Outfit Formula: Black, White, Grey & Red Boots

Black and white with a shade of bright red is a classic colour combination. A little severe at times, but awfully effective and punchy. I like to see grey and blue denim thrown into the palette to relax the tension between the colours and soften the severity of the combination. The denim also adds a handy casual integrity when you need to dress down the look.

I go back and forth on wanting bright red boots, but decided this year that I’m going for it if I stumble across the right pair. They can look jarring and “super hero” in an outfit, but that’s their charm. Wear bright red boots and be noticed. It’s high time we connected with our inner Wonder Woman.

Here are four renditions to get you started. Boots are bright red and not burgundy because they’re the star of the show.

1. Jeans, Blazer & Boots

This is the easiest outfit to pull together. Combine blue jeans with a white or black top and layer a grey glen plaid or houndstooth blazer over the top. Finish off the look with red boots. No need to wear ripped denim, and feel free to choose any silhouette.

J Crew Oversized Blazer in Glen Plaid

2. Matrix Fabness

Combine blue jeans with a white or black hoodie, and layer a dramatic black coat or jacket over the top. Pull the hood out over the coat. The white hoodie creates an effective contrast with the black. Use a white top if you don’t have a hoodie. Finish off the look with red boots. The print on the hoodie picks up the red of the boots, which creates a complement.

AQUAZZURA Quant Leather Ankle Boots

3. Suited & Red Booted

Red boots add a whole lot of punch to a grey suit worn with a white or black layering top. There is no need to repeat the red in the outfit. A red bag is a nice addition, but not essential.

MAISON MARGIELA Tabi Split-toe Leather Ankle Boots

4. Skirted & Red Booted

Combine a black skirt with a cream or white top and finish things off with red boots. Choose any silhouette of top and skirt that tickles your fancy. Choose black pants instead of a skirt if trousers are your preference. I like the addition of the unexpected cognac bag here too. Add jewellery, eyewear and watch as desired.

TRADEMARK Mira Crinkled Patent-leather Ankle Boots


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Outfit Formula: Suits and Sneakers

Sneakers are the shoe of our fashion era. Full stop. The world LOVES wearing sneakers, and retailers stock them in deep assortments because they sell like hot cakes. It helps that these days “almost” anything goes in fashion and style which means that sneakers can be integrated into most outfits. 

Irregular juxtapositions are another benchmark of our current fashion era. Combining items that used to be unthinkable pairings are totally acceptable and often all the rage. Combining a formal trouser suit with sneakers is an irregular juxtaposition, and my favourite way to interpret the Sporty Luxe look. The vibe is an acquired taste and a fun way to dress down a suit.

The suit renditions here are styled with white sneakers because white is the “it” sneaker colour. Crisp, a Trendy Classic, and somewhat iconic. That said, feel free to add any colour sneaker to a suit. Chuck Taylor Converse sneakers and hi-tops in fun brights, pastels, black, blue or grey look smashing with suits.

The layering tops are casual, which complements the casual vibe of the sneakers. Feel free to add patterned or slogan tees to the outfits.

1. Double-Breasted and Buttoned

YES, you can wear white sneakers with dark hair. No need to follow the bookending styling technique at all. Just like you can rock black shoes with blonde hair. Here, the black ‘80s inspired double-breasted suit is fully buttoned, and worn with straight leg pants. I’d have preferred to see the pants two inches longer, but that’s subjective. Pop a black lace camisole under the blazer so that a little lace peeks out from under the collar of the blazer. Or you could wear a white tee under the blazer. The white sneakers pick up the white stitching and buttons of the suit. Scrunched sleeves add a relaxed touch to the look.

Violeta Contrast Seam Blazer

2. Trendy

A trendy long blazer is paired with matching ankle pants and worn open to create a vertical line down the front of the body. A simple turtleneck is a good layering piece for a suit. Tucking the turtleneck lengthens the leg line from the thighs upward. The white sneakers pick up the white in the checked pattern. Scrunched sleeves add a further relaxed touch to the look.

THEORY Prince of Wales Checked Wool-blend Blazer

3. Maximal Pattern Mix

Bright red tartan and two types of animal print are combined with a white tee that picks up the white in the sneakers. The white sneakers further complement the light neutrals in the pattern. A smashing maximal look that can take you just about anywhere. To work, a night out, the theater, an event, or fashion show.

Topshop Tartan Suit

4. Eleganty Flared

This rendition is of the most interest to me because the flares are combined with flat sneakers instead of heels. That’s very liberating, and a newer way to wear a classic ‘70s inspired suit. The tucked top creates a longer leg line which offsets the flat-footed feeling of the sneakers. The white top picks up the white of the sneakers. Scrunched sleeves relax the formality of the suit.

ASOS DESIGN Tailored Check Slim Flare Pants

5. Tailored & Pretty

Here’s a classic tailored suit with a regular length blazer and tapered pants. The striped layering top adds a further classic yet bold touch. The white of the stripe is repeated in the white of the sneakers. The pants are very cropped, but feel free to wear full-length tapered pants.

Boden British Tweed 7/8 Pants

You can wear this look in Winter with knee-highs, trouser socks, woolly socks or even patterned socks if you dare. Pop a cocoon coat or puffer over the lot with cosy Winter accessories and thermals and Bob’s your uncle.

