Fundamentally Fabulous ~ The Pencil Skirt

28 September 2013

Strong, sexy and timeless. 3 reasons why we love the pencil skirt. 

A classic since it's introduction by Christian Dior in the 1940's, this chic little number has well and truly earned style status.

Like the dress pant, the pencil skirt has long broken out of the office routine and has become one of the most versatile pieces in our wardrobes. 

When styling your pencil skirt, the key elements you will want to consider for your shape are its length and the height of the waist and while this piece is designed for a close fit, to remain chic, the pencil skirt should skim..not cling. Finally, look for a quality fabric with some weightiness to it to ensure it holds it's form. 

Leather or lace, cotton, embellished or plain, this little beauty boasts endless styling options...pair back with a white tee, your button down shirt, a silk cami, even your sleek leather biker jacket; so choose your look, slide into your sky high stilettos, and head out the door... looking Nothing less than chic... 


pictures courtesy of pinterest



Fundamentally Fabulous ~ The dress pant

20 September 2013

While it can be tempting to live in our denims and take them from day to night and back to day, even amazing jeans lack the polish and sophistication of a gorgeous pair of dress pants.
A must for every woman's wardrobe, you only have to cast your eyes back to the runways showcasing this seasons trends to see the dress pant breaking some of the traditional 'style' rules. 
They have become a style staple that extends far beyond the boardroom, and into many a social gathering.

Like all your fundamental pieces, look for a timeless and versatile quality in dress pants and when building this part of your wardrobe, try to include 2-3 different styles that flatter and fit well in both dark and light neutrals, (for example, black, cream, white and Navy), with clean lines and minimal detail.

Quality and cut are on the priority list and when shopping or editing your wardrobe for pants, and to ensure a great fit, make sure that you have access to a tailor who can make any necessary adjustments. 
Often retailers will have someone that they use and recommend, and in some instances will even offer basic alterations as part of their service.

Pants come in all shapes and sizes and whether at work or play, the styling options are endless.
At the moment the loose, slouchy fit in fluid fabrics, which have a relaxed yet sophisticated feel are a style I adore, however, if you are yet to own a pair, start with a classic straight leg cut with a flat front and where possible, avoid side pockets to achieve a more stream line, sleek effect. 
An important point about hemlines...the hemline on your classic pant should sit approximately 1/2 inch from the ground when wearing your heels. Pants need to be hemmed for the shoes you will be wearing them with, so don't try and pair your flats with the same pant that you wear your favourite stiletto with. 

Retailers such as Country RoadWitcheryPerri Cutten, and Saba usually offer a classic cut, and are a good starting point.
Once you have your basics covered, brands like Camilla and Marc and Alice and Olivia are worth a look for something more on trend if you are looking to 'play up the pant', however you may also discover styles that fall under the classic category.
And of course, on line, check out sites such as Net-a-porterShopbop and Shopstyle

Pants offer a chic alternative and while they will always hold a key position amongst your  fundamental pieces, they have emerged as a style staple in their own right, so don't be afraid to break them out of the office routine.


pics courtesy of pinterest

Fundamentally Fabulous - The LBD

14 September 2013

Perhaps most famously worn by Audrey Hepburn, this is the dress that can be transported through time, and today you could be forgiven for thinking that the original Givenchy as worn by Hepburn had come straight off the runway from the ready-to-wear collections of New York Fashion Week 

This staple holds its own in the style stakes.

Pair it with a great stiletto, a handbag and a string of pearls and you are office ready in a flash; once the clock strikes knock off o'clock, with a quick change of shoes, and a piece of statement jewellery you and your LBD are ready for the night.

Choose a classic cut and it's almost impossible to get this wrong, even for the most "style" challenged amongst us. If you like to take a few more risks and draw on your creativity when it comes to your wardrobe, the styling options are endless.

In terms of getting it right for your body shape, some of the elements that you will need to consider are length, cut and shape of the neckline and shoulders and whether your best option is to go strapless or to choose a style with a sleeve. Check out this post from the The little black dress to help you make the best choice (be aware that gaining such knowledge may result in the necessity of a shopping trip...)

Finding the perfect LBD will leave you feeling nothing less than chic


Fundamentally Fabulous ~ The Nude Shoe

10 September 2013

I am about to reveal a universal truth. 

