I have always styled my racing looks and really enjoy doing it but it’s also labour intensive. I have to source multiple options for every race day, and that includes my outfit, shoes, jewellery, and headwear. This year, I not only had several race days to attend but I had presenting commitments with 7 Racing that saw me having to also style outfits for those occasions, and not only that I had to ensure that my outfit was able to work on camera and co-ordinated with the other presenters. That’s a lot of outfits! So I enlisted the help of stylist Jess Pecoraro to make it happen.
Jess is the go-to fashion and celeb stylist for the likes of Jesinta Franklin and Gemma Ward and Delta Goodrem. She’s got a great eye and knows what I like and gets my style which is critical when you’re working with a stylist. We’ll often start by taking a look at the events I have coming up and what each look requires. For example there are strict dress codes for big race days like Derby Day and Melbourne Cup which we need to adhere to, and if I’ve got TV commitments I need to ensure that what I’m wearing works well on screen as well as the other presenters I’m working with. Additionally I work with a few key brands during spring racing so it’s important that we factor them into the styling process. It’s a big process and there are so many considerations to be made that it’s great to have someone to look after it all as it makes everything a little less hectic.
I’m quite open to trying new looks and Jess pulled together a number of different outfits for me to try. We did a few fittings at home to see what would work and the accessories to match. This can become quite a lengthy process as we experiment with different options to lock in the final outfit, all the while making sure that I’m keeping to dress codes and incorporating certain brands. I’m always able to direct the outfits where I want them to go but Jess is able to put forward combinations and suggestions of how everything could work together which is great as often it can be hard to have a vision for every outfit. That’s the great thing about working with a stylist.
I often get asked why I work with stylists and one of the reasons is that it’s great to be able to collaborate with someone else and get a fresh opinion or point of view on fashion. I know what I like but sometimes I might miss something that would look great, that someone else from the outside looking in might see. And being able to push boundaries and try something new is what fashion is all about.
I always love hearing from my readers especially if there’s a burning fashion question they’d like answered. Late last year, I heard from a reader, Steph via my Facebook page who sent me the below message as she was on the hunt for a dress to wear over Christmas.
Hi Kate! Love your style!
I was wondering what fashion tips you could suggest for a curvier women like myself I am self conscious of my arms and upper body.
What kind of dresses would you suggest? Any tips would help I’m looking for something for Christmas Day.
I knew I wanted some expert input with Steph’s question so reached out to celebrity stylist (and someone who I’ve worked with on several occasions) Jess Pecoraro. Jess styles everyone from Jesinta Franklin to model Georgia Fowler and has worked with brands like Witchery, Topshop and eBay so I knew she’d have really useful and practical tips to share. Read on for some great tips for accentuating a curvy figure.
What are five key pieces a curvy woman should have in her wardrobe and why?
1. Good quality undergarments are just as important as clothing so invest in items that fit well and are made from quality fabrics to help with support and shaping the body correctly
2. A classic style black dress, this can be an A-line style, wrap style or even a slip as it will be the perfect go-to for anything last minute.
3. Dark denim jeans or a dark trouser, the style may vary depending on what you prefer but it’s a [wardrobe] must which can easily be dressed up or down.
4. Shirting that is slightly fitted and that isn’t too boxy. It’s another go-to piece to have in a few colours.
5. A nude pump as they elongate your legs and are perfect for all occasions.
Are there any particular styles or silhouettes a curvy woman should avoid?
Styles which are boxy or have minimal shape are no go as they add extra volume and don’t show off your curves.
What’s the key to dressing to flatter a curvy figure?
Paying attention to the fit and fabrication of clothing is key. Select items that emphasise your waist as well as your curves by considering items which have a waist band, are slightly more fitted or are in a wrap style.
Is there a particular part of the body that a curvy woman should try and focus on with what she’s wearing?
This is very personal and may vary on different bodies yet focusing on your waistline will help show off your curves and give your body an overall nice silhouette.
Are there key accessories a curvy woman should have in her wardrobe? If so, what?
Key accessories to invest in are nude heels and sandals which will work back with any look and won’t add any extra volume to an outfit. Also a mix of neutral and black waist belts to style over dresses, shirts and even blazers to help define the waist line.
What are your tips when it comes to colour and patterns and prints when it comes to a curvy figure?
Bold block colours and darker shades are always best. Coloured panels also work and can give the illusion of a print without it being to over the top as long as the panelling is on the side which lengthens the body. Prints can be a bit tricky as they can sometime add more volume so go for more graphic and vertical lines.
