Sunday, February 26, 2012

Book Review: Feng Shoe

Feng Shoe by Lao Shu, 2004
ISBN: 978-1-59359-952-2

Here are some snippets - I think they speak for themselves.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Scanlan & Theodore inspired by Lanvin


Scanlan & Theodore SS 2011

Notice the leather strap around the waist & neck?

And again - same collection....

Then look at Lanvin SS 2011

No surprises this occurred before the southern hemisphere SS 2011.

Oh, & a variation from Scanlan SS 2011...not my fave, thats for sure....

Do you like any of the inspired versions?

Me? Rather than buying such a stand out piece which can only make an impression in one way, I'd rather put the money into a more classic piece with immaculate tailoring which I can vary (according to my mood) with accessories.


Style books edited by fashion magazines

I bought a lovely little book a few days ago about style. Its handbag sized but its packed with fashion information and cool photos.

Its edited by US Harper's Bazaar which is one of my favourite magazines.

Here is a photo of an inside page with the heading of "Polished Pieces" what to look for that adds the most polish to your look.

It got me thinking about all the other books on my bookshelf about style, but specifically those which have been edited by magazines.

This post is about that book and also about other similar style books which have been written in association with magazines.

I wont kid you here - all these books cover similar style topics.

Well, maybe similar but not the same.

So I have to buy every single one of them for my library, as they get published.

The other excuse I use is that every few years, as trends move along, I need to buy the new version of the book, to stay up to date. So for example, all the books may identify a white shirt or a black skirt as key wardrobe pieces, but the book in 2000 will have a different "look" of a white shirt and a black skirt compared to the book of 2012.

The typical topics covered by these books are as follows:

1. Finding your style preference

Are you glamour? romantic? classic? bohemian? sporty? euro-chic? grunge?

They often show photos of celebrities to give you a flavour of their different styles, making it easier for you to identify with others who exhibit your style.

2. Identifying your body shape

Are you an apple? triangle? inverted triangle? column? petite? curvy? thin?

They then outline the best ways to hide flatter your shape - ie: hide your bad bits and enhance your good bits.

3. Identifying your best colours

While everyone is different, there are some common groups of colourings of eyes/hair/skin that help to identify your best colour palette.

4. The wardrobe basics

The importance of basics in an effective wardrobe.

How to wear basics in different ways to bring more versatility in your wardrobe
They often also show what may be more appropriate for varying age groups

5. The embellishments

Ways to add sass and flair to your wardrobe - how to stand out in a good way including how to do the high-low thing with your wardrobe.

6. Accessories

The basics required for various typical occasions & different ways to wear them in order to get maximum value from them.

7. Evening dressing

They explain the different types of dress codes and what is suitable, eg: black tie, white tie, lounge suit, cocktail, dressy casual, creative black tie etc.

Some also list the types of events and explain what is appropriate, eg: wedding, christening, meeting the in laws, lunch, work xmas party etc

8. Warm weather holiday dressing

You my think this is simple, but these books help to hone in on the different styles depending on whether you're at a resort, at the beach, sightseeing in a big city, on safari or exploring interesting locations.

9. Travel wardrobe

Some of the books explore this from a suity work perspective, others from a non suity work point of view. Others explore a non work travel wardrobe for exploring cities or back streets or the country.

They help you to understand how to pack a minimal number of pieces and get the maximum number of outfits. You may have heard this called capsule dressing, where you pack a capsule of say 10 things & everything goes with everything else.

10. Maternity basics

The aim here is to mix and match to get maximum wear as well as ideas on how to be able to use your existing wardrobe in new inventive ways.

11. Casual clothing

Personally I like this topic as it affects all of us - it shows you how to use clothing and accessories to create easy stylish looks for every day - the emphasis her is on easy. Think of the mommie run, shopping, coffee with the girls etc.

12. Grooming & make up

This area is broken down to hair, skin care, cosmetics, nail care, weight, diet and even the best shape/colour of glasses to suit your face/colouring.

13. How to shop effectively

This is my absolute favourite topic by far. How to develop an editor's eye and be able to scan a store with military precision for what you want, what homework to do before the sale starts, how to get into sales before everyone else does, how to plan for a sale, how to dress on the day, how not to be intimidated by shop assistants and understanding your rights when a purchase goes bad.

