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Fashion

A life well spent with Marks & Spencer

7th August, 2017

Things can undoubtedly get hectic and busy at times but if there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s that the key to a well-lived life is making time for small everyday pleasures. This is why I was happy to team up with Marks and Spencer on their latest campaign that aims to encourage everyone to live life fully and spend it well. I’m a big believer that that you only get one shot at living so it’s important to prioritise the things that matter. I’ve learnt not to always save things for a “special occasion” but to ensure that each day is spent in the very best way possible.

For me, my family, is my entire world so spending time with my girls is one of the most meaningful things I can do. I always prioritise being with Sophia and Grace whether it’s spending time playing together outdoors or chatting over breakfast or reading them a story at night. Everything always seems just that little bit better when I’m with them.

What’s a life well spent without treating myself to the little things that put a smile on my face? My daily ritual of walking to my favourite café and buying coffee is a must. It’s a small thing but it helps kick off my day and puts me in the right frame of mind. Also, it’s a definite treat but I always buy flowers for my home. It doesn’t have to be a big over the top bunch but I think a lovely bouquet of blooms in the house is always a nice reminder to treat myself to the things that enrich my surroundings.

It goes without saying that fashion is a big passion of mine so it does feature heavily in my life and it means that I’m always prepared to invest a little bit more in my wardrobe and prioritise quality over quantity. I’d rather spend money on pieces that will last. This is why the denim range at Marks & Spencer really resonated with me, especially for someone that lives in jeans. There are plenty of options in the range so I’m always guaranteed to find something that suits my aesthetic, is crafted well, and at a reasonable price point plus as a bonus it’s delivered really quickly. I actually ended up buying the mum and skinny styles as I couldn’t resist either one. They’re both stylish, fit well and are comfortable (a must with two girls to chase after). And I have to say, there’s nothing like the feeling of slipping on a brand new pair of jeans and taking it out on its very first outing to put a smile on my face!

Over the years I’ve adopted the mindset to make the most of every moment. I’m all about prioritising quality in every aspect of my life. I spend less of my time on the things that don’t matter and spend more of it focusing on the things that do. And ultimately isn’t that what living is all about?

Shop my look: Trench Coat, Mom Jeans, Loafers, T-shirt, Biker Jacket, White Shirt, Boyfriend Jeans 

This post was created in collaboration with Marks & Spencer

Fashion, Shop, What I Wore

What I Wore: Weekend Casual

3rd August, 2017

When it comes to my down time I like to keep things comfortable yet polished. One of my go-to combinations for weekend dressing is a great pair of jeans and a white shirt—a classic pairing that always looks effortless. The key to to elevating this look is all in the details. This Karen Walker peasant top with pintucks and tassels elevates this casual piece into a stylish weekend staple. The straw boater and clutch add some natural textures to the look whilst the black Bassike sandals add a bold element and provides a striking point of difference to the neutral tones of the rest of the ensemble. I’ve found this outfit is ideal for a day of doing everything from grabbing a coffee to hanging out with my family without compromising on style.

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Credits: Shirt, Karen Walker; Jeans, J Brand; Hat, Nerida Winter; Bag, Helen Kaminski; Sandals, Bassike

Photography: Sophia Athas

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What I Wore: Spot the difference

1st August, 2017

I was in the mood for a playful look on a recent day out so this Nice Martin polka dot skirt immediately came to mind. The spotty print adds a fun touch to an outfit whilst the monochrome colour scheme still keeps it classic. The wrap top is huge this season and with its ruffled sleeves this particular piece lends an ultra feminine touch to this look and works well with the high waisted silhouette of the skirt. Black and white always works beautifully with a pop of colour so I opted to pair this look with my burgundy Marco de Vincenzo heels and ombre pink Rebecca de Ravenel drop earrings to help liven up this ensemble. The rest of the look needed minimalist accessories so my black Dior chain bag and simple Chanel frames made for the perfect finishing touches without overshadowing the rest of the outfit.

Credits: Top, Nice Martin; Skirt, Nice Martin; Bag, Dior (or mix it up with Chanel); Sunglasses, Chanel; Heels, Marco de Vincenzo; Earrings, Rebecca de Ravenel 

Photography Danielle Castano 

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Tips for making statement slides work

27th July, 2017

Kate Waterhouse Gucci Princetown statement slide

If there’s one shoe style that’s very much on trend at the moment it’s the statement slide. Whether it’s a fur trim or oversized bow embellishment, I’ve well and truly embraced them as a staple of my wardrobe because not only are they surprisingly versatile in what they can be paired with, they’re also comfortable and are easy to run around in which are both key requirements when it comes to footwear for me these days. If you’ve yet to embrace this trend because you’re not sure how to incorporate them into your everyday look, here are my top tips…

Flash some ankle

At first glance a pair of furry slides may not seem the most wearable of pieces but I can definitely vouch for the fact my Gucci Princetown slides get a constant workout in my wardrobe. So, what’s the key to making it work? When it comes to statement slides (furry or otherwise) I’d say the key to a flattering look is flashing a little ankle. For me, a winning combination is teaming them with black slouchy pants that are tapered at the ankle paired with a blazer or jacket or a pair of cropped jeans and a tee.

