Trend: Extended Sleeves

ExampleI saw the extended sleeve trend come through last year, and it’s gained momentum on the runways for Fall 2016. The sleeves of tops, jackets and coats are very, very long, extending well past the hand. On the right is an over-the-top version from the Marc Jacobs RTW Fall 2016 collection.

Sure enough, as Fall collections trickle in early this year, designer wear is showcasing the hectic extended sleeve. The items in the collection below are good examples of the look.

I always try to keep an open mind when designers showcase garment detailing that upon first glance looks absolutely unwearable, but I’m struggling to keep an open mind with the hectic extended sleeve. The main reason is practicality: we use our hands all day long. Perhaps the point is to look “street style cool, eccentric and dramatic” with covered hands for part of the day because you could roll back the sleeves into a cuff, or scrunch them to use your hands when you need to. Like the pullover below, hectic extended sleeves unrolled on the left and rolled back into a cuff on the right.

JOSEPH Melange Wool-blend Turtleneck Sweater

Extra bulky cuffs and scrunching doesn’t seem all that comfortable, and the impractical sloppiness of hectic extended sleeves for a “cool effect” isn’t my cup of tea either. But I do like a more subtle version of the extended sleeve that showcases the fingers but covers the rest of the hand. This is the case with the items in the collection below. The extended sleeves on knitwear and a sweatshirt can keep your hands warm (bonus), and bell sleeves are awfully pretty (although I wouldn’t eat soup while wearing them).

I also like the way layering a snug pullover over an extended sleeve shirt or blouse creates a French cuffed vibe, as seen in the example below (imagine that her hands were covered but her fingers exposed.) The visual effect is arty, maximal and luxurious, and a little baroque or dandy. Not very practical, but there’s nothing wrong with a little impractical fashion from time to time.

MCQ ALEXANDER MCQUEEN Crochet-trimmed Wool Sweater

Over to you. What do think of the extended sleeve, both in its hectic and more subtle variations.

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Back Detailing on Garments Is Fab

I love blouses, pullovers, jackets and coats with extra detailing in the back, like ruffles, flounces, pleats, colour blocking, knots, bows and peplums. I enjoy how a little extra thought has gone into the design of the item, making it a step up from basic. 

I was thinking about why I’m drawn to this type of asymmetrical detailing. 

  • It’s unexpected: We expect the detailing to be in the front of the garment because that’s what others see most of the time, and what we see when we look in the mirror. Pop the detailing at the back instead and you’ve defied the norm, providing an element of surprise for your audience. It’s a more subtle statement that can be just as powerful.
  • It’s unique: Garments with back detailing are less common, making them more interesting and special. 
  • It works well with short hair: Short hair showcases items with back neckline detailing particularly well. The detailing also draws attention back to your neck, which I’m in favour of doing. 
  • It’s fun: Regular in front, but party at the back. Why not! You can’t see the detailing, but others can, especially when you’re in motion. 
  • Three-dimensional fabness: The back detailing on garments celebrates that we are three-dimensional walking works of art.

Example 1

Example 2

I recently added both of these tops to my wardrobe because their back detailing pulled at my heart strings. Cropped ruffled flounces on the pullover, and a twisted knot on the blouse. I’ve only had them for six weeks but they became instant Summer workhorses.

I also have my eye on the pullover on the right because of the unexpected back bow detailing, (unfortunately it’s already sold out online, but is available in stores). Elegantly plain from the front and party at the back. Could be nice with a pile of white pearls and my pearl grey jeans. I’d need to find a camisole or tank top to match too.

Over to you. How do you feel about the unexpected detailing on the backs of garments? Are you attracted to them like I am?

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My Underwear Story

As an adolescent teenager back in the early ‘80s, I couldn’t wait to wear a bra because the idea made me feel awfully grown up. I loved the look of those matching lacy underwear sets that I would see in magazines and in stores, and was excited to integrate them into my style. 

My Mother believed that expensive bras were worth it because they fit better, looked better, made your clothes look better, and felt more comfortable. So when I was a teen and living at home, I wore very good bras. I matched them with inexpensive cotton knickers and loved my undies. 

But as soon as I entered the work force and had to fend for myself financially, I questioned my Mother’s underwear wisdom. I didn’t want to pay what I thought were exorbitant prices for items that were hidden away. How much difference was it going to actually make? With a tight fashion budget, it was a much better idea to save on the underwear, and spend my fashion dollars on a fun top, jacket, bag, or pair of shoes and jeans that everyone could see. 

So right through my twenties and beyond I bought less than fab underwear. It was quite ill-fitting, unflattering and uncomfortable. And although my bra and knickers matched, they certainly weren’t very pretty. Functional, minimal, sporty, neutral and void of lace did the job. I’m not sure what happened to the girl who loved those fancy underwear sets and listened to her Mother’s fashion advice. 

In my thirties, a few years after my Mama passed away, I found myself looking in the mirror at my uninspiring black underwear that didn’t feel great. I remembered what she used to say, and decided right then and there to bite the bullet and spend more of my fashion budget on bras. I went for a professional bra fitting and bought two perfectly fitting, lacy, and expensive bras at Nordstrom. 

