Ensemble: Valentine’s Day

This ensemble was inspired by the idea that you can wear something a little more festive on this global day of love and romance. I’ve kept the palette traditional, combining neutrals with shades of red, white and pink, but feel free to remix colours your way. 

Here are three outfit ideas to get you started. 

Stripes & Sneaks

Combine a pair of black jeans, trousers or leggings with a black or navy striped top. Top it off with a red cardigan, sweater coat or jacket (any shade of red will work.) Finish off the look with glitzy sneakers, bling, and a whimsical bag. Wear black shoes, red boots or white sneaks if you don’t have glitzy sneaks. 

Ruffles & Florals

Combine a ruffled blouse or tee with a floral blazer, and blue jeans. I’ve chosen pink ruffles and cherry roses, but go ahead and choose another palette if that’s more your cup of tea. Finish off the look with booties, oxfords, pumps or sneakers. A blush bag is a nice nod to Spring. 

Romantic Hard Edge 

Combine a black top with a red skirt, and top things off with a black moto jacket. Black boots, oxfords, loafers or pumps are great with sheer black hosiery. A blush bag adds a soft touch to the outfit. Add jewellery, eyewear and watch as desired. 

You can wear these outfits on any day as long as the weather is right and the outfit tickles your fancy. We at YLF wish you a happy Valentine’s Day.

Ensemble: Valentine's Day

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12 Trends for Spring and Summer 2017

I’ve worked through the Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear collections and pinned many directional looks along the way. It wasn’t easy making sense of what I saw, because looks were all over the place, with models wearing everything plus the kitchen sink. There’s usually a cohesive theme that brings a collection together, but this season that was seldom the case. Chaotic, complex, uncertain, dramatic, directionless, quirky and varied are words that come to mind. There was also little regard for creating traditionally flattering proportions. 

Then it dawned on me that this was the new direction of fashion. The complexity of the collections and the enormous variety of designs coming down the runway support what I call the Individualism and Maximalism trends that started last year. This year they are stronger than ever. 

Athleisure and simple outfits were all but absent from the runways. Skinnies took a backseat in lieu of wider silhouettes (although retail continues to flood the market with body-con skinnies and Athleisure no matter what). Asymmetry wasn’t as popular as it was in seasons past. The shows were rife with garments and outfits that had playful and whimsical undertones. Irregular outfit juxtaposition continues to be a styling tool in modern fashion. 

My favourite shows were: Gucci, Akris, Alice & Olivia, Bally, Lela Rose, Michael Kors and Prada. 

On to the trends. 

1. INDIVIDUALISM

There is no one way to be stylish, and fashion has become a melting pot of sartorial choices. Increasing diversity in fashion with each passing year means that there is something for everyone. Trends are no longer seasonal and fads no longer exist. Take the PERSONAL in personal style to heart, because you have the power to pick and choose from the trend buffet, and sport it your way. 

2. MAXIMALISM

Maximalism means wearing it all together to create a harmonized whole. Think of wearing complex silhouettes, combining them in one outfit, layering all sorts of pieces to create interesting proportions, accessorizing to your limit, pattern mixing, texture mixing, patchwork, embellishment, remixing high-contrast colours and clashing colours, wearing statement make-up, and adding nail polish and rainbow hair. Think drama, not subtlety. 

Remember that Maximalism runs on a continuum, and you’re free to interpret it as fully as you see it on the catwalks, or tone things down considerably to create a minimally maximal look. Either way, I’m inviting you to find your maximal outfit limit this season. Have fun exploring new possibilities and by all means “wear the kitchen sink” if that makes you happy. The only limit to the Maximalism trend is your own tolerance for it. 

3. HIGH-CONTRAST BROAD STRIPES

Most of the shows showcased one or several high-contrast, broad-striped outfits in a dramatic dress, suit, trouser, top or skirt look. Blue and white, and black and white stripes were common. They’re hard to wear, very bold, sporty, and widening in horizontal form. But they can be super cute when you love stripes and are up for the challenge of making them look just flattering enough. 

4. MODERN RETRO

Modern Retro means that you’re incorporating a style, trend or design from a bygone era AND adding a good dose of modern to the look. Retro items are new pieces, not vintage items that actually come from those eras. Silhouettes from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s continue to hugely influence today’s fashion. Less so the ’90s, which were a lot more minimal. Ruffles, flounces, bell sleeves, pleating, fringe, flares, tie-dye, suede, cold shoulders, sharp shoulders, pleated trousers, one-shoulder dressing, boho, disco, dandy, New Romantic, bows, wrap tops, graphic statements, embroideries, embellishment, punk, neon and goth.

Matchy-matchy outfits are retro, and a fun way to wear the trend as long as you create a little tension or irregular outfit juxtaposition in the outfit.  

