you. After years of denial, I've finally recognized that V-necks are by far the quickest way to make me look taller. I don't wear them all the time, but I do usually avoid scoop necks. V-necks create a slimming effect. Wrap-around sweaters are also a great idea.

Here are some other tips:

Less is more. Avoid ruffles, as they add unnecessary and unflattering bulk. Avoid cargo pants unless you're quite small and straight. If you have a short torso or short legs, avoid anything with tiers.

Take this dress for example. Everyone is wanting to wear these. They're fresh, bohemian, and look cool for hot summer days. If you're short, should you wear them? Nope. Sorry. The dress has multiple strikes against it: it's too baggy on top, it has multiple horizontal lines (a surefire way to abbreviate and shorten one's look), and it's completely untailored. Which leads me to my next point...

Avoid really long skirts, peasant blouses, and anything that's untailored. I'm not saying you have to encase your bod like a sausage all the time. However, tailored pieces with little to no pockets, ruffles, or extra frills will flatter your form. In addition, you'll save money since classy pieces that are less trend-driven stick around longer.

Stay away from belts. Period. Belts are bad, mmkay? They've been nothing but trouble as far as this short and curvy gal is concerned. Anything that cuts you off in a horizontal line is bad. 'Nuff said.

Did I mention that V-necks elongate? Really ladies. The V-neck is your friend! Wear it! Wear it lots. It does wonders.

Get pants that fit. Pants can be a nightmare. Make sure that they fit you correctly in the rise, on the butt, and around the waist. It's easy to get them hemmed if those three components are correct. Ignore the size tags, just get pants that fit you. Really. Rip the tags out.

Hope these tips help you! Feel free to chime in with any other advice you've found helpful. I love hearing your feedback!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Style Via the South

Hi Y'all!

As Las Fashionistas continues to blossom in readership and popularity, the demand for more frequent posting also grows. Las F recently asked me to bear arms in the fashion crusade, offering up savvy opinions care of the deep south, by way of Nashville.

Because of the heat, humidity and a laid-back lifestyle, a southern Fashionista realizes the importance of natural and comfortable allure, but still makes allowances for proud and extravagant trends. We make no apologies for our deep-rooted tradition and charm, while welcoming progressive advances in couture.

The southern states are not void of the glitterati, and both glamorous garb and fashion faux pas abound. Blame it on manners, but criticism of a horrendous outfit or atrocious behavior is met with a sugary, yet tongue in cheek, "Bless his/her heart!"

I'm ecstatic to be part of the Las Fashionistas team and am looking forward to passing along information collected from personal experience and conducting research in the name of beauty. But as any southern belle can tell you, the most important accessory one can have is a smile. That is one trend that never goes out of style.


F. Nashville

What do I Wear with this Dress?

Linnea writes:
"I have a question for you. My brother's wedding is coming up (in May, warm weather, and it's an outside wedding) and I would love to have something really nice to wear. Now I found this dress that I really love at Anthropologie, and I'm thinking about getting it. What kind of shoes would I wear with this? I would figure flat shoes, but would thong sandals be appropriate? I didn't think so, but that's why I'm asking y'all! And I was wondering if you had some dress ideas for me, that maybe I'm not thinking of. I would just love for y'all to give me some advice!"

I LOVE the fabric of this dress. It's different, but not too flashy. I say go for it! Since it's an outdoor wedding you'll want to avoid anything with a really severe heel. They'll sink into the grass and that wouldn't be fun at all. I'd also avoid flip-flops, unless the bride is wearing them or you know the wedding is super casual. They're really not special enough for a wedding.

You could accent the dress with several different colors, but I see this dress looking best with red. Here are a couple of shoe ideas to get you started:

Red Platforms, $82.95, available at Zappos...I'm skeptical about mixing satin and cork together, but I'd have to see these shoes in person to be sure. At any rate, they mimic a style that should be easy enough to find.

Aerosoles, $63.95, available at Zappos<: Since you said you were thinking of wearing flats, I'm assuming you want really comfortable shoes. Aerosoles are made for comfort, and you could wear these shoes with countless other items you probably have in your wardrobe: Jeans, denim capris, khakis, skirts, etc.

These shoes would be cute if you determine the wedding is pretty casual.

Get a big straw hat something like this one here and finish the outfit with a simple necklace and earring set.

A word of caution about slip-ons: practice walking around in the dress, with the shoes on, for a few days before the wedding. MAKE SURE that your dress isn't going to get caught under your heels! There is nothing more annoying than getting tripped all day long!

Have fun Linnea!