Colour, Pattern, Texture and Shine

Colour, pattern, texture and shine give an outfit depth, making it look more interesting, eye-catching and attractive. If you think your outfit is missing something, troubleshoot by assessing whether it needs the addition of one or more of these elements. 

By mixing colour, pattern, texture and shine you can create all sorts of looks that keep your style fresh and rut-free. For a maximal and complex vibe, incorporate all four elements. If you’re a simple and minimal dresser, incorporate one or two at a time.


By colour I mean non-neutrals, so not black, shades of white and tan, dark blue, grey or dark brown. Sometimes olive is thought of as a neutral too. That said, non-neutrals needn’t be bright. They can be pastel, muddy, jewel-toned, mid-toned, and even very dark like a rich Bordeaux, eggplant or forest green.

You can wear neutral clothing and bring the colour through with footwear, accessories, eyewear, make-up and fingernail polish. When your eyes are a very bright blue or green, that also effectively adds colour to your look. Body ink and dying your hair a rainbow colour can also add colour to your style.


A pattern is a repeated decorative design. We tend to think of bold, bright patterns, but they can also be subtle. Patterns composed of low-contrast neutral colours and small motifs are the most subtle of all.

You can choose to go bold or subtle. You can also mix several patterns in one outfit. At the other extreme there are people who never wear patterns at all.


Texture is usually created through the surface interest of fabrics or from the embellishments on clothing, footwear and accessories. Texture creates tactile as well as visual interest, and is particularly popular with those who prefer to sport a neutral style.

Your hairstyle can add fab texture to your outfit. On the extreme side, long and wild curly hair that is left down and not tied back adds busloads of texture to an outfit. Long sleek and straight hair adds more subtle texture.


Shine is created by incorporating anything that shines in your outfit. You can wear shiny clothing, sport metallic footwear, belts or handbags, or pile on shiny jewellery. Adding shine to your lips is a more subtle approach. You can sport shiny nails, wear gold eyeliner, or simply dazzle people with your shiny smile.

I incorporate all four of these elements into my style, and often sport two, three or four of them in one outfit. I’m biggest on colour and shine because it positively effects my mood. I sport brights, pastels and earth tones regularly, and in all wardrobe items. I like blue mascara. I love to wear shiny lipstick, metallic anything, and bright white pearl jewellery. I adore classic patterns and pattern mixing, although most of my wardrobe is solid. I also enjoy incorporating texture like faux fur, pom-poms, suede, patent, velvet, embroidery and tassels.

The outfit below incorporates all four elements. Even if this look isn’t for you, it’s fun to admire from afar. How do you incorporate colour, pattern, texture and shine into your style?

Colour, Pattern, Texture and Shine

Ensemble: Orange Bottoms

This ensemble was inspired by my own new pair of orange pants that were reduced to $16. I’ve been wearing them quite a bit, and it feels SO good to wear jeans less frequently. I like combining them with navy, ink blue, burgundy, cream, gold accents, and a touch more orange.

Here are the exact items I have been wearing in these outfits:

I’ve read that purple is the favourite colour of women overall, and orange is our least favourite. If that’s anything to go by, few YLF readers will have a pair of orange bottoms! Even if that’s the case, perhaps you’ll appreciate the colour combinations here even if you don’t wear them yourself.

The Polyvore shows an interpretation of the items in the collection that I used to create outfits with the orange pants.

Orange and Dark Blue

I combined the orange pants with ink blue turtleneck and navy boots. I wore sheer navy knee-highs instead of socks. I semi-tucked the turtleneck and added a gold belt. I finished off the look with orange tote and ink blue military coat. For a look that combined some cream, I swapped out the blue boots and gold belt for cream belt and booties, and added the orange pom-pom. The cherry bag looks good with these outfits too.

