Zara Melbourne has a new player in town, H&M have arrived!
It’s on. Oh yes, it’s very much on here in Melbourne as two global fashion powerhouses face off for title of best overseas chain in Australia.
I wish I could give you my point of view however two futile attempts to access H&M including feigning ignorance by trying to get in on the second floor via the lift (don’t even get me started on Uniqlo) resulted in sweet FA and self-mutterings about fad-shopping tourists and ridiculous queuing.
A quick comparison online however, reveals what our European cousins already know… Zara is trend led and – at least here in Australia – significantly pricier, focusing on smart glamorous pieces and leather bags and shoes. H&M is the thrifty answer to instant, contemporary fashion with the focus on basics, trend pieces in cheaper fabrics and a huge range of accessories at sometimes eye-wateringly good prices.
So … any thoughts about these fashion institutions – or at the very least, anyone want to snaffle me an H&M staff pass?
image courtesy of Zara.com
You may have noticed some new shapes hitting the stores this season and for those of us who enjoy eating the occasional (ok, regular) pastry we can breathe a sigh of relief because these shapes are more forgiving than any in recent years.
Boxy shapes simply mean a non-fitted looser style and can apply to tops, coats, and even handbags.
Above are a couple of examples for two different age groups but don’t be afraid to experiment with either one.
If you are curvy, remember to pair your boxy tops with a slimmer bottom half – think skinny jeans or bootleg that fits through the thigh. Also, make sure your heels are chunky, not stilletto or you will look like you’re about to topple over!
For you ladies with bigger busts, be careful the new boxy shape doesn’t give you the dreaded Queen’s mono-boob look! In this case, make sure your top has a deep v to compensate.
How to get some texture into your style
image copyright Susannah Lau
Scan any magazine lately and all the fashion spreads have one thing in common, texture. The level of beading, embroidery, quilting, applique and general jazzing-up of the humble pieces we cover ourselves with has reached new and dizzy heights.
Speaking personally, I'm singing hallelujah! Gone are the gentle florals and subtle pastels of 2012/13 and instead we have net, mesh, neoprene and plastics, ready to jump out at you for Autumn/Winter 2014.
If all this scares the bejesus out of you, fear not – just tread lightly and start off with a small accessory or minimal shapes. Don't try a new colour AND lots of embellishment until you find out whether this new direction is for you. Take a deep breath, its going to be alright…
image copyright Sportsgirl.com.au
image copyright Sportsgirl.com.au
image copyright Susanna Lau
Dare I say it, has summer finally arrived in Melbourne? If you found yourself frantically searching in your wardrobe for your summer clothing today (yep, me too) and wondered what the hell possessed you to buy into tricky trends such as neon clingy dresses/huge sequin platforms/harem pants (don’t even go there), read on for advice on what to wear and avoid this time around…
So what are these meant to do anyway? Well… the idea is to give you some height but allow you to comfortably run for a bus in them. The key to this trend is contrast, platforms can toughen up a floaty dress and give a 70’s nod to flared jeans. They are not for just chucking on as an afterthought. These shoes need some serious consideration so you avoid looking like Minnie Mouse!
Extreme platforms worn by the inimitable Susie Lau of Style Bubble to the British Fashion Awards…
Like most trends, the trick with neon (as I have written about before here) is moderation and most crucially, mixing with neutrals.
Unless you are a teenager/early twenties (in which case, wear pretty much whatever you like) wearing a small amount of neon with grey is the key to looking stylish without trying too hard. The easiest way to achieve this is through accessories, as shown here by these subtle espadrilles.
3. Pale Pink
If the thought of wearing this colour makes you feel queasy and pre-pubescent, again the key is to keep it simple. Use as an accent, be it through a lipstick shade, a printed top, a small cross body bag or just pink nail polish, it’s a nod to this fresh trend that will dominate this summer and next.
