New Season Know-How: Cuts and Styling

I’m back with part 2 of my new-season series! Yay! In case you can’t be bothered heading back to my last post on this topic, here’s a recap of most of the colours that are going to be dominating AW16:

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I spotted these tiles on Grote Street and they’re basically a summary of the colours you’re going to see a lot of in stores this A/W. You’re welcome.

Now we’re onto cuts and styling. What shapes should you be looking for in the shops (or the depths of your own wardrobe for that matter)? And how should you wear them to prevent looking like you’ve stepped straight out of 1974? I’m glad you asked, pal! Here’s a quick crash course in just a few of the main looks for the season.

Generally speaking, you’re looking for balance in any outfit. Sure, having everything chunky and oversized can make a statement but most of us will need some finer details (accessories like skinny scarves, fine jewellery, belted waist) to get the right proportions happening. Simple tricks like tucking the front of a larger top into your bottoms can make a huge difference in creating a more flattering shape, so all is not lost if you think some of these styles aren’t for you. Try stuff out, have a chat to well-dressed shop assistants, scour Pinterest and find what works for you. Here are some of the things I’ll be trying this A/W:

Flares all ’round!

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Image via Pinterest

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Image via Pinterest

Bell sleeves, bootleg jeans, feature peplums… anything with a bit of a kick is going to be sitting pretty amongst the fash crowd this season. If you’re nervous, stick to a basic like mid-rise bootleg jeans in a dark denim wash. Pair with a plain white tee, a block heel and a long boyfriend cardi and you’ve nailed simple but stylish everyday wear. If you’re game to get a bit more stuck-in, try a fitted top with big bell sleeves and a cropped kick-flare pant or pencil skirt that kicks out at the bottom. If all of this sounds far too 70s for you, just pull out those wide-leg pants or culottes from last year. They’re still sticking around. Or try a swishy midi-skirt in an A-line cut.

 

Knit on Knit

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Image via Harper’s Bazaar Pinterest

Knitwear ain’t just for your torso, folks! Knitted pants, skirts and dresses are all worthy additions to your rotation. Layer them up for extra cosiness or just add in a new texture or colour to freshen things up. Worn with block heels, boots, sneakers or point-toed pumps, knitwear takes on a new versatility this season. Roll-necks and turtle-necks are still go, as is layering knits over longer line tanks or collared shirts.

 

Keep it tonal but add texture

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Image via Pinterest

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Last winter was all about head-to-toe tonal outfits and the trend is still in for this season, but try adding interest and movement by working with textures. The knitwear trend above is a great way to do this, but so it embellishment or just clashing fabrics. Denim with velvet, wool with leather, silk with cashmere… Have a play!

 

So there you go, another little nugget of (hopefully helpful) inspiration for the coming season. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and feel free to let me know if you’ve tried any of these looks too – I’d love to see some pics!

Until next time,
Lxx

 

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New-season know-how: prints and colours

Alrighty, I know it’s been ages since I posted on here but things have changed a lot in the last year. I’ve realised I know a lot more than I ever thought I knew about fashion and style and I’m learning to trust my instincts when it comes to styling myself and others.

Having just returned from a trip to Europe, I thought I’d be well-positioned to share what might be coming up for the autumn/winter season in Oz, based on what I saw overseas during their winter. I have the extra advantage of knowing not just what was in the major designer collections, but also what women were actually wearing out on the street. So, this is the first in a series of posts I’m calling “New-season know-how”! It won’t cover every look of the season but it will give you a little insight into some of my faves.

Today I’ll share some colours and prints that were everywhere while I was away to get you thinking about what you already have in your wardrobe to wear for the upcoming season (always start with what you’ve got! You might surprise yourself…) and what kinds of things you might like to keep an eye out for.

