Outstanding Outfit Bloggers

Elegant Modern Classic in Athens

We’re excited to re-feature Beth Djalali from Style at a Certain Age, who was first featured here in August 2015. Beth is having a ball with fashion, and continues to rock both colourful and neutral outfits. She isn’t afraid of pattern, has a soft spot for preppy touches, and combines Modern Classic and on-trend pieces to put together her elegant, polished and chic looks. Her dramatic silver ‘do and fabulous jewellery collection are also very much “signature Beth.”

“As far as my style evolution, my classic style doesn’t change all that much from year to year. That’s what I love best about classic style — it’s timeless and ageless. But I do keep one eye on trends and incorporate them into my wardrobe to stay fresh and modern. Accessories are an easy way to do just that.”

Beth Djalali - 1

Beth loves colour and built this outfit around a pencil skirt with whimsical leaves and lemons print that is perfect for Spring. Pattern-mixing the skirt with a striped Breton tee makes it extra fun, and adds the preppy touch that our blogger enjoys. Tucking the tee showcases the yellow grosgrain ribbon detail on the skirt’s waistband. Her olive utility jacket works well with the dark sage leaf pattern of the skirt. The jacket features a drawstring which helps define the waistline. Suede flat slides in yellow echo the lemons in the skirt. A gray-green bag with tan handles ties everything together. Beth finishes things off with bright raspberry lipstick, mint earrings and assorted bangles.

Beth Djalali - 2

For after-hours casual chic outfits like this one, Beth likes to fall back on a tried-and-tested style formula of dark denim + silk blouse + blazer. For her French evening class she’s wearing dark-wash straight-leg jeans with an ivory silk blouse. Leaving the blouse untucked adds a relaxed touch, which is a nice juxtaposition against the dressy, tailor-made jacket. The gorgeous jacket has a Chanel vibe, which Beth cleverly plays up even more by pairing it with a multi-strand pearl necklace. Adding an on-trend statement brooch in beautiful blues further emphasizes the Chanel vibe. Patent pointy-toe pumps in blush add subtle sheen. A classic satchel, bright lipstick, and Beth’s trademark silver ‘do are the polished finishing touches.

Beth Djalali - 3

Pairing white with caramel feels fresh for Spring, as does combining a blazer with Bermuda shorts. Beth is sporting dressy, above-the-knee Bermuda shorts with self-fabric belt that can be tied in different ways. Tucking the sleeveless cotton shirt showcases the waistband and belt. The shirt’s stand-up collar works well with the blazer lapels and draws the eye to our blogger’s beautiful short hair. Adding an elegant, single-breasted blazer in crisp white further dresses up the outfit. Dainty wedge sandals in tan lengthen the leg line. Beth’s two-toned satchel echoes the colours of the outfit perfectly. Chandelier earrings and her signature lippy provide a touch of glam.

Beth Djalali - 4

Beth’s Fridays with Oscar (her German shepherd) blog posts are among my favourites, and this is polished casual at its best. I’m not surprised these bright pink gingham trousers appealed to our blogger’s preppy gene. Aren’t they delightful! Beth has paired the ankle-length pants with a crisp white shirt and navy crew neck sweater with hand-embroidered crabs and anchors. The whimsical, nautical-inspired embroidery picks up the pink in the trousers. Flat white sandals bookend the Modern Classic shirt. Pink nail polish and lipstick complement the statement trousers perfectly.

Beth Djalali - 5

Every year Beth goes shopping for an Easter dress, and this time she came home with this chic Karl Lagerfeld Paris sheath dress from Dillard’s. The mint green tweed is unusual, and looks marvelous on our blogger. The fringe around the arms and V-neckline are signature Chanel, and the pattern is repeated in the skinny belt with fun tassel detail that accentuates Beth’s waistline. The pleated front is an elegant design detail, while the flattering above-the knee length elongates the leg line. So do the refined pointy-toe pumps with dainty bow-ties. A simple, elegant black satchel, gold floral clip-on earrings, and arm candy in black and gold pick up the black trim in the dress.

