Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Nina Proudman needs a colour consultation

Nina Proudman seems to have been wearing the wrong colours in the last couple of seasons of Offspring. 

She can wear whatever colours she wants waist down, but near the face, everyone has their best colours and it's their best colours that will make them look their best. So what matters for colour flattery is the shades of her blouse, jacket, necklace, earrings, scarves etc. 

Nina's best colours are COOL & CLEAR.
She also have a very low contrast between her skin & hair & eyes - so soft or medium intensity colours are called for. Anything strong, bold, vivid will over power her.  

Very simple. 

3 things: Cool, clear & medium intensity.

Anything else will make her look, ahem, not her best. 


Mustard is too warm and too muted for Nina. Mustard is about the worst colour Nina should wear. It makes her look pale, drawn and tired. Maybe that's appropriate, given Patrick just died...


Yellows & oranges are all wrong for a complexion with cool undertones. The off white s good, but the neckline is quite low so it doesnt negate the bad Camilla vest colours. 

WRONG, but....

The chambray vest here works - in fact, as long as the chambray isnt too yellow based, it will be a great colour for Nina. pity she doesnt wear it more often. 

The yellow top is warm, which is bad. However but it's quite clear in its depth and the intensity is right, which is good. It also has small stripes in warm colours, which don't help (orange, salmon). Overall, she can do better.  


This Tigerlily jacket is way too warm & strong for someone with Nina's colouring. 


The off white jacket/top is great for Nina's complexion. 
But that bright orangey red tank is a no go zone. It's too warm & too bright. 


This henley has the softness which Nina's complexion needs. However it's too muted - there is no purity/clarity in the colour.  If she wants a soft pink, it's better to be a more icy or rose shade and less orchid-y. These shades also have less yellow in them.   


The salmony colour of this mesh tee is very wrong for Nina's colouring. While the intensity is fine, the colour has too much yellow in it.  For someone with her coloring, this shade makes them look ill. wrong


This outfit is so wrong. The green is overdosed in a yellow undertone. It's also too bright for her soft complexion & hair. You notice the top before you notice her. 

As Yves Saint Laurent once said....

When the clothing overpowers you, it's time to change the clothing. 

Also the scarf is every shade of salmon, which is pink with yellow undertones. very wrong. To make things worse, the scarf has tones of beige/camel, more warm shades. 

For completeness, the high neckline of this top won't work on anyone with medium-large boobs. Most high necklines don't work for medium-large boobs. 


Mint green sings on Nina. It's cool & clear & soft. Perfect. 

Brighter greens like the next one don't work as well on her - too much yellow & too much bright. 



How about this green Oneseason dress? It's not ideal - the colour was tinged with too much yellow although it was the right intensity.


This shade of off white is perfect on Nina & it isn't distracted with any wrong shades. 


This appears to be a cool pink with medium intensity - seems to work. 


This look is so so wrong - not only is the salmony-taupe a wash out, the bright red camisole is too over powering for someone with Nina's colouring. 

Now let's move to the blues. 


A blue with as little yellow as possible is best for Nina.
Like aqua. Unlike Turquoise shades. 
This aqua is intense, maybe a little too much, but overall it's not too bad.

RIGHT, even better

This blue is great for her - it's even cooler than the aqua and the white in between breaks it up. 


This Tigerlily dress was great. Medium intensity, very little yellow. I cant be 100% until I see the actual fabric in natural light, but it does seem to have some muted characteristics - but that isn't anywhere near enough to undo the good characteristics (cool & medium intensity).  


This colour of this henley is interesting. It'f the right amount of softness and it's cool, but its too muted. Not by a mile, but still too muted. 

Now compare it to the blue in the below photo - similar softness, also cool but totally clear. Now that's perfect for Nina. 


sort of WRONG

We love the off white jacket. But black is the worst colour Nina can wear. For anyone with her fair colouring it's too harsh. It's lucky she wasn't wearing it as a high neckline.

