Monday, 29 December 2014

Mastering the Midi - December 2014

Styles always come back around and this season it's the midi-skirt that's made a comeback!

The midi skirt, characterised by its mid-length - a hemline that falls just below the knee and can extend to mid-calf, was popular in the elegant era of the 1940’s and 50's until it was replaced with the daringly short and skimpy mini by the 1960’s. A hard push back to the more conservative trend with the midi's reintroduction in the late 1960’s, was met with much rebellion by women who loved their newfound liberation from fashions past (as well as showing off their legs) and as a result, the midi was once again out and this time it seemed for good - until now. Yet despite its successful revival, many women are hesitant to try out the midi for fear of looking frumpy and feeling awkward due to its in-between length, which can make looking feminine, fashionable and sexy whilst also covering up a challenging task. Plus, with the wide range of fabrics and styles: A-line, flared, pencil or tulip-shaped, choosing the right one can be a little confusing. How then to rock this trend?

In my experience, the secrets to looking hot in a midi are twofold - Length and Balance.

Generally speaking, shorter women should choose a midi with a length ranging from the knee to mid-calf whereas taller women may opt for a longer hemline, from mid-calf to ankle. Personally, I prefer the shorter midi - a hem length that falls barely below the knee so the skirt doesn’t overwhelm my petite frame and make me look too short or disproportioned. The length is revealing without being too provocative - a teaser so to speak; accentuating the soft lines of your body from the waistline to the hemline and at the same time showing some skin but not too much... enough to provide the right amount of mystery to arouse interest. What's more, the longer length is suitable for women of all ages and graceful and respectable, giving you a sophisticated and more ‘grown up’ look than miniskirts.


Since the midi actually covers up a lot of skin, you need to offset the demure, voluminous bottom-half with a form-fitting, skin-baring, more revealing top-half. Pair your full flowing 'umbrella skirt' with a fitted, shorter top such as a crop top or tucked in blouse or tank to balance your shape. By doing so, you place emphasis on the cinched waist which will flatter your figure and highlight your femininity by outlining your silhouette all the way down to the hem. For an ultra-sexy look, the sleeker, streamlined, hip-skimming pencil midis look best with a loose fitted blouse or top or crisp collared shirt. To elongate the legs and give off a slimmer, longer leg thus, appear taller, pair your gorgeous skirt with heels or nude flats. Add some sass to your outfit with stylish shoes and accessories including a belt or hat to create a unique and modern look.

I love clothing items which are both versatile and trans-seasonal; you can create numerous classy looks to wear any time and everywhere and for these reasons the midi is an essential piece in my wardrobe. Try it out for yourself. Remember, if you chose right, you can wear your midi now in the warmer months and then take it into the cooler seasons simply by slipping on opaques, ankle boots, a cropped knit and throwing over a bomber jacket to brave the cold in style. I’m thinking a black, pleated leather midi would be ideal for winter...

"A good sermon should be like a woman's skirt: short enough to arouse interest but long enough to cover the essentials." ~ Ronald Knox
Thursday, 27 November 2014

Dial E for Elegance - November 2014

                                                        Photo: BETTMANN/CORBIS

Katharine and Audrey Hepburn, Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman, Rita Hayworth, Ginger Rogers and Lauren Bacall are but a few unforgettable leading ladies of Hollywood’s Golden Age (late 1920’s to early 1960’s). Of all the alluring women from that period, my absolute favourite is Grace Kelly. In addition to her natural good looks, poise, sophistication and femininity, she possessed an element of mystique which intrigued me and I yearned to know everything about this classic beauty. Maybe I further warmed to her because she too was born in November and had a nasal voice! Mostly, I find myself drawn to Princess Grace because of her serenity. The calmness she exuded is a quality my soul demands more of to offset my feistiness. I admire the way she held herself as a lady at all times regardless of her private turmoil. For me, she is the epitome of elegance, so in honour of this exquisite woman and fellow scorpion, this post details how we may add a touch of ‘grace’ in our lives.

