Browsing Tag

style tips

Fashion

The pieces you can wear to work and on the weekend

28th November, 2018

Versatility is one of the key criteria that I have for my wardrobe and that means I need to be able to wear pretty much everything to work and on the weekend. Obviously there are going to be some omissions because hey, a black tie dress might be a bit hard to deal with when at the photocopier or grabbing coffee, but most things should be able to be transformed from nine-to-five to relaxation mode by simple switching up what you pair it with. I’ve identified a few key pieces that I know are made for both office wear and off duty style.

Dressy flats

A pair of simple, classic flats a la the pair I have on below are a cinch to go from the office to the weekend. A slingback, a ballet flat or pointed style are all great options.

On Duty: Wear it with cropped trousers, a skirt or a midi dress.

Off Duty: Pair it with jeans or a skirt worked back with a tee.

A white tee

It’s a rare few places or occasions that can’t be worked back with a white tee. A handy staple for any wardrobe, it can be appropriate from nine-to-five to a relaxing Saturday by switching up what you pair it with.

On Duty: Wear it with a blazer on top, underneath a dress, or with a midi skirt.

Off Duty: Pop it on under a slip dress, with your favourite jeans or a wrap skirt or shorts.

A blazer

I’ve often spoken of my love of a great blazer and consider it one of my can’t-live-without items. And it’s primarily because I can wear a blazer to a work function one minute to a casual lunch on the weekend the next and it still works. Keep it classic with black or venture further afield with other colours such as grey, navy or white.

On Duty: What can’t it work with? Everything from tailored pants, to a wrap dress and a skirt and cami can be paired with a blazer.

Off Duty: Wear it with jeans and a white tee for a classic, always on-trend look.

A roomy bag

If you’re prone to carrying half your office/life around with you then a great, roomy bag is a must. I often like to get a bag that’s got a bit of structure, in a classic colour such as tan or black for work as I know that I can always extend its wear to the weekend.

On Duty: Get a size that can fit your laptop and essentials.

Off Duty: A great carryall can be used to get you through a busy day of running errands where you might need to carry a million things with you.

A wrap dress

This eternal classic is always a good idea especially for a day at the office or a relaxing morning coffee with friends. Your only issue will be trying to stop at just one.

On Duty: Wear a wrap dress with heels and a blazer for an effortless take on corporate dressing.

Off Duty: Paired with sneakers or sandals and a simple crossbody bag make an ideal look for relaxing.

Culottes

Wide leg pants aren’t as scary to wear as they sometimes might seem (check out my tips for how to style them here) and are so easy to change up according to what day of the week it is.

On Duty: A blouse with heels and you’re set.

Off Duty: Wear it with a tee or a cami and pair with great sandals.

A black skirt

Consider a black skirt a close cousin of the little black dress — it can be styled in myriad ways with so many different pieces. It’s wearable and versatile which makes it the ideal transition piece to take you from the office to the weekend.

On Duty: Wear it with a button down shirt and a cami for a professional look that’s ultra chic.

Off Duty: When paired with sneakers and a tee this look is polished yet made for an easy breezy day.

Fashion, What I Wore

The most essential items in my wardrobe right now

7th November, 2018

Like most women, there are certain things in my closet that get a workout. These are the pieces that I currently have on high rotation simply because they are so wearable and can easily be mixed and matched with multiple pieces in my wardrobe.

I’m a big believer in cost per wear so the below list should give you an idea of items that are definitely worth splurging on. Certain styles will easily get plenty of use because of their versatility and wearability — two criteria that are are crucial things to factor into your decision whenever you’re making a new purchase.

Here are the things that are doing double duty for me right now…

Goyard tote and Dior flats

I think a sturdy, roomy tote is a must for any woman. This bag has been such a great investment as I am able to throw all the girls’ things in it and still have plenty of room for my own essentials. And because it’s such a good quality that it can withstand being thrown around at the playground and still look great.

