Cute, Warm Weather Dresses

Now that the warmer weather has finally arrived, it is the perfect opportunity to invest in some cute summer dresses. Whether you opt for a simple slip dress or a feminine ruffled dress, a warm weather dress in a style that really works with your body shape and personal style will keep you looking cute but chic all season long.

Slip Dress

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Slip Dress
Slightly reminiscent of the 90’s, slip dresses are going to be very much on trend this summer, especially after Calvin Klein, Givenchy and Balenciaga sent their own versions down the runway last season. The easy and relaxed silhouette of a slip dress can be brought into the modern day with contemporary details and graphic prints, bringing an edgy attitude to what would otherwise be considered as slinky lingerie.

Prairie Dress
Prairie chic is a style that incorporates practicality with femininity and has been completely embraced by a number of designers for this summer. With demure, high necklines and dainty prints, prairie dresses have a classic appeal to them, but need to be styled quite carefully in order to keep them looking contemporary. Chunky biker boots give a prairie dress some attitude, as does a leather jacket, but remember to keep your accessories and makeup quite minimal.

Ruffled Dress

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Ruffled Dress
Ruffles are a great way to balance out curves while adding volume to areas that need enhancing. When choosing a ruffled dress, keep your body shape in mind, and if one part of your body is smaller in proportion to others, choose a dress that has ruffles in that area. If you have an hourglass figure, a dress that features ruffles along the neckline, hem and sleeves are usually best, as this will prevent any additional ruffles from making your curves seem out of proportion. Ruffled dresses are extremely versatile, and can be paired with flats for the daytime or high heeled strappy sandals for an evening out.

Shift Dress
Shift dresses are both cute and sophisticated, and the beauty of a classic shift dress is that it suits just about every body shape thanks to the way in which it skims the body lightly without clinging to it. Shift dresses in linens, cottons and light knits are ideal for the warmer weather, and the varying hemlines and necklines out there mean that you will be able to find a shift dress to suit any occasion.

Cute and feminine looks always work well in the warmer months, which is why it is always worthwhile having a couple of go-to summer dresses in your wardrobe. When choosing dresses, remember that you do not want to be baring excess skin, even if it is the summer. If you are looking for a dress with a short and flirty hemline, go with a scoop neck or a bandeau neck, or, if you would prefer to have a plunging neckline, pair this with a slightly longer hemline. Try to have varying styles rather than similar looks, as this will allow you to mix and match with your accessories to a greater extent, creating some one-of-a-kind summertime outfits.

Showing Off Your Muscles

A toned body deserves to be shown off, and there are certain styles of clothes that are able to do this much better than others. Whether you want to flaunt your toned legs or your defined shoulders, these are the best outfits in which to do so.

Woman wearing a strapless dress

Strapless
For those who want to show off toned shoulders or arms, strapless garments are the best way to do this, as they really let your upper body frame the entire outfit. A strapless maxi dress is a style that can be worn for both day and night, and if you choose a design that features an embellishment or certain details at the top of the dress, this helps to keep the focus on your shoulders and arms. When it comes to the upper body, the shoulders are the most important muscles, and defined shoulders can make a huge difference, even if your arms are not as toned. When exercising your shoulders, be sure to keep all of your workouts well-balanced, making sure that you do the same amount of pushing as you do pulling. This ensures that you strengthen your back as well as your shoulders, preventing your shoulders from overworking and your back from weakening.

Cut-Outs
It can be difficult working out just how to show off your toned abs without having to wear a crop top, but a dress that features cut-outs around the stomach is perfect for this. Since you will not be baring that much skin, your outfit will always look classy, but still be able to expose those stomach muscles that you have worked so hard for. While many may believe that crunches are usually the best way to tone up a stomach, this is not true, as crunches only target the front and sides of the abdomen rather than the muscles of the core, which is what is needed for properly defined abs. Instead, put together a customized workout that incorporates a side plank, the alligator drag, and walking while in the push-up position, as these three moves will really help to tone up your stomach.

