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Fashion

How to decode dress codes

16th March, 2019

Stylesnooperdan Kate Waterhouse Manning Cartel 12

Dress codes can be a tricky thing. How casual is too casual? Does cocktail mean any ol’ dress is fine? If receiving an invitation always leaves you in a mild panic because you never know exactly what you’re supposed to wear, never fear! I’ve decoded the most common dress codes so you’ll be confident in the knowledge that you’ll nail every single event with ease.

Smart casual

A dress code that has become popular of late think of smart casual as a dressy version of what you’d usually wear in your downtime. So while denim cut-offs and thongs are a definite no-no things like tailored pants, a simple shift dress (leave the sequins at home!) or dark denim are perfect for this dress code. Just think: if you were meeting your partner’s parents for the first time over Sunday lunch what would be appropriate?

It is important to always consider the time of day for the smart casual dress code. Dressy shorts may be acceptable in the day during the warmer months, as long as they are not too short and coming into winter, leather pants are a great option for this. It’s fine to wear heels but leave the sky-high stilettos at home and opt for a more modest heel instead.

A silk blouse in neutral hues such as white or blush pink is ideal for pairing with everything from pants to a skirt for a smart casual look. It also always looks super luxe and polished so you’ll definitely win some sartorial brownie points..

For the guys…Men should think of a pair of nice jeans or chinos with loafers. Smart casual usually does involve a collar to differentiate from casual t-shirts.

Cocktail

Cocktail attire is a step up from smart casual but is not as dressy as black tie. Cocktail is a popular dress code for events such as weddings because it’s not super formal but is still dressy enough to elevate an event from just a simple gathering. Plus it’s the kind of dress code that guarantees guests turn up looking stylish but is free enough to allow people to inject a bit of personality in their outfit.

Go for a dress which is tastefully short (if you have to come up with a strategy on how to sit, it might be time to reconsider.). You can’t really go wrong with a little black dress as it’s classic and is a safe option when you’re not quite sure what other guests will be wearing.

When the weather is cooler a dress with sleeves is perfect for keeping you warm but on point. To liven up the outfit opt for a killer pair of heels, a statement clutch or a show-stopping pair of earrings.

If you’re after something with slightly more pizzazz, a cocktail dress code allows you to play with bolder hues or a print if you dare; sequins are most definitely welcome. As you can see cocktail is a dress code umbrella term that welcomes all kinds of looks – the above Lover Gypsy Mini Dress would be equally as fitting as the above pistachio-hued scalloped dress by Carven.

When buying cocktail dresses, I do often find that if you buy elegant pieces then you will be able to wear them again. Bear in mind that a simple solid colour is slightly easier to re-use than something like an animal print which is easily recognisable. If you’re looking to invest in one piece that is guaranteed to be worn time and time again then you can’t go wrong with a beautiful black designer dress that can act as a blank canvas and change to suit any occasion by simply switching up your shoes, accessories or bag.

For the guys… Men should wear dark suits, dress pants and dress shirts. Depending on the season and location, dressy jeans can also work well.

Black tie

Black tie is popular for weddings and special events. For ladies, an evening gown is ideal but sometimes a demure cocktail dress may also be appropriate. It is usually best to opt for darker colours or neutral shades such as navy, cream or black as it always looks classic and elegant. Steer clear of white for weddings though!

There are varying degrees of black tie and I find it is always best to base your choice on what the host will most likely be wearing. For example, if it is a very formal wedding at an exclusive location then wear a gown, otherwise a formal cocktail dress with statement accessories may be more appropriate if it is for a work function.

The dress length can vary from mid to long and you are not restricted to only wear black. Think elegance above all else.

For the guys...Men are required to wear a tuxedo adorned with a black bow tie.

White tie

White tie is the most formal level of dress code and is usually reserved for royal galas or state dinners! If you’re lucky enough to have to attend a white tie event make sure you opt for a classic floor length gown. Gloves should also be worked into the outfit too. The key to dressing well for white tie, is balancing glamour and elegance. Think: what would Kate Middleton wear? Usually channelling royalty will ensure you’re on the right track with the dress code.

An elegant up-do is the norm and is the perfect occasion to show off a stunning pair of earrings. If you’ve got a dazzling piece in your jewellery collection – now is the time to let it shine.

For the guys…For men, a white bow tie should sit on top of a white formal dress shirt. White tie requires a black coat with tails and a white pique vest.