I’ve been on the hunt for comfortable, stylish black flats for awhile and these Dior pointed slingbacks were the answer. They go with virtually everything I own from jeans to my favourite dresses and I can walk in them for an entire day, which is ideal as I’m on the go all the time. I waited until I found just the right pair before buying these and I’m so glad I did as I wear them to death.

Camilla and Marc jeans and Gucci chain strap bag

I can’t live without jeans. I’m in them multiple times a week so I had to track down just the right pair. These jeans ticked all the boxes: I loved the colour, I loved the cut and I loved the fit. I’ve been known to dress them up like above by just adding a dressy jacket or keep them casual by pairing them with my favourite white tee. Either way they work beautifully for various occasions.

I’m all for neutrals but sometimes love splurging on a statement piece. Surprisingly however this embellished Gucci bag has worked almost like one of my more simple bags. I think because I use it as an accent piece for outfits that are quite understated — it’s a great way to add an element to my look that pops.

Balmain blazer and Balenciaga sock boots

My beloved Balmain blazer is one of the items I probably couldn’t function without. It has definitely earned its cost per wear and more. I wear it with jeans and dresses, skirts and pants and it works every time. I love how wearing it always makes anything I’m wearing look instantly polished. The nipped in silhouette, strong shoulders and long length make it the perfect jacket for everyday wear. I think every woman should have a black blazer in her closet.

I bought these for winter one year and haven’t looked back since. I think the fact that the snug fit makes them a little more versatile than an ordinary ankle boot which can be a little bulkier around the top. The sleek look makes them perfect for wearing with everything from a suit to a skirt.

Dior bag

This bag is a new addition to my closet and it’s been getting plenty of outings. It works as both a clutch and a shoulder bag (perfect for events when you may decide that you want to go hands free later on) which makes it really versatile. Also you can never really go wrong with a black bag can you?

Gucci loafers

These loafers are a workhorse in my wardrobe. Mostly because I can never have enough comfortable flats in my life. These are great for waring when I’m out and about and the floral motif gives them a little point of difference that can elevate any casual look.

Gucci heels

I have had these heels for years and still to this day I use them often. At first glance gold might not seem the most practical of colours but I think the contrary — metallics can work as a neutral. They can elevate an outfit but can easily be paired back with multiple looks and virtually any colour palette. I also like the pearl studs which add a glam touch that’s not too over the top.

Gucci belt

I’ve spoken in the past of the value of a great black belt and I still think it’s a critical piece of any wardrobe. It gives any outfit a sophisticated touch and turns it into a go-to accessory that can lift any ensemble. I’ve worn this belt with a more polished look like the above, with denim jeans and a tee and this summer, I think I’ll definitely be wearing it with a few of my favourite dresses.

Gucci sneakers

I pretty much live in white sneakers so you can imagine how often I wear this pair. What I like about it is that it incorporates a touch of colour in the form of the iconic Gucci red and green stripes without being too over the top so I can still work it back with myriad outfits.

Alaïa heels

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve worn these shoes which goes to show how often I use them. A plain black heel with simple ankle strap is a shoe that I can guarantee will get plenty of wear so if you don’t already have a pair in this style definitely buy them, especially for the upcoming party season. I have found these heels to be quite the style chameleon as I’ve worn them with a suit, with a dress for multiple events, and a polished look for the office.

What pieces in your closet are currently getting a major workout?

Fashion

8 wardrobe basics that can instantly make styling an outfit easier

26th February, 2018

Kate Waterhouse street style in wardrobe basics of white shirt

Wardrobe basics are the lynchpin of your look. I find that owning a few key pieces can in turn make everything else you own just that little more wearable as you can start with the below items and then build an outfit around them. Each person obviously has their own unique style so some of the pieces below might require substituting here and there but overall I think they’re the kind of staples that can be worked in so many different ways. Versatility is key when it comes to a look and having the right wardrobe basics in your closet can really ensure that you are able to take your style repertoire in several different directions. I’ve narrowed down a few key things that I think every woman needs…

Kate Waterhouse wardrobe basics stacked jeans

Jeans are a key part of my off duty wardrobe

1. Jeans

It’s imperative to find yourself a pair of jeans that fit you ridiculously well and are ultra flattering. My go-to style are skinny jeans as they work with my body shape but yours could be a straight leg style or a chic pair of wide leg pants.

