Monday, January 30, 2017

Slaying at the SAGs

Hey Brainiacs,

It's the Monday morning after the SAG Awards and I couldn't care less about who won.  I care about what they wore.

The awards ceremony was used as a platform for politics--many celebrities spoke out against President Trump's ban on immigrants entering the U.S. from select countries.  Many are against celebrities using their platforms to preach politics, but I think if you have the audience why shouldn't you be able to stand up for what you believe in? How else would anyone do anything about ANYTHING?

But enough about politics.  We're here to talk about the thing that matters most: fashion.  Without further ado, here are my top picks for who brought it on that red carpet and who just...didn't.

1. Kerry Washington - PASS

Dressed in Roberto Cavalli, the Scandal actress never doesn't bring it.  I love the sleek, dark hair and makeup contrasted with the frilly white sex appeal of this gown.  You did it right, Kerry.

2. Rashida Jones - FAIL

Rashida  The color is all wrong and it's completely shapeless in a terrible way.  Also, I know she's trying to go for the tousled look with her hair but it just comes across sloppy. 

3. Rami Malek - PASS

Wow. I'm barely aware of who this guy is, but he looks amazing.  I can't take my eyes off him.  He just looks so put together--not to mention the color scheme of his ensemble pairs amazingly with his eyes.  Bravo.

4. Julie Bowen - FAIL

She tried, but she just didn't do it for me. I think she's trying to show off her body a little too much, which is absolutely gorgeous, but this dress leaves way too little to the imagination.

5. Brie Larson - PASS

So simple, elegant, sexy, and beautiful.

6. Amy Adams - PASS

Another simple look, but absolutely stunning in Brandon Maxwell.  Thanks to Gaga for bringing this designer into the red carpet spotlight, because he has been front and center at every awards show lately.

7. Gina Rodriguez - PASS

One of my favorite actresses and she looked absolutely amazing.  No need for excessive jewelry or makeup with a dress that speaks for itself.

8. Alia Shawkat - FAIL

I'm sorry but what the hell?

9. Taraji P. Henson - PASS

To a woman who ALWAYS comes onto the red carpet looking like a queen.  This was no exception.

10. Emily Blunt - PASS

She can pull off every hairstyle and practically every silhouette.

The Winner

Most people looked fabulous, and some people tried their best, but in my opinion the absolute winner of the SAG Awards Red Carpet was Kirsten Dunst.

She's always been known for her fashion sense, but this just blew me away.  She looks like an angel and I can't stop staring at pictures from the event.  Well done.

Agree with my picks? Disagree? Maybe I forgot someone you loved?  Leave a comment!



Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Things We Wear

Hey Brainiacs,

Maybe you've noticed I haven't posted in a while, but many of you are aware why: I just began the first week of my LAST semester of undergrad!  Exciting day for education but frustrating for my writing.  However, I'm lucky enough to have one class that I can already tell will inspire me to blog more than ever.  Maybe that makes you giddy, maybe it annoys the shit out of you.

Anyway, I'm enrolled in Fashion in American Culture, a brand new American Studies course designed by CSUF's Professor Terri Snyder and being tested out on our class for the first time this semester.  I've only attended one session, but I can already tell this class is going to be incredibly fulfilling in the sense that not only will I be able to appreciate fashion on artistic, expressive, and cultural levels, but on political levels, personal levels, and what our dress says about our state of mind.

The first question students were asked in class is one that I still can't get out of my head: When you got up and got dressed this morning, why did you decide to wear what you're wearing now?

When I began to write down my answer, I wasn't thinking too deeply about what was behind my wardrobe decision.  It was cold today, so I decided to fashion my outfit to work with my favorite, warmest jacket.  

Then, we were asked to answer a little more in depth: What does what you're wearing say about who you are?  I was about to answer until I realized I had nothing to say--what I was wearing didn't say anything about who I am.

I'm fashion obsessed and I pride myself in putting together my outfits, but on this particular day I was wearing black pants, a gray shirt, a white jacket, and black booties.  I took my pen to the paper and wrote, This outfit doesn't say anything about who I truly am because this isn't me. I don't usually dress this plainly and I'm not at all proud of what I've put together. I guess it's a reflection on how I've been feeling lately. I haven't been feeling like myself at all.

This really stuck with me--our clothes truly are a reflection of who we are. I've been feeling a little down lately, and that's reflected in my lack of effort to look, well, fabulous.  So what about you? I challenge you to look at what you're wearing right now and evaluate it.  Why did you pick out the outfit you're wearing? What does it say about who you are?  Leave a comment with thoughts.



