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Polished but not Precious.

Weekly Roundup: Sleeved Dresses

by Angie

It’s high Summer, but sleeved dresses in thicker fabrications with a little length have started to come through for Fall. Since this frock silhouette is hard to find when we look for it in colder weather, you might want to get a head start now. 

I haven’t seen Violeta’s dresses in person, but their styles are well worth a browse for US sizes 10 to 18. There are plenty of sleeved options.

Angie's latest top picks

These are Angie's picks. You can collect items for your own wishlist or shopping list using YLF Finds. If you are logged in, you can collect the items right here by clicking the icon. Read more about using YLF Finds here.

Outstanding Outfit Bloggers

Creative, Colourful and Confident in NYC

by Inge

Thirty-something Kellie Brown lives in New York City and is a Public Relations/Branding wiz. Her blog, And I Get Dressed, is a great resource for fab plus-size clothing, and Kellie’s creative outfits are a true inspiration. This colour-loving gal has seriously fun, on trend style and fashion confidence in spades. She mixes ladylike with playful and touches of Sporty Luxe. Our blogger also loves hats, bright lipstick, has an impressive statement jewellery collection, and owns leather jackets in every colour of the rainbow.

“My style is constantly evolving. Hopefully for the better. I think with anything time beacons experience. A few years ago I was really into vintage and clashing. Currently my mood is much for refined. I still love having fun with fashion and changing my mind but for the most part I think my style is a bit more elevated than a few years back.”

Kellie Brown - 1

Summer frock elegance with plenty of spunk. I love the clean lines and simplicity of this look. Just a dress, a statement topper and footwear. Kellie is on top of her fashion game, and often sports hot-off-the-runway trends. Like the knee-length blazer here, a silhouette that we’re seeing in several of the Fall 2014 shows. Kellie’s white midi dress is the perfect backdrop for the statement blazer. The stretchy viscose fabric falls straight down and moves with the body without being body con. The mesh panel adds subtle allure. The blue floral print is a classic pattern that looks thoroughly modern in this on trend silhouette paired with our blogger’s super sassy ‘do. The open front and notch lapels create a long line. Kellie’s wedge sandals show lots of foot skin, which continues that effect. Notice how the ankle strap and back of the shoe are a very pale pink, so fun. A silver necklace — with small blue gemstones echoing the floral print — cuff and earrings, and Kellie’s neon lippie finish off the look.

Kellie Brown 2

Our “pink lady”, as Kellie dubbed herself, is living proof that all body types and sizes can wear white or light-coloured bottoms. As always, it’s all about great fabrications and the right proportions. Kellie is sporting blush tapered trousers that expose a bit of ankle skin. She’s paired them with a white top in a substantial material that hits her at the hip. It’s tailored to showcase Kellie’s waist, but in true peplum style flares out at the hem to create a flattering silhouette over the skinny trousers. The cropped blush moto jacket also hits our blogger at the narrowest part of her torso, which showcases the peplum and lengthens the leg line. The golden studs and hardware on the moto add playful toughness, while the quilted pattern plays well with the self-pattern of the trousers. Great textural interest and bucketloads of pastel pizzazz in this very girly tonal look. Nude pointy-toe pumps, a sweet white clutch, and white and aqua necklace are the accessories of choice.

Kellie Brown - 3

I am head over heels for this grey, gold and silver Sporty Luxe look. This is modern 2014 style at its best. Kellie infuses all her outfits with tons of personality, and here she built an ensemble around her love for all things gold. The eye-catching skirt is made of metallic pieces that seem to shimmer blue, pink, purple, green, silver and gold depending on the light. A calf-length skirt with high-top sneakers is not the most easy combination to wear, but our blogger pulls it off with aplomb. Bare legs and a cropped moto create the right proportions. Kellie’s light grey boxy sweatshirt has no welt, which eliminates horizontally cutting lines. The soft gold metallic moto, about two inches longer than the sweatshirt, ties everything together with its shimmery fabness. The sneakers are black patent, which adds further sheen to the look without feeling over the top. The bold red lip, arty chunky necklace, rings and big earrings fit Kellie’s fun-loving personality to a T.

