Fans Are Angry That the New Captain Marvel Shoes Don’t Come in Most Men’s Sizes

Vans' Marvel shoe collection

Many of us were excited when the latest line of Vans’ Marvel-branded shoes popped up online. The shoes are comic-book colorful and cool, and I dream of having them all on my feet. Unfortunately for a significant portion of Marvel fans, the Captain Marvel shoes stop at Men’s size 10. This did not go over well, nor should it.

The new Vans feature kicks inspired by the likes of Black Panther, Hulk, Spider-Man, Thor, and more. The most buzz was reserved for the most recent addition to the MCU in the form of Carol Danvers, and the shoes made in her “image.” Carol is particularly on our minds following the debut of her symbol in Infinity War‘s chaotic post-credits scene.

On June 1st, Matthew Mueller over at gave us a first look at the Carol-based shoes, which had leaked to the Internet prior to Vans’ official announcement. Mueller described the excellent Captain Marvel high tops:

[T]hey feature a full Captain Marvel color scheme of red, blue, and gold. The outsole of the shoe is all white, while the tongue and toe box are red with white eyelets. The Upper features a gold wavy stripe across a mostly blue backdrop, while the heel features gold trim and a big splash of red with Captain Marvel’s Hala Star logo in gold right in the middle.

Red laces complete the stylish package, and we simply can’t wait to get our hands on them.

Cool as hell, right? Mueller certainly thought so, and he was hardly alone. Carol Danvers already has a lot of fans, and that’s going to grow exponentially after Captain Marvel hits theaters next March and also when she saves the world in Avengers 4.

But on June 8th, following the shoes’ official release to sale, Mueller was back with a follow-up. Those Captain Marvel shoes he couldn’t wait to score are only available up to Men’s size 10. “Some shoes only come in certain sizes, we get that, but the male characters didn’t have the same problem, as those go all the way up to 13,” he wrote.

There’s the rub. These were clearly produced with the expectation that they would be purchased primarily by women, and that is incredibly short-sighted—not to mention the fact that there are many women, both trans and cis, and people of every identification who would also appreciate a higher range of size.

And this doesn’t appear to be a mistake or an oversight on Vans’ part at all: it was an intentional decision. Mueller explained:

So, it comes down to that Captain Marvel is a female character, right? It looks like it, as I wasn’t the only person utterly bummed that I can’t rock some slick Carol Danvers kicks, as Vans has received several responses to the news, asking if they were going to offer bigger sizes at a later time.

Concerned fans received responses like this:

There are bad and outdated gender dynamics baked into the clothing industry and particularly in geek merch (we won’t even get started on toys). While things have gotten better as more companies cater to the diversity of fans ready to spend hard-earned cash to display their fandom love, officially branded merchandise is often the most lacking.

At my local Forbidden Planet store, the Black Widow shirt—the only shirt that featured her—only came in “girl’s cut,” a style I dislike wearing, and its largest size was laughable. One of my best friends was angry that he couldn’t find a Wonder Woman shirt that would fit him before the movie came out. And sizing, in general, is an issue on its own divorced from gender, with many brands still not carrying sizes to accommodate the range of bodies that would like to wear them.

I think the case of the Captain Marvel shoes was a narrow-minded decision where a company did not take into account that many men (and people of many gender identifications) will proudly rock merchandise based on an “AWESOME women’s character.” What makes this all the more ridiculous is that the shoes at hand are visibly unisex: there’s nothing about a red, blue, gold and white shoe that screams “girl” or “boy.” They’re just cool shoes that should be available to everyone.

Yet the fact of the matter remains that we still see a concerted lack of female representation in superhero branded stuff, and so much of this is based on an antiquated idea that the fans spending money on this sort of thing are primarily male and that men are only interested in male characters. Both of these notions are patently untrue.

It’s like I’m writing this from twenty years ago, and it feels exhausting. When merchandise featuring men comes in every size—”male” and “female”—but something bearing a woman’s name is only sized for “women,” that is, these days, frankly unacceptable. Let there be sizing for all.

The only good that I see emerging from this kerfluffle is that hopefully Vans and Marvel will take notice of the feedback, and not do this again—and also, it is wonderful to see men rallying to wear female characters on their sleeve (or feet, as the case may be).

This feels like an antithesis of the recent Star Wars fandom toxicity, and the response made me as happy as the sizing made me mad. To everyone asking to rock some Captain Marvel, I see you, and thank you.


Equity MFs are at record level. What is driving the growth?

Equity MFs are at record level. What is driving the growth?

