A beautiful statement piece can often elevate an outfit from good to great. I’m a big fan of using statement pieces to add interest to an outfit, especially when I’m wearing something that’s quite understated. Whether it’s an elaborate pair of shoes or a great pair of embellished sunglasses here are my rules for working with statement pieces.
Stick to your style
Trends for statement pieces come and go so it’s important to stick to your style. Whether it’s a brightly coloured bag or the latest designer accessory ensure that it’s still very “you” whilst being an attention grabber at the same time. It’s also important to remember that whilst a statement piece is designed to stand out it’s also crucial that it can work seamlessly with what’s within your wardrobe already otherwise it will sit in your closet gathering dust.
Make statement pieces the hero
It goes without saying that you should allow your statement piece to take centre stage. If I’m wearing a statement bag or shoe I often like to keep my outfit quite muted to allow it to stand out. This is why bold pieces are often a great way to bring an all black outfit to life with just the addition of one accessory.
It’s all in the detail
A statement piece doesn’t have to be all about the bling. It’s important to choose something with a striking detail that will really make an outfit pop. My favourite Gucci loafers which I wear to death have a fur trim which make a statement but are definitely not overly bright or embellished. Just find something with an eye-catching detail that will allow it to shine and make it unique.
Find the right balance
If I’m wearing a statement piece I often do a scan of the rest of my outfit to see whether it’s just right or might be just a bit over the top. For example one of the key statement pieces in my wardrobe is my Gucci Dionysus bag which features lots of embellishments and I’ll often wear it when I need to jazz up an outfit such as when I’m wearing a plain white tee with jeans or leather pants. It acts as the final finishing element but it doesn’t overpower the rest of the look.
What’s your favourite statement piece in your wardrobe?
The one thing I really love about winter dressing is the ability to layer different pieces for a warm and cosy look. I love experimenting with textures and big statement pieces such as a coat or boots to create an outfit that will easily withstand cooler temperatures without compromising on style. Effective winter layering requires consideration of the whole look from top to bottom including colours to avoid looking like you just threw on everything in your wardrobe! Over the years I’ve managed to refine my layering formula to a few key things…
Start with the basics
I always start with a cotton singlet or t-shirt underneath as a foundation especially if I’m going to wear a jumper or some sort of knit. Also I find wearing multiple layers provides ample warmth without your outfit feeling too bulky and cumbersome. I will always finish the look off with a big coat or jacket – this is a great opportunity to make a statement by opting for outerwear in a strong pattern or colour. If it’s especially cold outside I wear a big scarf, my favourite being an oversized Louis Vuitton scarf which makes for a nice (and warm) finishing touch. One thing to be mindful of when layering is to watch out for materials rubbing together, sometimes certain fabrics don’t work well against each other and can end up getting damaged or causing pilling.
One of the things I always do when it comes to winter layering is mixing different fabrics and textures. I find this adds a bit of depth to your look and helps to break it up. I normally do a cotton t-shirt, a knit and then I’ll do a wool coat or a leather jacket or denim jacket.
Choose a base colour
Great winter layering for me requires wearing similar tones. I might choose to go with various shades of grey or stick to neutral tones. If I’m wearing black I won’t do all black, I’ll actually add another piece such as a charcoal knit to help break up what I’m wearing. The same with camel colours – I might do beiges or cream and mix the tones up. Whilst I’ll play with various shades I’ll always ensure that there’s one base colour to ensure the whole look works together.
What are some of your tips for winter layering?
When it comes to style there are some fashion sins I make sure to avoid but I also have some key habits that I’ve adopted to help making pulling together a great outfit much easier. Here are five things I always do…
Only buying things I genuinely love
This sounds simple but I’ve made my fair share of purchases that were only somewhat right and ended up not wearing it later on because I was only so-so about it. Whereas the things I’ve bought that I couldn’t stop thinking about are the pieces that have remained in high rotation. Ensure that it’s always a case of true love before buying anything and you’ll wear a garment to death.
Ensure everything fits perfectly
And this means everything from avoiding buying things that aren’t the ideal size “in case it fits one day” to ensuring that I take anything too big to be tailored so the fit is just right. This is the one thing that will ensure a garment looks great.