5. STRUCTURED WAIST DEFINITION

There was an incredible amount of waist definition coming down the runway. AGAIN. This was created by garment tailoring, fit-and-flare frocks, peplums, belts, garments with attached belts, and tucking tops into high-rise bottoms. Oversized slouch has reached its peak as silhouettes begin to once again narrow at the torso. Showcasing the waistline is trendy. If that’s not your thing, allow garments to hint at a waistline for a bit of structure. I really hope that retail takes this trend to heart because there is only so much slouch that we can take. 

6. HIGH RISES

Most trouser and jeans rises were high or very high, which goes hand in hand with the structured waist definition trend. It’s also a strong ‘70s and ‘80s flashback. The fashionable point is to showcase the high rise, and not cover it up with a top. This is a hard trend to wear if you’re short-waisted and apple-shaped, so grab those mid and low-rise jeans and trousers while they’re available.  

7. CROPPED PANTS 

Jeans and trousers in ANY silhouette, fabric, colour and pattern are trendy — as long as they are cropped two to four inches above the ankle and worn with complementary footwear. 

8. ROOMY SILHOUETTES 

Oversized and fluid fits are still there, but they are no longer the most trendy fit. Tailoring is definitely gaining momentum, and I couldn’t be happier about that. 

9. GARDEN FLORALS

Giant florals that make you think of warm weather vacations were THE pattern at the shows. Some were tonal, some high-contrast, and all wardrobe items were represented in the pattern. 

10. FLAT FOOTWEAR

Designers made a statement with dressy and casual flat footwear (in which I include heels up to the height of an inch.) Pointy, square, round, and round square toe boxes were popular. Backless and slip-on footwear is all the rage. Peep-toe booties are still going strong, as are all sorts of styles with ankle treatment like straps and ties. Sneaker and sneaker hybrids are still going strong. Dainty and refined footwear is as trendy as chunky silhouettes. 

11. PLATFORMS & BLOCK HEELS

Flatforms and wedged platforms in sandal, mule, bootie or oxford footwear silhouettes are very fashionable. Block heels are the trendy option, but stiletto heels continue to come through too. 

12. COLOUR

As far a colours go, I saw it all. Colours seemed to be making a stronger statement than neutrals. From the happiest brights, merriest mid-tones and softest pastels, through to earth tones like mustard, jewel tones like emerald, and greyish mid-tones like mauve, sage green, and air-force blue. They’re remixed in all sorts of combinations, so having a high affinity to colour mixing is in your favour. 

I’m extremely pleased to see the Maximalism trend continue with gusto because I’m enjoying the break from Minimal outfits. I’m still all over trends like Modern Retro and Cropped Pants, and love the idea of Garden Florals, Waist Definition and Colour. As someone who enjoys wearing footwear with a one inch heel, I say bring on the dressy flats.

Filter through the trends. Keep the ones that tickle your fancy on your radar and leave the rest. Don’t stop rocking your signature looks, but do try something new. The “personal” in personal style means styling the trends your way, which is the best part in all of this. Feel refreshed and empowered as the new season unfolds.

Zara Coat with Full SleevesMango Ruffle Printed Blouse

Zara High Rise Jeans with Printed ScrafZara Special Edition Leather Belt

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Ensemble: The Pattern-Mixed Kitchen Sink

ExampleThis ensemble was inspired by an outfit in Trina Turk’s 2016 Fall collection. The wild and bold pattern-mixed look is a wonderful example of the Maximalism trend. Wear the kitchen sink in a cohesive and pulled together way, and you’re making a fun, interesting, and fashion-forward statement. 

There are all sorts of ways to wear “the kitchen sink”. This rendition combines bold patterns and accessories, which is one way to go. The outfit looks complex, but the components are simple once you’ve broken it down. Classic silhouettes combined in a not so classic way, topped with a bit of whimsy. Checks, dots, florals and stripes work well together, and are easiest on the eye when remixed in a similar colour palette.

I’ve got the ball rolling with a trousers and skirt look. The tops and toppers work with either bottom, and so does either bag. The footwear is bottom specific. I chose a black, white, red and pink palette because it’s fairly neutral. By all means choose any colour palette. 

Here are the components of the outfit: 

Plaid Bottoms: Choose plaid trousers or skirt in a silhouette of your choice. 

Striped Top: Add a striped pullover, shirt or tee in a colour combination that works with the plaid bottoms. 

Solid & Plaid Toppers: Add a solid fitted jacket that matches the palette, and a coat in a pattern that works with the plaids and stripes. A plaid coat in neutral colours is an easy choice. If you don’t have a plaid coat, go with a solid or texture. An animal print could also work.