Kellie has loads of fun with fashion every day, and she loves to experiment with different looks and styles. She also has an excellent eye for colour, pattern and outfit proportions. Here is her tip for people who would like to step out of their comfort zone but are a little nervous about wearing bright colours, patterns or new-to-them silhouettes. 

“I think most people approach fashion with a need to ‘match’, but I think the most exciting outfits don’t match but rather the pieces pair well. I generally look at prints like art. If I was hanging a gallery wall in my apartment the pieces wouldn’t all be the same but they’d look like they belong together. The best way to step outside of your comfort zone is try things on. Instead of saying ‘I could never’ or just assume something wouldn’t work for you, try it. It costs nothing to try something on.”

Kellie Brown - 4

For Summer, Kellie has been sporting long braids that work well with the relaxed vibe of this casual outfit. Her light-wash boyfriend shorts are fashionably baggy and cuffed just above the knee. The distressed patches amp up the nonchalance factor. The flowy, voluminous white top has exaggerated batwing sleeves that are super breezy for hot days. The round hem gives the outfit structure and adds visual interest. The floppy straw hat brings a bit of beach holiday fun to the city and shades our blogger from the sun. Dainty ankle strap sandals add a ladylike touch and bookend the light top. A simple black bucket bag, different length necklaces and large hoop earrings are the accessories du jour.  

Kellie Brown - 5

Isn’t Kellie a vision in mint! I love that Kellie loves colour so much, and I am picking this tonal look as another favourite of mine. Pairing cool mint green with warm tomato red is a little unexpected and feels delightfully fresh. Our blogger is wearing a marled pullover with subtle studs on the neckline that echo the silver studs on her jacket. The sweater is a light aqua green that works beautifully with the colour of the full, pleated skirt. The flattering just-below-the-knee length and gauzy material make up the pretty part of this outfit. The punchy pizzazz comes from pairing the pretty skirt with the tougher vibe leather jacket and the kicky footwear. The lace-up wedge booties fit snugly around the ankle, and add streamlined structure to the look. The red with orange clutch, red lipstick and dark gold nail polish are the finishing touch. As always, Kellie found just the right earrings to complement her outfit. Her radiant smile is the icing on the cake.

Kellie Brown - 6

Kellie’s beautiful blue coat is what first drew me to this outfit. A Winter coat in a bright colour feels like a breath of fresh air, and can seriously brighten your mood on dark Winter days. The felt-like fabric provides textural interest, while the subtle round shoulder is very on trend. Our blogger has created a column of colour by wearing the coat open over a fluid fit little black dress and dark hosiery. The sparkly necklace worn over the high neckline adds lightness up top. From afar, the necklace’s structure is very similar to the lace hem on the frock. Great eye for detail. Black opaque tights provide warmth but don’t feel heavy under the pretty lace. The flat leopard print booties make the look for me. They are more unexpected than a black shoe, and lots more fun. Kellie’s straightened locks peeking out from under the hat add boyish charm, a fun juxtaposition with the ladylike lace. Our blogger’s signature red lip makes the blue pop even more.

What do you think of Kellie’s creative and colourful style? Let us know in the comments, and then hop on over to her blog to browse the rest of fabulous outfits.

Fabulous Silver Polish Spray

by Angie

One of my clients highly recommends using Tiffany’s Silver Polish Spray to clean silver jewellery. She cleaned most of her silver jewellery in a matter of minutes and proudly showed me the results. The items looked brand new.

The best part about the cleaning method is that it’s a no-fuss spray. You simply spray the piece, leave it for a minute or two, and Bob’s your uncle. Shiny perfection without the extra rubbing, grubby hands, or need for a cloth. It doesn’t get easier than that. 

The silver polish spray is apparently safe to spray on silver pieces with stones, like a wedding ring with diamonds. It also shines up metal costume jewellery that isn’t real silver. The product seems pricey for $20, but a little spray goes a long way. It’s also quite a nice gift idea.

Spray Silver Polish

Roundups

Spring and Summer Tops

Dressier with business separates or dressed down with jeans.

Read More >

Crisp Jackets

Fabulous with trousers for business, or with jeans for smart casual.

Read More >

Fluid Tops

Roomy, fluid fits for Spring across a variety of styles.

Read More >

Not So Basic Tees

A little extra design detail means stylish sans topper.

