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Grown Up Dressing Up

Monsoon clothesEvening wear this year is much more understated; think less is more. Though we still have glitter and shine, the overall feel is more subtle and elegant, more Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly than Marilyn Monroe.

For the creative and dramatic personalities, this might seem a bit tame, but understated doesn't mean dull; there are some striking pieces,sumptuous fabrics and great colours. Look out for bardot necklines and backless dresses and think about mixing up your fabrics.

Make your outfit elegant in your own way and get ready to dress up to impress! 

All that Glitters...

We all need a bit of shimmer in our winter occasion wear. If you enjoy sequins then you probably already have a dress, jacket and/or skirt in sequins and you can certainly wear them again and again in the party season. Opulence comes in the form of beautifully embellished and gilded garments. Gold wearers will enjoy the gilded look and can really have fun with it (see Vestry black and gold dress below). Our favourite sequin dress so far is the Alea dress (below) from Monsoon. Instead of the usual bodycon look, it is a lavish twist on a classic shift. Gorgeous!

For the understatement, try a metallic or sequinned skirt in a colour and wear it with a top in the same colour palette in a more subtle fabric.

Monsoon, Jaeger, Vestryclothes

Tip: With metallics you need to work out if you have cool or warm skin tones to decide if you suit gold, silver or copper and bronze (and various colours, of course). You can mix them up a bit, but stick with more of the metal or shade that suits you most.

Jacquard and Brocade

For a more subtle shine you might like something in jacquard or brocade. The pattern created by the weave in these fabrics looks rich and elegant. The great thing about them is that they look good for day wear and occasions, so they are perfect to take you from the office to the office party with just a change of top, shoes or jacket. Evening wear isn't always about dresses either, some of you will prefer a skirt and top combo or perhaps a smart but sexy trouser. Brocade trousers have been on the high street for a while but they were made for the party season. If you enjoy wearing them, invest in a couple of pairs.

Jacquard and Brocade

Tip: These type of fabrics tend to be quite stiff so not best suited to very curvy figures.

Neck and Back detail

In line with less is more, showing off your clavicle and shoulders or your back is discreetly sexy. Bardot and off-the-shoulder necklines flatter many shapes, fortunately. You will also find decoupages - part of the fabric cut out in the décolletage area. If you are going to show off your back, think about how low you can afford the cut to go and make sure your back is in good condition. Garments with transparent backs are most flattering as they will hide any blemishes.

Neck and back detail

Tip: If you choose an off-the-shoulder or decoupages piece, remember the look is supposed to be understated, your neckline is the focus so don't overload it with jewellery;

Chiffon, Velvet, Satin and Lace

Chiffon, velvet and satin are the lovely tactile fabrics of the season. Chiffon is so soft and sheer it brings femininity and romance to a garment. A floaty tunic dress can look fresh and pretty (good for rectangle shapes and also round shapes). The best pieces are tops or dresses with chiffon necklines or sleeves as they add sexiness to the garment without being over the top (see Fifty Plus and Hobbs dresses below). This is a perfect example of the current elegant look as rather than showing flesh you will be showing a neckline and/or arms through sheer material. It's a sort of prim sexiness. Chiffon and satin or chiffon and velvet make sumptuous combinations. . We have already discussed lace in a previous newsletter so you know it is a good investment dress. Make sure you get one in a great colour.

Chiffon and Lace

Tip: Invest in a chiffon blouse in one of your best colours - it will work for daytime and evening.

Full Length Drama

Certain occasions require a full length gown and there is something for every taste including all the seasons trends from embellishment to chiffon to pink. Here we have selected a few of our favourites. They are all show stoppers in their own way so it's up to you to decide a) what suits you and b) what look you want to create.

Full Length dresses

Tip: These are statement dresses so you don't need to add much more. Keep accessories to a minimum


If you live in  Hampshire, the New Forest, Southampton or the  Isle of Wight (I pick up from the Hythe ferry!) and aren’t sure what your dominant colouring, style or face shape is, why not come and have a consultation with me -  I absolutely love helping women to find their best look - so rewarding and such great feedback!

>> Autumn / Winter 2013 <<

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