Outfit Formula: Casual Summer Palazzo Pants

The palazzo pant trend is going down well with my more casual clients who prefer wearing pants to dresses, skirts and shorts when the weather is too warm for jeans. For those who don’t like to tuck and semi-tuck tops, three of the four examples here showcase untucked tops with palazzos.

Aside from the blue, the palettes are earthy, but feel free to choose any palette in solids or patterns. Sport palazzos at a length and level of volume that works best for you. Shorter or longer, fuller or less flared, it’s all good. Personally, I prefer the visual effect of extra long and full palazzos, but shorter lengths and less voluminous widths are more practical.

1. Earthy Ease

This is the easiest of the four to pull together. Combine a pair of palazzos with a tank or shell top and flat sandals, and you’re done. This is a great formula for short-waisted body types with long leg lines because of its torso-lengthening sensibility. Petites can absolutely wear the look if the top is not too long.

Peruvian Connection Sojourn Palazzo Pants

2. Crisp, Fluid & Sporty

This is a more preppy version and my favourite of the three. Combine palazzo pants that are structured at the waist with a fluid shirt or button-through blouse. Semi-tuck the front or side and scrunch the sleeves to give the outfit some shape or structure. Finish things off with white, tan, blush or metallic sneakers and statement earrings.

Anthropologie Anika Knit Wide-Leg Pants

3. Structured Pretty

Combine a tailored peplum top with a pleated pair of palazzos. The fitted peplum adds ample structure to voluminous palazzos. Finish off the look with casual slides or mules and a straw or embroidered bag. The heels on the slides and the necklace add a dressy component to the look.

Anthropologie Delano Knit Wide Leg Pants

4. Boho Flair

Combine a boho-lite blouse or knitted top with a pair of palazzos. Keeping the top relatively short lengthens the leg line from the hips upward. The suede pumps here are on the dressier side, but the fabrics of the pants and top and straw bag keep things casual. The length and width of these palazzos can be treacherous but they’re awfully striking and dramatic in motion. Please walk slowly when you wear them this long and wide!

Free People FP One Aloha Printed Wide-Leg Pants



The Best Sunscreens of 2019

It seems possible to find fault with almost every sunscreen. Harmful chemicals, skin irritations, allergies, unpleasant textures, ineffective sun protection factors, unsightly white residues, greasy finishes, and overly drying formulas. 

In a recent post I asked readers for their favourite sunscreen. There was a wealth of information in the replies and here’s a summary.

  1. Read the Environmental Working Group’s annual guide to sunscreen products to get information on the the safety and effectiveness of sunscreens. EWG is a non-profit organization that does research on the safety of consumer products for your health and our environment, and their guide is well worth a read.
  2. Mineral based sunscreens were a favourite because they are supposed to be better for your skin. That said, many are using chemical sunscreens because they are effective, work well with their skin, absorb beautifully, and don’t leave an unsightly white residue. Bottom line: you have to go with what works best for your type of skin and lifestyle. That might mean trying out different options until you find just the right one.
  3. Below is a collection of winning sunscreens from our readership. They vary greatly in price and composition. Some are mineral based and some are not. Some are great for oily skin, and some are better for dry skin. The SPF factors vary greatly too. I was happy to see that many recommended the same sunscreens and that the reviews are stellar. Read the reviews and take your pick.

I’m sticking with Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Dry Touch for now because it works well for me. When our tubes are finished, I’ll go for one of the mineral based sunscreens on this list. Feel free to add to the list in the comments section.

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Top Picks: Nordstrom Designer Sale

Nordstrom marked down many designer items yesterday, and the sale will run until June 20. I’ve browsed the sale and these are the items that caught my eye. I’ve seen some of the items in person. Take a peek. 

Go to the collection page if you would like to see the images alongside my descriptions.

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Your Earrings Style

Earrings are the most popular and worn accessory among my female friends, family and clientele. Almost all of them wear some form of earring, either daily or on special occasions. From small studs and hoops, to statement looks, asymmetrical looks, dangly styles, clip-ons, crawlers and multiple piercings in one ear. 

Those with big hair tend to wear big earrings so that they don’t get lost in the locks. Some wear pearl, diamond or metal studs and leave it at that. Some wear big fun earrings with every outfit. Some wear big fun earrings and specs with every outfit. Others have made large hoops a signature look. Some wear an assortment of sizes during the day, and others switch to dangly styles at night. These women LOVE their earrings, and most feel naked and undressed without them.