If you want to wear black & you have fair colouring, you will look much much better in other dark shades like navy or bottle green or chocolate or charcoal. Obviously what you choose as your black substitute will depend on your skin tone & colouring. 


These colours are perfection. Clear, soft & cool. Even though the scarf technically is warm (cream), the varying tones of cool blues sing on her. 


It looks like the wardrobe department was getting Nina's colour right when the show aired for the first couple of seasons. But lately, her clothing has been very bright & very warm and/or muted in its tones. 

That's why she needs to see a colour consultant. 

Don't forget:

First: If you are wearing the WRONG colour, people will say:
"Gee, that's a pretty top."

If you are wearing the RIGHT colour, people will say:
"Gee, you look well."

Which compliment do you want?

If you love a colour but cant wear it near your face, wear it waist down, on your wrist, as a belt or as shoes. Easy.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Offspring style: Where to buy circle pendants

The Offspring wardrobe dept has a thing for circle pendants.

You may not have realised but this style is available everywhere.

1. In shell and semi precious, including turquoise, at Tree of Life.

2. In don't mess with me bold costume versions with mother of pearl or turquoise stones at Samantha Wills

3. At silver stores like Fuse Silver, independant jewellers, Westfield stalls (eg: Magnolia) & any silver market stall on a Saturday morning. 

4. In cheap & cheerful versions, both subtle & bold at Diva & Lovisa.

5. On Etsy, amazon & ebay (sooo many here)

6. Vintage versions including monogrammed versions in antique stores

7. Stunning vintage pieces in pewter.

8. Even Marc Jacobs also does his circle logo in a disc necklace.

9. At Dinosaur Designs for resin (& sterling) versions

10. Ann Demeulemeester does multiple glass versions of these every season (think monocle).

11. Of course, the House of Harlow disc necklace with the triangle border. 

12. In silver dipped Australian coins at independant jewellers - think about getting a coin form the year of your birth.

13. The Tiffany versions - forever classic.

14. The versions with holes like at

15. Kaboodle and Kirstin Ash also have fun versions with prints & colour. #6 in the photo is a kirstin Ash.  


1. Make sure the chain/leather/rubber/fabric cord is the right length for your shape. So if you are busty, keep the chain so the pendant sits on your decoletage & doesn't bounce around the girls.

2. Ensure the colour flatters your skin tone.
Turquoise & gold flatter warm complexions.
Silver flatters cool complexions.

3. Ensure the style (both chain & pendant) works with your wardrobe.

4. Think about surface texture to create interest - smooth, beaten, oxidised, etched, flat, wavy/undulating and many more. 

5. Does it have to be a circle? Of course not. Your body shape & clothing may better suit oval, heart free form or geometric. 

6. To get inspired, google something like "disc pendant" & set aside a few days to digest. 


Monday, May 12, 2014

Comparing cashmere: Target v Uniqlo

For those who have worn 100% cashmere once, the understanding is immediate. 

The understanding is that cashmere is one of the warmest fibres known to man & it's lightweight. Properly cared for, it lasts forever. 

With the advent of fast fashion, cashmere has lost it's luxe status and is now available at every price point. With price reductions, quality also varies. Unfortunately that is often a downward variation. 

For southern hemisphere AW 2014, Target Australia has introduced 100% cashmere in it's top line, Limited Editions for both men and women. As a Sydney girl, we finally have a Uniqlo store and I also had the chance to look at their cashmere sweaters. 

This blog compares the Target and Uniqlo cashmeres for women. 

Let's start with the Target women's range. 

Available in camel & in marine blue (a bright navy with a tinge of purple).
Three styles, crew sweater (69), vee sweater (69) & a waterfall cardi (89).

NOTE: The sizing differs enormously between the crew and the vee. 

In the following photo I laid an XL crew over an XL vee. Notice the width difference?  

This means that online buying may prove tricky. 

If you want the smallest crew size in the vee style, it's impossible to get.

Similarly, if you want the largest vee size in the crew style, it's impossible to get. 

I cant understand why these were sized so differently but I checked quite a few & it's consistent. Scary. 

