Playing with proportion

Balance and proportion in an outfit are ways to trick the viewing eyes into seeing the body differently. As a fashion designer you can be creative and use different ways to make the eye see a 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.

This does not mean as a fashion designer we should design everything to create this ‘hourglass’ shape and I don’t believe we should all dress to create this particular shape. However, it does provide a good example of  how to create balance in clothing. By putting a belt on the waist you can evenly divide the 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

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.

 

 

 

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.

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:

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

How To Style Black And White Patterned Skirts For Work

Black and White Patterned Skirts
This week black and white skirts have been catching my eye. A black and white patterned skirt is a great piece for your working wardrobe. It has such versatility; you can probably accessorise and pair it with various different items you already own.
Don’t forget to choose a skirt length and shape that suits you. It’s best not to just jump in and purchase just because you love the skirt and the pattern (a note from personal experience!!).
You purchased a black and white skirt. The next step is to asses your wardrobe.
3 ways to style a black and white skirt

1. The first option is a styling option that has been recently trending: mixing pattern with pattern in one outfit. This doesn’t have to look crazy but it can be harder to find a good match of items. It’s best to use a larger scale pattern on one item with a smaller scale pattern on the other. A pop of colour added to the mix can lighten the look.

2. Pull out all the blouses/shirts/tops (in one colour) you have for work. Now put the skirt on and try it with each of the coloured tops.
What do you think? Do you like yourself in that colour put with the black and white skirt?
In this example I have matched the bag to the shirt to unify the look.


3. This is the most straight forward styling option. Select all the grey, white and black tops/blouses/shirts out of your wardrobe and try them on with the skirt. Sometimes a style of blouse will go better than another. Until you get them on it can be hard to say. To brighten this look it’s nice to highlight parts of your outfit in a colour. In this example I’ve used a belt, shoes and nail varnish but you could use different items. Try a coloured jacket/cardigan, necklace or bag instead.

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! 

 

What can I wear with a pink dress?

So it’s Friday again and I’ve been doing more shopping research for professional clothing for women!
It can take a lot of looking to find pieces that tick all the boxes when it comes to work wear. If I’m choosing dresses I only go for knee length or lower and with a not too low neckline. It’s always great if there is a sleeve of sorts, especially as we get into the colder months.

This time some pink dresses caught my eye. For me grey is the perfect colour to be styled with pink. You have the smart conventional calm grey against the pink pop of personality.

Pink Accessorised with grey
So Be Bold and wear pink to work. You can always tone it down with grey as I have done above. I have listed at the bottom what all the items are with their prices.
Be Bold in Pink or Purple
Jaeger, wool windowpane jacket £250
Zara structured blazer £95
L K Bennett Kareena grey suede shoes £210
Coccinelle grey north south tote bag £175
John Lewis coloured buckle leather belt £25
Burberry stretch-crepe dress £490
Izumi colour block wool crepe dress £910
Gucci silk-cloque dress £1110

Getting in the spirit of Christmas – what to wear to work!

I’m always looking around to see what is in the shops. All in the name of market research of course! So I thought it’s high time I started sharing this research with everyone else.
As everyone else is getting into Christmas mode I thought I’d better join in!!
(I recently met a man who’d done all his Christmas shopping!!! I mean, what is the world coming to!?)
What do you wear to work when you want to feel a little cheerful and festive without being too obvious with a Christmas jumper stuffed on under your blazer!?
I think red dresses are one answer. Pick a well fitting red dress in an appropriate length and good neck line and you can make a striking smart entrance to the office.
5 Red Designer Dresses for work
In the above picture I have selected 5 red designer brand dresses by Armani Collezioni, Landress, Anglomania, Diane Von Furstenberg and Joseph that I think are very work appropriate.
Below you can see my suggested complimentary colour and styling ideas. I have selected a couple of lovely non-Christmasy scarves. Choosing a scarf with a other colours in it is a great way of introducing a second or third colour into an outfit.
How to style a red dress
These pieces are all available online as I write this so you can get shopping right away!!

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