Outfit Formula: Simple Solid Bright Pants

Wearing bright pants is an acquired taste. Some find the look loud, juvenile, unprofessional and widening, and prefer neutral bottoms. Others simply prefer to wear their non-neutrals up top. Personally, I enjoy wearing bright pants because it’s an easy way to make an interesting and bold statement. Add a simple top and pair of shoes, and you’re there. The pants do all the talking. I miss my red, orange and citron pants, and desperately want to replace them this year.

I think these outfits are gorgeous, although I’d swap out some of the footwear choices and we need warmer weather before we can put them into action. Hopefully they’ll provide some inspiration.

1. Fuchsia Elegance

Combine a black lace or solid blouse with pair of dressy fuchsia pants like these crepe flares. Tucking the top makes the leg line look longer, as does wearing almost floor sweeping hems. The low-contrast silver pumps further lengthen the leg line and add some shine. Proportionately, the model looks short in the waist which is accentuated by the strong horizontal line created by the high-contrast top and bottom. The V-neckline of the shirt collar offsets that by drawing the eye back up and down. The model looks beautifully elegant.

Mareé Wide Leg Fuchsia Pant

2. Trendy Classic

Combine a pair of red pants with white boots and top, and Bob’s your uncle. Throw in just about any colour bag or topper because red & white are a classic and versatile combination. I’d add a turquoise bag and coat to this combination, and swap out the shirt for a white pullover. You could sub the white for black, toffee, tan or navy, if that’s more your thing.

MM6 Maison Margiela High-rise Straight Leg Trousers

3. Suited and Stilettoed

Combine green pants with a navy top, and finish off the look with nude-for-you, white, blush, metallic or navy footwear. Sub the navy with black if that’s more to your taste. And if suits are your thing, add the matching topper. Wearing stiletto heels with a suit is a classic pairing, although the heels needn’t be high.

Boden Hampshire Ponte Culottes

4. Tonal Romance

Cobalt works well with teal and turquoise because it clashes in a deliciously tonal way. Here, both the pants and blouse are soft, creating a sensual vibe. The blouse is tucked for structure, but you could wear it untucked. Nude-for-you, white, metallic, or footwear that bookends your hair is a good way to go. I’d have styled the model with closed footwear like a tan mule, ballet flat or pump.

11 Honoré Satin Icon Track Pant


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20 Spring and Summer Trends

I’ve worked my way through the Spring 2019 Ready-to-Wear collections, pinning directional looks along the way. Through the chaos of over-the-top outfits, unrelatable looks, kitchen-sink combinations, messy hair, scary make-up, and very ugly outfits, an interesting and cohesive set of fashion themes emerged. This makes it easier to extrapolate and predict the trends that we’ll see for the next few Springs and Summers.

Here are a few things that stood out:

  • Chaos, complexity, drama and uncertainty describe the state of modern fashion for the third year in a row.
  • The lack of diversity across the body type and age of the models was disappointing. I had high hopes for change this season, but nothing. It’s surprising since we’re seeing many more brands offer extended sizes, and retail campaigns are using older models more regularly. It would have been powerful and complementary if designers were equally inclusive when showcasing collections on the runway. In that respect, designer runway shows are dated.
  • The emphasis is on creativity, juxtaposition, and comfort, so there is little regard for creating conventionally flattering proportions.
  • The enormous and overwhelming variety in today’s fashion supports what I call the Individualism and Maximalism trends. In other words, just about anything goes if you are confident and comfortable in your outfit.
  • Athleisure — wearing sports gear and workout clothing as regular casual wear — was nonexistent.
  • Sporty Luxe is alive, with sneakers often combined with dressier items.
  • Skinnies and hem lengths above the knee took a big backseat in lieu of wider and roomier silhouettes, and midi and maxi lengths.
  • Denim was featured as a staple in many of the collections.

Interestingly, despite what’s happening on the runways, retailers continue to flood the market with body-con skinnies, stretchy leggings or jeggings, and Athleisure, because consumers buy it. Remember that designers do not have the power to control trends as much as we do collectively as consumers. Retailers will stock items when it’s a sure sell at retail, despite what the trend forecasts predict.

My favourite shows were:

On to the trends.

1. Individualism

There is no one way to be stylish, and fashion is a melting pot of sartorial choices. Increasing diversity in fashion with each passing year means that there is something for everyone. Trends are no longer seasonal and fads no longer exist. To some extent trends are becoming harder to define, and at some point they will be irrelevant.

Creating a signature style, milking the one you have, or evolving it over time is the most important and relevant trend of them all. Take the PERSONAL in personal style to heart because you have the power to pick and choose from the trend buffet, and sport it your way.

2. Maximalism

Maximalism means wearing it all together to create a harmonized whole. Think of wearing complex silhouettes, combining them in one outfit, layering all sorts of pieces to create interesting proportions, accessorizing to your limit, pattern mixing, texture mixing, patchwork, embellishment, remixing high-contrast colours and clashing colours, wearing statement make-up, and adding nail polish and rainbow hair.

3. A Billion Shades of Beige

Most runway shows had a beige component, which is a nod to the early and mid ‘90s. Beige ranges from the lightest tan to the gentlest caramel across every wardrobe item, but was especially apparent in pants, shorts and toppers. Long flowing beige layers of pant-tunic-gilet were there, and make me think of 1993.