What are your tips when it comes to swimwear for a curvy figure?
Go for simple shapes and darker solid colours. Higher cut briefs give the illusion of longer and leaner legs and for extra support try a bra style top or one piece with thicker straps (in built wire will give a better shape). A panelled one piece with side ruching will help draw attention away from your tummy area.
I love a fashion challenge and I have to say that every year, dressing for Melbourne Cup day is one of them. I have multiple professional commitments throughout the day so I need to ensure that I get my outfit just right. This year, I was lucky enough to once again work with Net-a-Porter to pull together my look which admittedly makes things so much easier. It’s one of my absolute favourite shopping destinations and they are always guaranteed to have multiple pieces for me to fall in love with. I had a busy few weeks leading up to Melbourne Cup so I enlisted the help of one of my favourite stylists, Jess Pecoraro to help me with pulling looks together for a few of the key dates in the Melbourne Cup Carnival, most especially Cup Day.
I knew I wanted to wear something bright and bold as I always like to have fun with my outfit at Melbourne Cup. After trying a few different dresses on, I eventually zeroed in on the floral Miu Miu dress I wore today. I liked the long hemline which is a little different to my other Cup Day looks over the past few years. We were playing around with the dress and actually found that we could adjust the straps to create an off-the-shoulder/bateau neckline so I ended up going with it as it had a really flattering effect.
There were a few heels we were tossing up between that were already in my closet but how could I resist wearing a pair of amazing Salvatore Ferragamo wedges? It had such an interesting shape I thought it added a great element of interest to my overall look. I also liked the gold heel and the strap across the foot echoing the look of a mule. It really grounded the colourful nature of the dress and its bold print.
As for my accessories, we tried a few different bag options and considered working with a few different headpiece styles and colours but I really loved the way my bag and oversized picked up a few of the subtle colours in my dress.
After we had decided on some looks, I did a final fitting in my home with Jess (with my kids providing a great audience!) to ensure that everything worked together — dress, shoes, bag, the lot. I always like doing this as I want to take a final look at what I’m wearing as a whole and make sure there’s cohesion and everything is spot on. And lucky for me, I found a look I loved for yet another year.
One of my super cute style advisors
I adored the vivid and colourful vibe of this dress
Aren’t they so amazing? Such a different silhouette
View from above
Jess helping me try on another dress option
Trying on shoes (and a sneak peek at one of my other looks)
Decisions, decisions…A girl can never have too many shoes, right?
Have you always wanted to know what it’s like to be a stylist? Jess Pecoraro has dressed the likes of Jesinta Franklin, Pia Miller, Carissa Wolford…and me! Having got her start as an intern at Cosmo before becoming the Fashion Editor of Women’s Fitness, Jess is now a freelance stylist in demand. Australian Fashion Week is one of the busiest weeks in the calendar for the Sydney-based stylist who is not only attending the shows but styling attendees and the show of a label about to debut at #MBFWA for the first time. I caught up with Jess before the craziness really hit to talk styling celebrities, the perks of working in fashion and the one thing she insists every girl should invest in.
How did you get into the industry?
I pretty much started straight from school. I was lucky enough to have a friend whose friend worked at Cosmo, so I started as an intern. I interned for probably two years, pretty much every day. My poor parents were like, “When are you actually gonna get a job?”
[I said] this is a job but it doesn’t pay. So I borrowed their car and didn’t have any money for food. So it was just like they were funding my job for a good two years. And then I was lucky enough [that] Cosmo created a role for me as a wardrobe coordinator, which pretty much is an intern but you get your [name on the] masthead. So from there I I worked across a few other titles at Bauer, and now I’ve been freelance for probably four years.
Was the end goal always to be a stylist?
Initially no. Being at school I just thought there’s nothing in fashion for me and I just didn’t realise a role like a stylist existed to be honest with you. So I thought okay, I’m going to go to university and study languages because I could speak Italian and wanted to live overseas. I went into my Orientation Day [at university] and just walked around and thought, this is not for me…So I took a gap year and with that I decided okay I need to do something in fashion.
What is it about fashion that you love?
I guess I was brought up in that environment. My mum’s a designer, so I’ve got a few years of me at age three walking around her showroom pretending that I was dressing an imaginary person saying ‘you shouldn’t wear this with that’ and so it started from a young age. It’s always been me, I guess.
What does Fashion Week entail for you?
Manic week! I guess it’s also the lead up that gets quite crazy. I feel like I am quite organised, but it’s always that waiting for something or waiting for someone and everything always seems to happen the day or two before the shows begin, so it’s a lot of prep. I’ll be styling a show this year as well as dressing girls attending shows, as well as attending shows myself.
