Fashion News Roundup: May 2020

A new activewear line, two household names in fashion file for bankruptcy, and more news from the fashion trenches this month.

Fun Fashion Fact

Did you know that textile designer Althea McNish, who passed away in April at age 95, was responsible for some of the 20th century’s most memorable printed fabrics including ones created for department store Liberty. She counted Cardin, Dior, Schiaparelli, Givenchy and Lanvin among her clients, and was named in Architectural Digest as one of “Five Female Designers Who Changed History.”

Outfit Formula: Pattern Squared

I like the visual effect of wearing multiple items of the same pattern close together in one outfit. In other words, there isn’t a solid to break them up unless it’s worn on the bottom. I wore a version of this combination a few weeks ago. 

The patterns can be anything at all. Loud, quiet, neutral or non-neutral, it’s all good. Here are some versions that caught my eye.

1. Twinset

Combine a shell top and topper in the same fabric and pattern to create the effect of a maximal top. Finish it off with solid bottoms, and footwear and a bag to match. I like the look of an interesting and non-traditional twinset, and this fits the bill. It’s practical if you like to layer to keep warm or cool.

Fuzzi Draped Cardigan

2. Skirted Romper

This look has a ‘50s flavour to it, and is very unexpected. A romper is combined with a detachable wrap skirt in the same pattern. The skirt makes the outfit look like a dress, especially from the back and side. But you do a double take when you see the outfit from the front and in motion. Awfully fun, although quite the disrobing commitment in the loo.

Eloquii Romper with Skirt Overlay

3. Pattern Cubed

Here THREE pieces in the same pattern are combined to make an outfit. A pair of pants, a top and a jacket create a column of pattern, where the striped ribbing is the only part that breaks things up a bit. The same can be achieved with two pieces if the top and bottom are a jumpsuit.

Fuzzi Graphic Leopard Print Tulle Bomber Jacket

4. Two-Piece Jumpsuit

Here a top and bottom in the same pattern are paired to create a jumpsuit effect. This version is a lot more practical than a one-piece, and maybe more comfortable too. I love the elegance of the swooshing fabric, the waist tie for structure, and how well the model wears the large scale pattern. She looks stunning and it’s my favourite of the four. Add jewellery, eyewear, and watch as desired.

Eloquii Printed Palazzo Pant

Dresses with Pockets Are Fun

The only thing I enjoy wearing more than dresses, is dresses with side entry pockets. At the moment, seven of my dresses have this design feature, and I love it. The collection below shows my dresses with pockets. 

I think side entry pockets are fun. Maybe that’s because it’s a casual and practical design feature on an otherwise prim and proper and so-called impractical wardrobe item. A fab juxtaposition. The result is unexpected, interesting, and a little rebellious, especially when a more formal dress has hidden side entry pockets.

You can pop your hands into the pockets, which visually gives the dress a nonchalant, casual and interesting twist. You can stash away a credit card, keys, lip balm, scraps of paper, and your phone if the pockets have sturdy linings. Your hands are insulated too. What’s not to love about a dress with side entry pockets? I have yet to meet a reason.

These types of fun pockets work best on dresses with volume like A-lines, sack styles, or flared skirt silhouettes because of the room in the pockets. You don’t want items or your hands to bulge and feel constricted. A body-con sheath with side entry pockets would not be a good thing.

Madewell WHIT Gillian Tiered Midi-dress in Navy Hermosa Floral

C/Meo Collective Entice Gown

Over to you. Am I missing a reason not to love dresses with side entry pockets.


Spring and Summer Items

An assortment of tops, bottoms, and toppers for Spring and Summer.

Read More

Classic and Comfortable

This week’s roundup is classically comfortable and fab.

Read More

Assorted Items

Some winning tops, toppers and shoes to kick off the new season.

Read More

Fabulous Fabrics

The tops picks this week showcase great fabric, and there’s a fun roundup of shoes too.

Read More

Assorted Items

A few fab items that worked well on clients and forum members.

