Ensemble: Holiday Leggings

This is one of the more comfortable holiday outfit formulas. It’s popular with those of my clients who enjoy wearing leggings with roomy tunics or dresses. Casual yet just dressy enough if the components are festive. 

Choose any colour palette. I’ve chosen neutrals and berry shades because they’re popular for the holidays in the US. Here are the components:

Leggings: NO yoga leggings. You’re after a pair that look dressier and non-athletic. Think Ponte knits, leather, pleather, velvet, textured velvet or flocked designs, suede or imitation suede, or basic black versions from Lysée. The collection here shows a good assortment of what I mean. 

Tunic or Dress: You’re after a dress, pullover or top that is at least mid-thigh length. Lengths to the knee can look very elegant and avant-garde. Choose an interesting silhouette. Surrender or define the waist. 

Footwear: Add dressy shoes with personality. Pattern mixing and shine get my vote.  Personally, I like the look of pumps, shooties, Mary Janes, loafers and oxfords with leggings. Dressy boots can also work. 

Coat or Cardigan: Top things off with a coat, sweater jacket or cardigan that is at least as long as the top, and works with the palette of the outfit. 

Festive Bling: A clutch is a good way to go, or stick to a dressy satchel if you need more room in your handbag. Bling is how you can take the outfit from drab to fab. Add statement jewellery, fingernail polish, headgear, eyewear, watch and dramatic lippie as desired. 

Choose woolly knitwear and add thermal underlayers to this outfit if you run cold. I’d add knee-highs for warmth on my feet if I was wearing pumps.

Ensemble: Holiday Leggings

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Why Skirts & Dresses Aren’t Coming Out For the Holidays

Working with clients over the years, I’ve noticed a strong movement away from wearing skirts and dresses for holiday parties, work functions, and bashes with friends and family. As recently as five years ago, almost all my clients wore a skirt or dress ensemble to a holiday bash. Few fancy ball gowns, but skirt and dress outfits ranging from smart casual to cocktail were all the rage.

Things have changed. The following reasons come to mind.

  • Casualization: The goal posts have shifted in our current fashion world. Jeans are considered adequately dressy for just about any bash these days. And athleisure rules supreme for everyday casual wear.  
  • Environmental norm: You might like to wear skirts and dresses for the holidays, but don’t want to stand out by being the only one to do so at a holiday bash. 
  • Hard to fit: It can be hard to find a dress that fits
  • Hard to style: Skirts are hard to combine with the right top, especially when you don’t like tucking tops into waistbands. 
  • Comfort: Skirts and dresses might require uncomfortable shapewear and hosiery, and feel too constricting. They also look best with heels, which might not be your choice of comfortable footwear. 
  • Impractical: Dresses and skirts can be impractical for frozen Winter climates. Overly breezy, and not very snow boot-friendly. 
  • Economics: It’s budget friendly to make do with a trouser, leggings or jeans outfit you have hanging in your closet already, instead of spending money on a skirt or dress look that won’t get much wear. 

I fully support clients who have chosen to move away from wearing skirts and dresses for the holidays. In fact, I was thinking along similar lines for my own holiday outfit this year and had my mind set on a dressy trouser outfit. But then I found a great A-line frock on sale, and I could shop my closet for the support act of heels, hosiery, pearls, clutch and coat. I don’t mind being the only person wearing a dress, and probably won’t have to contend with snow and ice. I guess this has been my year of the dress

Over to you. Will you be wearing skirts and dresses for the holidays like me, or will you be sticking to jeans, trousers and leggings like most of my clients?

Fashion News Roundup: November 2016

The world’s largest handbag hall, an exhibition about Princess Diana’s style, a Dries Van Noten documentary, and more style stories that caught our eye.

Fun Fashion Fact

According to Mail Order Retailing in Britain: A Business and Social History, the first product ever sold via mail order may have been Welsh flannel:

“From about 1860, Pryce Jones’ Royal Welsh Warehouse, at Newtown in mid-Wales, carried on an extensive home shopping business, principally in Welsh flannel, at first conveying goods by mail coach and carrier’s cart, later by rail. It claimed to have around 40,000 customers by the end of the 1870s and around 100,000 a few years later. When Pryce Jones died in 1920 the local press credited him with having transformed his retail drapers into ‘an extensive system of shopping by post’.”

Roundups

Black Friday Top Picks

Some Black Friday deals that are well worth a look.

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Cute Items

There is lots of good stuff in stores at the moment as we near the end of peak season.

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Subtle Bling & Earth Tones

Add a little subtle bling to your outfits because why not!

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Cuddly Comfies

As temperatures plummet, make sure you have a good selection of cosy items in your wardrobe.

Read More

Texture and Interest

Lots of interesting Fall items that work across a range of body types and dress codes.

Read More

Neutrals

Some winners on my clients this season.

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Outstanding Outfit Bloggers

The Power of Polished Casual

Washington D.C.-based E (34) lives in Washington D.C. works as a marketing manager for a software company, and documents her outfits over at District of Chic. For the most part, her style is smart casual, polished, and quite minimal. She likes to mix Modern Classic pieces with on trend items, and sports the occasional Soft-Edged look. Our blogger is very much into cropped jeans and chokers at the moment, and uses clean-lined jewellery and fun footwear to add visual interest.

