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Fashion

How I plan my outfits

24th April, 2022

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.

Fashion

10 items every wardrobe needs

16th April, 2022

I love a trend-driven piece as much as the next girl but I also believe that there are some key pieces that are the building blocks of a great functional wardrobe. I think these 10 key items help make pulling a great outfit together all the more easier. You don’t have to spend a lot but do try and get the best quality that fits into your budget.

1. A leather jacket

I’ve had my leather jacket for many years and I think it’s the kind of wardrobe staple that you’ll have for a lifetime. It can be dressed up or dressed down and the older and more worn it gets the better it looks. You can get all different styles but I’d go for a simple biker jacket, something that’s really clean and classic – you don’t want to get too tricky with too many studs or buckles as it will date very quickly. Once you’ve found the perfect jacket you’ll wonder how you lived without it as it’s the kind of piece that can be worn with a cocktail dress just as easily with jeans.

2. A black tailored blazer

For me it’s a must-have item. I wear mine all the time either as a suit jacket, draped over my shoulders, over a dress at the races or with a great pair of jeans. It’s a multipurpose staple. When it comes to blazers, tailoring is key. It really has to suit your frame. I like a bold shoulder and a nipped in waist, I don’t like it too boxy. I think a tailored blazer can really accentuate your figure. If you find a blazer that isn’t quite right but you love you can always get it tailored to fit you perfectly.

3. A great statement bag

I don’t think a bag needs to be designer to be great. Just look for good quality leather – something that’s durable. I also like to have the option of having two strap lengths so if I’ve got my hands full with the girls I can just swing it over my shoulder, but if I want it to look a little more elegant with a dress it’s got handles so I can wear it on my arm. I love embracing pops of colour like pink and orange at times but I think you can also have a standout piece in colours like black, tan, grey and white. The key is considering how it works with the rest of your wardrobe.

4. A clutch

You can’t use your day bag for all attire as a big bag doesn’t generally work for cocktail events so a great clutch is important. It doesn’t have to be expensive but just a smaller bag that you can put your wallet and keys into and can be worn back with different items and looks a little more elegant than your usual day bag. When it comes to colours stick to neutrals as it’s more versatile and keep it simple – you don’t want something that’s got too much detailing or it will date easily.

5. A great pair of jeans

A great pair of jeans doesn’t have to be expensive but you really need to take the time to make sure they fit right. I have trouble finding jeans because they’re always tight around my hips but loose around my ankles so when I do find a great pair I make sure to snap them up. You don’t need to invest a lot of money but you do need to invest the time to find them. If you’re like me and are in jeans all the time, try and get good quality denim because you don’t want them to be too baggy once you’ve worn them a couple of times. Jeans obviously come in different washes so choose the most flattering for you. I can’t go past faded denim or a white pair of jeans.

6. Sneakers

I think that white sneakers have really earned themselves a place on my wardrobe staples list. I honestly spend most of my life in white sneakers and they can work back with everything from jeans to a pleated skirt without missing a beat. Invest in a pair that are quite simple in design and you’ll find it gets plenty of outings.

7. Ankle boots

Ankle boots are a must for winter. Once you find a great pair you’ll have them for years to come. I still have a pair of YSL boots that I’ve had for many years and I bring them out every winter. If you want your boots to be an everyday shoe it’s important to make sure they’re comfortable. For me, I like a bit of height so I opt for a platform heel which always helps with comfort. Walking around all day long in really high boots is not the best!

Kate Waterhouse farfetch LXE black leather pants alaia heels roksanda saint laurent sunglasses

8. Leather pants

You don’t have to spend a fortune on leather pants but you do have to find a leather that won’t give. It’s about investing the time to finding one that won’t stretch after the first time you wear it. A skinny leg leather pant is my go-to item in winter and I think they’re great for travelling as they’re so comfortable. I find Helmut Lang does some great leather pants, so does Scanlan Theodore and ASOS. You can find a pair that fits into your budget but the most important thing is finding the right shape and a great fit.

9. White t-shirts

Granted they don’t last forever but it is important to find a great white tee. I wear white t-shirts with everything whether it’s to the office or just to the beach or with a skirt.

10. A great coat

Make it your mission to find one really great winter coat that you can throw on over everything. I like my coats in neutral colours but a statement coat in a pop colour is also fun. Just choose something that works back with your wardrobe. I’m a big fan of a tailored coat but a big oversized coat can look fantastic as well. If you are going to go oversized keep everything else you’re wearing slimline.

Do you have any other wardrobe staples that you think should be added to the list?

Fashion

How to buy a designer bag that you’ll love for years to come

10th April, 2022
Kate Waterhouse carrying Chanel designer handbag

My Chanel bag has been with me for years and is still going strong

I’ve spoken in the past about the importance of cost per wear for me and there’s no area that I apply it more to than my handbags. I am all about quality over quantity. I will often hold out for a designer bag as I know that it will withstand everyday wear and tear as they’re so well crafted. Also, I’ll often go for classic styles so they have longevity. Case in point: I’ve had the above Chanel handbag for years and it’s still going strong.