4. Explosion of Pattern

There was SO MUCH neutral and non-neutral pattern coming down the runway. Everything from the classics like leopard, snake, stripes, florals, dots, chevrons and checks, to quirky paisleys, novelty prints, slogan prints, blurry watercolour looks, geometric designs, insects, flags, birds, tie-dye, iconic scarf prints, and botanical designs. Lots and lots of subtle and hectic pattern mixing.

5. ‘80s & ‘90s Redux

Modern Retro means that you’re incorporating a style, trend or design from a bygone era AND adding a good dose of modern to the look. Retro items are new pieces, not vintage items that actually come from those eras. The ‘80s continue to hugely influence today’s fashion. Think oversized tops and toppers, ruffles, flounces, pleating, ruching, fringe, flares, sharp shoulders, jumpsuits, acid wash, pleated trousers, one-shoulder dressing, boho, pleated skirts, disco, dandy, high rises, paper-bag waists, New Romantic, lace anything, bows, wrap tops, graphic statements, crop tops, embellishment, punk, neon, waist belting, oversized eyewear, and white footwear.

The ‘90s are influencing today’s fashion too. Slip dresses and pinafores worn with tees. Prairie dresses worn with sneakers and combat boots. Beige from head-to toe, palazzo pants, flowing looks with relaxed gilets, bias-cut skirts, head-to-toe black goth vibes, long blazers, lots of long flowing layers, dresses over pants, bootcuts, bootcuts with sneakers, wide pants with flats, a bit of grunge, chunky black footwear, flatforms, crystal and broomstick pleated skirts, lug soles, square toes, snip toes, bangles, shrunken blazers, ditsy florals, Hermès and Versace patterns, slides, round eyewear, maxi skirts, body-con black dresses and dungarees.

6. Jumpsuit Jive

There was some type of jumpsuit or romper in almost every collection. From stiff and rigid ‘80s boiler suits, to soft and flowing styles of the ‘90s. Patterned, solid, short, long, wide, tapered, pretty, mechanics overalls, sleeved, collared, bright, muted. You name it and it was there.

7. Acid Wash

It’s all about light and not dark denim. ‘80s acid wash jeans, shorts, crops, skirts, jackets, handbags, dresses and vests were aplenty. Acid-wash denim was remixed with both casual and dressier items, and used as a trim.

8. High Rises

Most dressy trousers, shorts, cropped pants and jeans rises were high or very high, which goes hand in hand with the structured waist definition trend. It’s also a strong ‘80s flashback. The point is to showcase the high rise, and not cover it up with a top. Tucking or semi-tucking is key, or wear a shorter top. This is a hard trend to wear if you’re short-waisted and apple-shaped, so grab those mid and low-rise jeans and trousers while they’re available.

9. Midi Mania

’Tis another midi dress and skirt season. Wooohoooo! The runways were swarming with dresses and skirts across all sorts of silhouettes, colours, patterns and fabrics. Some were soft and romantic, and others were strict, avant-garde and rigid. There is sleeved, sleeveless, structured, unstructured, casual and formal. Some were layered over cropped pants and worn as long tunics. Most lengths were midis that finished between the knee and calf. ‘90s maxi dresses are on the rise, and minis were few and far between.

10. Playful Suiting

There was lots of warm-weather matchy-matchy trouser suiting in fun colours. Pastels, brights, earth tones, and all sorts of light neutrals like beige. A handy way to stay warm and look Summery in arctic a/c, dress up in a covered way, or wear pants when you don’t like dresses.

11. Structure & No Structure

There was an incredible amount of structured waist definition coming down the runway. AGAIN. This was created by garment tailoring, fit-and-flare frocks, peplums, belting, garments with attached belts, and tucking tops into high-rise bottoms. Showcasing the waistline is trendy. If that’s not your thing, allow garments to hint at a waistline for a bit of structure. Oversized, extremely oversized, fluid fits, and gently fluid fits are there. Tailoring is definitely gaining momentum, and I couldn’t be happier about that.

12. Denim on Denim on Denim

There was more denim at the shows than ever, which makes me think that jeans might become more popular than leggings (like they were a decade ago). The emphasis was on statement jeans with bells and whistles, and design detailing. Nothing basic, and lots of it worn in one outfit in the same or different wash.

13. Utility

There was an earth-toned utility theme running through a lot of the looks. Cargo pockets, carpenter pants, field jackets, camouflage, netting, webbing and drawstrings are popular. These casual items and design details were remixed with dressy and casual vibes.

14. Wide Cropped Pants

Most of the pants coming down the runway were wide or extremely wide, and most of them were cropped. Some silhouettes were fitted on the thighs and flared at the hems. Many were wide all the way down the leg. Fabrics were both soft and rigid.

15. Roomy Full-Length Pants

Dramatic, soft and very wide floor sweeping pant lengths are making a comeback, and another nod to the ‘90s. Some lengths looked very luxurious and leg lengthening, whereas the extra longer lengths looked dreadfully precarious and impractical. Interestingly, many extra long lengths were paired with flat footwear like strappy sandals, mules and sneakers.

16. An Assortment of Shorts

There was a huge assortment of both casual and dressy shorts across all sorts of lengths, colours, fabrics and patterns. 99% of them had high rises. From the shortest hot pants, to the longest Bermudas. Vibes were both straight, stiff and boxy, or as pretty, structured and soft as can be. Thigh length and knee-length spandex cycling shorts across neutrals and non-neutrals made a statement. Most were worn under mini dresses or combined with blazers.

