I have been waiting to do a piece on Spring fashion trends for real people. I have been watching and reading about what's going to be hot, what we should buy, get rid off, etc. I have many opinions as usual, but I will start with a post on top cute items for Spring Fashion 2014.

WHAT'S IN that I like:

1. Pastel Colors: If you know me you know how much obsession I have for pastel colors. From home decor to ice cream and clothes I love pastel pinks, blue, yellow, etc. 

Pastel Obsession

2. White blouses, tops, shirts: Go in your closet now and pull all your whites. White tops are in for spring 2014. Check for stains and if you need to replace some go cheap. Visit outlet malls, Forever 21, and TJmaxx. Why spending hundreds when you get the same for $20?

3. Full Skirts: Halleluja for this trend which can be pulled off for the office at any time. 
4. Shimmer and Metallic:
I know what you think: "No way I can pull any of these items off without looking like a show girl or stripper."
You are wrong and I will show you in the upcoming weeks how metallic can look classy and worth buying. So don't forget to subscribe to my channel to stay in touch on how to wear these trends. I will show case on myself the best of Spring Fashion 2014. 

Work Outfit for Fashion For Real People 

We continue the tradition of displaying an office outfit every week to inspire those women to keep it fun at the office. One way to do it is through accessories. In this week I chose a fun clutch to keep by your desktop (the one in the picture is from Phillip Lim but I actually make similar ones that I sell for much cheaper at a boutique in Key West. Let me know if you are interested and I will share my info).

Since we are still in between season I selected a long sleeve blouse (use cardigans on top), and a wool skirt. This will work well with thighs if you are in Boston or Chicago. If you are in Florida choose lighter fabrics and opt for sandals. At this point you can put your ankle boots in the closet for next season.

Phillip Lim Clutch  // Super Lucia SunGlasses //  Designspiration simple watch // Carven Tulip Wool Skirt // Kristen Elspeth Bar Stud Earrings // White H&M blouse // Lime Cardigan H&M //  Kule gold ring // Zara nude boots // 

I have been getting so many questions about what  to wear at the office, what outfits best work for the office, how not to be boring at the office, etc. I had blogged about it before (Here), but I realized that as I struggle everyday to look cute and not like an old boring fart so other women had the same challenge. Especially if you are in the middle age between the young and the old (I am referring 30-40). I previously talked about my preference for heels these days. Now that I hit +30, there is no excuse for not wearing heels. They make me feel like a good looking woman, differentiating me from the young ladies out there. I am just trying to look my age I guess. Don't get me wrong I do wear flats at the office quite often I must say, especially in the winter time. I go for all kind of boots. I hate having my feet cold and my feet swollen easily.

Anyway, I am going to dedicate a weekly post to office outfits, hoping to inspire you ladies no matter if you are in your 20s, 30s, 40s, or 50s. Nobody wants to feel boring. We still want to represent our funky personality underneath those blouses and suits.

Office Outfit #1: Scarf SoleSociety // Top Alexander Wang $148 // Skirt H&M $29 // Dolce E Gabbana Shoes
Business Outfit #2: necklace Jewelmint // Yellow Blazer L'Agence $155 (Forever21 has similar for $20) // Vionnet white skirt $399 (Just saw the same one on Asos for less) // Louis Vuitton leather bag //
Office Outfit #3: Necklace Emmastine $58 // Jacket H&M // Pants $120 // Shoes Christian Louboutin ($$$$)

Let me get something straight: These outfits are supposed to inspire and give ideas on what to wear at work. You don't have to spend $300 on a top or skirt. You can find a similar style for much cheaper at places like Forever 21, local boutiques, outlets, etc. In fact H&M does quite a good job in terms of good looking pieces for cheap. The problem is that their stuff is always sold out online. JCPenny also has some interesting stuff if you know how to search for it.

Let me know what you think and don't forget to subscribe to my blog on the right side. Thank you.

This is what I wore at work. A simple dress with some funky red accessories. As you can see I have flats not heels.  By the way my hair is always crazy. I hate spending time doing my hair.

Shoes FURLA // belt SISLEY // dress ANTONIO MELANI // purse I MADE IT and I sell them in a boutique in Key West.

