Kerry O'Brine Womens Wear

Behind the seams


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The Shoe Nightmare – and other diary items!

In the studio:

Things are starting to happen. Some decisions have been made about the new accessories – looking forward to the bits and pieces arriving so we can get cracking on painting and finishing those.

I’m on the verge of ordering some of the fabrics for the new pieces. Excited about the rich colours I’m going for and it’s lovely receiving new fabrics in the post!

In November I have a show booked which is almost immediately after my wedding so everything has to be done prior to the wedding. A little stressful!! All prep such as the show layout, packaging and admin needs to be completed before I get married. I don’t want anything playing on my mind.instagram latest

I’m doing regular updates as and when things happen in the studio on instagram. Some fashion, some flowers and anything else that takes my fancy. But mostly it seems to theme as, fashion, flowers and food!!

Head over follow me on instagram if you want to see sketches, colours and studio happenings!

 

Update on the wedding:

Planning the wedding has been going ok. We had a slow start with me doing most of the major research. But more recently things have got on a roll.

One minor thing which has turned into one giant pain in the ******, is my shoes. Yes yes there are bridal shoes out there. But seriously, even with all the lovely new designers out there, nothing is right. Everything has gone super vintage – not right for my dress. High end and high street designers all have heels that are crazy high. I need a classic heel that is wearable all day.

I’m also determined not to have a pair of Ivory/white satin shoes that I know I will never wear again or ever dye (dying shoes or anything in fashion is not very acurate and sometimes highly unsuccessful).

So I’ve tried a lot of shoes on with the dress. Some lovely gold ones, some great beige ones and various others. Nothing is quite right.

Ahhh!! My dress is too white-ivory for cream, beige, or gold. The length is going to be long but the shoes will peak out the front. I’m thinking of going with black, sparkley silvery or red/pink tones.

Is it just me!!?

Side note…. If you are looking for some nice party shoes there are a lot around at the moment….. I’m loving all the gold sparkley ones.

The shoe solution? (hopefully)

So in the end I decided to get some made. I booked an appointment at the Upper Street shoe lounge. On Monday last week mum and I went with my wedding dress to my appointment.

The shoe lounge is a lovely space to try shoes on in. First you have a chat about what you’re thinking style wise and the heel height. Then they get some samples out to try on for size and heel height and shape. They offer different shoe size options. My feet are a size 4 in length but a size 5 in width at the front. It is always tricky finding shoes for my feet.

Once you have decided the shoe style you want, then they get all the colour samples out. Because there are so many options, it is helpful to have some vague notion of what you want i.e. green tones or red tones.

I made a decision and then we looked at different details which really made the shoes even more special.

So I ordered the shoes and now I’m waiting, eagerly waiting…. COME ON SHOESSSSSS! It’s a 3-4 week wait.

I’m down to 3 weeks…….

The shoes are not cheap, but if you want shoes that fit and you can’t find what you want in the shops, this is a great alternative. (you can order them online aswell) I will let you know how they turn out!

 


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Networking – Ladies, do you do it?

Networking events – If you aren’t at them then you are missing out.

Sure, I’ve been to a few duds. But more often than not, I have met some very interesting people and formed some good connections. They are opportunities to help one another forward our lives, business and career. This could be in the form of joint ventures, creating opportunities for talking at events or recommending a mentor for you.

  • Don’t think of it in direct correlation of networking = sales if you are in business.
  • Do offer something you can do for the other person when you make a connection. We all have something to offer – it is a two way connection.

A Selection of Women’s Networking Groups:

The Athena Network

Every Woman

Prowess

National Womens Network

We Are The City

Leading Women UK

WIBN SSW

Lady Val

Women in the City

City Women

The Room Upstairs

GWN

Girl Geek Dinners

City Mothers

This list is by no means exhaustive. There are a lot of groups out there who do different meetups, networking and workshops. Hopefully this list will get you started.


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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:
mustard bag, styling, fashion


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What colours to wear with a mustard bag?

If you have a lovely mustard bag but haven’t yet used it for work, why not??
People often ask me about what colours go with mustard. Really, mustard is much easier to work with than you think!
Here I have limited it to 3 styling suggestions but I could have gone on.

Grey and mustard is one of my favorite combinations. It doesn’t matter whether it is dark grey or light grey – they both work and look sophisticated and smart.

What colours to wear with a mustard bag?

Red, yellow and blue are primary colours – so that’s why mustard (yellow shade) can work with red or blue.