17. Mustard, Earth Tones, Orange and Coral

These days we see all the neutrals every season, which is a beautiful thing. For Spring and Summer this year, I see an emphasis on shades of beige and white, dark blue, light blue denim, and some black. That said, earth tones like cinnamon, toffee, olive and mustard continue to make a meaningful warm-weather statement. All shades of red and orange are strong, like coral, burnt orange, Dutch orange, tomato red, fire engine, watermelon and berry tones. Pastel pinks like blush and ice pink continue to be strong, and can be considered a neutral.

18. Hints of Turquoise and Bright Green

I was VERY excited to see shades of turquoise come down the runway. It’s been a decade since we’ve seen it make a fashionable statement so it’s about time. From the bluest turquoises of the Mediterranean sea, to light aqua, and Tiffany blue across tops, bottoms, dresses, toppers, footwear, patterns, or used as a trim. Bright lime and apple green were there in small doses and looked great with turquoise. FRESH.

19. Every Style of Footwear

It’s reached the stage where it’s hard to wear dated footwear because it all came down the runway. Just about every style of heel and toe box is having either a small or big fashion moment. Chunky styles to dainty styles and everything in between. Pointy toes, very pointy witchy toes, almond toes, round toes, square toes, rounded-square toes, slanted toes, blunt toes, snipped toes – it’s all there. Block heels, stilettos, Cuban heels, lug soles, kitten heels, wedges and ornate heels. Boots, Western boots, perforated booties, mules, slides, pumps, ankle-strap footwear, pool slides, T-straps, loafers, oxfords, ballet flats, Mary Janes, espadrilles, Birkenstocks and sandal booties. Every style of sandal and sneaker, and hybrids thereof.

Flat sandals with either dainty or broad straps were the most popular, as were flat slides, flat mules, white sneakers, loafers, booties, and variations on the classic pump. Most of the footwear coming down the runway was flat or low heeled. Footwear was very brown, white, beige or black. A bit of red and metallic too.

20. Irregular Outfit Juxtaposition

Irregular outfit juxtaposition continues to be THE styling tool of our fashion era. The more contrasting and odd-to-the-eye a combination may seem, the more 2019 and fashion-forward it is. Sneakers both refined and athletically chunky are styled with every outfit. Faux-pas looks of the past are all the rage. What was thought of as unattractive and dowdy decades ago is hip and fab, and proportions that are just flattering enough reign supreme.

WOW. There are lots of trends that make me happy. I adore the ‘80s, high rises, white footwear, lace, acid wash, sour brights, statement denim, all shades of orange, flat footwear, cropped pants, structured fluidity, irregular outfit juxtaposition, anything that looks pretty, classic patterns, and pattern mixing. I’m going to milk the midi dress trend until the cows come home, add turquoise and bright green to my wardrobe, try a little beige with white, throw in a bright pants suit, and continue sporting my signature style. I’ll say no thank you to shorts, most things ‘90s, jumpsuits and oversized silhouettes.

Filter through the trends. Keep the ones that tickle your fancy on your radar, and leave the rest. Don’t stop rocking your signature looks, but do try something new. The “personal” in personal style means styling the trends YOUR way, which is the best part in all of this. Feel refreshed and empowered as the new season unfolds.

VERONICA BEARD Mac Asymmetric Floral-print Silk-blend Midi Skirt

TIBI Steward Double-breasted Crepe Blazer

LOW CLASSIC Belted Faux Leather Jacket

11 Honoré Lorelei Dress

Eloquii Kimono Sleeve Bomber Jacket


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The Fabulous V-Neck

V-necklines create a V-shape below the base of the neck and on the décolletage. Sometimes garments have back V-necklines, which is fun and unexpected. V-necklines can be deep or shallow. Front V-necks that are to deep are annoying when they showcase too much cleavage, or require a camisole that interferes with the shape of the V. Back V-necks are great when they’re high enough to cover the bra strap.

A top or dress with a structured shirt collar creates a V-neckline when a few of the top buttons are worn unbuttoned. A more subtle yet effective V-neckline can be created when a long and chunky pendant necklace is worn over a higher neckline like a crew or turtleneck.

V-necklines are fabulous because of their elongating integrity. They visually flatten curvier top halves by creating space and breaking up the expanse. They also give you room to breathe. They create the most conventionally flattering effect on:

  • Larger busts
  • Shorter necks
  • Shorter waists
  • Broader shoulders
  • Petites

Many of my clients enjoy a V-neck because they are a slam dunk for their body type. After fifteen years of dressing women, I’m still in awe at how magically a V-neckline can minimize the size of the bust and lengthen the neck. Conversely, a high neckline does an excellent job of visually shortening the neck and increasing the size of the bust.

I’m seeing lots of dresses with V-necklines coming through for Spring and Summer, which we haven’t seen for years. That’s fabulous and a long time coming.

Personally, I avoid front V-necklines because I have the opposite of the body type that wears them well: a regular bust, regular waist, narrow shoulders and a very long neck. My short hair makes my neck look even longer. The higher the neckline, the better it’s suited to my body type. That said, I successfully wear a V-neckline when it’s a structured shirt collar with a few of the top buttons left open. That’s because the collar adds coverage to my long neck and shoulder neck point, especially when I pop the collar. I also enjoy wearing tops that have high necks in the front, and V-necks in the back.