Fashion

What to do when you’re bored of your wardrobe

25th February, 2019

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 hit a wardrobe rut 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 a 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 wide leg pants 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.

Change up your bag to refresh favourite outfits

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 style 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.

Take my outfit challenge

If you’re bored of your wardrobe after an easy to follow plan on how to tackle it, try my 7-day outfit challenge. I’ve outlined a different thing to try each day and it will force you to have to look at what you already own and steer you into new territory.

What are some of your favourite ways to refresh your wardrobe?
Fashion

How to wear sheer tops

16th February, 2019

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There’s something quite alluring about showing a touch of skin in a sheer blouse. I have sheer blouses I’ve had for years and I’ve been able to get plenty of use out of them as they’re quite versatile and can be worn for myriad occasions. This particular one is from a collection I did with Skin and Threads and I loved wearing it with my favourite high waisted pieces and definitely got a lot of wear out of it. I know this style can seem a little tricky to pull off simply because of the sheer factor but it is possible to wear them minus looking a little too risqué.

Here are some of my tips:

christine-centenera

1. Have the right underwear

If you wear a plain singlet or cami underneath a sheer blouse it gives you plenty of coverage so you can feel comfortable wearing it to work or a more formal setting. If you want to have an edgier look you could also wear a solid, black triangle bra or cami or a bandeau top underneath. Lingerie can get a little tricky if it’s see through so a solid colour is a little easier to work with.

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2. Wear high waisted pants or skirts

If you don’t want your stomach to show in a sheer blouse opt for a pair of pants or a skirt that’s high waisted. It hides your belly button and shows off the flattering midriff part of your body. Plus something that is high waisted gives you a bit more support in the stomach area.

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3. Layer it

If you’re really concerned about having more coverage in a sheer blouse, I find popping a blazer or a jacket on top makes it a little more conservative. You can still show a touch of skin without exposing too much.

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4. Try prints

You don’t just have to stick to sheer blouses in solid colours. A patterned polka dot sheer blouse such as the one above can add an interesting focal point to an outfit.

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5. Make a statement with your underwear

Since your lingerie is on show, why not make a statement with it? Candice Swanepoel (above) has worked a great bra with multiple straps underneath her sheer blouse and it has taken her look to something that’s a little edgier.

miranda-kerr

6. Choose the right colours

A sheer blouse in a solid block colour works great with more muted tones. Blouses in black, white are able to be worked back with plenty of pieces in your wardrobe and can be dressed up or down. Also anything with strategic panelling is quite flattering like that on Miranda Kerr‘s blouse above.

What are your thoughts on sheer blouses? 

Photography: PopSugar, All Women Stalk, Daily Mail, Fashionising, 

Fashion

How I plan my outfits

5th January, 2019

Planning outfits helps me stay organised

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 are a few key ways that I make it work.

I always have inspo at the ready

Planning outfits is made much more stress-free if I have a few looks I’ve seen at my fingertips to inspire me. I tend to collect these as I go along whether it’s saving images on my Instagram or screenshotting particular looks I come across. If I am a bit stumped as to what to wear a quick scroll through these images will immediately get the styling juices flowing.

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.

Wardrobe organisation is key for a seamless outfit planning session

Having a hero piece

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. I think by just having one key item to start from it helps with creating an entire look rather than just trying to match random pieces together.

Making it versatile

There are times when my day is quite mixed so I need to make sure my outfits are versatile so they’re appropriate for a few different occasions. I sometimes have multiple events in a day so I have to ensure that I only need to change one thing to mix up the look as I don’t often have time to change. This can be as simple as changing the jacket I’m wearing to give the outfit a different vibe.

Giving myself enough time

I’m a planner but there are those people who plan their outfits the night before, even the week before and I’m the first to admit that I can’t work that way. I’d love to be that organised but I find I won’t feel like wearing something if I lay it out beforehand which totally defeats the purpose. So to combat this I try and factor outfit prep into my morning routine 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. I don’t want to completely leave it to chance though so I make sure most things I’m likely to reach for are clean and pressed so they’re ready to go.

What are some of your major wardrobe tips? I’d love to hear them so share them in the comments below.

Beauty, Fashion

How to pull off beach glam without looking over the top

30th December, 2018

What’s better than a day at the beach with girlfriends?

