Driving and Outerwear

I don’t spend a lot of time in the car, but enough to have a preference for the type of outerwear that is most comfortable when driving: SHORT outerwear like peacoats, woolly bombers, blazers, denim jackets moto jackets, a cape coat, and short puffers. 

I prefer the look, warmth, drama, elegance, and outfit versatility of longer coats. But they are less comfortable to wear when driving. They are bulky and get in the way. They also often crease at the back when you sit in them, which drives me bananas. So I take them off when I drive (or am a passenger), and lay them down on the seat. I put the seat warmers and heat on full blast to stay warm without my coat.

My long, insulating coats are excellent for urban walking and shopping with clients. When I’m taking public transport, sometimes I take my coat off when I sit, and sometimes I don’t. But I often don’t get a seat in the bus, tram or train which means I keep on my long coat.

My clients run the gamut. Those who spend a significant part of the day in the car tend to stick to shorter jackets and coats, and sporty gear styles that don’t crease, across a range of lengths. Others have similar preferences to me, or don’t wear a coat at all because they’re moving directly from one heated environment to another during the day.

Over to you. Do you have an outerwear preference for when you drive, and do you wear your coats and jackets in the car?

How You Refresh Your Style

Forum member Bijou recently asked an interesting question: which aspects of our style do you regularly refresh so that you feel up to date, on-trend, and fabulous? Bijou boiled it down to the items that are the backbone of her style and work the hardest. For Bijou, it was dresses because she wears them frequently, and they’re signature to her style. 

The responses to Bijou’s post were fascinating. Some said tops, bottoms and footwear, and others said hairstyle, eyewear, colour, and outerwear. This makes perfect sense because there is no one, correct way to update or refresh your style. Fads are a thing of the past, trends last longer than they used to, and so-called style rules are obsolete. You can be as trendy, Modern Retro, classic or avant-garde as you like, and look absolutely fabulous.

When it comes to refreshing my own style, I prioritize these aspects, and strictly in this order.

1. Hair & Eyewear

Refreshing my hairstyle and eyewear is top priority because it’s integral to my signature style. I don’t go for drastic changes because I want to keep my hair short and blonde, and my eyewear Modern Retro. But I do change things up in a subtle way over the course of a couple of years to feel adequately refreshed. I’ve been growing out my fringe since January and wearing my pixie naturally wavy half the time. I added a new pair of vintage white prescription sunnies in February, and am looking at a new pair of red specs.

2. Jeans

Jeans are a wardrobe essential. I can wear them year round, to work and play, and white jeans are a favourite. Although I’m wearing jeans less frequently than I used to — favouring dresses, skirts and pants — I wear jeans A LOT. I want them to be the trendy aspect of my style because I’m not as trendy with shoes, pants and tops.

I don’t refresh my capsule every season, but I unexpectedly felt that my jeans capsule was too classic for Autumn & Winter, so I’m in the midst of editing and adding on-trend silhouettes. I’ve committed to the first two dark wash styles in the collection, and have the rest on order. I hope to add four new silhouettes.

3.Outerwear

I wear a lot of outerwear because of my climate. Since it’s my second favourite wardrobe item to purchase, I like to refresh with a few trendier items more frequently than most. I enjoy the drama of a trendy topper, and how it takes centre stage in an outfit. It also makes what you wear underneath feel “new”. This season I added an animal print coat in a gentle cocoon silhouette, and cape coat with faux fur. I’d like to add another short fashion puffer, but haven’t yet found a suitable style.

Boden
Hengrave Coat
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Zara
Textured Cape Coat
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4. Handbags

I’m not into adding the new “it” bag of the season because I’m very set in my ways with bag silhouettes that work for my lifestyle. But since handbags are my favourite wardrobe item, I’m regularly refreshing my capsule and swapping out bags to create different moods in my outfits. This year I added a straw bag, and four Furlas (two of which were birthday presents). The Furlas are wardrobe workhorses.

Zappos
Hat Attack Bamboo Mini
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Yoox
Furla Handbag
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Yoox
Furla Across-body bag
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Yoox
Furla Handbag
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5. Footwear

Footwear completes an outfit, adding a whole lot of interest and personality. Wearing on-trend footwear refreshes the look of golden oldies too. I do what I can to add a smattering of trendy shoes to my style each season, which is challenging given my fussy feet, urban walking lifestyle, and zero tolerance for uncomfortable shoes. This year I added mules, Western shooties, chunky white athletic sneakers, and more pairs of white boots.

6. Dresses & Skirts

From now on, I only wear knee-covering midis and dresses with sleeves, but I refresh with on-trend styles within my narrow range of style preferences. Midis are on trend at the moment, so I milked it and added a LOT of trendier dresses to my wardrobe this year. Some of the styles are Trendy Classics, which is even better.

Blouses, knit tops, knitwear, blazers, socks, scarves, belts, swimwear, make-up, nail polish, watches, workout wear, loungewear and jewellery stay relatively modern classic for my style. I’m less likely to amp up the trend factor in these items, if at all. Pants run the gamut. Sometimes I amp up their trend factor and sometimes I don’t. I focussed on dresses, skirts and white jeans for Spring and Summer, so trendy pants were not a priority. For Autumn and Winter, I’m focussing on jeans and dresses, and figuring out what I want to do for pants. I’d love to replace the orange and red pairs I recently passed on, but haven’t found anything suitable yet.