Read More

Dog Days of Summer

An assortment of casual and dressy top picks for warm weather.

Read More
Outstanding Outfit Bloggers

White Denim and Modern Classic Polish

Today we’re checking back in with full-time blogger Kimberly Smith of Penny Pincher Fashion, whom we first featured on YLF in October 2013. Kimberly is still a high heels gal at heart. She also loves white denim and neutrals, is into square necklines at the moment, and continues to use a mix of Modern Classic and on-trend pieces to create her signature polished looks.

Kimberly Smith - 1

Kimberly is wearing on-trend high-rise white denim culottes with a breezy blouse, perfect for a warm Spring day. The buttons and side tie on the blouse are fun design details that provide great visual interest, as does the mix of vertical and horizontal stripes. The horizontal stripes on the banded hem could potentially “chop up” the body, but this is offset by the blouse’s cropped length, the elongating V-neck and vertical stripes. Opting for low-contrast footwear like these taupe ankle strap sandals also lengthens the leg line. Her neon pink nail polish and matching lipstick pop against the blue and white outfit. The chain-strap bag in baby pink doesn’t match but works brilliantly with the bright pink. Black sunnies and chandelier earrings complete the look.

Kimberly Smith - 2

This is a fab example of Angie’s Casual Holiday Dress formula. Kimberly is sporting an on-the-knee sweater dress with a gently fluid fit that is straight through the waist, and hugs her hips and bottom a little. The three-quarter sleeves add structure, while the buttons on the sleeves and flecked knit provide visual interest. The rich earthy brown of her high-heeled pointy-toe booties adds warmth to the cool-toned cream of the dress. Their great fit around the ankle also adds structure. Our blogger adds a second earth tone and textural interest with a cosy chunky olive scarf. Her rosy lippy and wavy hair bring softness to this polished casual look.

Kimberly Smith - 3

The midi skirt in eye-catching mix of brown plaid and olive suede takes centre stage in this dressy look. The faux wrap asymmetrical design provides lots of visual interest and fun swoosh. Tucking in the streamlined toffee crew-neck sweater showcases the skirt at its best, and lengthens the leg line. Black heeled pointy-toe booties echo the black waist detail on the skirt. Adding a structured black bag with interesting gold-toned bamboo-inspired top handle bookends the footwear. The layered gold-toned necklaces and dainty bracelets provide subtle bling and polish. The dark red lipstick is the dramatic finishing touch.

Kimberly Smith - 4

One easy way to transition your outfits into Spring is to start wearing lighter colours, like these off-white skinny jeans. Kimberly also likes to wear a fully buttoned V-neck cardigan as a sweater. Here, she’s tucked the camel cardi with pinkish hue into the jeans, which has an elongating effect. As a third piece, she’s picked a long duster-style jacket in a rich cognac. The V-neck together with the open jacket create vertical integrity. Block-heeled peep-toe booties in matching cognac bookend the topper, and draw the eye up and down. Soft mauve lipstick and tortoiseshell-rimmed sunnies finish off the look.

Kimberly Smith - 5

A nice mix of cool-toned colours for Spring. Kimberly is loving tops with a square neckline right now, and really liked the unique mauve of this striped blouse. She’s tucked it into a white denim mini skirt with a straight cut and raw hem that gives it its up-to-date vibe. The white vertical stripe of the top paired with the white skirt creates vertical integrity. The cheeky Modern Classic denim jacket adds warmth when needed and works great with the rest of this laid-back casual outfit. The cool-toned brown of our blogger’s perforated peep-toe booties is a little unexpected, and looks fab with the mauve top. The dark red nail polish and matching lippy bring out the soft hues of the outfit.

Kimberly Smith - 6

Red, white, and black is a classic colour combo that never goes out of style. Kimberly is wearing cropped floral print trousers in a monochromatic black and white pattern that gives them a graphic vibe. She’s combined them with a simple white tee that picks up the white in the trousers. Semi-tucking the tee casualizes the look. Adding black sandals to the black pants elongates the leg line, while the weave detail adds subtle texture. A sassy denim jacket in mid-blue is a timeless, always on-trend topper. Her cool-toned red satchel and non-matching warm-toned nail polish and lipstick make the black and white pop. Mirrored aviator sunnies complete the look.