Woman wearing a skirt

Bare Legs
Short dresses and skirts are a great way to show off your legs, but you need to be sure to cover up the other parts of your body to keep the outfit balanced. To bring even more attention to your legs, opt for a dress that has draping around the waist, which then falls away to reveal your toned legs. To make them appear even longer, pair this dress with strappy sandals or delicate shoes, rather than anything chunky or heavy. When it comes to toned legs, lunges are one of the best exercises to get them into shape, as are squats.

A toned and defined body usually takes quite a bit of work to achieve, and it is always a good feeling to be able to show off the results. Wearing outfits that show off your muscles will also help to keep you motivated during future workouts, as you will be able to see the fantastic results much more clearly.

Summer’s Hottest Looks

Fashion Week Australia, 2016

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With over fifty presentations at this year’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, there were a huge array of different looks seen. Nevertheless, there were some styles from certain designers that really stood out, guaranteeing that they will soon be this summer’s hottest looks.

Simple Silhouettes
Australian fashion designer Dion Lee had a strong focus on simple silhouettes, and this is a trend that we can expect to see much more of this summer. Inspired by the beauty of glass, Lee’s creations may have boasted simpler silhouettes, but they were still incredibly stunning with their use of beading, fringing and crystals, as well as the way in which the designer manipulated fabrics to create unusual textures.

Ethnic Patterns and Vibrant Colors
One of the brands that really stood out at Fashion Week Australia was Camilla, whose resort collection was packed with vibrant colors and ethnic patterns, in a way that truly epitomizes summer. With light silhouettes, such as printed kaftans, the colors and fabrics are reminiscent of those that you would find in a Moroccan souk and have been put together with a flair that manages to combine upscale with bohemian.

Wide-Legged and Relaxed
Relaxed silhouettes were once again seen at Akira Isogawa, whose gender-neutral collection at Fashion Week Australia was well-received. Featuring ultra lightweight fabrics, such as organza, and wide-legged, billowing pants, these pieces can be both dressed up as well as dressed down, something that is always useful during the summer months.

Sleek and Sexy
The Misha Collection runway this year was filled with sleek and sexy summer looks, with many pieces incorporating a timeless quality that would work for multiple summers to come. With each piece being created from some of the finest fabrics that the world has to offer, a Misha Collection purchase this summer could truly be an investment for your wardrobe.

Edgy Attitude
With a collection titled Not for the Faint Hearted, Holystone’s pieces each had a true sense of attitude. Pairing leather and vinyl swimsuits with jackets, pants and boots, the collection was unexpected, as it lacked a few of the softer touches featured in Holystone’s previous collections, but each of the pieces can easily add a sense of attitude to just about any summer outfit.

Luxurious Fabrics
One of the trends that were seen on multiple runways was the use of decadent and luxurious fabrics, and this was especially true in the case of By Johnny. While previous collections may have boasted a youthful aesthetic, this one was much more sophisticated, making use luxurious fabrics that have been manipulated in beautiful ways. Rather than focussing on prints and colors, the brand chose to bring attention to their garments’ impeccable construction, highlighted by the decadent fabrics that they have been created in.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia showcases the work of some of Australia’s most talented designers. From leather swimsuits to floaty patterned kaftans, the looks may be varied but they can easily each be adapted to your own sense of style, giving you a perfect look for the summer.

Luxurious Pamper Must-Haves

A luxurious pamper session has the ability to melt away everything that may be causing you stress, providing you with the opportunity to treat your mind, body and soul to some rejuvenating indulgence. From an essential oil diffuser that fills the room with calming scents to a fluffy robe that makes your body feel as though it is wrapped in a cloud, these items will ensure that your next pamper session is as luxurious as can be.

Essential Oil Diffuser

Essential Oil Diffuser
An essential oil diffuser is ideal for creating a spa-like setting and is definitely a must-have for your next pamper session. While there may be a huge array of different essential oils out there, there are a few that have been proven to help eradicate stress and relax the body, such as lavender, jasmine, ylang-ylang, chamomile, bergamot and sandalwood, so these are the ones that you should focus on.