Beth Djalali - 6

Another polished casual look, in neutral colours this time. A pattern, like the polka dots on this breezy black and ivory popover shirt, is a great way to create visual interest. Beth has tucked the shirt into high-rise cropped jeans, and jazzes up the look with a wide black belt with oversized silver buckle. I love that she found a knitted, tie-front gilet with contrast tipping. This sophisticated topper cleverly echoes the colours of the shirt. The animal print slingback flats with black tips add extra polish and are an easy way to do a bit of pattern-mixing. A stack of silver bangles, silver hoop earrings and a simple black bag are all that’s needed to complete this polished look.

I can’t wait to hear what you think of Beth’s marvelous outfits. Let us know in the comments, and be sure to browse the rest of her elegant and polished looks on Style at a Certain Age.

How to Find Mules That Fit

I’m calling mules the shoe of the season. They are a closed-toe shoe with an open back that exposes the heels and ankles. The slip-on style had its heyday in the ‘90s, and is back with a vengeance, transitioning from fringe to mainstream this year. 

Mules tend to work best on high-volume feet with high insteps, high arches, shorter toes and a wide foot print. They are just about the worst type of footwear style for low-volume feet. They tend to fall off when you have low insteps, low arches, long toes, bony feet, and a narrow foot print. I have low-volume feet, and developed foot cramp trying to keep mules on my feet when I wore them two decades ago. Walking up and down stairs was the worst. So I was the first to say no thank you to the recent resurgence of mules.

I do like the look of mules because of the closed-toe and the modern retro vibe. I prefer the way they look to most open-toed sandals. So earlier this year I started looking for a style that would work for my feet. I found the Simonette Mule (in narrow), which had an enclosed silhouette, narrow fit and thick sole. These features made the style work for me. No cramping, and no “clacking” when I walk. I couldn’t be happier with them.

Simonette Mule

The lesson is to consider the following variables when looking for mules that feel stable, supportive and stay on your feet:

  • Width: Mules must create a snug fit to feel secure, which means getting the right width for your feet. For low-volume feet, choose a NARROW width. If you have wider feet, try a regular or wide size because mules will also fall off your feet when they’re too narrow.
  • Coverage: Choose styles with extra vamp coverage across the top and sides of the feet. Those that skimp on the coverage tend to slip off. My mules have good coverage on top but its the side coverage of the vamp that does the trick.
  • Sole: If you’re looking for flat mules, choose a thick and substantial sole — something more substantial than a flip-flop or bedroom slipper. You don’t want to feel the ground as you stride. The Naturalizers that I bought have the added advantage of soft leather and a cushioning footbed that make my unpadded feet very happy.

Wearing socks and hosiery with mules is treacherous because they make your feet slippery. Mules also aren’t orthotic-friendly. If you’re after more arch support, choose a heeled version instead of flats.

I’m eating my words because I found mules that work for me. The styles in the collection below tend to tick off the boxes when it comes to the variables discussed up top. It’s a visual starting point if you fancy the idea of wearing mules, but think they will be hard to fit.

How to Manage Maximal Sleeves

Tops with flouncy, cuffed, ruffled, lantern and bell-shaped sleeves have been mainstream for the last eighteen months. And it seems the trend is here to stay. For the most part, this type of maximal sleeve has met with approval from my clients. It adds interest to a top, and coverage for those who don’t want to wear sleeveless styles. And it’s been a while since fashion celebrated the voluminous sleeve.

That said, maximal sleeves are awfully bossy. They can be annoying to wear, getting in the way when you type, drive and eat, and they are hard to layer under a topper. They can also overwhelm your frame. Here are a few strategies for managing them that have worked for myself, my clients and my friends.

1. Stick to Shorter Sleeve Lengths

A shorter-length maximal sleeve is a lot less fussy. You can get on with it without worrying about flounces and bells getting in the way of daily activities. You’re looking at a sleeve hem that finishes between a short and three-quarter length on the arm. By way of example, here are my own tops with shorter maximal sleeves.

2. Leave Off the Topper

Voluminous sleeves are much easier to wear when you don’t need a topper. So apart from one black pullover, I’ve kept the exuberant sleeve trend for warmer weather so that I don’t need to worry too much about the topper.

3. Add a Scarf

Sometimes, you can wear a Spring or Summer scarf instead of a topper. Wrap the scarf around the neck a couple of times to keep out the chill when wearing a top with maximal sleeves. Remove the scarf when it warms up during the day.

