Outfit Formula: Easy Velvet Top

We see velvet tops every year, especially as we approach the holidays. Many of my casual clients like them because they’re usually easy to incorporate into outfits, very comfortable, festive, and can be worn untucked. There is no need to wait till the holidays to wear velvet tops, and you can absolutely wear velvet during the day. 

Here are four versatile velvet top outfits that will work for most of us. They range from casual to dressy, and feel free to change the colour palettes to suit your tastes.

1. Dressed Down with Jeans

This is the simplest and most casual rendition. Combine a pair of jeans with a velvet tunic or top, and stompy boots, and Bob’s your uncle. Keep it bling-free for a relaxed day, or add the giltz to dress things up. Pop a coat over the top and there you go. A bit of lace peeking out from under the neckline of the shirt could be pretty too.

Eileen Fisher Velvet Mandarin Collar Long Shirt

2. Boho

Combine a bohemian velvet top with a casual pair of pants and fringe bag. Here the palette of the grey and bone is quite unique. We can’t see the footwear, but pearl grey suede booties or cream footwear could be nice. Silver or blush shoes could work too. You could sub the casual pants for jeans if that’s more your thing.

Johnny Was Marushka Velvet Fare Sleeve Blouse

3. Crisp

This unusual combination in traditional Christmas colours is my favourite. It does not need to be Christmas for you to sport the look. Combine a green velvet top with white jeans or pants, and red or burgundy shoes. The white bag adds an extra crisp touch.

Farfetch Roseanna Velvet Dropped Shoulder Top

4. Semi-Fancy

This is the dressiest yet least structured of the four looks. It’s dressy because of the footwear, and less structured because of the roominess of the top and pants. Combine a shorter fluid velvet top with a pair of wide legs sported at the new, shorter full length. The shorter length of the top is important because it lengthens the leg line and creates just enough structure by showcasing the contour of the hips. The dressy mules are fun, but any dressy flat will work. Sport solid soft wide legs if patterns aren’t your thing. Add jewellery, eyewear and watch as desired.

Farfetch Antonelli Velvet Loose Blouse

Link Love: This Season’s Jewellery Trends

Let’s have a look at some jewellery trends for Fall/Winter 2019.

Fab Links from Our Members

L’Abeille says she’s a “sucker for articles about ‘French women’ and ‘Parisiennes’,” and thought this offered a refreshing perspective.

Vildy came across a video interview with fashion journalist Alice Pfeiffer that ties in with the above article.

She also wanted to share this critical look at Brunello Cucinelli’s first-ever kidswear collection.

Shevia found this interesting: “Forever 21’s bankruptcy signals the shifting priorities of young shoppers.”

Nemosmom thought this was “an interesting read about eco-focussed Generation Z and how they are battling a love/hate relationship with fast fashion, guilt over sustainability, and the desire to be fashion-forward in a world of social media mavens, yet they lack the income to really drive the market in a better direction.”

Runcarla found Susan’s blog post on learning to speak the language of colour compelling and relevant to some of the forum discussions from earlier this month.

Outstanding Outfit Bloggers

Bucketloads of Red Pizzazz

Susanne Ackstaller (53) is a journalist, blogger and copywriter who lives in Germany and documents her outfits on her blog, Texterella, where she wants to inspire women of all ages and sizes to celebrate life and have fun with fashion. Susanne loves bright colours, stripes, and bold patterns. She complements her polished, Modern Classic style with a trendy blunt ear-length bob, and bright red lipstick that is trademark Susanne.

“My style certainly became more expressive and colourful over the last years. In the past I used to wear a lot of black and went for more pragmatic and practical clothes especially when my children were younger. Now I love bright colours: Classic red (especially when it comes to accessories and shoes), deep blue, strong green or yellow. This Winter season I am all into purple! My looks are far from modest, in fact I love to go a bit over the top! I am not willing to hide just because I am over 50! And why should I? I am in favour of pro-ageing instead of anti-ageing. Recently I discovered my love for vintage and second-hand, “pre-loved” clothes. No need to buy everything new…”

Susanne Ackstaller - 1

What a fantastic juxtaposition of dressy shirt and skirt with casual sneakers! Susanne’s A-line skirt with bold floral pattern in stunning colours is the star of the show here. Doesn’t it look like a wonderful work of art! She’s tucked in a white button-down and scrunched the sleeves for a relaxed touch. The red on-trend belt accentuates her waistline and echoes the red in the skirt. So do her playful hoop earrings. Our blogger’s low-top sneakers come out to play again, cleverly repeating the white, red, and blue in the rest of her outfit. A gold chain bracelet, happy lipstick and sunnies complete the look.