Monday, January 16, 2017

Stella Jean's Pre-Fall 2017 Collection Is Here...

And it's brilliant.  The season is maximalist and dorky.  The clothing version of comfort food--a guilty pleasure.  It's shapeless and sexless, yet utterly feminine and full of intrigue.  I'm in love with this collection. What are your thoughts?  Here are some of my favorite looks:

Look 4:

Look 7:

Look 9:

Look 12:

Look 20:

The 5 Best Sets of Siblings in Fashion

Good Morning Brainiacs,

If you're an avid Taylor's Brain reader, you're well aware by now how fascinated I am with models.  Yes, it's a vapid career: their entire job title is to look good, preferably in close proximity to a luxury product, but it's the variety of their looks, the range of their beauty and power, that has me just completely obsessed.  

So what's better than a model, you might be wondering?  In my opinion, it's another model--specifically, another model related to the first.  Because what is better than two well-dressed, well-coiffed, otherworldly beautiful siblings?  Each with their own unique version of their parents' genes flaunted on their striking faces?  Of course, this isn't a perfect world--not all siblings on this list are models.  However, all are icons in fashion and therefore just as chic.  Without further ado, the chicest and most stunning siblings in fashion to date:

1. Mary-Kate, Ashley, & Elizabeth Olsen

MK and Ashley are a given on any list of fashion's most iconic duo, but let's not forget their little sister Elizabeth.  The Olsens have a unique beauty about them that is absolutely made for fashion: the demure pout of the lips, the piercing eyes, the sharp cheekbones, and the two fashion labels that slay at Fashion Week every season.  However, what Elizabeth brings is a softer, sweeter elegance that helps balance these sisters out perfectly.  While she is more known for her acting that her fashion triumphs, I've never seen her not looking fabulous.  How could she, with top minimalistic designers for big sisters?

2. Kaia and Presley Gerber

These models look familiar, and not just in a way that's scarily similar to each other?  Maybe it's because they come from fashion royalty to begin with--to be more specific, Cindy Crawford.  While still barely teenagers, Kaia and Presley have appeared in multiple fashion spreads together and walked for major designers' shows (most recently, Presley in MNYFW Dolce & Gabbana).  They have big shoes to fill, but so far they're taking the fashion world by a storm.

3. Gigi, Bella, and Anwar Hadid

Much like the Olsens, you can't really make it through a list of siblings in fashion without mentioning the Hadids.  And also like the Olsens, let's not forget little brother Anwar.  Anwar has traditionally gotten lost in the shadows of his big sisters Gigi and Bella (who, let's face it, have incredibly leggy shadows), but he's since made a name for himself in fashion, appearing often in Teen Vogue and garnering a significant Instagram following.  This is a family to watch grow together.

4. Ruth and May Bell

TWINS!  Models Ruth and May Bell were at first nearly impossible to tell apart, so Ruth took it upon herself to make it easier for us by buzzing off her golden locks.  However, this left the duo with a beautiful dynamic: May, the soft, feminine, doe-eyed blonde and Ruth, the edgy, androgynous babe.  Either way, I'm in love.

5. Dakota and Elle Fanning

Dakota and Elle are not models but they are DEFINITELY favorites of the fashion world.  The two sisters, two of the best actresses of my generation (I've been jealous of their talents since we were all elementary school age), are seen together often and always looking stunning.  They grace the presence of most covetable fashion shows and have appeared in multiple magazine editorials together.  

So these are my top picks for chicest siblings in fashion.  Maybe you agree, maybe you don't.  Either way, I want to hear your opinion! Did I miss anyone you feel deserved to make it on the list? Or maybe I put someone on there that you loathe? Tell me about it!  Don't be shy.