Whilst most people probably don’t have the time or inclination to go all out, next-level glam a la the Kardashian clan at the beach there is something to be said for adopting a slightly more considered look the next time you’re headed for a day of enjoying sun, sand and surf. If only for the fact going from an ocean dip to cocktails is then made oh-so simple. Who wants to rush home to change when there’s a frosé with your name on it waiting for you? And let’s face it, Instagram just wouldn’t be Instagram if you didn’t post a few shots of you looking cute at the beach this summer. So here’s the key to nailing a stylish look the next time you’re off to the beach…

Start with good quality swimwear

A great swimsuit is the lynchpin of your entire look so its worth getting it right. Invest in a good quality swimsuit that will hold up to numerous swims and constant sunscreen application without losing its shape or colour. Also try on lots of options before buying one as you want the most flattering fit – for example a bikini may be your go-to but you may discover that a one piece suits you phenomenally well.

Arm yourself with key beach attire

I always have a nice sarong, linen pants and denim shorts on rotation for when I go to the beach. I find all three work well with any swimsuit I’m wearing and help add a touch of polish to my overall look.

Consider your accessories

I have a big sunglasses collection so I always just rotate them whenever I’m going to the beach. I tend to favour fun frames with a little colour or embellishment. Also this season scarves are one of the key accessories trends and are great for not only keeping your hair off your face but also look totally chic. If you want, you could also pop on a simple bracelet or a pair of earrings to dress up your look—just make sure they’re pieces you don’t mind jumping in the water with. Another must is a great hat to help protect you from the sun. A wide brimmed straw hat is a favourite of mine as it serves the practical purpose of providing shade but also, it’s a great way to accessorise a beach look.

Scarves are a key trend this season and are a great hair accessory for the beach

Have the right bag and shoes

If you want a look that’s a touch more glamorous for heading out straight from the beach then be sure to come armed with a nice pair of sandals or slides rather than just your favourite thongs. Even if you’re heading out in the swimmers you’ve had on all day, great shoes can make all the difference and dresses up a look immensely. I also always carry a nice roomy bag with me to carry my essentials and this season there are so many nice options to choose from whether it’s a canvas bag or a straw tote. It’s the details that can really help finish off an outfit.

Avoid looking “too done”

Save a full face of makeup for a big evening event. Keep makeup subtle and to a minimum. Think tinted sunscreen, a little waterproof mascara and a swipe of blush with a dash of colour on your lips via lip balm or gloss. It’s about looking fresh faced not all out glamorous. Also it’s the ideal opportunity to skip your morning blow dry. Let your hair go au naturel and you’ll find by the end of the day you’ll end up with the best beach waves without having done much at all. Alternatively, top knots are always great for staying cool and keeping your hair off your face. And one thing I tend to do regularly in summer is get a fake tan whether I do it at home or go to a local salon. I’ll never lay out in the sun to get a real tan but I do love the bronzed effect of having one so faking it is by far the best option.

A great hat is a must

Beauty, Fashion

My tips for New Year’s Eve party dressing

27th December, 2018

When it comes to New Year’s Eve dressing think glitzy, glamorous and bold statement-making makeup.And hey, it’s definitely the time to embrace sequins, vibrant colour and fun accoutrements. If there’s one time of the year you can afford to go a little OTT it’s the eve of December 31st!

The outfit

I think New Year’s Eve is all about the perfect dress. For me I definitely tend to go for something a little sexier for New Year’s Eve. It’s the time to splash out, so if you want to wear sequins or something sparkly or if you want to go for a classic LBD with a statement shoe or with a striking clutch, there’s no better time to stand out and have fun with your outfit.

My go-to party dress designers: I think you can find some really sleek and sexy looks at Dion Lee. And I think Camilla and Marc always do really great party dresses. Rebecca Vallance is also one my go-to designers when I’m thinking of event dressing.

Top tip: No matter where you’re going on New Year’s Eve, it can be notoriously hard to get around so it’s all about finding a sexy statement heel that’s easy to get around in case you have to walk miles to get a taxi. Make sure to think comfort as well as style when it comes your footwear – you don’t want to be walking around barefoot at the stroke of midnight.

The makeup

For me it’s all about making a statement whether that be a bold eye or a bold lip, but make sure it’s one or the other. I think a black smoky eye is always a great look on New Year’s Eve. It’s definitely the time to dress up.

When it comes to hair it’s a great time to experiment and do something a little more party ready if you dare. A great bouncy blow dry, tousled curls or going sleek with a slicked back bun are all great options for December 31.

What are you doing for your New Year’s Eve party look?