Fluffy Robe and Slippers
To really enable your body to relax, you need to free it from restricting clothing, which is where a comfortable robe and slippers come in. To add even more of a luxurious spa touch, place your slippers and robe over a heated towel rail before stepping into the bath for your soak, so that they will feel warm when they touch your damp skin afterwards.

A Spa Pillow
A soak in a warm tub is always calming, especially if you are usually quite busy and do not often have the opportunity for so much me-time. A spa pillow will take your bath soak even further, with comfortable cushions that wrap around your head for support.

Fresh fruits

Healthy Snacks
While you do not want to feel full or bloated during your pamper session, having a selection of light and healthy snacks available will help to keep your energy levels up. Slices of fruit are ideal, as these are fresh and hydrating, while a cup of green tea will help to boost all of the positivity that you are sending into your body.

A Relaxing Playlist
The background music that you hear at just about every spa is there for a reason, with tunes that are able to relax the mind being specifically chosen. A relaxing playlist is absolutely crucial to set the scene for your luxurious pamper session, and each of the tracks that you choose should help your surroundings to feel even more tranquil.

Rejuvenating Products
A pamper session is a great time to invest in a product that you would not normally use, such as massage oils or a foot scrub. Focus on an area of your body that really needs some TLC, and search for a product that is able to tackle any concerns that you may have.

A pamper session does not need to be difficult to put together, and once you have these items gathered for your first session, you will easily be able to turn to them when you want to treat yourself again in the future. Taking some time to pamper your body has been proven to bring with it a variety of physical and mental health benefits, so do try to find the time to really treat yourself every once in a while!

Duty Free Shopping

Shopping

An average of $40 million is spent at duty-free shops each year around the world, and this number is steadily on the rise. Duty-free shopping has always had a certain allure about it, with duty-free shops able to promise big bargains, as they are exempt from paying duty, otherwise known as local import tax, on the goods that they sell. The duty-free shops that you find in European airports are also VAT free, giving you even more savings. The reason that these shops are allowed to be exempt from paying tax is due to the fact that they are selling goods to shoppers who are leaving the country, which is why the majority of duty-free shops are found in airports and ports.

What To Purchase
With duty-free deals flashing at you from all angles, it can be difficult to know which products are actually providing good value for money. Generally, while alcohol and tobacco products may not do much for your health, they are among the best goods to purchase from duty-free shops. There are also a number of great bargains to be had with makeup and skin care, as well as some luxury goods.

What Not To Purchase
While there are many great deals to be found at duty-free shops, there are certain products that you would be better off purchasing elsewhere. Electronics are one of these, as often the marked down items at duty-free shops will be older models, and the latest models can usually be purchased for a similar price online. The same applies to clothing that has been imported, although clothing that has been made locally is usually a great item to buy from a duty-free shop.

Remember the Limit
Every country will have a limit on the value of duty-free goods that you are allowed to bring in, and it is important to check these before you travel. If you find yourself to be over the limit, you will have to pay tax on the excess, which could mean that your purchases become more expensive than they would have been if you had bought them elsewhere.

While it can sometimes be tricky to work out whether or not you are actually buying an item at a reduced price, duty-free shopping is always fun, with an incredible range of goods from all over the world available to browse through. This is made even better by the fact that most duty-free shops are at airports and ports, providing the ideal way to pass some time while waiting to travel. If there is a particular item that you are hoping to buy, it is always a good idea to do a quick bit of research beforehand, so that you know the average price before visiting a duty-free shop. If you make sure that you are a savvy shopper, then you will easily be able to pick out the very best deals at duty-free shopping, enjoying bargains that you would not be able to find elsewhere.

Black Business Casual Capsule

Creating a business capsule wardrobe is a concept that has been rising in popularity. This focus on a limited number of quality pieces makes it much easier to stay organized and de-clutter your wardrobe, while also ensuring that you look professional yet stylish each and every day.