Friday, January 13, 2017

The Student

            She grew up an only child and she never had many friends but that’s the way she liked it.
She screamed to be interesting but never quite was.  To keep herself busy, she made things up.  She wrote stories about princesses, animals, witches, billionaires.  She didn’t like to eat breakfast.  
“Aya, can I speak with you after class?” her teacher said one day in November.  It was raining out, a rarity in Southern California, and Aya could practically smell the blacktop.  Her classroom was right next to the playground and her desk right next to the window, which tempted her more often than not to gaze out and imagine something better than reading comprehension and multiplication tables, or whatever it was they were learning that week in the sixth grade. 
The annoyed repetition caused Aya to tear her dark eyes away from the window, but the rain pounding against the hopscotch setup was still in her vision as she answered, “Yes?”  Mrs. Abrams blinked at her, clearly about to scold her for not listening the first time, so Aya pressed on, “Yes,” with affirmation.  She nodded as if to convince Mrs. Abrams further.  Her head turned back to gaze out the window almost on its own.  A fourth-grader was twirling around with his arms spread wide, head back and tongue out to collect stray raindrops.  The smile on his face was the biggest she’d seen in a long time.  It caused her plump, plum-colored lips to turn up with delight as she watched him, watched him, spinning round and round until his teacher ran out with an angry, beet-red face and yanked him back inside. 
Aya turned back to face the board and feign listening to the lecture Mrs. Abrams was giving.  She wasn’t worried about being asked to stay after class because frankly, she’d already forgotten about it. 
Minutes passed laboriously while Mrs. Abrams went over the reading of The Odyssey, a Greek requirement we’ve all had to suffer through for some unknown reason.  Aya spent this time staring down at the pattern of the fake wood of her desk.  She fixated on a large, dark brown streak, imagining it to be the bank of a pond. 
“Aya,” Mrs. Abrams scolded, pursing her lips and staring at her student with her arms crossed over her large bosom. 
Aya’s head jerked up, vaguely aware that the bell had rang a few minutes ago and the class was just about empty.  “Yes.”
Mrs. Abrams sighed a long, exhausted sigh.  “It’d be helpful if you came to my desk,” she said loudly, exaggerating how distant Aya was from the front of the room.
Aya fought the urge to roll her eyes as she stood, shoving her books into her backpack and slinging it over her shoulder.  She approached the desk tentatively, suddenly the slightest bit concerned about the point of this meeting.  She stopped directly in front of where Mrs. Abrams was seated, staring at her expectantly.
Mrs. Abrams cleared her throat.  “We need to discuss your behavior in class lately.”
“My…behavior?” Aya said with a blank expression.  She was extremely aware of the texture of her backpack strap, rough and patterned against her right fingers lazily hanging on.
“You have not been performing to the best of your abilities,” Mrs. Abrams quipped, straightening out a few sheets of paper as she spoke. 
“Performing?” Aya repeated slowly.  This made her think of a prize ballerina or an NFL quarterback, or perhaps a hamster in an experiment.  She didn’t like the taste of the word in her mouth.
Flustered, Mrs. Abrams continued, “You have seemed very removed from the lectures.  You’ve gotten D’s on your last two tests and it’s becoming a concern.  I don’t want to have to call your parents in for a meeting.”
This got the reaction Mrs. Abrams was looking for; nothing scares a sixth grader much like the threat to call his/her parents in.  Aya’s eyes, encircled by a constant, hereditary darkness, threatened to pop as her lips simultaneously disappeared into her face, giving her a striking resemblance to a raccoon.  “Oh, Mrs. Abrams, no, please.  I’ll do better.  I’m sorry, I’ve just been feeling so distracted lately.”  Her voice began to tremble, “But…please,” she pleaded.  “I’m really sorry.” 
Mrs. Abrams’ harsh expression softened as she realized there were tears forming in young Aya’s eyes; she could never be tough on her students for long before she started to feel an overwhelming sense of guilt for it.  “Oh…Aya, it’s okay.  Just promise me you’re going to do better.”
Aya’s head bent over and she sat down on the desk behind her, letting her hands fall into her lap.  While Mrs. Abrams couldn’t see her face, she could hear her breathing quicken, see a slight trembling in her jaw.  Aya’s shoulders began to heave up and down as she sobbed, leaving Mrs. Abrams to feel like a complete asshole.  The words of her husband last night echoed in her head, “You let things bottle up and then blow them out of proportion!  You’re nothing but a bitch!”  Was this what she had done with Aya?  Yes, she had noticed a decline in Aya’s interest for months now, and yet she had given her no warning.  Was it fair to ask her to stay after class and then attack her like this?  Poor Aya must have been stressing the entire period thinking about what the meeting was going to be about.  This was a disgusting thing to do to a child’s mind.
“Aya,” Mrs. Abrams said, slowly rising from her desk and coming out from behind it to approach her student.  She sidled up next to her gently, reaching out a hand to touch Aya’s shoulder.  It was then that Aya looked up and directly at Mrs. Abrams with dry eyes and a malicious smile.  Mrs. Abrams stared at her, uncomprehending.  Aya laughed. 
“Wow.  You actually think I give a shit if you call my parents?”
“I…what…oh—” Mrs. Abrams stammered, unable to organize her thoughts quickly enough.  She felt sweat prickling at the inside of her palms and she yanked her hand away from Aya’s shoulder, taking an unconscious step back.
“I…what…huh,” Aya mocked, twisting her face into a cruel mockery of Mrs. Abrams’ gaping mouth.  “You dumb bitch,” she howled, throwing her head back to cackle.  Her hands clapped together drunkenly, delighted by the situation.  “Call whoever you want!  Do anything you want!  It doesn’t fucking matter!  I’m going to be a famous rapper soon anyway.  You think I need to do well in pre-algebra for fuck’s sake?  Ha!” she spat, practically foaming at the mouth.  Her eyes were dancing, her entire body came to life.
“Aya, you can’t—I—”