 

 

Fashion

My tips for party dressing

12th December, 2018

If the party invitations have started rolling in and you’re facing a schedule full of gatherings in the lead up to Christmas then it can be a little overwhelming trying to figure out what to wear to every single event. Here’s how to avoid any wardrobe dilemmas this festive season.

Find something that can transition easily 

If you’ve got a day time and night time event it can get pretty pricey having to buy an outfit for both. So you need to ensure that you find something that can easily take you from lunch during the day to party in the evening. Think a kaftan or a beautiful dress that you can wear with sandals then make slightly dressier by changing into high heels later on.

Think bright 

Bold colours are always a winner during summer so look for anything in a bright hue that you can really have fun with. Don’t be afraid to make a statement, especially when it comes to party attire.

…or summer whites 

White is so fresh during this time of year especially when you have a bit of golden glow courtesy of a spray or fake tan. A beautiful floaty white summer dress or a great skirt in a neutral hue are a great way to really embody the carefree, relaxed vibe of the season.

A great bag or jewellery can really lift a party outfit

Add accessories 

You can always use existing items in your wardrobe whilst navigating the party circuit but simply dress them up or down with the right accessories. Try a bold pair of shoulder grazing earrings to dial up the drama or add a statement necklace to turn your look into something more striking. It’s an easy – and less expensive – way to wear things you already own but still make the outfit feel new.

Treat yourself to a mani/pedi

One of my shortcuts to looking polished is a manicure and pedicure. I swear by it. Having a pop of colour on my toes and fingernails can elevate an ordinary look into something special. A fresh mani/pedi just adds a touch of polish (no pun intended!) to a look and helps to finish it off.

Have a great pair of party shoes

If you’ve got plenty of dresses that you’ve worn before it can be easy to become bored of them. The key to injecting some new life into them is the addition of a standout item like a pair of statement shoes. Invest in a single pair at the start of party season and you’ll be able to wear them to multiple occasions and make old outfits feel new again.

Fashion

The wardrobe lessons I’ve learned from working in fashion

18th November, 2018

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Working in the fashion industry has meant that I’ve been luck enough to be surrounded by lots of amazingly stylish and knowledgeable people who have all managed to teach me a thing or two about style. From stylists to magazine editors to fashion designers, working with these key fashion players has given me invaluable knowledge. There are some big lessons I’ve learned that have helped me hone my own personal style and some practical tricks that have helped save me from the brink of a wardrobe disaster or two. Here’s what’s always stuck with me…

Not everything has to be designer

Wearing head-to-toe designer doesn’t automatically mean an outfit is fashionable. Fashion is all about creating a unique look which means adding your own personal touches to it. It also means being able to mix and match from various labels to give it your own individual spin. So often I’ll admire someone’s outfit and if I ask them what they’re wearing they’ll say they’ve mixed a really inexpensive t-shirt or scarf with something designer. It’s all about mastering the high-low combination.

Don’t be afraid to experiment

Being stylish isn’t just about having a look that’s straight off the runway. It’s about taking a look and injecting some of your personality into it so go ahead and try out different styles. I’ve found that the majority of people in the industry are all about having fun and experimenting. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and get things wrong, it’s just clothes at the end of the day.

Being on set at shoots and working with fashion editors or stylists has unearthed so many great fashion tips over the years

Find yourself a good tailor

The way clothes fit will often dictate how well they present so where possible tailor pieces in your wardrobe specifically to your body shape. Case in point: on shoots stylists will often use clips on the back of everything from dresses, tops or jackets to nip it in to perfectly sit on someone’s body as it photographs better. An outfit looks so much better when it’s perfectly tailored to your body. So if there’s a blazer that you love that’s just a tiny bit too big or a skirt that’s a little too long for your height, find a reputable tailor and have it fixed to suit you.

Makeup wipes are a lifesaver

It’s a real pain getting makeup on your clothes and often this can happen on a shoot with so many outfit changes taking place. I’ve learned from stylists that to get makeup off, dab at the stain with a makeup remover wipe and it should help lift the stain.

Attending fashion shows and working with designers has given me plenty of great knowledge along the way

Get creative

There’s nothing worse than lint getting on your clothes right before a big meeting or event. I’ve learned that to get it off quickly, you can fashion a lint roller from masking tape. Just wrap the tape around your hands so the sticky side is facing up and use it to wipe the lint off. Easy!

