Morning tea – Grey and black

It’s a little early in the morning for pictures. You can see how thrilled I looked! Morning cup of tea to get the grey cells going and my studio assistant has already got the camera out!! But here I am dressed in my black Missy dress, accessorised with a grey lace jacket. The jacket looks good flying loose but I have added a grey belt to nip in at the waist. The volume of the jacket works well over the fitted dress.

pic 4Close up 2

I’ve also pic 2added one key accessory – the grey/silver bracelet.

Black and grey are a great work combination. Have a go at mixing your work wardrobe up – you might have a grey suit jacket that would look great over a black dress?

Try these out:

monochrome refilia tweed jacket by IRO

compact textured wool double breasted jacket by Neil Barrett

Like the jacket I am wearing, this cardigan has a waterfall effect at the front. You could wear it loose or add a belt:

heather grey voltage rib draped front jersey jacket by HELMUT

pursue jondi tweed peplum jacket by Theory

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

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.

Seven Colour Combination Ideas for the Office

Combining colour into a working outfit should not be difficult.

Firstly you need to pick one highlight colour that suits you like pink, red, blue or yellow. Then choose the base colour or matching colour that you will work with such as black, navy or brown (this could be a suit separate or a dress).
Here I have chosen pink as the highlight colour and navy as the base colour. You can always add white or black as neutrals if you need to (see the white shirts and skirt I have added).

Working Pink and Navy for Work

Seamless from one to day to the next

If you want an everyday fail safe bra then I would suggest you have a selection of seamless bras.  You can wear a seamless smooth bra under anything from

a silk blouse like this:

to a jersey dress like this:Ivory silk Jersey dress

Find where to get them and who can do fittings in London City here.
Take a look at this for TOP TIPS on Lingerie; fitting, colours and styles.
I have selected a few nice seamless and smooth bra and panties/briefs styles from different brands that are great for everyday wear and can look good under a variety of outfits.

Brand: Chantelle Paris

·      Collection: Basic Invisible

Memory foam t-shirt bra

Toffee, beige and black,

The memory reacts to your body heat and moulds to your breasts

Crush resistant cups (good for travelling)

Available up to a size G

·         Collection: Haussmann

T-shirt Bra

ultra nude, noisette or black

Seamless cups and back invisible under tight fitting clothes

Narrow strap

Available up to size G

Full brief – ultra nude, black or noisette, up to a size 48

Tummy control panel, opaque, seam free and very flat finish

Brand: Fantasie

(great for larger cup sizes (up to a JJ cup)

·         Collection: Ava

Brief – seam free, control brief (includes sizes 2XL 18-20 and XL 16-18) In black or Ivory

Strapless Bra – Seamless bra available in large sizes up to 40E or 36GG. In black or Ivory.

Moulded Plunge Balcony Bra – Seamless and smooth bra available in large sizes up to 40F and 36G. In black or Ivory.

·         Collection: Esme

Moulded Bra – fabric in nude or black (sizes start at 30DD going up to 40GG and 38H)

High waist Shorts – Black or nude in sizes small – 2XL

Brand: Gossard

Collection:  Egoboost

Strapless Bra – Goes up to a size 38G, nude or black, removable straps and smooth cups

Plunge Bra – Goes up to a size 38G and in nude or black

·        
Collection: Glossies

Sheer Moulded bra – In nude or black. Sizing up to a 38G

Deep Short – Smooth, natural fit, light control panel at the front, cotton liner. Up to size XXL and in black or nude

Padded bra From 30D to 38G, moulded cups in nude, black or mocca

Where can you get these lingerie brands and others if you work in London City? Try our new online directory – see shops listed by lingerie brands and find them on a local London city area map.

Black dress plus Red

Today I’m wearing my black JoJo dress styled with a red belt and black shoes.

MagazinesThis dress seemed perfect working with a PR agent on a warm day like today!IMG_9485

Using a wide coloured belt is a great way of nipping you in at the waist. It’s an easy way to add personality to an outfit but keeping it work appropriate.

ComputerLean back

Try here for more colour styling ideas for black.