Elegance has to do with how we look, speak, behave and move and these are all influenced by a feeling that emanates from within as a result of our self-assurance. Epictetus said “Know first who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly” so through a process of reflection and self-evaluation you must discover who you really are, fully accept yourself then put thought and effort into accurately projecting your essence to the world. Start by being true to yourself; listen to your heart to determine what makes you happy and what you really want to achieve in life. Identify your passions and abilities then develop your strengths to realise your full potential. By doing what you love and are good at, this will form feelings of worthiness which will raise your self-esteem empowering you to pursue your goals and get the most out of life. Furthermore, as you gain confidence you will feel comfortable in your own skin and through your authenticity and self-love, radiate a positive self-image making you appear elegant.

To look naturally gorgeous and graceful, aim to have a gentle inner nature as this will be reflected in your facial expressions. When you have a kind heart it will shine through to your face and eyes, softening your features thus producing a pleasant disposition. Create a kind spirit by letting your heart overflow with compassion for others as well as yourself. Be friendly and polite to everyone you encounter and always think loving and optimistic thoughts to exude a warm, peaceful vibe as your calmness will create a lasting loveliness, making you easy to be with and drawing people towards you. What’s more, a sweet settled temperament impacts both your physical and emotional state and leads to clearer thinking and in turn, better decision making.

When it comes to clothing, the golden rule for true elegance is simplicity. Less is more. Your style should be effortless and understated; the outfit should complement not compete with you. Select classic pieces that are well cut, of good quality, comfortable and fit properly. Know what looks good on you - which colours complement your skin tone, what styles flatter your body shape and most of all, suit your personality. Exercise common sense and dress appropriately for each occasion, but don’t tone down your look to blend in with the crowd. Look your best every time you step out of the house because when you look good, you feel good and when you feel good you smile and by smiling you actually look attractive because you appear happy, secure and fun-loving. Be guided by fashion to keep your look updated but you shouldn’t spend all your hard earned cash on the latest trends. Instead, spend wisely on items you love and get maximum wear of your clothing by pairing new pieces with what you already own to create unique outfits. Never imitate someone else’s style because this will only negatively impact your self-esteem as you’re being someone you’re not. Be your own person. Own the look by adding your personal touch and ensure it accentuates your best assets and aligns to your true character so you stand out in your own right.  

Along with good attire, your personal grooming should be impeccable. Skin should be clean and healthy looking and with daytime make-up opt for a light, natural look which highlights your features. Darker, more defined shades may be worn in the evening. Hair should be tidy and clean as should hands and fingernails (no chipped nail polish ladies!). Eyebrows should be neat, shoes should be clean and comfortable and you should always smell fresh and nice. Look after your body by maintaining a healthy weight with a balanced diet and regular exercise to foster a positive body image. Also, organise your time and schedule so you are not constantly rushed and take time out to relax and re-energise to avoid looking stressed and exhausted.

Your posture speaks volumes about your feelings for yourself and it’s actually the first thing I notice. Poor posture signifies low self-esteem and makes you appear unapproachable so please don’t slouch – ever! Keep your back straight, lifting up from the ribcage, shoulders back and head up, looking ahead not down at the ground.

Whilst improving our external attributes certainly contributes to looking graceful, I believe the main quality which enhances our attractiveness and makes one truly elegant is humility. Develop a humble view of yourself by curtailing your egotism and releasing any attention-seeking behaviour. This does not mean you think less of yourself or place yourself below others; you love, respect and take care of yourself but simply become less self-absorbed. Focus on others and make them feel good about themselves in your presence by treating them as equals. Genuinely listen when people are speaking as you may gain new and valuable insights which will add to your personal growth. Acknowledge all people you meet by making eye contact and smiling and be considerate and gentle at all times. Accept people for who they are, as they are and know there’s always more to learn so aim to be the best you can be rather striving to be better than others. Let go of your pride and accept accountability for your actions; admit when you are wrong, apologise when necessary and quickly forgive others as well as yourself because no one is perfect, and develop a sense of humour to see the lighter side of things. Remain grounded with an attitude of gratitude for all you already have and give selflessly to others (particularly those in need) – your time, money, attention, affection, encouragement, understanding and praise. By making a difference to another’s life you appreciate what you have even more and create feelings of joy thus produce more happiness in your life.

Essentially, elegance is about simplicity, composure, discretion, refinement and self-esteem. Your emotions about yourself translate through your presentation, mannerisms and movements. When you look beautiful in all you do - the way you dress, move, speak and behave you will feel beautiful and more importantly, self-assured and like Princess Grace, exude a magnetism that will attract the attention and the admiration of others. Know that you can be elegant in any moment no matter what is happening in your life because it’s a mind-set, an attitude that is cultivated through confidence and shines from your heart. Elegance is a state of being.  

