Ensemble: Wine on Ice

This ensemble was inspired by a scarf I bought to complement a new pair of Bordeaux booties. Both items work well with my new brown specs and Bordeaux belt. The deep, warm, rich burgundy in the scarf is tempered by a cool light blue. I thought the pairing delicious, so the scarf followed me home. 

You might not like to drink your red wine with ice, but the colour combination is unique. Think of any way to pair a shade of burgundy with light blue. Bonus if your eyes are light blue. Faded denim counts as light blue, and any shade of dark red can work as wine. Rose gold complements the palette.

Here are some renditions to get you started. 

Wine and Faded Jeans

Combine a pair of light blue jeans with a burgundy top and burgundy jacket or cardigan. Add a scarf in the same colour combination. Finish off with burgundy footwear and light blue bag. Blush pink or rose gold footwear is as fab. 

Wine Dress and Blue Topper

Combine a burgundy dress with a light blue denim jacket, moto, blazer or coat. Finish off the outfit with tall burgundy boots, booties or pumps. Blush and rose gold footwear look equally fab. Hosiery and scarf are optional. Choose a light blue bag, or one that matches the footwear.

Wine Skirt and Light Blue Top

Combine a burgundy skirt with light blue blouse, shirt or pullover. Choose burgundy pants or jeans if skirts aren’t your thing. Add a light blue or burgundy topper. Finish off with burgundy, blush or rose gold footwear, and a bag that matches the palette. Add jewellery, eyewear and watch as desired.

Ensemble: Wine on Ice

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New Dress & Boots Outfit Proportions for Fall

Dresses (and skirts) worn with tall boots are on trend. The combination isn’t new, although it might be new-for-you. If you’re not already wearing the combination, you might want to try it this season to change things up. I know I do. 

I like the ‘70s inspired dress and boot combinations below. Modern Retro Fabness, which is looking fresh after years of relentless booties and cropped pants. The outfits combine knee-covering midi dresses worn with tall heeled boots. The waist definition and sleek sleeves of the frocks add structure to the outfit. Tall tailored boots add further structure. Defining the waist elongates the leg line from the waist down. The obi belt is optional. 

I love the length of the dress worn with the length of the boots. No skin and completely covered. The fluidity of the skirt and the soft fabric are important components to my eye. You want the dress to flare, and move in motion. A straight sheath does not create quite the same elegant, graceful and sensual effect. The shorter Tomboy man coat looks fabulous over the top, creating a modern juxtaposition. I also like that the frocks are patterned.

Boden Ellis Coat

Boden Erica Dress

Mango Leather High-leg Boots

I have the tail tailored boots and some of my coats could work (see the exact pieces from my wardrobe in the collection). All I need is the dress. I’ve tried on a few already, but they’ve been too frilly and lightweight. The search continues. What do you think of the combination?

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Weekly Roundup: Burgundy Boots

There are many shades of dark red, from the yummiest cherry to the deepest bordeaux and everything in-between. For simplicity’s sake, I’m calling these rich Autumn and Winter reds “burgundy.” 

Burgundy boots are fabulous, and many of my clients have a pair. Despite being awfully loyal to tomato red, I’ve thrown in some burgundy for Fall too. I bought a gorgeous pair of dressy and flat Italian boots in the Netherlands last month. They are such a dark shade of red that they look brown. They bookend my new dark brown specs, which works out well. I also bought a burgundy and light blue scarf to complete the complement.

Although I’ve created a complement, my suggestion is to just wear burgundy boots, and don’t worry to much about repeating the colour elsewhere in the outfit. Wear them like a neutral. I haven’t worn the burgundy scarf yet, but have thrown the booties into a mismatched outfit a couple of times. This is 2017, so why not!

Burgundy boots pick up burgundy highlighted hair quite beautifully too. 

Here’s a selection of burgundy boots across a range of price points that have been winners on clients this season. Many come in a shade of grey or black too. 