A burgundy jacket looks very smart with a mustard bag.

I would avoid using blue, red and yellow all in one outfit though: it can look a little childish!

The third look has a yellow patterned dress and navy to go with the mustard.

You could wear a navy suit, nude shoes and white shirt with your mustard bag. Another lovely mustard combo! 

 

laptop, handbag, women


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Ladies stylish, professional and practical 15.5″ and 15″ laptop handbags

If you want a stylish, practical handbag that fits your laptop and personal effects in then I’ve done the leg work and found a range of bags for you. Each blog entry in this mini series about laptop bags is about a different size of laptop.

15″ and 15.5″ Women’s Laptop bags

If you like a big screen laptop like me then there is less choice of stylish laptop bags that will fit your lovely laptop in. The following are the details and a breakdown of my top picks for handbags that hold 15″ and 15.5″ laptops. I have sectioned it by brand.

laptop, handbag, women

Milli Millu

I personally love all the Milli Millu bags. The Founder, Mireia Llusia-Lindh, has managed a very careful balance of attractive designs and practicality. My one criticism of the website would be the lack of filter to narrow down the bags by laptop size – this would have saved my disappointment of going through each bag and finding I only had one choice for a 15.5″, The Zurich.

For a 15″ laptop from Milli Millu you have the option of The Rio or The Zurich.

The Rio bag, Milli Millu

The Rio, from Milli Millu £395

The Zurich, Milli Millu

The Zurich from Milli Millu £495

Two very different options, The Zurich is very structured and The Rio has a much softer laid back luxe look. Both bags have a great shoulder strap length which makes them both perfect for wearing over the shoulder.
The Rio Handle drop: 23cm and The Zurich Handle drop: 20cm.
The Zurich is a perfect handbag for a busy professional with its five separate compartments for laptop/tablet, papers, pens, smartphone and a zipped pocket for personal items. It’s always good to think about the security of your items when commuting so the zip at the top that closes the Zurich completes this bag.

Knomo

Knomo is another great brand that has really focused on providing a more attractive bag combined with the practicalities we all require! For the 15″ laptop you will find a larger range of options.

Let’s start with the Great Portland and Portland Place – two very similar looking bags. The main difference is in the size of laptop you can fit in. The Portland Place can hold a laptop up to 17″ but only comes in black whereas the Great Portland can hold a laptop up to 15″ and comes in 4 colour options.

They are both made from lightweight and soft nylon. With EVA foam and a double stitched diamond quilting. Are you wondering what EVA foam is and why it is worth mentioning?!! Yes so did I …..

Benefits of Eva foam:

  • Impact and vibration absorption
  • Weather and chemical resistance including splash resistance to oils and fuels
  • Acoustic and thermal insulation properties
  • Buoyancy with low water absorption
  • Suitability for thermo-forming and thermo-moulding
womens blacg laptop bag

Portland Place from Knomo (black) £129

aubergine Great Portland laptop bag Knomo

Great Portland from Knomo £119

They both

  • Zip across the top to close
  • Have an internal quilted and padded compartment to protect the laptop
  • To fit in extra items – both sides of the bags unzip and expand
  • Soft padded shoulder straps
  • Internal pouches and zip pockets for all your extra bits

Hanna and Picton

These are probably my favorite bags from Knomo for combining style and function. Two stylish leather handbags that will both fit over the shoulder and easily carry your 15″ laptop and other belongings. Both bags have a quilted and padded compartment to hold and protect your 15″ laptop. The leather for both bags is quite different. Hannah is made from a soft pebbled leather and Picton is made from a hard durable Saffiano leather.

Picton, Knomo

Picton (in black) from Knomo £249

Hanna, Knomo

Hanna from Knomo £245

 

 

Picton

Inside the Picton there is a panel in which you can store items like pens, memory sticks or business cards. A front pocket on the exterior is great for items like your Oyster card that you want to grab quickly. There is also an additional interior zip compartment – maybe you can keep some personal items in here.  A nice long shoulder drop of 25 cm means Picton will easily sit on your shoulder.

Hanna (available in red, black or grey)
The sides of Hanna unzip for easy and maximum access to the main compartment. The handle drop is 24cm and will be very comfortable on the shoulder as they are made from padded soft pebbled leather. The top zip fastening adds that extra bit of security.

