Team Polish or Team Naked Nails in Summer

You are on Team Summer Polish when you paint your toenails a colour all Summer long. You are on Team Summer Naked Nails when you don’t varnish your nails at all, or use clear polish. NOTE: this poll is about your SUMMER toenail style, so don’t include your Winter toenail preference when you might leave toenails to breath au naturel.

I’m very curious to hear your preference along with where you live. When I was in the fashionable, stylish and trendy Amalfi Coast earlier this Summer, I noticed how very few women had painted toenails (and fingernails for that matter). It was extremely crowded with locals and tourists, yet if I saw two women a day with colourful toes – it was a lot. It’s Team Summer Naked Nails on that side of the world. Generally feet were well-groomed, but it was au naturel or clear polish all the way. This was not what I expected.

When I was in Velp visiting my Dad or in London visiting family over the Summer – I noticed a similar thing. There are very few women with painted toenails. I’m not sure if it’s a regional Euro thing or a new Naked Nail trend. Most of my clients and friends here in Seattle have painted Summer toenails. It’s also very common to see painted toenails on the street.

I used to paint my toenails a pearly white, but haven’t for a couple of years because my nails started reacting negatively to the polish. I have regular pedicures, but use a clear nail strengthener instead of coloured polish. It adds a subtle shine and makes my feet look well-groomed. I missed my pearly white polish in the first six months, but have grown to prefer my colour-free nails. I also felt on trend batting for Team Summer Naked Nails when on holiday in Italy. I might never go back to painting my toenails.

Over to you. Do you bat for Team Summer Polish or Team Summer Naked Nails? Is it the norm to see coloured toenail polish in your neck of the woods?

Outfit Formula: Fit & Flare Dress and Flat Mules

This outfit formula showcases strategy #8 for lengthening the leg line with flats, which is to wear dresses with waist definition. This styling strategy is especially effective with knee-length and midi dresses, where the hemlines are longer and the tendency to feel short-legged is greater. 

The narrowing of the silhouette at the natural waist visually raises the length of the leg line from the hips upward making your legs go on for miles in flats. The definition at the waist creates outfit structure, adding a streamlined effect.

Fit-and-flare dresses are frocks with fitted torsos that flare out on the lower half of the body. The volume of the flare varies from gentle to extreme. Here are four fit-and-flare dresses worn with a very specific style of flat called a mule (a slip-on shoe with a closed front and open back).

1. Low-Contrast Mules

Here’s a Modern Classic and Retro fit-and-flare frock in a bright, high-contrasting colour. Its midi length is elegant. You might think it’s begging for heels, but I think it’s begging for dressy flats, and was thrilled to see it styled that way. A flat mule is dressier than a flat sandal which suits the vibe of the dress, AND is the more fashionable and trendy choice. Here it’s been styled with flat white mules which are low contrast to the model’s skin tone thereby making her lower leg look longer. I LOVE how the classic dress has been made to look very 2018 with this choice of footwear. The white mules can be complemented with a white bag, jewellery, or eyewear.

1901 Midi Shirtdress

2. High-Contrast Mules

The lovely gothic and boho midi fit-and-flare has a harder edge to it because of all the black. Here it has been combined with black mules, which are high contrast to the model’s skin tone. Waist definition draws the eye upward from the hips thereby lengthening the leg line, which offsets the high-contrast effect of the flat mules.

Generally high-contrast mules shorten the leg line, but in this case it works because there is a lot of black in the dress. The black is further complemented by the bag. 

Anthropologie Tempest Laced Dress

3. Column of Colour

This is an example where the dress and mules are a similar colour and BOTH are low contrast to the model’s skin tone. The tonal effect creates an elongating column of colour where the leg line is lengthened by default.

LOQ Carmen Suede Mules

4. Raised Hemline and High-Contrast Mules

Raising the hemline of the dress — even just a couple of inches — increases the length of the lower leg. The definition at the waist of the dress increases the length of the legs from the thighs upward. Both lengthening strategies temper the shortening effect of the high-contrast snakeskin mules. The dark bits in the pattern of the mules have the added advantage of bookending the hair of the model, which pulls the look together.

Banana Republic Wrap Effect Wool-Blend Midi Dress

Fit-and-flare dresses are my favourite and I love wearing them at a midi length. The waist definition panders to my need for structure, while the voluminous bottom panders to my need for fun swoosh, elegance and practical movement. I’ve so enjoyed wearing them with flat white and patterned lemon mules this Summer. Here are my Summer fit-and-flares and the two pairs of mules I’ve paired with them. I finished off the outfits with white pearls, eyewear and either a matched or mismatched bag.