  • La Canadienne Jil: The most beautifully simple, sleek, casually dressy flat bootie of them all. The high shaft is AMAZING, and works on a narrow and regular width ankle. Too narrow for wide ankles. Toe box is roomy, and fits an orthotic. Can work on higher volume feet, but not wide feet. WEATHERPROOF and very comfortable. Gorgeous quality. Pricy, but stunning.
  • SKECHERS Prima - Leather Laces: Fabulously roomy, chunky sneakers. Fits an orthotic and is great for high volume feet. Hi-top silhouette does not cut into your ankle.
  • Franco Sarto Brandy: A basic Boho-Lite style with clean lines. More comfortable than expected. Refined topstitching, and solid heel. Not a heavy shoe.
  • Rockport Cobb Hill Collection Cobb Hill Aria: A very comfy lace-up bootie that looks fab with casual skirts and dresses. Works best on ankles and feet that can fill out the silhouette. The burgundy has a touch of purple.
  • Børn Felicia Knee High Boot: A super flattering tall boot for calf circumferences of 14.5 to 15 inches. Comfy, sleek and casual.
  • Børn Karava Bootie: The leather on these boots is sublimely soft. WOW. Very comfy and fits higher volume feet. Nice arch support. All the colours are fab.
  • Rockport Cobb Hill Bethany Boot: The red is cool-toned, and more cherry in person. Great for higher volume feet, and fits an orthotic. Comfortable and supportive. The back zipper means that you don't have to do up the laces. The bootie looks a LOT more polished when you tuck the ends of the laces away.
  • MARC FISHER LTD Wanya Boot: Haute Hiking Boot Fabness. Chunky yet refined. Moderately comfortable. Read the rave reviews.
  • Blundstone Footwear 'Original Series' Water Resistant Chelsea Boot: A robust "paddock" bootie for woodsy walks and the like. Great for higher volume feet. Very comfy.
  • Earth 'Amber' Buckle Bootie: More of a shootie or caged pump, and good for those who want to wear pumps in a less delicate and dressy way. Good for higher volume feet. Comfy.
  • Linea Paolo 'Felicia' Wedge Bootie: Sleek Wedged Sneaker Fabness. Read the rave reviews.
  • Sudini 'Fabiana' Tall Boot: Best on Team Tall with medium width calves. Sleek, dressy, and casually refined. Well made, classic and weatherproof.
  • L'Amour Des Pieds Pirisa Bootie: Fab shootie for wider feet that need support and cushioning footbeds. Works with smaller bunions.
  • Free People Emerald City Bootie: Tailored, unique and moderately comfortable. Works for a high instep and regular width foot. Good on a narrower ankle.
  • Ara 'Patty' Block Heel Boot: Clean and classic. Fably discreet and crisp under full length straight legs. The elastic inserts add loads of comfort.
  • Børn 'Cross' Bootie: RATE (Rough Around The Edges) Boho meets Action Cowgirl and is as comfy as can be. Read the rave reviews.
  • Eric Michael Lena: Wedged, adorable and more comfy than expected. Sleek on the foot despite the buckle detailing. CASUAL.
  • Munro Alfie Bootie: The ankle ruching is an adorable detail, and streamlines the fit on the leg. Extremely comfy. Higher volume feet should order a wide size. Fab with dresses and skirts.

Visit the collection page to see the items alongside my descriptions.

Roundups

COS Items

Some fab architectural COS pieces to add some arty avant-garde to your style.

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Summer Items

Some fab frocks, necklaces and tops.

Read More

Tops & Bottoms

Fun Summer items for a range of body types.

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Summer Items

A selection of warm-weather items that covers a range of body types.

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Summer White Tops

An assortment of white tops across a range of price points and silhouettes.

Read More

Violeta & Jackets

Larger sizes and some fun toppers make this week’s roundup.

Read More

13 Tops to Layer Under Blazers

Blazers are fabulous, but wearing a suitable top underneath a blazer can be tricky, especially when tops with bell, fluted and lantern sleeves are all the trendy rage. 

Here are 13 types of tops to layer under blazers. Some are ultra feminine, and others read the opposite. You’re generally not after a top that is oversized and chunky unless the blazer is roomy too. In most cases blazers are tailored or a fluid fit, so you’re after a body-con, tailored or fluid fit top. Wear them untucked, semi-tucked or tucked. 

