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fashion tips

Fashion

The flattering way to wear a midi length skirt or dress

16th August, 2017

Knee length? Easy! Mini? Can do! Maxi? All over it! Midi length? A slightly tricker proposition. I am the first to admit I used to think the midi was an unflattering length (especially if you’re on the petite side). I just saw it as an awkward length that wasn’t particularly wearable. But the thing with fashion is even if you’ve discounted something once before if you see a trend often enough you start to think that it could be worth another try… And I’m so glad I gave the midi another chance. With a little experimentation on how to style it it’s now a go-to length of mine and I often favour it when it comes to skirts and dresses. Here’s how I’ve made it work…

Favour heels

If you’re going to rock a midi length skirt or dress the most flattering footwear option is a pair of heels. It gives added height which elongates the frame. As the midi lands below the knee to mid calf it can cut you off at an unfavourable part of your leg so the best way to combat it is to add a few inches in the form of a heel.

Maintain balance

Keep proportions in mind and ensure that you have the right balance. For example if you’re wearing a voluminous midi skirt then make sure your top is fitted whilst it would be the reverse with a slimline skirt. If you’re too top heavy or bottom heavy it can throw the entire look off.

Experiment with details

Interesting details such as a bold print or pleats are one way to make a midi length skirt or dress stand out. The midi makes a strong sartorial statement so why not allow it to really make its mark by choosing impactful elements.

Tell me—for you, is a midi skirt or dress a yay or a nay?

 

 

Fashion

How I style lounge wear

27th February, 2017

When I’m off duty I’m all about comfort. Leisure wear is all about a relaxed silhouette but at the same time I still like to give it a stylish touch so I can easily go from a day spent lounging at home to a quick trip to the shops without too much fuss. When it comes to dressing for comfort here are the rules I stick to….

Go for quality fabrics

To avoid looking dishevelled I make sure I buy basics in good quality fabrics. For example I love to wear beautiful cashmere knits or a great linen shirt just to make sure everything looks polished. If you are planning to wear these pieces regularly, investing in quality fabrics will make sure that they last longer. My favourite brands for leisure wear include bassike and c&m as I find they make great relaxed pieces that are quite fashion forward at the same time.

Opt for dressier shoes

Your choice of footwear can often help dress up an otherwise super casual look. For example I love slouchy, baggy pants with a drop crotch and when teamed with a pair of slides or loafers or a dressy pair of runners it looks considered and put together.

Stick to a specific colour palette

I stick to neutrals such as black, white and grey when it comes to leisure wear. It’s easy to mix and match and often I’ll add a pop of colour with a scarf just to give the outfit a little injection of personality.

Mix with quality accessories

If I’m wearing a really simple outfit such as slouchy pants with a tee often the addition of certain accessories can help pull it together and dress it up a bit. A leather jacket or a handbag are easy additions that give it a touch more polish.

 

Fashion

How to revamp your work wardrobe this year

17th January, 2017

A brand new year is the perfect excuse to get your work wardrobe in order. I always start the beginning of a new working year by taking stock of everything in my wardrobe so I can identify the key areas that I may need to build on or add to to inject some freshness into my office look. Here’s how to give yourself a stylish start to the year ahead…

Identify your dream work looks

Now is the time to pinpoint your ideal office outfits. Keeping in mind your work dress code, start by pulling together examples of everything from jackets you may like to suit styles you’ve always wanted to try so you can get an idea of how you want your work wardrobe to look. Once you’ve done this you’ll have a blueprint of your style which makes everything from decluttering what you currently own to what you need to shop for so much easier.

Bin or keep?

Pull out everything you wear to work and assess each piece with a critical eye. Does that dress really flatter you? Is that skirt the right length? The aim of this exercise is to make sure that you only keep things that you will actually wear and will help you look polished. Be brutal! Get rid of anything that you haven’t worn in awhile or is looking a bit worse for wear. Once you’ve got a pile of clothes that you intend to keep separate them into what you will need to get dry cleaned, mended or altered.

Compile a shopping list

I always tend to go to gravitate towards shirts for work meetings so it’s one area of my wardrobe I make sure I always have well stocked. If you’re like me then now is the ideal time to invest in some fresh new shirts to wear throughout the year. Look at what else in your wardrobe is looking a bit tired and consider replacing it such as the work shoes you wore virtually every day last year or the work bag that’s seen better days. Or if you can see that there are serious gaps in your wardrobe, for example if you have been avoiding wearing particular things because you don’t have the right belt then look into finally buying one.