I can’t wait to hear what you think of this new set of Kimberly outfits. Let us know in the comments, and then hop on over to her blog to catch up further.

Checking In: Word and Colour for 2020

Almost 5 months in and I’m reflecting back on the word and colour I chose for 2020. To recap, I like the simplicity of having a single word to keep top of mind, and the power and symbolism of a single colour. With a milestone 50th birthday coming up in July, I took extra care in choosing my word and colour for 2020. As it turns out, I’ve found them to be extremely appropriate.


I chose the word EXPERIENCE for three reasons. First, I wanted to share my experiences over the last 50 years in ways that might be helpful to others. Second, I’m appreciating and learning from my past experiences so that I can be a wiser, nicer, more thoughtful, self-aware, and fulfilled person. And third, I’m prioritizing significant new experiences — big and small — because they touch my heart and continue to create joy and satisfaction for many years.

My goodness, what a year so far. The novel Coronavirus pandemic and everything that goes along with it is unprecedented, surreal, and will have a lasting effect on us all. I couldn’t have imagined or dreamt a more unexpected and nerve-wracking new experience for my 50th year. It brings tremendous uncertainty, sadness, and stress that I can barely put it into words. Our little family of three quarantining at home in Seattle are thankfully safe, strong and healthy. But worrying about our fragile, vulnerable, and less than perfectly healthy 88 and 82 year old Dads, who live alone in the Netherlands and South Africa, is extremely stressful.

I cannot fly to the Netherlands to help my Dad in critical ways that are much better in person. This is a steep learning curve for me. The situation is completely beyond my control, and I am not used to that. For a while at least, my brother and I need to manage the situation from afar, and trust others to make many decisions that impact my Dad. Although the lack of control fills me with anxiety, I am simultaneously soothed by the thoughtful and compassionate village of people who are looking after my Dad. They are going completely out of their way, simply because they are incredible, selfless people who care about my Dad. I’m deeply touched, and will forever hold a place in my heart for these magical people.

This experience is teaching me that I cannot be in control of every aspect of my life no matter how organized, hard-working, energetic and conscientious I am. Trusting others and relying on them to do things in my place is sometimes the only way, and that’s okay. Trusting that a tough situation will eventually work out and staying hopeful about it takes strength and flexibility. I am building that kind of strength every day.

My happiest experience this year is that the stay-at-home order in Washington state has allowed hubs Greg, Yorkie Sam, and me to spend much more time together. Greg was working in Salt Lake City during the week, which meant that our family lived apart for much of the time. To be happily staying at home with my favourite person and doggy for three months and counting is my COVID-19 silver lining, and the best gift of all.

Colour: BLUE

I chose the colour blue because we live near the Seattle waterfront and we were planning a trip to Greece in June. Blue is also associated with stability, and it symbolizes wisdom, confidence, loyalty, intelligence, tranquillity, good health, expertise, calm, serenity, and precision — all of which I aspire to as I age.

Well, we cancelled our trip to Greece, but the spectacular water views from our loft apartment continue to spark daily joy. Although things are very uncertain and stressful at times, I feel that my life is relatively stable, my persona upbeat, and my mind generally calm. I feel wiser and mentally stronger, learning from new-to-me experiences. I am extremely grateful for our good health.

From a fashion and style point of view, blue is one of my favourite neutrals because shades of blue work well with my beloved sour brights, all shades of white, blush pink, some earth tones, and black.

Here are some of the blue items currently in my wardrobe.

Emotionally, I’ve had my fair share of feeling blue because of the hardships the world is facing as it battles through the pandemic and deals with its aftermath. But each day brings hope, more expertise, more wisdom, and a sense of serenity as people and communities pull together to help and support one another in these great times of need.

Over to you. Would you like to reflect on how your word and colour for 2020 are shaping up?