Kerry O'Brine Womens Wear

Behind the seams


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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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Buying your work wardrobe for A/W 2014 – inspiration from the catwalks!

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Christian Dior Couture A/W 14

christian-dior-couture-aw14-Fashion

Christian Dior Couture A/W 14

It’s almost time to start thinking about our Autumn wardrobes! Noooo, I hear you cry!

A sad time for our lovely light summer pieces, but I love Autumn Winter styles and fashions just as much.

If you’re looking for inspiration for new work wear purchases or new ways to use pieces you already have you might find something of use here.

5 ideas for A/W 2014 work wardrobe from the Fashion Catwalks

1. Add a bright collarless coat or jacket to an all black outfit as seen on the Dior catwalk. The black polo neck and trousers is great, sleek and easy look to create. You might just need to purchase a new colourful collarless jacket to update it.

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2. Alexander Wang A/W 14

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2. Alexander Wang A/W 14

Celine A/W 14

2. Celine A/W 14

2. Wear a large collared shirt underneath a long top/jumper/dress. Whether the model is wearing a very short dress or a very long top in the pictures to the left, this feels a very sharp and fresh look! You could easily style this with some slim fitting trousers. Both looks by Alexander Wang use tones of the same colour in each look i.e. dark plum top over a red-plum shirt.

If nothing else get yourself a large collared shirt to update your professional work wear wardrobe.

3. Go geometric if you want to add some interest and pattern to the daily grind.

Giorgio Armani couture A/W 14

3. Giorgio Armani couture A/W 14

This Giorgio Armani jacket is a great example of how to wear pattern in a smart and not too girly way!

4. Add a pop of colour on your feet. On the Dior catwalk Raf Simons added shoes in a nice bright orangey red or a striking indigo blue. The pairing of the indigo blue with the red trousers in the Dior looks smart and interesting. Coloured shoes with coloured trousers is an idea to consider when putting an outfit together. Alternatively you could use pops of red. Giorgio Armani uses red for shoes, gloves bags and you also get a glimpse of a red top beneath.

Giorgio Armani Couture A/W 14

4. Giorgio Armani Couture A/W 14

christian-dior-couture-aw14-fashion

4. Christian Dior couture A/W 14

Christian Dior

4. Christian Dior Couture A/W 14

5. There seems to be a lot of contrasting in textures/finishes for AW 14. For example on the Versace catwalk you see a lot of blocking in satin next to matte.

Versace 2014

Versace Couture A/W 14

Versace 2014

Versace Couture A/W 2014

Versace AW 14

5. Versace A/W 14


Images from Elle. With thanks


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Where is your hem at?

Hems

You may or may not have read that this Autumn Winter (2013) trends include the skirt lengths mainly falling at knee length or mid-calf. Hurray I hear you cry, I can’t believe it’s taken so long for this to come round into fashion again!

I’ve collated some pictures of different ways a knee or mid-calf length piece can be incorporated into your professional wardrobe:

1. Try a pleated skirt in the ‘on-trend’ nude colour and an over the knee length.

Nude pleated skirt knee length A/W '13 Lanvin

Beautiful Klimt-inspired collection. L'Wren Scott Fall 2013
2. Try a mid-calf length – a wrap around coat style picks out the fashionable length but also keeps your legs warm!
Miu Miu Stripe dress Calf length
3. Just over the knee is a great length -In bright red this A-Line Bottega Venetta dress is striking and smart. Perhaps a circle skirt like this black one at Michael Kors is a better shape for your body (balancing out your wider shoulders or larger bust).

Bottega Veneta knee length red dress Autumn/Winter 2013-14

Michael Kors Calf length black skirt

4. A high mid-calf length can work in a fitted pencil skirt style such as this lovely teal coloured Oscar de la Renta skirt.

Teal skirt over the knee length Oscar de la Renta

Knee length printed skirt and collarless jacket Waist emphasised by coloured belt Oscar de la Renta

Lanvin A/W 2013 red floral dress

Could tartan be your new pattern?

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If you want to add colour and print to an office outfit, still look smart and not step too far from your comfort zone; try tartan. People have been wearing it for centuries, it’s worn for special occasions and it’s very easy to coordinate into a wardrobe.

Tartan and plaid for Autumn Winter 2013
If you think a full tartan look would be a bit too much for work, try just adding some tartan shoes or a jacket.
Because tartan is a mix of coloured stripes you have quite a few colours to choose from and you can create many different outfits with one piece.

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Leopard in your office

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I love a leopard print and it is part this coming Autumn Winter’s fashion print trends. You might see croc or pony around but I say go with leopard: it is ever versatile and comes back season after season – well worth a purchase. You can do all over leopard but I love this Burberry Prorsum look:

vogue.co.uk

Burberry Prorsum Knitwear in camel, leopard skirt catwalk

I think this is smart casual done to perfection; the mix of print and knitwear, a pencil skirt and chunky knitwear. You could exchange the knitwear for a camel/beige coloured blouse or shirt for a smarter office look. To bring it to a more casual winter level add some knee high black boots.

Leopard in your office

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Be inspired by shades of dusky pinks

If you can’t bare Winter and want to keep some summery lightness in your working wardrobe the dusky pink A/W 2013 trend is going to be great!!
There are a variety of pinky shades to choose from – so you should find something to suit your skin tone!

Taking a look from the Giorgio Armani Prive show as inspiration – a dusky pink jacket and skirt hits the nail on the head with this trend. Feminine, womanly and great for work. You can add a touch of black in footwear or as a blouse underneath if you find the total dusky pink look too much!

Be inspired by shades of dusky pinks


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Autumn Winter 2013 Moody Blooms

If you need some inspiration for your Autumn Winter office wear then try adding some moody blooms to your wardrobe. With one floral piece coordinated with some plain coloured pieces you already own, your wardrobe will be refreshed. The key with this Fall 2013 trend is to choose flowers against a dark background. You can then mix black or deep colours to make the floral trend less summery.

Autumn Winter 2013 Moody Blooms
Use the catwalks to influence your new purchases but don’t try and replicate an entire look. The key is to always buy pieces that suit you.
 
This floral look is pretty but with the dark tones still looks very smart for work. I have chosen pencil skirt shape skirts with the floral pattern – this keeps it from being too girly.
The gorgeous jacket in the center is an easy to wear floral piece because the floral is a placement rather than all over. Here I have coordinated it with a plain flared skirt. For the office, the jacket is nice nod to the trend on it’s own and doesn’t need a floral skirt.
 
The accessories pick out some of the dark tones such as the deep burgundy shoes in the middle.