Woman dressed in black

All-Black Staples
If black is going to be the main color of your capsule wardrobe, then there are a few all-black staple items that you need to have. Black shoes are a definite must, and if you are going to be purchasing multiple pairs, then try to make it a mix in terms of style, heel height, and how matte or shiny they are. The same applies to black belts, with one thinner one and one wide, statement belt. Next, a classic black blazer will always work as a great go-to item, and can be paired with just about any outfit. A couple of black dresses in different styles, as well as a pair of tailored black pants, are also easy to style, as is a classic black pencil skirt. While you may not want to purchase a black shirt, a classy black blouse is always great for work, while a black knit cardigan is handy on cooler days.

Choose Another Neutral
With black being the main neutral color in your wardrobe, it is important to choose a second neutral that can complement this. Sticking to a couple of neutrals will help to make all of your outfits more cohesive, and will also make each piece easier to style. Blouses are the main garment to buy in your second neutral color, and a simple dress will also work well with all of your other black pieces. Depending on how casual you want your capsule wardrobe to be, denim is a fantastic second neutral to work into your wardrobe.

Woman wearing a black dress

Color Accents
As much as you may want your wardrobe to be centered around black, having an accent of color in your outfit will help to make it pop. Depending on your own personal style, you could either go for rich, jewel tones, or for softer, pastel shades, both of which work beautifully with black. Accessories, such as shoes, belts and jewelry, are great items to use for adding color to an all-black outfit, as is a scarf or a bag.

Pay Attention to Fit
Black is extremely slimming, which is great when it is the main color in your wardrobe, but it also means that you need to pay extra attention to the way in which your clothes fit your body. Try to avoid any drab or shapeless pieces, opting instead for items that flatter your shape.

Fabrics and Textures
There are some all-black outfits that can look quite boring, while others appear stylish and chic. The reason for this is usually the different fabrics and textures that have been worn together, with a variety of different ones creating interesting focal points throughout the outfit.

When it comes to changing your wardrobe with the seasons, you do not need to do a complete overhaul of your business capsule wardrobe. Instead, keep all of your black pieces, as this works for both summer and winter, and instead go with a different color for your second neutral and your color accents, keeping them in line with seasonal styles and trends.

Swapping Polystyrene for Eco-Friendly Options

Polystyrene

Also known as styrofoam, polystyrene is a petroleum-based plastic that has a devastating impact on the environment. Not only is polystyrene believed to be a human carcinogen, but it is completely non-biodegradable, and is now considered to be the main component of marine debris. In addition to this, the manufacturing of polystyrene leads to the release of waste containing harmful chemicals, while food contained in polystyrene has these chemicals leached into it. While the material may have first gained popularity due to the way in which it is lightweight and has effective insulation properties, there are a number of eco-friendly alternatives to polystyrene, which not only work just as well, but are much safer for both humans as well as the environment.

Mushroom Packaging
Mushroom packaging is grown from fungus, which digests agricultural by-products and binds them together, creating a completely natural and non-toxic structural material. Not only is mushroom packaging completely biodegradable, but it also has a number of different applications, and could soon easily replace polystyrene and plastic across a wide range of industries.

Other Compostable Containers
In addition to the mushroom packaging, there are a number of other compostable containers available that are a fantastic alternative to polystyrene. From disposable plates made of corn starch, biodegradable cups and utensils made from peat, and take-out boxes made from recycled plants and wood fibre, there are now many different options out there, giving individuals and businesses no excuse to immediately turn to polystyrene. More than 90% of the polystyrene lying in the landfills of New York comes from food containers, and the need for change is now more urgent than ever.

Eco-friendly packaging

Reusable Containers
While naturally biodegradable packaging is great, it still ends up in a landfill, and avoiding this altogether is much more eco-friendly in the long run. Many major cities around the world have been launching initiatives when it comes to reusable containers and mugs, and these areas have witnessed significant decreases in the amount of polystyrene that ends up in landfills. From high-quality plastics to ceramics to stainless steel, the reusable containers can be made from a number of different materials, depending on what their purpose needs to be.

