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Team Casual or Team Dressy for the Holidays

by Angie

It’s the day before Thanksgiving, which means that the holiday season has officially started in the US. So lets talk about your preferred dress code for the holidays. Do you like to dress up, or keep it low key and casual? 

During the holidays I like the combination of dressing up for fancy events, AND keeping it casual, yet festive, with a pair of jeans or trousers for more relaxed settings. I usually wear a dressy pair of trousers with a pullover for the Thanksgiving day feast with friends. Sometimes I pull out a fun full midi skirt and pair it with a fluid and welted pullover. 

I like to be extra dressy for our annual holiday dinner with close friends in December. The men go all out and wear suits, so I like to wear a more formal outfit like a lace skirt with a sparkly top, a suit, or a party dress. Sometimes we also have a fancy holiday bash at home, and I request a formal dress code. That way I can wear my party dress again. 

I enjoy dressing up jeans for Christmas Eve dinner, which we often have at a restaurant. This year I’ll probably wear my Glitzy Urban Equestrian outfit. I’m usually in fancy trousers with a fluid top for Christmas day, which we also tend to spend with friends and family. This year I feel like wearing my ink blue silky upscale track pants with a sparkly blue pullover and gold booties. A day or two before New Year we usually go out to a more casual restaurant for dinner, so I’m back to dressing up a pair of jeans.

Although I wear both dressy and smart casual clothes over the holidays, I do feel robbed of a fun fashion moment when we don’t have an extra dressy event scheduled. I am Team Dressy for the Holidays. 

Over to you. Do you bat for Team Casual or Team Dressy for the Holidays? Tell us why and no batting for both teams. But if you’re sitting this one out on the bench because you can’t pick a side, I’ve arranged a vegetarian curry with sticky rice, banana salad and cucumber atchar.

Angie's latest top picks

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More Reasons to Love the Flannel Plaid Shirt

by Angie

The flannel plaid shirt has lots of potential because it’s a modern classic piece that can become what you want it to be. Dress it up with sequins, remix it with other patterns, or dress it down with a pair of rugged boots. Versatile, practical and cost-effective. 

Remember that plaid shirts do not need to look traditionally tailored and fit in a conventionally flattering sense, which eliminates some of the fit challenges often associated with button-down shirts. They look better fashionably fluid or oversized, and are more comfortable that way too. Add a little structure by partially or fully tucking the shirt into bottoms, so that you don’t feel like you’re wearing a sack.

Here are three more reasons to invite a plaid shirt into your wardrobe if you haven’t already done so. 

  1. Cozy Factor: I like the look of shirts layered under knitwear and jackets, but find that the crisp fabric of my Summer shirts is not what I want to wear in Autumn and Winter. The fabric is cold and hard against my skin, which puts me off unless it’s an unseasonably warm day. Plaid shirts, on the other hand, are flannel and therefore cozy and extra soft against your skin (like flannel pajamas). They also feel warmer despite their 100% cotton content.
  2. Instant Outfit Interest: A plaid shirt is a simple casual wardrobe item, but it adds instant outfit interest. It’s one way to amp up your stay-at-home style because of the pattern and its layering potential. 
  3. Boyish Charm: It might be just what you need to toughen up an overly girly outfit. Its boyish charm creates interesting juxtapositions when paired with dainty heels, flouncy skirts, pencil skirts, glitz or chunky bib necklaces. Often when a pretty blouse feels too precious with a particular bottom, a plaid shirt feels just right. 

I have a flannel shirt in a white-red-blue combination from a couple of years ago that is still going strong. I added another three flannel shirts to my wardrobe this season for the reasons above. I added one in a black-white plaid, one in charcoal-cream, and one in citron-pink. I wear these shirts frequently and I’m glad to have an assortment of plaids.

Over to you. Have you joined the Plaid Party, or do you need further convincing that a flannel plaid shirt is a good piece to add to your cold weather wardrobe.