4. Wear a Bell-Sleeved Topper

It’s a good idea to add a topper with bell sleeves to your topper capsule when you run cold like I do. The roomy fit of a bell-sleeved topper accommodates the volume of shorter maximal sleeves quite well. My new lightweight citron cocoon coat is excellent over maximal sleeved pullovers because of the wide bell sleeves. The peplum utility jacket from the Loft has been great for my clients.

5. Wear a Wrap, Cape, Poncho, or drape a Jacket

Toppers that don’t have sleeves like wraps, capes, kimonos and ponchos work well over maximal sleeved tops. Or you can drape a coat or jacket over your shoulders if it’s not too cold. Sometimes that’s all you need to keep out the chill.

6. Choose a Blouson or Lantern-Sleeve Silhouette

I’m drawn to the more subtle exuberant sleeve, like a blouson or lantern silhouette, because it’s less overwhelming on my slight frame. When you choose them in soft fabrics, the sleeves collapse under most toppers and regain their shape when you remove the topper. A cuff at the end of a blouson sleeve is even better, because it keeps the sleeve volume in place. I have the citron blouson sleeve pullover from the Loft, and LOVE it. It works especially well under my bell-sleeved cocoon coat. A blouse with a lantern sleeve in a soft fabric (on the right below) works well under most regular jackets.

Club Monaco
Weylyn Shirt
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Every so often, the cut/fit/fabric/drape of a top with long maximal sleeves is perfect. That’s what I found with the Weylyn shirt from Club Monaco. Surprisingly, the ties on the cuffs are stiff, substantial and stay put. They don’t flounce around and boss me around. Sometimes you have to take the trend a style at a time.

Roundups

Tops & Toppers

An assortment of Spring items across a range of sizes and price points.

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Dresses, White Jeans, Tops & Toppers

An assortment of items for a range of body types.

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Assorted Items

There has been so much good stuff for Spring and Summer already, and it’s only March.

Read More

Moody Patterns

Apart from the gingham dress at the end, these patterns are what I call “moody” because they are as happy and cheerful, as they are strict and heavy.

Read More

Punchy Spring Neutrals

An assortment of less than basic neutrals that are quietly interesting.

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Spring Prep

It’s never to early to think about Spring fashion because it lifts our Winter spirits.

Read More

Outfit Formula: High-Low Dress and Trendy Shoes

A high-low dress has an asymmetrical hemline — short in front and long at the back. The overall length varies greatly, as does the difference between front and back hems. They can be dressy or casual, fitted or fluid, oversized or tailored, patterned or solid, sleeved or sleeveless, knitted or woven, simple or complex. Some are ruffled. Some are belted. Take your pick.

 

You can wear a high-low dress with all sorts of footwear. Heeled sandals, wedges, espadrilles, heeled ankle-strap pumps, booties, sandal booties, and slingback pumps are great classic and more expected pairings. This outfit formula is about pairing the dress with trendy shoes.

High-Low Dress + Trendy Shoes 

I bought a high-low navy eyelet dress this season and am very excited to wear it.

It’s a calf-covering midi length in the front and almost ankle grazing at the back. It’s casual but in the dressiest way, tailored, crisp, and awfully pretty. I LOVE the way it moves when I stride. The signature “swoosh” of the high-low dress is part of what makes it magical and fun to wear.

I shan’t be wearing the darling with dressy heeled footwear for comfort and aesthetic reasons. I like the juxtaposition of wearing the dramatic style with an “unfussy shoe”, and flat/low-heeled footwear is more current these days. I’m looking at loafers, Euro sandals, mules, strappy flats, and ballet flats. I might throw in my low-heeled pointy-toe slingbacks and sneakers too. Here are the exact shoes from my wardrobe that I’ll wear with the dress.

Here are five more ways to pair high-low dresses with trendy shoes:

1. Slides

For those who loved the ‘90s, wear open-toed slides with the dress. Think flat, low-heeled or flatform. The ones shown here look a little dressier in metallic with leather soles. Slides with low block heels are fab too. The low-contrast colour elongates the leg line.

Slides

2. Flat Mules

Mules are closed-toe slides with open ankles. The ones shown with this high-low dress are flat. Feel free to go as high as one inch on the heel. Their low-contrast colour and pointy toe elongates the leg line despite the lack of heel.