“My style is definitely eclectic – a little bit preppy, a little bit punk, sometimes more romantic and dark, and lately I even find myself going more minimal. It really depends on my mood. I also come from a somewhat artistic background so I’ve always been a sucker for interesting color combinations and eye-catching patterns.”

District of Chic - 1

District of Chic - 1

E is combining two statement pieces to create a dramatic look that she thought “invoked cosmopolitan bullfighter vibes”. To lengthen the leg line she’s tucked her eye-catching navy gingham blouse into black cropped flare trousers with bow-tie detailing. Flirty fun! The blouse’s stand-up collar emphasizes our blogger’s long neck. The structured fit on the shoulders tempers the volume of the on trend billowy ruffled sleeves. The two tassels on the leather satchel echo the bow ties on the trousers. Low-vamped pointy toe pumps further lengthen the leg line. Cat-eye sunnies, two multi-coloured bangles, watch and rings finish off the look.

District of Chic - 2

How divinely ’80s is this denim skirt outfit! E has tucked a simple white crew neck tee into a just-above-the knee distressed denim skirt. The light wash is reminiscent of ’80s stonewashed denim. But the star of the show is, of course, the asymmetrical leather studded jacket. The cut-away open neckline draws attention to the stud embellishments, while the tailored waist reins in the volume of the big shoulder pads. Black block-heeled sandals with buckles add a touch of Soft Edge. E’s sleek bob creates polish, and her cat eyeliner fits the vibe of this look perfectly.

District of Chic - 3

District of Chic - 3

E is sporting a pair of black and white triangle patterned shorts with a high-low hemline pullover. From the front this looks like a simple, minimal casual outfit, but our blogger has a surprise in store for us. The back of the sweater has lace-up detailing with fun oversized grommets, which takes the entire outfit up several notches. Unexpected party at the back, as Angie calls it! A sleek gold-toned choker necklace and bangle add visual interest in the front. Minimalist black cut-out leather slides complement the vibe of the outfit brilliantly. E’s trusted black Céline bag and oversized sunnies are the accessories of choice.

When asked if her approach to fashion and style has changed now that she’s a Mum, E replied:

“Though it pains me to admit it (because I’ve never been particularly practical when it comes to fashion), having a child has made me a little bit more sensible about how I dress. Having to chase an active toddler around, I’ve definitely come to appreciate a good pair of flats and fabrics that don’t stain. On the weekends, I often wear outfits that look equally good with sneakers or heels so I can easily transition from the playground to a restaurant.”

District of Chic - 4

Our blogger likes to wear neutrals but rocks pretty sherbet colours with equal pizzazz. For this casual polished look E has paired raw hem cropped straight leg jeans with a coral cable-knit sweater. Combining the boat neckline with a necktie choker and adding ankle strap flats gives the outfit a ballerina vibe, especially with 5’8″ tall E’s long limbs. The lace-up shoes close the gap on the ankle, while the cable knit detailing and blue velvet footwear create textural and visual interest. The black bag works well with the rest of the colour palette. E finishes things off with red lippie that complements the copper in her hair.

District of Chic - 5

A faux fur stole in a beautiful colour like this rich burnt orange is a great way to add oomph to a black Winter coat or an all black outfit. E is wearing a tailored wool coat over black skinny jeans, and uses accessories to make a subtle statement. The flat booties with metal-tipped fringe overlay and chain accents, and her compact mini envelope bag with gold metal detailing create a rocker vibe. The cat-eye sunnies and chic, cosy stole add glam. Fair isle gloves that match the stole’s colour are the playful finishing touch.

District of Chic - 6

Our blogger has polished casual outfits down pat. This denim-with-stripes look is extra fun because of the clever juxtaposition between the tomboy footwear and feminine scarf. E is wearing a navy and white striped sweater with relaxed skinnies. Adding a sharp-shouldered blazer that is the same length as the sweater makes the entire outfit look extra put together. The silver metallic oxfords work well with the blue and white colour palette. The elegantly tied vintage neckerchief is an easy way to do some subtle pattern mixing. I also lovethat E isn’t afraid of sporting her favourite bags very frequently.

Let us know what you think of E’s style, and then hop on over to District of Chic to browse the rest of her outfits. Or have a look at her pinboards for more visual inspiration.

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The ’90s Black Midi Skirt

The way I remember it, the ‘90s was about three skirt silhouettes: the short A-line, the straight calf-length pencil with side slit, and the voluminous midi. These skirts were for the most part black because that was THE colour of the mid to late ‘90s. 

The ’90s-inspired voluminous midi skirts below caught my attention at Zara. I think they’re fabulous for a few reasons:

  1. They look FRESH amidst a flooded retail market of knee-length pencil skirts and skater skirts. At last, we have something different. 
  2. They’re long, which means that with hosiery (or leggings) and boots, there’s the potential to feel cosy in cold weather without wearing jeans or trousers. 
  3. Some styles can look romantic, architectural, avant-garde and maximal.
  4. They look equally good on a straighter and a curvier figure. 
  5. They work well with on trend crop tops, short asymmetrical tops, and tucked tops.  
  6. They are great in motion, and have a fun “swoosh” factor.

Frilled SkirtMidi Skirt with Buckle

Sequinned Mesh SkirtPencil Skirt with Ruffle

Granted, they are easier to wear when you’re regular height or tall, because the lengths can overwhelm a short height. That said, if the length is slightly shorter and the silhouette more streamlined, petites are in business. 

If you like to wear black skirts and black boots, this could be a fun “new” look for you. What do you think?

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