1. The Undying Trend of Animal Prints

    The animal print trend began in the late 1960s, but centuries before that, real animal skin (and fur) had already been a mainstay amongst the wealthiest.

    The association of animal skin and fur with the good life continues and carries over into the modern world, which explains its endurance.

    When Jackie Kennedy was photographed wearing a leopard fur coat by Oleg Cassini, the demand for fur coats skyrocketed and 250,000 leopards were slaughtered in the name of fashion. (To his credit, Cassini then stopped using real furs and only used faux furs in his creations. He even developed Evolutionary Fur, a durable and low-maintenance synthetic fur fabric).

    As the world becomes more and more progressive and more fashion houses have pledged to go fur-free (starting with the revolutionary Stella McCartney), animal patterns from real fur and skin have been hand painted or digitally printed onto fabrics.

    This opened new doors to creativity in the world of fashion. We see animal prints from coats to ties to phone cases to, of course, activewear.

    Each animal print allows the wearer to channel their characteristic. Fast and active? Wear the cheetah. Sleek and dangerous? Go with leopard. Slinky and smooth? Get the serpentine. Unique and graceful? Choose zebra.

    The digital age (and creativity) has also made it possible to mix and match the colors, and now you can wear dark brown and navy leopard print or blue snake print to your next outing.

    One thing for sure, no actual animals were harmed in making these prints, meaning you can show your adoration for these animals without guilt.

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  2. How the Word "Athleisure" Came into Being

    The activewear industry has been coming out as the winner from year to year. According to a study called Future of Apparel released by NPD Group in mid 2018 called Future of Apparel, activewear is reponsible for 24% of total apparel industry sales. There is also significant rise in the global activewear market, with a study by Report Buyer concluding that activewear's compound annual growth rate is expected to be 6.8% and total sales reaching USD 567 billion by 2024.

    Some have argued that activewear is just a fad, and that denim is experiencing a resurgence, but so far, the activewear market has yet shown no sign of slowing down.

    So how does athleisure come into play?

    "Athleisure" is a portmanteau that combines "athletic" and "leisure" and it means exactly that: apparel that can be worn to gym, dance class, HIIT session, or yoga whilst being functional (and fashionable) enough to wear as casual clothes. To our knowledge, the earliest record of this term being used for the first time was in the March 1979 issue of the now-defunct Nation's Business magazine. The magazine ran a cover story on the sports industry called "The Games People Play - and Pay to Watch" by Tony Velocci.

    The whole athleisure (a new term that has popped up) market is in a state of tremendous growth," says John Gehbauer, the (Sporting Goods Manufacturers Associations') director of advertising and promotion.

    Four decades later and the activewear and athleisure markets are still going strong, with haute couture houses releasing their own polyester-spandex or nylon-spandex blend designs, whether on their own (such as Versace), or as a collaboration (Adidas by Stella McCartney). Celebrities, such as Kate Hudson, Beyoncé, and Kanye West, also recognize the potential the activewear market has.

    Unlike stiff and restrictive denim, activewear (and athleisure wear by proxy) is comfortable and multifunctional. Countless of articles have been written on how to pair leggings with high heels and knee-high boots to make them work-ready. Backed by the booming of fitness industry, activewear and athleisure wear are gaining market and momentum. After all, who wants to squeeze into a pair of denim jeans after a sweaty workout? (Check out Mono B's Athleisure Tops category for a selection of coverups.)

    Some have even argued that activewear and athleisure wear are the clothing of the future, at least in our science-fiction culture. Spandex blend has been the go-to fabric since superheroes started being depicted on film. Gersha Phillips, the costume designer of Star Trek: Discovery notes that she uses spandex depending on how she wants to shape the costume.

    On a side note, Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, was so convinced that spandex was the true fabric of the future, that he insisted all of the costumes were made in spandex. This became a challenge because spandex retains odor, and if you're wearing the incorrect size, it can look so unflattering and cut circulations (if it's too small). So always remember to wash your spandex-blend items and wear the correct size.

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  3. Just What is Undertone and Why Does It Matter (Or Doesn't)?

    Ever wonder why you get a lot of compliments when wearing certain colors and lots of bizarre stares when wearing others? Most likely that has to do with your skin's undertone, and whether it's warm, cool, or neutral.

    Don't confuse skin tone with undertone. Skin tone is the color on the surface (fair, medium, or deep). Undertone is exactly like the name: the color under the surface. Unlike skin tone, under tone stays the same, even if the skin tone changes.

    Warm undertone colors: yellow or gold. Cool undertone colors: blue, pink, or red tints. Neutral undertone colors: a mixture of both warm and cool colors.

    Let's look at the ways you can find your undertone.

    Vein check.
    People with cool undertone have blue or purple veins. Those with green veins have warm undertone. Colorless veins or veins that match the skin color mean neutral undertone.

    Jewels rules.
    This one is perhaps the least objective of the test, but try it out anyway. If gold looks more flattering on you, that means you have warm undertone. Silver? Cool undertone. If you can rock both colors, then you have neutral undertone.

    Place a white paper by your skin. If your skin looks yellowish or greenish, that means you have warm undertone. If your skin appears rosy or reddish, then you have cool undertone. If your skin looks grey or ashen (not ashy), you most likely have neutral skin tone.

    Absolute or Off.
    Just like the jewelry test, this one's also somewhat subjective. If you feel you pull off absolute black or absolute white clothes better than off-white, ivory, or tan clothes, you're cool toned. If you wear the opposite better, then you have warm undertone.

    Hair and Eye.
    Those with warm undertone tend to have blond, red, brown, or black hair (with yellow or red glow) with brown, amber, or hazel eyes. Those with cool undertone usually have blue, grey, or green eyes with blond, brown, or black hair (with blue, grey, or purple glow).