A woman's wardrobe will never be complete without a nude stiletto or pump; a timeless fashion trend, a red carpet secret and forever a fundamental wardrobe staple. 

The master of deception, this shoe is the ultimate leg extender, creating the illusion of the long and lean. While this fact in itself is reason enough to own several pairs, lets explore the wonder of 'nude'.

This shoe will go with almost EVERYTHING and I am yet to find a colour that it doesn't go with. It's versatility lends itself to being the perfect transitional shoe; outfit to outfit, season to season.

The most important rule to follow when choosing your nude is to find the shade that is closest to your natural skin tone. Getting this element right will result in the shoe blending in with the natural tone of your legs, the eye will naturally be drawn upward, and instantly you will have created the appearance of longer, leaner pins. 

Have an amazing dress that deserves ALL of the attention? 
Taking it into the night?  
Looking for a shoe that will go with your patterned pieces? 
Limited budget? 
Want a pair of shoes that is great with your neutral palette and perfect with colour? 
Dressing up your denim? 

There is one answer ladies. Nude. One answer though, does not limit you to one pair. 

There are so many styles to choose from, however considering our focus is the fundamental, start with either a stiletto or pump (stilettos have a thin, high heel, pumps have a lower, thicker heel) with a closed in toe, (pointed or round...OK you can have both). The benefit of the closed toe is that it will walk with you through the seasons. If you are wanting something specifically for the warmer months, a peep toe is a also a great option. 

This season, the nude shoe is very much on trend and is a must have of the moment. For the consumer,  this translates into an abundance of choices, so if you have identified a need, it's the perfect time to shop and while Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin will always remain my inspiration, there is a nude shoe to suit every budget. 
Try WittnerRMK or  Joanne Mercer on for size, and if you are looking for a designer shoe without having to pay the high end prices, you can't go past Stuart Weitzman. Not always easy to get in Australia, but available on line through retailers like Neiman Marcus who will ship internationally.

The possibilities are endless.... 

The final word? When in doubt...go nude 


pictures courtesy of pinterest

The fundamental elements of a winning wardrobe

9 September 2013

It's one thing to own the clothes, but what are the elements to your wardrobe that will bring it all together. 

1. The clothes you own should fit well.

Sounds pretty simple, but you would be amazed at the amount of people who are wearing the wrong size, and choosing unflattering cuts. Recently I went shopping with my husband for a blazer. He tried a couple on and found one that he liked. I suggested that it wasn't a great fit. The sales person assisting us, turned to me and commented, somewhat sarcastically, that we couldn't expect a perfect fit from any garment, unless we were having it tailor made. OK. Two things here.
First of all, not a good sales pitch, (needless to say he didn't make a sale) and secondly, while it may be true that it may never be a perfect fit, when you are paying good money for something off the rack, you can and should expect it to fit well.
Fit is critical. If your weight has changed and you have great pieces that can be altered, find a tailor who can make the appropriate adjustments.  If it doesn't quite fit off the rack, but only requires a few adjustments, then it may still be a good purchase, as long as you are willing to invest in the alterations.

2. Choose the right neutral for your classic cuts

Black and navy work perfectly for your classic pieces, but if you are not comfortable in either colour, experiment with others from the neutral palette to ascertain what suits your skin tone; neutral colours include greys, white & ivory tones, tans and beige and some will even choose animal prints as their neutral base..whatever works for you.

3. Reveal with caution. 

There is nothing wrong with revealing a little skin, however unless you are Blake Lively
if you are show-casing a plunging neckline, you don't necessarily need the thigh high split to accompany it.
Be wise about how much you reveal, otherwise you risk going from chic to cheap.

4. Every outfit should have it's hero.

 Olivia Palermo gets it right with this amazing jacket over jeans and a white tee - these two basic pieces have become the neutral backdrop to the divine... So simple.

Sometimes accessories will be your hero piece. If you are wearing all black for example, consider adding a pop of colour, or choose an embellished aesthetic for your shoes, handbag or jewellery.

5. Don't overlook undergarments

Everyone should own shape-wear. Size has nothing to do with it.

Clean, smooth lines are what we want, and undergarments are the key. They lift, tuck, flatten and smooth. Good shape-wear is easy to find, whether it be at your speciality lingerie store or the majors, and don't be afraid to ask for assistance on this one  - its like buying a bra - the fit will make all the difference.