Equity mutual funds received a staggering Rs20,000 crore in the month of August. While foreign institutional investors (FIIs) have been pulling out from the Indian stock market, domestic institutional investors (DIIs) have provided strong support to markets. What is driving this growth in mutual funds? Are investors really understanding the risk attached with equities or the growth is  driven by herd-mentality.

One reason for the rise in equities is low return given by other asset classes. While fixed deposit have been giving abysmal low return of  6-7%, property market has also been in slump for many years. In such a situation mutual funds have caught the fancy of many people who have been looking for other avenues to earn higher returns. Over the last one year equity diversified and small cap funds have given returns as high as 30 and 40 percent, respectively in last one year.

What make mutual funds hugely popular recently is the growth in systematic investment plans (SIPs). Today, there is an inflow of Rs4000 crore every month through SIP. What worries, however, is when you  see people investing in mutual funds without understanding the risk of the product. I have heard and seen several people selling balanced mutual funds as an alternative to fixed deposits. Go to any nearby bank and chances are high they will pitch you balanced fund as an alternative to fixed deposit. The person at the desk might not care to tell you that unlike fixed deposit a balanced fund is a mix of debt and equity. Their return is not guaranteed and are subject to stock and debt market risks. I am not opposing the idea of investing in mutual funds but the point is you should understand the risk before investing in any product. One cannot deny that balanced funds have given very high return over the last few years and they are tax-efficient also. But one should also understand the risk attached with these schemes. Unlike fixed deposits the return over here is not guaranteed.

Another area of concern is when you don’t link your investments with your goals. When you do not link the two you do not know for how long you want to stay invested. When you don’t know the time horizon chances are high that you will not invest in the right product. There are many people around who have invested in mutual funds without a clue about their goals. Identify it whether it is for your education, marriage or retirement. Do not invest in equities just because your  family members and colleagues are doing it. Doing so you contradict the golden rule of investing which says that you should invest in equities for at least 3 to 5 years.

With expense ratio of just 2- 3% mutual funds are certainly one of the cost-effective ways of investing in equities. They can give you inflation beating return when all other asset classes are not performing well. But before investing do understand their risk and most importantly stay invested for long term.


Top performing mutual funds: 5 flexi cap funds that are highly rewarding

Top performing mutual funds: 5 flexi cap funds that are highly rewarding

Investing in a mixed set of funds (Large, medium and small cap) allows an investor to stay on the safer side of risk and minimize volatility.
Flexi-cap funds, essentially, have no restrictions on the market capitalisation of the stocks they can invest into. While large cap funds mainly invest into blue-chip company stocks , and the same follows for mid cap funds and small cap funds , flexi cap funds can alter their asset allocation strategies by switching between the three market caps as they deem fit.

ALSO READ: New kid on the block: Can Infosys and Vladimir Putin backed Ethereum take over Bitcoin?

In that respect, they enjoy a wider range of stocks to choose from. “Flexi cap funds’ flexible mandates allow them to rapidly adapt their portfolios to changing market dynamics, thereby allowing them to potentially capitalise on short term trends,” says Mayank Bhatnagar, COO, FinEdge.

So how does the Flexi cap fund work?

“Typically, flexi cap funds follow a research driven, bottom up strategy which involves more of stock picking based on merit, and less on following rigid rules for sectoral diversification,” says Bhatnagar adding that its market capitalisation is only a secondary consideration when investors go in for selection.

This allows flexi cap funds the advantage of diverting money where they see maximum advantage.

Well managed, high pedigree flexi cap funds are projected to give decent returns over a period of 5-7 years, with a risk of higher volatility. On the other hand – wrong calls made by a less capable fund management team may potentially lead to a drag on returns in the short to medium term.

Bhatnagar analyses that when it comes to flexi cap funds, ‘time in the market’ is more important than ‘timing the market’.

As Indian equity markets have been a strong bull run in the past several weeks, despite weak earnings growth, this scenario broadly be attributed as a ‘stock picker’s market’ that witnesses individual outperformers

“In such times, it certainly makes sense to allocate a portion of your equity investments to flexi cap funds with a 5-7 year time horizon. Be prepared for volatility, though,” he adds.

According to Morningstar here is the list of 5 top performing flexi cap funds along with their returns over different periods of time:

How To Become A Jewellery Designer

Gemstones, diamonds and precious metals: jewellery is born of nature’s finest handiwork. It’s unsurprising, then, that it carries an intrinsic emotional value too. It’s not only the act of buying, receiving or wearing jewellery that invests a particular piece with meaning – jewels are charged with their designers’ experiences and values, too. “It’s important to have a personal relationship with the people or stores that are buying my jewellery,” muses Danish designer Sophie Bille Brahe. “If I made it, I want to make sure it has a good life when it leaves my office.” Thus, jewellery is where personal stories, luxury and traditional craftsmanship intertwine, and any aspiring designer needs to have a handle on a broad mix of artistic, technical and commercial skills. Want to know what it takes? Vogue speaks to six industry leaders for a step-by-step guide to becoming a jewellery designer.