2. Leather leggings

I’m already looking forward to transitioning to my autumn/winter looks and one of my can’t live without staples is a pair of leather leggings. I can wear them dressed up or down and as a bonus they’re so comfortable. When buying a pair be sure to try on a range of different styles from different brands as the fit can vary.

3. Comfortable t-shirt

A plain white t-shirt is the kind of piece that will be in constant rotation. I love a crew neck style and wore one here, however a v-neck tee is equally as good. Start with white, however shades such as black, grey and navy and a good stripe are also a great addition to any wardrobe.

Kate Waterhouse wardrobe basics white button down shirt

A white button down shirt is a classic staple in my wardrobe

4. Button down shirt

There’s a reason why a classic white shirt is at the top of most wardrobe basics lists — it’s just so wearable and can add a stylish touch to any look. One styling trick I like to employ is opting for a slightly looser fit when it comes to shirts as visually it can make your frame appear smaller.

5. High waisted skirt

A high waisted skirt is a go-to when it comes to office wear but it can also easily transition to your off duty wardrobe. Opt for a simple black or a fun print and pair with a tee or shirt for an easy, out-the-door-fast look.

 

6. Quality knit

Invest in at least one quality knit in a quality fabric (cashmere is luxe, but oh-so long lasting) and opt for colours such as grey or black as they’re easily paired with multiple items in your wardrobe.

Kate Waterhouse wardrobe basics Balmain blazer

This blazer has seen me through so many different occasions – it’s definitely a must when it comes to wardrobe basics

7. Blazer

You can wear a blazer to work or out to dinner on a Saturday night and is such a must when it comes to wardrobe basics. Popping one on can easily dress up a look give it a stylish touch.

8. Scarf

A scarf is the ideal trans-seasonal piece to add to your wardrobe. I have one that I like to wear when I’m travelling as I can use it as a wrap when the temperatures are slightly chillier.

Tell me—what are some of the wardrobe basics you can’t live without? Have I missed any on my list?
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?

 

Lifestyle, Lifestyle & Social

Interior design tips from Alex Zabotto-Bentley

1st March, 2017

As a former fashion designer, Alex Zabotto-Bentley is used to channelling his energy into many a stylish endeavour. He’s now channelling this artistic flair into interior design as the founder of AZBcreative. AZBcreative has masterminded some of Australia’s biggest media and social events, including the March into Merivale, CLEO Bachelor of Year and Harper’s Bazaar Luxury Awards. Among the company’s high-end clientele is Palazzo Versace, Waterford Crystal and The Sydney Theatre Company and singer Lady Gaga. Alex chats to me about how he made his mark in interior design and even lets me in on a few of his best styling secrets below.

AZB Styling pieces at home

What is a day in the life of you?

Apart from grappling with the eternal crisis of what to throw into my green juice, I am a very early riser. It doesn’t matter if I’ve been working late on a project or have just arrived on a redeye flight from Europe, I always wake up around 5am. Seize the day!

My philosophy is that to maximise your energy and productivity, you need to greet the sun every day. Get up before sunrise, head to your favourite vantage point – near the sea is always amazing – and watch it rise. And then (this is a bit spiritual), make your affirmations. It works, believe me. You start each day full of positive energy and resolve, ready to do your best work.

Alex makes a point of welcoming the day by watching the sun rise daily

How did you get started in interior design?

To be honest, I spent so much of my childhood transfixed by houses – I used to mentally ‘rate’ them for architectural balance on the walk to school. And while everyone else at school was buying [surfing publication] Tracks mag, I was saving my pocket money for World of Interiors!

My big breakthrough came when the wonderful, late [hotelier] Ian Robertson gave me carte blanche to design a massive, 4,000 square metre bar on the top of Melbourne’s GPO.