Knowing the colour palette that works for me
I make sure that most of my wardrobe falls within a particular colour palette to make it easier to mix and match. I always gravitate towards neutrals for this very reason. They always look classic and are easy to work back with a variety of different pieces plus I can easily build on them with a few key accessories.
Working with my shape
I know sack dresses don’t work with my shape so I make sure to avoid them whereas I know shift dresses are flattering on my frame so I have a few of them in my wardrobe. I love experimenting with different silhouettes from time to time but I also know that there are just certain things that will work on a petite frame and I will tend to gravitate towards those styles. If something works then there’s no need to stray from the formula.
Think quality not quantity
I have a few items in my wardrobe that I would qualify as investment pieces. I’ve spent a bit more on them but I’ve also been able to get plenty of wear out of them over the years. This includes pieces like my leather jacket, designer bags like my Chanel crossbody bag and my winter coats. When it comes to things that I know will be on high rotation I’m not afraid to spend a bit more to get something that is truly of a great quality so I won’t end up having to replace them time and time again.
What are some of your key fashion habits?
I do most of my shopping online so I know how easy it can be to make an impulse purchase when you’re sitting at home, enjoying a glass of wine and trawling through your fave clothing site. When you’re looking at something in real life it’s easier to gauge whether it’s definitely something you’ll wear or if it’s just an of the moment item that will end up just spending its days gathering dust in the back of your wardrobe. When you’re shopping on screen it can be a little trickier as everything looks great when professionally photographed.
I often get asked my tips for online shopping and without a doubt the biggest one is that I will often leave something I am thinking of buying in my cart for 24 hours. The action of adding it to cart is enough to satisfy my shopping whim but by not buying it immediately I give myself enough time to think about whether I really want it or not. My general rule is that if I’m still thinking about something the next day then it’s something I really want as opposed to just getting caught up in the moment. By delaying the purchase it gives me time to research the item further (I suggest googling what you’re thinking of purchasing and seeing what it looks like on other sites as sometimes the colour or texture can look really different) and also consider how it’s going to work with the rest of my wardrobe. If all the boxes are ticked then I know I’m making the right decision.
What are some of your favourite online shopping tricks?
When it comes to fashion I’m all about a high-low mix. I love being able to mix designer pieces with more inexpensive finds to achieve my own signature look. I’m a big believer that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get some stylish additions to your wardrobe. Case in point: these are some of my fave places for a cheap fashion fix.
This is one of my favourite online destinations. I turned to ASOS during both my pregnancies to stock up on all my maternity wear as they were on trend but didn’t cost a fortune. The range is also so extensive that it’s impossible not to find what you’re looking for, personally I’ve bought everything from leather pants to jeans from the site. Plus if I’m after a trend driven piece but don’t want to spend too much I know I’m bound to find something that fits the bill at ASOS.
As far as Aussie brands go, Witchery has to be up there for doing clothing that is quite contemporary but with an elegant simplicity. They do pieces that are ideal for the office so they’re great if I’m after workwear and I particularly love their range of shoes.
Seed is one of my favourite spots for finding classic pieces that look expensive but don’t cost a fortune. Their designs are always up to the minute without looking overly trendy so I can get away with wearing something from Seed that looks a little more non descript and can work back quite easily with the rest of my wardrobe. Their kids’ clothes are also particularly cute!
I love shopping at Topshop whenever I’m in London so it’s great that they’ve now opened stores in Australia and deliver locally from their website so I can get a hit anytime I want. The range is ideal if you’re looking for on trend pieces that are inspired by looks straight from the runway.
What are some of your fave places for a cheap fashion fix?
Having a morning wardrobe meltdown isn’t always ideal when I’ve got a busy day ahead of me, not to mention having to get the girls organised at the same time so I’ve had to devise a way to avoid them. It’s always daunting to look into a wardrobe not having any idea on what to wear so I always make sure that I have a backup plan for precisely those moments. Generally, I’ll know what I am going to wear each day but for those times when inspiration doesn’t strike I’ve pre-prepared a few different outfits that I can easily and quickly pull together. Having a series of outfits that I have already styled in my head so I don’t even have to think about makes it easier to get out the door fast.
