What’s the Difference Between Turquoise & Teal

Some friends and I were talking about colour the other day and all of a sudden I realised that we weren’t necessarily talking about the same colour.  Turquoise and teal seemed to be referred to interchangeably.

Since I’ve long loved both colours (though I hold a special kind of obsession for anything turquoise!), I thought it was a good excuse to dive into a turquoise & teal design world and so I began a little research to resolve the difference between the two hues. (Besides, the paper company GF Smith recently announced that Marrs Green, a very rich teal colour, is the ‘world’s favourite colour” after conducting an international online survey, so it’s good to know what everyone is loving so much!)

The Camgridge Dictionary defines teal as ‘a dark greenish-blue colour’, which, for any trivia buffs out there, I learned on wikipedia is named after the deep green-blue found around the eye of the common teal duck.

How gorgeous is this rich teal velvet sofa with that patterned wallpaper in the same hue? Hits of acid yellow and red punch up the colour scheme.

teal velvet sofa

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I love this classic entranceway in Paris with its dramatic teal door.

Paris door teal

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This is a beautiful teal wall colour paired with a more true-blue sofa, which helps create a layered feel. This pic also illustrates how teal can work with many other colours. And oooh that llama!

teal velvet sofa & teal walls

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This floral print wallpaper with its warm teal background is the perfect way to add some life to a small powder room.

teal floral wallpaper in powder room

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Teal vs Turquoise

Colour Experts Pantone describe turquoise (Pantone 15-5519 colour of the year in 2010) as ‘combining the serene qualities of blue and the invigorating aspects of green’. This colour is still going strong in its popularity.  It’s named after the turquoise stone often worn as jewelry.

This is such a pretty turquoise and white kitchen, which looks amazing with those hexagonal terra cotta floor tiles.  Turquoise with corals and reds is such a great, welcoming colour combination. The hint of industrial in the stools and cement countertops keeps it feeling modern.

turquoise kitchen

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I feel like this dining room is channeling a little design icon Dorothy Draper with the use of the ornate, oversized white mirror, the large leaves and the cheerful turquoise walls and seat cushions.

turquoise dining room

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This is a happy little spot in a house with a turquoise cushion on the old rustic bench. This works particularly well because the turquoise is repeated in the artwork.

turquoise bench-1

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I’m in love with Kay’s pretty turquoise front door that she shares on her Instagram page @onceupona1912. It’s such a lovely colour to greet people with (Sherwin Williams Waterscape) and it looks great styled with the purple & pink flowers.

turquoise door onceupona1912

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Teal appeared on the red carpet a few years ago, which is why we are seeing its increased popularity in decor.  It seems to have some longevity in fashion though, perhaps because it is a universally flattering colour.  I love this teal print dress that Sarah Jessica Parker is wearing.  It is again paired with acid yellow, which really brightens it up.

Sarah Jessica Parker in teal dress

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This is a well put together outfit with the teal shirt dress and brown leather accessories.

teal tunic long boots outfit

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This teal jacket & blouse look so fresh paired with white pants.

teal jacket, teal blouse with white pants

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While I think this sweater comes more under the category of mint, it is in the turquoise family and the light shade looks so good paired with a pinky-beige jacket and white jeans.

mint pullover white jeans

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I love this icy combination of the turquoise knit winter coat with the white pants & blouse.  So pretty.

turquoise coat with white pants

So are you a teal lover or a turquoise gal? I have to say I really love both and they are such versatile colours that will go with just about any other colour in the spectrum.  Since they are flattering on every skin tone, I see their popularity lasting a long time. What about you?

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Photo Shoot for Earth, Wind & Style

Wow, what a day!  Such a great experience being on the set of my very first professional fashion shoot for my business, Earth, Wind & Style, on Saturday.  I’d been looking forward to getting some fun pictures of the convertible boots on offer in my webstore and the day was a huge success!  I thought I would share some pictures with you.