Orange, Burgundy and Cream

I combined the orange pants with a burgundy turtleneck and burgundy boots. I wore sheer grey knee-highs instead of socks. I semi-tucked the turtleneck and added a gold belt. I finished off the look with orange or cherry bag and plaid bomber jacket. For a look that combined more cream, I swapped out the burgundy turtleneck and boots for cream pullover, belt, pearls and booties. Sometimes I added the orange pom-pom. Gold watch, pearl ring and brown specs were worn with every outfit.

These outfits are an acquired taste. I enjoy wearing non-neutrals, and some colour combinations that might clash to others are harmonious to my eye. I’m awfully happy with my orange pants.


Link Love: The Art of the Holiday Window Display

Author Susie Boyt shares her mixed feelings about this year’s holiday windows.

I love the thought and effort that goes into putting together a magical window display, and enjoyed browsing this selection of photos from cities around the world.

Vogue explains how the season’s best holiday windows celebrate New York’s sanctuary city status.

Fab Links from Our Members

Texstyle just came across a new-to-her blog, and enjoys some of the writing. She adds: “This particular article seems relevant to the current holiday season which is often more stressful for many.”

Angie directs us to this list of 35 fair trade and ethical clothing brands betting against fast fashion.

As we head into the new year, Angie recommends reading or re-reading Sally’s great post on how to transition your style. Angie says: “The most important word here is PATIENCE.”

Fashiontern points us to the Hometown Style series that spotlights fashion-forward New Yorkers who originally hail from one of the other 49 states.

Bijou wants to share this article on the cruel truth behind some puffer coats: “I had no idea that this was even happening. I for one will be happy to pay more, and own less puffers that I know meet the Traceable Down Standard.”

Rachylou enjoyed this read about streetwear and the thriving resale market.


Fall Items

Top picks this week range from plus size toppers to patterned socks.

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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.

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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.

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Gifts of Fashion and Style

There are many ways to give someone the gift of fashion and style. The important thing to remember is to focus on their sartorial preferences and not your own. Here are some ideas. The list is by no means exhaustive, but it might be a helpful starting point. 

  • Buy them an item of clothing, pair of shoes, or an accessory.
  • Treat them to a pedicure, manicure or facial.
  • Buy them a beauty product.
  • Get a gift card to one of their favourite stores.
  • Arrange a session with a fashion or personal stylist.
  • Make donations to non-profits like Dress for Success, or offer your time by volunteering.
  • Offer to help them edit and review their closet, take them shopping if you’re a savvy shopper, and have a fun outfit creation session if they’re battling to pull together their look.

Personally, I enjoy gift giving and often give family, friends and colleagues a fashion or style-related gift. After all, I’m a fashion stylist! 

My darling 85 year old Dad hates to shop. Since my Mum passed away 17 years ago, I’ve taken over the job of shopping for him. He’s awfully grateful that I can choose well-fitting wardrobe items in colours that suit him, without him ever setting foot in a store.

Keri, my stylish sister-in-law who lives in London loves to shop and is a savvy shopper. My gift of style to her is a closet edit and review, and a few fun and very full shopping days together. Seb, my teenage nephew on the other hand, would much prefer a gift card so that he can spend his money his way, on his own, and with his mates. Brother Hugo enjoys shopping in short spurts twice a year, and gets very into it. My gift of style to him is a closet edit and review, and half a day of shopping because that’s what he prefers.

Hubby Greg enjoys fabulous wardrobe items, but dislikes shopping. He is extremely particular about fit, fabric, quality and colours. Over the years I’ve learned his tastes and preferences, and now often buy items for him. When I travel to Europe I often bring back a few items for him too. I cannot return these items if they don’t work, so they have to be dead right.

I get the fits right because I bring a tape measure, know which measurements work for him, and meticulously measure garments in stores. Sometimes, I bring along a great fitting shirt, tee, hoodie, pullover, or pair of jeans, and use that for comparison. The strategy works well, and most of the time the fits meet Greg’s high bar.

Last but not least, our wonderful Inge has started her own service called Thoughtful Gesture. She provides tailor-made and truly thoughtful gift ideas for any budget. If you’re battling to find a fabulous gift for someone, or simply need more ideas, give it a try. I think of myself as a pretty good gift giver, yet Inge suggested items I wouldn’t have come up with on my own. Fun, practical and delightful.