“Adornment, what a science! Beauty, what a weapon! Modesty, what elegance!” ~ Coco Chanel.
Monday, 27 October 2014

Floral Fixation - October 2014

Well, it appears I spoke, or should I say wrote, too soon in my last post about Winter finally being over! The recent display of thunderstorms and cool temperatures in Sydney have thrown us back into another spell of Winter but in between we have had some perfect Spring days. The past few days in particular have been so warm.

Throughout the springtime I love wearing pretty floral designs and with the pleasant and sunny weather, my floral fascination flourishes. I find flowery prints both fresh and très feminine and with a plethora of floral patterned options currently available in the stores: tops, shirts, shorts, skirts, dresses, jeans, jackets, jumpsuits, scarves, handbags and even shoes, you will surely stand out like a tall poppy. So, why not set temperatures soaring this season with a flower-patterned clothing item? Flaunt your femininity in a fabulous floral dress or gorgeous flowery skirt. Or fascinate with a floral jacket over the basics - black and white and neutrals for a fashionable fix.

The one item set to fully bloom in my wardrobe this spring is a pair of colourful fitted floral capris from Zara. Sexy. Playful. Stylish. If you too will be wearing a pair, I suggest teaming them with a blouse or singlet of a solid colour. Add some flair with a scarf and flats on your feet for the daytime then throw on a blazer, a pair of heels and accessorise with chic jewellery and a clutch in corresponding colours to take you into the evening. Or, be adventurous and express your creativity by mixing and matching your lovely floral pieces with both classic and bold colours for refreshing variations and if you dare, show off your flower power by wearing floral prints together for a completely unique and noticeable ensemble.

Remember, this spring it’s all about stepping out of our comfort zone and being a little daring with our looks whilst maintaining our authenticity. Be your own person and dress so you feel good and impress yourself for, you have to impress yourself first before you impress others.

"After women, flowers are the most lovely thing God has given the world." ~ Christian Dior

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Meshing About - September 2014

Spring is my favourite season of the year. The daylight hours get longer, temperatures rise and you just want to be outdoors all the time. I especially love feeling the heat of the sun’s rays on my skin as it travels throughout my entire body making me feel warm all over. Plus, the natural source of Vitamin D is essential to our health. Springtime is also full of transformations. Remnants of cold surroundings and inactivity are erased as nature reawakens; plants sprout, leaves grow, wilted flowers blossom into a vibrant array of colours and animals come out of their hibernation and start reproducing; proving it is the season for growth and rejuvenation of life. It’s a beautiful time of the year!

This time around, winter just didn’t want to let go but now, spring is here and here to stay – yay! I have been patiently waiting for consistently warm weather so I can do away with the thick jackets and heavy coats to try out some hot new looks and show some skin!

I fell in love with this black mesh tank from Witchery at first glance (loving all things mesh at the moment!) and have been eager to wear it. Mesh is a loosely woven fabric with a large number of closely spaced holes. The tank is a longline style, so it’s longer in length than the standard top and is shapely structured to the contours of the body. The bold trim along the edges provides a tailored finish and adds a chic touch, making this tank versatile and suitable to wear casually throughout the day as well as dressed up for the evening. Too easy!

The look for this season is to layer mesh tops over a bralette or crop top which is rather daring, but it's good to be adventurous with your style every now and again and try something different and spring is the perfect season to try out new looks. Alternatively, you may wear it over a fitted cami. The sheer, web-like pattern shows just enough flesh without oversharing; sexy and classy at the same time.

Given the gorgeously warm weather over the weekend and a brunch date with friends by the beach, I layered my mesh tank over a white bralette, tucked it into my Cotton On denim shorts and on my feet I wore my white Converse Chuck Taylor All Star low-top sneakers (my new love!). For a tasteful and effortlessly stylish evening look, I paired the tank with a black classic slim leg pant, black bralette from Seed and black stilettos. If I owned silver or hot pink pumps then I would’ve added a pop of colour to the outfit - for an edge.

