Category Archives: HINTS & TIPS

Simplicity and Silhouettes

Simplicity and a classic silhouette are two elements of style that I preach to my clients all the time. Far too often, I see people layering too many accessories, trends or colours in an effort to look ‘cool’. However all this does, is make the person look like they’re trying too hard…Not cool! They forget the importance of ‘fit and proportion’ and end up looking frumpy or completely unbalanced.

Simplicity gives you that effortlessly cool factor (“Oh, I just threw this look together”), whilst a classic silhouette will flatter your body shape, creating harmony and balance – this ensures you look ‘put together’.

Wearing: Ray Ban gradient blue lens aviators, Country Road Tank, J Brand Tailored Flare High Rise Jeans, Wanted Pumps, Baggu Bag.

Thrifting

In the past I may have alluded to my love for thrift/charity store shopping. Scouring aisles for that one item that just screams out at you, AND it only gets better when you see the ridiculous price tag.

My aim: to find beautiful items with potential. A good wash, nip, chop, scrub, lick of paint, polish or repurpose can give any item a new lease of life.

Here are a few of my tips:

  • Time: Go when you have lots of it. No point rushing.
  • Unique: I always look for items that stand out. Does it pop, is it unusual, fun patterns, does it scream a particular era? Often when you isolate these items or style them with simpler items, they just work. Often they become the ‘talk’ – “I would never have picked that up – but OMG!”
  • Inspect: Look over each item closely. Check for stains, holes, loose seams, fading, rust, scratches or any other signs of damage. Can it be fixed? Does it add character? Note: Don’t be scared off by small flaws. Skirt too long or slightly too big? Take it up, take it in. Chunky printed knit has a small fray on shoulder? Sew it up from the inside. It will be barely visible due to the print. Vintage Tshirts – Holes and faded colours make it that much cooler!
  • Google: Think you’ve stumbled on a vintage brand? Or a collectable? Look it up. Found red pants in your size and a flattering shape, but are not sure if you can pull it off? Google looks. 
  • Try: Try before you buy. Most thrift stores will have dressing rooms, so make sure you do try each item on. Even if you think you know your size, clothes, particularly second hand clothes, stretch and change shape. Note: Just like shopping for new items; look for your flattering colours & shapes …
  • Ask: Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount. Think that stool is priced too high? The store staff might think so too.
  • Frequency: People drop things off all the time. Ask staff if they have a busier drop off day.
  • Walk Away: Don’t be afraid to walk out empty handed. There is no point in spending money (even if it is a bargain) if you can’t use the item or you don’t absolutely love it.
  • Fun: Most importantly have fun! Bring a friend and make the most of it.

Below are a few of my recent thrift store finds…

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Navy & Tan

Tan is a colour I love but doesn’t love me (it’s not the most flattering for my particular colouring – making me look washed out and sick). However, this doesn’t mean I can’t wear the colour at all. The ‘how to rules’ to wearing your not so flattering colours are simple:

  • Wear the colour further away from my face – best to keep it to your bottom half,
  • If you are wearing an unflattering colour near your face, break it up with larger jewellery pieces or a scarf in a flattering colour,
  • Wear tops that are further away from the face – strapless tops, spaghetti straps camisoles etc,
  • Wear your hair down,
  • Wear the colour in a pattern where 80% of the other colours are flattering.
Wearing: Massimo Dutti Scarf, H&M top, Sportsgirl Shorts, Wittner Shoes

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Pink Ribbon

Every now and then you get news that stops you in your tracks…  more often than not, it’s bad. Unfortunately, I’ve had my fair share of bad news over the years, but the month of October seems to hit home hard. It is Breast Cancer awareness month in Australia and having seen some amazing women in my life affected, still fighting or who have lost the battle, it’s still hard to believe that 1 in 8 women will hear those words muttered – you have breast cancer.

For those who have won the battle, scars physical and emotional remain and this month will forever be a hard reminder.

Just a few days ago, an old colleague contacted me asking for some help … her best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer and was about to undergo a double mastectomy. Her simple request was how to dress post surgery – the only natural answer was yes!