Flat Mules

3. Broad Strap Flat Sandal

A simple flat sandal with minimal broad straps, one buckle, and a leather sole are what I call “Euro sandals”. A classic in Europe and having its fashion moment. Although not shown here, a flat or low block-heeled ankle-strap sandal is another option.

Broad Strap Flat Sandals

4. Heeled Mules

Mules with low or higher heels look very fresh. A good option if you need to look a little dressier for the office. The mules here are low contrast, but high-contrast mules can look fab with darker dresses, or when you have black hair.

Heeled Mules

5. Fashion Sneakers

Sneakers are THE shoe of our fashion era. It goes without saying that you can wear the frock with sneaks. Non-athletic sneakers that are less chunky look best to my eye like the white ones shown here, Converse, or slip-on styles. But bulky athletic sneakers with huge soles are being shown with these types of dresses too. Personally, I don’t like the pairing but it’s fashion-forward nonetheless. I’m sticking to pretty and dainty shoes.

Fashion Sneakers

I don’t have visuals for high-low dresses worn with loafers, oxfords and ballet fats, which are three more trendy options. Birkenstocks are another way to go. But if none of the trendy options tickle your fancy, stick to the classics because they are always in style.

Weekly Roundup: Tops & Toppers

I’m doing a Fab Finds post and roundup post in one week because there are lots of winners to share this season. These particular items were client favourites recently, and we’ve actually had some Spring weather to do them justice. Be sure to browse all the colour options and read the rave reviews.

