leopard print fashion

How To Wear Awesome Leopard Print Fashion

Leopard Print has announced itself as one of the top trends with an almighty roar for the forthcoming AW season.  I’m not advocating that you should buy into trends for the sake of it.  However I do like to look at how we can use what’s available if you are looking to add to your wardrobe.

leopard print fashion

But First A Step Back In Time

Leopard print first became popular when Christian Dior used a leopard print fabric in one of his collections in 1947.

Jackie Kennedy glamorized the look in 1962.  When I’m sad to say she wore a Leopard-Skin Coat, which caused a sensation. It’s said that the designer was truly shamed by the demand that the coat generated and the impact on the leopard population.

Moving on to 1970s leopard print started to be seen as tacky and cheap.  It recovered its sexy and sophisticated image in the 1990s. Frankly its never really been out of fashion, but it’s application has become much more widespread in the past couple of years.

What Makes Leopard Print So Popular?

It’s association with leopards. Sorry if that sounds too simplistic but it’s true! People who wear leopard print say that it makes them feel sexy, strong, beautiful and powerful.

Leopard print is incredibly versatile.  It has a glamorous luxurious look if worn with a smart outfit.  But equally looks really amazing if worn with jeans and trainers, lifting an ordinary outfit into the realms of a rock ’n’ roll look!

You don’t need to dress head to toe in leopard print to buy into it.  You can use accessories to add a touch of animal print.

But Can I Wear Leopard Print?

If you really mean am I too old to wear leopard print then regular readers will know my answer on that one.  Age is merely a number on a birth certificate!

If you don’t have the confidence to wear leopard print, you feel too self-conscious for example, that’s different.  You won’t carry it off.  But if you still wish to wear leopard print look for scarves, purses or underwear, as a way to do so, discreetly.

But brown isn’t in my colour palette!  The good news on this one is that designers recognized this so you can buy leopard print garments in various colours.    It’s also possible to wear brown leopard print providing it’s not next to your face.

When I searched for leopard print items on Next’s site for example I got 242 items in various shades from black/grey, pink, teal and red as well as the more natural look!

Leopard Print Ideas AW18/19

Let’s take a look at some of the items that are available and how you might style them.

Outerwear

Next has a great single breasted coat that would look great with jeans or as they show on their website styled with …..

A single-breasted coat is best for anyone with wide shoulders or a large chest where you don’t want to add width to your top half.

Zara’s double-breasted coat would look great for anyone looking to add more width to his or her top half.

An alternative way to wear leopard print before winter kicks in is with this cotton printed jacket from & Other Stories.  With the drawstring waist this adds versatility to styling and shaping the jacket.

The secret of wearing leopard print coats or jackets is to keep the garments underneath plain colours.  Don’t add prints or patterns, it just looks too busy.  You want the bold animal print to take centre stage.    The only exception and you really do need the confidence to carry this off is to wear animal print underneath.

Leopard Print Outerwear

Tops

You are spoilt for choice if you’re looking for leopard print blouses.  There’s also quite a wide range of colours, such as this blue leopard print from Banana Republic.

A selection here for different body shapes ranges from high neck blouses that work for hourglass figures as seen on Zalando, long necks and inverted triangle body shapes (wide shoulders).  Or jersey tops that look great with black trousers or jeans such as this crew neck from Max Mara.

If you’re adding jewellery keep it simple a bold necklace is fine but keep to one colour metal.  Or alternatively try earrings rather than  a necklace if you’re wearing a high neck.

Stick to one colour on the bottom half.  Black is the obvious choice, but strong reds or deep plums or greens can also look good.

Leopard Print Tops

Trousers and Skirts

Not everyone is going to be comfortable wearing leopard print jeans or leggings. For many it’s a step too far.  But here are a couple of ideas.

Try leggings with a denim jacket and T shirt as Next have done in this image, for example.  Alternatively tapered trousers with a smart plain top and strappy shoes will look really smart, as per this pair from Forever Unique.

An animal print skirt can look fantastic with a plain coloured top or blouse. Blacks, browns, red or white are some options to consider for tops and add ankle boots to finish the look with this gorgeous Mint Velvet skirt.