Finally, for me springtime symbolises new beginnings and better times ahead. Surrounded by nature’s changes, I feel spring is the ideal time to transform not only your style but also yourself. As spring settles in consider an adjustment to your attitude. Believe good things are headed your way; prepare for your unforseen good and expect surprises. Get involved in activities that you enjoy and make you feel happy. Improve your health and overall well-being by modifying your diet and getting active. Unclutter your space to be rid of the old and allow for the new. Assess your inner nature to check where you are within yourself. Formulate a definition of the person you desire to be and ensure your thinking and actions conform accordingly. Write a list of goals then break them down into smaller, practical plans of action. As you tick off each accomplishment you will feel a sense of fulfilment which will not only add to your personal growth but also boost your confidence and in turn strengthen your self-worth and ultimately lead to greater happiness. So, with spring in the air embrace change to enrich your life.

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.”  ~ Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Go for Gold! - August 2014

In Greek mythology, King Midas of Phyrgia, shows an act of kind-heartedness to the god Dionysus’ chief satyr Silenus, when he is found passed out from drink in the palace’s rose garden. The King recognises him as the God’s companion and instead of punishing him, invites him to stay a few days to eat, drink (some more) and be merry. As a token of his appreciation for his friendliness, Dionysus grants Midas any wish he requests. Midas asks that everything he touches be turned to gold, and it is done.

It seems that almost everything in the stores at the moment – clothes, shoes, bags and jewellery has been touched by King Midas himself! All that glitters this spring is golden. I'm okay with that, I love GOLD!

In its solid form, gold indicates one’s affluence, achievement and status and has long been associated with grandeur, glitz and glamour. It is also the colour of victory – champions are awarded prizes of gold: a gold star in kindergarten, a gold medal at athletic events including the Olympics as well as competitions of excellence and great accomplishment, such as the Nobel Prize. There’s the Golden Globe Award, the gold-plated Oscar statuette at the Academy Awards, and here in Australia, the gold Logie.

Gold in all its shades, even its intense muted tones, is a warm colour. I instantly connect it with the glaring sun and its gleaming golden rays which is why when I wear this metallic I feel energetic, hopeful, cheerful and warm inside. These feelings enable me to reconnect with my compassionate and affectionate nature and as a result, exude a dynamic yet tender and loving vibe. I also associate gold with Tutankhamen’s famous mask and am reminded of the riches and opulence of that era and of gold’s high regard. Likewise, the golden tones prompt me to think of the beautiful and brave ‘Kings of the Jungle’ - lions, thus encourage me to be confident and courageous at all times.

You wouldn’t think it, but gold actually works well with so many colours. Most naturally pair gold with black and whilst this is a hot and sexy combination, you shouldn’t feel limited to only this safe option. For a golden glow in the warmer months, I team my glistening golden shades with coral, turquoise, hot pink, beige, white and emerald green. I especially love wearing it with red and cobalt blue. In the cooler months, I pair it with the earthy colours such as olive and dark green, orange, tan, brown as well as navy, grey, purple and my favourite for winter, burgundy. Whether it’s the brilliant, flashy, shiny, yellow tones or the darker, traditional, more subdued hues you can create a fresh and chic outfit where you look regal and feel lush. Either way, this treasured colour is certainly eye-catching and makes a bold statement as it illuminates and enhances all other items it is paired with.

Of all the colours, gold is the one that ultimately makes me look and feel absolutely glamorous.
When I wear gold, it promotes amazing poise and a star-quality confidence, allowing me to tap into my inner strength and believe in my capabilities thereby increasing my personal power which impacts how I think, behave and essentially, live my life and gives me the courage and willpower to be, do and achieve all I desire. It also motivates me to unfurl my natural charisma; to act and speak with conviction and be influential enough to draw people towards me and undoubtedly, maximise my potential for success. Finally, on an intimate level, I am able to show the world exactly who I am, my 'heart of gold' by expressing my gentleness so everyone I meet and interact with will feel my warmth and sweetness.

So, set a gold standard and be ready to shimmer this season by opting for a precious piece in this warm metallic and you will look ‘as good as gold’ and surely be a winner!

