Kerry O'Brine Womens Wear

Behind the seams


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What colours to wear when travelling for business accross the world

Colours accross the world – what to wear when travelling for business?

Take a moment when you are dressing for work to consider the colour/s you put on and what image that portrays. You may need the boost of confidence from wearing your favourite red dress and you want to project a bold image to the world.

We don’t all interpret colours in the same way. When travelling accross the world it is worth keeping in mind the key colours to avoid or wear for particular occassions.

For instance, traditionally South Africa red is a colour of mourning and in Thailand it is to be worn on Sundays. This website lists some cultural colour meanings and as they say these are traditional meanings but things change in cultures and it is worth doing some research if you are going on a business trip.

Take a look at this colour wheel that shows the various colours and the meanings of colours accross culturescolour cultures wheel

Click here to go to the interactive wheel of colours, meanings and cultures

body-proportions001


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What are vertical body proportions?

Let’s talk about body proportion. I had a discussion with someone yesterday about what is included in the torso and what it means to have a long or short torso! When you start questioning what sentences like ‘proportionably longer torso than legs’ it gets you thinking, what does this really mean?!!

In art the body is usually measured in heads. So you are measuring the body with the size of it’s own head. On average these days the body measures about 8 heads (including the head!).

The torso is the body not including limbs, neck or head. The torso (including the neck) generally measures 3 heads and the legs (including feet) measures 4 heads.

Now, if you think you proportionally have a different body to leg ratio it could be either of these posibilities:

Longer torso and shorter legs – your torso measure longer than 3 heads and your legs measure less than 4 heads.

Shorter torso and longer legs – your torso measures less than 3 heads and your legs measure more than 4 heads.

body-proportions long legs, short torso, short legs, long torso

From Left to Right: Short legs and long torso, standard body ratio of torso to legs, short torso and long legs

See the diagram: The centre person is Miss Average with the 3 to 4 head, torso to leg ratio.  On the left is the longer torso and shorter legs and on the right you have the shorter torso and longer legs. All three are the same height and it is just the body ratios that change.

It doesn’t matter whether you are short or tall – you could be any of these three options

 

 

 


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Colour placement in fashion outfits

When designing a piece of clothing a designer must considor it as part of an outfit. This outfit has to look visually ‘right’. Making an outfit look ‘right’ usually includes balance and points of focus. In my previous blog post I discussed the length of sleeves and balancing out the body. I’m going to look here at how colour placement can influence the eye.

Visual balance in art and design can often be achieved by using odd numbers.

In art there is the visual triangle where objects or people are arranged to create an invisible triangle shape. There is also the use of placing 3 areas of the same colour to draw the eye through the painting. Take a look at the painting below – the blue pulls your eyes accross the painting and the balance of 3 blue areas is visually harmonious. There is almost an invisible triangle joining the three blue areas.

space composition II

This principle is also applied in graphic design, interiors and fashion.

Look closely at this lovely interior created by firm Gauthier Stacy
You can see the candle sticks are grouped in 3:

Rule of 3 in interiors

Rule of 3 in interiors

This is an example in fashion of a way of creating a visual triangle and pulling the eye through an outfit with 3 points of colour. Ralph Lauren uses orange sandals, a handbag and a jacket to create this grouping. You could use a belt, bag and shoes to create a grouping of 3 colour points or perhaps a necklace, jacket and belt.

Ralph Lauren S/S 2015 collection

Ralph Lauren S/S 2015 collection

It can often be a placement of one that is the odd number. It can be a piece that creates a focal point – pulling the viewer to a point you want them to look at or just adding a pop of interest/colour.

Yellow shoes add a light hearted pop of colour to this outfit at Balmain S/S 15

Yellow shoes add a light hearted pop of colour to this outfit at Balmain S/S 15

David Koma

David Koma has drawn your eye to the waist with a yellow waistband in s/s 15 collection. You can do this with a belt


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Playing with proportion

Balance and proportion in an outfit are important ways to trick the viewing eyes into seeing your body in a different way.

The eye naturally finds a balanced body or face shape more appealing. The goal with many styling exercises is creating an hour glass figure i.e. large top balanced by a large bottom and skinny in the middle.