If you’re going to splurge on a designer bag it’s important to make sure you get it right. After all you are spending not an insignificant amount of money so it’s the type of fashion purchase that needs some planning behind it first. Here are some things to consider before buying:

Think of your lifestyle 

What kind of lifestyle do you have? For me I have to carry everything from Sophia and Grace’s snacks to my phone and wallet so I need something that’s quite roomy for everyday wear. However as I do have to attend various events and race days through the year, I can opt for a smaller bag that’s more event appropriate for those occasions.

It’s crucial to tailor your bag to suit your lifestyle and needs. If it doesn’t then you’re never going to use it as often as you’d like and that’s a lot of money that’s wasted.

Consider the brand

If you’re going to have a bag that you use every single day you want a classic style. I think you can justify splurging on a bag if it’s something that can be used every single day. Everyone has their own favourites but if I was going to splurge on a designer bag I would definitely go for Céline, Balenciaga, Jil Sander or Chanel because they do classic, timeless styles.

Check out it’s extra features

Little details can mean you get double the wear out of a designer bag. For example it may seem a small detail but consider the handles on your bag. I like two handles on a bag—smaller handles so I can just carry it on my arm and a longer strap so I can carry it on my shoulder. Having the option to do both expands the use of a bag. Also some bags now come with detachable pouches that can be used to carry things like cosmetics but can be used as separately as a clutch. Win-win!

Kate Waterhouse street style designer bag Gucci

When it comes to designer bags aim for classic and timeless to ensure maximum cost per wear

Opt for simplicity

A statement bag with lots of embellishment is great but if you’re going to have just one designer bag that you’re going to carry all the time make sure to keep it quite pared back and stick to neutral colours. A subdued colour palette makes it easier to work back with your wardrobe. Minimal amounts of detailing also makes it less likely to look overly on trend. Also keep in mind that plain leather generally won’t date as easily as patent leather.

Avoid ‘it’ bags

When it comes to designer bags I like to have something that no one else has. For this very reason if there is an ‘it’ bag I tend to steer clear of it. However I might get inspired by a brand and choose something that is within that collection. If you can afford to have a new designer bag each season then definitely go for the ‘it’ bag. If however, you are buying a designer bag that’s intended to see you through season after season I’d steer clear of the bag of the moment and opt for something that’s not as common so it doesn’t date as easily.

Choose an ongoing style

I will always ask a shop assistant if they’re continuing a particular type of bag the following season because some are just one-offs and I think that can really date a bag. When choosing a bag opt for one that’s a signature style to the brand because then it is recurring every season rather than being the bag of a particular year, which everyone will know is a couple of years old.

An example of a signature style is something like Chanel’s 2.55 black quilted leather handbag or the Hermes Birkin. It’s a bag that’s done every season which means it won’t date and it’s great quality so it lasts year after year. I’ve had my Chanel bag for 10 years and I still wear it all the time so the cost per wear is great!

Tell me—what designer bag do you have your eye on?

Photography: Sophia Athas

 

Fashion, Shop

How to make high street buys look expensive

19th March, 2022

I like to incorporate a high-low mix when it comes to my outfits. I’ll often mix pieces from my favourite chain stores with some of my go-to designer pieces to create a look that’s all my own. While I appreciate the convenience and price point of snapping up high street brands, it also pays to know how to choose the right garments to ensure that the end result of any look is polished. Here are some of my dos and don’ts:

Pay attention to how a garment is made

Buying clothes from chain stores is great as you can definitely stretch your budget further however you also get what you pay for. So it pays to be discerning when it comes to what you purchase. Examine a potential buy carefully and look at how its made. If the seams are not right or there are loose threads avoid it and keep searching for a better option.

Choose fabrics wisely

Where possible choose natural fabrics like cotton and wool when you’re shopping for high street pieces. Synthetic fabrics can look flimsy, pill, or become misshapen after a few wears so in turn can end up looking quite cheap.

Add one luxe item into the mix

By adding one gorgeous quality item to your outfit, by default, the rest of your look looks expensive by association. So whether it’s a beautiful buttery soft leather handbag or a nice pair of shoes you can elevate your favourite high street finds without having to do much at all.

Keep it simple

Chain stores are the ideal place to shop for great basics—think t-shirts, jeans and jumpers that are quite simple in design.They have an extensive range and if you shop around, the styles are comparable to what you’d find in some high end boutiques. Relegate garments with accoutrements such as sequins or beading as something that you might consider investing a little more in as often the finish might not be as precise.

Avoid embellishments

There’s a big difference between the finishing details used on designer handbags and accessories compared to less expensive chain store finds. There are some great options on the high street however if you want them to look luxe, then be sure to keep it simple and avoid things like chains, buckles, studs and gold or silver finishes which tend to tarnish. Instead go for plain styles as simple will always look chic.

Tell me—What’s been your most favourite high street buy?
Fashion

The wardrobe lessons I’ve learned from working in fashion

27th February, 2022

Working in the fashion industry has meant that I’ve been lucky 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.