The effect of the layering top can be subtle, simple, complicated or bold. It can take on a variety of silhouettes, create a low or high contrast, look tonal, or fably texture-rich. Choose solids, patterns, knits or wovens. Add jewellery, watch and eyewear as desired.

1. Sleeveless Tops

Sleeveless tops, like simple shell tops, are popular with my clients because it’s comfortable and visually less bulky on the sleeves of the blazer. Choose a neckline that lies flat under the blazer, or rests comfortably above the collar. 

2. Turtlenecks

High necklines like mock turtlenecks and turtlenecks are a ‘70s Modern Classic under a blazer. The effect is extra polished when the neckline fits tightly and neatly against the neck. Chic. You need a long neck for this combination. 

3. Lightweight Pullovers

Pullovers with lower necklines like crew, scoop, boat, slash and V-necklines are fabulous under blazers, creating a streamlined effect. Sleeves can range from short to long. The larger the bust, the more flattering the effect of a lower neckline. 

4. Shirts

A stiff and crisp button-down shirt is a masculine and Tomboy option under a blazer, but can look sharp and professional nonetheless. Leave the collar of the shirt open and wear it over the collar of the blazer, and pop the collar if you like. I like to button my shirts and blouses all the way up, and pop the collar. Shirts with neckties work beautifully with the tie tied in a bow or knot.  

5. Blouses

A client favourite. Remember that a blouse is NOT a shirt. Blouses are softer and daintier. Blouse styles that you can wear under blazers run the gamut. Basic, pussy bow, empire cut, V-neck and ruffled collar styles with sleek sleeves are a good bet. 

6. T-Shirts

A T-shirt is an easy option to wear under a blazer, and another client favourite. It’s comfortable, easy to launder, dresses up the tee, and dresses down the blazer. Choose your neckline and Bob’s your uncle. 

7. Peplum Tops

Peplum blouses, tees, pullovers, leather tops and knitted tops are an acquired taste under a blazer. They add romantic flounce, and in most cases accentuate the waist. 

8. Pretty Camisoles

Here’s an alluring option with lace, or another type of dainty and sensual fabric. If you keep the jacket on and choose a silhouette with ample cleavage coverage, it’s completely work appropriate.

9. Waistcoats 

Another Tomboy and masculine option is to layer a button-through waistcoat under a blazer for a “Le Smoking” effect. Can be fun for dressier occasions, or simply style with jeans to dress the combination down. 

10. Crop Tops 

There are lots of crop tops at retail at the moment because they work well with the oh-so-trendy higher rises of jeans, shorts and trousers. From cropped tees and blouses to corsets and bustiers — they can all work under a blazer if you’re prepared to showcase some skin.  

11. Wrap Tops

A hardcore modern classic to wear under a blazer, and a particularly effective one for a shorter neck and/or larger bust. Try a body-con bodysuit version, if you dare. 

12. Hoodies 

Our third Tomboy option, and adorable if the fit of the hoodie is dead right. It has to be sleek and the neckline of the hoodie should fit quite closely around the neck. Pull-on or zip-through hoodies can work. Pull the hood over the collar of the blazer, and make sure it lies flat. 

13. Asymmetrical Tunics

Layering an asymmetrical tunic under a blazer creates a more avant-garde vibe that can be striking. If you’re worried about “chopping up the body” with the excess of horizontal lines, keep the tunic and blazer low contrast to each other. Or keep the tunic and bottoms low contrast to each other. And your third option is to create a tonal column of colour. 

You can also wear blazers over dresses and layered tops.

Personally, I layer finer gauge knitwear like crew necks, mock turtlenecks, boat necks and turtlenecks under blazers. I also layer drapey blouses, the occasional button-down shirt, gauzy polo shirt, peplum top and pussy bow shirt. My favourites are simple long-sleeved blouses and turtlenecks in tailored and fluid fits. Some of the blouses I layer are roomier than fluid, but because they drape well, they work under tailored blazers without creating bulk. Because I prefer the fit of my blazers to be on the roomier side of tailored, I can layer a camisole, thermal underwear, and a top with sleeves under them.  