What does a jewellery designer do?

The breadth of a jewellery designer’s job depends on whether you work in-house for a brand or set up on your own. Either way, the most important part of your role is to provide a strong artistic vision. At Bulgari, creative director Lucia Silvestri lays out coloured gems, picks combinations and fixes them in putty to model her preferred constellation. The process involves creating a technical sketch, modelling it with computer-aided design (CAD) software and selecting the stones. Production then follows, starting with a 3D-printed prototype and ending with the work of the goldsmith, which includes metal-casting and stone-setting as well as engraving and enamelling. Unless they are going it alone, most designers won’t be physically involved in this part of the process – but they’ll still need to understand the mechanics of how jewellery is made if they want their designs to be wearable.

Lucia Silvestri.


Guidance from industry leaders and famous jewellery designers

Whether you want to design in-house or run your own brand, the first step is to get educated. And while you can expect to be in school for up to six years, the good news is there’s a lot of flexibility to jewellery design courses. London’s British Academy of Jewellery (BAJ), for example, offers programmes that last from six months to three years, including paid apprenticeships. Depending on the level students apply for, the interview process can include a bench test – in which you’ll show off your measuring, cutting, forming and soldering skills – and a portfolio review. So how do you get that portfolio to the top of the pile? “I would certainly want to see what’s behind a finished piece,” says Sofie Boons, BAJ’s head of academy. Students should always include moodboards and prototypes in their presentations – “so that I can see their thinking, their problem solving, [and] how they have come to a certain solution,” adds Boons.

Alternatively, you could hone in on your preferred craft. Bille Brahe trained as a goldsmith for almost five years at the Copenhagen Technical School of Design & Technology before enrolling on an MA course at London’s Royal College of Art. “Without having the craft, [the design process] becomes quite hollow,” she explains. Or how about gemology? Among Silvestri’s team at Bulgari are graduates of the European Institute of Design (IED), the Academy of Costume and Fashion in Rome, and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Other designers place less emphasis on technical expertise. “I don’t think it’s useful to go deeper if you [want to] create your own brand,” says French designer Anissa Kermiche, who advocates a short technical course to provide the necessary introduction to 3D printing, sketching and stone-setting. It suited her perfectly, combining two technical courses at the BAJ – CAD for jewellery production and Level 2 jewellery manufacturing – with a creative BA in jewellery design at Central Saint Martins.

Lucia Silvestri’s Rome studio.


How do you go from a student to a working jewellery designer?

Silvestri’s advice on getting that first break? “Shadow expert leaders, maybe abroad, even as an office assistant,” she says. And once you’ve got your foot in the door for an interview, you’ll need a strong portfolio of existing work showing competency at technical sketching and CAD. The BAJ advertises jobs through its social channels, but Boons advises students to keep an eye on trade publications and websites such as Benchpeg, Retail Jeweller, The Artists Information Company and The National Association of Jewellers. In some cases, it’s worth reaching out to companies directly, and important to bear in mind that the jewellery trade still relies on word of mouth. Applying for competitions such as HRD Antwerp or Talente in Munich – which in turn can lead to exhibitions – is essential to let yourself be known to as many industry professionals as possible.

The job interview process varies widely. Small businesses might require only one stage, but established companies can involve up to five, including bench tests, interview panels and, in some cases, a written exam. “Research is key,” says Boons. “Students should look into why their skills can contribute to the company, read their strategic plan and see how they could complement it. [Ask yourself] what job could get me the experience that they are looking for? It’s about planning and being resilient.”

Practice makes perfect

If you’ve been hired by a big brand, expect to keep training for the first two years of your career. “School is good, but practice is essential,” sums up Silvestri. “Even if our new recruits have commendable degrees, they always start by copying jewellery sketches from the Bulgari archives.” It’s the same at the Japanese heritage jeweller Mikimoto, where trainees spend 18 months learning Japanese traditional ink and fine-point brush techniques while sketching the entire Mikimoto design archive. The goal is to better understand how to manage your artistic goals with the mechanics of making jewellery. “Pearls are spherical and it’s quite difficult to incorporate round objects into jewellery,” explains Akira Haga, Mikimoto’s general manager of merchandise development. “It’s not something that you can learn in a day or two; you need a lot of experience.”

Akira Haga.