Here are the V-necks in my wardrobe. Every item is a shirt collar accept for a blouse that has a high front neck, but dips to a V-shape in the back.

Over to you. Do you like and wear V-necks, and do you fit into the body type that wears them best?

BURBERRY Maringa Logo Patch Striped Wool and Cashmere-blend Knit Vest

Eloquii Puff Sleeve Overlap V-Neck Dress

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Share the Wear to Make Your Favourites Last Longer

Over time, wardrobe items will tear, pill, scuff, snag, stretch, fade and get stains. Laundering an item weakens the fibres, changes the fit, and dulls the colour. Items were made to be worn, but I do want my favourite items to look pristine for longer. So I make a point of “sharing the wear”. Here are three ways to do that.

More Items in Rotation

If you spread the wear evenly, then the items in a larger functional wardrobe will take longer to wear out. This isn’t so much about having a large wardrobe as it is about ensuring that you purchase items that are going to be worn. A dysfunctional wardrobe with many wardrobe orphans can make even a large wardrobe feel small. Conversely, a modest size wardrobe can feel large if the items were bought strategically.

Multiples of Similar Items

When you have multiples of similar items in rotation, they will all look less worn over time. These can be wardrobe essentials, wardrobe basics, completers, or statement pieces. For example, simple white footwear across styles that span the seasons are a wardrobe essential for my style. They are workhorses and I wear them many times in a week. The key is that I have many pairs of white booties, loafers, flats and sandals, which keeps them looking fresh, crisp and less scuffed over the years. If I had one pair of white boots that I walked in all season, they’d be battered after three months.

I also have a large collection of outerwear and handbags, and the items have held up really well. Some of my almost ten year old coats and bags look fairly new because I swap out the look very frequently, which shares the wear. If you sport the same bag all year, and the same pair of boots all season, they’re going to look worn fast.

Pick the Right Item from the Pile

When you have many pairs of panties, bras, socks, camisoles, tees, PJs, turtlenecks, thermals, sweatpants, workout tops, leggings and the like, it’s easy to keep on wearing and laundering the same ones instead of sharing the wear across the range. Put freshly laundered items at the bottom of the pile, or deliberately reach for items that are further down.

This isn’t essential. You might prefer your bags, jeans, sweats, leather jackets, and footwear to look worn because you like a rough-around-the-edges vibe. Maybe you’d prefer to have a small, tight wardrobe that you replace more frequently to prevent outfit boredom. Or maybe you’re fine for some items to look worn and others to look pristine.

I prefer my items to wear evenly across my wardrobe so I can enjoy my favourite items for longer. Sharing the wear helps me to do this.


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Link Love: Bundling Up

With the polar vortex hitting the US East Coast and temps just below zero (Celsius) here in Belgium, I’ve rounded up some links that will help with cold-weather dressing.

Fab Links from Our Members

With the recent forum discussion about abuse in factories, nemosmom thought this article about sustainability and Fair Trade efforts by Madewell and the J.Crew Group was interesting.. 

Angie stumbled across some style advice from Oscar Wilde.

Kate Spade’s niece, Rachel Brosnahan, is modelling the new Frances Valentine Spring collection. Jane thought it feels so poignant that her niece is connected with the brand.

The Streetwear Generation Turns to Tennis: “Yoga, basketball, now tennis. More sports/fashion crossover,” says Runcarla.

T’exstyle wanted to share this video of an inspiring 83-year old woman who happens to look fantastic in addition to having a great voice. 

After today’s blog post, Runcarla refers us to this article about Princess Eugenie who wanted her wedding dress to show her back surgery scar. She adds: “This hits close to home for me. DS#2 was born with an underdeveloped and blind eye and a strawberry birthmark on the right side of his face. To me, he was a most beautiful round and sturdy golden morsel. Unfortunately the world did not see him the same way, and we were the recipients of many hurtful comments. At 8 months, he was fit with his first prosthetic eye by a very kind and gifted occularist who DS still sees 25 years later. The strawberry mark faded with time. Like Princess Eugenie says: ‘I think you can change the way beauty is.’”


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Outfit Formula: Combat Boot Chic

Nods to the ‘80s and ‘90s continue as we head into 2019. As far as the ‘90s go, there are few items as representative of the era than black combat boots. Styles can be chunky or more refined. Despite the bulkiness of the boot, the fit is tailored. 

Black combat boots are an iconic casual classic with a high longevity factor. They’re always in style, a wardrobe essential for a hard-edged style persona, and a practical statement shoe. Most of them are black, although they come in shades of brown and sometimes white too.

These days, you can incorporate combat boots into just about any outfit. They add a casual and tough component to a look, which makes them a handy styling tool. Here are four renditions to get you started.

1. Architectural Darkness

The column of colour here is easy to pull together with a dark pair of blue jeans, which effectively breaks up the black. No need to tuck the top if that’s not your thing. Top and bag are simple, but the topper is dramatic. Its accentuated cocoon shape adds an architectural, arty and playful touch. Jeans are cropped to showcase the boots, and by all means wear warm black knee-highs or socks.

BOTTEGA VENETA Intrecciato Leather Ankle Boots

2. Soft and Playfully Patterned

This is my favourite of the four because it’s not hard-edged. It’s softer and I like the white boots. It’s also Trendy Classic, which is a look close to my heart. Combine a pattern-mixed top and topper in any colour palette with jeans and combat boots. If you can’t pattern mix, find soft or bright solids. Wearing the jeans cropped or rolled at the hems to showcase the boots is key. Substitute the jeans for pants if that’s more to your taste.