“Okay, well, thanks for the talk, Mrs. Abrams,” Aya said, face suddenly solemn as she bent to pick up her backpack.  “You’re right, I need to focus more.  I will do better from this day forward.  I hope you have a nice day.”  Aya gave Mrs. Abrams a wan smile and half-floated, half-skipped out of the room, gazing at the ceiling as she did so, leaving Mrs. Abrams leaning against the desk and clutching her desk, wondering if she had imagined the entire thing.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Male Fairytale

Fairytales are most frequently identified with women--to be more specific, girls.  Little girls playing dress-up in their rooms, wishing for their Prince Charming while they waddle around in Mommy's high heels and lipstick smeared all over their cherubic faces.  However, nothing is quite so stereotypical anymore.  Alejandro Gomez Palomo of menswear label Paloma Spain is one of the first to introduce fairytales for men with his fall line featuring velvet, flare, sequins, and brocade--all in a very masculine fashion.

24-year-old Palomo started his label less than a year ago with the hopes to bring something different to menswear.  "Boys need to discover different ways to wear clothes that we haven't been able to wear up until now," Palomo told  

His lines thus far have featured a marriage of femininity and masculinity through women's fabrics, romantic designs, and a promisingly male fit.  It's fashion taken to a completely different level, but does it work?  Apparently so: the CFDA asked Palomo to be apart of NY Men's Fashion Week this season (February 2).

Palomo's designs and reason behind them raise an excellent point.  Yes it seems radical, but remember there was a time in history when it was considered radical for a woman to wear anything but a dress.  Now, women wearing men's clothing is chic, sexy, and part of the norm of the ever-changing world of fashion.  Who's to say boys can't play the same game?  As far as I'm concerned: male, female, short, tall, fat, skinny, whatever--if you can work it, you deserve to wear it.

Tell me your thoughts.



Monday, January 9, 2017

Model Monday: Vittoria Ceretti

Hey Brainiacs,

This Model Monday goes out to an Italian favorite, Vittoria Ceretti.

Vittoria is highly represented in Italy, walking for Fendi, Bottega Veneta, and Alberta Ferreti, but she's becoming recognized worldwide.  Cerreti has appeared on the pages of Vogues internationally and has been featured in campaigns and advertisements for designers.

Cerreti has a unique look with her high, regal cheekbones, her piercing green eyes, and her petite pink lips.  She has fierce, covetable eyebrows and the ability to look scalding hot and serenely beautiful in the same photoshoot.

What do you think of Cerreti?  Leave a comment below and enjoy your Monday!



Welcoming 2017

I welcome 2017 as the year my life will change drastically, and I'm not just talking about Donald Trump being President of the United States.

(DISCLAIMER: This is a blog post all about me, but don't I deserve that every once in a while?)

This is the year I move to New York.  Something I've been dreaming of since I was just nine years old is finally becoming reality.  I'll have a new set of plates, a new home gym, a new way to do laundry.  I'll have a new regular coffee shop, a new morning commute, a new spot to buy gum and fashion magazines.

Sometimes I think that I'm insane.  There's no reason I need to throw myself out into an entirely different world immediately after graduation.  My parents have made it clear that I'm welcome to live with them for as long as I like (which I'm sure they'd regret if I stayed longer than, say, two or three years post-graduation) and I know there are opportunities for me here in California.  There's no reason for me to pack up and jet across the nation to desperately claw my way into the fashion industry other than that it's my dream.  And if I didn't do this, if I didn't at least give it my all, I'd feel like a failure.

In less than 6 months, I'll be living in Manhattan.  California will no longer be home to me and that's so insane.  You know, based on the fact that it's been home for 21 (going on 22) years now.  But okay, enough about me already.  What are some changes you are welcoming this year?  Many people I went to high school with are graduating, moving onto that next step in life, but you don't have to be post-college age to have something new and exciting in your life.  Something to talk about?  Post a comment?  Nothing going on at all?  Make something up.