6. Give shoes the attention they deserve. 

Shoes should never be an after-thought.  An outfit is not complete without them. Give them as much thought and attention as you have to the rest of your ensemble, and make sure that you invest in the basics. (that's another blog).
Shoe lovers, will often buy the shoes first  and build the outfit around them...just think Carrie Bradshaw...

7. Accept your body shape and engage in the process to find out what styles work for you.

Shift your focus from the number on the scales, the labels and your height, to shape.
Whether you hire a personal stylist or image consultant, conduct your own research reading articles and blogs on the internet, or buy a book off the shelves, this is an investment worth making. 
Understanding your body shape will change the way you look at your wardrobe and your experience with style. Not only will it give you the tools to enable you to shop effectively and with purpose, most importantly your confidence levels will soar because you will look and feel great.
Find it, own it, embrace it, work with it.


images courtesy of pinterest

Fundamentally Fabulous ~ Blue Jeans

4 September 2013

Shopping for the perfect pair of jeans can be like shopping for swim-wear.  Most of us dread it, but when we find the perfect's like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

As a little girl, my jeans were reserved for home, play dates and casual family visits.
I remember begging my Mum for years to let me wear my jeans on our weekly outings to the city, and week after week, they were deemed inappropriate.

Today, 30 something years on, jeans have become part of my daily uniform, and yes I allow myself the privilege of wearing them shopping in the "big city"...its' the rebel in me..
I can dress them up and take them into the night with sky high heels or I can throw them on a with a white tee or button down shirt and a cute pair of flats, and create a look that is effortlessly chic.

There are an infinite number of options for denim and it can be somewhat overwhelming. So lets break it down.

The 3 style elements that I would consider to be top priorities when choosing your blue jeans are cut, quality and fit.

The Cut. Find a style that suits you.

Like all our fundamental wardrobe pieces, knowing what compliments and flatters your shape will be your first consideration. There are a couple of general rules of thumb to follow, but remember there is always the exception to the rule, and very few of us have text book measurements, so invest the time into discovering your body shape and what styles create balance and accentuate your assets. (This blog post from Lauren Conrad is a great start)

If you are looking to minimise your hips & thighs, select a flare or boot leg; and nothing too high waisted. 
Tiny and petite? There are a number of styles that will suit your shape, my preference is for slim cut jeans...skinnies are perfect, and if you want to add height look for something a little higher waisted. The key for you is to avoid styles that will overwhelm your shape...we don't want to loose you!
Blessed with the long and lean? the choices is all yours...(yes we are all a teeny bit jealous) Straight leg, 70's inspired flare, boot cut, or boyfriend.... the denim bar belongs to you!

Once you have chosen the right cut, if you are looking to maximise the slim factor, opt for a darker shade of denim.

You know the Jeans fit well when:
  • There are no bulges above the waist line. If you are experiencing the dreaded 'muffin' top, the jeans are either two small, or you need to try a higher rise
  • There is no strain or excess of fabric (a little natural wrinkling is fine)
  • There are no gaps in the back - this is usually an indication that you need a lower rise
Quality - My position hasn't changed -  buy the best you can afford. 

The pair of jeans that sit amongst your 'fundamental' wardrobe pieces, are generally in an even wash, not faded or ripped and don't have too much detail. Depending on your body type, they will be in a slim leg (skinny), boot leg or straight leg style in a darker shade, like the genetic dark denim bootcut 

Once you have the essential pair covered, look at how you can inject seasonal cuts and colours into your wardrobe for those fun, on trend pieces.

For those looking for great value for money, do yourself a favour and explore the range from Jeanswest. They offer a great core range designed to fit different body shapes, (including long and short leg lengths), and in addition, each season they inject 'on trend' pieces to keep their offering current. 

If you like to shop on line, the options are endless. Make sure you know your measurements so you can easily identify and determine the right size. 

Some of my favourite on-line retailers for denim include Shopbopnudie jeans & genetic denim (genetic denim available at multiple on line stores including shop bopThe Iconic, and revolve clothing. (nudie and genetic are quite possibly the most comfortable jeans I have ever owned...LOVE them). 

Blue jeans have become entrenched into our lifestyle, and when you discover your best fit, you will find yourself right in the middle of your confidence zone.

My advice? Be in continual pursuit of the perfect pair. 


images courtesy of interest

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