  • Vineet Bahl | Anthropologie Giovanna Silk Blouse: A romantic blouse with beautiful blouson sleeves that are cuffed so that they don't drive you batty. A warm earthy colour. Great semi-tucked. Best suited to a smaller bust.
  • Wilt | Anthropologie WHIT Gingham Wrapped Blouse: A structured wrap top with architectural ruching. Tailored and forgiving on the midsection. Great over high-rise pants and skirts. Olive gingham is unusual. Best suited to those who can fill out the bust and/or shoulder line.
  • Eri + Ali | Anthropologie Audrina Lace Top: Pretty lace top that works on a range of body types. Fluid yet streamlined. Not see-through. Shorter bell sleeves are the way to go so that they don't annoy you.
  • One September | Anthropologie Sydney Floral Top: A knitted boho-lite blouse with excellent drape. Casually pretty.
  • Club Monaco Weylyn Shirt: Best hectic architectural shirt I've seen to date. Gorgeous shade of blue. Beats most of the designer styles to my eye, and much more affordable. Oversized, yet tapered in all the right places which adds just enough structure. It's not overwhelming, even on my slight frame. It earned a place in my wardrobe despite the wide neck because the cut is BRILLIANT. The collar that drapes down the back is cleverly positioned, and my chunky pearls fill in the gap on my neck. I like it best semi-tucked for structure. I wear it with Summer skirts and white jeans. I LOVE this shirt. My wild card for the season. Party at the back, and good with short hair to showcase the back detailing.
  • Madewell Central Ruffle Sleeve Shirt: The ruffle sleeve shirt has more structure around the neck and shoulders than a wrap top and looked much better on my body type despite the oversized fit. The flutter sleeves also broaden my frame, and I like the effect. The fabric is GORGEOUS and drapes very well, and it followed me home. Size down a size.
  • Michael Stars | Anthropologie Michael Stars Shine V-Neck Long-SleeveTee: Fab V-neck tee that works on a curvier figure. Does not cling. Substantial fabric. Flattering and versatile. Streamlined. The XS/S will fit US0 to 4. The M/L will fit US6 to 10.
  • City Chic Classic Trench Coat: Gorgeous trench coat for Team Tall with a regular or long waist. Best on a curvy body type with a defined midsection. STUNNING length. Elegant.
  • LEVI'S MADE & CRAFTED Embellished Boyfriend Trucker Jacket: A statement denim jacket if ever there was one. The embellishment is quite the work of art. It straddles the line of Tomboy and Girly and creates a fab juxtaposition. It's NOT a tailored fit. Looks like a designer piece.
  • Loft Elbow Patch Knit Blazer: I couldn't believe my eyes. A Summer equestrian tweed blazer that is 100% COTTON, fully lined, and machine washable. Gorgeously soft and comfy. Tailored, and works on a range of body types. The pearl grey is lovelier in person. Size down.
  • Loft Swingy Raincoat: Super cute Modern Retro raincoat. It's supposed to be trapeze-shaped and roomy. Size down.
  • Anthropologie | Anthropologie Easy Moto Jacket: Best knitted moto jacket of the season. Extremely comfy, tailored, relaxed and distressed, yet quite polished. It suits a range of body types because the fabric and cut mould to the body. Also available in a warm earthy apricot.
  • Banana Republic Collarless Peplum Denim Jacket: If you don't like stiff Tomboy denim jackets - TRY THIS ONE. It's extremely soft, comfortable, and has a lot of stretch. Very tailored and quite sharp in silhouette. FLATTERING. The fit is fabulously streamlined despite the subtle peplum. It's longer in person than on the model, so don't worry about that too much. Every client who has tried it on so far has liked it. It works on a range of body types because it's tailored and moulds to the body. It can absolutely pass for business casual because you have to look very closely to notice that it's denim. Plus, you can dress it up. Fab with pants, jeans, skirts and dresses. It's uniqueness and my love for denim jackets gave it a spot in my wardrobe.
  • Loft Peplum Utility Jacket: This utility jacket looks better in person and is available in olive. It's soft, pretty, trendy, and excellent layered over bell sleeves. Size down a size. The sleeves look even better folded over once to create a cuff.
  • FRAME Stripe Blazer: Gorgeous blazer made of luxurious fabric that is non-crease and drapes like a dream. Soft, pretty, sharp and professional. Size down, and best on a straighter body type. A quality item. It took my breath away when I saw it modelled by a forum member in person.
  • Halogen Tweed Open Front Jacket: It's unusual to see a Spring tweed jacket with a revere collar that creates a flattering V-neck, AND is in jewel tones. Best on those who can fill it out. Suited to a larger bust, apple-shaped body type, and short waist.
  • Rebecca Taylor Ava Peplum Jacket: Stunning business formal jacket that layers over pencil skirts and sheath dresses with the best of them. The peplum is subtle and architectural. A quality item. Black, not navy.
  • Boden Long Sleeve Wrap Top: A form-fitting faux wrap made of substantial fabric. Does not cling despite the close fit. Excellent layered under jackets and blazers. Comes in colours and patterns. Nice quality.
  • Boden Sylvia Jacket: A playful Modern Retro jacket that's extremely well made. Stunning fabric and workmanship. A-line in silhouette and works on a range of body types. The yellow is more mustard than citron in person. Works really well over skirts and dresses too.
  • Boden Claremont Blazer: An impeccable Modern Classic blazer that looks chic. The finish inside is beautiful, and the lining might make you smile. Works on a range of body types because of the superb cut and quality fabric.
  • Loft Striped Stitchy Boatneck Sweater: Best classic striped Spring pullover I've seen all season. The inset side colour blocking is genius, creating a vertical streamlined effect that offsets the horizontal stripes. The neckline works on a range of body types. Nice fabric and good length. Size down.
  • Loft Dotted Lantern Sleeve Shirred Blouse: Pretty lantern sleeve blouse that layers quite well under a blazer because the exuberant sleeves are soft and slippery allowing them to comfortably collapse and hold their shape when the layer is removed. Size down.
  • Loft Brushed Dot Cutout Mixed Media Shell: A simple and effective shell top to wear under a cardigan or jacket. Comes in plus sizes. Size down.
  • Marrakech | Anthropologie Magnolia Zip Jacket: I haven't seen this jacket in person yet, but it looks interesting, and has super cute back detailing.
  • Nordstrom Signature Waffle Stitch Cashmere Sweater: A warm pullover in a Spring colour ticks off the boxes when Spring feels like Winter. A quality piece that comes in turquoise. Sleeves are long but can be cuffed. Works on a range of body types. Fluid yet streamlined fit.
  • Banana Republic Double Breasted-Fit Seersucker Blazer: A pinstripe seersucker blazer that looks better in person. It can hang open so don't worry about buttoning the front. Crisp, fresh and on trend. Works really well on petites. My 5ft client wore it over a sheath dress and looked stunning.

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

Club Monaco
Weylyn Shirt
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Loft
Elbow Patch Knit Blazer
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Loft
Swingy Raincoat
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3
Loft
Peplum Utility Jacket
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11
Boden
Long Sleeve Wrap Top
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10
Boden
Sylvia Jacket
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10
Boden
Claremont Blazer
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6