Colours

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Image via Pinterest

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Karen Walker runway pic via Harper's Bazaar AU


Autumnal tones seem to come in every year around March and then flit out again by the time winter properly arrives. This year though, colours like mustard, burnt orange, sage green, burgundy and even muted teals will see you right through the seasons. This year they’re also being paired with pastels for a really versatile, trans-seasonal look. So don’t pack away those baby blues and ballerina pinks just yet!
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Thakoon runway image via Harper's Bazaar AU

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J.Crew runway image via Harper's Bazaar AU

Prints

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Image via Pinterest

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Roksanda runway image via Harper's Bazaar AU

The 70s are back in more ways than one this season! Moving away from the geo-prints of seasons gone by, AW16 (or 15-16 in the Northern Hemisphere), takes inspiration from the boldness of the 70s but pares them back just a tad. The lines are smoother but the contrast is just as strong. Try layering two similar coloured prints like the Roksanda image above for maximum impact.

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Image via Pinterest


Florals aren’t going away! They’re just getting a little more dramatic, that’s all! Again, you’ll notice there’s lots of pairing pastels with richer Autumnal tones or even black to give them a slightly more grown-up edge. And don’t be afraid to print-clash when it comes to florals. They work really well with stripes, spots or leopard print, which are the absolute staple prints which might go out of fashion occasionally but never go out of style.

Embellishments

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Image via Ulyana Sergeenko Instagram


Pom-poms! They were everywhere in the UK. On shoes, on knitwear, on keychains hanging from your clutch or handbag. There’s so many to choose from so they’re an easy trend to dip into even if you want to stay totally non-committal.

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Dolce & Gabbana runway image via Harper's Bazaar


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Image via Pinterest

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Image via Pinterest


Sheer! Lace! Beading! Embroidery! Thinking along the same lines as the pom-poms, this season’s embellishments are decidedly feminine and playful (as are many of the cuts, but we’ll get to that another time). Go all out and layer them up or pick one and work it in with your usual style if you’re not down with the frou-frou look. If in doubt, start with a black sheer panel on a blouse, a lace-edged collar or a beaded clutch.

5 Print Clashing Basics

I love a good print clash. They’re a great way to shake up your look if you’re not comfortable buying into the latest trends (I’m lookin’ at you: midriff-baring, culottes, funnel-necklines, long layers, et al.) but still want to look edgy. My Mum is going to baulk at the idea of this post, as she doesn’t “get” the print clash and she often gives me a very perplexed look when I emerge from my bedroom wearing spots and florals at the same time (an awesome combo, if you ask me). It is, however, a topic I get asked about a lot at work so I thought I’d share some tips and pics with you.

1. Start with monochrome

Black and white are always chic, and usually pretty forgiving when it comes to mixing prints. They rarely look too ‘busy’ and are able to be worn just as easily at work or off-duty. Olivia Palermo rocks this look a LOT.

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2. Keep a classic print as your base

Whilst trends constantly swing between florals, geometrics, tribal, and so on, there are certain classic prints that will be around forever. Stripes, spots, leopard, checks and snakeskin are my top five. They work just as well together as they do clashed against busier/brighter prints because they are often found in neutral tones like black, white, tan, khaki and grey. As I mentioned at the start of this post, I reckon florals work particularly well with spots and stripes.

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3. Pick a common colour

Start with one print and pull out one colour you’d like to highlight. This doesn’t have to be the colour that dominates the piece – in fact it’s probably better if it’s not to maximise clashage (yes, that is the technical term). Your second print should also feature this colour to make it stand out. Finding a common colour between two or more prints helps create some flow through your outfit and again, prevents the busy-ness from being too overwhelming. The pics below are some awesome examples.

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4. Keep styles classic

If you’re just starting out, try not to overcomplicate things. Start with a simple t-shirt/collared shirt on top and slim or straight pants/pencil skirt on the botton and keep your accessories in a complementary neutral tone (black/white/nude and metallics are the easiest). Opt for a classic silhouette and build from there.