Edible Containers
While edible containers may be more of a luxury product, the concept is one that could revolutionize the way in which mass market food is packaged in the future. From an edible gelatinous skin that protects a product, to edible cups in a variety of flavors to replace those dreaded disposable cups at parties and offices, to baked goods served in an edible bread box, the innovations in this area are only just beginning, and edible containers could soon become an exciting part of our future.

As the harmful effects of polystyrene become more and more acknowledged, countries all over the world are beginning to ban the material. From New York to Paris, the changes are already in effect, making it even more important to begin to look into eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives, doing your part to help to clear the heaving landfills.

Madonna in London

Madonna

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The world-famous singer and songwriter that is Madonna needs no introduction, having made quite the name for herself over the years by continuously pushing the boundaries in the mainstream pop music industry. While Madonna may be American, and have strong ties to New York City, London has long since held a special place in her heart, so much so that the artist recently decided to relocate to the city.

The West End
The theaters that line London’s West End have become a significant part of British culture, and it was in 2002 that Madonna took her first foray into the world of theater. The play, titled Up for Grabs, was written by Australian playwright David Williamson and is about a female art dealer who is trying to establish herself in the city and in the industry. Madonna performed the lead role in the play, and while her performance may not have been met with much appreciation from the critics, it was an experience that this multi-talented actress does not regret.

Homes in London
Madonna owns six different properties in Central London, with her current permanent residence being located in Marylebone. While many celebrities would automatically opt for the sophisticated district of Mayfair, Madonna recognizes the potential that Marylebone has, which is why she owns three properties here. In addition to her £7 million family townhouse, Madonna has also recently purchased the adjacent property for £6 million, and also owns two cottages nearby. Outside of Marylebone, Madonna also owns a Georgian townhouse near Regent’s Park, a sprawling estate in Wiltshire, and two West End buildings, which are currently being used by the Kaballah religious sect, something that is of a huge personal importance to the star.

Favorite London Spots
Madonna is constantly being spotted all over the streets of London, but there are certain spots that she tends to favor. The Ivy, in London’s West End, has long since been one of her favorite restaurants to dine at, although the artist also regularly frequents Kensington Place, a modern seafood restaurant in the heart of Notting Hill. When it comes to an evening of drinks, Madonna truly enjoys the relaxed atmosphere of a classic British pub, with the Scarsdale Tavern in Kensington being one of her favorites. When it comes to Madonna’s favorite London clubs, the list is extensive, but China White, Rock and Kabaret are among her top five. Of course, Madonna is also renowned for her style, and she appreciates the diversity that comes with British fashion. From Koh Samui in Covent Garden to Voyage on Fulham Road, London has always been one of Madonna’s favorite cities for a shopping trip.

Madonna is considered to be the best-selling female artist of all time, and her music has touched the lives of millions of people all over the world. With all of the investments that the artist has made into the London property market, it would seem as though Madonna is in the city to stay, which is something that London locals are most definitely excited about.

Charlotte Beecham

Model walking down the ramp

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A British designer that has recently been making waves in the industry, Charlotte Beecham is the founder and creative director of Charlotte Simone, an accessories brand that has been worn by the likes of Alexa Chung, Kendall Jenner and Olivia Palermo. While Beecham may have graduated from NYU, she now lives and works in London, and has managed to quickly make quite the name for herself amongst the fashion elite.

The Fur Hood
The ultimate in winter accessories, the fur hood is one of Beecham’s signature designs and has helped significantly in establishing her brand. Bringing together a scarf and a hood, the fur hood is still one of the most sought after pieces from the Charlotte Simone collections, and is, without a doubt, one of her best sellers, as it is not only ultra stylish, but also comfortable and warm, appealing to both mature women as well as young girls.