There are no earring wearing guidelines at all these days. Combine earrings with other jewellery pieces. Wear statement earrings with a statement necklace and eyewear. Wear matchy-matchy sets and mismatched sets. It’s all good as long as you like the combination, feel that it’s appropriate for the setting, and the earrings are comfortable.

I had my ears pierced when I was six years old. I wore small gold, pearl, and horseshoe studs forever to school as a child, and fab big white plastic earrings as a teen in the ‘80s. I wore gold hoops from time to time too. In the late ‘80s I had a second hole pierced, and at university I sported two small studs in each ear. In the early ’90s I lost interest in earrings. I wore earrings for the last time on our wedding day in 1996.

I have a small head, dramatic hair, big eyes, and wear statement specs. I wear a short chunky white pearl necklace most of the time. And I wear a lot of bold colour and pattern. Adding earrings to the mix — no matter how small — feels to me like too much going on. Twenty three years later and naked ears are signature to my style. You can hardly see the pierced holes in my ears so I don’t feel unpolished leaving them empty.

Talk to me about your earring style!

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Fashion News Roundup: May 2019

H&M newest designer collaboration, a Loft rental service, a new fashion documentary, and more news from the fashion trenches in May.

Interesting Fashion Fact

Did you know that Tiffany started using the iconic shade of turquoise so strongly associated with the company as early as 1889 for its display at the World Fair in Paris. Yet it was only in 1998 that Tiffany & Co. finally trademarked the colour.



Team Bra or Team Jiggle

I’m seeing more and more women, across a range of ages and breast sizes, sport the bra-less look. Depending on the breast shape, the clothing and movement, the absence of the bra is sometimes more obvious than others. The trend seems to skew towards younger women.

There are good reasons to leave off the bra. Maybe the bra interferes with the cut or line of a top. Another perfectly understandable reason is that the bra feels uncomfortable. This is 2019, and wearing a bra is definitely more of a choice than an obligation.

That said, I bat for Team Bra. I’m old school in this regard, and I don’t like any jiggling at all. I like the visual shape and lift a great bra gives my bustline, especially in body-con tops. I find that wearing a supportive bra with underwire is a lot more comfortable than going without. Plus, I LOVE pretty bras, and enjoy wearing them. I’m a modest dresser, and wearing a bra makes me feel modest, polished and confident.

Over to you. Do you bat for Team Bra or Team No Bra? Tell us why, and no batting for both teams. If you can’t pick a side, feel free to sit this one out on the bench with salmon en croute, a green salad, and your favourite chocolate.

* A gentle reminder to be respectful and sensitive in your comments because this is a delicate subject.



Link Love: Sustainable Shopping Tips

Flat footwear aficionado Hannah Rochell of En Brogue put together a comprehensive guide to buying sustainable and ethical footwear.

She also wrote this interesting post on 5 ways to be a more sustainable shopper, and this one about 6 sustainable alternatives for your everyday beauty routine.

Someone else worth following if you are interested in sustainable, low-waste living, is Sophie of A Considered Life, who shares “practical tips on simplifying your life, adopting low-waste habits, wearing sustainable clothes and cruelty-free beauty, to work towards living a considered life that is more purposeful, sustainable, and compassionate.”

Refinery29 lists 7 clothing brands “that will help you recycle your clothes, and will reward you with store credit so that you can responsibly replace those things in your closet you’re totally over with something special that you’re going to cherish for a long time.”

Fab Links from Our Members

’90s fashion is definitely in the zeitgeist — or at least the thrift stores, according to Shevia, so she loved reading this article on why Monica from Friends is this Summer’s unlikely style icon.

Vildy directs us to this article on the Spotlight Effect: anxiety people can feel when changing their style or adding an item that could call attention to itself. Vildy adds: “I don’t think it mentions fear of looking like you are trying too hard, but I would guess it falls into this category as well.”



Four Alternatives to the Basic Knitted T-Shirt in Summer

If you enjoy wearing basic T-shirts under jackets, or with jeans, skirts or casual pants in the Summer, go for it. They are comfortable, affordable, robust, easy to launder, and very casual. Some are roomy and fluid, and others more fitted. Here’s a collection that shows what I mean when I talk about a basic T-shirt.

If you don’t enjoy wearing a basic tee, but want a similar degree of ease, comfort and casualness in a knitted top, try one of these options. They are better than basic, and in some cases a lot more structured. They’re made of jersey, or a very lightweight sweater yarn. Fibres are natural or blends. 