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5. Trust your gut

There are certain combos that you would never think would work, but somehow do. Ultimately, if you feel good in what you’re wearing and you wear it with confidence, it’s probably going to work. People will either not notice at all, or (like my mother) still be perplexed, but kinda accept it anyway. Wear what you love.

Here are some other print clash collages/posts for inspiration: 1. and 2. and 3. And here are some of my other fave print clash outfits: 1. and 2. and 3. and 4. Margherita Missoni, Olivia Palermo, Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine and Miroslava Duma are reeeeally good examples of print clashing done right. There’s also HEAPS of awesome pics over on Pinterest if you search “print clash” and refine from there using key words for colours/styles/shapes/prints you already have in your wardrobe or are looking to buy. So there you go! Hope that’s got you excited to start print clashing and given you some confidence to get started!

Lxx

4 Ways to Wear Linen (and not look like a dag)

Working in fashion, I’m expected to know a lot about fabrics. One that I get asked about all the time is linen. Linen is a summer staple in many a wardrobe and across a stack of popular brands. It’s a natural, lightweight, breathable, durable fibre, so particularly good for summer. With the introduction of new technologies in fabric production, there are new blends being developed all the time, and linen is no longer the super-expensive luxury choice it once was. However, it does crease very easily and has the potential to go from sleek to scruffy pretty quickly. I get asked a lot for suggestions of how to wear linen in a more polished, less beachy way so I thought I’d put together a little file of images and some styling ideas for you to refer to when considering making a linen purchase.

Idea #1: Prep it up!

Shirt from Shop Heist, found on Pinterest

Shirt by JCrew, found on Pinterest

Styling found on Pinterest


Keeping your pants and accessories preppy and more on the conservative side help bring polish to the whole outfit. Another plus: stripes are great for hiding creases!

Idea #2: Try a tee

A lot of brands are doing linen or linen-blend tees (try these faves of mine from Witchery, Country Road, JAG or Sussan). These are especially great if you’re young and fear linen might make you look like your Mum or Grandma (although in my case I’m always flattered when people say I look like them) OR if you’re a curvy gal like myself and feel a bit frumpy in linen. Tees are the ultimate layering piece and choosing a linen one is a smart move for a blisteringly hot Aussie summer.

Idea #3: Keep pants roomy.

Try a complete tonal outfit and keep accessories fine

Yes, you CAN layer with linen!


Tight linen is all kinds of uncomfortable, and can be all kinds of unflattering. Whilst it certainly stretches out a little (and actually doesn’t bounce back into shape very well), it’s not one to buy two sizes too small on your butt just because you like the skinny fit on your legs. If you do, you risk pulling and tearing. If in doubt, go oversized. Feel free to play with proportions up top, but always keep in mind your body shape and the overall look you’re going for with the outfit.

Idea #4: Have fun with colour and print.

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Who said linen isn’t office-appropriate?


As I said before, stripes can minimise the appearance of linen’s creasing, but so can other prints. And don’t feel constricted to a white linen shirt or cream linen pants. Colour is a great way to make your linen feel more youthful and fun, without being too ‘out there’. The natural, earthy texture of the fabric will tone it down a notch anyway, if you’re scared.

So, I hope those little ideas have inspired you to try something new and include a bit of linen in your winter wardrobe.

If you have any other fabric or trend you’d like me to investigate for you, let me know!

Lxx

P.S. One more thing! When you do buy linen or a linen blend (or really any other fabric for that matter), please read the care instructions!! Every fabric is slightly different and can behave differently depending on the cut of the garment too, so following them will ensure your garments remain in tip top shape for years to come.

Trend to try? Normcore

If you noticed the sudden epidemic of Birkenstock-wearers that ran wild in the final days of summer; if you’ve spotted an bright young thing working ‘sneans’ (sneakers+jeans) like nobody’s business, you’re probably aware (at least subconsciously) of a little massive trend called ‘normcore’.