Green Style

Comfy Sweater for less than $40 

I fell in love with this sweater when I was looking for a gift for my brother's girlfriend. Every time I try to buy something for somebody I end up just buying for myself. This time instead I just bought two of each item, because I really like them.

Forever 21 is a great place to shop for trendy items. You get the cuteness of high fashion clothes without the pricy tag. You need to have patience. I only go there when it first opens, best on a Monday when there are no people. I worked in the retail industry for few years or so and Monday is a dead day full of returns from women who went crazy on a weekend and now feel guilty. So shop on Monday morning if you like me hate the masses and disorganization. Forever 21 is definitely not an organized store and customer service is horrible. Their staff is never trained to know where to locate items in the store and because they are paid minimum wage they really don't give a shit about customers.

I still go there and with patience I go through each room and select items that look classic, expensive, different, and for women who are older than 30. Pair their items with a real or fake Hermes bag style, a silk scarf and nobody will know that you pay $20 for a fake silk blouse.

Forever 21 sweater Ethnic 

I have been struggling with keeping my lipstick on my lips for more than one hour. I put it on in the morning, get to the office, open my yogurt, then my berries, my orange juice and I have now left traces of lipstick everywhere except on my lips.

I have tried the following tricks and products to keep my lipstick in place.

#1. Your lips needs to be moist and soft. I have dry lips in the winter. I have skin peeling from my lips. Yes gross. It's because I don't drink enough water, I sit in an office with no windows all day, and I am lazy to apply lip balm. So rule #1 DRINK WATER and APPLY LIP BALM at night.

#2 Put your lipstick on. Dust with powder to put in place. That should help.

#3. Buy CoverGirl Lip Perfection Lipstick. Why?

It won't go away no matter how hard you try and how much you eat.
Great price for $7
Good variety of colors/shades

Dry on lips 
It won't go away. Seriously, I can't get it out at night. It works that well.
It fades away during the day, so you need to re-apply it otherwise you end up looking like a drunk who had too much red wine or a drunk hooker. 

VERDICT: BUY one time only if you are really looking for something that sticks. I would go for neutral colors, so even if the color fades it is not noticeable.
Where to get it: at grocery stores, pharmacies, Target, or online at http://www.covergirl.com/lip-makeup/lipstick/lip-perfection-lip-color

Scarves, Abayas or Jilbaas!
How do Muslim women see Fashion in a western world?

I want to introduce you to our new guest blogger of this week: Mariam Shaikh, PhD student in Communication at Florida State University. That is how we met when I was getting my PhD. Since I am truly interested in any forms of fashion I wanted to learn more about Muslim iconic fashion items. I must admit I am very ignorant in the subject, but I am very glad I am surrounded by cultured and fashionable friends who can teach me!

Guest Blogger: Mariam Shaikh, Tallahassee, FL, USA
February 17, 2014

More than just a mark of identity, Scarves, Abayas or Jilbabs, is the the dress type of most Muslim women across the world. Adorning the hijab means remaining faithful to their religious doctrines. Hijab is known as a veil that covers the head and chest when a Muslim woman is exposed in the company of adult males outside of their immediate families.
A modern look of the Hijab

The abaya "cloak" is a simple, loose over-garment, essentially a robe-like dress, worn by some women in parts of the Muslim world traditionally black that covers the whole body except the face, feet, and hands. 
Modern Jilbaab

While, the term jilbāb or jilbaab refers to any long and loose-fit coat or garment that fulfills the Islamic demand for a Hijab prescribed in the holy book Quran. In the Quran, chapter al-Ahzab (33:59) says:
Transliteration of Arabic text:
Ya ayyuha an-Nabiyy qul li azwajika wa banatika wa nisa al-mu'minin yudnina alayhinna min jalabib hinna; dhalika adna an yu'rafna fa laa yu'dhayn. Wa kana Allahu Ghafur Rahim”

O Prophet! Say to your wives and your daughters and the women of the faithful to draw their JALABIB close around them; that is better that they will be recognized and not annoyed. And God is ever Forgiving, Gentle”.

The word "jalabib" is the plural of "jilbab". This ayah states a command for Muslim women to wear a garment which Allah (God) has called "jilbab". Jilbab, Jubbah or Jilaabah is also known as Manteau (a French loan word, meaning "coat") by Persian speakers in Iran.
On another occasion, the Quran further explained the command by saying:
“And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! Turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss.” [Q 24:31].