Can you tell us a little about the show you’re styling?
Yes, of course. I’m styling the Pereira Fitzgerald show. They’re two young designers, so it’s their first year showing at Mercedes Benz [Fashion Week Australia], which is exciting. I’ve come on board because it’s very much my style. Clean lines, effortless and quite classic pieces that you could wear every day.
What does it entail when you’re styling a show?
From the start we sat down with the designers to go through all their mood boards and their designs. I’ve gone through each piece and said this is what I think, or maybe we should cut that out. We want a strong collection. And then [I did] castings.
So you cast all of it?
Yes. Everything from the models to the style, hair, makeup and shoes.
Where do you find your inspiration when you’re styling a show?
I guess from a mix of things. I’m very old school. I still buy magazines, so I think that’s my first point. We’re lucky enough now with Instagram, it’s a big, big inspo, and I can do that in bed at night. Also my surroundings. I like travel and [the Pereira Fitzgerald] show is inspired by the Italian lifestyle which fits perfectly with me.
You’re styling shows, you’re going to shows, you’re also dressing amazing celebrities. Can you give us a few hints of who you’ll be dressing?
I’ll be dressing [Victoria’s Secret model] Georgia Fowler only for one night. I’ll also have Jesinta Franklin who will be attending a few shows and Brooke Hogan, who’s a young influencer from Melbourne.
When you’re dressing someone like Jesinta Franklin how do you go about it?
At the beginning it’s always quite hard when you work with someone, because you’re trying to get their sense of style. I like to have all my girls look different but still have that touch of yes, she was styled by me. So I guess with Jesinta, we’ve worked together for everything so I know her style. We always go for classic pieces but I think with her attitude, she can rock anything, which changes that look. So if it is just a plain black suit with a pair of glasses, bag and shoes we can change that outfit.
Do you work closely with her in choosing the looks or do you just put together a wardrobe?
We work very closely together so I I fit her probably once a week. We also coordinate even for day-to-day outfits. She’ll send me a snap of what she’s thinking of wearing, and I’ll say yes, or maybe change the shoes or the bag. It’s quite nice to see how her style has changed ever since we’ve started working together,
What’s the best part of your job?
Seeing beautiful clothes and having a look at things that the public doesn’t get to see and also using stuff before it actually is released. I get so excited when I get a lookbook to pick from that no-one’s seen. And also meeting great people. I’m really fortunate to be around such really lovely people. People always say to me, “Is it a bit bitchy?” but I’m really lucky that I’ve got a good group of ladies around me.
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
Working on a mix of different things at the same time. So at the moment I’m working on a show, dressing people and I’ve got three shoots as well that have nothing to do with Fashion Week and lookbook styling. So I think its just getting your mind at different stages. Like this morning Georgia [Fowler]’s going to Cannes when she leaves [Australian Fashion Week] so I’m dressing her for that so it’s completely different styling— we’ve got gowns and jewellery. I’m like the courier driver and everything! I’ve got a good team of girls as well so that makes a difference. Having them on board just makes me stressed and when you know you can trust someone as well, so they can do those little jobs for you.
What are some of the trends you’re seeing at Fashion Week?
I feel like lots of clean, classic line. A few designers will definitely add some prints. I’m excited to see Hansen and Gretel, they’ve created something fun. So that very classic, tailored style, I’m sure we’ll see that. I was very excited to see Camilla and Marc’s show.
What is the number one key wardrobe piece that every woman should own?
A black blazer. And invest in a really good one— I always say that to my clients. Yes, it’s a big investment to buy a Saint Laurent or Balmain [blazer], but you’ll have them forever. I think that’s my number one. A white T-shirt, good denim, and probably just an easy dress that you can wear day or night, depending on your shoes.
What’s your number one styling tip when you’re dressing?
Don’t follow trends. As much as we obviously do want to be trend-driven and make a statement, you still have to have an overall classic aesthetic and then add little bits and pieces with your shoes and handbags. I think that’s a good way to add a trend in. And also dress for your shape. We see models [wearing something] and are like “that’s amazing” but if you’re petite and short then it doesn’t work. So it’s also dressing for your body shape.
Fashion Week Five
Shows I attended: Albus Lumen, Bianca Spender, Anna Quan Location: carriageworks Fave show: Albus Lumen Biggest trend I saw: Earthy tones, silky soft fabrics and shirting with a feminine twist, The highlight of the day: Sitting down with Jess Pecoraro chatting fashion, styling and celebrity dressing