    Tan or Burn.
    After spending the day out in the sun, if your skin turns golden-brown, you have warm undertone. If you’re more prone to sunburn, you have cool undertone.

    Try as many tests as you can to find a definitive answer, and once you know which undertone you have, you can determine which colors work on you, including lipstick, foundation, hair color (if you want to dye your hair), and clothes.

    Here's a little cheat sheet to navigate Mono B's collection to find out which colors work for certain undertone.

    Warm undertone: Coco, mustard, ivory, rust, olive, coral, cream, peach, amber, yellow, gold.

    Cool undertone: Blue, sky blue, all shades of grey, lavender, white, mauve, magenta, fuchsia, hot pink.

    Neutral undertone: Tomato red, yellow, pine, green, jade, dusty blue.

    Any undertone: Burgundy, eggplant, plum, teal, medium teal, black, neon yellow.

    However, take all of this with a grain of salt. Life is too short to limit ourselves to a handful of colors just because someone tells us to. Experiment and go crazy.

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  4. Plus-Size Activewear Business Is on the Rise

    The demand for plus-size activewear (and athleisure apparel) varies from state to state, but it exists. After all, according to the latest Plunkett Research, 68% of American women wear size 14 or above. And if that's not enough to incentivize business to start growing their women's plus-size activewear collection, the 2016 sales of US womens plus-size apparel market is USD 20.4 billion (against USD 643 billion of global womenswear market sales).

    Mono B Clothing completely understands this demand. That's why we came up with a wide range of active leggings and athleisure tops and bottoms for local and independent business that cater to plus-sized women.

    But enough about money.

    What Mono B truly wants is for everyone to have a healthy life and lifestyle, and truth be told, body size can matter when it comes to health. Extreme body fat percentage can have serious health complications, whether it's underweight or overweight, and this also depends on a lot of factors, including your age, location, and stress level. Whatever your fitness level or fitness goal is, we have to start somewhere, and most of the times, plus-size active items are either too shoddy, too garish, or too expensive.

    Mono B fills in the gaps in the affordable (and trendy) plus-sized activewear market with products that range from XL to 2XL (or 1XL to 3XL for athleisure apparel).

    The plus-size activewear range comes in both Mono B core line (perfect for up to medium-high impact activities such as spin classes) and Mono B RED line (for more low impact activities such as walking). With many options to choose, from subtle and solid colors to poppy and trendy prints, plus-sized Mono B leggings are crafted using four-way stretch fabrics to ensure comfort and durability for your customers to move and exercise in.

    As an independent or local business owner, you can do more by pushing your community to move more, all in a stylish and chic ensemble.

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  5. How Ribbed Accents Became Synonymous with Moto Fashion

    Mono B celebrates Moto fashion with its line of biker-inspired wear. From ribbed mesh to pleated accents to rebel-chic denim jackets, activewear and athleisure items in both regular and plus-sizes, add a dose of fierceness in your wardrobe. But how much do we know of this biker-inspired trend?

    #MotoFashion by Mono B Clothing

    The creation of the motorcycle in the 19th century not only made travelling easier, but it also started the new moto fashion trend. When it first came out, motorcycles were expensive and only those in the upper class could afford it. Then as the designs were improved, motorcycles became the go-to vehicle for policemen.

    Leather seemed to go hand in hand with the motorcycle world, especially at the time when synthetic substance had not been discovered yet, and even then, leather was relatively easier and cheaper to procure. From the dawn of motorcycle era, leather has been used for protective gear such as boots, gloves, and helmets. Then leather jackets became la mode du jour thanks to Marlon Brando's The Wild One. His gorgeous looks and the iconic Harley Davidson marked the beginning of the moto fashion craze. Everyone wanted the Perfecto jacket he wore in the movie and The Wild One arguably became the original outlaw biker film.

    Marlon Brando in The Wild One

    Many articles have been written about the the history and evolution of moto fashion and leather jackets, but what remained a mystery was its connection to ribbed or accordeon accents.

    It seemed the first ever recorded piece of fashion with these accordeon accents came from Maison Balmain, the French luxury fashion house. It's still unclear whether it was originated by Cristophe Decarnin (2005 - 2011), Olivier Rousteing (2011 - present), or any of their predecessors. Rousteing has stated in many publications that Decarnin is one of his biggest influences and inspirations in fashion.

    Regardless, Balmain released its biker jeans collection featuring ribbing details on the ankles and pockets. The idea behind this accordeon-style accents is still unknown, but they appear to mimic the natural creases around the ankle and elbow areas of denim or leather outfits. The pleated details expand and contract and minimize the wear and tear of the garment in those areas, even when the piece of clothing was not constructed using stretch material. Another theory is that the ribbing accent (and their placement) hide the kneepads or other protective gear worn by motor cyclist.

    Gal Gadot as Shank in Ralph Breaks the Internet

    One thing for certain, the biker trend became a smash hit, as evidenced by the myriads of fashion houses, both haute couture and ready-to-wear, launching their own biker-inspired apparel. The accordeon accent no longer stays around the joint areas, but have migrated to different parts as well, including the shoulders. The accent itself has changed. It's now grown to include quilted details, not just pleated.

    The success and longevity of the biker-inspired look are largely attributed to iconic stars such as Brando and James Dean, and contemporary celebrities like Gal Gadot. Fans have even pointed out that Gadot seems to always wear some kind of leather jacket in almost all of her movies so far, including as Shank in Ralph Breaks the Internet (check out those ribbed denim pants too). The image that these biker or Moto fashion look conveys is clear: it's badass.

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