“The gold of life is for those bold and brave in life.” ~ Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha
Satyr a legendary creature with horse-like features.
Dionysus – God of wine and revelry, also of agriculture and fertility.
Thursday, 31 July 2014

Back to Black – July 2014

I have proudly disclosed that I love wearing bright colours, but I must admit I love wearing black in equal measure, and I have been wearing a lot of black lately specifically, all black. There’s just something about black that makes me feel comfortable, confident and chic.

Colours can be used to enhance our overall appearance and like our clothes, the colours we wear are a form of non-verbal communication; another way to visually express our personality as well as convey our mood and vibe to the external world. As the darkest colour, because it absorbs all light, black is connected with all that’s dark, dangerous, intense and mysterious; Black Friday, black magic, black mood, black thoughts, blackmail…but, colours hold different meanings for everyone and black certainly has a colourful past, symbolising everything from abundance to grief, holiness to sin, luxury to poverty, power and authority to sorcery and secrecy, nobility and romanticism to youth and rebellion.

For me, no other colour presents so many contradictions: conservative – provocative, assertive – submissive, commanding – demure, formal – casual, glamorous – drab, sexy – modest. I believe Coco Chanel articulated it best with her comment “I have said that black has it all” and, it was this very lady who revolutionised women’s fashion and redefined black as the colour of supreme sophistication when American Vogue published her design of a simple black dress in 1926. Soon thereafter, other designers embraced black as the colour of fashion and the rest as they say is history. So, what is it about black that secures our devotion?
Practical – black is easy to wear because it’s the perfect base colour to mix and match with other colours, even other shades of black, so you don’t have to think too much when putting on black as you know it will work with anything

Immaculate – doesn’t show dirt or stains in most cases or at least, not as obviously as its lighter counterparts
Stylish – black is always in vogue! Sure, every now and again announcements are made by the fashion industry that navy or grey is the ‘New Black’ but for me there is no substitute: black is always the ‘New Black’. There really is no comparison and for this reason, black is forever fashionable
Elegant – black is classy; it looks sharp, smart and swanky even if it’s inexpensive
Versatile – can be worn on all occasions, throughout every season, suits all complexions and hair colours and best of all, you are able to be inventive and create numerous, unique looks by incorporating interesting, colourful accessories - jewellery, shoes and bags as statement pieces to an outfit.
Flattering – a well-designed item of simple, precise lines and a perfect cut will outline and accentuate the lines of the body making you appear slender and longer hence, produce a slimming effect.
Interchangeable – you can ‘dress up’ your black-on-black ensemble and go instantly and seamlessly from day into night with the simple change of a lipstick colour; nude or soft pink lips during the day to a dazzling hot pink or bold red lip at night.
On the surface, black gives an impression of respectability and refinement. It also transmits confidence even when you are lacking in confidence and feeling uncertain and quite vulnerable. On a deeper level, wearing black implies self-control; an ability to remain level-headed and keep your emotions in check during challenging situations. Additionally, it suggests a secretive side to you. Due to black’s contradictory nature, it doesn’t communicate anything definitive about you and this elusiveness raises many unknowns about your true self and, much like the trench coat, creates an aura of mystery and intrigue, arousing curiosity thus causing people to speculate about you. Furthermore, we instinctively wear black to conceal information about ourselves such as, cover the few extra kilos we have put on and hide our insecurities and self-consciousness from everyone and, because black exudes such intense energy and has a powerful effect on the senses it can be overwhelming, even intimidating, enough to keep people at arm’s length so much so French style guru Madame Genevieve Antoine Dariaux advised against wearing black before 1pm!

Writing this, I realise that I have been wearing black as a barrier between myself and the world to conceal my feelings, especially what’s going on in my heart and protect myself from others prying into my life. In black, I feel composed and in complete control of my emotions despite the turmoil within and am able to remain calm, sweet and positive as I ride through this difficult period.
Finally, you’re wondering if, as the most worn colour, I feel as though I get lost in the crowd and blend in. No. On the contrary, the darkness of black is a striking contrast against my fair skin and hair so, I feel I stand out more and although it doesn’t yell “look at me!” like the bright, vibrant colours I wear do, it definitely demands its own attention and admiration. In fact, I wear black when I want to express my individuality. I personalise all my outfits to my suit my personality and style so I always look different to others. In my opinion, black possesses magical properties because of its ability to transform me into everything I want to be, allowing me to flaunt my sensuality and sexiness in a way no other colour can and leave an absolutely unforgettable impression.