Learn how to communicate

At Mikimoto, designers compete to have their sketches chosen among dozens of other drafts, so it’s important to learn how to sell your design internally. “We line up all the rough designs on a table, followed by each designer’s presentation,” explains Haga, adding that communication skills are also essential between designer and craftsman. It’s this latter relationship that’s essential for a designer to master, as it’s the artisans who will interpret your design. This is easier in smaller houses; Bille Brahe, for example, manages a team of seven in her Copenhagen workshop. For bigger houses, it can be more complicated: at Cartier, the designers and craftsmen work under the same roof to ensure smooth communication, with Pierre Rainero, the brand’s director of image, style and heritage, describing “an endless discussion between the designers and the jewellers.”

When launching your own business, start small

When launching her brand, Kermiche transformed her house into a jewellery lab, crafting her first prototypes with small, relatively inexpensive stones. “I managed to save money because I spent [the previous] years learning how to make my own prototypes, so I didn’t have to spend on manufacturing,” explains the designer. “I don’t recommend mass producing right away,” adds American designer Jennifer Fisher, who was a wardrobe stylist before launching her own label. “You have to start small, grow from there and see what is successful.” Fisher made personalised dog tag charms for clients on set before setting up a customer-facing website, while Bille Brahe began making bespoke pieces while sourcing the financing for her brand. For the investments you do make, be strategic. “[It was important] getting a team that had the experience I didn’t have,” says Bille Brahe, while Fisher adds the simple but all-important advice to “make sure that the infrastructure of the business is sound.”

Jennifer Fisher.

Learn to tell stories

“Journalists love telling a story,” says Kermiche. Designing personalised pieces with a narrative can help you create an identity for your work in the international marketplace. Fisher, for example, created her dog tag design to celebrate the birth of her first son, while Bille Brahe started incorporating pearls in her jewels after her mother gave her a pearl necklace to celebrate her pregnancy. “You cannot offer anything as amazing as some of the big jewellery houses do,” she explains. “The only thing you can do is offer something that is very different and personal.”

Social media vs traditional PR

If you’re launching your own brand, social media can be your friend in getting the word out. Kermiche used her Instagram account as a lookbook, creating a fully-fledged visual identity for her new-born brand at a minimal cost. She then used the app to find journalists. “It won’t be long before they notice if your product is right,” explains the designer. Hiring a PR agency is another option, but for Kermiche the decision boils down to the designer’s personality. “If your friends are influencers, just do it yourself,” she explains. “But if you’re more of a creative mind, then of course a PR is vital.” However, thinking carefully about commercial partnerships you make and being aware of legal implications, including avoiding long contracts, is paramount. “I would have loved to have had a background in law,” she adds. “It would have saved my life on a daily basis.”

Sophie Bille Brahe.

Value your relationships with retailers

“I think it’s very important to respect relationships in this business, stay true to your word and respect the people who have respected you,” says Fisher. Barneys was the first US brick-and-mortar department store to approach her and she has maintained that relationship exclusively ever since. Similarly, Kermiche manages up to 20 face-to-face monthly meetings with retailers and mines these relationships for consumer insights she can feed back into her design work. “I ask them what sells in [their] shop, what’s the price point they like the most, what’s the colour of gold [they prefer],” she says. “It really helps me target my designs in a way that will sell.”

A step-by-step guide to becoming a jewellery designer

If you want to work for an established company:

  1. Choose a degree in fields like Design, Gemology or Fine Arts.
  2. Scan trade publications for job offers. Applying for competitions, exhibiting your work and networking are the easiest ways to get noticed by future employers.
  3. Get in touch with established brands, even if they are not publicly advertising for a role.
  4. When applying for a job, your portfolio should showcase your technical, manual and creative skills as well as your thought process. Include sketches, prototypes and moodboards.
  5. Do your research and keep up-to-date with industry news. Showing a good knowledge of a company’s history and commercial strategy can give you the upper hand over other candidates.
  6. Communication is key: as a designer you will be required to work with artisans, so practise explaining your thought process and concepts in a clear and concise manner.

Sketches at Akira Haga’s studio.

If your goal is to launch your own business:

  1. Combine a short technical course with a creative degree.
  2. Be financially aware: start with a small production, support yourself with bespoke orders, make your own prototypes and find people with the experience you don’t have.
  3. Self-promotion is essential: learn how to use social media to your advantage by creating a strong visual identity and connect with journalists, clients and retailers. Be mindful of your relationship with retailers: nurture them with personal meetings and use them to better target your designs.