As Muslim Women, putting beliefs into a practice that produces a physical manifestation of a belief system in accordance of Quranic commands in terms of a proper dress code in a modern society is an ambitious pursuit. The Islamic faith & Muslim cultural influences on a modern Muslim woman today lead her to observance that includes blending socially while standing out as a Muslim. Muslims in America run the gamut in occupations – from doctors to IT Professionals, engineers to entrepreneurs, and students to Professors. Ethnically, they are Arab, African, South and Southeast Asian, African-American, Hispanic, European, even East and Central Asian residing across the diverse landscape of America.
For a Muslim woman in America, trying to adhere to her basic religious obligation, roaming in the Fashion markets, for a perfect dressing and style, which covers her all modestly and beautifully, and suits her aesthetics is a tough task. The modern jilbāb usually should cover the entire body, except for hands, face, and head. The head and neck are then covered by a scarf or wrap (khimar). Some women though also choose to cover the hands and face (niqab).[1]
Being in a western community, as a visitor or a resident, quite a number of Muslim women are striving and figuring out how to be themselves; while being part of a diverse and dynamic populace of America. Searching for long sleeves shirts, long dresses, cardigans, skirts, and scarves from the branded clothing is one way of doing that. Or looking for specific Islamic designers (Online & Store) to get what is trendy and fit their need is the other. 
Fashion Blogger Indahna Dapuspita - Learn more about her on her blog

For approximately a growing 8 million Muslim population, a 2010 study by the marketing firm Ogilvy Noor reported that the American Muslim consumer market was worth $170 billion. Lack of availability of dressing options provided by American companies has left this market untouched, leaving an opening filled by Muslim entrepreneurs.

Many Muslim designers like Melanie Elturk launched a modest fashion clothing line in Chicago joining the populous ranks of business entrepreneurs to better reach a growing but not yet widely recognized market niche: consumers who, like Elturk, are American Muslims. She started Haute Hijab because she did not feel that mainstream fashion is catering well to the modern young American Muslim[2]. Another entrepreneur, Ms. Ebrahim who wrote a famous book titled: “101 Reasons Why I’m Glad I Wear Hijab”; a refreshing look at what is often a serious, controversial, and misunderstood topic,  also started a clothing retail and design company called Rebirth of Chic to provide women with clothing that was totally modest, yet artsy and fashionable.[3]
The fashionable Melanie Elturk posing for her blog 

I, as a Muslim student from South Asia, see the fashion industry in America lacking a focus to this dynamic and diverse population thus far. I do not think, wearing a hijab or following a modest dress up is an innovation in a western society. When I read views of ‘Carin Miller’ who wore hijab in honor of Feb. 1 World Hijab Day being a non-Muslim woman to know how it feels to dress Muslim’s way, it confirmed my opinion.

Miller is of view that:” I was raised Catholic, and the nun’s in both of my family’s churches wore habits every day as a way of honoring god by covering up. Covering one’s head to honor their god is not a new concept by any means; instead, it’s an age-old practice that spans a global population of men and women who come from varied backgrounds”.  They say that to understand another man’s troubles one should walk a mile in his shoes, so to better understand the life of a Muslim woman[4] Ms. Miller decided to spend a day in hijab. She (Miller, 2014) realized that: “A deep search through my available apparel indicated that I owned very few clothing items that would cover my body as completely as it should have been. Either the sleeves were too short, or my collar was low cut…”.  
Similarly, there is a need to integrate in the fashion market not just the need and beauty of Muslim women but also our different cultures and religions that are mixing everyday into the natural progression of modern society. 

WHAT DO YOU THINK? IS RELIGION OFF LIMITS IN FASHION? [This is Ginevra speaking]. If we think about the latest collection of D&G we saw a come back to the traditional southern Catholic women wearing black knee length dresses and head scarves. 

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jilb%C4%81b
[2] (Sobh, 2014) http://muslimvillage.com/2014/02/03/49443/american-muslim-market-worth-billions/
[4] KCSG Television - A Non Muslim s Account Of A Day In Hijab http://www.kcsg.com/view/full_story/24591503/article-A-Non-Muslim-s-Account-Of-A-Day-In-Hijab-?instance=more_local_news1

Sunday Outfit