“Women who wear black lead colourful lives.” ~ Nieman Marcus ad
Thursday, 26 June 2014

Valuable Life Lessons – June 2014

Benjamin Franklin famously said “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”, though words to that effect were first expressed by author Daniel Defoe in his work The Political History of the Devil. As a tax accountant, I disagree that taxes are a given and my viewpoint can be supported by a recent article by economic journalist Peter Martin published in The Sydney Morning Herald in May. According to this article, the latest tax statistics show 75 super-high earning Australians paid no tax in the 2011-12 financial year, despite each earning more than $1 million from investments and /or wages. Yep, you read right – ZERO tax and no Medicare levy or Medicare surcharge! And it’s not just the mega-rich not paying any tax but also those who sought out quality tax advice. That said, for me there’s only one certainty in life and that is, death. 

One year ago, my beautiful friend was tragically killed in a freak accident. Dealing with the loss of a loved one, in any case, is an emotionally difficult experience. Having to also comprehend an unexpected tragedy as well as accept an untimely death makes it all the more challenging because a sudden ending leaves you completely unprepared; you’re unable to say goodbye and tell them all the things you want them to know, or provide words of comfort. This unfortunate incident has definitely been life changing for me so, this month I would like to share with you what I have learnt from the unforseen passing of my fun-loving friend.
I truly understand the value of each moment.

Life is made up of a series of moments and is lived one minute at a time. Utilise every moment wisely because once that moment passes it is gone forever. This doesn’t mean you have to perform great deeds or be doing something incredible every minute of the day, just make the most of every moment. How? Forget the past and future and be present this instant – right NOW as this exact moment is beautiful and is all that exists. Be happy and unconditionally grateful for everything you have now so more good things will come to you. Laugh as much as you can, live each day fully and passionately and enjoy every minute.
Don’t wait for a time other than right now to act. Act with urgency to do what needs doing and say what needs saying; admit to your mistakes, be quick to apologise and quicker to forgive. Be patient, learn to compromise. Overpower your fears and doubts and immediately seize opportunities when they appear. Surrender to the person your heart adores, let them see and feel your vulnerability – no pretending, holding back or playing games. Spend time with family and keep close to your heart only those who encourage, support, cherish and genuinely care for you or else as they say, “you might wake up one day and realise that you've lost a diamond while you were too busy collecting stones.
Love is what matters most because it’s the only thing we take with us and give to others so it’s important to share our feelings in that moment. Express your love, affection and appreciation to those you love and truly love you. Even when your loved ones are behaving in an unloving way, be soft and sweet with them. I’ve learnt that’s when they require my softness and sweetness the most.

Make your heart, not your mind, your guide. Take time to listen to what your heart truly wants and how it feels. When I listen to and follow my heart, not only am I really happy but amazing occurrences flow readily and easily to me from doing so.
Always remain flexible, open-minded and receptive when your desires appear differently to how you imagined. Realise the universe has brought them to you in the most organic way, which benefits all involved so open your heart to receiving and just go with it. Remember, the end result is to have what you want. Direct your stubbornness for good; constantly challenge and prevail over your ego with your heart. Make the decision to act the instant an opportunity arises then let go of how things should unfold, and allow yourself to be carried along and be pleasantly surprised by the magic that materialises.
Don’t let your dreams just be dreams. Make them happen – nothing happens without action and effort. Do all the things you want to do. Know what it is you want, set goals then break them down into practical, realistic plans of action and work diligently towards their achievement.

Treat every experience as a singular event, even similar experiences with the same person. Each experience is just that - an experience and nothing more. We need experiences to grow, a lesson to be better than we are. Understand the person’s true essence - their goodness and gentleness remains unchanged, that they are reacting this way because they are hurting, scared or have otherwise been deliberately misinformed, so don't let your pride keep you feeling offended and hostile. Learn the lesson and release feelings of hurt by filling your heart with love, forgiveness and tenderness.   
Be careful how you say things and phrase your feelings. Choose your responses thoughtfully. Most issues arise from simple misunderstandings and the involvement of others. You know the truth about people by the way you feel about them in your heart and how they act when they are with you so, don’t ever take another’s words about someone at face value and jump to conclusions. Find out the truth for yourself. 