Explore Artisan Handcraft at the Pasadena Bead & Design Show

Pasadena Bead & Design Show is Thursday, July 26th, 2018, through Sunday July 29th, at Hilton Pasadena. The largest bead & design event in California –with a growing record of attendance over the four days –is open to the public and everyone is welcome! We invite attendees to shop more than 300 exhibits of beautiful, limited-edition, artisan handcraft, including jewelry, beads, gemstones, clothing, paintings, crafts, pottery, glass, silver, ceramics, and textiles.

Pasadena Bead & Design Show was established by artisans who were inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement and the traditional sidewalk art shows of Paris. They wanted to offer the widest range of artisanal products to be found anywhere –providing an opportunity to eliminate the middleman and buy direct from artisans and tradespeople –and at exceptional prices.

Artisan exhibitors are chosen for artistic ability and singularity of work. The original pieces are created by the artisans and are offered for sale here, often for the first time. Many have spent upwards of forty years, perfecting their work, reviving lost styles, using meticulous, time-honored techniques and age-old tools to produce fine, handcrafted, artisan design.

The more adventuresome attendees may want to roll up their sleeves and participate in one of the 150 workshops offered at the show, taught by an artist-in-residence. Workshops start at only $20, and offer step-by-step instruction for all skill levels, working in various media, including wirework, jewelry design, art clay silver, metalwork, chainmaille, champlevé, beadmaking, crystal setting, copper electroforming, enameling, mixed media, tassel making, and hand knotting.

Many products offered are much-sought-after collectibles: African trade beads, Afghan kilims, nomadic textiles, folk art, ephemera, buttons, Taxco silver, Victorian jewelry, Roman glass, ethnographic objects, ceremonial pendants, carved marble figurines, needlework, and art nouveau painted silk.

Along with its artisan exhibitors, Pasadena Bead & Design Show also promotes artisan tradespeople who showcase a vast assortment of beads, jewelry and design components such as conch pearls, amber, lapis lazuli, custom gemstones, opals, Burmese rubies, Jizera garnets, art deco emeralds, antique pearls, gold and silver pieces, hard-to-find decorative charms, vintage artisan beads, and handwrought findings.

Show hours 10am to 6pm, Thursday through Sunday, July 26 – 29. Admission is $8 online or $10 at the door, good all four days. Hilton Pasadena, 168 S Los Robles Ave, Pasadena. Visit

The World’s Largest Jewelry Marketplace – The 62nd Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair 2018, Integration of Modern Trade and Artistry of Unique Thai Charm

Image result for jewelry design

HONG KONG, Jun 20, 2018 – (ACN Newswire) – Thailand has rich history as one of the world’s most prominent centers for gems and jewelry. The country has abundant kinds of minerals and gemstones especially ruby and sapphire. Its skilled craftsmanship, unique designs had merged with modern technology to produce jewelry competitive in international markets.

Today, Thailand has developed into a large-scale and export-oriented commerce center. In year 2017, Thai gems and jewelry exports had grew by 2.25% for the first time in 3 years, making positive progress despite recent sluggish economy worldwide, generating around USD 13 billion of income, which is 5.4% of the kingdom’s total export.

In the first four month in year 2018, Hong Kong had imported a total value of USD145.7 Millions precious jewelry from Thailand, including jewelry of precious metal (22.87%), Ruby, Sapphire & Emeralds (18.83%), Diamonds (15.52%), Silver jewelry (12.59%) and Semi-precious Stone (8.04%), etc.


Organized by the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP), Ministry of Commerce of the Royal Thai Government, the 61 edition BGJF had attracted visitors from 113 countries over five days period with top five visiting nations from India, Myanmar, China, USA and Russia respectively.

There were a total of 853 exhibitors participate occupying 2,003 booths. Major exhibiting countries are around the globe besides local exhibitors, diverse as Hong Kong, Poland, Turkey, Japan, Singapore, India, Korea, Israel, Indonesia and Canada, etc.

The 61st edition had generated a trade value at USD 63 million comprising of USD 19 million immediate sales and another USD 44 million’s worth of orders in one year. This remarkable value had shown a 2.5% increase in compare to previous edition.


To continue the legend of success at past editions, the Organizer (DITP) will carry on the existing show elements along with innovative ideas to collaborate with “Thailand 4.0” and “Creative Economy” initiatives at The 62nd Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair 2018, which will be held during 7-11 September 2018, at Challenger Hall 1-3, IMPACT Convention Center, Muang Thong Thani, Bangkok, Thailand.