Even while working as a fashion director for magazines and designing my own label Fashion Assassin, I was leading a “double life”, doing interior projects for friends on the side.

What has been your greatest achievement so far?

With respect to interiors I have been able to really create magical spaces, which are like no other. It’s important to me to create a site-specific space, so we always try to custom make over 70 per cent of every interior. From designing our own range of tiles to creating our own pigment colours to working with local craftspeople to use their brilliant and sometimes under-appreciated skills.

Kittyhawk [restaurant in Sydney] is a good example of this approach. We created original fittings with a sense of place and history, that perfectly fit that space and tell a story. From the hand-dyed leather for the banquettes to the antique French oak doors, the 12-metre long, hand crafted American Oak bar to the custom-made brass-trimmed shelving and tesserae tile design which I drew freehand, there will never be anything else quite like it.

AZB Custom Tiles which Alex drew freehand

What is your favourite room in your own house?

Definitely my sitting room. It has a wonderful sense of space and light, with high 1920s ceilings and beautiful architectural details. The space is filled with hand selected furniture and decorative pieces that I have collected over time. Every piece tells a story and recalls a memory of a great trip or a weekend combing through flea markets or the thrill of discovering a new artist. It’s so much more than just a space. I love collecting art, so it’s like a private gallery with all the works I’ve collected, from original Keith Haring prints to beautiful, wild landscapes by Aaron Kinnane to modernist sculptures and abstract 1940s Italian art. But it’s not fixed; it’s an ever-evolving space, reflecting my travels and discoveries.

Keith Haring artwork which Alex adores

What made you move into events?

It’s all connected. Working on styling projects every day, I was invited to a lot of events and launches; you know how Sydney loves a party! But I felt that from the guest’s point of view, the event design industry was lacking inspiring, immersive experiences, a high taste level and beautiful, memorable moments. Too many events were basically a bar, some wait staff, a media wall and a DJ. Boring! They were forgettable and added nothing to the brands being promoted. So I decided to tackle this very closed, competitive industry head-on, developing a reputation for custom-designed elements and experiences specific to each client. People really connected with these branded environments. I think we ruffled a few feathers at first, but the clients loved it.

What is your number one styling tip for a special event?

If you do one thing, always use incredible flowers. In fact, always double the flower budget, and do something totally unique. I’m not talking about staid arrangements; go big and amaze people. Make an impact with colour and sheer mass. We have dipped phalaenopsis orchids in jet black paint, to emphasize their amazing sculptural properties, and people went crazy.

I also think it’s essential to make sure every single staff member looks impeccable and dressed to suit the brand, whether it’s crisp denim shirts for a whiskey tasting or impeccable black and white for a formal dinner. Make sure that the cocktails are totally desirable and unique and the catering is completely other-worldly…details, details make the event.

Alex suggests doing “use incredible flowers” if you are styling an event

What are the biggest mistakes people tend to make when it comes to styling an event?

When creating events, people often think that is just about getting the celebrities and current “cool” people to attend…but a lot of celebrities only stay for a brief time before sweeping off to the next thing, leaving a void. Without those glittering people, the room feels cold. To create an exciting and engaging event, you have to mix and layer the guest list with interesting people, from unique fashionistas to vibrant, animated people with something to say. Mix young and old, established names and up-and-comers: chance encounters create energy. The magic is in the mix.

What have been your top three favourite projects so far?

Only three? Ok, one would be working with the wonderful [PR company] Max Media Lab to conjure a magical Swarovski dinner at the Sydney Opera House with Miranda Kerr. We created modern, shimmering spaces inside Bennelong, mixing white perspex, mirrors, metal and glass with acres of flowers and shimmering ornaments to embody Swarovski’s latest collection. From the entrance, flanked by giant beaten silver vases of cascading roses and orchids to the shimmering, crystal-strewn white carpet, to the show-stopping. monumental stainless steel, geometric sculpture by Gregor Kregar, we owned that space! Attention to detail is a signature of our work, so we cut custom tabletops from white Perspex and applied delicate mirrored gold designs, then topped the tables with cubist vases to hold lavish, eccentric floral arrangements. Miniature French busts, half dipped in gold, added to the decadence.