Team skirts with plain boots.  Knee length or ankle boots look fantastic.  Complete the look with opaque black tights.

Leopard Print Trousers and Skirts

Dresses

If you’re comfortable wearing head to toe leopard print there are some lovely dresses available at the moment.   Mint Velvet has a beautiful midi length shirt dress with a handkerchief hem and v neck that would look amazing with knee length or ankle boots.  Just add a simple statement necklace to complete the look.

Hobbs has a classic wrap dress that would work for the office or a more casual look.  Team this with court shoes and a plain black jacket and classic style of bag.   For when the weather turns add a simple trench coat and for a super smart look.

Silk Fred has a selection of leopard print dresses. This blue one would be great for anyone with an hour glass figure or a pear shaped body.

 

 

Leopard Print Dresses

 

Accessories

If you want to just add a touch of leopard print there is a fabulous selection at Dune this season including court shoes, ankle boots and sneakers.  Dune also has a great selection of bags and if you’re not sure what to look for when choosing a bag check out this earlier post.

In Summary

Leopard Print is for any age, but wear as much as you feel comfortable wearing.   Leopard print is versatile in terms of matching it with strong colours, although blue (particularly denim), brown, red white and black are probably the most popular colours to choose. Keep it simple – use block colours with leopard print to get the best effect.  I’ve made several references in this post to body shapes and styles.  If you’re not sure what shapes and styles you should be looking for why not download my Body Shape Guide?

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AW Trend Report

How To Make The Most Of The AW17 Trends

The school holidays are in full swing, the weather’s unsettled and the barbecue’s standing forlornly on the patio. That can only mean one thing AW17 trend alert: next season’s clothes and accessories are now arriving in the shops!

AW Trend Report

My mantra to my clients is to ignore trends and to focus on what’s right for your shape and personality. However, if a particular trend looks good on you and you want to invest in it, then great, but don’t be trend led.

However, you cannot totally ignore trends as they do have an influence on what’s available on the High Street. Buyers have to select their ranges a year in advance. So this means they have to make educated guesses on what will sell and what’s right for their customers.  While online shopping offers us a much wider choice it will often still be influenced to some degree by trends, as retailers want to see stock sell through!

The first trend reports for a season appear immediately after Fashion Week. So Fashion Week in February 2017 showcased the collections for AW17/18.  The reports published in March gave some insight into the AW17 trends.   For this week’s blog I want to do a round up of some of the key AW17 trends.  I will look at how these trends might be worn and some pitfalls to avoid.

Red Is A Big AW17 Trend

The catwalk shows included a lot of red garments: dresses, tops, skirts and trousers. Like most colours, red can be worn by anyone, but it’s important to wear the right shade and tone for your palette.  Red works well as a colour all year round, but seems particularly well suited to brightening the darker days of winter. Red is also versatile with neutrals.

Autumn: Rusty Reds, Poppy Red or Geranium Red

Winter: Cherry, Raspberry or Claret Reds

Spring: Coral Red, Watermelon and Tomato Reds

Summer: Cherry Raspberry but will also look great in Burgundy

Red AW17 Trend

The Kitchen Sink Is Back

While big bags are practical in some senses, how many of cart around stuff we do not need and let the junk accumulate?

If I have a big bag with hardly anything in it, then it feels like I’ve forgotten something and the temptation is to add from the ‘it might come in handy’ pile!

One of the most important things to consider when choosing a handbag is the size and how that relates to your scale. A petite person will look smaller with a large oversized bag.

aw17 trend big bags

Does It Suit Me?Grey Tailored Jacket

Grey suits were included in a lot of designers’ collections and is likely to be a popular AW17 Trend.

Recently I attended a workshop where the idea was to cover everyone else in paint! In one of the icebreaker exercises we had to indicate our least favourite colour and why. Most of the group said Grey.

Personally I love grey, particularly in the context of clothes.

Grey is smart without being too formal. Anyone can wear grey if it’s the right shade and tone. It is also so versatile when pairing with other colours. If you are looking for a suit this autumn follow my guidelines for dressing for your shape.

Twinkle Toes!

