Kerry O'Brine Womens Wear

Behind the seams


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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


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Because (sometimes) Classics Are The Best!

It seems a while now since I first got into discussions with the lovely Kate (a la Pouting In Heels). We were discussing her upcoming photoshoot and what she was going to wear.

Well, the result of the photoshoot was beautiful. It is a real example of how pretending to be someone else can give you confidence behind the camera. Try it next time someone says ‘say cheese’ – you may end up feeling more yourself than ever!

Trench Coat and silk dress

Kate in my black Lana dress

You can see she is a complete natural behind the camera in this blog article featuring a dress from my one of my collections!

I like the way she has styled the dress with the trench – a nice combo of smart and casual. I look forward to seeing more styling on her blog, she obviously has a flare for it.

City style Fashion dress

Keeley in my navy Jo Jo dress

It’s always nice to see how different people style and wear my designs.

See here how one of my fav bloggers Keeley (the British Fashionista) styles one of my dresses (JoJo) with exactly the right amount of accessories for a smart work city look. She added some smart heels, a great bag, big sunnies and some subtle jewellery.

 

 

 


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How to Match a Green Dress

If you like wearing a green dress for work, there is no reason you can’t look smart and mix up how you style it.

On the left I have started off with black and green. Black and green are easy to match and you probably are doing this combination already! (moving anti-clockwise) Navy works equally as well next to green and is a smart alternative to black for work.

There are various different shade of navy from very deep dark navy to a lighter brighter version. Choose a shade that works for you.

 

How to Match a Green Dress

I have chosen to add a red belt in the next look. With regards to red with green, I would keep the amount of red to a minimum so you don’t look too Christmasy (or vice versa in a mostly red look). Here I have kept the majority of accessories as nude.

Pick out the red in a lipstick to create a unity across the look or if one red accessory is not enough!

Pink looks nice next to green and again go for a pink shade that suites your skin tone. Red and green are complimentary colours.

Because pink is a mix of red and white it works very well with the green and is less obvious than red.

Orange and green work well together. You can use burnt orange, deep dark orange or a bright orange. It all depends on the green tone and the colours that suit you.

Last but not least we move round to burgundy. Because burgundy, red wine or oxblood are shades of red they work well against green. These dark shades are a great alternative to black, navy or grey.


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Deep Dark Red Autumn Winter 2014 Bags

Deep Dark Red Autumn Winter 2014 Bags
Time for some shopping?

Autumn Winter 2014, bags in a deep dark red colour are everywhere. I love this colour for a bag, whether it’s called oxblood, burgundy or dark red! It is a sophisticated, smart and versatile shade that can easily be incorporated into your working wardrobe.

How to style Burgundy, Oxblood or Dark Red?

There are different ways to work with dark red. Hopefully the following styling examples I have put together will give you some ideas.

Burgundy Styling
Styling Points:
1. Choose a pattern that includes the dark red shade in it:
2. Select matching accessories in the dark red colour:
3. Or a matching item of clothing:
4. Select another colour that contains red in it.
5. Deep dark reds go easily with navy, grey, ivory and black:


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3 Tips for Styling Blue Work Dresses

If you have a blue dress but you’re not sure how to style it or you’re thinking about buying one;

Try my 3 tips below for picking colours

3 Tips for Styling Blue Work Dresses
Just a little side note on working with 2 colours in an outfit. My personal feeling is that you need a neutral colour in there as well. Neutral colours such as black, white or grey. In my opinion if every accessory you add is red, it looks very much like you’ve tried way too hard!
I like to think of it as a recipe. For example:
70% main colour (Look 3. A blue dress)
20% Accessory colour (Look 3. Red belt, necklace and bag)
10% Neutral colour (Look 3. Black shoes and tights)

So now you need to pick your blue dress. These are some of the best ones for work I have found in the shops at the moment.

Add some blue to your Professional wardrobe
womens, work, suit, accessories, orange, purple


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Colours That You Can Wear With A Purple Suit

A purple suit is a great alternative to a black, navy or grey suit. Don’t be scared of adding pops of colour; purple can take it!

Purple is a great winter colour – warm and sumptuous. Because it is made up of red and blue you can add both of these colours to purple. Yellowy green looks lovely next to purple because yellow is purple’s complimentary colour (see here about complimentary colours).

Colours That You Can Wear With A Purple Suit
womens, work, suit, accessories, orange, purple