Outstanding Outfit Bloggers

Polished Pastels and Trademark Long Locks

by Inge

Valerie Husemann (21) is a fashion-loving student who lives in a small town near Frankfurt in Germany. She shares her thoughts on fashion and lifestyle on her blog, Simple et Chic. Her style is a mix of girly casual and polished dressy looks with a boho touch here and there. She likes trendy pieces, loves pastels and bib necklaces, and regulary sports sneakers and flats. Her stunning long locks are an integral part of her style, as is her impeccable makeup that adds the final polishing touch. 

Valerie - 1

Valerie loves pastels, and my word, they love her right back! Our blogger is a fan of wearing light colours to brighten grey days, which is why you can see her sporting white and pastels all through Fall and Winter. Here she is wearing an oversized baby blue sweatshirt under an equally voluminous coat. The fluffy material of the round-shouldered topper adds textural interest. The volume up top, emphasized even more by the big collar, large buttons and fun extra large pockets, is balanced by slim-fit, cropped white jeans. Showing the ankle creates further structure, while the metallic slip-on sneakers add subtle outfit depth. Valerie did mention that she felt a bit chilly with the sneakers. She’d have preferred grey ankle boots, but is looking for the perfect pair. Dark red nail polish is a great contrasting colour accent with the pale blue, as are our blogger’s stunning light brown tresses.

Valerie - 2

A head-to-toe neutral outfit that is light and breezy for a warm Spring day. Valerie has created a visually interesting tonal look by mixing white with cream and tan. The silky tiered blouse adds soft geometric lines. Wearing the longer length cardigan open creates a long lean line. The textured fabrication makes the tan come to life, while the dropped waist with ruffled bottom adds more soft lines to the look. The bright white jeans provide crisp yet subtle colour contrast. The pretty sandals further amp up the polished casual vibe of this look. Pairing the cropped jeans with ankle strap sandals in a colour close to our blogger’s skintone eliminates cutting horizontal lines. The buckle on the sandals, geometric shaped cuff and ring, and delicate necklace are gold-toned, which works beautifully with all the neutrals.

Valerie - 3

Valerie had me with the forest green top. What a gorgeous colour. She is wearing the slightly cropped blouse over a black mini skirt that almost looks green in a certain light. The bell sleeves give the top a ’70s vibe, but the architectural pleats and the way it is styled make it thoroughly modern. The peplum hem flares out over the straight skirt in a flattering way. Valerie’s pointy toe ankle boots fit snugly around the ankle, which creates a streamlined effect. The tassels are a fun design detail. The sparkly black bib necklace worn over the high-neck blouse, and a black clutch finish off this polished soft-edged look. And, as always, Valerie’s beautiful long locks amp up her style quotient even further.

Valerie - 4

Valerie - 4

Pale pink with light grey is one of Valerie’s favourite colour combos. Here, she uses delicate pink and cosy woolly textures to soften the strictness of a dressy faux-wrap skirt. Our blogger has semi-tucked a chunky turtleneck to emphasize the angles of the asymmetrical skirt. The medium gauge knit prevents the sweater from looking too bulky. I love how the collar collapses back onto itself, thereby creating more outfit softness. A plaid scarf, reminiscent of the iconic Burberry check, is draped loosely over her shoulders. It helps to the draw the eye up and down. The big necklace adds pretty bling and echoes the triangular shape of the skirt hemline. Classic blush pumps are the ladylike finishing touch.

Valerie - 5

For this trendy look, Valerie has cleverly combined two primary colours. The bright tomato red and dark blue play off each other providing sufficient outfit interest, so the silhouette can be kept simple and easy. The volume of the roomy sweatshirt and oversized topper is counterbalanced by skinny jeans tucked into texture-rich suede ankle boots. The camel coat enhances the intensity of the vibrant red and blue. Our blogger creates structure by rolling the sleeves, and her long hair plays well with the collarless style. The taupe tote doesn’t match but works with the other earth tones in this look. Finally, the light playing with the faceted pink with red statement necklace creates airy outfit depth.