Our outdoor set

So great to be in the company of friend and professional photographer, Tina Graham, and to see her in action on my photo shoot.  She really knows her stuff and given that supplies are somewhat limited where we are located in Miri, she was particularly impressive with her improvisation and quick thinking with both lighting and set direction.

photo shoot make up by Nicola Ingram

Nicola Ingram working her make up magic on one of the models

Cosmetology Scotland owner and friend, Nicola Ingram, worked her magic on the make-up for the shoot and faced her own set of challenges while attending to models affected by the hot and humid mid-day heat, but she was a pro and the girls looked fantastic! Needless to say, we were all really pleased to move inside to the air conditioning!

photo session for Earth Wind & Style

Tina Graham and team working their photography magic!

Leonard the Lighting Assistant and lender of the photography studio cum exercise training studio

photo session models having fun

The gorgeous models having a laugh. It’s hard to look fierce!

And (one of!) the end products.  I absolutely love this shot!!!

Cat fight for the boots!

‘The’ shot!

Asian influence this Fall Winter

I love to see a little Asian-inspired fashion on the runway while being surrounded by the influence of Asia.  This season Chinese and Japanese cultures are dominating and there are so many amazing fabrics and patterns to play with and bring into a wardrobe.  Golds and rich colours epitomise Oriental clothing and interiors and there is no lack of either this season.

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This dress comes to life with its pale green colour and Asian fabric with that gorgeous sheen.

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The iconic Japanese Crane makes it’s appearance on the above Van Noten coat.

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Both the style and the fabric in this Proenza Shouler dress mimic their eastern influences.

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Great kimono-inspired belt and rich colours in the above Zac Posen runway look.

Asian style has been popular in interiors for a long while and I’m sure it’s because of its versatility.  There are so many varying looks you can incorporate into the home to add a little of Asia to it:

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Aside from the very obvious silhouettes above the beside tables, the oriental influence can be found in the pattern and colour of the throw pillows and the in headboard whose shape is reminiscent of the contour of Japanese architecture.

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The room above gives a nod to Asia with the chinoiserie panels behind the bedside tables as well as with the bright blue Fu Dogs.  Also note the Indonesian-style ikat pattern on the throw pillows.

Of course this gorgeous table is of Asian decent, but it’s the other touches here that firmly establish this vignette in Oriental style; the boxes and Buddha statue, the gold-leaf horse, and the artwork in the glossy bright sea-blue.

Will you work the Asian influence into your home or wardrobe?  If so, how?

Christian Dior Fall Winter 2013

I am completely in love with some of the classic elements that appear on the Christian Dior Fall/Winter 2013 catwalk!  Raf Simons added cigarette pants; three-quarter length coat sleeves worn with long gloves; cinched-in high-waistlines; a hint at the peplum, and full skirts among other things.  I’m a sucker for vintage-inspired style and this is it at its best!

My favourite dress in the collection is this gorgeous salmon pink gown with sheer skirt and fitted bodice that absolutely leapt off the runway in contrast to the rest of the colour palette in the line.  I particularly like the juxtaposition (big word, I know!) of the high-necked, long-sleeved top and the sheer skirt.  Beautiful!

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What do you think about the Christian Dior Fall/Winter collection?

The Hot Topic of Photo Retouching

Magazines and advertisers who are retouching photos of their models to such a degree that they don’t look natural is a hot topic in the media right now and I’m really pleased to see that people are finally taking notice of the ridiculously unobtainable standards that these businesses are setting.

A year ago, several of the L’Oreal company’s brands had advertisements banned in the UK for retouching photos beyond an ‘acceptable level’.  Christy Turlington and Julia Roberts appear in two of these ads, and the question is why the Lancome and Maybelline executives found it necessary to photoshop these already beautiful women to create images that are completely unrealistic.  We are left to hope we can be this flawless if we purchase their products, which is quite impossible.

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Perhaps it is the blatant faults in photo enhancement, such as models missing fingers and heads and other rather obvious body parts that has really forced this topic to the forefront (just google photoshop mistakes and you’ll get over a million hits). Whatever the reason for its making headlines, I think it’s a good thing that it is continuously brought to the attention of the public – particularly for the women who are trying desperately to live up to these  ideals.