Some style differences to note:

The crew has a wide hem basque. The vee has a very narrow hem basque. Not a material practical difference - more about the look than anything else.

Now let's compare the men's with the women's.

NOTE: The men's (99) is a thicker weight than the women's.
It's a denser knit. I don't know whether it's the gauge or the ply, but the women's are flimsier.

Sure, the men's are bigger pieces, so use more fibre. That & the denser knit make them more expensive. You get what you pay for strikes again. 

The men's have a wide basque - like the women's crew. Due to the tighter knit, the men's hem is more bubbled than the women's which falls more vertically.

For me, apart from the thicker weight, the men's look more expensive due to the way the neckline is finished. 
The men's has a banded finish - the knit is folded over along the vee. In contrast, the women's (both vee & crew) have one layer of ribbing - it looks flimsier, cheaper. 

The men's are available in a purple (pinot) and charcoal (zippered front), as well as the same navy as the women's (marine blue).

Frankly I don't like the quality of the women's - when you wear it fitted, you can see your shirt print underneath. I suppose it depends on how fitted you want to wear it, but if you love loose - grab the men's. 

Overall, the women's sweater cost $69 and you get $69 of value. Pretty ordinary. 

Let's compare the women's sweater to the cardi.

In short, the cardi is outstanding. 

It's generous in its cashmere.
The back is long & covers the bum - unlike alot of waterfalls which try to save costs by keeping the back short.

Call me crazy, but I am pretty sure that it's a slightly heavier knit than the sweaters. I was in store, with limited time, comparing with my eyes closed & I think this is the case. 

But apart from the generosity of the cashmere, the thing which makes this look luxe was the finish. There is thick banding all around the edges (except hem) and on the cuffs.

But since the waterfall is the big feature and it's front row centre, you'd want the banding to look great in that area. And it does.

Just as a point of comparison, I was in Country Road & I snapped the waterfall finish on one of their "fine Merino wool" cardis (149).

Let's zoom in on the bottom corner of the's a single layer (not banded) but the finish is awful. And that's what takes away from the luxe factor. 

Now zoom in on the upper corner of the waterfall - closer to the's icky. 

You may argue that a fine knit cant be finished any better. I agree with you BUT, I need to add something. A fine knit can't be finished any better yet still maintaining the same price. 

In contrast, the Target cardi has a gorgeous finish with any seams on the inside of the band. Love it. 

The price is 89 but the value is way more than that.


1. The women's range is made in Bangladesh - Target has signed the Safety Accord in respect of work done in that country. 

2. There is no swatch of cashmere thread attached to the sweaters. So if you need to mend, you'll have to find your own fibre match.

3. The cardi is generally not for petites. Even in the XS, I feel it may swamp you, but there may be cases where it works, depending on the person.   

Let's go to Uniqlo. 

Bear in mind I havent put a Uniqlo side by side with the Target sweaters. Even so, if I had to compare weight, I'd say the Uniqlo is definitely thicker than the Target women's. I'd say it's similar to the Target men's. 

As you probably know, Uniqlo is a Japanese retailer who specialises in selling basics in a gazillion colours. This contrasts with stores like Zara & H&M, who specialise in the latest trends & only use the basics as fillers. 

The Uniqlo cashmere I saw (in the Sydney pop up) was all the same grade for both men's and women's. 

There was men's & women's in a gazillion colours. But the shades weren't identical between the sexes - they varied. So men's may have a coral pink, the women's was close to a fuschia and a different shade of coral. The men's mint may have been mottled, white the women's was clear. Etc etc.

In the permanent stores, there are vee neck, scoop necks, crew necks, short sleeve, long sleeve etc etc. 

The only thing I noticed with respect to quality & the luxe look was on the basque along the neckline.

Both men's and women's are single layers (not banded/folded over like the Target men's).
But the women's has a vertical rib which runs along the band. The men's has the traditional perpendicular rib (like the Target women's crew & vee).

I think the men's looks more expensive, although the women's may be more slimming (it all helps...).