TABITHA SIMMONS Max Leather Ankle Boots

3. Hard-Edged Flounce

Combine a flirty, flared and flouncy midi skirt with a black top and combat boots. It’s that simple. Sweatshirts relax the vibe of the outfit. A fitted black pullover will work, and dress things up a bit. Feel free to sub the skirt and top with a prairie dress, floral flared midi, or something similar.

TABITHA SIMMONS Max Leather Ankle Boots Black

4. Skirted Equestrian

Combine a tapered black tube skirt with a black top and combat boots. Throw on a classic blazer in any colour palette and Bob’s your uncle. A moto jacket, bomber, denim jacket or cape can work as well. Try a shorter black pencil skirt with black hosiery if you have those on hand. Or sub the skirt with black pants.

GIVENCHY Aviator 4G Leather Boots


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Clothing Crease Tolerance Levels

My tolerance for creases is low. My style moniker is Urban Polish, and I take the polish part to heart. Outfit polish means different things to different people, but to me it’s about wearing great-fitting and well-pressed clothing that looks pristine. 

Compared to many of my friends, family and clients, my intolerance for outfit creases is extreme. Here are the lengths I go to prevent them. 

  • I re-press clean, folded wardrobe items if they look creased before wearing them.
  • I re-press a wardrobe item that I’ve worn already but can be worn again before it goes into the laundry.
  • I press all my clean jeans and flannel pyjamas after they’ve air-dried.
  • I press many of the items that come out of a suitcase wrinkled when I travel.
  • I repress a jacket or coat if it’s creased but doesn’t need a dry clean yet.
  • I send items to eco-friendly cleaners, where they are beautifully pressed. I take the items off the wire hangers and use our hangers so that they stay wrinkle-free.
  • I don’t overpack my storage spaces for wardrobe items. That way items have enough room to breathe and don’t get creased by being squashed into a too small a space.

Yes, I haul out the iron and ironing board frequently. Although I don’t enjoy ironing, being crease-free adds to the happiness factor of an outfit, and makes it worth the effort. I relax into the process and simply make ironing part of my dressing ritual.

Most importantly, I check how crease-resistant an item is BEFORE I purchase it. There is no point in going to the effort of being crease-free at the start of the day if I’m going to be a wrinkled war zone in half an hour. I scrunch the fabric of items on hangers before I commit to buying them to test how wrinkle-resistant they are. I do sit-down tests at home, wave my arms around, bend my elbows and knees, and look at how the fabric of the items handle movement. Items do not have to be completely wrinkle-free, but the fewer creases I can prevent upfront, the better.

100% Linen, viscose, rayon, and all sorts of cottons and wools are the worse crease offenders. That’s why I’m not opposed to fabric blends that make natural fibres more wrinkle-resistant and robust. That said, I do have some 100% cotton, wool and rayon items that stay fairly crease-free throughout the day.

This brings me to my four-year-old toffee-toned Club Monaco trench coat. It fits like a dream and is beautifully made. The fabric is luxe and feels good on the body. It looks pristine and professional at the start of the day after I’ve given it a press, but wrinkles a lot during the day. I can’t wear it twice without a press in between. It’s a high-maintenance trench coat, and that’s why I don’t travel with it, or wear it too often. But I can’t pass it on just yet because it’s gorgeous. Ideally, it needs to go to a new owner who is more tolerant of creases than I am.

I have clients and friends with a very high tolerance for wrinkles. In fact, some don’t even notice them. Many never iron or steam anything, and creases don’t bother them at all. Or the creases bother them, but not enough to haul out the iron or steamer. Some press items after they’ve been laundered and leave it at that. And others are as extreme as I am, freshly pressing many items before wearing them.

There is no right or wrong way to feel about clothing creases. It is simply a personal preference. What is your crease-tolerance level for clothing, and how do you manage it?

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Outfit Formula: Winter Wide Crops

Wide crops have been trending for a while, and are gaining mainstream momentum. They are high in the waist, roomy to very roomy in the leg, wide at the hem, and cropped above the ankle. The idea is to showcase the high rise but tucking or semi-tucking tops into the waist, and most wide crops are styled that way. But feel free to wear an untucked top, especially when it creates a low contrast with the bottoms. That way you won’t shorten the leg line as much, especially when you wear flats.

Here are four outfit ideas to get you started.

1. Streamlined & Punchy Shoes

These wide crops are streamlined and the tucked top showcases the self-fabric belt. The black moto adds structure to the outfit because it’s short, thereby accentuating the natural form of the wearer from the hips down. The black moto also creates a column of colour in a more subtle way. Black boots would have been an obvious elongating choice, but the snakeskin is unexpected and punchy. The black in the pattern of the snakeskin creates enough colour palette cohesion.

Eloquii New Crop Jean With Frayed Hem

2. Column of Colour

Columns of colour are often black or dark. But they can be any colour, like the red one here. Columns like these make a bold yet calming statement. They are elongating, streamlining, and make a statement. Columns of colour allow you to combine a larger assortment of silhouettes because they offset the horizontal lines that get in the way of flattering proportions. They also provide a so-called blank canvas for all sorts of accessories and footwear. Here, the white boots are crisp, and their black heels match the black buttons of the outfit.