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Image via ELLE Canada (click through for article!)

For normcorers, dudes like Steve Jobs and Jerry Seinfeld are considered style icons and it’s totally fine to match an oversized designer grey marle coat with tracksuit pants ‘sleek joggers’. It’s daggier than ‘sports luxe’ but not quite ‘late night Macca’s run’. It’s less ironic than ‘hipster’ but not quite ‘raw vegan ethically produced local organic cotton only’. Think ‘cast of Friends/Seinfeld’ – the complete antithesis of Gossip Girl. On the surface, it seems like the ultimate anti-fashion. But alas, normcore could actually be the toughest trend to do justice to this season.

For those of you who lived through some of these trends when they were cool the first time ’round (and done in isolation), you’re probably going to shriek in horror at the thought of combining them together. But for the young, impressionable, fabulous inner-city rich kids, teaming Birks and socks (Birken-socks, perhaps?) seems oh so nouveaux and gives them an edginess that their Mac Jacobs flats never could.

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Image via a love is blind (click through for more)

Personally, I think I’ll be sitting this one out. Or at the very most sitting on the fringes of normcore. But if you reckon you can take it on and not look like you’ve dressed up in your Dad’s clothes, all power to you. Maybe you can give me some tips..?

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Image via Lucky Mag (click through for article)

P.S. This is the original article that spawned the normcore craze, although the trend had been coming for years, and was predicted in the first instance by forecasting agency K-Hole

My AW14 H&M Edit

Melbourne has gone officially crazy over the opening of Australia’s first H&M. Ladies (and gentleman, but mostly ladies; let’s be honest) are still queuing up around the block to load up their shopping bags with goodies from the Swedish mega-chain. Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan of H&M when I visited Europe but I totally understand its appeal. The peeps at H&M AU have also cleverly customised their ranges for the Australian market, probably to lure in people like me who are unlikely to make a pilgrimage trip east just to suss it out. For me, the biggest attraction is that the store is in Melbourne’s GPO building, which is all kinds of gorgeous. Shop Til You Drop and a heap of other online and print publications have put out their own lists of the top picks from the AW14 collections (although I don’t think you can really call them that when they’re putting out new product virtually daily) so I thought I’d do the same. We all know H&M do great basics, but here are some of my favourite pieces from the selection currently available beyond the tank top and leggings section…

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Jersey skirt $29.95

This shape of ‘trumpet skirt’ is everywhere at the moment and make a pretty alternative to structured pencil skirts for the office or leather minis for the weekend.

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Embroidered georgette blouse $69.95

Just the right amount of boho and a lovely weight for trans-seasonal wear. At this in-between, cropped length it goes well with high-waisted styles.

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Lyocell jumpsuit $79.95

This sharp all-in-one flashes just the right amount of skin and would be perfect with shoes like these (I know, in my dreams) and a silky black blazer (with a waterfall front, perhaps) for Friday night drinks with the girls.

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Woven top $39.95

The combination of Frenchy-chic stripes and boxy shape makes this top a bit of a modern classic. This is a tricky shape to pull off (see here for ELLE’s guide to styling the silhouettes that are around at the moment) but done right, it can look stunning.

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Shorts in a silk mix $59.95

I luuuurv the pretty pattern on these shorts, and the combination of silk mix material and a sensible length makes them winter appropriate. Layer with chunky charcoal tights (or scrunched socks, if it’s warm enough to show some leg), heeled boots and a rollneck cableknit.

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Lace coat $199.00

Just look at it. Look at all the loveliness!!! In case you can’t tell, I’m squealing a little inside over this one. I don’t even mind the slightly higher price tag because, well, lace.