Weekly Roundup: Party Shoes

Party shoes can be dressy or casual, and are festive in some way. They can make a subtle or bold statement, and do not need to be black. Think colour, texture, pattern and shine to amp up the fabness of a party shoe. Metallics and shades of red are a fun way to go. 

My rose gold party pumps that I’ve worn for years are no longer comfortable, so I replaced them with two pairs of yellow gold shoes. The Gentle Souls Ethan Loafers are trendy, a little chunky, and extremely comfortable. The Franco Sarto Caleigh Pump is not as soft and squishy, but have an ideal low heel, look dressier, prettier, more refined, and are a modern classic.

The top picks below have been winners on my clients, have rave reviews online, or simply caught my eye. Many come in multiple colour options, and across a range of widths.

  • J.Crew Avery velvet pumps with bow: One of the prettiest blush party pumps of the year. Comes in black. Very elegant on the foot. Need low volume feet to wear this style.
  • AGL Cocorito Block Heel Bootie: This bootie is a work of art. Showcase the style under cropped pants or with a dress or skirt. Very comfortable and works quite well for a high volume foot. Impeccable quality.
  • Sheridan Mia Lilly Velvet Floral Bootie: Fun boot if you can manage the heel height. Great for Team Moody Colours. Read the rave reviews.
  • J.Crew Metallic Bow Loafer: If I needed a flat gold loafer, this would be mine. Gorgeous quality, and works well on low to regular volume feet. Comes in black and white. Elegant and pretty on the foot. Refined. Well made.
  • BP Stella Pointy Toe Flat: A surprisingly comfortable flat if you don't need to wear supportive shoes. Can work on a wider foot. Nice to wear at home.
  • Jeffrey Campbell Siren Bootie: Sleek, fab and elegant. Works best on a low volume foot. Moderately comfortable, but you have to manage the heel height. Lots of fun colours.
  • MARC FISHER LTD 'Zala' Pump: A moderately comfortable pump. Very elegant on the foot. Can work on bunions and wider feet.
  • Adidas Superstar Sneaker: A little bling on an Adidas sneaker goes a long way. Suited to wide feet.
  • Kate Spade New York 'dolores' block heel pump: Moderately comfortable, and very dressy. Gorgeous on the foot. VERY sparkly.
  • Gentle Souls Eliott Block Heel Loafer: Comfy, trendy, and fun. Works on an assortment of foot shapes. Soft, with a roomy toe box. All the colours are nice.
  • Hispanitas Melita Boot: Beautifully made and very comfortable. Can work on high volume feet. Lots of room, and a fun texture.
  • Hispanitas Marilea Pump: Cherry red textured pumps that are soft and supportive can make your feet very happy. A classic that is on trend.
  • Hispanitas Mikayla Bootie: Fab booties for high volume feet and wider ankles. Very comfortable if you can manage the heel height.
  • Badgley Mischka Mandy Embellished Loafer Flat: Extremely pretty on the foot and is quite the work of art - but not very supportive. That said, not all feet need support, especially for party wear. Runs big and is cut wide.
  • Hispanitas 'Omega' Pump: Best low-heeled modern classic pump of them all. Killer comfort and very well made. Looks better on the foot. The shape moulds to an assortment of foot shapes.
  • TOMS Ella Bootie: Casual velvet for the relaxed party look. Tomboy. Read the rave reviews.
  • Tory Burch Carlotta Loafer Mule: Modern Retro mules for the at home event. Best on high volume feet.
  • Topshop Malone Block Heel Bootie: A little Mod Magic for Team Modern Retro. Reasonably comfy. Okay quality. Needs a narrower ankle.
  • J.Renee 'Dewport' Flat: Supportive flats with bling and a roomy toe box is fabulous. Read the rave reviews.
  • Jeffrey Campbell Siren Bootie: Sleek, fab and elegant. Works best on a low volume feet. Moderately comfortable, but you have to manage the heel height. Lots of fun colours.
  • SARTO By Franco Sarto Hettie Pump: Versatile, comfy, and can work on wider feet. The pattern is lovely, and so is the cherry red.