Mango Micro Corduroy Structured Blazer

3. Earthy Super Hero

These might be proportions that are easier to accomplish when you wear heels, but flats can work if they’re structured and tidy on the foot and ankle. The high contrast of the top, boots and coat create horizontal lines that affect proportions. Yet the subtle elongating strategies make a difference like the the semi-tucked top, the very long length of the coat, the open front of the coat, and shorter length of the wide crops.

SEE BY CHLOE Cropped High-rise Wide-leg Jeans

4. Textured Black

I like the texture in this outfit, which offsets the flatness and severity that an all-black outfit can exude. There are six textures: wool, bouclé, fur, surface interest stitching, ribbing and patent. The grey laces and Swiss dot are subtle, but make a dancing difference against the black. The proportions work because a column of colour offsets horizontal lines that high-contrast items create. The result is streamlining no matter the silhouette.

MaxMara Plain Weave Trousers


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Zappos Roundup: Dresses and Boots

In my experience, the Zappos online shipping experience cannot be beat which is why they made my list of highlights for 2018 — again! All shipping is free in the US, and it’s FAST. I’ve ordered something at night and received it the next day with no extra charge. Items are well packed, and the boxes are robust (an important factor when packages stand out in the rain here in Seattle). Zappos honours their return policy and refunds are quick. They’ll accept a return a year later, and listen to your quality concerns. I ordered a pair of pricey white designer loafers that I wore with joy for a couple months until they broke. I was very disappointed, and spoke to customer service about it. They were most apologetic and refunded me without question once I’d shipped back the shoes. That’s how it should be.

All this to say that I will often order an item from Zappos because I know shipping will be fast, free, and the return policy is excellent. Here’s a short roundup of winners from the great retailer. Browse the colour options and read the rave reviews.

  • Palladium Pampa LDN LP Mid Suede: Adorable hiking boots with a wide toe box. Super comfy and a little playful. The white soles keep the look crisp and pretty. Comes in four colours.
  • Mephisto Lili: Inge has these because they fit her orthotics, higher volume feet, and are very comfortable. Pewter metallics are hard to find, and the shine on these is subtle. They look better and a little dressier on the foot.
  • Frye Veronica Combat: Casual glitz is fab, and these create a streamlined fit on the foot and ankle. Comfy and well made. Not good on higher volume feet. I like the rose gold and white best, but they come in a fabulous distressed grey, and the usual black and brown. No easy access zipper so you have to be okay with that.
  • Frye Carson Piping Bootie: A little cream distressing for those who prefer it to a crisp optical white. Tapered on the ankle, well made and comfy. Comes in five colours.
  • Frye Melissa Deco Chelsea: Equestrian Bootie Fabness. A classic that works best on a lower volume foot and ankle. Rich, and well made.
  • Maggy London Catalina Crepe Twist Neck Asymmetrical Midi Dress: GORGEOUS elegant dress if you can fill it out. Traditionally flattering and works on a curvier hourglass body type. The neckline is a little high for a short neck, but it can work for a larger bust and longer neck. The fabric glides over the contour of the body and does not cling The crepe is quite luxe, and the romantic sleeves are not overwhelming.
  • Donna Morgan Geo Printed Midi Jersey Dress: A classic dress that is very flattering on those with a defined waist. Its structured movement is fabulous and awfully comfortable. It’s quite forgiving on the midsection, conceals a good amount of lumpage and bumpage, and packs well for travel. It would have been mine if the colours weren’t cool-toned.
  • Maggy London Flemish Tile Scuba Crepe Sheath Dress: A fab structured dress that’s a little more than a simple sheath. The placement of the pattern creates an extra streamlined effect, and the romantic sleeves are more streamlined than you expect. Best on a smaller bust, straighter hip, and short or regular waist.
  • Free People Tough Love Shirtdress: This style of dress silhouette works on a range of body types – from apple and pear shapes, to rectangles, hourglasses and narrow-hipped inverted triangles – because the silhouette moulds to the contour of the body. It hugs you where you’re narrowest and glides over the rest. No need for shapewear. It’s dramatic to wear over cropped skinnies or straights too. Comes in red, and runs TTS if you like a narrow fit, or a little small if you prefer a fuller fit. Broad shoulders will battle – no zipper and no stretch. My narrow shoulders thanked the narrow fit. You have to figure out whether it’s worth climbing in and out of. AMAZING side entry pockets. Fabulously flattering. Beautiful drape. Very nice fabric. I love this dress and one of the colours is sitting in my wardrobe ready for a hot Summer’s day.
  • Tahari By ASL 3/4 Sleeve Scuba Crepe Sheath with Side Ruching: A punchy classic faux wrap sheath that can work on a curvier or straighter body type.
  • Børn Regis: Extremely comfy biker bootie classics that go the distance. The ankle fit is more streamlined in person. Comes in four colours.
  • Aquatalia Belle Weatherproof: Beautifully made waterproof booties in a classic style. Works best on low to regular volume feet.
  • Franco Sarto Zelda: Classic loafers with a trendy touch. Dramatic on the foot. I love the height of that dear little heel. Refined, comfortable and versatile. I tried very hard to make these work, but they were too wide and I was in between sizes.

Go to the collection page to see the items alongside my descriptions.

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Outfit Formula: The Playful Pencil Skirt

Pencil skirts can be formal, strict, classic, professional, ultra feminine and bombshell, which is fabulous if that’s how you want to wear them. They can also be playful, casual and relaxed with the right support act. These outfits showcase ways of doing just that. Mix things up by creating tension and interesting juxtapositions. Feel free to change up the colours and patterns so that they’re more to your taste.