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Draped blouse $29.95 and wide satin trousers $59.95

I’ve put these two together not just because they make a beautiful outfit (especially with pumps – either nude to elongate the legs or a little flash of leopard), but also because they’re classic pieces. Wide legs go in and out of fashion regularly, but I think after almost 15 years of skinny-legged domination, it’s about time we gave them another proper shot. The draping on the front of the blouse is super flattering, especially if you’ve got a bit of a tum like me, and would work well sitting out with fitted bottoms or tucked in and cinched at the waist with wider-legged options or a fuller skirt.

How about you: Have you visited the new H&M? What do you think about my picks? What will you be adding to your Autumn/Winter wardrobe this year?

Lxx

What I’m Reading – April 2014

Just a quick little update on some of the things I’m reading and loving at the moment, and some things I’m about to start on.

 

The end of your life book club – Will Schwalbe

ImageAs I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve recently joined the CWA (SA website here).One of the many rad things about my particular branch is that they have a door prize (or three) at each meeting. My (not so) inner competitive spirit came out as soon as this was mentioned at my first meeting and I was more than a little intrigued as to what the prizes could be. As it turned out, I won – first go and everything! I scored myself a lovely bottle of sauvignon blanc and this here book. I’d heard of it before but hadn’t been particularly motivated to go out and purchase a copy. I think you should though. I think everyone should. ‘The end of your life book club‘ tells the true story of the author, Will, and his mother, Mary Anne (/Mary/Mary Ann… you’ll see), as they form a two person book club when Mary is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Filled with pearls of life wisdom, charming anecdotes and plenty of literary serendipity, this tale really affected me. Schwalbe’s writing is inspirational without being preachy or melodramatic and manages to delicately balance rich imagery (especially in relation to his mother’s work) and simplicity (especially when discussing her battle with cancer). I loved this little gem.

Peppermint Mag

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Peppermint‘s tagline of “Style, Sustainability, Substance” could not ring more true than in the current issue. It’s full of inspirational tales of ethical and sustainable businesses and the innovative entrepreneurs behind them, as well as plenty of prettiness (the shoot that the cover image comes from is particularly divine). Unlike a lot of other environmentally-minded publications (online or print) that I’ve read, I didn’t feel guilty or ‘told-off’ after reading Peppermint. I felt well-informed, inspired and positively positive, which I think is a much better way to make people feel if you’re trying to engage them with a particular message or point of view. Peppermint is only published quarterly, but I kinda like that about it. I feel like the content is all the more thoughtfully produced that way; it makes it a bit special. Also, if I only have to fork out four times a year for it, I don’t mind a slightly exxier price-tag than something more commercially-minded like Shop til you Drop or Cosmo.

God’s big instruction book – compiled by Juliet Mabey

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I’m not part of any particular religion, but I find religion endlessly fascinating. I also sometimes need a bit more guidance than my favourite A.A. Milne quote (although it does suffice in most circumstances). This book is one of the few things that can give me that comfort. A compilation of quotes and teachings from religions and schools of philosophical thought from around the world, it was gifted to me from my Aunty for my 16th birthday. From Judaism to Taoism to Christianity to the Baha’i Faith, it covers a whole lot of the world’s major religions and a whole lot of the minor ones, too. The thing that struck me the most when I first read it was that regardless of the religion, they all teach pretty similar things when it comes to basic (but often complicated) concepts like love, grief, family, etc. Whether you’re religious or just religiously curious, this is a great little book to keep by your bedside to remind you of the commonalities of the human experience and for those times you need a little guidance.

The Fry Chronicles – Stephen Fry

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You may have noticed how I like reading about people’s lives. Maybe it’s the influence of my Mum’s oral history Ph.D that she’s currently tapping away on, but I think real lives provide just as much (if not more) drama and intrigue and funny coincidences as any work of fiction. I’m looking forward to borrowing The Fry Chronicles (my first audiobook) from my Dad and hearing some of the stories Fry has to tell about himself and his life. I’m especially looking forward to hearing him talk about his time at Cambridge, especially his theatrical collaborations and friendships with Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson (1979-1980 President and Vice-President of the Cambridge Footlights, respectively).