You might need a moment to adjust to the combination, so my suggestion is to just walk out the door and wear it. You’ll probably come back home a convert, because it’s easy, comfortable and fresh.

Anyone else enjoying fit-and-flare frocks worn with flat mules?

Fab Finds: Easy Breezy Summer Items

It’s hot just about everywhere in the northern hemisphere at the moment. In fact, CNN mentioned last week that 2018 is the fourth hottest year on record. On that note here are some very breezy tops and dresses to wear in high heat. Lots of colours and sizes to choose.

1. Cloth & Stone Benton Ruffled Tank

Ignore the stock photos because this top looks great UNTUCKED, and simply worn over pants, shorts or straighter skirts. If you want more structure, semi- or fully tuck. It’s got one of those magical necklines that looks good on most bust sizes and neck lengths. The armholes are neat and tidy, albeit a little roomy. The torso has volume that’s tempered by the drape of the fabric and V-shape of the neck. Excellent camouflage for muffin top. This is not suppose to be a fitted top. 100% cotton and machine washable. Bonus: the white is NOT transparent, so no need for a camisole.

2. Akemi & Kin Tibby Tank

Again, they’ve showed the top tucked, and it looks great UNTUCKED. Another magical neckline that looks good on an assortment of bust sizes and neck lengths. The drape is gorgeous and the fabric super soft. Nice length for taller girls and flattering high-low hemline. It’s supposed to look drapey and voluminous — extra ventilating — but size down. The dusty rose colour is unusual and rich.

3. Bordeaux Gatineau Knotted Tank

This tank is almost too good to be true. It’s fitted on the arms, shoulders and neckline, and gently glides over the torso making it forgiving of midsection extra bits. Good on an assortment of body types. The waist knot detailing lies flat, and gives the top structure. The neckline is not too low. It’s an excellent top to wear over casual skirts because you don’t need to tuck or semi-tuck the hem! Ideal for those who feel short-waisted when tucking. The coral is brighter in person, and the white is NOT see-through so no need for a camisole. 100% cotton and machine washable. I thought it ran TTS because the XS fit me perfectly. But I need a narrow fit so if you prefer a regular fit, you might need to size up.

4. Sole Society Karon Faux Leather Shoulder Bag

Sole Society makes excellent faux leather bags, and this one is darling. It’s larger than you expect, and lies flat against the body. Comfortable, although it does not have a zipper closure. It closes with a magnetic stud, which should be fine in a crossbody style.

5. Caslon Stripe A-Line Maxi

I keep saying that diagonal lines do magical things on the body, and this is no exception. A cool and breezy maxi that is gently fitted can do the trick. The V-neck and diagonal lines add structure to the straighter torso, or flatten curves and muffin top. Armholes not too low, and the length can be hemmed to midi. It has a linen content so be at peace with the crease.

6. Caslon Stripe Linen Shirtdress

It’s hard to find a shirtdress with sufficient length and a little structure, and this one fits the bill. The short sleeves are flattering and just long enough to feel cool yet covered. The vertical stripes draw the eye up and down. It’s 100% linen so it will crease and you won’t want it too tight. Read the rave reviews.

Roundups

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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Assorted Items

A list of top picks that were winners on my clients recently.

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Assorted Items

An assortment of top picks from dresses and jeans, to tops and handbags.

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Tops & Toppers

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

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The Pros and Cons of Pointy-Toe Footwear

Pointy-toe footwear was at the forefront of fashion for decades, until it completely disappeared in the ‘90s. It slowly made a comeback in the early ‘00s, gained its long lost momentum, and is once again completely mainstream. 

Pointy-toed footwear comes in a range of point shapes. From gentle almond toes and classic pointy toes, to toe boxes that are extremely long and pointy resembling witches shoes. Pointy-toe shoes and boots have their good and bad qualities.

Advantages

  • Elegant, pretty, polished and dressy.
  • They create Modern Retro Charm.
  • Dramatic pointy toes add theatrical drama to an outfit.
  • They lengthen the leg line, which is especially effective when you wear low-vamp flats.
  • A great fit on narrow, low-volume feet.
  • Pointy toes look amazing peeking out from under long-length boot cuts, bell-bottoms and wide-leg pants.
  • They visually lengthen a short foot to create balanced proportions. This is visually effective when you are tall, and have relatively small feet for your height.

Disadvantages

  • Uncomfortable fit on wide feet with short toes because toes are squashed into a too small space that is contrary to the shape of the foot.
  • They might cause long term foot pain and challenges when they are an unnatural fit for your foot.
  • In some settings they can be too elegant, pretty, polished or dressy.
  • Too much of a witchy vibe.
  • They make your feet look too long. This has been the case with some of my petite clients who have relatively large feet.