So to all those beautiful and courageous women who are/have fought this battle, here are just a few hints and tips I hope help

  • Firstly – Remember your breasts and scars will be more noticeable to you than to anyone else. So try not to rule out items of clothing because of their neckline, you may be pleasantly surprised.
  • Accessories are a great way to hide, distract or draw the eyes to another focal point. Bright shoes will draw the eyes down, a looped scarf will disguise and add volume to the bust area, whilst statement earrings or a hat will create focus around your face.
  • Avoid tops in skintight or clingy fabrics.
  • Textured, heavy or woven fabrics are great to add volume.
  • Draping, cowl necks, asymmetric designs, ruffles, ruching, flounces and layers are all a great way of disguising, whilst adding volume to the bust area.
  • Bold or busy prints demand attention and add extra volume, therefore actually detracting focus from the chest area itself.  Horizontal stripes add extra perceived weight by making your chest look wider.
  • Capped sleeves, shoulder pads and mid-upper arm T-shirts draw a wide focus across the chest area, which also adds perceived weight around the chest area.
  • Higher necklines draw attention toward your neck and face.
  • Layering is a great way to disguise the breast area – Try a camisole (with inbuilt soft padding) under a cowl neck top, and add a cropped sleeveless vest to add width to the breast area.
  • If you choose to wear a plain top – choose light bright colours (they reflect light making the area look larger).

Below are a couple of great examples currently available:

  1. Chikara Design Olivia Top
  2. Merlot and Behold Top
  3. Chikara Design Jennifer Dress
  4. Sesame Chic Cardigan
  5. Linea Weekend Cowl Neck Stripe Top
  6. Witchery Snake border scarf
  7. Chikara Design Jillian Swimwear
  8. Chikara Design Mary Jane Top
  9. Airport Greeting Cardigan in Oatmeal
  10. David Szeto Lucy Cowl Neck Top also available in a dress here
  11. Michael Kors Cowl Neck Top
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White Hot – The Classic White Shirt…

Every man and women needs the classic white button-front shirt in their wardrobe. It’s versatility and classic longevity will have you wondering how you lived so long without one, that’s if you haven’t already become hooked. Some of my favourite looks include: teaming the classic white shirt with cute denim cut-offs for a casual weekend look, rolled sleeved and tucked into a pair of beautifully tailored wide leg pants, or stepping it up for an elegant evening look with a full midi-length skirt. What to look for:

  • A good quality fabric
  • A shape that accentuates your body – no pulling at the back or across the chest, but not so large that it swamps your body
  • Structured but not stiff
  • The right shade of white for you
  • Long enough to tuck or tie
  • Avoid embellishments and fancy buttons

Some white shirt inspiration… white shirts Images:Streetpeeper, Northern Lights, 4thandbleeker, hollywoodpix, poppyacollar, Marie Claire, The Satorialist.

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15 beauty hints & tips that make a difference…

  1. Cold pressed olive oil is the best moisturiser and makeup remover.
  2. For light & bright makeup coverage, mix a dab of moisturising cream and tanner to your foundation.
  3. Define eyes without making them appear smaller by using black or dark brown on the upper lash-line and a light brown to define bottom lash-line.
  4. To make eyes look brighter (and appear larger) use a nude colour to line the inner rim of your lower eyelid. White liners look too obvious when close-up.
  5. Heat your eyelash curler under hot water or with the Hairdryer for a few seconds for an extra lash lift. Be careful to check the heat of your curler on your chin or wrist before using.
  6. When your Mascara has gone too thick, heat the tube with a hairdryer or place it under hot water. 
  7. Always fill in your eyebrows with a pencil in a shade lighter than your natural colour.
  8. Use gel or a hairspray on a recycled (& cleaned) mascara wand to tame unruly eyebrows.
  9. No time for an in-shower shave?  Use body oil and shave without running water.
  10. Set your eye-liner by applying an eye-shadow in the same colour on top.
  11. When applying mascara tilt your head up. You can see all your lashes and you won’t hit your upper eyelids with mascara.
  12. Never put your face under the hot shower – it’s drying and can cause broken capillaries.
  13. Always keep Eye Gel in the fridge for those ‘puffy’ days.
  14. For truest colour, apply a light amount of matt concealer on your lips before applying lipstick.
  15. Dry shampoo is the best way to absorb oil at the roots, create volume and save your ends from being over-washed and becoming dry.