Here are some of the covers and an inside snapshot for each one:

not sure why this one has rotated during the upload....gremlins....

2 inside photos for this one.....

NB: Lucky is a US magazine "all about shopping". Its basically what the Aussie mag, Shop Til You Drop was modelled on. I used to buy it at Borders. Once they closed, I havent found anyone else in Sydney who stocks it....bummer...

I hope you have now got a flavour of what these books are about and maybe I have even interested you enough to buy one.

I'll be reviewing more style books in due course.

In the mean time, if you want any feedback on style books, just ask via the Styel into Action Facebook page or via the blog comments.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Collette Dinnigan inspired by Alessandro Dell'Acqua


Collette Dinnigan SS 2012

Now, see anything familiar with.......

Allesandro Dell'Acqua SS 2006

Yep, the phoenix rises from 2006 to only took 6 years......hehehehe

Oh & this next one is just a pretty picture.........


Horizontal stripes do not necessarily make you look fat

Horizontal stripes do not necessarily make you look fat.

Repeat after me.

Horizontal stripes do not necessarily make you look fat.

Does this women (Debra Messing) look fat in her Ralph Lauren Collection bumble bee dress?

Of course not.

So repeat after me.

Horizontal stripes do not necessarily make you look fat.

How does this work?

The key to horizontal stripes not making you look fat is for the garment to have them in such a way that the eye moves vertically when you do the blink test.

The eye will move in different ways depending on colour, width, placement of stripes & the cut of the garment. Obviously the fit of the garment has an impact as well.

The blink test

The blink test will help you determine the impact of an item & whether it's positive or negative.
I have done a previous blog post on the blink test.

Here's how it goes -

Close your eyes, facing the mirror, wearing the item.

Keep them closed for 5 seconds (this is important to clear your head of other thoughts & pictures).

Then open your eyes, staring at yourself in the mirror.

In that first 2 seconds, what's the first thing you notice?


It is recommended that you:

Buy the item
if your answer is something like: your face, any positive body part especially if its above the waist and upwards

Be wary of buying the item
if your answer is something like: you belly, you hips, your thighs or any negative body part (especially if its below the waist) or downwards.

So lets try a variation of a bumble bee gown....

Have a look at this photo of Debra Messing (again) in a Ralph Lauren Collection semi bumble bee dress?

Is this dress as effective in fat reduction as the first dress?

No, definitely not - the few black stripes dont produce enough of a column - instead they create a bit of an east west feel.

Here is a Stella McCartney AW 2010 piece - not a sign of east west - it has a mini column look.

FYI, Worn by super model Natalia

In contrast, the below piece from the same collection, IMO does have an east-west movement (even on a skinnie minnie model) Its the same width of stripes, but the cut emphasises east-west at her hips.


I use this test all the time (& sales assistants either look at me funny or keep their distance, knowing that they cant "sell" to me).

Its a double check of whether I am spending my hard earned money wisely - after all, if an item passes the blink test, its more like to end up on your back more than your wardrobe and hence
CPW (cost per wear) will going down. How cool is that?

Critique of the Dita lingerie collection at Target

The Von Follies by Dita Von Teese lingerie collection hit the Australian Target stores today.
So when I was doing my groceries, I made a detour to the scene, as you do.

Available both on line & in stores, but like all ranges some pieces are not available in the smaller stores.

The range consists of about 5 sets with a nice selection of bra styles and brief styles.


The standard sizing seems to be:
Bras: 10-14 & cup size B - E (with Ds going to "DD")

Knickers: 8 -16

Some styles are made in a fuller figure size range.

The fuller figure sizing seems to be:

Bras: 16 - 20 & cup size C - E (with Ds going up to "DD")
Knickers: 12 - 20


Knickers around $20
Bras around low $30s - approx $37.

There are also garter belts & full body corsets - my Target didnt have any of these though.

Garter prices are approx $30s

Full body corsets were $65 & $120. Wouldn't have thought there would be such a price difference.....go figure.....