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This month, Eva Longoria appeared on the cover of Italian Amica magazine looking more like her Desperate Housewives co-star Terry Hatcher than herself!  You have to wonder what the editor was thinking letting this cover go to press with such an (apparently) well known face on the cover.  She’s far more beautiful in her actual photo (left), yet she didn’t escape the editing process.

I know a lot of women who have struggled for part of their lives – sometimes the better portion of their lives – with body image.  It’s not surprising when you consider the unrealistic images we are confronted with on a daily basis in magazines, online and in advertising.  Madonna is in her 50’s.  She’s supposed to have a few lines around her face. Don’t we expect that after the life she – of all people – has lived?!

How us women got to the point of trying to attain perfection, I’m not sure, but airbrushing and photo enhancement have been around since the late 1800’s – back in the day when women were forcing their bodies into corsets and girdles to create the perfect silhouette – and have almost certainly helped push us into trying to achieve these ideals.

 

Audrey Hepburn airbrushed

 

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Above is a promotional photograph of Audrey Hepburn for Breakfast at Tiffany’s from the 1960’s and it’s recently released marked version showing where the editor thought Audrey needed a little added beauty.  I’m amazed this editing was considered and put into action on a star who, in my mind, was quite gorgeous enough in the original photo!

But there has been some backlash and several celebrities, such as Cate Blanchett, have been making a point against all of this retouching.  Take a look at Cate’s untouched photo on the cover of Intelligent Life.  She is an undeniably beautiful women who has made a name for herself partly because of her beauty.  It’s so nice to see a representation of her at 42 years of age looking natural and, well, 42!

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A fourteen year old girl, Julia Bluhm, from Maine in the US recently caught the attention of the media as she organised a protest at the entrance to Seventeen Magazine in New York to state her objection to their use of photographs that are airbrushed.  Her protest was in support of the idea that these images may result in low-self esteem issues amongst her peers.  She’s on the right track, but we need more people – adults and teens – to make it known that we want to see true representations of models in the magazines we read and in the ads we are exposed to.

It would be great if more celebrities stood up and, like Cate Blanchett, insisted on photo shoots without heavy editing. But it is truly up to magazine editors and advertisers to change the way they think and the way they represent models and celebrities, which lead the general population towards aspirations of impossible beauty.

What do you think about the photoshopping controversy?

Do you Wash and Wear?

Wow! I had a feeling when I embarked on this subject that I would be a bit surprised, but never did I consider how horrified I would be…

The subject: Washing your clothes directly after purchase.

As I have previously confessed, I’m a teensy bit of a germ-a-phobe. I’m one of those people who washes her hands constantly, keeps a pump bottle of antibacterial hand-sanitizer in her car, tries not to touch bathroom door handles, and well, the list goes on and on… (ok, so a bit more than a teensy germ-a-phobe, I admit). I thought I had considered everything which may be germ-infested which could leave me at risk of germ invasion. Not so.

I suppose I blocked the arena of freshly purchased clothes because they usually look so clean and crisp. Well, I’ve opened Pandoras’ box now and it turns out Pandora is a bit of a dirty girl. Never again will I purchase an article of clothing and wear it without washing it first.

In my reading, I discovered that retail sales people witnessed a multitude of scary things emerging from the clothing boxes as they unpacked new items; bugs a-plenty, rodent excrement, and yes, even whole dead rodents! I read that some items are treated with chemicals to prevent mould developing during transit from point of origin until we slip that garment on next to our bare, clean, germ- and chemical- absorbent skin.

Then there is the fact that the clothes are very likely handled by an abundance of people as well: fabric manufacturers, seamstresses, packers, customs inspectors and shop people. How do we know these people wash their hands after going to the bathroom? And of course these garments may be tried on by numerous people – or even returned to the clothing store after wearing. Let’s be honest, it must happen a lot – before we end up with them in our own closets. There is no way of knowing if any of these people would be clean and washed when they went shopping and tried on that same hip pair of jeans we just bought!