If your looking for a red belt to try, these are a couple of great belts I have found:

Genevra Printed Leather Skinny Belt

Jaegar Red suede and leather inlaid belt

I would definitely add a nice big red bag to brighten up a black outfit. One of these would look good:

Browns fashion & designer clothes & clothingKatie Printed Leather Small Tote L K Bennett

Ladies Summer Collection: Fashion Inspiration

People often ask me what my inspiration is as a clothing designer. I can honestly say there is no one specific thing, although I am a prolific image collector – folders and folders of pictures from magazines, postcards, photographs and printouts. It might be a colour, a texture, an outfit composition, a line, a structure or a print that catches my eye.

For the summer collection, The Riviera, the design inspiration came from wanting to create of collection of pieces that you could just slip on, feel luxurious and summery in.

This was achieved through the cut of the designs. The Grace blouse is cut very generously through the body and arms and could be described as a batwing or kimono style shape. The Eloise dress and Rosa blouse are both cut in a leaner kimono shape; allowing for ease of movement but perfect for people who want something a little more fitted.

The Fabric: Silk is a fabulous fabric for summer and the crepe de chine fabric I’ve used feels amazing and drapes really well in the loose shapes.

The Colours: I started off with the Aqua green shade and this led me to think about colours  you see on holidays in other countries. The collection features aqua, coral, sky blue, Ivory and black. The colours have all been given holiday location names.

When I was pulling together fashion inspiration for the photoshoot look I immediately got drawn to the 50s with the fabulous icecream colours and then into the 60s. I’ve popped some inspiration pics below for you but click here for more!

Brigette Bardot - Hair inspiration
Brigette Bardot – Hair inspiration
Icecream colours!
Makeup with aqua and blue reference
Makeup with aqua and blue reference
Pretty pastel coloured beach huts at Mersea
Pretty pastel coloured beach huts at Mersea

Once I had these ideas I then researched possible locations. I’d seen the beach huts at Mersea and knew there was some lovely colours. The pastel coloured huts made a great photoshoot backdrop.

So that everyone in the photoshoot team is on the same page for the photoshoot and can prepare their kit for the day, I like to send out mood/image boards. A picture of the model can help prepare an MUA or Hair Stylist with the face shape, colouring and hair type they are working with and colour swatches and inspirational pics can give the look we are aiming for.

Close up on the makeup
Close up on the makeup

Tracy worked her magic with the makeup. She has so much experience working within fashion shoots, it was great that she could come and use her creativity in this shoot. The smokey aqua blue eye worked really well in the look.

Precision hairI was lucky to have Julie on the photoshoot team. Normally working as a hair stylist for brides, she creates vintage styles and looks that are a little bit different from your normal bridal do! So the model Sophie was in good hands. See this blog entry for the behind the photoshoot pictures of getting the hair ready and creating the amazing ‘do’!

Photography for fashion is not photographer Kerrie Mitchell’s main job role, normally she photographs weddings. But I’m really looking forward to the results as she always pulls it out the bag. I think as a designer you really have to find people you work well with and Kerrie is someone I continually work with as we really connect. She always understands the looks, concept and shots I am trying to achieve.

This is a Hold Up: How to Get into a Tights Situation!

Putting hosiery on!

Best tip I’ve been given is to moisturise your legs before you put your tights on (not hold-ups).

Make your hands damp and use the palms of your hands to roll your tights up your legs.

A video of how to put on tights:

Don’t grip your tights with a claw like grasp, finger tips pressing into tights will create pressure in a tiny area and you’re more likely to get a ladder/hole!!

Caring for tights!

If you purchase a cheap pair of tights I would say wear them once and chuck them away. Otherwise you’ll end up with a drawer full of tights that you can’t remember the good from the bad and spend way to long trying out tights in the precious hours in the morning pre-work.

With regards to the more expensive pairs the recommendation with Wolford, for instance, is to hand wash them. Now I have been known to machine wash my Wolfords in a wash bag. They come out just fine BUT be aware you are degrading the fibres of the tights and they won’t last as long and be as fabulous as if you hand washed them.