Keep a sewing kit with you

Ask any fashion editor what’s always with them on a shoot and it has to be their tool kit. Inside is everything they could possibly need to fix a fashion disaster such as a hem that’s fallen down or a button that’s come loose. I’ve adopted this principle myself by always having a small sewing kit with me just in case. I always take the mini sewing kits in hotel rooms as I find they’re really easy to carry around in my bag and are great to have on hand should I need to mend something on the run.

What’s the most valuable piece of fashion advice you’ve ever been given?

Fashion, Shop

What’s on my shopping wish list this month

9th November, 2018

It’s been a hectic time with the Melbourne Cup Carnival but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had time to squeeze in a bit of window shopping. My wish list is always a work in progress and I’m always finding things to update it — and it’s not hard as there are just so many amazing pieces around right now. This month I’m all about bold shades, interesting finishes and unique pieces that will take my outfits next-level.

Calvin Klein pleated midi skirt

I’m a huge fan of statement skirts and the colours and the pattern of this particular Calvin Klein piece would make it the ideal anchor piece for so many looks in my wardrobe.

Fendi leather bucket bag

Fashion’s experiencing a bit of logomania at the moment and this bucket bag is the ideal way to dip into the trend.

Saint Laurent Lily cat-eye sunglasses

My love of great sunnies continues and this tortoiseshell pair are a definite classic that I know I’ll wear for seasons to come.

Marques’Almeida belted mini dress

Warmer weather calls for shades that pop and I think this dress is fresh and fun. Great for the upcoming party season.

Chanel vintage watch

I have a thing for beautiful timepieces and this watch, in classic Chanel colours would make a welcome addition to my collection.

Malone Souliers by Roy Luwolt Maisie mules

Updating your shoe wardrobe this season is as easy as buying a pair of statement mules. Love the polka dot print and oversized buckle on this pair.

Ksubi Chlo Wasted high waisted cropped jeans

I love the cut and shape of these jeans — definitely a pair I can see myself in for off duty wear and also smart casual occasions.

Blazé Milano printed silk blazer

You can never go wrong with a blazer, especially in a monochrome. The print on this is just the thing to take a plain outfit up a notch.

Wandler Hortensia mini leather shoulder bag

I love a mini bag, especially when it’s in such a fresh shade.

Rosantica gold-tone crystal bracelet

Just in time for the festive season is this little beauty. It would make the ideal statement piece to elevate an event outfit.

Ganni ruffled sequin camisole

The killer combination of ruffles and sequins has me seeing this making its way onto the dance floor at many a Christmas party.

Juicy Couture logo sneaker

A simple, casual shoe that would be ideal for the weekend.

Missguided wide leg leopard print pant

I’m in the fashion camp that considers animal print to be a neutral so I’m definitely sold on these pants.

ASOS Design tiered maxi dress

The tiered effect and print make this a great go-to for enjoying long summer days.

Zimmermann Castile crochet top

Another gorgeous piece by one of my favourite Aussie designers. I love the romantic Victorian feel of this blouse. It would be a match made in heaven with my fave pair of jeans.

What’s on your wish list this month?

 

Fashion

The quick styling trick that will update your favourite dress

24th October, 2018

I’m all about a quick styling trick. If there’s something that I can do to my outfit that takes minutes but will do plenty to change its look and feel then I’m all over it. This is why this recent trend towards belting dresses is absolute genius in my mind. It’s something that you can do using an accessory that you more than likely already have in your closet and it will change the whole vibe of a dress. By simply cinching in the waist of an existing dress you completely change the shape, and also give it a strong focal point based on the belt that you choose.

The thing with this styling trick is that most styles of belt will work. You could opt for a classic black belt with statement buckle to give your dress a little edge. A simple skinny belt will add a sophisticated touch to any frock whilst a chunky style waist belt will act as its own bold finishing piece. And it’s so easy. Just pop on the belt and you’re done.

If you have a closet full of dresses that are currently putting you to sleep because you’ve worn them so much then consider adding a belt the next time you wear it. It’s an easy outfit refresh that won’t break the bank and that’s a definite win-win situation.

 

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Cinch in a dress with volume

Give a dress with a voluminous silhouette some shape with a waist belt that will instantly give you an hourglass figure.

 

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Add a statement feature to your dress

By simply adding a belt you can instantly give your dress a new focal point that changes its look and feel.

 

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Pack a punch

You could opt for a belt with a statement buckle (the classic GG belt like the one above is a fave) to give your favourite dress an added lift.

Tell me—have you jumped aboard this trend yet?