Look at what can be altered

It’s a pain having to take just one thing to be altered so I always wait until I’ve got a few things that need to be done. What better time than a brand new year? This is the time to get any pants hemmed to the right length and get any jackets tailored to fit perfectly. A little bit of tailoring can really make all the difference and make something old feel new again.

Try on different outfits

Once you’ve got all your key pieces sorted start trying them on to compile a few key go-to outfits. This will not only allow you to get a better idea of how functional your office wardrobe is it’s always great to have a mental cheat sheet for those days when you’ve woken up and just want to go into auto pilot or you are having an “I have nothing to wear day” and need to get out the door fast.

Fashion

How to dress for an event when you’re pregnant

22nd November, 2016
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At Fashion Week this year with a bump

During both my pregnancies I had to attend a few big events and particularly during the last pregnancy I also had to navigate Fashion Week which was certainly a challenge for my wardrobe! Whether it’s a wedding, a birthday or now that we’re heading into the festive season a slew of Christmas parties dressing up with a bump can admittedly be a little trickier than when you’re you’re usual shape. Here are some things I learned about event dressing when pregnant

Consider going a size up

Keep in mind that you don’t have to specifically buy a maternity dress you could also consider going a size up to give you more room for your stomach. This is great when you want to buy something from one of your fave labels as you like their styles but don’t necessarily fit into your usual size. I remember buying a dress from Scanlan Theodore who are one of my go-to designers as I really loved the style but I simply bought a bigger size to accomodate my belly.

Voluminous isn’t always good

It can be tempting to go for a billowy dress that simply just “hides” your belly but it’s not always the most flattering silhouette for a pregnant figure. I find that you still need to maintain some degree of shape to what you’re wearing so often something in a stretchy fabric that is quite figure hugging and that shows off your bump is the best style. It’s also super comfortable which is a plus.

If you prefer floaty dresses try adding a belt under the bump to nip in the dress a little and give it some added some shape.

Try layering

I found adding a blazer or jacket over a dress really helped to give my outfit some structure which in turn looked more flattering. It also gave me a tether to my old wardrobe so helped me feel more confident and “myself” in what I was wearing.

Accessories are key 

The one area of your wardrobe that definitely doesn’t get affected with a burgeoning bump is your accessories. A great pair of shoes, a pretty clutch and amazing jewellery are all great for topping off an outfit and giving it a bit more oomph. Plus you know no matter what it’s definitely going to fit!

Don’t spend a fortune

Yes, you want to look great but you also don’t want to spend a fortune on a particular outfit if it’s something that you definitely won’t wear post-pregnancy. I find that ASOS has some great maternity dresses specifically for events that are both on-trend but also budget-friendly. The upside with buying from a maternity range is that whatever you buy, you know it’s been cut to accomodate a bump so there are no issues with fit. Aside from that they also do great casual and work clothes for pregnancy so definitely check out the range if you haven’t already.

Always remember your style

Just because you’re dressing with a bump in mind it doesn’t mean you have to completely change your style. If you usually wear black from head to toe then do it. Yes, your shape may be different but it’s important that you always anchor what you’re wearing back to your usual tastes and style. Remaining true to your wardrobe aesthetic will definitely make you feel more comfortable in anything you wear.

 

Stuck for event-appropriate pregnancy look ideas?

Here’s a look back at a few What I Wore looks that could definitely work for a big occasion – just tweak and adjust according to your own style!

Check out my building blocks for a great pregnancy wardrobe

 

 

Fashion

The dos and don’ts of wearing flats at the office

19th October, 2016

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When I was working full time I used to always wear high heels to the office. I know when it comes to workwear it can be nice to have a little height in the footwear department to help add some polish to an outfit but I’ve since learned that flats can work equally as well, if not more so. These days when I’m going to office I may have the girls in the morning or in the afternoon so my outfit has to look professional yet be comfortable at the same time. This is where I’ve found having a great flats wardrobe can come in handy. These are some of my dos and don’ts of wearing them to work…

Do experiment with different flats

I’ve found the best flats for the office are ballet flats, brogues and loafers [the closed kind not slides as these can look a little too casual] and flat boots for winter [see in order below]. Try to keep your flats as streamlined and simple as possible to keep them professional.