With hold-ups/stay-ups stick the silicone sticky bit together before you wash them.

Where to buy?

There are so many tights to choose from it can be hard to know where to start but I hope my tips have helped you with starting or completing your professional work wardrobe. See here for the tips in my previous blog entry.

Hopefully my web pages are helpful when picking tights for Autumn Winter and Spring Summer.

There are many options of where to buy hosiery in the UK.

If you work in London City try our hosiery locator.

If you want to purchase online you could try:

mytights.com

tightsplease.co.uk

tightstightstights.co.uk

uktights.com

Choosing Hold Ups, Stockings and Tights!

As a woman you will most probably have worn hosiery of some description, at some point! For work they are an essential piece of your everyday kit.

Over the years I have worked in office, retail and studio environments. Some things I have picked up you might find useful.

haute-tights---charcoal-front-2

When you go to purchase hosiery think about what you want first – looking at boxes and boxes of tights can become a little bit bewildering!

  • Do you want a pair of tights, hold ups, stockings or knee highs?

(stockings you’ll need a garter to hold the stockings up, hold ups are like stockings but ‘stick’ to your legs and stay up on their own and tights offer full coverage of crotch, bottom and legs! Knee highs offer a great sophisticated alternative to socks for trouser suits)

  • Do you want hosiery with support built in?

(some brands offer hosiery that stimulates circulation or that supports and lifts your body shape)

  • What outfit will you be wearing?

(A figure hugging dress will require a different hosiery than a skirt suit. For a figure hugging outfit try a seamless pair of tights such as Fatal 50 by Wolford).

  • How much leg coverage do you want?

(There are a variety of looks – a natural barely there kind of coverage all the way through to a thicker coverage like leggings. The smaller the denier the finer/thinner the tights are, for instance an 8 denier is very fine. The other end of the scale is opaque tights and these can be 60, 80 or 100 denier. This is a thicker substantial wintery hosiery that you cannot see through).

(Often outfit dependent but always good to think about your natural skin tone when purchasing a natural tone hosiery…..tan legs but pale white face could look a little strange, unless you’re making a fashion statement!)

  • What colour?

(There are so many shades available now. If you need to match an outfit your best bet is to take the outfit into the shop and match the colour. Always stand by a window and use natural light to match colours and don’t forget the tights will be stretched on your legs – so may look slightly different to when they are in the box).

  • Matt, sheen, pattern?

(your preference could be not shiny – so you are looking for a matte finish – low 8 denier fine tights can be shiny or matte, as can a thicker opaque 60 denier. If you are going for a fashion or vintage look then the world is your oyster; choose from a simple back seam line or go crazy with dots, fringes and flowers!But maybe not for a professional office environment!!).

Tips

  • tights, stocking, hold-ups,The best thing to do before investing in hosiery is to look at the samples first: department stores and individual brand stores will have samples to look at. Tell a consultant what you require and they should be able to locate the best options for you. Take your time to stretch the samples over your hand – look at the finish – is there a slight sheen, are they too sheer, is the colour right?

 

  • For a capsule work wardrobe you’ll need a variety of tights and once your happy with your choice – purchase a couple of each style. I like to have a variety of denier in stock: 10, 20 and 50s. Navy, black and natural are the key colour staples I have in my drawer.

 

  • If you’re based in an office it’s a good idea to keep a spare pair of nude tights in your drawer. If you have the sort of job that requires you to visit different offices, meeting rooms and locations have a spare pair stored in the internal pocket of your hand bag. There is nothing more annoying than catching your tights on an unfamiliar wooden desk and not have a spare pair!

I can recommend certain brands such as Falke or Wolford because of the quality and finish you’ll get from them (the price point reflects this).

Each pair of tights is hand checked in Wolford before packed, so you won’t purchase a pair of their tights, get them home and find they have a hole in (before you’ve even worn them!).

You will also find that because of their construction a pair of Wolford tights will give a superior coverage when stretched on your legs.

Autumn Winter hosiery definitions and top picks

Spring Summer hosiery definitions and top picks

Next… putting on and caring for your hosiery!

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