Read More >

Boyfriend Jeans

Here are my top picks of boyfriend jeans from Nordstrom.

Read More >

The Partially Tucked Top: Three Years In

by Angie

Partially tucking tops into bottoms has been a mainstream styling option for at least three years, although it was a fringe trend a couple of years before that. J.Crew is partially to thank for this genius styling tool because their attractive catalogues have heavily featured the semi-tuck for years. Partial top tucking has become a world wide fashion phenomenon that most retailers have embraced, and there is no stopping the trend. 

There are variations on how to semi-tuck the front depending on your preference. Some like to partially tuck the centre front of the top and leave the sides and back hanging. Some like to partially tuck one side, and leave the rest untucked. And others prefer to faux tuck the front with a welted top

I am a huge fan of the partially tucked top for four reasons:

  1. It’s an excellent way to overcome belt phobia if you are self conscious about defining your mid-section and worried about exposing muffin top. Partially tucking a roomy top is an effective concealer.
  2. It adds structure to an outfit and lengthens the leg line, which in many cases takes it from unflattering to just flattering enough. The partial tuck goes hand in hand with fashionable roomy fit tops. 
  3. It dresses down an outfit and adds a sense of comfortable ease to your style, which is suited to our age of casualization. 
  4. It’s perfect for a fashionably “RATE” (rough around the edges) style persona. 

Over the years, I’ve been encouraging my clients, whether they are polished or RATE, to try partially tucking their tops. Most of them have embraced the look. I can’t tell you how happy my apple shaped clients are with this option, because it allows them to wear a belt without feeling self conscious about their mid-section.

My pear shaped and very curvy hourglass clients were a little more resistant to partial tucking because they tend to enjoy showcasing their waistlines with untucked tailored fits or fully tucking tops. But all they needed to do was wear looser bottoms, and wear their belts lower on the hip to create a more flattering silhouette with a roomy top. This strategy visually straightens the hip and thigh area, which evens out proportions. 

Some of my clients are not into partially tucking tops because they tend to feel a little silly with part of their shirt hanging out the back of their outfit. They are concerned that it doesn’t look or feel fashionably deliberate. In this case I suggest that it can be a question of getting used to the effect. You have to bite the bullet and road test the look a few times to see whether it grows on you. 

Personally, I prefer to fully tuck a roomy shirt into looser bottoms because it’s better suited to my polished style persona and neat freak tendencies. Sometimes I do a subtle partial tuck with a roomy shirt — front and back tucked, with sides untucked — because it feels a little neater than leaving the back untucked. I also partially tuck one side of the front of a roomy silk tee, because to me that feels more natural than partially tucking the centre front. And last, I am a huge fan of faux tucking welted pullovers and upscale sweatshirts and wear them that way most of the time. 

Over to you. Have you embraced partially tucking tops into bottoms? If so, what’s your favourite way of semi-tucking? Or do you still feel a little odd leaving part of your top untucked.

Sejour Sleeveless Top & Pleated Midi Skirt

J.Crew Zip Back Surf Pencil SkirtJ.Crew Maison Kitsune Stripe Skater Skirt

J.Crew Broken-in Boyfriend Jean in Colby WashJ.Crew Demylee Aliz Merino Wool Pant

J.Crew Drapey Chambray Popover

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

Back To School Style Stories

by Angie

Back to school advertisements are everywhere in the US at this time of year. And while some of the ads are for school supplies, most of them seem to be about shopping for a fresh and fashionable wardrobe before the start of a new school year. I wore a school uniform for the twelve years of my schooling, so wardrobe prep for the new school year was a non-event.

My mum would make sure that my school uniform still fitted and was in good shape, replenishing items as necessary. School shirts, dresses and shoes were refreshed every year or two. Socks and tights were replenished more frequently. School blazers, pinafores, ties and knitwear on the other hand, lasted forever. So there you go. No fun back to school shopping memories for me.

If you didn’t wear a school uniform, I bet you have fun back to school style stories to share. Was there an annual shopping event right before the start of school, and did you look forward to it? Did you take special care with what you wore on the first day back at school?

From left to right, my first day of school in 1975 with brother Hugo, Greg in his primary school uniform with sister Gail at about the same time, and Greg (left) at high school in the ’80s.

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