Take a pic of your outfit

Stylists always take pics of a look whenever they do a fitting and I’ve found it’s a great thing to adopt whenever you’re trying to piece a new ensemble together. Seeing a picture always offers a different point of view to simply trying it on and looking in a mirror as you can see more closely if it’s sitting the right way and what might need adjusting.

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

Fashion

What making fashion mistakes has taught me about my style

21st February, 2022

I am the first to confess that I have made a million wardrobe mishaps where I’ve thought ‘What was I wearing?!’ However that’s all part of the fun. I think you need to be able to experiment with fashion because that’s how you will inevitably discover your style. I know from the mistakes I’ve made that I’ve definitely learned what suits me and what doesn’t.

Great style doesn’t equate to dollar value

The biggest thing I’ve learned would have to be that looking great doesn’t come down to how much you’ve spent or if you’re wearing new season clothing. Because inexpensive clothes can look equally as stylish as something that came from an upmarket brand.

Knowing your shape is important

Knowing your body shape intimately will ensure that you’re confident in what will work on your frame and what won’t. For me, I’m not very tall and quite petite so I can’t wear anything that may swamp me. I steer clear of things like sack dresses for example because I’m not tall enough to pull it off. And that only came from a lot of experimentation and trial and error.

Be selective with trends

Trends come and go and I’ve learnt that I don’t always have to embrace every single trend each season. While it’s easy to jump aboard every new trend, it can also be quite an expensive exercise spending money on clothes that may not have longevity. Experimenting with trends over the years I’ve learned that I shouldn’t feel pressured to embrace every trend, but always remember what works for my shape and style.

I can now flick through clothing racks or scroll through websites and know immediately whether something works. And I think that’s all from making a fashion mistake or two. I think the key to knowing your style is paying attention to the times when you’ve had a mishap and knowing why it didn’t quite work. Often those are the little moments that can really help you define what your look is all about.

Tell me, what’s been your biggest fashion mistake?

Fashion

The one thing I always do when I plan an outfit

12th February, 2022

Oh dress codes. I find that some people are either a stickler for sticking to a dress code or they will just try and remain in the vicinity of it. I’m the former. In fact, it’s the one thing I will always consider when I plan an outfit. My job often requires me to go from a casual launch one minute to a black tie event the next so to me dress codes are a way of guiding my outfit planning for the week. Even without a stated dress code my brain tends to go into that mode and I will allocate one to whatever event it is I’m going to as it helps provide me with some styling structure.

When it comes to deciding what I’ll be wearing the one thing I never do is start with a single accessory such as a hat or shoes. I know lots of women who will tend to work around a particular piece but it’s just one of those things that has never really worked for me. I tend to get in a better styling frame of mind when I can work with a solid base such as the dress I want to wear (in keeping with the dress code of course!) and then visualise the pieces that will work with it. Usually I find this gives me a more cohesive look and I’m able to pull together something a little easier.

I find that if I’ve got a dress code in mind it helps everything to fall into place and gives me some focus on the outfit I need to plan. For example if I’m going to a work lunch, I’ll generally stick to a particular section of my wardrobe—dresses, skirts, tailored pants and it having this in mind helps pulling an outfit together. If it’s a Sunday morning and I’m heading out for coffee, I’ll generally even have my unspoken dress code for that—it’s all about comfort, comfort, comfort! It’s a little tactic I’ve adopted for as long as I can remember and it really does help me avoid a wardrobe dilemma or two.

Which camp do you fall into? And how important are dress codes to you when it comes to styling your outfits?

Beauty, Fashion

My tips for New Year’s Eve party dressing

19th December, 2021

Once the Christmas festivities end, it’s time to start thinking about New Year’s Eve. And while NYE might look a little different this year, it doesn’t mean you can’t go all out with your look and have a little fun. After all, with the difficult year we’ve all had, I know some will be wanting to embrace something bold to ring in the new year. So what are my New Year’s Eve outfit tips?

When it comes to New Year’s Eve dressing the brief usually falls under the category of glitzy, glamorous attire complemented by statement-making makeup. And I think you have licence 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!

So, if you’ve yet to lock your outfit in, I’ve got a few tips below on how to find a look you’ll be happy to farewell this year in, in great style.

It’s all about sexy, bold, and playful dressing

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 are largely Aussie 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 looking for something that’s perfect to wear to an event.

Embrace a smoky eye or a bold lip for your beauty look

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.

The flashier the shoes the better!

The accessories

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 an Uber. 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. That said, do go all out with your choice of shoe. Something flashy, fun and dramatic is definitely in order.

While the rest of your accessories, including jewellery and bag choice can also fall into the category of striking and vibrant. Think colour, think metallic finishes, think details such as sequins—the only rule is that it be all about making a statement.

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

Fashion

What to do when you’re bored of your wardrobe

24th August, 2021

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 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.

Use 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. An old look can be completely transformed with 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 decode dress codes

25th April, 2021

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.