Friday, December 19, 2014

Scarf tying anyone can do. Easily.

Scarves are an easy accessory to wear. But many women find them intimidating. They don't need to be. Seriously. 

For beginners, rectangle shapes are easier to style than silk squares. Those silk squares can be very intimidating & I speak from personal experience. I was buying them in droves & it took me years to start wearing them. 

TIP: The easiest way to wear a rectangle is slung over your shoulders & hanging down on either side of your neck. 

Do it in cashmere, wool, linen, cotton but please try to stay away from viscose or polyester. 

Today I tried on a blue & yellow linen rectangle at a budget chain called W Lane. I had previously noticed linen scarves in their store, so I thought a proper investigation was warranted today. 

This baby was more vivid in colour than the photo implies.
She has animal print on the narrow ends.

She is 100% line, $35 and hand washable. 

I really liked this baby and blues like me. 
But her yellows are my worst shade. On the other hand, winner winner chicken dinner, most of the yellows were on the ends. The ends were an animal print. My complexion was reasonably safe. 

Happy happy. 

Then I looked in the mirror at the overall impression. I wore her the most basic way - over my shoulders & hanging down either side of my neck. Like this. 

She's an Oscar for the best east-west eye movement by a scarf in an Alexander McQueen chiffon. She is a square but will work just as well with a rectangle. 

This way of "tying" creates lots of vertical eye movement along the wearer's torso lengthwise. That's code for talling & slimming. Too easy. Great words, huh? 

But when I tried the W Lane, my eye continued downwards. Horror of horrors, she was the ideal length for the animal print section to sit just perfectly along my hips/tummy. That meant there was east-west eye movement - shorting & fattening. Plus the yellow was the brightest colour - even more shortening & fattening.

If I had a big bust & small hips, she would have been perfect. Alas. 

Now while I have your attention, every scarf even with the most basic "tie" creates eye movement. Whether this is good or bad depends on your height & body shape. 

This scarf brings the eye upward but also makes you look you are being eaten up. By something big & plaid. It's kind of like the plaid blob eye movement look.  

This next one tends to have more east-west eye movement but it also brings the eye upward. 

Here is the best north-south eye movement which a scarf can create. The even print makes it easy on the rest of the body too. Unlike my yellow/blue W lane number. 

Here's one which is tied in a mass of knots - it's not as fancy or hard as it looks. The wearer is clever enough to tie the knots in a vertical pattern. Best for medium weight scarves like cotton or linen. 

Here is the latest scarf trend thanks to Christopher Bailey at Burberry. This will work with a large square in a fine wool or linen or cotton or a rectangle. 

Note the belt though - that's east-west if ever I've seen it. 

Make sure you stand back & look at your overall image in a full length mirror to decide what works for you. 

Here is another contender for Best East-West eye movement. It didnt win though, because it's quite a large square and the fabric around the upper body creates a bit of horizontal tango.  

Scarves are so easy to wear. But step back & look in the mirror to make sure they are behaving the way you want them to. 

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?