Caveat: One of the major quality indicators for natural fibre knits is pilling - those little balls you get on your sweater from friction. Obviously I havent tested that aspect. 

If you want to know the 101 on pilling, read this blog:

Finally a word on maintenance...

1. Keep mothers & critters away. There is no need for napthalene these days - there are dozens of products in the super market for this which smell far better & do the job just as well. Lavender is one of them. 

2. Never ever, ever, ever dry clean cashmere. It's strips the fibres of their oils & makes the garment hard over the long term. It will also discolour the pale colours to a grey tinge.
The Uniqlo fabric tag says to dry clean - ignore it. 

3. Hand wash in tepid water with either wool wash or shampoo.
Just dunk it in & out of the water a few times & swish it around - its the agitation (friction not required) which loosens the debris from the fibres. 

4. Squeeze the excess water out with your hands (do not wring) & roll the sweater in a towel to absorb more moisture. 

5. Re-shape the sweater & lay it flat to dry away from sunlight, on another dry towel. Never hang as it will stretch out. 

6. If it's on an elevated mesh fabric, there is no need to turn it over. If it's on a sealed surface (table etc), turn it over after half a day, to speed up the drying process.   

Sunday, May 4, 2014

People watching musings at Bondi Junction mall

I did a few quick laps at the mall at Bondi Junction yesterday in the afternoon. I sat down for a late lunch at The Coffee Club (BLT sans dressing).  

Bear in mind that I live in the northwest – my locals malls are North Rocks & Carlingford (with a customer a few years older than me), Castle Hill (my preference by far) and Parramatta (I dislike this centre). Chatswood now has the Zara drawcard, but it’s too crowded for my liking. If I want to clothes/accessory shop I go to the city and Woollahra for very specific stores which are not found elsewhere in Sydney.

I don’t normally visit Bondi Junction unless I am in the area on business. I find all its special stores can be found in the city, along with even more options, so it makes more sense to go there instead.

So what did I notice at BJ mall?

That the people were dressed deliberately.
Without a doubt, by far, this was the most outstanding tendency.

I'll repeat that because it's important and I don't want you to miss it.....I noticed that the people were dressed deliberately.

It wasn’t that their clothing was expensive (although some were).
It wasn’t that their accessories were expensive (although some were).

It was that they took care to combine everything on their body with an eye for the details. Nothing is thrown on randomly or last minute – the pieces are planned. And when their looks sent an effortless vibe, trust me, it had taken effort.  

I am not talking any super human effort here – just simple things like:

*    Is my underwear invisible?
*    Do my clothes fit properly?
*    Do my clothes flatter my best features?
*    Do my clothes hide my worse features?
*    Do the colours I am wearing flatter my complexion?
*    Do my accessories look well taken care of?

The above concerns are what makes a well dressed person. You can do all of this by yourself or, if these things overwhelm you, you outsource it to someone else.

I can guarantee you that if you take care of what you wear and how you look, you will look better than if you don’t.

The other interesting thing was that the clothes weren’t necessarily streets ahead in the expensive stakes. Sure, there were regular sightings of cashmere sweaters instead of wool, designer jeans and silk scarves, but there were a lot of non descript basics which didn’t scream money.

What did stand out though, were the accessories. 

I'll repeat that, because it's important. 
The accessories stood out. 

Yes, there were a considerable amount of designer labels and there was a freshness about them – nothing looked war torn, like you see in the suburbs. It was these accessories which were selected & thought out well, to make the person look special.

In my world, freshness in accessories doesn’t mean buying the latest look head to toe – it means looking after whatever look you have chosen and having one piece that is current. Current can mean a colour, a shape, a silhouette, a texture or an actual item.

Just to be clear, even you'll nail the accessory requirement even if you accessories are old - as long as they are well looked after and somewhere in the mix, ONE piece nods to the current trends. 

In summary, that's two words:
Deliberate & 
Accessories (looked after & one current piece)

Just for good measure, here is a previous blog about dressing deliberately.