IMPORTANT:

  • The strength of the pencil skirt is its structured slim silhouette, which makes wearing just about any silhouette of top or topper a flattering and streamlined-enough option.
  • Pencil skirts vary from straight to very tapered on the side seams creating a tube-skirt effect. Take your pick.

1. Playfully Heeled

I like the tension between the severity of the pointy-toed, glossy, dressy, heeled boots and the relaxed and gentle vibe of the roomy cardigan. The flowered pattern and billowing sleeves add a dash of romance. The knit top adds a little more softness, which in turn complements the hard-edged shaved head of the model. The tucked top adds polish and lengthens the leg line from the thighs upward.

New Neoprene Pencil Skirt

2. The Comfy Touch

The pattern on this pencil skirt is playful in itself, and accentuated with the addition of the comfy sweatshirt. The layered white shirt is an interesting detail, but not essential. The flat high-shaft haute hiking boots throw in a ‘90s integrity, and the white laces magically pick up the white in the rest of the outfit. You could wear a less oversized sweatshirt, leave off the white shirt, and semi-tuck into the pencil skirt instead. Throw in a dressy shoe and Bob’s your uncle.

Zara Midi Skirt

3. Haute Hiking in a Bomber

The tension between the tight tube skirt and relaxed bomber is interesting. Sporty Bombshell. The layering top is a simple long-sleeved tee or pullover worn over the skirt. Feel free to leave off the belt bag. The haute hiking boots add back a ‘90s touch, and the scrunched shuffle socks above the boots bring back the ‘80s. I’d have preferred to see a beret or beanie for a hat, but the felt fedora is unique.

Scotch & Soda Knitted Skirt

4. Relaxed Elegance

This pencil skirt here is less tapered and dressier than the first three looks. The roomier pencil skirt complements the oversized pullover thereby matching the relaxed effect. Semi-tucking the front adds some structure, as does scrunching the sleeves of the pullover. The black-on-black creates an elongated column of colour. The naked silver sandals look seasonally confused with the pullover to my eye – cold feet! But I love the way the silver magically bookends the model’s silver hair. Silver pumps, Mary Janes, pointy-toe ballet flats, or booties would have been my choice of shoe. Gorgeous look.

J.Crew Slip Skirt in Burnout Velvet Leopard


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Reflecting on My Style in 2018

Here’s a detailed reflection on my style in 2018. I will be using this as a base as I refresh and evolve my wardrobe in 2019. 

New Specs and Hair

A year ago, I had a very short, straight blonde pixie. By the end of 2018, I’d grown out my fringe, embraced the natural waves, saturated the blonde, and added Modern Retro red specs and vintage white sunnies to my eyewear capsule. I’m enjoying the long fringe and wearing my ‘do both wavy and straight to change things up. I’m sticking with the ‘do until I’m bored and need another hair project. I LOVE my new specs and won’t need a refresh for 2019.

Hair & Specs

Papa

Lots of Dresses

2018 was my year for dresses. Dresses are feminine, classic, pretty, powerful, and unique amidst a sea of shorts, leggings and skinnies. I waited years for my type of dress silhouette to emerge at retail, and prioritized purchasing them while the trends were on my side. I bought several new dresses last year, and wore the heck out of the Summer styles. The two black and white stripe and polka dot polyester Topshop dresses have pilled and will be retired soon, but I enjoyed wearing them enormously. The Topshop floral mesh dress on the other hand has worn like iron, and was probably my most worn dress of the year.

I felt like a million bucks in the dressier dresses, which I styled with ballet flats, flat mules, sneakers and sandals for an everyday look. I’ve recently added the sweater dresses and look forward to wearing them frequently over the next four months. For 2019, I’m excited to wear my dresses again, and to add to the capsule because I LOVE dresses.

Dress

A Few Meaningful Skirts

Although I prefer dresses, I did add a couple of skirts to my wardrobe this year. One Summer and one Fall/Winter, which I’ve worn as much as my dresses. Not sure I want to add more skirts in 2019 since I prefer the simplicity of a dress, but you never know.

Extra Summer Items

I enjoy hot weather and Summer dressing best of all. I thoroughly enjoyed the long and hot Summer I had in 2018, between a two-week trip to coastal Italy, a hotter that normal Seattle Summer, and a second home in Salt Lake City. For the first time in seventeen years I did not have to hold back on Summer wardrobe purchases because I finally lived in the climate that warranted them. Looks like the same hot and long Summer will come true for 2019.

White Footwear

I wear a lot a white footwear because it bookends my platinum hair, adds a crisp touch to outfits, creates a nostalgic ‘80s vibe, matches my pearls, and works well with a colour-rich wardrobe. I’ve been wearing white shoes for as long as I can remember and embrace it as a signature look that I will continue to sport until I need a change. I wear white footwear throughout the year

I have many pairs of white and off-white shoes, so I can share the wear. I wear white booties, shooties, loafers, mules, sneakers, and even two pairs of narrow sandals that magically fit my feet. As an active urban walker, the sandals saved my feet in very hot Italy and in Salt Lake City. Unfortunately I ruined my mules in Positano walking up and down countless flights of stairs, so I’ll need to replace those in 2019.

I added these white shoes to my collection this year, and they are workhorses. I’ve duplicated some of the styles, and am open to expanding my white shoe capsule in 2019.