 

Do wear flats with dresses

If you tend to favour dresses for the office you’ll be pleased to hear that you can get away with swapping your heels in favour of flats for this particular look. I’ve found that flats look really great with tailored dresses and maintains a classy effect.

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Winning combination: Alexa Chung does ballet flats and a dress/ Image via Stockholm Street Style

Do opt for a slim trousers

Wide leg pants are on trend this season but I’ve found that they tend to work better with heels, especially if you’re on the shorter side. However when it comes to slim fitting trousers you can definitely afford to go with flats. A slim silhouette will help elongate your figure and when teamed with flats it looks very Audrey Hepburn-esque.

Don’t forget to flash some ankle

Make sure that if you’re wearing pants that they’re cropped so you are showing some ankle. This length will tend to be a little more flattering when worn with pants.

Do keep your look quite preppy

Flats such as man-style loafers and ballet flats work are a match made in heaven with a preppy-style outfit. Think a collared white shirt and a knee length skirt. It’s a little collegiate, definitely office appropriate and a stylish alternative to traditional corporate wear.

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Image: Stockholm Street Style

Don’t forget about the finishing touches

Flats don’t have to be boring. Keep an eye out for interesting finishing touches. Tassels, discreet bows, or a metal horsebit accent are all great ways to take an ordinary flat from so-so to stylish. One of my favourite brogues has a metal toe cap (see pic above) and I find that this helps give them a point of difference.

Do leave socks at home

A lot of flats look better sans socks so make sure to give them a miss. As I said earlier, flashing some ankle is flattering as it helps to emphasise the slimmest part of your leg. Also, socks can look a little too bulky.

Do team flats with opaque stockings

In winter I know going bare legged can be a little chilly so pairing a pair of flat boots with opaque black stockings and a nice dress is a good office appropriate look. I tend to favour stockings in black as opposed to nude as it looks much fresher and more modern.

Tell me – are you a fan of wearing flats to the office?

 

 

 

Fashion

The one thing you can’t afford to forget about your outfit

19th September, 2016

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If your guess was shoes or a bag then you’re incorrect on both fronts. Don’t get me wrong, those are crucial too but I’m actually talking about what’s underneath your outfit. Often when it comes to underwear we throw on the first thing that’s within reach and don’t give it a second thought however did you know that the right undergarments can be the building blocks of a great ensemble? A stray bra strap here or a VPL situation there can often ruin the overall effect of an outfit so it’s key to get it right. Here’s what to do in virtually every fashion scenario.

If you’re wearing a t-shirt…

This is a prime job for the t-shirt bra (funny that). A bra that’s got light padding and no extra embellishments will give you a smooth silhouette when wearing a tee. T-shirt bras will get plenty of use so they’re great to get in black and nude at a minimum.

If you’re wearing a blouse…

If you’re wearing a silk blouse that’s quite fitting you’ll want to avoid anything in lace as it will just create a lumpy effect (not pretty!). A simple bra that slightly padded – something similar to the t-shirt bra will give you a smooth line. However if you’re wearing something loose you could get way with wearing a lace bra. Alternatively sometimes you may want to make your bra a focal point (as I have done above) in which case you should opt for something that’s a little more on the sexy/elegant side as opposed to a thick-strapped utilitarian bra as it will be on show.

If you’re wearing something tight…

A fitting skirt, dress or pants is prime for VPL issues and in most cases a g-string will usually help avoid this. If you’re not a fan of g-strings try seamless briefs which don’t have a seam and will often achieve the same effect.

If you’re wearing something sheer…

You can either cover up by wearing a cami or you can choose to make your underwear a feature. I’ve worn a lacy bralette under a sheer blouse before (see below) and found it worked with the overall look. However if you’re off to work or somewhere where you need to err on the side of conservative opt for a camisole.

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If you’re wearing white…

Whatever you do do not wear white! It may seem as if wearing white underwear under a white garment would make it invisible but it’s actually the opposite and tends to highlight your underwear instead. Your best friend in this situation is nude underwear. A nude bra or a nude pair of underpants will actually “disappear” when worn under white; try it, it’s like magic.