The AW17 trend of having sparkly toes is a great way to add a sense of fun to your footwear. This doesn’t mean you have to buy shoes with sparkles built in to the design to achieve the look.

There is a growing trend for detachable accessories for shoes that can be clipped on and removed. Just like clip on earrings.

This is a brilliant way to turn a look from day to night. Just pop the clips on to court shoes or pumps to liven up your look.   It also looks amazing with jeans and a blazer for a more glammed up daytime look.

AW17 Trend Shoe Jewellery

Oversized Jumpers and Floaty Skirts

This AW17 trend can look absolutely gorgeous. Add ankle boots or knee length boots and you’ve got a great Boho Chic outfit.

This look won’t appeal to everyone and I’d suggest avoid if your legs are shorter than your torso.  I’d also be wary of a jumper that’s too big and bulky fluffy jumpers will are more feminine.

Midi skirts are good if your shoulders are wider than your hips. But beware oversized sweaters that will just hang from your wide shoulders.

AW17 Trend Faux Fur

Walk On The Wild Side

Fur was big on the catwalks, from oversized shearling coats, vintage style full length coats and leopard prints.

For a more fun look designers were also showing ostrich style feathers in their designs for fringing and details.

This fringing detail looks great on skirts and cuffs, but you need to be comfortable making a statement with your look to carry this off.

This AW17 trend for fur and feathers will be embraced by some and shunned by others. In the research I did for Ufurria, I found that faux fur has a real polarizing effect on women.

 

Belt Up!

Whether it’s belts on coats to add shape or wide belts to wear with dresses or separates, there is definitely an AW17 trend for adding a belt to complete an outfit.

Many of my clients are nervous about wearing belts or tell me that they used to wear them but no longer do. They either are unsure about wearing a belt or feel self-conscious about their tummy and don’t believe they can wear a belt.

The good news is that most of us can wear belts, if we follow a few simple principles and they can really make an outfit look stunning.

 

In Summary

Hopefully this post will give you a few ideas and thoughts if you are looking to add to your autumn wardrobe and how to style AW17 trends.

But remember the basic principles when you are choosing clothes, particularly if you find shopping a chore.

What season do you find it most challenging to dress for? Some women find it more difficult to dress for Autumn Winter and others for Spring Summer. This is at least partly to do with the colours that are available in the shops. It may also be your own seasonal preferences (which goes beyond your wardrobe). It could also be a reflection on how you feel about your body.

 

If you’d like to find out how to feel fabulous every time you get dressed why not book a free 30-minute Skype Call with me?

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How To Look Awesome In A Skirt

So what skirt styles are ‘in’ or rather on trend for Spring Summer 2017?

Anyone who knows me will be scratching his or her head in wonder at that one!

I don’t do trends!  While I’d love to claim Coco Chanel’s lovely quote for my own, fashion is not and shouldn’t be the primary reason for buying clothes.

Coco Chanel quote fashion

Whenever a client asks me about trends I suggest they simply ignore them. But depending where you shop this isn’t always possible.

It’s worth noting that when fashion buyers are looking what they believe will sell, trends play a part. Remember the buyers are now making decisions about what will sell in 6-9 months’ time so need to start somewhere!

Right now we’re in the midst of the fashion shows for Autumn Winter 2017. This is while stock is being unwrapped for Spring Summer 2017.  It’s an exciting and stressful time of year if you work in fashion.

It got me thinking about this week’s post and in particular which style skirts are going to be available. But more importantly who can wear them.

What To Consider With Skirt Styles

The factors you want to consider when choosing what skirt styles to buy, are broadly the same as other garments:

  1. Style – its fullness and cut. Which skirt styles are right for you will be determined by your body shape
  2. Length – this is important for your height, the shape and length of your legs.
  3. Fabric – texture and print – this takes into account the size of your frame
  4. Colour – the most important colours to get right are those close to your face. But as I tell my clients it’s much easier to co-ordinate your wardrobe if you buy from your colour palette.
  5. Details – the pockets, pleats and embellishments that designers add to finish a style

But at the end of the day, the most important thing to consider is whether the design is right for you and the message you want to convey through your clothes.