Statement Outerwear

I added some fun outerwear to my wardrobe in 2018. Three dressy pieces and one casual. A citron cocoon coat for Spring, a short cape for Fall, an animal print coat for Winter, and sporty navy puffer for whenever. All of the items are workhorses.

For 2019, I’m open to replacing my very old dressy red coat, getting a light pink coat, and maybe a turquoise coat if the colour becomes popular.

Lots of Colour and Pattern

I wear a large assortment of colour ranging from blush pink, light blue, sour brights, and burgundy, through to a hint of neon and some olive. I’m equally committed to neutrals like dark blue, all shades of white, a bit of black, and earth tones. With a wardrobe rich in non-neutrals and neutrals, I can pander to my mood and create dark or light neutral outfits, pastel looks, brights from head to toe, or mix up the lot. I combine neutrals and non-neutrals in ways that are jarring to some, but soothing to me. I’ll wear three to four solid brights in an outfit, remix pastels with brights, wear three reds in one look, create high-contrast combinations or low-contrast tonal vibes, and throw in a pattern if it tickles my fancy.

I’m quite set in my ways when it comes to patterns and like the classics best: stripes, pinstripes, polka dots, plaids, some florals, and a smattering of animal print. I like to pattern mix too. For 2019, I want to continue wearing lots of colour across all wardrobe items, my neutrals, classic patterns, and mixing it up to create ample variety since I crave a change in colour more than a change in silhouette.

Colour and Pattern

Trendy Jeans

I frequently wear solid blue and white jeans, and enjoy floral jeans too. I prefer dark blue washes to light, and my affection for white jeans is as strong as ever. Jeans are the trendier part of my style, which meant that they needed an update last year. At the moment, I like to wear simple white jeans silhouettes, but prefer blue jeans with bells and whistles. For 2019, the jeans will have to be pretty darn special and unique if I’m going to commit to a purchase, because I feel very sorted with jeans, and have ample variety. These were my favourite new jeans in 2018.

Pants

My love for fun casual and dressy pants runs as deep as my love for dresses. I passed on two pairs of red pants and an orange pair that I haven’t been able to replace, and I miss them. I did find a pair of flared toffee chinos that work extremely well on long flights, and feel fresh amidst the skinnies. I wear them with big white sneakers, a body-con top, and feel on-trend. I got a pair of luxe mustard-y chartreuse velvet pants that became instant workhorses after some alterations. I received a pair of fun floral pants as a gift which are festive to wear year round in Seattle. And last, you can’t see the sporty cream tuxedo stripe detailing on the black pants in the stock photo, but I also had them altered to create a perfect fit, and am enjoying the dressy look with casual kick.

For 2019, the first item on my shopping list is a pair of red pants. They don’t need to be tomato red, which will help with the search.

Pinstripe Suit

My holiday look for 2018 was a burgundy pinstripe pant suit that I mismatched with a burgundy pinstriped blouse, barely black knee-highs, and gold loafers. I finished off the look with cherry red clutch, watermelon specs, and chartreuse coat. I’ve worn the outfit to three holiday events, and LOVED it. One of my favourite holiday looks of all time. Warm, dressy, comfy, interesting, and will not date.

Flat Footwear

I gave up on heels three years ago and haven’t looked back. I wear flat footwear with heel heights of up to one inch 85% of the time. Sometimes I wear a 1.25 inch heel and very occasionally a 1.5 inch heel. My very dressy shoes have 1.5 inch heels. I passed on the boots with two inch heels that I kept to wear with flares because I never reach for them. I don’t miss wearing heels to elongate and elevate my outfits at all. I elongate and elevate outfits in other ways. And I’ve simply gotten used to my outfit proportions sans heels. Now more than ever, flat footwear is part of my signature style.

Family of Furlas

I LOVE handbags and am hopelessly devoted to every one of my wardrobe pets. I like to make a statement with them. I swap out my bags frequently, and like them to match my outfit in a deliberate way. I fell in love with Furla bags on our last trip to Hong Kong, and have been hooked ever since. They are beautifully made quality items, gorgeously structured, dressy, very robust, and have gold hardware. They are crisp, simple, and versatile, looking equally good incorporated into casual outfits. They are excellent bags to travel with too. Over the years, I’ve been steadily adding to my collection and now have a fab Furla family. Apart from the two large grey and oatmeal satchels, they are all workhorses.

For 2019, I need to replace my citron Furla, which is my most used bag of all time. Between sunscreen, insect repellent, and perspiration in a very hot and humid Italy last year, I’ve worn away the inside of the handles of the bag and it can’t be fixed.

Naked Nails

I don’t use fingernail or toenail polish. I bat for Team Naked Nails. I use a clear nail strengthener and that’s that. It will be just the same in 2019.

Gold and Pearls

I am completely committed to yellow gold and I’m trying not to purchase anything with silver hardware. I’m not into mixing metals, so it’s quite the challenge. I do jewellery in a very minimal but meaningful way. I wear my pearl wedding ring, gold watch and pearl bracelets every day, and one of two chunky white pearl necklaces almost every day. That’s it! The pearl pieces are real and have been custom-made. I don’t wear earrings.

2018 was an excellent shopping season, especially for dresses. I’m in a very happy place with my style and wardrobe, and grateful that my wardrobe is functional, manageable, varied, colour-rich, and makes me feel fabulous.

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