If you’re wearing a singlet… 

Some may opt for invisible bra straps thinking it won’t be obvious but when you think about it, who actually has clear skin? Plastic straps on skin won’t go unnoticed so it’s better to opt for a strapless style instead. Strapless bras have come a long way and now often have silicon or rubber on the inside to help them stay in place. Also, be sure to be professionally fitted for a strapless bra. The perfect snug fit will ensure you don’t spend your entire day trying to pull it up. If you’re really worried, try a bra with a wider band or a longline style which has a band that goes to the waist to give you maximum support.

If you’re wearing a racerback style…

A convertible bra is great in this instance as you can adjust the straps to wear it in a cross-back style which will work perfectly under a racerback style top or dress. However standard bras now sometimes come with a small metal clips on the straps which can allow you to convert it to suit a racerback style. Simply clip together and the straps will be pulled in to the middle of your back and thus hidden from view.

 

Fashion

What to do when you’re bored of your wardrobe

6th September, 2016

KW AKMAL SAKE-10

It all hits us at some point – that feeling when you look into your wardrobe and think you have absolutely nothing to wear. It’s easy to become bored of your wardrobe when you’re constantly wearing the same things on rotation but the solution isn’t necessarily hitting the shops with credit card in hand, it’s actually finding new reasons to fall in love with things you already own. Here’s how…

Challenge yourself to rework an old favourite

If there’s one blouse you absolutely adore but it has become a little lacklustre of late because of the sheer frequency in which you wear it why not challenge yourself to style it in a new way? If you would usually wear it with a skinny jeans why not try pairing it with a high-waisted skirt or a pair of flares instead? Don’t just rely on your usual outfit combinations, learn to experiment by trying on unlikely pairings and push yourself out of your fashion comfort zone. You never know what great look you may unearth in the process.

Just add accessories

It’s true, the right accessories can really transform a tired wardrobe. Pair a scarf with a dress or top a shirt with a statement necklace to give each look a new spin. Alternatively if you wear the same bag everyday why not mix things up and try pairing your outfit with a different bag each day. A simple bag change can really alter the overall effect of an outfit. The same goes for shoes. If you usually wear a particular look with heels try pairing it with flats. If you usually wear it with dressy shoes try teaming it with sneakers instead.

Turn to some visual inspiration

I am guilty of falling into a wardrobe rut where I’ll just repeat the same outfits over and over again. To help shake myself out of this I’ll do a quick scroll through Instagram, flip through a fashion magazine or visit some of my favourite fashion websites just to get the creative juices flowing. Sometimes all it takes is one image to spark a new idea for an outfit I can pull together using what I already own.

Get something altered

Survey your wardrobe and see if there’s anything that can be repurposed into something new with a few alterations. Sometimes all it takes to completely transform something could be a new hemline or having something taken in in order to change the silhouette. You could find yourself with a brand new wardrobe favourite for just the cost of visiting a tailor.

 

Fashion, Shop

How to make fashion purchases you’ll always love

1st September, 2016

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When it comes to shopping it’s easy to get caught up in the process and end up with something that you may only be interested in for a short period of time. It’s these purchases that often end up gathering dust in your wardrobe and ultimately wind up on a ‘to throw away’ pile in the not too distant future. These purchases often add up and once you’ve done a final tally you’ll often realise (much to your dismay) that you could have bought a big ticket item that you truly love.

So how can you go about making sure you end up buying things that you won’t fall out of love with in a week? Here are some key things to keep in mind:

Do some research

Shop around and check out what’s available out there. Whether it’s shoes or a dress you might find that you had one particular style in mind but once you’ve looked further you may find another style that you love even more.

Give yourself a cooling off period

Regretful purchases notoriously happen when you’ve seen something and immediately snap it up without giving it much further thought. Sometimes these purchases work out but more often than not you could end up something that you’ll lose interest in.

This is why it’s important to give yourself a cooling off period. If something catches your eye, sleep on it and reassess in the morning. If you’re still thinking about it then buy it. You’ll know it’s true love when you can’t get it out of your head.

Do the wardrobe test

Ask yourself if what you’re about to buy will realistically work with the rest of your wardrobe. Think about where you could wear it to, what you can wear it with and how many outfits you could pull together now if it were sitting in your wardrobe. If your answer to any of those questions is a bit sketchy then it might be worth reconsidering.

Consider cost per wear

Bear in mind that something is not cheap (even if it’s on sale and been reduced drastically) if you only end up wearing it once. That’s why I always factor in cost per wear whenever I’m buying anything.