Keep the rest of your look simple

If you’ve got a lot going on when it comes to your footwear keep the rest of your outfit quite pared back. If you’re wearing jewel encrusted statement slides then it’s probably not the best idea to then pair them with anything that’s quite loud or over the top as it can look a little overwhelming. Let the shoes do all the talking!

Cropped is best

A cropped or midi length is the most flattering length to pair with statement slides. It’s short enough to allow the shoes to take centre stage and sticks to the cardinal rule of showing a little ankle. I find a maxi length is a little bit too long as the slides end up getting lost amongst the fabric. Stick to a cropped length and you can’t go wrong.

 

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Fashion

What to wear on a first date

20th July, 2017

Whenever my girlfriends go on dates I often end up workshopping outfits with them as they’re never quite sure what to wear. Too dressy? Too casual? Too much? There are myriad style concerns that can crop up. First dates can be nerve wracking enough as it is without throwing a wardrobe crisis into the mix so here are the tips I give my friends…

Dress for the venue

On a first date you’ll often know ahead of time where you’re going and what you’re doing so let that be your guide. Yes, it’s understandable that you want to look amazing so you may want to go all out but it’s also important to ensure that you’re not overdressed or underdressed. For example if you’re going to play mini golf you may want to avoid pulling out a bodycon dress and heels and opt for jeans and a nice top instead. By the same token you don’t want to rock up in sneakers if you’re heading to the best restaurant in town.

Comfort is key

I’ve always believed that if you’re comfortable in what you’re wearing you’ll naturally be more confident. If you’re spending half the evening worrying about some aspect of your look or adjusting yourself every five seconds you’ll end up frazzled and not feeling your best. Always choose an outfit that makes you feel great but also allows you to relax. Relaxed date = great date!

Rely on tried and tested looks

A first date is probably not the best time to go too crazy on the fashion and beauty front. Remember being comfortable is key so go with looks that you know have worked in the past and make you feel great. If you’ve never really done a bright lip before it might not be the best time to try it if you end up worrying about whether you have lipstick on your teeth the entire date. Save experimentation for a night out with your girlfriends; this is the time to rely on what you know works. If you really want to try a new look do a dry run a few days prior so you can iron out any kinks beforehand.

What are your tips for a first date look?

 

Fashion

5 questions I always ask myself before buying anything

19th July, 2017

Kate Waterhouse Shopping questions

When I’m shopping for anything I always make sure that what I’m buying will be a worthwhile and practical addition to my wardrobe. Sounds easy enough, right? I’m the first to admit that in the past I’ve been guilty of buying something because I just like how it looks but have found that it hasn’t really worked with what I already own. There’s really no point wasting money on something that won’t necessarily be used all that much and will just end up gathering dust in my closet. I’m all about maximising the use of everything in my wardrobe and to ensure this happens there are five questions that I always ask myself before I even consider buying anything. By going through this mental checklist I’m sure I’ve saved myself from buyer’s remorse many times!

What will this go with?

It’s important that I can immediately think of a minimum of 10 pieces that I can pair it with. And they have to be 10 pieces that I already wear a lot so I know that it will definitely have plenty of outings.

How can I dress it up or down?

Versatility is key when it comes to anything I own so I have to make sure that I can dress something up or down quite easily. I need to guarantee that I will get multiple wears out of it so it has to be able to have many outfit incarnations.

Is it going to last the test of time?

On trend pieces are great here and there but generally I always make sure that the bulk of my wardrobe is comprised of things that I can see myself wearing years down the track. Classics will always last so I can justify spending the money on it.

Is it good quality?

I take into account what materials something is made from and how well it has been made. Construction is important as I don’t want to end up buying something and only wearing it a handful of times because it’s falling apart.

How many times will I wear it?

I always visualise how many times I’ll wear an item and how often but even more so when I’m thinking of buying something that’s a bit pricey. It’s all about cost per wear so I want to ensure that I’m getting value for my fashion dollar.

What’s the best purchase you’ve ever made?