Source: These hint & tips have been picked up from everywhere … my grandmother, the professionals I’ve worked with over the years and some simply discovered by myself.

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DIY Wardrobe Audit

It’s that time again… DIY Wardrobe Audit. I am a HUGE advocate of doing this every 6 months and well if you keep on top of it [your wardrobe that is] it should be a quick and painless experience. My problem… if you do this for a living, you tend to conveniently forget.

Okay three things before you start:

  1. Colour & Body Shape: I really highly recommend you have your colour and body shape analysis done before you audit your wardrobe. Not only will it help you understand why you only use 20% of your wardrobe 80% of the time, but it will also help explain why you bought these items to begin with.
  2. Time share: How do you spend your average week? Break your entire week down by hours. How many hours are at work? At the gym? Lounging at home? Out at dinner? Etc. If you are like most people and spend close to 40 – 50% of your time at work (obviously excluding sleep time) that is what you need to allocate to your wardrobe in space and in budget.
  3. Know your style: Be true to you. What are you drawn to all the time? Get inspiration from magazines, blogs etc. This will help you be ruthless when auditing begins.

STAGE 1: CLUTTER CLEAN UP

  1. Create 5 piles: Keep, Attention, Sell/Giveaway, Bin-it, Unsure.
  2. Pack away clothing that is not in season. Trust me, it will be easier and you’ll be in the right frame of mind prior to the seasons changing.
  3. Put the remainder of your wardrobe content on your bed in groups of: Tops, Bottoms, Undergarments, Accessories etc
  4. Begin with your clothing piles, followed by undergarments and lastly accessories.
  5. Try each item on and based on your reaction or lack thereof; put the items into one of the 5 piles.

KEEP:

  • Love it – I look amazing on
  • It’s a basic – I wear it all the time
  • The shape, fit and proportions should be perfect on you. It should fit your personality, is comfortable and looks fresh (modern)

ATTENTION:

  • Love it – BUT it’s missing a button, needs to be hemmed, dry cleaned etc
  • Love It – BUT nothing in my wardrobe goes with it
  • It’s a great basic – BUT it could look better with a nip and tuck or colour change.

SELL OR GIVEAWAY:

  • Not-so-perfect clone – 10 pairs of black pants anyone?
  • Colour and print is wrong
  • Doesn’t Fit – Too big or too small
  • Doesn’t Fit right – not for my shape
  • So Passé – My gran would love it!
  • Old Trend – So over neon people
  • Doesn’t suit my personality
  • Doesn’t suit my lifestyle
  • Haven’t worn it in last 2 years.

BIN – IT:

  • Item is DEAD – Holes, rips, its changed colour, the elastic has gone.

Note: If an item is ‘road kill’ it’s often because you loved it and wore it to death My advice: take a quick snap on your phone to help identify a future replacement OR if it’s your dream item, take it to a tailor to replicate.

UNSURE:

  • Like item – BUT can’t remember last time I wore it. Put a peg on the items tag. If in 6 months the peg is still on the item, you haven’t worn it and won’t. If the peg has been removed (because you’ve worn it) it has a place in your wardrobe.

STAGE 2: ORGANISING

What you’ll need:

  • Hangers (preferably the same) no wire hangers!
  • Clear Boxes
  • Draw Dividers
  • Book ends (to hold up clutches/bags)

Sort Hanging Section: Organise your wardrobe by Type and Colour eg group all trousers together and then sort by colour lightest to darkest.

Sort Shelves: delicate items or items that can stretch, should never be hung. Sort these items on shelves where they can been seen. Organise by type and colour. Put bulkier items or less frequently used item down the bottom.

Sort Draws: Underwear, Gym, lounge clothing and bulky items are best in draws.

Pack & Stack Clear Containers: Scarves, belts, hats, socks and undergarments (boob-tubes, spanx, hosiery) are things I like to packed and stack in clear boxes.

STAGE 3: FILLING IN THE GAPS – future post!

x A

Basics

When you work with clothes or fashion, most people assume a few things about you; 1. That you spend a fortune on clothing 2. That you follow all trends and 3. That you only dress in that [trend driven] manner. Funnily enough, I don’t, I can’t afford to do so and frankly, I don’t really want to…

However, what I do and encourage my clients to do, is:
1.       Focus on a strong ‘basic’ wardrobe
Basic’s are the foundation of your wardrobe. Every time you purchase an item of colour or pattern, these basic/core items will automatically provide a matching outfit.

