Category Archives: Csm Style Tips

Noir Kei Ninomiya Fall/Winter 13-14

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  • Who’s the Designer: Kei Ninomiya from COMME des GARÇONS
  • What’s the inspiration:  In Ninomiya’s own words his inspiration was drawn from his want to, “fuse conflicting elements of organic and inorganic matter.”   His designs have always had a duality in their approach so it was no surprise that with this collection he utilized both warm and cold fabric textures with his choice to focus on handmade knits juxtaposed with laser cutting or incorporating this incredible knit fabrication interlaced with metal rings and drawing back to the the organic with a with biological motif.  
  • Why it’s relevant: New and innovative approaches to traditional fabrications is why style & fashion have a relevant purpose in all of our lives.  The idea of changing how we interpret a regular knit garment and manipulating the construction based on the point of view of drawing inspiration from nature is ground breaking.  Ninomiya is a bright shining star that reinforces the notion that “Art is Fashion & Fashion is Art”.  His approach to giving more depth to the technique of knitting based on the idea of “I see crows picking up wire or something on the ground to build their nests.  Like them, I thought I might make knits using odds and ends around me. I like to think of ideas to realize things that seem impossible.”  His knitting focused on geometric patterns of which he created his dresses and skirts based centrally on the idea of knitting the graphics three-dimensional based on the houndstooth pattern.
  • Where to wear it:  Everywhere, period. Kei Ninomiya’s collection is for the bold statement makers who appreciate fashion as a real artistic element.  After all, you know what my motto is –“Using fashion as armour to walk life’s runway”- and this collection just resonates that mantra so wear each piece with smize and werk that runway of life!

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#WWAW: Spring’s Biggest Trends? Rocked it!

So it’s officially Spring and long overdue for a #WWAW (What Would ‘Ana Wear) post.  With Spring temps finally gracing us with it’s presence and Memorial Day weekend around the corner it’s time to get a handle on what Spring trends to try out and work into your wardrobe rotation.  Ready, set let’s go and explore some trends shall we?

What’s the Inspiration:  Mixing and matching Spring’s biggest trends such as crop tops, florals, cut-outs and bucket handbags.  Every designer from Proenza Schouler to Christopher Kane had sprinkles of each of these key elements in their Spring/Summer 2014 collections.  There are so many trending zeitgeists that initially I tried to narrow down and figure out which one to start with as a focus and possibly do a series and then had an ‘aha moment’ to incorporate them all into one outfit.


Why it’s Relevant:  So the whole idea of trends is that they are temporary fads, but what causes the transition to style is to not have any restrictions and to embrace being a rule breaker.  As a style & fashion rebel I took on the challenge to not only incorporate 4 trends into one ensemble but to make them my own.  While many would not mix florals with cut-out spikes or stripes and ripped jeans I believe all trends can cohesively be worn all together.  The trick is to ensure that you stick to one color palette especially if there are a number of different juxtaposing trends. I chose to stick with the modern black and white palette with a pop of color accent in my blazer and complimenting this accent color in my accessories.


Where to Wear it:  These trends are key elements in my Spring/Summer wardrobe and the big bonus?  This ensemble is food/music/art festival ready.  Why you say, because any style maven who lives in Chicago knows that means you have mastered the art of layering and fully appreciate any ensemble that allows you seamlessly adjust to any change in Chicago’s bi-polar weather.

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What I’m wearing:  ASOS Floral Blazer/ ASOS Striped Bandeau (Similar)/ ASOS Ripped Skinny Jeans/ Marc Jacobs Bucket Handbag (Similar)/ Jeffrey Campbell Spiked Cut-out Booties/ Mirrored Sunnies 

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#CSMStyleTips: Economical Fashion is Trending!

Cheap Fashion BoardAn overarching theme that has dominated the runways as of late is the idea of economical fashion.  The recent runways stand as proof that all you need to tap into the momentary trend is a little creativity and not a maxed out credit card.   At  Sydney fashion week showgoers were using props like a McDonald’s cup to pose for the street-style photogs emulating a piece from Jeremy Scott’s fast-food-inspired collection for Moschino.  Chanel’s supermarket sweep of a Fall show convinced us that even grocery carts can be glamorous (especially if they’re being pushed by Rihanna, Cara Delevingne, and Joan Smalls).   Same goes for Anya Hindmarch’s luxe “Have a Nice Day” bags modeled after those handed out at convenience stores.  Other pocket friendly styling tricks I would highly encourage giving a whirl too include pinning a violet to our furs à la Fendi and securing our ponytails with dollar-bin scrunchies like Dree Hemingway did in Trager Delaney’s latest lookbook or even adding a bit of pizzazz to an edgy ensemble by wearing a bandana.  Anyway you look at it, now is the time to take advantage of high street’s departure from the dreamy and luxe and wear your sandals with socks (remember this one?)




Male Crop Top: Rock or Stop?