I don’t agree that we should all dress to create this particular shape. But it does provide a good example of a balanced body shape. By putting a belt on your waist you can evenly divide your body – The eyes will find this a good marker.

Balmain wide black belts to define the models waist S/S 15

In Balmain wide black belts were used to define the models waist in the S/S 15 collection

This does not work, however if you have a short torso. Short torsos have a high waistline or no waistline – so a belt will not divide you evenly in the middle and will only emphasise your short body.

Ladies with long bodies and shorter legs can lengthen their bottom half by raising the waistline up. Take a look at the following designs from Alberta Ferretti.

Higher waistline at Alberta Ferretti S/S 15

Higher waistline at Alberta Ferretti S/S 15

The top of the skirt line is higher than elbow height and shortens the body length: making the models legs and lower torso look longer.

Outfits 1 and 2 are similar – A-line floaty top and wide floaty trousers. However, there are key differences that make each outfit better suited to different body shapes.

Outfit 1. The top is longer (to wrist level) and floats over the trousers. This is good for ladies with a short torso as it is elongating the torso. The all white colour scheme adds to this lengthing.

Proportion all white outfit S/S 2015 Carolina Herrera

Outfit 1 from Carolina Herrera Spring Summer 2015 collection

The longer top length can take the lower v-neckline. This is a better shape for larger busts.

proportion Carolina Herrera S/S 2015

Outfit 2 from Carolina Herrera Spring Summer 2015 collection

Outfit 2. The shorter red top hits about waist height and is balanced with a large bold print on the bottom half. This is great if you want focus on your waist as the red top draws the eye there. If the top was patterned like the trousers, a red belt in the middle would nicely define the waist so you have a figure instead of being a mass of pattern. The high neckline balances out the shorter length of the top. This high neckline and short length would not be very flattering on larger busted ladies: the A-line shape would sit like a tent from your bust.

Outfit 3. The trousers in this outfit taper down to the ankles. The shape of the trousers is very flattering  – loose and skimming on the thighs and narrow at the slimmest part, focusing your eyes on the ankles.

Outfit 3. from Sonia Rykiel Spring Summer 2015 collection

Outfit 3. from Sonia Rykiel Spring Summer 2015 collection

The soft lines of the lemon jacket below in example 1 from Carolina Herrera would soften a lady with an angular figure. The outfit proportions are balanced out i.e. the skirt is shorter than knee length and the top half is fully covered – the lemon to skin ratio is about even.
Let’s compare the sleeve length in example 1 to example 2 from Carolina Herrera’s spring summer 2015 collection. The eye is drawn to the end of the sleeve. In example two the focus is on the waist in the middle of the body. In example one the focus is dropped lower than the waist line but not as far as the hips.
White floral dress from Carolina Herrera S/S 15 collection

Sleeve focus example 2 from Carolina Herrera S/S 15 collection

Carolina Herrera S/S 15 lemon suit

Sleeve focus example 1 from Carolina Herrera S/S 15 collection

pattern burgandy


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Wearing Coloured Tights To Work – professional work wear ideas

Can you wear coloured opaque tights to work?

Well, probably not if your work place is very corporate and has strict guide lines.

I’ve selected some of the easiest black alternatives to get you started, if you want to and can, branch away from black opaque tights in your work place/office!

Navy

Navy is a good place to start if you are looking to branch out from black opaque tights. Navy is still very neutral, smart/professional and corporate. I like the way Jean at Extra-petite.com styles navy in unexpected ways.

In picture 1. Jean pulls navy through all of the accessories – tights, bag and shoes.

In this picture Jean adds colour (and personality) to her outfit with the bold green coat. Once taken off you have a pretty neutral corporate outfit – a good idea to steal?

navy tights and bag

1. Navy tights and accessories from Jean at Extra Petite.com

navy jacket and tights

2. Jean at Extra Petite wears a navy jacket and navy tights

 In this other outfit navy cover’s a large proportion of the body; the torso and legs.

Because of this, threading the maroon through the outfit in shoes, gloves and skirt works well to balance it out.

 Grey

Dark grey tights

Another easy step into colour and away from black is grey.