Some key highlight of Special Zones and activities include: New Faces (showcasing products from over 120 SMEs worldwide), Innovation and Design Zone (displaying innovative techniques and products to inspire jewelry segment), Niche Showcase (featuring the latest trends for niche markets, in particular on five main areas, such as: Heritage & Craftsmanship, Beyond Jewelry, The Moment, Spiritual Power and Metro Men. On top of that, our Fashion Show each year will present the exquisite collections crafted with authentic Thai touches. For further details, please visit


TTCHK, also known as the Office of Thai Trade Commissioner (Royal Thai Consulate General – Commercial Section) in Hong Kong is here to serve entrepreneurs in Hong Kong and Macau regions, aiming to enhance business opportunities and create win-win situation for all parties. We are one of the 62 branches worldwide, under the Department of International Promotion (DITP, The Organizer of BGJF), Ministry of Commerce of the Royal Thai Government.

In order to value each chance to meet with potential traders, TTCHK will be faciliting our TRADE MISSION (TM) via two platforms for the 62 edition BGJF in September 2018, offering exclusive benefits to registered Trade Mission members with complimentary lunch coupons, express registration TM counter and buyer’s directory, etc.

(1) Come join us at Booth 3B134 (Hall 3B), during Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair during 21 – 24 June 2018 at Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre
(2) Contact TTCHK via (Tel) + 852 2525 9716, (E) or follow our latest updates at our FACEBOOK PAGE: Thai Trade Center Hong Kong

Deadline of TM registration will be on 27th August 2018

We as the Organizer, shall evaluate from our previous experiences and carry BGJF onto the next level that can further fulfill international standards, allowing jewelry industry from worldwide to shine through this international stage.

The 62nd Bangkok Gems & Jewelry Fair (The 62nd BGJF)

IMPACT Convention Center, Muang Thong Thani, Bangkok, Thailand (

Fair Dates & Opening Hours

Trade Days: 7-9 Sep 18 10:00am – 6:00pm
Public Days:
10 Sep 18 10:00am – 6:30pm
11 Sep 18 10:00am-17:00pm

For visiting and media enquiries, please contact:
Thai Trade Center Hong Kong
Address: 8 Cotton Tree Drive, 8th Floor Fairmont House, Central , HK
Tel: +852 2525 9716
Fax: +852 2868 4927

For more information, visit /
Follow our updates at FACEBOOK: Thai Trade Center Hong Kong or
Download our mobile apps via Google Play Store: ThaiTrade.COM


Fashion comes from within, says Japan’s style guru Naoko Okusa

Image result for Fashion comes from within, says Japan's style guru Naoko Okusa

If you ask Naoko Okusa how to dress your best, she will tell you to look inside yourself before you stare into your overcrowded closet or oversized mirror.

Arguably the most influential fashion stylist in Japan, Okusa, who has 136,000 followers on Instagram, offers tried-and-true tips for women who are stuck in a style rut.

She helps them discover — or rediscover — the joy of dressing up by helping them experiment different stylistic affiliations while staying true to their essence.

“The way you dress and the way you live are two sides of the same coin. They can’t be disconnected,” Okusa, 45, says.

“It’s not the amount of clothes you own. It’s how well you know yourself that allows you to wear what makes you feel and look like the best version of yourself,” she says.

Okusa says if you’re relying on designer tags to make your style and people see the Hermes Birkin bag holding you and not vice versa, it’s a sign that you have yet to learn the language of fashion.

“I wouldn’t want to be remembered as ‘the lady with the Birkin bag’ because that means Birkin makes a bigger impression than you. A woman who chooses to splurge on designer handbags and be someone she is not should know that her self-esteem is superficial.”

What seems like a dream job happened by chance. After transitioning from the fashion magazine editor’s desk to the life of a freelancer, Okusa was doing everything herself.

“I was an editor, producer, creative director, stylist,” she says. Although she never called herself one, “people started referring to me as a stylist so I figured that must be my thing.”

Okusa knows fashion. She pursues it, and she breathes it. Not only does she hand-select clothing and accessories worn by models at photo shoots, she has exclusive contracts with retailers as their fashion consultant and is a best-selling author and speaker.

She’s not one to tell you to camouflage your body flaws with draped sleeves or flared pants. Rather, she would remind you that a well-maintained physique is the foundation of dressing well and tell you to hit the gym.

“Fashion is about you, but dressing well equates to good manners. It’s about making others feel good too,” she says.

“You can’t deny that it’s also a way to appeal to the other sex, whether you’re a man or a woman. Say you’re going out with a banker, an advertising agent, a tech company president, a freelance artist — wouldn’t your clothes depend on who your date is?”

Okusa says she used to alter the way she dresses to please her boyfriends, but when she met her Venezuelan partner and current husband after a failed first marriage she found a sense of security that soon reflected in her clothing choices.

“I like stronger women more than fragile women, cool over cute, self-reliant over dependent, basics over trendy. That’s me, and he has no problem with that. Now I know what I want, in fashion and in life.”