These bras were life-changing. 

They made my clothes look better by creating a lovely shape on the bust. The fabric and fit felt sooooo good against my skin. And they were pretty. Most importantly, though, my new bras made me feel good about my body and more confident in my clothes. Mama was right, and I should have listened to her from the start.

Over the years I’ve replenished my bra capsule regularly, buying the best that I could afford. I also began buying fabulous knickers because why stop at the bras? My undies are matching, predominantly lacy, and very pretty. Slowly but surely, I’d reconnected with that young girl who desperately wanted to wear those grown-up underwear sets. 

Now, in my late forties, I’ll happily spend money on underwear that looks and feels exceptional. Above all, it makes a huge difference to how I feel about my body and my style. When I look in the mirror and I see a pretty matching bra and panty set, I’m inspired, and already feel good about the outfit that I’m going to wear for the day.

Because underwear has become a style motivator and confidence booster for me, it’s worth every penny. I highly recommend a trip to the lingerie department if you’re feeling blah in your undies and need a body image boost. A stunning, supportive and comfortable pair of bra and knickers might be a lot more powerful than you think.

Simone Perele Delice 3D Molded Underwire Demi BraElomi Cate Underwire Bra

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Roundups

Transitional Items

Start thinking about your Fall look by zoning in on a few key transitional items.

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Items Under $100

An assortment of more affordable Summer items to amp up your style.

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Summer Neutrals

A collection of trendy Summer neutrals that are easy to wear.

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Quiet Neutrals

A selection of quiet neutral pieces for Spring that can pack quite a punch.

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Summery White Items

Adding white to your wardrobe is a great way to give your outfits a more Summery vibe.

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Comfy Gold Flats

A selection of comfy and casual gold flats for low and high volume feet.

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Your Fingernail Polish Style

Like toenail polish, fingernail polish is making a bigger fashion statement than ever. It has gained enormous momentum over the last five years, and there is no stopping the trend. I’ve found that clients who “talk with their hands” look particularly fabulous with dramatic fingernail polish because their hands are on show, and at eye-contact level. I especially encourage eye-catching fingernail polish in these cases because it becomes an effective accessory that is very much part of the outfit. 

I on the other hand, have never been one to wear fingernail polish. Even on our wedding day, I wore a very soft pearly white polish and that was that. I do give myself quick manicures, keeping my fingernails short, filed, buffed and moisturized. And lately I pop a quick double coat of clear nail strengthener on my nails to prevent them from tearing. I really like the subtle shine on my fingernails because it creates a polished appearance and looks pretty. 

I do like high-contrast fingernail polish on others. For some of my friends and clients it’s a signature part of their style, and it would be weird to see them without bright or dark fingernails. Very dark fingernail polish works extremely well when you have a hard-edged style. 

Over to you. What’s your fingernail polish style, and what’s the reason behind the colours that you choose? Do you prefer a high or low-contrast colour on your fingers?

Ensemble: Statement Kimono & Denim

This ensemble was inspired by some of our forum members and street style shots that I saw recently. Combine denim bottoms with a layering top and striking kimono for an arty and dramatic look. The comfortable combination can work on any body type, and strikes a wonderful balance between dramatic and casual. The sensual romance of the kimono top is a fun juxtaposition with the sturdy and rougher integrity of the denim.

Example 1Example 2

Any colour palette will work: Brights, pastels, neutrals, mid-tones, earth tones, jewel tones. Here are the components of the outfit: 

Kimono: You’re after a cotton or lightweight silky kimono topper in a pattern that drapes like a dream. Think flowing and theatrical. The length can be as short as to the hip bone, or up to ankle length. The longer the kimono, the more dramatic the look. 

Layering Top: Wear a layering shell top, silk camisole, fitted T-shirt, drapey T-shirt,  tank top, or blouse under the kimono. Neutrals like black, white and grey are a slam dunk, but matching the top to a colour in the pattern of the kimono is another way to go. Feel free to pattern mix the top with the kimono. Tuck, semi-tuck or untuck the top.

Denim Bottoms: Choose any style of jeans in any wash. Think cropped straights or flares, boyfriend jeans, culottes, skinnies, shorts, cuffed straights, bootcuts, or full-length bell-bottoms. A denim skirt will work too. Blue, white, grey or black denim is fab. 

Footwear: Choose footwear to work with the vibe of the outfit. Pumps, ankle strap pumps or cage heels for dressier looks. Gladiators, thong sandals and mules for casual renditions. Wedged sandals and espadrilles can work, and so can d’Orsay flats, dainty loafers and peep-toe booties. 

Accessories: Finish off the look with a bag that works with the outfit. Add jewellery, eyewear and watch as desired. 

Ensemble: Statement Kimono & Jeans

This outfit is especially good in motion because of the way the breeze fills out the blowing effect of the kimono. A fun and elegant look.

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