  • SARTO By Franco Sarto Rachella Flat: These loafers look better in person, and are suited to high volume or wider feet. Lots of room in the toe box. Too wide for low volume feet. Tomboy, and the metallics are subtle.
  • AGL Flower Beaded Pump: Extremely pretty on the foot. Elegant and ladylike. Works surprisingly well on higher volume feet, and feet with bunions. Works well on low volume feet if you size down half a size.
  • Naturalizer Emiline Flats: Supportive, comfy, and versatile. Roomy in the toe box. Looks trendy with party dresses. All the colours are nice.
  • Coconuts By Matisse Dotty Bootie: Fun velvet bootie for low volume feet and narrow ankles. Moderately comfortable.
  • Gentle Souls Ethan Pump: Dandy Fabness. More of a heeled loafer than a pump. It’s gloriously comfortable, super soft, and does not squish your toes. The stable block heel is magical. Visually, it shortens the foot a little, which might look stumpy so consider yourself warned. All the colours are nice. The gold is considerably brighter than the metallic brown or black patent. Works quite well for higher volume feet. My low volume feet were very happy and the gold followed me home as potential holiday party shoes. They are a good match with cropped jeans and trousers, and an unexpected match with dresses. I like them with dresses, and did not find them stumpy.
  • Franco Sarto Franco Sarto Women's Caleigh Pump: A comfortable and VERSATILE classic ankle strap pump with a low block heel. Wear it year round with or without hosiery. An easy party or office shoe. Lots of colours, of which some options are more comfortable than others. Will not work for wide feet. Read the rave reviews.
  • Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn Kenmare Bootie: Good bootie for high volume feet and wider ankles. Quite comfy and supportive. The gold is as nice as the silver. Not so fab for narrow ankles and low volume feet.
  • Halogen Anita Bootie: GORGEOUS colour, and there are more fun colour options. I didn't find the style comfortable, but I am in the minority. Lots of rave reviews.
  • J.Renee Tustin Skimmer Flat: Decorative and fairly supportive flats for a wider foot. Not good for narrow heels. Good value.
  • Munro Allee Pump: Well made and on trend. Available in a variety of widths. The burgundy looks the most interesting and rich.
  • Sam Edelman Lulie: Fabulous Modern Retro low-heeled party shoes for low volume feet and narrow ankles. Cushioning and soft. Comfortable. The buckles might catch your ankle bone, but a little moleskin on the inside of the buckle solves the problem. They look most festive in pink velvet. Comes in wide widths.
  • Hispanitas Pandora Pump: Extremely comfy heeled loafer that's well made. Much more comfy than the Gucci heeled loafer. All the colours are nice.
  • Hispanitas Connie Block Heel Pump: Covered block heel pumps that work quite well on wider feet. Fab with ankle pants, skirts and dresses.
  • Sam Edelman Clover: A trendy classic for low to regular volume feet. Quite comfortable, and with a stable heel. I vote pink but the Bordeaux is nice too.
  • Bella-Vita 'Vivien' Pointy Toe Flat: A modern classic that's right back on trend. Available in FOUR widths and five colours, these more supportive ballet flats get rave reviews. I'm going to try the gold for Spring and Summer.
  • Steve Madden Ramone Floral Sock Bootie: For Team Low Volume Feet, Narrow Ankles & Calves. Moderately comfortable, and not for fussy feet. But SUPER festive and fun if they work out.
  • Steve Madden Vida Pointy Toe Bootie: These booties would be mine if the heels were lower. Very fun and festive. Moderately comfortable. Add a cushioning insole. For Team Low Volume Feet only.

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

TOMS Ella Bootie
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Top Pick
Munro Allee Pump
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Top Pick
Sam Edelman Lulie
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Top Pick
Sam Edelman Clover
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Top Pick