2.       Only buy items that suit your lifestyle, your personality and your body
Seriously, forget about what everyone else is doing… yes – get inspiration from others, but don’t copy. They live a totally different life and have a totally different body.

3.       Only buy into trends you truly love and know you can ‘pull off’ confidently
Have fun with clothes but just be sure it’s worth your hard earned cash. Too many of us (myself included) hand over ‘the plastic’ or cash too easily.

So what does a basic wardrobe include? It includes simply cut items of clothing, in neutral colours (dark and light) which allow for mixing & matching.

Below is a picture that includes my basics (as requested by a number of my clients – sorry for taking so long) that work for my day to day lifestyle and wardrobe.

Items:
2 Long Sleeve: one dark  and one light (or striped) in colour,  3 T-shirts: one light, one med-dark, one striped, 2 Blazers: one dark, one light,Dark denim jeans, 2 Dressy Tops: one light, one dark, 2 Shirts: one dark, one light, 3 Singlets: one dark, one light, one other neutral, 2 Sweaters: one dark, one light, 1 Black Trousers, 2 Skirts: one dressy skirt, one more casual skirt (I love a good leather skirt), 1 Dress: dark in colour, 2 Pumps: one dark one light, 1 pair of classic closed flats, 1 pair of sandals, 2 bags: 1 clutch and 1 everyday bag, 2 cardigans, one light one dark, 2 Shorts, one denim and one pair of more ‘formal’ shorts.

Three things to note:

  1. These items are based on my body shape. So when looking for basics for your wardrobe, think about the shapes that work best for you… Do A-line skirts work better for you? Do you prefer a man-style pant or boot-cut jeans? etc
  2. These colour are based on my colour group (I’m a cool clear cool – in the old colour system I’m a winter). If you can’t wear black or white, don’t. Change black for another dark neutral – navy (It suits everyone), charcoal, dark brown, dark tan, forest green etc. Alternatives to pure white include; cream, beige, off white, grey and silk white.
  3. Lastly, I didn’t include winter, summer and sporting essentials… most of us know what this includes.

Let me know if you have any questions x A

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One of the Boys

The mens section is not just limited to men. Try things on – I do!

Sweaters: H&M Mens Section, Necklace: Juicy Couture, Pants: COS.

Red lips

I am a huge fan of the red lip. It looks so chic, so elegant, so sexy and yet so many people are afraid to try it. Below are a couple of my red lip tips which I’ve picked up over the years working with amazing makeup artists.

1. It is important you get the right colour and finish (Matt vs Sheen/Gloss) otherwise you run the risk of  looking garish

  • Warm (golden) skin tones – orange reds work best for you in a gloss or semi-gloss finish
  • Cool based skins (this includes yellow & olive tone) – a true red or blue based red in a glossy finish.
  • If you are soft or porcelain like in appearance – plum based, maroon or brownish reds are best for you. Look for a matt finish.

2. If you’re wearing a bold lip, keep the eye make-up simple – you don’t want to look like a clown.

3. If your lips have a tendency to ‘bleed’ use a liner – a liner in a similar colour to the lipstick should be used on the inside of your lip line.  Note: You should not be able to tell you are wearing a lip-liner.

 4. If  you are still afraid to try a lipstick

  • Opt for a tinted balm or gloss, I like Clinique Chubby Stick in two ton tomato.
  • For a light colour without the gloss appearance, apply a matt lipstick using your finger in a light dabbing motion. This will give your lips a ‘berry stained’ appearance.

5. For staying power – use a lip pencil lightly all over your lips and then apply your lipstick. For stronger staying power; blot your lips with tissue paper, apply some loose powder and apply your lipstick again.

6. To make your lips appear fuller – apply a dab of gloss in the middle of your lips. You can go one step further and apply a small amount of skin highlighter/illuminiser above your cupids bow.

7. To avoid lipstick on your teeth – Pucker up, close your mouth around your index finger and slowly pull out.  Any lipstick that would have found its way to your teeth is now on your finger.

Image Via Zuneta

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