 

 

Fashion, Shop, What I Wore

What I Wore: Urban Jungle

18th July, 2017

Walking around the busy city streets of Melbourne during a recent trip had me wanting to channel a look that was all about urban chic. I wanted to work with two distinct tones for an impactful look so stuck to fawn and black which also helped to tie the whole ensemble together. I felt a fitted bodysuit provided the perfect counterbalance to the flared silhouette of my A-line cargo style wrap skirt while a structured blazer gave the look a polished finish (and kept me warm in the chilly Melbourne weather!). If there’s one thing I’m wearing to death this season it’s my Balenciaga ankle boots. The close fit keeps helps to elongate the leg and it’s the perfect versatile shoe to wear throughout winter as it works with everything from pants to skirts and dresses. This look called for sleek accessories so I opted for a gold choker to add a point of interest to the outfit, classic black sunglasses by Dion Lee and a classic Chanel bag for the perfect finishing touch to my urban uniform.

Credits: Bodysuit, Celine; Skirt, Nice Martin; Blazer, Balmain; Bag, Chanel; Sunglasses, Dion Lee; Choker, Eddie Borgo; Boots, Balenciaga 

Photography Danielle Castano

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Date with Kate, Fashion

Date with Kate: Steven Khalil

16th July, 2017

Enjoying lunch with fashion designer Steven Khalil at Bistro Moncur, Woollahra

Steven Khalil is one of Australia’s leading designers, specialising in red carpet and bridal gowns. His creations have been worn by the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Kylie Jenner, Kelly Preston and Jesinta Campbell. He also launched an e-boutique last month, and is launching a new perfume next month. Khalil, 39, chats to me about dressing celebrities to royalty, and shares his best advice for brides-to-be.

What was your childhood like?

I grew up in Sydney. I was raised by a single mother. I was the youngest of four children … I struggled at school because I was creative and I think back then they didn’t know how to deal with creative students. So I was always in trouble or never really connecting. I could never sit down and keep still. In the end, they had to keep paper and pen away from me because all I would want to do was sketch dresses in class. So growing up was a struggle, but I was a happy child and really positive and I think that’s what got me through.

Did you always want to be a designer? 

Yes, I decided I would make wedding dresses at the age of six.

 

One of Steven’s wedding dress creations. Photo: @stevenkhalil and photographed by @yervantphotography

 

What influenced your choice of career?

I was watching Princess Diana and Charles’ wedding and I remember being really excited about the wedding and my mum was really baffled by it and she said, “Why are you so excited about this wedding?” I didn’t know why, and then when I saw the gown I said to my mum, “I’m going to make wedding dresses when I grow up”… I got my first sewing machine when I was 11.

What route did you take to pursue your dream?

I went through high school and did textiles and design at school, I was very drawn to all the creative subjects. And then the minute I left school I went to college and I studied design, fashion and clothing production and manufacturing, and I got my first real job when I was about 19: I was making flower girl dresses for a company. Then I … got head-hunted to go and work in a bridal boutique in Double Bay, called Mark Holt Bridal, when I was 22 years old, and I was living the dream, really. My gowns were on the covers of all the magazines and I stayed there for about seven years, and then I opened my own store.

You’ve dressed so many celebrities and influential people. What has been your biggest pinch-me moment? 

When we dressed Kylie Jenner for the Grammys – it was very unexpected, although that dress was with Jennifer Lopez, so I was hoping she would wear the dress, but it didn’t fit her and so that dress was sent to Kylie.

You recently dressed the Crown Princess of Greece. How did that come about?

The next day after the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia show we received this e-mail [saying that the Princess Olympia of Greece] wanted to wear [a piece from the runway] for her 21st birthday.

Princess Olympia wearing one of Steven’s creations. Photo: @olympiagreece

 

What was it like to dress royalty?

Well, it’s a first for me … although it has been an ongoing dream for me to make a royal wedding gown because it stems back to the [Princess] Diana thing of me being so obsessed with her wedding dress. So to make a royal wedding gown would be the ultimate for me.

If you could dress anyone, who would it be?

I’ve always wanted to dress Cate Blanchett because she’s Australian and has done so well overseas.

What is the most expensive dress you’ve ever had to create? 

We did a wedding gown for a client in Dubai and she paid $54,000 for that gown. She had seen something that we had done for somebody else, but she wanted a grander version of it, so a lot of it came down to the detail.

What do you love most about being part of a wedding day?

A bride is like the centerpiece of the wedding, isn’t she? The anticipation of her arrival, everybody waits to see her gown. So it’s really special to be chosen to make the gown, it’s such a special honour to do that. So I just love being part of that process.

How do you deal with “bridezillas”?