[Photo courtesy of Naoko Okusa]

There was an off-track phase post divorce, she says. At that time she needed to wear bright, vivid colors to make herself believe she was happy. She looks back on the few photos she has from those days and sees a lost girl trying hard to conceal her emotions.

Okusa says she has learned that “dressing your age” is not necessarily negative. She wants middle-aged women know that just because they are now choosing from a small selection of clothes doesn’t mean they are less attractive.

On the contrary, Okusa says, it means less stress, less distraction, less expense, and more peace.

“Age helped me declutter my wardrobe. Age helped me get rid of the things I don’t need. It made my fashion options narrower and deeper,” she says.

“Yes, you get that extra layer of fat and you start noticing gray hair. In my case, my dull complexion taught me to avoid pastel colors and light beige. But hey, a colorful closet doesn’t equal a colorful life.”

[Photo courtesy of Naoko Okusa] 

Okusa notices women in Japan are experiencing a general fashion confusion, and they think their best bet is to emulate the style of the Parisians and the New Yorkers. One of the most popular questions she gets from fans is “What do I look good in?”

But that’s a question that requires one-on-one counseling, Okusa says. She says she would need to know your background, your budget, your closet content, how you want to feel and who you want to be.

She suggests finding a brutally honest friend or a critical family member whom you can turn to for fashion advice, but better yet, she says you can always train yourself to stand back and look at yourself objectively. It takes practice to dress well, and it’s a lifelong learning curve.

One thing the fashionista strongly recommends is getting others to take photos of you. “Not the ‘say cheese’ kind of photos, but ones that capture unexpected moments,” she says. Knowing your facial features and posture is a start.

“I want people to learn to make objective decisions through fashion. It takes discipline. I’m 45 now, but I can say I’m much more fashionable than I was when I was 30. And in 15 years’ time I know I’ll be even more so because I’ll be better trained.”

Okusa has always dared to be different and original, and can’t think of a fashion icon she idolized growing up.

If not from people, where does she get her fashion inspiration?

“There’s not a fashion blogger or Instagrammer I follow. Fashion is such a big part of my life already, I feel like I get enough. So I look elsewhere,” she says.

“If I see delicate pink sweets placed on a dark gray slate plate, it teaches me that soft and hard go well together, and mixing light color to dark can add freshness that gives the combination some kick.”

If she had to name one person that influenced her fashion choices, Okusa says it would have to be her mother. She never wore anything expensive but never seemed to have a style dilemma either.

“As a little girl I used to love her color and fabric choices. She also had a sense for home decor. It was chic, and her fashion blended with the interiors. I don’t really remember her wearing flashy colors. It was more brown, beige and navy.”

Okusa says she chooses not to drop serious cash on high-end designer clothes for her three children, but she and her husband do their best to teach them fashion etiquette.

“I want to spend money on myself so I’m not buying expensive clothes for my kids. But fashion can be a communication tool if you shop together or talk about what to wear on what occasion,” says Okusa, who has two daughters and one son.

“They’re free to wear what they want at home, but I tell them it’s not okay when it involves other people. For instance, when my son insisted he wear his soccer jersey to a fine-dining restaurant, I had to explain to him clothes can show respect or disrespect.”

With her latest book — her 13th — published in April, Okusa says she is enjoying a career landed by accident but led by passion, and the longer she works, the more she realizes she is doing a lot more than helping women create the perfect wardrobe.

“The great thing about my job is that I get to relive a person’s life story. I get to learn about their past and get a glimpse of their future. Sometimes I feel more like a therapist than a fashion advisor,” Okusa says.

“I want to free women from deceptive marketing messages that make them feel worthless without a Birkin bag. No one should be measured by the number of brand items they own. Clothes don’t make the woman. The woman makes the clothes.”


Frivolous fashions! The most memorable fashion looks from Royal Ascot

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The Royal Ascot may be the most prestigious English horse race, but it’s also one of the biggest fashion events of Britain’s high-society calendar. Royals and socialites flock to the Berkshire green for five days of equestrian action and more importantly the fanciest fashions.

Ever since it’s inception in around 1711, the Royal Ascot has set the scene for exquisite sartorial style, but it must be noted, one can’t just turn up in any old thing, there’s a strict Royal Ascot dress code.

Women must wear dresses of an appropriate length, meaning just above or below the knee, dress straps must be a least 2.5cm thick (no spaghetti straps!), hats are serious business, no facinators, however a headpiece which has a solid base of 10cm or more in diameter is acceptable.