Susanne Ackstaller - 2

Metallics for the win! Susanne dresses up blue jeans with a white button-down and silver jacket. The flowy tunic-style shirt adds drapey volume, while the skinny jeans streamline the look. The statement moto style topper adds refined bling and loads of visual interest. Cuffing the jeans showcases our blogger’s well-chosen footwear: sparkly bow-adorned pumps in a gold and silver mix that doesn’t match the jacket but complements it brilliantly. Dangly earrings continue the sparkly gold theme. Susanne finishes off this polished casual look with a unique colourful chain-strap bag with diagonal stripes and her trademark bright red lipstick.

Susanne Ackstaller - 3

This is a fun example of Angie’s full-length flares & sneakers formula. Our blogger is a big fan of both bright red and stripes, and here they come together marvelously. Susanne is sporting an untucked black and white striped tee and tomato red drapey trousers. The tee’s square neckline and mix of horizontal and vertical stripes is flattering on a fuller bust. Adding a wide fabric belt in the same red as the trousers creates an interesting optical illusion effect. Low-top white sneakers give the look a sporty touch. They have a thin blue and red stripe that ties in with the rest of the colour palette. A small neckerchief bookends the red trousers, as does Susanne’s lippy.

Susanne Ackstaller - 4

A cosy Winter outfit with tons of pizzazz. Susanne is sporting blue skinny jeans with a cream turtleneck sweater. For a topper, she’s picked a classic wool camel coat in a collarless style that works great with the turtleneck. She then brings her favourite red into the mix by means of a sassy pair of high-heeled tall boots. A happy and bold choice. Susanne bookends the boots with a jaunty red beret that looks marvelous with her hairstyle. The chunky cable-knit jumper, soft fabric of the coat and leather footwear create lots of textural interest. Finally, she adds an extra bit of blue with a scarf tied to her travel bag.

When asked which items she is looking forward to wearing the most this Fall/Winter, Susanne said:

“Probably my favourite trend is skinnies tucked into boots! A style I already loved during the past two Winter seasons but only now seems to be popular again. Maybe I am a trend scout? Also, I re-discovered various shades of purple especially in combination with beige and nude tones. And not to forget checked trousers, which instantly get me in good mood! I love pairing them with classic cashmere sweaters in Winter.”

Susanne Ackstaller - 5

Susanne had been longingly looking at tulle skirts, but was worried people might find it silly on a fifty-something woman with a fuller figure. When she finally pulled the trigger on this dreamy little number, she felt elated and wondered why she’d waited this long. The light grey full skirt has an anthracite underlayer that makes it unique, and creates extra visual interest. The striped Breton tee casualizes the look and brings a pattern into the mix. Leave it to colour-loving Susanne to dress it up with a bright yellow topper and red shoes. The cropped jacket works well with the full skirt, and the rounded lapels bring softness to the look. Our blogger’s elegant pointy-toe slingbacks lengthen the leg line when wearing a midi. Three vintage brooches add retro flair.

Susanne Ackstaller - 6

Susanne’s love for bright red accents continues in this Sporty Luxe outfit she wore for a day of sightseeing. She’s paired stretchy tapered trousers in a grey check with a fluid-fit taupe mock neck sweater with high-low hemline. The taupe complements the trendy tuxedo stripe on the trousers, as does the stripe on the taupe sneakers. The ribbed detailing on the sweater creates a bit of structure and visual interest. Red leather gloves add warmth when needed, and match Susanne’s small crossbody and signature red beret. Her trademark red lipstick is all that’s needed to complete the look.

I’m looking forward to hearing what you think of Susanne’s marvelous style. Let us know in the comments, and be sure to browse the rest of her fab outfits on her blog.

* All photos by Martina Klein MK Pictures, except for 4th photo (by Simone Naumann Fotografie).


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I Weaned Myself Down to One Pair of Skinnies

I’m completely off clingy skinnies on this leg of my style journey. Even the equestrian look that I adore with tall flat riding boots is out since I passed on my old black Aquatalias last month. Those riding boots severely disappointed me this year, giving me the biggest and most sore infected blisters of my life. Hence, I could no longer keep them with a happy heart.