A dark grey skirt/dress and dark grey tights is an easily achievable, flattering and professional look.

Grey tights and skirt

Dark grey skirt matched with dark grey tigths

grey dress and grey tights

Alexa Chung wears a grey knee length dress with grey tights

work wear grey tights

Dotty wears Grey tights with a pale tweedy skirt

dark grey tights

Blake Lively wears dark grey tights

 

Red Tights

Red comes in many shades. Maroon and burgundy which are darker shades of red are the easiest to en-corporate into a work wear look. Demonstrated here, are three ways to approach adding strong coloured tights to outfits and if your feeling super adventurous then you could exchange the red for another bright colour!

1. Wear an all black outfit with your coloured tights. The contrast is bold but not too crazy!

coloured tights, black dress, smart work wear

Greta wears a black dress and red tights on Red White and Pearls blog

Burgundy red tights, pretty black dress outfit

Jessica Quirk wears burgundy tights and black outfit on her What I wore blog

2. Here the maroon colour has been selected from the dress and matched with maroon tights. Matching your tights colour to a colour in a pattern is an easy way to style an outfit so it is coherent. It is not always easy to find the exact match in colour

pattern burgandy

3. Grey is a softer neutral than black and can be a nice complimentary colour to red tights.
coloured tights, grey skirt, work wear

Burgundy tights and grey skirt


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Wearing black opaque tights to work

Wearing tights in the winter to work. Tights are a great tool to have in the cupboard for Autumn Winter.There are different ways to style opaque tights and look professional and smart for work. Here I am looking at how to style black opaques for the Autumn winter in the office.

Bold coloured dress or suit and black opaques

An easy styling trick: Use one bright colour in your outfit and contrast this with some bold black opaques.
See how in each picture the person has linked the black tights back through the outfit.1. a black belt2. a black bag3. a black polo neck sweater/jumper underneath.This is a good trick to pull an outfit together.
Black opaque tights and red dress

Red dress and black tights on trendy-u.ru

black opaque tights and blue suit

Carolina Herrera A/W 14-15 ready to wear bold blue outfit and black tights

black tights, cream outfit

Cream outfit and black tights from Christian Dior

Contrasting skirt colour

You could go for an alternative colour in the skirt against some black tights.
cream skirt, black tights and pearls

Katie Krysh (My Keep Calm and Carry On blog) cream skirt, pearls and black

black opaques and yellow skirt

Christie Young wears yellow skirt and black opaques http://azisenhour.wordpress.com/

 

colour blocking, black, red and white

Colour blocking from Jessica Quirk What I Wore style blog

Black tights with a black skirt
This combination works well. Especially if you go for a contrast on the top:
black opaque tights

black opaque tights, black skirt and grey top from Hello Gorgeous

black tights, grey skirt

Fashionably Employed wears a grey skirt, bright purple top and black opaque tights

black tights and contrasting jacket

Grey jacket, black skirt and black opaque tights

black skirt black tights

White top, black skirt and black tights

Wear plain tights with a patterned outfit
You could wear a smart dress with a pattern or a patterned skirt. Either way some plain black opaques will work well.

black tights geometric patterned skirt

Black outfit with feature patterned skirt

black tights, black shoes and patterned dress

Black tights and patterned dress from Christine Aguilar at She Look Book

 What black opaque tights to get? See our guide


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The Everyday Routine: Skin care and makeup

I often discuss makeup and skin care routines with my friends. Sharing your information about the products you use and love is a great way of getting some very useful tips back!

I’ve got a daily basic skincare and makeup routine that I stick too. I’ve got a few things I do everyday and I can get ready very quickly with the routine that I have. Are you the same? How do you juggle skin care, makeup, getting dressed, (getting kids ready for school or partners!!) getting your lunch ready and making it to work on time?!!

Here is my skin care routine:

skin care beauty

and here is my makeup routine:

makeup routine daily

Links to products I use:

Korres

Wild rose products
Lancome
Foamy cleanser

Exfoliance Clarte

Laura Mercier

Oil free primer

Tinted moisturiser

Wet n Wild

Creme eye liner

Maybelline

Lots of lashes