Footwear: Choose footwear that works with the bottoms. Booties, tall boots and oxfords are great Winter options. Add socks and hosiery for insulation. 

Accessories: It’s important to add accessories for an extra Maximal touch. A colour blocked or animal print handbag in a similar palette is fab, and so is a solid in a NEW colour. A patterned scarf can work well as the fourth or fifth pattern as long as the colours are repeated in the rest of the outfit. Add a floral pin to the coat in a colour that is repeated in the bag, scarf or plaids. Add jewellery, eyewear and watch as desired. 

Ensemble: The Pattern Mixed Kitchen Sink

This outfit is an acquired taste, and chances are low that you’ll have all the components in your wardrobe. In that case, think of it as inspiration and allow those creative juices to flow.

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Roundups

Embroidery & Floral

A selection of maximal items to kick-start your seasonal refresh.

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Hints of Spring

Feast your eyes on fab new stuff as the first of Spring 2017 hits retail stores.

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Fun Sale Items

A final sales roundup for the cold weather season.

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Winning Socks

A collection of winning sock styles.

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Camisoles

An assortment of tried-and-tested camisoles.

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Accessories

A new accessory can make you feel like you have a new outfit, at the fraction of the price.

Read More

Weekly Roundup: Hints of Spring

It’s snowing heavily outside our home office window as I write this post, which doesn’t make me all that happy. But looking at the first retail inputs of Spring 2017 fashion does make me happy, as I long for sunshine and warm weather. I come ALIVE when I shop for Spring, so the next four months of fashion will be my favourite of the year. Happy colours, bold patterns, crisp textures, lighter weight fabrications, refined footwear, flouncy silhouettes, ample dresses, and lots of light neutrals. Wooohooo! I’m as excited as ever to shop the new season to refresh my style 

These items caught my eye, although I have not seen them all in person yet. Browse through all the colour options.

You can see my descriptions alongside the items on the collection page.

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AG Jodi Crop Jeans
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10
COS
Dress with pleated hems
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3
Boden
Tresco Stripe Jumper
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6
Boden
Posy Shirt Dress
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7
Boden
Verity Bag
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12
Boden
Catherine Mid Heel
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11
J.Crew
Vintage floral scarf
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12

In the Mood for Red Shoes

Red shoes are a classic, but they also look particularly fresh to my eye. Maybe that’s because they’re back on the fashion radar, or because my red shoe hiatus has made me long for them again. Absence can make the heart grow fonder. Either way, I’m in the mood for bright red shoes. 

Tomato red shoes are the first thing on my Spring shopping list for 2017. I used to have a pair of bright red shoes in my wardrobe both as a child and as an adult. But for the last several years, I focused on white, cream, gold and silver shoes and forgot how much I like bright red peds. Since my style has come back home I’ll be incorporating warm weather red shoes into my outfits. 

Here are some outfit ideas with bright red shoes. 

Flats with Cropped Flares

It’s great seeing fabulous outfits with flats because I’m less into wearing even low heels these days. Jeans, layering top, blazer and dressy accessories is a flop-proof outfit formula. The trendy jeans and blazer here are a fun juxtaposition with the classic bowed red flats. The leg line is kept long by shortening the length of the cropped jeans, and showcasing the high-rise waistband.

MIU MIU Bow-embellished Patent-leather Ballet Flats

Platforms with Shorts 

Casual red platform sandals look great with baggy shorts, abstract tee and clutch. Feel free to leave off the torso tie when your shoes do all the talking.

MIU MIU Satin Platform Sandals

Pumps with Dressed Up Denim 

Heeled red pumps with ankle straps or ties are a popular dressier choice because they work well with jeans, trousers, skirts and dresses. Add a dramatic, flirty top and dressy bag to jeans and a pretty pair of red pumps, and you’re good to go.

MIU MIU Lace-up Patent-leather Pumps

Sandals with Dresses

A versatile pair of red sandals works well with a frock. No need to wear heels if flats are your thing. Suede shoes are getting more popular for Summer, and good in a sandal style too. Extra comfortable, and texture-rich.

GIANVITO ROSSI Portofino Suede Sandals

Red shoes are versatile because they function like a neutral in your outfits when you have a high affinity for colour mixing. They’re highly effective and easy to incorporate when you have a predominantly black, white, blue and grey wardrobe, thereby adding another layer of interest. That said, I can’t think of a colour that doesn’t look good with bright red, so they’d be very versatile in my own colourful wardrobe too.

Feast your eyes on this large assortment of bright red Spring and Summer footwear. We’re talking about fire engine red, tomato and water melon reds, and not burgundy, bordeaux or wine reds. Sporting bright red shoes with a matching bag or belt is an easy way to pull together an outfit, but not essential. When you have bright red shoes – just wear them!

Boden
Catherine Mid Heel
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11

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