I wore formal trouser suits with sneakers back in the ‘90s and ‘00s. I have two very old suits that I’m keeping despite rarely wearing them. An all-season grey Theory pinstripe suit in immaculate condition, and a funky cropped black Summer suit from Tokyo. Both are sentimental pieces that I can’t pass on. I’m going to haul out the grey pinstripe suit that has long flared pants and combine it with my new chunky white ‘80s inspired SAS sneakers and see what happens. I also might do a fun plaid or velvet trousers suit for my holiday look this year. My thinking cap is on.


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Outfit Formula: Casual Maxi Cardi

Most of my clients wear long cardigans with a lot of enthusiasm. They enjoy the comfort, ease, relaxed vibe, and forgiving fit over the shoulders, bust and midsection. Long cardigans are especially good for a work-at-home lifestyle, or as a topper to keep at the office for when it’s chilly. 

The maxi cardigan is extra long and dramatic, and that’s the showpiece for this outfit formula. If it’s a little too long for your taste, substitute the maxi for a shorter version that is just above the knee.

Here are four easy outfit ideas that look fresh. Choose any colour palette and feel free to throw in patterns.

1. Draped & Booted

Combine a pair of slim-fit jeans or pants with a draped knit or woven top that’s worn over the jeans. Top it off with a maxi cardi and scrunch the sleeves for structure. Finish off the outfit with booties, pumps, oxfords or loafers.

Eloquii Lightweight Duster

2. ‘90s Fabness

I’m not a ‘90s gal, but I do like the subtle allure of this combination, and that the boots are flat. Combine a soft and flowy midi dress with a maxi cardi. Scrunch the sleeves for structure. Finish off the look with a pair of tailored and high-shaft tough boots. This is a fab way to insulate a dress, and dress down a dress. Add hosiery for warmth.

Treasure and Bond Belted Long Cardigan

3. Wide Crops & Waisted

Combine a fluid or fitted top with a pair of wide crops (culottes will do just fine). Tuck or semi-tuck the top for structure. Wear a shorter top if tucking is not your thing. Top it off with a maxi cardigan and a pair of shoes that work with the outfit. The white sneakers here effectively pick up the white of the tee and bookend the model’s blonde hair.

Belstaff Sherdley Cardigan

4. Bootcuts Your Way

Combine a pair of bootcuts or wider flares with a fitted or fluid top. Wear the top your way — tucked or untucked — and create a high or low contrast with the bootcuts. Wear flats or heels but make sure the length of the flares are perfect (as you see here). Top the lot off with a maxi cardigan. Finish off the look with jewellery, eyewear and watch as desired.

Mango Faux Fur Knit Cardigan

I will sit this one out because I’m not a cardigan gal, and especially not a long cardi gal. They make my narrow shoulders look even narrower, and further lengthen my very long neck. As a result I don’t feel fab in a cardigan, unless you take me back to the ‘80s when I wore long cardigans with gigantic shoulder pads and loved it. I will enjoy this look on YOU.


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Outfit Formula: Fall Leopard Topper

We see animal print every season, but this year it’s on steroids. The plush and furry leopard coat or jacket is a Trendy Classic with a high longevity factor, although it’s having a fashion moment in 2018. One of countless ways to wear animal print, the leopard topper makes a loud and strong statement. It’s an acquired taste and one I enjoy seeing because it reminds me of the ‘60s and ‘70s (a few of my favourite fashion eras).

Here are four ways to wear a leopard topper with neutrals that are easy to pull together. The leopard prints are earth-toned, but feel free to create a similar look with leopard prints in other neutrals or non-neutrals.

1. Stripes & Jeans

Leopard print and stripes are classic patterns that work well together, especially when the palette of the patterns are similar. The repetition of the black in the leopard print and stripe creates a cohesive statement. It’s further complemented with black footwear. Tucking or semi-tucking a top to showcase a high rise is a trendy statement, but you can leave the top untucked. Wear full-length or cropped jeans in a silhouette of your choice.

J. Crew Faux-fur Leopard Coat

2. Pattern-Mixed

This outfit takes pattern mixing a step further and is not for everyone. It combines the leopard print and stripe we saw in the first example, and adds a floral. The black across all three patterns AND the footwear unites the items, gives the eye a chance to rest, and creates a combination that is just cohesive enough. The tucked top, shorter coat and heels elongate the silhouette.

The remarkable part about this outfit is how it combines four Modern Classics to create a funky, arty, chic and creative vibe. It’s all about HOW you put items together that makes the difference.

Michael Kors Leopard Print Crop Sleeve Genuine Shearling Coat

3. Column of Colour

Columns of colour are an easy go-to way to create a long lean line and calm down the hectic pattern of a topper. Here, the column is black, but it can be just about any colour. It’s nice to see a skirt in the mix, but jeans and pants work as well. The topper is more of a jacket, which is better than a coat. That way you don’t need to remove the jacket indoors, which would take the punch out of the look.

Anthropologie Wild Leopard Coat

4. High-Waisted Jeans & Black

Combine a high-waisted pair of full-length or cropped jeans with a tucked or semi-tucked top. Repeat the black in the shoes. Layer the leopard top over the lot and Bob’s your uncle, it’s that easy. Add jewelley, bag, watch, headgear and eyewear as desired.

Apparis Margot Faux Fur Coat

I bought a new leopard coat from Boden which is not as high contrast as the ones you see here. I can easily put the first look together, which appeals to me most since I adore the pattern mix. I have options across blue, faded blue and black jeans. I’ll change the footwear to white, add pearls, and either a light blue or tomato red bag to make the outfit more to my taste. I adore the rendition with the floral skirt, and would like to add something like that to my wardrobe too. In the meantime, here are the exact items from my wardrobe to create the look.

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