Here are the exact tops from my wardrobe that I layer under blazers across the seasons: 

Gap
Stripe peplum tee
View Info
Top Pick
19

LOTS of options. The list is not exhaustive, but it gives you a solid starting point. Feel free to ask questions in the comments section about how to layer tops under blazers. 

Six Trends My Clients Enjoy Right Now

My clients’ sartorial preferences, lifestyles, environments, body types and need for outfit variety runs the gamut. From modern classic, preppy, pretty, boho, punk, architectural, rocker and avant-garde looks, through to tomboy, arty, eclectic and hard-edged.

They include corporate execs, stay-at-home Mums, lawyers, judges, engineers, designers, doctors, editors, retirees, marketers, accountants, realtors, financial advisors, fundraisers, archeologists, writers, movie critiques, project managers, life coaches, property developers, documentary makers, professors and teachers. Their ages range from twenty-five to eighty plus. Environments range from funky urban city life to tranquil countryside settings. Petite, regular and plus across a diverse set of complexions and colour palette preferences. Wardrobe sizes vary, from the largest of walk-in-closets to compact armoires. 

Despite the differences in the internal and external factors that affect the styles of my clientele, there has been some common ground in their needs and preferences this year, and particularly over the last three months. Fascinating. 

1. Tall Boots

Almost all of my clients have pulled their tall boots out of hibernation, bought a new pair, or have them on their shopping list. It’s been fabulous to style the tall darlings — both casual and dressy — into outfits again. Refreshing. 

The satisfying part has been seeing tall boots come out of hiding that look current, are comfortable, and fit superbly well. Tall boots are hard to fit, so it’s quite the a relief. Good thing clients held onto their tall boots despite going off them for a while.

2. Dresses & Skirts

This trend goes hand in hand with the desire to wear tall boots, and to get out of jeans, cords, and trousers for at least some of the time. Heeled dressy tall boots are fabulous, but can feel “too much” in casual settings as some of my clients have expressed. For comfort and lifestyle reasons, clients therefore want to wear their casual flat riding boots with dresses, skirts and culottes, so we’ve been working on creating those combinations.

3. Structure

Most clients are craving structure in their style. Even clients whose signature looks are oversized, slouchy, architectural and avant-garde are looking to add structure to their look. We’re back to adding tailored jackets, gently fluid tops, waist belts, tucking tops to showcase fitted waistlines, fitted skirts and dresses, and tailored footwear. Reducing slouch has been quite the fashionable priority.  

4. Larger Assortment of Neutrals 

Clients are keen to flesh out the neutral components of their wardrobe. They typically stick to wearing two or three neutrals, feeling that it simplifies their style and makes it easier to manage their wardrobe and create outfits. That said, variety comes from wearing multiple neutrals in an outfit. For example, clients who chose black as their dark neutral will add ink, navy and deep olive to their wardrobes. Some will also add chocolate brown. The same holds true for light neutrals. The more neutrals you have in your wardrobe, the easier it is to create an assortment of neutral outfits, and add a new colour to your look. 

5. Full-Length Pants & Jeans 

The cropped pants and jeans trend has been relentless for five years, and actually quite practical for wet Seattle. Covering the oh-so-alluring ankle provides a fresh look for Fall and Winter. It also means covering cute bootie ankle detailing, which isn’t so fab. So many of my clients are choosing to balance wearing cropped looks with full-lengths this season. 

6. Lightly Distressed to Un-Distressed Denim

Retail has saturated the market with distressed denim and its very hard to find a pair of jeans sans distressing. While clients are generally fine to wear medium distressed denim (and some are fine to wear very distressed denim), they want the option of wearing lightly or un-distressed denim too. Versatile, smart casual, and excellent for casual Fridays in the office. The search continues. 

Of course, my clients also share the same fashion trends that we’re all exposed to, a desire to refresh their styles, and whatever influence I have on their sartorial choices. Do the six points above resonate with you too?