In addition when you consider the unsafe conditions that factory employees must work in in countries such as Bangladesh, Cambodia and Honduras (which is a whole other subject), where a lot of clothing going into the North American market is produced, it’s not a huge leap to suppose that cleanliness is not top of mind for factory managers – or its clients. These are hot countries as well with plenty of labour perspiration, I would bet. Do you think that many of these facilities would be kept clean? I wouldn’t think it would be a top priority for managers who are under pressure to meet unrealistic output targets.

In fact, a couple of years ago Good Morning America did a story about how clean – or dirty – new clothes are, collecting samples from several unnamed popular retailers. Enlisting the help of a microbiologist, they discovered that there were all kinds of human bacteria on brand new clothing including “respiratory secretions, skin flora, and some fecal flora”, as well as “vaginal organisms”! The microbiologist said some articles of clothing were “grossly contaminated”. And what’s interesting is that the cleanliness factor of the clothing didn’t change if purchased at a high-end or a low-end retailer. My skin is officially crawling!

So, with all this new information in my hygienic little brain, I’m thinking about that new top I just bought and hung straight up in my closet all ready to wear…

What do you do right after you buy new clothes? Are you a buy-it-and-wear-it type or a germ-a-phobe like me?

Safari Style

It is entirely true what they say about Africa getting under your skin and getting into your blood.

I was lucky enough while living in South Africa for 5 years to be able to explore some of the southern part of the continent and enjoy a number of safaris during that time.  Each was an amazing experience and on the return from a few of these trips, my husband and I said to each other, ‘ok, I think we’ve checked the safari box now’.  But a couple of months later we would be talking about our next plan to get ‘back to the bush,’ as the locals call it. We could never get enough!

There is something magical about going on safari.  The whole experience from watching those incredible animals – most often up close – in their own environment to the beautifully comfortable tented-camp accommodation to the outdoor lantern-lit evening meals served fireside in the boma that makes it such a romantic adventure.  And a very civilized G&T at sundown out of the back of a landrover could convince any sceptic that this is living!

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So given my love for the bush, I suppose it’s not surprising that I have a soft spot for safari-inspired style both in interiors and fashion.  It seems to have such staying power with its classic prints, neutral hues and casual sophistication. Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Michael Kors, Nicole Miller and others have all come out with hits of safari in their catwalks over the last several years.  Below are some examples of how to incorporate this look into either your wardrobe or your home.

Animal print is a definitive safari style print, which can be added to an outfit through accessories or worn from head to toe as your personality allows. Pair it with strappy sandals or boots and a chunky piece of jewellery and you have the look.

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These khaki pants combined with a menswear-inspired shirt, leather accessories and beaded jewellery screams safari.

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Blending into the environment is key when on safari so as not to arouse attention from hungry carnivorous animals, hence the use of many neutral hues reminiscent of the African Savannah.

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The khaki clothing above paired with a hat, sunglasses and a sizeable bag all come together to create a good safari look.

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Belted dresses and clothing with lots of pockets and accessorised with gold jewellery is also quintessential safari.

Earth, Wind & Style has a collection of game skin handbags that will coordinate beautifully with safari style (in fact one of our handbags is almost identical to the one that appeared in Michael Kors’ safari-inspired spring/summer 2012 collection!).

Safari lodge interiors, like fashion, tend towards utilising neutrals as a basis for their design.  Most lodges are inclined to blend into the environment in which they are located. With the use of natural elements, such as rattan, wood and sisal it is easy to bring a sophisticated bush influence into the home.  Layer in textures like cow hide rugs or ottomans, woven hemp or raffia fabrics such as bakuba, and baskets to up the African element.  A bowl of ostrich eggs, a grouping of porcupine quills or some oversized seed pods will also add authenticity to your scheme if you can get your hands on them.

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Lanterns are used generously at safari lodges, which definitely adds to the drama and romance of these venues.

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The carved tables above, zebra ottoman and cowrie shell basket all lean toward this style.

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If you have used a lot of wood in your design, you can soften the look by bringing in throw rugs and mosquito netting, which is almost always found around beds in the bush and definitely adds a touch of romance.  But what could be more romantic than sleeping under the stars as above?

I think I feel another safari plan coming on…

What do you think about safari style?  Do you already wear some of these elements or do you have some incorporated into your home?  What are your favourite pieces?