We’ve all been there (some of us are there most of the time!) … your littlest is yelling for his brekkie, you realise the shirt you’ve flung on has Vegemite on it and your eldest won’t brush her teeth before school… arrrgghhh!
Here’s a few quick ideas to make you feel instantly less like a bedraggled mum on the school run.
We’ve all been there (some of us are there most of the time!) … your littlest is yelling for his brekkie, you realise the shirt you’ve blindly pulled on has Vegemite on it and your eldest flatly refuses to brush her teeth before school… arrrgghhh!
Here’s a few quick ideas to make you feel instantly less like a bedraggled mum on the school run.
- Ditch the fleece/sportswear
Unless you’ve literally just been to the gym or you have no other jackets AT ALL, ditch the fleece jacket or sportswear for the school run. Even if your bum looks like Liv Tyler’s, cladding it in lycra, knee length gym leggings can be unforgiving and just waaaaay too much visual information in the morning! As for Fleece jackets – they make everyone look frumpy, there’s lots of stylish alternatives, try Witchery or Country Road for well cut light jackets or go to Temt or Valley Girl for cheap but stylish throwaway ones.
White, knackered running shoes that look like you do the gardening in them just won’t cut it anywhere outside the garden itself! There are now a million options in trainers/sneakers and Converse do a really good basic shoe that looks smart but allows you to run around after your kids in comfort. If you can’t bear the thought of trainers – swap out for ballet flats. Ideally buy leather good quality ones in a colour that goes with most of your wardrobe (navy, camel, peach, beige) or you can always buy cheap ones from Rubi shoes and keep replacing them every season.
Rather than suffer through another bad hair day (greasy hair scraped into a limp ponytail) get yourself a couple of hats that suit your face shape. If you have long lustrous wavy hair stick to wider brims, if you’re hair is short or cut into a bob generally you will suit a narrower brim. Have fun one day trying on hats in Myer and see what suits you. Then wear one with some great cut jeans, a trench and you’re good to go! EVERYONE suits at least one hat shape, so give it a try!
- Get your pants tailored to fit
Ok, this one isn’t exactly quick but I can’t emphasize enough how much difference it will make to how you look and feel to wear a pair of pants that fit perfectly and aren’t trackies (not that you’d wear trackies for the school run right… right??) This is so important, you will wear and wear them if they fit right and trust me they’ll make you feel you can run the world! If you can’t find pants to fit or they fit everywhere except the length or waist then get them adjusted by a tailor. There’s one in most shopping centres now. Just don’t buy pants that need extensive re-shaping, they should fit 90% at least before you buy them. A bootleg or wide leg shape in a dark colour suits most women or go for a skinny leg if you’re happy with your shape. Look for pants with 3-5% elastane so they give a little and feel comfortable.
An old trick but a good one, on the palm of your hand, mix a small amount of vaseline and your fave lipstick and apply a TINY amount onto your cheeks as blusher… it will give a natural glow with subtle colour and make you look like you’ve had 9 hours sleep instead of six!
If you’re like me, when you’re browsing in shops or online, your eye is drawn to the same things over and over, especially if you have been obsessing – check that – THINKING about them for a while! Here’s mine for this month…
Socks/tights with open-toed sandles
bridget fleming / fashion.telegraph.co.uk
I think it’s a much edgier more contemporary way to do the tights/shoe thing, especially if those shoes are statement making. My advice, don’t do statement tights AND statement shoes unless you have the personality to match!
Ahh the clean, cool, crisp shade of mint green – doesn’t it just make you feel like your teeth are shinier and your life is that bit better? Well, its this colour that magically makes people feel all shivery and special whilst skipping down the streets in their minty shades, or maybe that’s just me…
Jil Sander Navy platform loafers mytheresa.com
Prada platform loafer with cork sole lyst.com
The platform loafer, or ‘Flatform’ as they are often called, is a new kid on the block and for me instantly allows me to wear midi dresses and skirts without feeling like a librarian. It has also virtually wiped out any interest I have in wearing my ballet flats as they now look ridiculously teeny and girly as though I should give them all to my 5 year old daughter! These chunky mothers take some beating, are super comfy and make me feel invincible – all that from a shoe you ask? Why yes.. go see for yourselves!!