I am down to ONE pair of super skinnies that I wear like a regular pair of casual bottoms with short tops and jackets. They are tight all the way to the ankle and full length. They’re a pair of floral pants that I got in the Netherlands as a gift from a friend. They are the best travel pants for very long flights and trips because they are very thick, substantial, polished, comfortable, do not bag out, and do not crease. They are amazing quality, the floral is really pretty, and I love them.

I also have two pairs that I don’t wear regularly. One is a pair of black high-waisted skinnies that I bought in an emergency a year and a half ago. I only wear them occasionally under sack dresses like “leggings”. The other is an old pair of blue skinnies that have been demoted to gear. I wear those on trails, and for messy home improvements.

I wear straight crops with pleasure, and have three pairs. They’ re tailored, slim in the leg, but not super skinny. They’re more like cigarette pants. They don’t cling to my knees, calves and ankles. It’s that skinny cling on my lower leg that I am completely over (for now).

As an alternative to skinnies, I’m into wide crops, harems, cropped flares, carpenter and cargos, relaxed straights, broad cuffs, wide legs, pleated paperbag waists, and bootcuts as the pants and jeans silhouettes. They must have movement and fluidity, and not cling. Here is my current collection across four seasons.

Malden Tweed Pants
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Over to you. How does the skinny feature in your style?

Flared Bottoms: New Shorter Full Length with Flats

Wearing full-length flared pants and jeans with flats, sneakers or flatforms is extremely on-trend. It’s a look I remember was popular in the ‘90s, and I wore it then too. By flared bottoms, I mean wide legs, very roomy straights, and bootcuts. The bottoms need to be wide or very wide at the hems, and not remotely tapered. 

Here are examples of full-length jeans and pants worn with flats when the hems skim the surface of the ground. To my eye, these are perfect pant lengths. The visual effect is conventionally flattering because the leg line is extended from the ankle down without the aid of a heel. It looks intentional, chic, not like your pants are too short, and very luxurious.

That said, as gorgeous as this extra long length is, it’s a problem in wet and snowy weather. Soggy hems are a nightmare. Extreme width at this length can be hazardous, especially walking up and down stairs, and when you walk fast. There’s the break line and scrunch, which is unattractive to some. And keeping ground-sweeping hems unsoiled can be a challenge.

For several seasons fashion has been focussing more on the practical aspects of our lives. A very good thing! Wearing flared pants and jeans with flats, sneakers and flatforms at a slightly shorter length is not only more practical, but the trendy way to wear them. Enter the new, shorter full-length pant or jeans. The flared hems rest on the vamp of the shoe or foot. No break line or scrunch, no soggy hems, and no sweeping the pavements with your bottoms. The length is ankle-covering and not cropped, so there’s insulation. You see your shoes in all their glory.

Here are some good examples of the new shorter full length.

British Tweed Pants
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Imogen Pants
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Flare Leg Jean
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Some will say that they’ve always worn their full-length flares with flats at the new shorter full length because it’s practical and to their eye, more flattering. They like to showcase their shoes, and don’t like the look of a break line. Others will prefer the extra long full length because it looks intentional, not as if your pants are too short, extends the leg line, and is awfully elegant.

This is 2019, and DYOT (do your own thing) reigns supreme. Choose the full length that tickles your fancy and it’s all good.

Lengths are my thing, and I will absolutely split hairs about it. I LOVE the look of full-length flared bottoms that skim the surface of the ground with a break line precisely for the visual benefits that I mentioned up top. That length is forever flattering, luxurious, and gorgeous to my eye. But the sky must be falling because I’ve surprised myself by ALSO loving the new shorter full length — and been sporting it for a month! It’s a lot more practical for my wet climate and urban walking lifestyle. It’s a fab look with flat booties and sneakers (my go-to footwear). It’s playful, trendy, a little preppy, and above all — I’m having fun sporting the change. I have three pairs of jeans that I’m currently wearing at this shorter full length. The collection shows the exact pairs of jeans from my wardrobe. I wear the cuffed pairs longer than in the stock photos so that the hems touch the vamps of my shoes.

If someone as pedantic about lengths as me is sporting the new shorter full-length pant and jeans, you can truly never say never when it comes to fashion and style.

Over to you. What’s your length preference for flared pants and jeans worn with flats, sneakers and flatforms?