Sometimes it can be easy to opt for something that may be slightly cheaper but not what you truly want however if you find that it hardly gets used then you’re not getting value for money. The same goes for buying something super expensive but then finding you barely wear it.

It makes much more sense to hang out for something you truly love. If something works out to be expensive but then you end up wearing it to death and the cost per wear ultimately ends up being $2 a day then you’re definitely onto a winner.

 

Fashion, Shop

What I look for before buying anything designer

22nd August, 2016

Photo 17-06-2016, 12 13 51 PM

Nothing beats buying a beautiful designer item but they’re often a significant investment so I always make sure I am strategic about what I’m purchasing to ensure there’s no buyer’s remorse involved. Here’s what I always look for…

Is it really popular?

I steer clear of the ‘it’ bag of the season. If I’m shopping for an everyday bag that’s going to be carrying everything from my essentials to my laptop then I make sure that I opt for something that’s a signature item for the brand but not ubiquitous. I don’t like having a designer bag that everyone has because I feel they go in and out of fashion just as quickly as they come in. Plus you don’t want people being able to immediately identify that your bag is from a 2014 collection! To combat this I always ask the shop assistant if it’s a style they intend to do again so it’s not so identifiable to a particular year.

Finding a unique style

I’m the complete opposite in my approach to evening bags and shoes. If I’m buying something special like a clutch I like to make sure they’re not making further runs of it because I want it to be a one-off. The same rule applies when I’m shopping for statement heels. I want them to be quite unique so I don’t want them coming back season after season.

Researching what’s out there

I used to do a lot of shopping whenever I went on an overseas trip but these days that’s impossible as a mum, especially now with two little girls to entertain. So most of my designer purchases are made online these days. I always make sure to visit various websites such as Net-a-Porter, Nordstrom and Matches Fashion to see what’s available. One way I make sure I’m only getting up to the minute releases is to click on the ‘What’s New’ section when I’m browsing websites. That way I’ll only be seeing current stock.

Double check the size

Shopping online at the high end e-tailers is often a little easier as doing returns is fairly straightforward if something isn’t quite right. However I always do a check on the size just to be sure it’s the right fit. If it’s true to size generally choosing your normal size will be fine, however if it’s not I always check if I’ve bought the brand before and see if there’s something in my closet that I can cross check the sizing against.

Always opt for classic

I’m all for taking a fashion risk or two but when you’re making a purchase that’s quite expensive it pays to think longevity. I always opt for neutral colours and opt for classic styles so I know that I’ll end up with something that will last in my wardrobe season after season.

Fashion

How I plan my outfits

16th August, 2016

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I’m an outfit planner. My days are so varied that I like to take wardrobe dilemmas out of the equation as much as possible (that said, I’m not totally immune to a wardrobe crisis here and there!) by mapping out my outfits. Some days I’m in full mum mode which means comfort is key but other days where I’m juggling work functions and Date with Kates I need to look a little more polished. Here’s how I make it work:

Wardrobe organisation

If there’s one thing that will make pulling an outfit together easier it’s an organised closet. My wardrobe is organised according to category so jackets together, jeans together and so forth so I know immediately where to look. There’s nothing worse than having a particular outfit in your only to find the shirt that pulls it all together is M.I.A. And to make things even simpler I compartmentalise all the pieces I wear all the time into a section in my wardrobe so I don’t have to search the rest of my closet and mess everything up in order to find what I’m looking for.

Picking a focal point

I know some people start with a pair of shoes or a great necklace and work their outfit around that but I like to start with a particular garment whether it be a dress or pants. From there I build on the outfit with a jacket, shoes and bag.

Ensuring versatility

There are times when my day is quite mixed so I need to make sure my outfits are quite versatile. I sometimes have multiple Date with Kates to do in a day so I have to ensure that I only need to change one thing to mix up the look, for example changing the jacket to give the outfit a different vibe.

Giving myself enough time in the morning

There are those people who plan their outfits the night before, even the week before but I don’t tend to work that way as I often find I won’t feel like wearing something if I lay it out beforehand. So to combat this I try and factor outfit prep into my morning so I don’t get frazzled and end up running late. Even just an extra 10-15 minutes of time is enough to pull something together with minimal stress.

What are some of your major wardrobe tips? Share in the comments below!