A strange desire has crept up on me lately… The wish for a more sporty vibe to my wardrobe
A strange desire has crept up on me lately… The wish for a more sporty vibe to my wardrobe à la the likes of Rihanna and Jess Dempsey of Whatwouldkarldo blog (but not Rita Ora, that’s a step too far!)
Oh yes indeed! Me of the gen x era who has never been remotely into sports suddenly wants to skip around in sweatshirts and trainers. This could go horribly wrong, now DROP AND GIVE ME 20!
Let me just say upfront, I love a white shoe. Not only does it surprise and excite, where a black one would be more predictable but it also looks altogether sharper than its darker cousin. So may I present my latest white-shoe-crush?
Let me just say upfront, I love a white shoe. Not only does it surprise and excite, where a black one would be more predictable but it also looks altogether sharper than its darker cousin. So may I present my latest white-shoe-crush? (Click here to shop)
Not being a heels girl generally, I'm trying later in life to be bolder and more true to the things I like and this little baby just makes me want to cradle it in my arms whispering sentiments! Want to know how I'd style it 3 ways? Here you go… happy monday!
The leather jacket – probably the most versatile item in your wardrobe that looks good on both men and women and immortalized by everyone from Jim Morrison to Kim Kardashian. If you don't own one, go out IMMEDIATELY and find one that makes you feel sexy, beautiful and just a little bit rock! Here's some different ways to wear it …
Kim's chosen a drapey style jacket, worn with simple grey tee, black skinnies and platform heels complete with neutral bag. This is an easy outfit that looks especially good on curvy figures. The tee finishes just at her hips drawing attention to her great curves and the pants and heels create a long lean line giving the illusion of height. This is an example of the clothes showcasing the beauty of the woman in them.
This style looks great on mature women as all the elements are classic, blazer cut leather jacket in soft brown, dark classic shift dress and pointed heels in burgundy, ray ban sunglasses, neutral bag. Not showy, just classically beautiful. The jacket makes the look slightly edgy whilst still being age-appropriate.
With a coloured jacket, it's a statement piece so the rest of your outfit must be neutral otherwise you'll end up looking too christmas-tree-ish! On the left image, Rachel Zoe wears a beautifully cut turquoise jacket to perfection, making the jacket the show piece of her outfit. On the right, tones of burnt tobacco and olive green make the outfit visually interesting but not overwhelming.
What makes a cropped leather jacket work so well is that it can give the illusion of length and height. If you're less than 5 foot 5, make sure whatever you wear underneath the jacket isn't too far away in tone from the colour of the jacket itself to give that elongated look. If you're long and lithe like Nicole Richie here, then you can get away with more colour and pattern underneath the jacket but again bear in mind that she is still wearing a floor-skimming dress which creates the illusion of height.
This is not a look for everyone (doing the weekly shop anyone?) however what makes it work is the contrast between the toughness of the studded leather jacket and the fragility of the white flowing dress. Its also the unexpected – a leather jacket worn to a formal event. It takes fashion savvy but sometimes its just fun to wear something that makes a big statement.
Imagine getting together with your besties on a Saturday night, sipping champagne, trying on all sorts of outfits and having a great laugh whilst a stylist gives you all fashion advice…
Well imagine no more because last night was the very first SESS – Saturday Evening Styling Sessions from Style Revival!
Hosted flawlessly by the lady of the house, myself and 4 very game lasses (including one inspirational nine-year old) had so much fun exploring different looks and talking about all things fashion, specifically how to make looks work and why.
If this is something that interests you, check out my What we do or Prices pages for details…