Thursday, December 11, 2014

Meet Trish: DFSS Woman of Style

Trish popped up in SIA's life as a fellow Dress for Success volunteer. 

She was a newbie volunteer who stood out because of her easy yet chic style. 

Trish in the DFSS office - gotta love the branding

What makes this even more fun was that the dress above is from Target's current summer range. It is $35. That's serious code for style has nothing to do with price. 

The dress is 100% linen and it also comes in a few bright solid colours. However it's this soft cool grey zebra type stripe which SIA has seen on two women in the real world, apart from Trish. Both looked great. 

So did Trish. 

What SIA loved about Trish's look was also the way she used accessories. 

She demonstrates some really sophisticated techniques: 


First she combines some neutral colours (shoes, classic watch, beaded bracelet, wedding ring) with a pop of colour. 

The turquoise pop is fabulously done - one really striking piece (necklace) with two smaller items (ring & earrings).

Nothing competes with the necklace/earrings (which are worn close together & effectively act as one). The neutral accessories dont compete because they are neutral and the other turquoise accessories don't compete because they are small in size. Small but effective.   


Second, all her pieces are so different in their feeling. From classic wedding pieces/ the timepiece to a boho crochet bracelet to a dramatic 80s bauble necklace. Yet they all work together. 


Here is a store photo of the Target frock.
Like I said, I've seen this on two other women on the street & they too wore it well. 

$35 Target SS 2014/15

There's a postscript on this one. 
I saw Trish a few days later at the Dress for Success Garage Sale. So I could take another photo.

Garage Sale Gal
What I thought was fabulous was how she was demonstrating the same style but with different details. 
You see, that's what stylish women do - they understand & demonstrate their style - but always changing the bits within the outfit to keep it fresh, youthful & modern. 

Trish had the same fresh but chic look in a linen smock top (hello Target) & a latte short down to the knee. She picks up one of her best colours (cool blue) around the neckline with the top's embroidery.

Neutral shoes/hat & colour pops in the bracelet, ring & earrings.  Again, notice how one accessory is very strong (bracelet) and the rest, though colourful, are smaller in scale so they don't compete.

When we see someone like Trish work her clothes & accessories in this way, be comforted that she didnt just throw anything on. It all works because it's planned & it suits her. So it looks easy & it's stylish.  

SIA did a major drool over the earrings in this look...

Things to think about:

1. Do you know your style? So even if you can't put words to it, do you find your outfits have a consistency about them and are easy to put together? 

2. Can you recall an age when your look started to demonstrate that consistency? 

3. Are accessories an integral part of your look or an afterthought?  

Monday, December 1, 2014

Anna Wintour and her Manolos

Anna Wintour has been largely rotating between two pairs of nude Manolo Blahniks since 1994.

They are created for her feet, coloured to to nude shades complementing her skin tone and are not just leather but snakeskin. 

Manolo Blahnik "Botti" (thick straps)

Manolo Blahnik "Callasli" (thin straps)

Toe escape....

Occasionally she black so she matches the other fashion editors.....

or a double cross over strap (in Marc Jacobs frock). 

Last night, in London, we saw an uber deviation....crystals & pearls...

SIA isnt convinced this version is the most flattering. For any feet. 

But it's Anna & Anna will always have what Anna wants. 

Without a doubt Anna has a closet full of the identical shoes so she rotates and eases the wear on them. She would buy top ups annually. Role model. 

Do you have something you bought multiples of (or at least a duplicate) because it works well? 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

10 Biggest Body Shape Mistakes

Knowledge is power

Not knowing with 100% certainty what their horizontal body shape is.
Different stylists may have different categories and different names for them, but at the core of it, are five, hourglass, pear, apple, rectangle and busty.

The internet is a fabulous tool & you can work this out yourself.
If you pay a professional, they will not just tell you your shape, but how to dress for it and be at your side when you try pieces on, to demonstrate why something works (or doesn’t).

Vertical body shape is important too

Once you have worked out your horizontal body shape, it’s time to work out your vertical shape. Most stylists agree there are three options:

Long in body/short in legs
Short in body/long in legs
Balanced (similar body length to leg length)

The weakest link 

The measurements you use are crucial in working out your shape
You need to make sure you are measuring your bust, waist & hips correctly.

***Every second person I see measures their waist incorrectly.  

***Every fifth person I see is also getting at least one of the other two wrong.

You cannot measure your bust size if you are not wearing a supportive bra which represents what you would normally wear day to day. If you haven’t been fitted for a bra in the last two years, do it now.

Also check your tape measure back to a ruler every year or so.

Technical flattery isnt everything

Body shape analysis is about figuring out your shape & then dressing to flatter it. Typically, this involves balancing out your body. So if you are a pear, you try to use accessories, colours, trims & shapes to enhance your upper body & minimise your lower body. If you are a rectangle you emphasise upper & lower & minimise your waist area. I call this technical flattery.

A few hundred years ago, we would probably be trying to pad ourselves out. 

You need to decide how much you want to conform to technical flattery & how much you don't. Irrespective of the journey you decide to take, you have to know your starting point. That's called your body shape.   

It’s not a set & forget.

Horizontal body shapes vary over time.
Eg: Life changes like having a baby, surgery, changes in medication, weight loss will all cause those measurements to move around and your shape to change.

There is no best body shape

I see women skewing their measurements so they can be an hourglass.
I see women get depressed because they turn out not to be an hourglass.
I see young women wanting to be skinny rectangles.  

This is not a judgement process.

In fact, the hourglass shape is the easiest to get wrong because it is the easiest to unbalance, just by adding Balmain shoulder pads or palazzo pants. 

Trust me when I say that most people don’t care about your shape – they are too busy obsessing about their own.

And I certainly dont care whether you are an apple, a pear or a cream puff donut. In fact, I prefer donuts! 

It’s better to know your shape & dress it flatteringly than dress yourself like a shape which isnt yours. 

Look forward, not backward

I don’t care what your body shape was nor that you were an hourglass prom queen in your hey day. Assess who you are today and dress for it today. Forward counts, backwards confuses both you & me.

Size isn’t relevant

I don’t want nor need to know your size to dress you so you look amazing.

The only things I need to know are your colouring, your height, whether you are plus size and your body shape. Your actual size is irrelevant, but the ratio of your bust, waist & hips is vital.  Don’t waste time on what’s irrelevant.

The link between shape & size is that FIRST you identify shape, then you eliminate the styles that don’t suit that shape. THEN when you decide to pick some of what remains, you need to flip through each garment in that style to find your size.

Each body shape category is a range of numbers

Each body shape category is a range of numbers. Sometimes you will be close to the border of two categories.  

Firstly, no one will be right on the border because this is subjective & that fence line can never be precisely drawn, let alone identified. 

Secondly, I promise you that no one will be able to dress using the principles of both those categories AND look equally flattered. You will look better on one side of the fence than the other. Spend the time or the money to understand which one as this will make or break your look.

One tool in the toolkit

Style is about much more than understanding & dressing for your body shape. However if you get this wrong consistently, it’s unlikely that you will have personal style.  Body shape is one tool. 

You know the other tools - individuality, grooming, etiquette, hair, make up, skincare, accessories (these tend to work in with body shape), health, emotional, spiritual & mental well being etc. 

Go to it.