Aspinal of London

The Marylebone Tech

Navy, leather, bag, laptop, professional, women

The Marlyebone Tech, Navy £895

 Aspinal of London have obviously put a lot of thought into this bag design. With its mobile phone pocket and padded ipod compartment both designed with a cable path. The bag is designed to carry a battery charger for both mobiles and ipads, so you can charge on the go! But I wasn’t so impressed that this charger had to be purchased separately (£100).

The bag is made of navy pebble textured Italian calf leather. The handle drop is quite short at 5.5″/13.5cm. So to me this is more of a grab tote or crook of the arm bag than an over the shoulder handbag.

In addition to the padded ipad compartment and phone pocket there is a large main compartment and two external hidden pockets. The large main compartment means you should be able to get a laptop in too and potentially fit up to 17.3″ laptop in there – but I would check with Aspinal of London first. For added security the bag closes with a full length zip.

Also available in deer (beige shade), black or black and cream. Or the option is there Marlyebone Tote which is the same size but doesn’t have the option to carry the charger or have the cable paths. It comes in brown or black.

Bobelle

Another brand I am totally loving at the moment is Bobelle. Although the designer has not done a many work bag/laptop bags the styles and designs are gorgeous.

Handbag, leather, London, laptop

The Rivington, Bobelle £315

 The Rivington
Spacious enough for a tablet or small laptop (up to about a 15″ laptop), wallet and other accessories.
The lovely suede lining is quite different to all the other grosgrain linings other handbags are wearing!
The bag has a lockable external pocket, an internal zip pocket, an internal mobile phone pocket, pen holder and spare holder. The handle drop of 21cm is perfect for wearing over the shoulder.
Kate Spade
This is a smart looking laptop bag from Kate Spade. This is a padded nylon bag so it’s light and it has some smart patent leather trims. I really like the fact you have the two strap options – the long (23″/58.5cm) adjustable strap for across body or shoulder wear and the handheld handles (5.25”/13cm). The bag fits a 15″ laptop and you have room for more items in there too with an interior double slide pocket and middle divider.
The bag style is more your traditional laptop case than all the others but it is smart and has a more subtle stylishness!
black, nylon, bag, laptop

Kate Spade, black Nylon

Other brands for colour and patterns!
You could go for a bright colour or nice pattern to jazz up your commute. Try Marc by Marc Jacobs or Orla Kiely. Some practical bags with some nice bright and interesting covers.

Orla Kiely, handbag, laptop bag

Orla Kiely: 15″

Marc Jacobs, work laptop bag

Marc by Marc Jacobs: Gamma Ray 15″

Marc Jacobs, work bag, laptop

Marc by Marc Jacobs: Red Bag 15″

 

So to sum it up, my laptop is 15.5″ laptop (screen size): is 27cm height and 38cm length. Really there aren’t many options at all for a stylish handbag for a 15.5″ laptop… it’s the Zurich from Milli Millu or the Marlybone Tech/tote from Aspinal of London. Hopefully your laptop is a 15″ or less! All my favorite Milli Millu bags come in smaller sizes! Please Milli Millu do one of your bags bigger because my laptop is a 15.5″ but won’t fit into your Zurich bag!

15.5" and 15" ladies laptop bags


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Buying and Wearing Shoes in Summer

What to keep in mind when buying or choosing work footwear for the hotter days:

  • Natural materials are the best for letting your feet breath (Even when you have to wear closed footwear). Select leather, suede, cotton canvas and raffia.
  • Choose shoes with as many gaps as possible! This could be strappy, openwork leather, laser cut holes, sling back, open/peep toe, Broderie Anglaise or lace.
  • Avoid patent leather as the top layer has a coating that prevents the natural breathable quality of leather.
  • Don’t wear shoes that are tight to start with – the heat can make feet swell up and then your shoes will be very tight!
  • Always try on summer shoes in the middle of  the afternoon – your feet will be at their hottest and when you make the purchase you can be sure they will fit your feet when they are at there hottest.
  • If you can bare it then a small pop sock or pair of tights could help with feet becoming too sweaty and slipping in the shoes.

How to make sure your feet are sandal and summer shoe ready:

  • Use a pumice stone around your heels to get rid of dry and hard skin
  • Moisturise your feet and pop on some cotton socks before bed
  • Give your feet a nice soak – this will soften the skin and sooth them after a long day. Pop in a couple of drops of some tea tree oil and this will get rid of any potential infection on your feet – sweaty feet are a breeding ground for infections
  • Trim your toe-nails and polish them in a lovely summer colour
    Cobalt blue Dior polish Summer 2014

    Cobalt blue Dior polish Summer 2014

    Chanel Pink Summer 2014 polish