My opinion on this collection

Some bras have very non stretchy fabric in their straps at the front - due to threaded lace in that part of the bra or fabric that just doesnt have alot of stretch in the direction it is sewn. My experience with this type of bra is they may suffer slippage while you are wearing them.

All the bras have metal circle thingeys & "D" rings. Frankly I prefer plastic because I soak my lingerie & the metal ones will rust over time (yes I sometimes forget to remove them from the soaking for a few days).

The elastics are not of good quality IMO. This is unfortunate, since once the elastic goes, its bye bye lingerie.

The lace is of good quality - even though I know its not, it looks like a French chantilly lace. Good work.

Good numbers of knickers with good tummy & bum coverage. Caters for real women.

The gorgeous fabrics and laces at the front of the bras dont go around all the way to the back (yes, I have been spoilt by Italian lingerie, La Perla)...the fabrics and laces at the front finish at the sides of the body & a plainer lace starts & works its way around your back.

The online site is

Interestingly, quite a few of the E bras have already been sold out on line.

Run, dont walk.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Very large feet? Very small feet? Read on....


If you have very large or very small feet, there is no point in whinging that the high street doesnt make your size. All it does is cause wrinkles on your pretty little face.

If you do a google search, you will find many many shoes makers which cater for you, as well as doing custom made shoes.

The only one I have had experience with is Andrew McDonald in Paddington - great experience.

What about the price?

You have to be prepared to pay more - its as simple as that.

This is one of those inevitable "throw some money at the problem" situations.

But here's the upside......

These shoes are made better than the shoes on the high street. So if you take care of them and store them well they will last you longer and you will get your money's worth.

What does taking care of shoes mean?

Not wearing them in the rain - ever.

Not wearing them while driving - you will scuff the heels and toes.

Putting soles/heels on them before they are required, in fact, see if the maker can do these as part of the finished product. [I get this done as soon as I buy my shoes - I save them up in tens, the boot maker does them in one go & gives me a bulk rate]

Massaging a neutral shoe cream regularly to keep the leather supple. Most high street stores that sell shoes have this, ditto shoe repair places like Mister Minit.

Using a boot polish to get rid of scuffs as soon as they appear and not after the scuffs have become deep.

Store shoes with shoe stuffing so they dont get out of shape. I find shoe trees are expensive so I make sure the shoes have their original stuffing when I buy them - the sales girls think I am a bit nutty asking this until I explain why I need it.

NEVER wear the same pair two days in a row. Leather needs time to rest between wearings & for the moisture to evaporate & the leather to get back to shape. If you have two pairs for work, alternate and they will last you way longer than if you didnt.

Store them so they dont get dusty - Carrie Bradshaw type shoe racks may look wonderful, but the best thing for the shoes is to place them in their original boxes.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Country Road inspired by Chloe

Check this out......more inspired by......

Country Road
AW 2012 (southern hemisphere)

Pre Fall 2011

AW 2011

Given that it took so long for Country Road to be inspired by this, there is a distinct possibility that other retailers wont have picked up the trend for the Aussie AW 2012....

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Trading cheap accessories for good quality

Check out this Jane Lamerton dress in this season's hot colour of kelly green.

FYI - Jane Lamerton is an Australian brand aimed at 20 - 50s. It has a tailored focus and is exclusive to Myer. Now, check out the self belt on this Jane Lamerton dress........

Now check out the standard logo from the Italian design house Salvatore Farragamo.

Anything look familiar? Just another example of inspiration from an uber design house - this time Salvatore Ferragamo.

How manufacturers work behind the scenes

The more accessories an item of clothing comes with, the cheaper the item of clothing is likely to be. Accessories can include a self belt, buttons and any trim you can think of.

Further, manufacturers tend to use as cheap as possible accessories to keep the overall cost of the garment down.

Even though the quality of the clasp looks OK in this case, look at the fabric of the self belt & how it is stitched......eeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwww

Really poor quality self belt.

My style tip:

Remove the self belt - after all, do you really want to be inspired by? or would you prefer to be original?

Then insert an all leather belt that will look classier and you can also wear it with other outfits (so its cost per wear (CPW) will go down).....

Remember, you dont have to restrict yourself to matchy-matchy....try contrast colours, interesting prints...

eg: Witchery $50

eg: Witchery $40