Thursday, April 18, 2013

Prom: Then & Now - Along w/ Saks

As the school year is about to finish, the word “prom” is thrust upon high school students.

But, what exactly is prom and how did it get its start?

Well, first off, it’s an abbreviated form of the French word “promenade,” which is a walking review of the guests at the beginning of a formal dance or ball (according to Prom Works).

The first proms took place in the late 1800s in Ivy League colleges and universities in the northeastern United States. Initially the goal of such an event was to develop social skills and etiquette in students. But, usually the attire was quite simple – students would wear their church clothes, where boys sported jackets and ties while girls wore their Sunday dress. At the time, very few (if any) would purchase special attire specifically for prom.

After The Great Depression, once the U.S. economy began to improve, proms in the early 1920s offered social tea, and by the 1930s, prom was far more common across the country. As the 1950s came to a close, prom venues started to shift from the chaperoned school gymnasiums to more sophisticated locations, such as hotel ballrooms, country clubs, banquet halls, etc. It wasn’t until after the 1980s that high-school prom took a shift to an almost iconic rite of passage. By the 1990s, “alternative proms” for same-sex couples as well as “couple-free” proms were organized.

Since then, we’ve come a long way; proms have evolved into a far more ostentatious, time-consuming, and expensive occasion. In fact, according to USA Today, the average prom in 2012 cost between $1,000 and $2,000.

Of course, proms are much more individualistic now – one can choose how much to spend, casual versus formal, friends versus date, dinner and dance versus hotel-room or house party, and best of all, one has the freedom to choose whether they want to go or not. There are so many more decisions and choices now than ever before. Wouldn’t you agree?

What’s your prom story?

Personally, I didn’t go to my high-school prom and I don’t regret it! I’m not really one for “formal dances.” But, one thing I am for is prom fashion… Though it may seem superficial to the eye, the essence of fashion is really about making individuals confident and jubilant, so why not look fabulous for prom (regardless of how much that dress/tux or accessories may have cost you)!

1. (left to right) Feyi Omodele and Chelsea Coffey | 2. Spanx | 3. (left to right) Rebecca Briscoe and DJ Fanci | 4. Taylor Brionne | 5. Smile Photo Booth | 6. (left to right) Lauren Farina and Elvia Francis | 7. (left to right) Yesenia Flores and Elvia Francis | 8. (left to right) Elvia Francis, Imani Talib, Yesenia Flores, Rachel White, Taylor Brionne, and Marcella Sky

As you may know, I was part of the Saks Blogger Prom Fashion Presentation earlier this month, which showcased some amazing trends for the upcoming prom season. Among the event attendees included Ruchi Mukherjee of Lights Camera Action, Chelsea Coffey of Mia’s Closet and fashion editor of Houston Style Magazine, entertainment reporter Rebecca Briscoe, DJ Fanci of Houston’s hip-hop radio station 97.9FM “The Box,” and fashion/wardrobe stylist Feyi Omodele.

Bloggers (including myself) who were on the panel shared commentary on the prom-fashion trends worn by Neal Hamil Agency models, Kristin Qualia and Caroline Mathis, while a Spanx representative spoke about what under garments would be ideal for each dress/gown.  

Trends featured at the Saks Blogger Prom Fashion Presentation included:
Sequins – in metallic hues and mostly featured on the bodices, if not all over the garment; “The Great Gatsby” inspired
Gold Metallic – balanced with black/neutral accents; “The Great Gatsby” inspired
High-low – where the hem is shorter/higher in front and longer/lower in the back of the dress; this trend traces back to Victorian Era dresses and formal gowns when the hem style was known as the “fishtail”
Ombré – French for “to shade,” the trend consists of a graduation of color from light to dark; Katie Findlay sported the ombré trend as her TV character Maggie Landers on CW’s “The Carrie Diaries”
All-Over Print – bold patterns; spring trend alert, as reported by Houston Chronicle fashion editor Joy Sewing
Bright Colors – jewel tones such as sapphire, emerald, ruby, and topaz
Sheer Surprises – make sure you have a Spanx bodysuit underneath for really revealing ensembles
Red + Long Slits – mid-thigh slits keep floor-length rouge gowns elegant, while offering an alluring yet tasteful slip of skin
Sweetheart Necklines – classic, romantic, and über feminine; flattering for almost any figure

Gold and silver metallic footwear were also trending, in regards to prom-fashion accessories.

The models donned Old Hollywood, Veronica Lake-inspired waves, which is one of my favorite 2013 prom beauty trends!

See more images from the event (via Twitter and Instagram) with the hashtag #SaksPromHouston.


Special thanks to the Saks Fifth Avenue – Houston Galleria PR team: Chad Carpenter and Tijuana Harvey, along with eveningwear dept. manager, Lauren Farina, and the Houston Fashion Bloggers.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Saks Blogger Prom Fashion Presentation

Saks Fifth Avenue, in the Houston Galleria, has teamed with Houston Fashion Bloggers for the "Saks Blogger Prom Fashion Presentation," which will be held on Friday, April 5, 2013 from 6PM to 8PM - on level two (evening-wear department), inside Saks.