If you want to try this for yourself you don’t necessarily have to have the entire head to toe look planned (unless you really want to be that specific) but it helps to have the bones of the outfit ready to go such as the dress or the top and pants combination that you’re going to wear. I generally accessorise as I go along when it comes to jewellery and my handbag but I’ll know which of my shoes will go with the outfit so I don’t have to waste time trying on a million pairs. I’ve memorised my go-to looks but you could always photograph them and store them in a folder on your phone for an easy visual reminder. If you want to try this out for yourself I’d recommend identifying the occasions where you’re likely to feel stuck for outfit inspiration such as weekday mornings when you’re about to go to work or leisure wear for the weekend. This is all about making things easier on yourself so you’ll never have to freak out about a wardrobe crisis again.
What are some ways you avoid a morning wardrobe crisis?
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.
Oh dress codes. I find that some people are either a stickler for sticking to a dress code or they will just try and remain in the vicinity of it. I’m the former. In fact, it’s the one thing I will always consider when I plan an outfit. My job often requires me to go from a casual launch one minute to a black tie event the next so to me dress codes are a way of guiding my outfit planning for the week. Even without a stated dress code my brain tends to go into that mode and I will allocate one to whatever event it is I’m going to as it helps provide me with some styling structure.
When it comes to deciding what I’ll be wearing the one thing I never do is start with a single accessory such as a hat or shoes. I know lots of women who will tend to work around a particular piece but it’s just one of those things that has never really worked for me. I tend to get in a better styling frame of mind when I can work with a solid base such as the dress I want to wear (in keeping with the dress code of course!) and then visualise the pieces that will work with it. Usually I find this gives me a more cohesive look and I’m able to pull together something a little easier.
Which camp do you fall into? And how important are dress codes to you when it comes to styling your outfits?
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:
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.
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!
I’m all for experimenting and taking a fashion risk here and there but there are some things I always make sure to avoid. These fashion sins can often subdue the impact of an outfit by taking away its polish ‑ which is often the last thing you want when you walk out the door!
The below is a brief list of really simple things to combat so you can ensure that you always look great every single day. And I’m always open to new additions to the list so if you have any suggestions let me know in the comments below.
Accentuating too many things
If you’re going to show off a particular part of the body, whether it be your legs or your décolletage make sure to only pick one. For example if you’re going to have a plunging neckline then everything else has to be conservative. It’s one or the other. You can either have a mini skirt then a conservative top like a button up shirt or a shirt with a high neckline but if you do the opposite and have a slightly more revealing top then it’s important to keep the bottoms quite modest. I make sure to adopt this approach with every single outfit.
Even if you’ve spent a fortune on a standout designer garment if it doesn’t fit well then you’ve essentially taken away its wow factor. I think tailoring can really make or break an outfit. If something doesn’t fit properly make sure to get it altered whether it be getting sleeves taken up on a shirt so they are the perfect length or taking a jacket in because it’s a little too baggy on the shoulders. These small things will ensure that you always look sharp.
Not paying attention to detail
They make seem relatively innocuous – a stray thread here, a loose button there but the overall effect is that your outfit will look just that little bit unkempt. To combat this, the moment you notice something is awry with your outfit attend to it as soon as possible so you don’t forget about it. Snip loose threads, attend to missing or loose buttons and always ensure that you remove lint and fabric pill.
Worn and shabby looking shoes
Shoes are often one of the first things people notice about your outfit so make sure that they always look pristine. If the soles of your shoes are a bit threadbare make sure to have them resoled. If the heel cover on a pair of stilettos has worn down then make sure to have it replaced so you’re not teetering along on an exposed nail. Also always spray suede or leather shoes with a protectant spray to keep them protected during inclement weather. There’s nothing that will take away from an outfit more than stained shoes.
If you can’t be bothered ironing then avoid buying garments that will most definitely require pressing constantly like silk and linen. I’ve said this before but take the time to iron your clothes. I can’t remember the number of times I’ve seen someone with a great outfit only to have the whole effect ruined by a wrinkled top or skirt.