Valerie - 6

Valerie’s mischievous glance in this photo makes me laugh. It fits the playfully polished vibe of this culottes look perfectly, don’t you think. With its simple but strong black and white graphic integrity, it’s also my favourite outfit. The volume on volume worn with flats is fashion forward and not conventionally flattering, but Valerie pulls it off with panache. The chunky knit pullover drapes beautifully over the trousers. Its high-low hemline together with the pleating at the top of the culottes adds structure to the wide bottoms. Showing sufficient ankle skin and pairing them with refined patent slipper flats reinforce that effect. The tassels and gold buckle on the shoes add preppy charm. Valerie’s healthy long locks are the only accessory required to finish off the look.

Let us know what you think of Valerie’s love of pastels and girly polished style, and then hop on over to her blog to check out the rest of her outfits, or browse her pinboards for more visual inspiration.


Dressier Casual Items

Casual pieces that lean slightly towards dressy.

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Casual Wear

Casual pieces that can be dressed up or down to suit you.

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Interesting Neutral Items

There are many beautiful neutral pieces in stores right now.

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Fun Wool Coats

Across an assortment of styles, colours and lengths.

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Current Cardigans

Opt for a current style rather than a classic cropped round neck.

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Fashion News Roundup: Week 47, 2014

by Inge
H&M to launch e-commerce sites in eight more European countries, Robin Wright collaborates on a sleepwear line, Nordstrom retires its half-yearly sales, and other news from the style trenches this week.

Fun Fashion Fact

Did you know that Hubert de Givenchy named his first collection, and the iconic full-ruffle blouse in that collection, after Bettina, “the first French supermodel”. Simone Micheline Bodin, which is Bettina’s real name, was also the muse of French designer Jacques Fath, and her legacy is currently being celebrated with an exhibition at the Parisian Galerie Azzédine Alaïa.

Rebel Chic

Jean Druesedow

The Sartorialist: Closer

Scott Schuman

The Truth About Style

Stacy London

kate spade new york

Deborah Lloyd

You Are What You Wear

Jennifer Baumgartner

Ensemble: The Dramatic Maxi Cardigan

by Angie

Maxi cardigans that are longer than knee-length are a fringe trend at the moment. When they’re in a fine gauge knit they remind me of the ’90s. The refined lightweight gauge of the knit tends to offset the overwhelming silhouette, so I vote try those first, especially if you’re petite. Chunky maxi cardigans tend to overwhelm the wearer more easily. 

You’ll probably find it easier to wear a maxi cardigan in a neutral because of its dramatic length. An extra long maxi cardigan is a big colour commitment.

There are many ways to wear this dramatic piece, and I’m getting the ball rolling with two simple renditions. A business casual version with a dress (left), and a casual option with jeans (right). Choose any colour palette. 

Dress & Maxi Cardigan

It doesn’t get much easier than this combination. Layer a maxi cardigan over a sheath dress and finish off the look with footwear and a bag of your choice. For footwear think pumps, loafers, booties or knee-high boots.

The point is that the cardigan is longer than the dress, which creates an interesting effect on the hems of the outfit. Sheath and shift dress silhouettes tend to work best for this type of layering because they complement the shape of the long straight cardigan. Leave the cardigan loose or feel free to belt it at the waist. Add hose and a coat for cold weather. 

Jeans, Tee, Scarf, Boots & Maxi Cardigan 

Combine a pair of boyfriend jeans, straight legs or relaxed skinnies with a tee, lightweight sweater, blouse or button-down shirt. Leave the top untucked or partially tucked with the addition of a belt. Layer over a maxi cardigan and leave it loose to swoosh as you stride. Finish off the look with booties and a scarf. Add jewellery, eyewear, hat and watch as desired. 

You can also create a column of colour under the maxi cardigan by wearing a black top with black skinnies and tall boots. Or be extra dramatic and layer a maxi cardigan over a pair of shorts and finish off the outfit with mid-calf moto boots.

Ensemble: The Dramatic Maxi Cardigan

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