1. Cotton, Linen & Silk Sweaters

These pullovers can be cool and breezy in ultra lightweight gauzy fabrics and fluid silhouettes, in open weave knits, or when they’re sleeveless. The heavier versions make sense on cool Summer days, at the beach at night, when you run cold, or if you work in arctic air conditioning.

2. Styled T-Shirt

Styled T-shirts have fun design details that make them look more interesting than a basic silhouette. Think wraps, ruching, front knots, woven insets, eyelet insets, gathered sleeves, fluttered sleeves, ruffles, flounces and cold shoulders.

3. Knitted Boho Tops

Knitted boho or boho-lite tops are made of jersey so that they feel like a tee, but look like a woven blouse. They are prettier than basic tees, fluid over the midsection, and lovely if you enjoy a ‘70s vibe.

4. Body-Con Tops

Body-con knitted tops are back as a nod to the ‘90s trend, especially in very fine cotton-rich rib knits. They’re tight and fitted, so ignore them if you don’t like tops that cling. They are extremely useful to combine with voluminous skirts, wide crops, palazzos, paper-bag shorts and tops, or to layer under jackets. They semi-tuck well too.

I don’t feel fabulous in T-shirts, so I don’t wear them. I wear lightweight cotton pullovers, body-con tops, and styled T-shirts as my casual alternative. Or breezy woven blouses, which we’ll cover another time. Here are my knitted alternatives to Summer T-Shirts from my wardrobe. I have duplications of the white.

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Outfit Formula: Long Blazer Fabness

The long blazer takes me back to the ‘90s. I wore them then, but it’s not a look I crave today. I am cautious about this length of blazer because the proportions can look off to my eye, especially when you wear flat footwear like I do. I did, though, enjoy a long blazer dressy pants suit because it created an elongating column of colour. You couldn’t see where your leg line stopped because of the low contrast between the jacket and pants. I had a favourite apple green long blazer suit in 1994 that I regularly wore to work. Greg said I looked like a lime milkshake, which made me love that suit even more. I would wear a long blazer in that way today.

I have many clients across a range of body types in long blazers. It’s been more popular than I thought. Almost everyone who wears blazers regularly has refreshed with the trendy long silhouette. Here are four ways to create outfits with long blazers. Choose any colour palette across solids and patterns.

1. Smart Casual

This is the easiest look to pull together. Combine a pair of slim jeans or pants like skinnies or straights with a layering top and statement long blazer. Add shoes that work with the outfit. The pants or jeans can be cropped or full length. The top can be tucked or untucked.

Eloquii Long Tailored Blazer

2. Casually Thrown Together

Combine an A-line skirt with a long fluid blazer and layering top. I like how the tight top adds structure to the fluid blazer. Add booties and Bob’s your uncle. Keep the skirt straight if you want to create traditionally flattering proportions.

Allsaints Helei Check Oversize Blazer

3. Classically Elegant

Combine a black top with cropped straight pants or jeans in any colour. Top it off with a long black blazer for a twinset effect up top. Add dressy shoes, and you’re in business. Good for corporate settings and dressier occasions.

Trina Turk Critic Long Blazer

4. Fashion-Forward Fun

This is by far my favourite of the four because it reminds me of the apple green suit I had in the ‘90s, with white accents and all. You need a non-neutral suit with a long blazer for this rendition, so maybe you’ll get one. I would if the right one came along. White top and footwear add a fashionable and crisp touch. Add jewellery, watch and eyewear as desired.

Zara Double Breasted Buttoned Blazer

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White Suit with Spanish Flair

A new outfit from Carelia Morán of My Small Wardrobe, whom we introduced to YLF in July 2013.

Carelia is sporting a white denim outfit with lots of pizzazz. She’s combined white flares with a white, on-trend chore jacket which creates a polished casual suit effect. The full-length jeans are high-rise which lengthens the leg line, so do the white pointy-toe heels and jeans with an extra long length. Pairing the crisp jeans with a short-sleeved shirt in an exuberant floral print adds dramatic colour to the look. Knotting the blouse fully exposes the high rise for an extra elongating effect. Punchy red lipstick that matches the shirt, big earrings, and a patterned bag also dress up the outfit, while Carelia’s black bolero hat adds a touch of Spanish flair.

