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My favourite brands

vintage shoppingDo you have favourite brands that you gravitate to when shopping? Is it the fit? The silhouette? The style?

Most often it’s all three, but many women don’t consciously understand why the choose the styles they do. Fit is king. It’s the absolute number one criterion for selecting clothes. Silhouette and style are related to your style personality: how you express yourself through fashion.

When you understand your style personality, you can quickly see the brands who make styles to suit you. For me, I’m a cross between an Elegant and a Romantic.*

Elegants are chic dressers, typically in monochrome, for whom pearls, diamonds and gold are accessory musts. Elegants love high fashion brands with sophisticated styling:

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St. John

CH spring 2013

Carolina Herrara

Chanel, Hermes, Carolina Herrara, Oscar de la Renta, Burberry and St. John. These are my “dream” brands. When that lottery win comes in, I know where I’m headed! In the meantime, I can achieve similar looks with Ann Taylor, Elie Tahari, Anne Klein dresses, or the Ralph Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein mass lines.

 

Romantics love lace, ruffles, florals, and details, details, details. It takes a practised eye to ensure that fashion choices don’t migrate to boho or costume – something that can easily happen. Romantics look to Marchesa for inspiration, and shop at Anthropologie, and Francesca’s whenever I’m in the US.

Ted Baker sheath

Ted Baker

Ted Baker is probably the ultimate Romantic brand, known for its use of florals. I tend to express my romantic style through accessories and layers that might include a lace topper, for example, or a feminine Ted Baker floral handbag or pumps. Kate Spade also carries feminine, and sometimes quirky, looks that can make fun additions to an outfit.

 

*There are seven universally accepted style personalities: Sporty, Traditional, Elegant, Romantic, Dramatic and Alluring. If you want to understand your style personality, book a consultation.

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The magic of proportion

Looking pulled together isn’t just about figuring out which colours go together, or how to wear a scarf. Proportion is the secret sauce to looking great – no matter your shape or size.

Proportion is about how your body parts work together in balance. Whether you have a long torso but short legs, or wide hips but narrow shoulders – there are ways to bring balance back.

Some easy ways to play with proportion so that it works for you:st-john-knits-r16_lookbook_15_b

  • Balance long and short. Wear a long coat or vest over a knee-length skirt. Or, wear a cropped jacket over a long skirt. Either provides balance and proportion to your look.
  • Fit fits. Make sure your clothes fit properly – not baggy, which just looks sloppy, and not too tight, which can actually make you look heavy. Your buttons should not pull on tops, your trousers should pull into a line across your hips.
  • Wear pleats carefully. Pleats can be a lovely detail, however, can quickly add bulk to your shape. If you are apple-shaped, pleats are never your friend since they add visual weight exactly where you don’t want it.
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L-R: long, average, short waists

  • Short waisted? Consider getting tops and jackets in the petite department, no matter how tall you are. Women who are short-waisted often have to get sleeves hemmed and shoulders adjusted. Regular tops are often too long. The petite department might just be an easy answer for you.
  • Long waisted? Avoid cropped pants or low-rise jeans since each makes your torso longer and your legs shorter.
  • Pear-shaped? Wear tops and jackets with shoulder pads, or add small shoulder pads. Not 80s football pads, but just small, structured pads to add height to your torso.
  • Apple-shaped? Wear unstructured tops and skinny pants, or slim tunics over leggings. Keep fabrics sleek (i.e. no velvet or bulky knits).

When thinking about proportion, always ask yourself what can bring balance to my look? Simple tricks can make a big difference.