Accept and love yourself sincerely, exactly as you are and let the real you shine through.
Self-confidence, a smile and a healthy figure are the best ensemble - wear them proudly.

Don’t save your nice clothes for special occasions only, wear them often and always look your best.
Show kindness and compassion to everyone as you don’t know what they’re going through or what’s happened in their life. It is your behaviour towards others and whose heart you touched that will be remembered.
If others mistreat you (it happens!), refrain from feeling angry and bitter for you’ll only lock yourself in a vicious cycle of negative energy which will be detrimental to your health and produce setbacks in your life - no one else’s. Instead, be loving and remain calm (so hard to do, I know) and with a breath that’s ever so kind blow these people away then let the universe sort them out. Keep your focus on what your heart wants.
Be curious - there is so much to learn, explore and experience.
We’re so busy we forget that life is unpredictable, fragile and limited which is why every moment is precious. Death is final and makes you understand what is really important in life. Whilst each of us has our own lessons to learn, remember that each day is a chance to start anew and create wonderful, meaningful experiences to lead a more fulfilling life.

"Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely." ~ Buddha
Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Best foot forward – May 2014

I am a big fan of patterned pantyhose. So much so, I have amassed a reasonable collection over the past few years. Why? Simply because they are an effective and inexpensive way to add spunk to an outfit. Plus, they serve the purpose of keeping your legs warm and do so stylishly.

With designs ranging from hound’s-tooth, floral, polka dots and diamond shapes to diagonal stripes, wavy lines, cross-cross, checks and zigzags to fishnet and leopard print to a single vertical line of black roses or hearts down the back seam to patterns I can’t even begin to describe, I have worn them.
I can see you all shaking your heads at me and saying – a little outrageous don’t you think? No...well maybe just a bit, but so what! I believe if you team your tights with a simple and classic outfit then you will still achieve a professional, dignified and classy look.
The biggest hurdle for most is confidently bringing this hip leg look into the workplace. If you haven’t yet ventured into the modish world of decorated legs and are feeling slightly uneasy, my advice is to start simple. Designs along the back seam or a single bow or flower resting just above the Achilles tendon are failsafe ways to ease into this trend.
I do warn you in advance - this look will definitely draw interest your way, so be ready! I will also tell you this: the increased attention will surely lift your self-esteem and boost your confidence and at the same time, update your look without breaking the bank.
So, for the coming winter months don’t feel as though opaque tights are the only option for keeping your pins freeze-free. Have a look at the wide selection of patterned hosiery available in the stores. Some of my favourites are by Voodoo but I have also purchased a handful by other designers. Even if you’re not ready to try this leggy look, have a browse anyway and remember, when you’re tired of wearing the same thing over and over and wish to spruce up an outfit, know that a modern and effortlessly stylish look is only a leg away.

"Darling, the legs aren't so beautiful, I just know what to do with them." ~ Marlene Dietrich
Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The Timeless Trench – April 2014

With the cooler weather settling in and winter edging closer in the southern half of the hemisphere, it’s time to layer up but it’s somewhat of a challenge deciding exactly what to wear. It’s not cold enough for a coat but it is too cool for a blazer. So, as the weather transitions why not consider a trenchcoat? The lightweight fabric makes it the perfect layering piece and the high collars, double-breasted design, shoulder and wrist straps, buttons and belt all protect against the cold conditions plus a lined interior provides extra warmth for the chilly months.

Mention ‘trenchcoat’ and the word immediately conjures a mixture of images: detectives, news reporters, investigators and distinct businessmen. Or perhaps you’re envisioning the trench completely buttoned up, belted with a pair of stilettos…Whatever your thoughts, naughty or not, this garment has irrefutably endured over the years and become an iconic clothing item. Although designers nowadays are experimenting with new, shiny and bright materials and varying the styles to keep up with emerging trends, the quintessential trench hasn’t changed much since its humble beginnings; it still maintains its original structure - a testament to its innovative design, timeless style and continued practicality.