Carelia Morán - 2

Carelia Morán - 1



My Mum’s and My Sartorial Preferences

Nineteen years ago, almost to the day, my Mum unexpectedly died of liver cancer. She was 59 and I was 29. She was gone in twelve weeks, but thankfully did not suffer for long. Her illness and passing devastated our family. My Dad lost his soulmate at 68, and I was a Mama’s girl. Mum was the reason I grew up appreciating and enjoying fashion and style. Mum made my favourite dresses in the ‘70s. Mum convinced Dad that changing my career path at age 22 from Psychology to Fashion was dead right. Mum was full of compliments about how people looked and dressed across all body types and ages. Mum was a fabulous shopping buddy, and appreciated beauty in countless forms. She was a stylish role model, inside and out.

Our sartorial preferences collided and clashed beautifully throughout the 29 years we had together. We adored all things soft and pretty. We enjoyed flounces, ruffles, eyelet, lace, embroideries, poufy sleeves, dresses and skirts with swoosh, shoulder pads, midi lengths, and silk blouses. We liked turtlenecks and dressing modestly. We loved bra shopping. We equally appreciated a structured and fluid fit. We loved dressing up, and wearing just enough make-up to brighten our features. We sported naked nails, but had a thing for light lipstick and dark mascara. We enjoyed non-neutrals as much as neutrals, and patterns as much as solids. We pattern mixed. We felt cold fast and were always layering. We seldom wore high heels, and preferred dainty footwear. I have the same feet as my late Mum. Narrow, boney, no padding, low arches and insteps, and an extreme need for shoe comfort.

Then there were our sartorial differences. I’ve NEVER seen Mama wear blue jeans, yet they are essential to my style. She thought blue jeans were for mucking out horses stables, and that was that. She did though, wear and like white jeans because they looked crisp and dressy. I’m sure Mum would wear dressy black and pink jeans if she were here today. 

Mum and I had very different colour preferences, probably because our complexions were different. Mum was Eurasian (half Indonesian), so more olive in skin tone with light brown hair and dark blue eyes. My complexion is pale, blonde, green-eyed and Nordic. Mum was all about earth tones like brown, forest green, cinnamon, olive, tan, khaki, toffee, burgundy, bronze, teal, pewter, gold, burnt orange, sage, cream and emerald. She wore mustard with the best of them. She also loved antique pink, pearl grey, shocking pink, pastel blue, and black & white.

My colour preferences are quite the opposite favouring sour brights like citron, chartreuse, lime green, apple green, Dutch orange, tomato red, watermelon, turquoise, bubblegum pink, and Tiffany blue. I prefer dark blue to black. We overlapped liking soft pink, shocking pink, light blue and white.

Mum loved wearing black bottoms, and I’d rather wear dark blue jeans. Mum was very classic, and I prefer to mix things up with trends. Mum thought Dr. Martens were hideous, and I love them (and wore them). I like Punk style and neon, and Mum thought it was awful and undignified. I love all things denim, and Mum did not. Mum liked cardigans, but they’re not for me. Mum liked wearing chunky, bold gold jewellery, all of which was real and mostly custom-made. Mum wore big gold earrings daily. I don’t wear earrings, and am not a jewellery person. I am, though, just as committed to gold as my metal as Mum was.

Bright orange-y red is one of my best and favourite colours, but Mum did not like wearing it. She did though wear bright red shoes with matching bags. That’s why I wore bright red shoes and bag to her funeral, along with a white top and classic black pinstriped pants suit.

Here are some pics from the past. Mum looking all glam and gorgeous, but serious and frowning on the beach at Repulse Bay, Hong Kong, in 1961. My Dad caught her perfectly by surprise. I love these photos because Mama was extremely expressive with her facial features, and these reflect some of them accurately. She had it down to a look, and didn’t need words to express her feelings. Once you saw Mama’s expression, you knew what she was thinking.

Mum - 1

Mum - 2

I’ve posted this favourite photo of us together in 1976 before. I was six years old. I LOVED wearing the same clothes as my Mum when I was little, so she made us matching floral maxi dresses for a party my parents were hosting in our apartment in Hong Kong. Wearing this dress with my Mum was one of my happiest style moments.

Mum - 3

I made it through writing this post without crying. In fact, it was cathartic comparing our sartorial preferences all these years later. Words can’t express how much I miss my Mum. It pains me daily that she can’t experience YLF, and our much more diverse fashion era. She would have been very fun to shop with and dress. She inspired me to be proud and keep my chin up at any age.

We at YLF wish you, your Mums, including Mums who are no longer with us, a happy and peaceful Mother’s Day.