Reinventing the Scarf
While Charlotte Simone produces a range of different accessories, scarves are what fascinate Beecham the most, with the designer striving to reinvent this humble accessory. Aware of the fact that the scarf market was relatively untapped, Beecham brought together different knits, furs and woven fabrics to create truly one-of-a-kind scarves. One of the reasons for the incredible success of Beecham’s scarves is the way in which they are so versatile, working perfectly for both day and night, and easy to style in just about any ensemble.

Charlotte Simone Outerwear
This year, Beecham took her first foray into outerwear, producing a capsule collection that beautifully represented the aesthetics of her brand. With five different shapes and five different colors, the collection may be Beecham’s first attempt at ready-to-wear, but her work is already in high demand. With fun and fluffy accessories being the focus of this British designer, it will be interesting to see exactly how Beecham develops her outerwear line in the next few years.

Charlotte Simone and Kyle De’Volle Bags
As part of the Charlotte Simone Autumn Winter ’14 collection, Beecham collaborated with designer Kyle De’Volle, resulting in the Bon Bon Bag in four different colors. Created entirely out of shaggy shearling, the bag is fluffy and fun and adds a unique yet stylish element to just about any outfit. Again, this was Beecham’s first attempt at designing and creating bags, and while the designer did find certain parts of the process quite challenging, the resulting bags are some of her personal favorites out of all of her creations. While Beecham may have immensely enjoyed the bag-designing process, and will be continuing to expand into other fluffy accessories, the designer will be keeping her focus primarily on scarves, as this is what she wants her brand to be known for.

Charlotte Beecham’s fun and innovative creations are the perfect representation of quirky and eccentric British fashion. The success that this London designer has already witnessed is most definitely impressive, and it will be exciting to see what this talented designer produces in the next few years.

Time of Day and Sun Protection

While UV rays from the sun cannot be seen or felt, they cause irreparable damage, leading to everything from accelerated premature aging to skin cancer to eye damage. In order to help the public with sun protection, the World Health Organization created a scale to help measure UV radiation and confirmed that these levels vary significantly throughout the day.

Woman looking at her watch

Early Mornings and Evenings
UV levels are usually relatively low in the early mornings and evenings, although this does largely depend on the location that you are in. If you have outdoor work that needs to be done or want to schedule in some time for a workout or a jog, the early mornings and evenings are usually the best times in which to do this. While sunscreen may still be necessary, other forms of sun protection are likely to not be required, giving you much more flexibility.

Near the Equator
No matter the time of day, UV levels are usually quite high around the equator. This means that constant vigilance about sun protection is necessary, and even more so during the hottest hours of the day.

Altitude
Your altitude is another factor that influences the amount of sun protection that you need. Those at higher altitudes are exposed to damaging UV rays throughout the day, because not only is the air thinner, but there is less pollution. If you are in a snow-covered area, then the chances of UV damage increase even more, as snow reflects around 90% of UV radiation. In these cases, protective clothing should most definitely be worn, choosing fabrics and styles that are designed to provide the optimum amount of UV protection.

Woman looking into the sunlight

Late Mornings to Afternoons
From around eleven in the morning until three or four in the afternoon, the sun is at its highest point, and its UV rays are at their most harmful. If possible, try to completely avoid the sun during these hours, scheduling indoor activities and tasks. If you do need to be outdoors, then the highest levels of sun protection are needed. This means that not only do you need to apply a generous coating of sunscreen, but you should also be wearing appropriate clothing, a sun hat, and a pair of sunglasses that protect against both UVA and UVB rays.

Tints on Sunglasses
Since the amount of UV radiation can vary so significantly, it is always a good idea to have more than one pair of UV-blocking sunglasses. A darker tint can be used on days when the sun is beaming down, while a lighter tint, but one that still provides 100% UV protection, can be used on cloudier days, when the sun may not be as bothersome but its UV rays still as harmful.

While the time of day has a huge impact on the amount of UV radiation one might receive, there are other factors to also take into consideration, such as your specific location. Many meteorology departments around the world provide information on their websites about UV radiation at different points of the day, and this can be used to ensure maximum sun protection.