The Swarvorski ‘White Carpet’ event

As far as interior projects, one of the most unusual was creating Seadeck for Scott Robertson [Seadeck’s managing partner] and his team. It’s an amazing floating venue on a gorgeous vintage ship: a 44 metre blank slate and a wonderful challenge. Inspired by the peak of luxury cruising, from the 1920s through 1940s we put a sophisticated twist on nautical design over three vast decks. Overall, it is a minimalist space in navy and white, with custom white lounges, Carrara marble table-tops, a bespoke brass-trimmed bar, curated nautical decorations and iconic four metre high palm trees.

Of course, working on a boat is a challenge in itself. Everything needs to be fixed to the deck, protected from the elements and the furniture needs to double as clever storage. We were essentially designing an interior which would be exposed to wind, rain and sun 365 days a year, yet had to remain luxurious and unforgettable.

Finally, we’ve had a long working relationship with Justin Hemmes and the Merivale Group. Producing and creative directing their March into Merivale event in 2015 was amazing. We welcomed about 100,000 people over five weeks, with 19 events across their venues, from The Ivy to Coogee Pavilion and everywhere between! Every venue and every event required a different approach and spoke to a different audience. We worked with chefs and sponsors to create custom experiences and environments, conceptualised and engaged entertainment, designed and crafted specific installations, stalls and furniture to express each venue and turned the whole Ivy laneway into a new dimension. Who needs sleep, anyway? The hard work paid off, though: we won a national design award for event activation.

Alex’s work at Merivale’s Ivy Pool Club

How closely do you work with the brands when designing their spaces?

We work incredible closely with our clients. As specialists in branded environments, we need to understand their message and values thoroughly, to create spaces communicate the brand to their customers. The clients we have are very diverse, and each requires a specific solution, whether it be an international beauty brand like Avon to a boutique winery like [the one created for wine brand] Cloudy Bay, to creating branded environments for Westfield to super sized festivals at Coogee Pavilion. We spend a lot of time at the briefing stage to understand the client’s real needs

A table setting designed by AZB for March into Merivale

What has been the best piece of advice you have ever received?

To create change. What I mean is, don’t just talk about it, do it. And do it differently. Never stop learning and innovating. Design isn’t a static business. Technology changes, society changes…you can’t afford to stand still or rest on your laurels.

What’s coming up in 2017?

We were honoured to be awarded several international Design Awards last year which really raised our profile, and we’re working on hotel projects, villa interiors and immersive experiences in Europe, Bali, Flores and Sydney…and we have some restaurant and bar projects that will change the way Sydney-siders approach dining and going out. I can’t say too much, but watch this space – there are some amazing things coming!

You can check out more of Alex’s work on Instagram at @azbcreative

Fashion, What I Wore

What I Wore: Family time

16th February, 2017

Spending quality time with the girls on the weekend is one of my favourite things to do. We’ll do everything from go for walks around our neighbourhood to go to the beach or step out for a bite to eat and when we do comfort is definitely key as far as my outfit goes. I find throwing on a dress is the easiest way for me to get out the door quickly but opting for a fun bird print like that on the above Karen Walker dress helps give it a little personality. My new Nicholas Kirkwood slides are an easy footwear option as they look quite polished but are easy to slip on and off should we find ourselves doing an impromptu visit to the park or the beach. I am really loving the trend towards pointed flats, I think it’s a really modern look and is a great alternative to traditional flats. Any bag that I take with me when I’m out with the girls must have a strap to keep my hands free but I also like to keep things on trend which is where my favourite new Gucci handbag enters the picture. I love the applique on the bag which helps complement the playful nature of the dress.

Shop my favourite dresses for a family day out

Pair the outfit with some slides to match

Credits: Kate’s Dress, Karen Walker; Shoes, Nicholas Kirkwood, Bag, Gucci; Sunglasses, Celine. Sophia wore Chloe and Amelie

Photography: Sophia Athas