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The Dictator: on style, she rules

 

OK. This crop-top thing is not going away, apparently, and I’d just as well accept that. How exactly am I supposed to wear it though and still look good?
Keep it Short, Central

The Dictator rules: Who said you look good now? The only girls who should attempt crop tops are probably reading this column between doing their millionth crunch of the day and their next class. And the only thing more shocking than the fact that designers are still pushing midriff designs is the weird style tips floating around, such as wear more make-up, understated shoes, head-to-toe nude beige or highwaisted white jeans. All of that gets a big fat “NO!” from me. Instead, balance the revealing, usually tightfitting trend item with elegance and volume, provided by a flared skirt or tailored trousers, both ontrend for spring-summer. Do either of them in high-waisted form and you’ll get the look without showing much skin at all. Layer the look with a cool jacket or cardigan kept open to reveal that bit of taut tummy. Be ruthless about the fit; waistbands need to be just right. Nothing should bulge over when you’re sitting or standing. Alice & Olivia has the look down to a T with a variety of cropped shortsleeve shirts, tanks and bustiers in print, solid or leather (HK$1,790 and up; IFC Mall, Central, tel: 2234 7253), which it styles with poof skirts, pleated trousers and maxi formal skirts. Shanghai designer Helen Lee does short-sleeved, round-neck blouses in red or white (HK$2,090; Lane Crawford, IFC Mall, tel: 2118 2288) that look great with her high-waistband pleated skirts. The cropped collared tank top with organza insets by 3.1 Phillip Lim looks like a modified men’s shirt (HK$2,990; IFC Mall, tel: 2805 0688).

 

So many friends are evangelical about the next health craze. Sorry, I’m not giving up my olive oil, but now I’ve read the coconut oil they’ve all switched to is actually good as a beauty product. Please set me straight!
Hard Nut to Crack, Repulse Bay

The Dictator: Cooking oil on your face? Are you crazy? Just joking. Olive oil has always been a chemical- free, “secret” dry-scalp remedy, so why not coconut oil? I was sceptical about the superpowers of this supposedly antioxidant, heart-friendly, cholesterol-lowering oil, too. The truth is it did work rather fantastically for me as a face and body moisturiser, makeup remover, hair-conditioner and defrizzer. I’ve heard it’s also good as a massage oil, cuticle oil and even shaving cream. It’s got to be extra-virgin, raw or unrefined, preferably cold-pressed. Use it sparingly; it’s easier to add than remove. Oh, and keep separate jars for cooking and beauty, to avoid food contamination. City’super (Times Square, Causeway Bay, tel: 2736 3866) carries Spiral Organic (HK$87 for 300 grams) and Bali’Sun (HK$210 for 473ml). Every natural food store we tried had one or more. For instance, Just Green (7 St Francis Street, Wan Chai, tel: 2528 9969) sells Artisana (HK$154 for 473ml) and Raweggie (HK$65 for 200ml).

 


 

Got a question for The Dictator? E-mail her with your name, or alias, and address at: dictator@scmp.com

 

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