Over the years I’ve started to realise that it’s so much bigger than me and the dress … You put out the best you can put out… [but] a lot of it is just being patient and they’re under a lot of pressure from their families, [and] under financial pressure a lot of the time, to have this beautiful wedding. So you’ve got to really stop and think about what’s going on for the person and try to be as patient as possible.

What do you think the secret is for a woman looking great on her wedding day?

A lot of it is confidence. I know it probably sounds cliche, but I think if you feel good in something and you’re carrying that really well, you’ll give a good vibe.

What are the biggest fashion mistakes you see?

I think when you seen an image of somebody that looks amazing and you’re like, “I want that whole outfit,” but you always should make something your own. Don’t try to emulate what someone else is wearing because they might have a different body shape to you and the clothes might not fall the same way on you.

Have you got plans to open stores internationally?

I would like to, yes. So what we’re doing at the moment is just developing the brand more, creating more products so that we can then just open beautiful boutiques in chosen cities.

 

Some of Steven’s new jewellery line. Photo: Steven Khalil

How are you expanding?

We are adding more to the line, adding in jewellery, robes; we’re going to go into more beautiful lingerie as well … So we’re working on a new collection for that, because the first season of those christening gowns sold out so quickly… and we still have waiting list for them.

Tell me about the perfume. 

The perfume is really gorgeous and it’s going to be launched in [early August]. We’re just finalising all the labels and the packaging at the moment. The fragrance consists of rose, patchouli and lily of the valley… I want people to come into the store and be able to buy various products, not just the dress. So it’s kind of following in the footsteps of Elie Saab, Vera Wang, to create a really beautiful brand experience.

If you hadn’t gone down this career path, what would you be doing?  

You know, I have no idea because this was the only thing I wanted to do … when I was growing up, so many people were saying to me, “You can’t be a dressmaker, that’s not a real job.” What is a real job? So I thought about becoming a hairdresser or a lawyer.

What do you do for fun when you’re not working?

I love going out with friends to eat, I love Sunday morning breakfasts, I love being by the water. Yeah, I’m quite simple … I love to shop, I love beautiful clothing, I love going to art galleries.

Where do see yourself in five years?

I would love a concept store with sales people, beautiful products everywhere and just a really beautiful shopping experience.

BITESIZE

We went to Bistro Moncur, Woollahra

We ate Pan Fried Barramundi Fillet, Mashed Peas, Creme Fraiche & Confit Spring Onion, Sunflower Seed & Caper Beurre Noisett

We drank San Pellegrino Mineral Water

Steven wore Ralph Lauren shirt and jacket and Nudie Jeans

Kate wore a Hansen & Gretel top.

Photograhy Jessica Hromas, SMH.

Fashion

How to wear a suit in a modern way

13th July, 2017

Kate Waterhouse Max Mara suit

I think every woman should own one great suit. They’re a staple in a corporate environment but the suit can extend beyond the office with the right accoutrements and silhouette. Banish thoughts of the 80s power suit from your mind and instead think sleek, sophisticated and just a little bit sexy. Here’s how to nail suiting so it looks on point and super chic…

Invest in good tailoring

An ill-fitting suit is a big fashion no-no. If you’re going to wear a suit be sure to have it tailored absolutely perfectly to fit. If you need to, have the jacket taken in, have the pants taken up so the hem sits perfectly with your shoe to ensure the silhouette looks polished.

Think beyond the shirt

A classic button down shirt is, of course, always going to be a no-brainer pairing with a suit however by switching up what you wear underneath you can create a look with an entirely new vibe. You could opt for a turtleneck for a look that would work in a corporate environment but has a slightly more relaxed feel. There’s also the option of wearing a loose t-shirt a la The Gucci Shirt That’s Everywhere for a look with attitude or a bodysuit for an evening ensemble that looks sleek and sexy.

Be adventurous with silhouettes

There are so many different silhouettes when it comes to the suit these days. You could opt for a boyfriend blazer that’s a little more billowy and has a slightly tougher, more masculine feel to a tapered leg for a look that screams sleek. I also love a flared pant and a long length blazer for an outfit that has a slightly Jane Birkin vibe.

Keep shoes streamlined

When it comes to the suit the shoes you wear should be quite pared back. If you’re going to do a boot it needs to be an ankle boot that’s tapered to the leg. You don’t want anything too loose around the ankle as it can affect the fit of the suit and can look a little clunky. You could also opt for a sleek stiletto or if you want to wear flats a pair of pointy slides works well.

What are your thoughts on the suit? Love or loathe?
Fashion

Rules of wearing statement pieces

5th July, 2017

Kate Waterhouse statement pieces bec and bridge shoes marco de vincenzo

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?