Male Crop Top BoardThree years ago Kanye had the fashion web in a furry discussing his infamous wardrobe choice to wear a womenswear top from Celine’s fresh off the runway Spring/Summer 2011 runway.  This year rapper Kid Cudi follows in those same groundbreaking steps by wearing a male crop top for his performance at Coachella.

While many got angry at the idea of Kid Cudi wearing a male crop top with cut off jean shorts I believe he’s given way to the male crop top to become the next big trend.  Now don’t laugh, because many didn’t believe that meggings (men’s leggings) had any real life and now the likes of Shia LeBouf have been sporting this trend non-stop as of late.

Crop tops for men have been gaining life on the runway over the past few years.  Just as the midriff-baring top went high fashion for women receiving an update from designers like Proenza Schouler, Prada, and Topshop—younger eccentrics and established brands alike are re-imagining it for men.  Four years ago in Milan, over the top label Frankie Morello sent two versions of the abs-flashing top down the runway.  That same year, Calvin Klein showcased cutoff outerwear and cropped T-shirts stamped with the brand’s name.  Astrid Andersen followed suit the next year with her own cheeky cropped muscle tee and has started experimenting with it more over the past two seasons.  Other designers like Hood by Air, J.W. Anderson, and Sibling have been chiming in with their own inspirations and giving more life to this trend to transition from the body building muscle beach to the catwalk.  So what say you, is the male crop top a Rock it or Stop it?


Mary Katrantzou X Adidas


  • Who’s the Designer: UK luxury womenswear designer Mary Katrantzou will be teaming up with iconic sports brand Adidas for an Autumn/Fall collection that will be released this November 2014.
  • What’s the inspiration:  The inspiration for this capsule collection will be centered around Katrantzou’s “‘iconic, hyper-colour, kaleidoscopic’ patterns”-is anyone else screaming for joy besides me?!! (please excuse the high pitched squealing that I pass off as screams of joy).  Katrantzou goes on further to explain the reasoning behind her inspiration and want to partner with Adidas, “I grew up, like so many other kids around the world, wearing adidas trainers and I’m really excited about bringing my vision to such a global brand…They have a fantastic heritage and their ability to innovate in sportswear makes them the perfect partner for us to work with in this market.”  And I would have to 100% agree with you Mary especially due to Adidas willingness to collaborate with some of the industry’s most innovative designers such as Jil Sander, Jeremy Scott, Stella McCartney, etc.
  • Why it’s relevant: Mary Katrantzou is at the forefront of redefining our perception of prints and had created a beautiful niche for herself in clearly trademarking a signature style in her approach to prints.  Because of her we have the widely accepted notion that print on print is not only okay but prints are now considered a basic.
  • Where to wear it:  EVERYWHERE!! With this collaboration happening it’s a clear indication that the current athletic footwear trend of spring/summer will not end when Labor Day weekend rolls around but should be ushered into your fall/winter wardrobe.  Basically athletic footwear will be a key footwear silhouette for the next few season so don’t sleep on refreshing your fall/winter shoe game by introducing a pair from this capsule collection.  Lord knows I will definitely welcoming home one (maybe two or three but who’s counting right?)





Roland Mouret for Banana Republic!

Roland Mouret X Banana Republic Board

  • Who’s the Designer: Luxury designer Roland Mouret is collaborating with US based high street retailer Banana Republic.
  • What’s the inspiration:  The inspiration is Banana Republic’s innovative Sloan bi-stretch fabric.  This fabric caught Mouret’s eye and it was history from there.  Mouret is a masterful craftsman and most notably with his trademark dresses.  Armed with this impressive fabric he has said, “When I saw that fabric I was so interested in working with it in my way” so don’t expect a replica of his own clothing line in a less expensive version but a “fitted dress for the Banana Republic customer.”  I don’t know about you but I’ve drooling over what the endless possibilities could be for this collection.
  • Why it’s relevant: Any stylish working girl in tune with her own personal style undoubtedly has a few basics in her closet and 9 times out of 10 these pieces are from Banana Republic.  This collaboration is a brilliant move on BR’s end due to giving their basics a nice updated refresh.
  • Where to wear it:  Naturally these pieces will be a great jolt to your work ensemble rotation but with what we know about Roland Mouret’s style aesthetic and impeccable skill for draping and fit that these pieces will be versatile in transitioning from day to night seamlessly.  The collection will launch both in-store and online on August 24, 2014 and the price points will range from $49.50 to $165.  So mark your calendars now and be ready to discuss the many different ways to style each piece!