The event will feature six local fashion bloggers who will showcase prom-fashion looks, along with commentary on the looks.

The New Outlet (Blog) creator, Elvia Francis is among the local fashion bloggers selected for the event. The other bloggers include Imani Talib, Marcella Sky, Yesenia Flores, Taylor Brione, and Rachel White.

Attendees of the event will receive 20% off any full-price evening dress and bra purchase from the following brands: Chantelle, Wacoal, and Le Mystère.

Along with the fashion presentation, guests can partake in refreshments and hors d’oeuvres, have a chance to test hairstyles and dabble in cosmetics with MAC Cosmetics, and perfect their prom look inside an event-exclusive photo booth.  

Along with all the glitz and glamour, the event also is for a great charitable cause—benefiting Houston’s non-profit organization, Mia’s Closet, so please bring gently-worn dresses that will in turn be donated to the underprivileged. 

Note: Please use the event hashtag #SaksPromHouston on social-media outlets! 

Here's a sneak preview to the upcoming prom fashions: 

2013 Prom Fashion Trends:
Gold Metallic - balance with black/neutral accents
Red - ravish in a floor-length rouge gown
Long Slits - keep it tasteful and sophisticated
Sweetheart Neckline - for a classic and romantic silhouette; flattering for almost any figure
Pop of Color - bold, bright, eye-catching solids
Sequined - a serious standout for prom; great in a neutral or metallic hue, and one of the top 14 prom-fashion trends for 2013, according to the Huffington Post
Ladylike Peplum - opt for short, flirty styles (spring trend alert)
Embellished Prints - take all-over patterns up a notch with embellished prints and textured prints, such as brocade (spring trend alert)
Lace - the feminine staple comes in a variety of colors (spring trend alert); plus, Houston Chronicle fashion editor Joy Sewing has called "lace" one of the seven "wearable trends to energize your spring" wardrobe

For prom-fashion accessories, shoe trends include:
• Lace Heels
• Color Block 

What prom fashions will you be donning this season?
What are your favorite prom-fashion trends?

Please let me know via Twitter @tno_blog,
or leave a comment below this post!

Also, stay tuned for a post-event blog post that highlights more prom fashion and beauty trends, looks, and Saks Fifth Ave. event delights!


Special thanks to the Saks Fifth Avenue – Houston Galleria PR team: Chad Carpenter and Tijuana Harvey, along with eveningwear dept. manager, Lauren Farina.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Warby Parker's Summer 2013 Collection

Spring break may be over, but summer is around the corner. Whatever your summer plans may be—whether you’re jetting to Bombay, picking elderberries, planting magnolia trees, or beach bumming on California’s Santa Catalina Island—make sure you do it in protective style with Warby Parker Eyewear.

The boutique-quality prescription eyewear and sunglass company recently launched their Summer 2013 Collection in bright colors and fun textures. The collection is inspired by a vision of mid-century bohemia: Jackson Pollock splattering paint outdoors, Norman Mailer’s violent drug-fueled brawl from the 1970 film “Maidstone,” and Lee Radziwill sunbathing on an East Hampton beach, shoeless summer days, weekend-long house parties, and mesquite-scented nights.

Founded by four friends (Neil Blumenthal, Andrew Hunt, Jeffrey Raider, and David Gilboa), Warby Parker was born out of their collective personal traits—a penchant for exorbitance, an affinity for vintage collectibles, a strong desire to make the world a better place—and their commitment for an alternative to the overpriced, bland eyewear available in most boutiques or stores. The brand’s name itself was inspired by two of (influential novelist/writer) Jack Kerouac‘s earliest characters: Zagg Parker and Warby Pepper.

The brand is renowned for offering designer eyewear at an affordable price (starting at $95) that are available exclusively through their website and showrooms, while leading the way for socially conscious business practices—for each pair sold, Warby Parker distributes a pair to someone in need through non-profit partnerships, such as Vision Spring and Restoring Vision.  

All the frames are handcrafted and produced specifically for Warby Parker; they’re made from custom cellulose acetate, for durability and flexibility, and ion-plated titanium that is sourced from Japan to provide both longevity and a lightweight comfort. All their lenses offer high-end, anti-reflective polycarbonate—it’s far thinner than traditional plastic or glass lenses, impact resistant, and includes 100% UV protection.

Warby Parker also offers an at-home “try-on program,” that will allow you to select five pairs of eyeglasses or sunglasses and test out the frame on yourself at the convenience of your home for five days, absolutely free! There’s also free shipping and 30-day returns via UPS (excluding Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico). 

So let loose in style this summer with bright colors, fun textures, and a chic pair of Warby Parker eyewear for your alfresco-dining soirée, travel plans, beach bumming, or whatever it is that you decide to do this summer!


Eyewear images courtesy of Warby Parker’s Brian Magida.
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