Both Aquascutum and Burberry lay claims to the coat's invention, though Thomas Burberry developed the water-resistant fabric 'gabardine' in 1880 to create a durable, well-ventilated raincoat for British Army officers, as an alternative to the heavy coats, to keep them warm and dry during the Boer War. The coat was an optional piece of clothing, acquired through private purchase by officers only (no other ranks were permitted to wear it). Burberry was then commissioned to modify his successful raincoat for WWI to protect officers from wind, rain and mud on the front line, more specifically in trenches hence, the name. Shoulder tabs (to attach a rifle strap as well as rank insignia), D-rings on the belt (to carry weapons and other equipment) and large pockets (to hold provisions, maps and additional ammunition) were added, as were ten buttons on the front, a back rain shield, storm flap over the right shoulder and wrist straps to keep the rain and cold out and the generous size and removable wool lining allowed the coat to double up as a blanket - each and every attribute relevant and fully functional for warfare. The fact that the officers were not obligated to wear this item yet chose to do so both on the job and as leisurewear speaks volumes of its usefulness, business-like respectability and authoritative air. Following the war, the trench was introduced to the general public by the government who distributed all excess stock from the Army and then via the silver screen, made to look effortlessly stylish by the likes of Humphrey Bogart and Greta Garbo then later by both Katharine and Audrey Hepburn who all embraced the classic trench and incorporated it as a staple in their personal wardrobe. 

So, why is the trenchcoat still popular after all this time? In her book The Classic Ten. The True Story of the Little Black Dress and Nine Other Fashion Favorites, Nancy Macdonell Smith attributes the trenchcoat's lasting appeal to its versatility. "You can wear a trench almost anywhere without feeling out of place. Whether you're running out for a coffee and the paper, a job interview, or a late night drink, a trench makes sense." I agree with Smith. The classic trenchcoat is the ultimate outerwear piece to take you easily and tastefully from day into night, casual to dressy, classy to sexy without being showy. But the garment's versatility is not the sole reason for its magnetism. Smith says, "A trench makes you want to work to have a look at what's underneath...It's sexy, but it's subtle" and I believe it's precisely this 'understated sexiness' that makes the trenchcoat so alluring.     

By emphasising the outline of your figure whilst remaining completely covered up, you seduce the eyes and tease the body’s most erotic organ - the mind - as the act of concealment implies a deliberate attempt to mask what’s on the inside, your true self, from others. This discreet, passive approach invokes a mysterious edge to you, creating tension, instantly intriguing and arousing the sensation that there's a lot more to you than meets the eye, thus leaving the imagination wondering not only what you’re wearing under the coat but who you really are underneath all that clothing!

A classic trenchcoat is definitely a sensible investment because it won't date. What's more, this timeless item can be worn across the seasons and used to create numerous looks. For example, wear it to brunch over wide-legged pants and a knitted turtle neck for extra warmth in the wintertime, paired with high-heeled ankle boots and sunglasses for an ultra-chic look or team it casually with slim-fitted jeans or leggings, a t-shirt and heels for lunch or coffee with friends. Better yet, wear it all buttoned up over a little black dress to a dinner date and keep everyone, particularly your date, guessing what's on underneath until you're ready to reveal yourself. Alternatively, give the trench a corporate spin by wearing it over a black pencil skirt, crisp white shirt, a scarf (preferably Burberry) around your neck and knee high boots or pumps on your feet for a polished and professional look, or channel Audrey and match it with black capris, a top and ballet flats and run your errands, as well as brave the elements, in style.

Personally, I love wearing a trenchcoat because it is flattering. It elongates my body and the cinched waist gives me a slim silhouette, beautifully shaping my figure and accentuating my femininity. For both genders, a structured design will fit best on your body so select a well cut, tailored style with enough room to fit over a jacket or sweater. As for the length, it depends on your body shape, height and ultimately your personal taste - as long as it suits your figure, feels comfortable yet is not so big that you are overwhelmed by excess material and creates a proportional, balanced look. My length preference is either just-above or just-below the knee, belted and in the traditional beige as the neutral colour will match any ensemble. Ladies, I do recommend one with a belt as it will create curves by defining the waistline, giving you the much-coveted hourglass look.

My final words: the classic trenchcoat is a wardrobe essential which when worn well, will certainly assist in creating an impression and emitting an elusive aura. In doing so, you will exude a self-assured 'classy sexiness' that will magnify your presence and instantly attract attention to you, enticing others to want to know more about you. Every person should maintain an element of mystery to arouse curiosity and captivate. Wouldn't you agree? 

“Nothing lends an air of mystery better than a classic French trench coat.” ~ Audrey Hepburn