Song For The Mute Fall/Winter 2014

Song for the Mute Board

  • Who’s the Designer: Melvin Tayana and Lyna Tyare are the design geniuses behind Australian luxury menswear brand Song for the Mute.
  • What’s the inspiration:  For their fall/winter collection titled, ‘GREY’ the duo build on the brand’s continued commitment of fabric driven garments.
  • Why it’s relevant: I must really sound like a broken record, but once again just in case you may have forgotten the other 100 times already said this: Fall/Winter 2014 is all about texture.  Tayana & Tyare focused on crafting garments from virgin alpaca/wool blends and further developed their paraffin and resin coated fabrics pushing the envelope in the construction to heighten the fabric texture.  In focusing on the fabric tactile to tell the story of the collection the duo keep the silhouette of the garments very clean and simple.  The shapes are  oversized and structured but with a streamlined, modern approach and is reminiscent of CDG.
  • Where to wear it:  This luxury menswear brand is not for the timid, unaware gent.  This collection should be worn by the likes of Ugo Mozie and Lupe Fiasco-who BTW just happens to be one who walked the final look down the runway at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Australia.  So in closing, if you are not dripping and oozing with personal confident swagger do not approach or attempt these looks because only bold stand out personalities can match the swagu these pieces are carrying!




Goossens Fall/Winter 2014 Collection


  • Who’s the Designer: Patrick Goossens
  • What’s the inspiration:  Having a long standing association with Chanel and being newly dubbed as a member of the family the Goossen jewelry house is heavily inspired by the kind of jewelry that Mademoiselle favored both in technique and spirit. 
  • Why it’s relevant: Like any long-standing heritage house, Gooseens recognized the absolute must to modernize for a new generation.  Que their fall/winter collection.  With its new range of accessibly priced unisex jewelry designed to appeal to both men and women, Goossens is reaching out to a younger, edgier customer.  Their bold move is in the approach of melding the right balance of trying to express a maximum of ideas with a minimalist execution.
  • Where to wear it:  Their fresh take on simplicity especially in costume jewelry is commendable.  Not only are the pieces stand out in their minimalism but they are versatile in being unisex in appeal and function so take advantage.  With spring/summer being all about menswear in silhouettes and shapes take advantage of this now and prep for fall with these stunning accessories!


The Glass Slipper Project

GSP Logo

This time last year I decided to finally start crossing off items on my bucket list of goals and experiences I’ve wanted to accomplish and have.  Like a lot of people I always try to pull from my bucket list every year when New Year’s eve rolls around and the infamous “New Year’s Resolutions” start to become the buzz phrase of the day.  So near the top of both lists was to do some volunteer work.  As weird as this may sound you would assume that deciding to do volunteer work should be simple as pie.  But for me it wasn’t because I really wanted to give of myself and my talents and knew that I needed to find an organization that would allow me to do so.  Upon the recommendation of my best friend I discovered the phenomenal work of The Glass Slipper Project.

The Glass Slipper Project is an organization that gives away free prom dresses and accessories to high school juniors and seniors in the Chicagoland and other surrounding areas.  The unique and stand out experience that this organization provides for all of the girls they help is so awe inspiring.  GSP creates a “boutique” like feel by enlisting volunteers to work as personal shoppers who give each girl a personalized shopping experience by helping her find the perfect dress then ushering her throughout the “boutique” to find the perfect fashion accessories (handbag, shawl, jewelry, shoes and make-up).

Volunteer PicI volunteered last year as a personal shopper and helped 3 beautiful girls find that perfect look that they will have memories about for the rest of their lives.  It was such a fulfilling experience to be able to bring so much joy and excitement into these girls lives that it reminded me of why style and fashion are so important to me.  It’s not simply because of the stunning aesthetic of artful design that is brought to life by fabrications and texture but it is the idea that style and fashion aide to give all of us a renewed confidence and echo so loudly CSM’s mantra of, “Using fashion as armour to walk life’s runway”.  

I will be returning again this year to GSP as a personal shopper volunteer and would love to see you all there too!  Visit their website to get more info and details on different volunteer opportunities and boutique dates as well as more information on submitting donations.  They are a 100% volunteer based organization that relies on the donation of dresses, shoes, jewelry, make-up and purses as well as monetary donations.




Melody Ehsani: Designing to Upset the Equilibrium

Melody Ehsani Board

  • Who’s the designer:  Melody Ehsani
  • What’s the inspiration:  Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA in a traditional Persian family this trailblazer bucked what was defined as her norm to follow her passion and what she believes is her “divine blueprint”.  Ehsani defines her style and her design purpose as being “inspired by paradox, controversy, justice and pushing the envelope in showing that you truly cant judge a book by its cover.”  
  • Why it’s relevant: Revitalize your spring wardrobe with a big dose of sporty meets feminist chic.  As I continue to evolve and redefine my style evolution it is such a breath of fresh air to discover an amazing up and coming talent that is designing with a message.  Her collection and pieces are carefully thought out and all resonate the idea of honoring her design blueprint by introducing to the world new patterns of behavior and equality for all women in the future.   Her deeply rooted cultural identity is very important to her designs in that she is always working to change the notion that a woman’s value and status are determined by her marriage.  Ehsani designs to aide women in resolving these kinds of paradoxes.
  • Where to  buy & wear it: In Ehsani’s own words, ” I design to upset the equilibrium” so with that in mind wear every single piece from her collection with a little edge and attitude because life’s a runway so you betta werk!  (P.S. Get your spring wardrobe Ehasni-fied here)