I LOVE the look of pointy-toe footwear because of my ‘80s and Modern Retro gene. I like gentle almond toes and classic points, but witchy pointy toes are not my thing. I can tick off the rest of their advantages in the above list too. I adore their dressy elegance and how they lengthen the leg line in flats. Most importantly, I have a small, narrow, low-volume, pointy foot which makes pointy-toed footwear an easy, natural fit. My long toes enjoy the length of the pointy toe box.

I don’t wear pointy toes exclusively because I like to mix it up, but most of my footwear has some sort of gentle or classic pointy toe box. Round-toe footwear is almost always too wide and short, unless I size up and get a narrow size. I’m very comfortable in pointy toes as long as they are flat or low-heeled.

Over to you. Do you wear and like pointy-toe footwear? Please add to my lists of pros and cons if you think they are incomplete.

Eloquii Kady Fit Double Weave Pant

Halogen Print Satin Dress

How Outfits Create Elegance

Many of my clients aspire to looking elegant in their outfits. I also aspire to that, so I’ve thought quite hard about what it means to me. What makes an outfit elegant is extremely subjective. Elegance means different things to different people. I’ll share what I think and I’m curious about the extent to which your thoughts will coincide with mine.

First, it can be argued that elegance has little to do with the outfit, and more to do with the manner, poise, posture, elocution, movement, grace and confidence of the wearer. That’s definitely one component of elegance, but an elegant outfit goes a long way too.

Second, elegance is NOT a dress size, length of hair, type of complexion, age or height. Elegance is a package deal and a sum of many parts. Some of the most elegant people I know are below 5ft tall, plus sized, or over the age of 70. I do think that elegance comes more easily with age, because of the ease and confidence that grows within as you get older.

Third, elegance can be achieved with patterned, non-neutral, bold and bright wardrobe items. Keeping things solid, quiet and neutral is not a prerequisite for an elegant outfit, although that might be your preference.

I’ve narrowed it down to a few specifics that, to my eye, up the elegance quotient of an outfit.

1. Longer Hem Lengths on Skirts & Dresses

Somehow, leg coverage, and particularly knee coverage, looks more elegant. Skirts and dresses that finish somewhere between the bottom of the kneecap and four inches above the ankle bone look the most elegant. Extra long floor-sweeping lengths for formal occasions are extremely elegant, but are very impractical and therefore worn infrequently.

2. Softness and Structured Fluidity

It is a delicate balance to achieve a good amount of structure with just the right amount of fluidity in an elegant outfit. For example, a very structured body-con dress looks less elegant than a gently tailored sheath, shirt dress, or fit-and-flare frock. It’s that ease of movement or bit of “swoosh” in the dress or skirt that creates elegance. The same can be said for an elegant trouser or jeans outfit that is neither too tight nor too slouchy. If the bottoms are tailored, the top can have movement, and vice versa.

In terms of softness, I mean looks that are not too hard-edged or severe. But that doesn’t mean you have to wear white and pastels. You can wear black and darks, but the fabrics and textures of the garments must look soft, sheer and pretty. An all-black outfit can also be complemented with sparkly bling and lighter footwear and accessories.

3. Dainty Footwear

Footwear with a refined and somewhat dressy appearance, as opposed to being casual, tough, sporty, rugged or chunky, tends to look more elegant. Pointier toe boxes, narrower heels, gentle block heels, shoes without platforms, narrower laces, narrower straps, and smaller buckles. Footwear needn’t be high-heeled or close-toed to look elegant. Dressy flats, low heels and all sorts of elegant sandals do exist.

4. Dressiness

You can absolutely look elegant in a casual outfit, but there has to be a component of dressiness to it. Whether you’re adding a blazer or dressy top and refined shoes to jeans, sporting a structured casual dress with dressy flats, wearing a kaftan over a bikini, or gliding along in wide linen crops and cropped blouse with flat sandals – the dressy element is present and adding elegance to a relaxed outfit.

5. Finishing Touches

Elegant outfits seem to have important finishing touches, like a gently made-up face that adds polish and radiance to your appearance, relatively neat and well groomed hair, and some accessory bling (even if it’s just a pair of diamond studs). Well cared for hands and feet with or without nail polish is a good finishing touch too.

Again, these are my musings and they probably differ from yours, so over to you. How do you define elegance through outfits?

Eloquii Burnout Chiffon Maxi Dress

Eloquii Ankle Zip Jogger

Eloquii Neoprene Pencil Skirt