Meanwhile, for the gents, socks are a must, as are black shoes, a waistcoat must be paired with a tie (no cravats) and a black or grey top hat is to be worn.

Now you’re clued up on the fashion dos and don’ts, let’s take a look back at some of the most memorable fashion moments in the history of the Royal Ascot horse races.


This Viral Tweet Explains Why Pockets Are the Unicorns Of Women’s Fashion

If you’ve ever reached down to put something in your pocket only to realize that whatever you’re wearing doesn’t actually have pockets, then consider yourself in the majority. It’s a frustrating situation to be in, especially if you’ve only got a few things to carry and don’t feel like lugging around a bag or purse.

Twitter user Delilah Dawson recently shared some thoughts about this dilemma, proving that the struggle is so real when it comes to the lack of pockets in women’s clothing. In her tweet, she wrote a fake exchange between “women” and an “exec” where the women are trying to ask for pockets and the “exec” keeps suggesting other funny additions to clothing like “Clothes with pre-made holes in delicate fabrics” and “Shapes that require new bras!”

Responses to the tweet were hilarious and completely relatable, with people saying that dresseswith pockets are basically the unicorns of fashion.

One person said that she learned to sew just so that she could take care of this problem herself. Now that’s some serious dedication right there.
Others pointed out that even the clothes that do come with pockets can be, well, problematic. Inquiring minds want to know: What’s up with jeans that are so tight that you can’t actually put anything into the pockets? I mean, why even bother?

While a viral tweet probably won’t be enough to sway an entire industry to reconsider its stance on pockets in womenswear, it can at least bring us all together in a brief moment of fashion solidarity. And maybe, just maybe, one day we’ll get the clothing-with-pockets that we all want and deserve.


Mistakes to avoid while applying make-up, tips to get a flawless look

Dump all the products that have crossed their expiry date. Old and expired products are not safe to use and can lead to rashes, allergies and irritation.

Make-up can be your best friend or your worst enemy, depending on how you use it. To get it right, find the right blush for your skin tone, don’t wear waterproof mascara daily and don’t go overboard with your love for matching your everything with your outfit. Make-up artiste Mouna Lall, and Jason Arland, senior manager at Artistry, have listed the dos and don’ts of make-up:

* The biggest mistake is not using a moisturising cream. One must wash and apply a cream or moisturiser depending on the skin type at least 15 minutes before pruning the skin.

* Always use a primer which helps the foundation to have a smooth surface to settle on. This makes make-up last long.

* If you have dry skin, any kind of moisturiser can be used where as if you have an oily skin then only water based foundations should be used.

* It is important to know how to apply foundation. We make big mistakes like using both our hands and rubbing it away instead of tapping and placing it on the skin with two fingers or a brush.

* Confusing correctors and concealers is a major confusion people often have. Correctors are for correcting one’s skin tone whereas concealers will conceal the corrector and foundation, giving an even skin tone.

* Use a fine mineralised powder just to set the make-up base to avoid a heavy cakey face as the natural make-up look is in fashion.

* Matching same colour eyeshadow, lipstick and nail polish with clothes is a big no as the look becomes one-dimensional and is not appealing to the eyes. If you wear a pink outfit with gold work, then the eyes can be brown gold or smokey with only lipstick matching the dress.

* Heavy punched in the face kind of smokey eyes is a big turnoff. Blend it well.

* Go for a blush that is closest to your skin tone. Fair and medium skinned people can try the rosy pink and peaches. Nude, red and brown coloured blush look best on people with dusky and deeper skin tones.

* Using same colour lip liner all over the lips and following with lipstick is important for the lipstick to have a long stay and not leave a line after a while.

* Waterproof mascara is amazing, but not always. The water-resistant formula can dry out your lashes causing them to break easily. Also, removing the waterproof mascara takes a whole of effort which can again damage your lashes. Keep it reserved for weddings and parties.

* Dump all the products that have crossed their expiry date. Old and expired products are not safe to use and can lead to rashes, allergies and irritation.

* Make-up brushes are important tools that give you the right application and finish. Keeping them clean prolongs their life and saves you a lot of trouble of breakouts and infection. Wash them regularly with warm water and detergent and then soak them in antiseptic liquid before drying out completely.

* Bronzer has become the next big thing in the make-up world. But while everybody wants to use bronzer for that sun-kissed look, wearing too much of bronzer and applying it all over the face can backfire. Use the smallest quantity of bronzer on the jaw line, edges of the forehead, temples and sides of the nose bridge for a warm glow that looks natural.

* Lipsticks are the easiest way to perk up the pout. A general thumb rule to follow is that, dark colours are likely to make your lips look even thinner while lighter ones will make the lips look fuller.