These six areas are a lot to tackle, and some years I’m more inspired, motivated and energized than others. Some seasons are more my look, which makes things easier. But lack of time, a limited budget, the wrong headspace, other priories, or just not being in the mood can get in the way. That’s OK too, because there are more important things than refreshing one’s style.

Over to you. Which components of your style do you refresh most regularly to feel on trend, up to date and fabulous?

Outfit Formula: Black, White, Grey & Red Boots

Black and white with a shade of bright red is a classic colour combination. A little severe at times, but awfully effective and punchy. I like to see grey and blue denim thrown into the palette to relax the tension between the colours and soften the severity of the combination. The denim also adds a handy casual integrity when you need to dress down the look.

I go back and forth on wanting bright red boots, but decided this year that I’m going for it if I stumble across the right pair. They can look jarring and “super hero” in an outfit, but that’s their charm. Wear bright red boots and be noticed. It’s high time we connected with our inner Wonder Woman.

Here are four renditions to get you started. Boots are bright red and not burgundy because they’re the star of the show.

1. Jeans, Blazer & Boots

This is the easiest outfit to pull together. Combine blue jeans with a white or black top and layer a grey glen plaid or houndstooth blazer over the top. Finish off the look with red boots. No need to wear ripped denim, and feel free to choose any silhouette.

J Crew Oversized Blazer in Glen Plaid

2. Matrix Fabness

Combine blue jeans with a white or black hoodie, and layer a dramatic black coat or jacket over the top. Pull the hood out over the coat. The white hoodie creates an effective contrast with the black. Use a white top if you don’t have a hoodie. Finish off the look with red boots. The print on the hoodie picks up the red of the boots, which creates a complement.

AQUAZZURA Quant Leather Ankle Boots

3. Suited & Red Booted

Red boots add a whole lot of punch to a grey suit worn with a white or black layering top. There is no need to repeat the red in the outfit. A red bag is a nice addition, but not essential.

MAISON MARGIELA Tabi Split-toe Leather Ankle Boots

4. Skirted & Red Booted

Combine a black skirt with a cream or white top and finish things off with red boots. Choose any silhouette of top and skirt that tickles your fancy. Choose black pants instead of a skirt if trousers are your preference. I like the addition of the unexpected cognac bag here too. Add jewellery, eyewear and watch as desired.

TRADEMARK Mira Crinkled Patent-leather Ankle Boots

Roundups

Assorted Items

A top picks list for cosy toppers, bottoms and footwear.

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Striped Items

Striped items are generally a crowd-pleaser and these ones are quite unique.

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Early Fall Items

An explosion of colour is what we can expect from Boden throughout the year. Here are some recent top picks.

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Summer Shoes and Dresses

A few dresses and tops, some shorts, and lots of comfy sandals make this week’s top picks list.

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Assorted Summer Items

Some dresses, shoes and pyjamas on this week's list of top picks.

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Summer Items

A collection of my top picks in sandals, dresses and tops across a range of sizes.

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Back to Body-Con Tops

Body-con tops are very fitted and a little tighter than tailored fits. They’re usually made of a knitted jersey or yarn across natural and man-made fibers. Although knitted tops and knitwear are stretchy by nature, many have a Spandex or elastane content for extra soft and comfy stretch.  

Body-con tops are very tight. They cling onto the body and showcase the natural silhouette of your figure creating maximal structure. This creates the opposite effect of a fluid or oversized fit that hides your natural silhouette thereby creating an unstructured effect.

You don’t to have an extremely smooth upper body that’s void of extra bits to wear body-con tops. Longer body-con tops can be pulled up a little and ruched or scrunched across the midsection to conceal lumps and bumps. Semi-tucking a body-con top creates a similar ruched effect, and is quite concealing (especially with the girdling effect of a high rise). Body-con knitwear with stitch interest like ribbed surface interests are more forgiving over body bumps too. Generally, the better the drape and thicker the fabric, the more effectively a body-con top will camouflage the extra bits.

Topshop
Side Button Jumper
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Topshop
Crew Neck Jumper
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Topshop
Shrunken Crop Top
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Body-con tops are back as a nod to the ‘90s trend. They work extremely well tucked into on-trend roomier high-rise bottoms, higher rise bootcuts and flares, culottes, paper-bag waists, and flared midi skirts. They are good to layer under a blazer or jacket.

More of my clients than I expected are back in body con tops this year, especially those who like to be bang on trend because they work well with the new look roomier bottoms. We’ve had to give foundation garments more attention though, because you really need to wear the right bra with these types of tops, and some clients are in shapewear. You can’t wear a bra with a narrow band that cuts into the flesh of your back. You need a more supportive bra with a wide band that smooths out back flesh.

Tailored and fluid fits are my favourite and that’s what fills my wardrobe. But I bought seven body-con tops this year, all of which are fine or very fine gauge pullovers. I needed the change, and wear all the tops except the citron patterned top semi-tucked or tucked into roomier high-rise bottoms, bootcuts, flares, wide crops, flared midi skirts, and a paper-bag waist. I don’t wear them with body-con bottoms or a tight pencil skirt because that would be too much tight-all-over for this leg of my style journey. I like body-con tops best remixed with bottoms that move in motion. Here are my body-con tops.

Over to you. Are you wearing body-con tops?

Weekly Roundup: Assorted Items

This week’s roundup is about cosy casual comfort, with a little dressy thrown into the mix. Price points vary, and there are many colour options across the items. Remember that animal print and stripes are effective pattern mixers, making them more versatile than you might think. 

Go to the collection page to see pictures of the items alongside my descriptions.

Zappos
SOREL Phoenix Zip
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