Let’s take a look at the key skirt styles that are showing up in the new collections for Spring Summer 2017 and who can wear them.  I want to warn you that this gets a bit frustrating!

We begin talking about what I call proper trends! These are obvious skirt styles. Then the collective changes more to skirt lengths, which cover multiple styles.

This drives me mad, as it seems like the goal posts have moved! My perception is that this is the fashion media’s attempt to group and order things in a logical way.

Ruffle Skirt Styles

Ruffle Skirt Top Shop

Ruffle Skirts

With the emergence of the throwback to the 1980s, it’s no surprise that ruffles are making an appearance.    On the SS2017 catwalks, ruffle style skirts were very popular. I’m delighted to say that this look has been toned down for the high street audience.

As much as I think the designs are superb, the look is much more of a catwalk style than something that translates to the High Street.

Who Can Wear Ruffle Style Skirts?  The simple answer is anyone who has narrower hips than shoulders. So this means:

An inverted triangle body shape looking to create balance on her lower half

An athletic body shape and is looking to create curves. Just be careful that the bottom half doesn’t become too out of balance with the top half.

If you are tall and have long legs a ruffle style skirt will look great. But if you have wider hips than your shoulders and your legs are not slender, avoid ruffle style skirts. They will add bulk and draw attention to the wrong places!

Tiered Skirts Romantic ‘Boho Chic’

With very feminine looks on the catwalk for Spring Summer, there were quite a few tiered skirt styles on the runway.

These do not appear in the new styles being released by retailers at the moment for spring styles. But I would not be surprised to see tiered skirt styles in the summer collections for the festival and holiday seasons.

Tiered skirts, like ruffle skirt styles, work most effectively for inverted triangle body shape.   They are also great for athletic body shapes. They are a very feminine look. Tiered skirt styles can be made to look more boho and less ‘girly’ with denim or leather jackets, and ankle boots. The latter providing it’s not too hot!

If you are a curvy petite frame or curvy hips or a tummy then avoid tiered skirts as they will not flatter your lovely curves.

If you are slender petite frame you can wear tiered skirts if they are not bulky. Bulky skirts will simply overwhelm your body.

Pencil Skirt Styles

John Lewis Pencil Skirt

Pencil Skirts A Return To The 1980s?

As we’re looking back at the 1980s there’s no escaping the pencil skirt styles.

Pencil skirts look fabulous on all body shapes. But you need to pay attention to the fabric, how tapered the skirt styles are towards the hem. If you are a pear shaped body and carry weight around your hips then avoid pencil skirts that are too tapered.

If you have an hourglass body shape, you will look particularly amazing in a pencil skirt that accentuates your curves and your waistline.

Pencil skirt styles in the 1980s were focused on power dressing and were often the skirt design for a women’s suit. Later they became more noticeable in eveningwear, clinging fabrics or sequins.

Style tip – if you feel overdressed in pencil skirt styles then dress them down with denim jackets or a camisole top and an over-shirt.

Midi Skirts

There is no prescriptive length for a midi skirt. The hemline can fall just above the ankle right up to mid-calf.

Midi skirt styles vary immensely. The most popular styles for midi skirts are: A line, full skirts, pencil styles, pleated skirts or wrap over.

But midi skirt styles are not for everyone.

If you are a slender petite frame then be cautious with midi skirts, unless they are slender styles. The danger is that they will overwhelm you.   You can play down the effect with high heels.

For curvy petite women midi skirt styles are not a great look. With a horizontal line across your calves making you look shorter and broader.

For taller women and in particular athletic body shapes or inverted triangle body shapes a midi skirt will look great to create curves and balance on your bottom half.

Desigual Mini Skire

Desigual Mini Skirt

Mini Skirts

Again not a skirt shape but they do refer to the length.

Like midi skirts the mini has no formal length. The hemline can rest anywhere on your thighs.     Mini skirts can be figure hugging, straight or pleated or a flared out skater skirt.

Great legs? Show them off with a mini skirt. If you are tall or petite, mini skirts will look fabulous.

If you have broad hips and thighs then mini skirt styles are not really for you.

Wearing a mini skirt is partly about making a statement and you need to have the self-confidence to do that.

In winter it can be easier. I will team a dark mini skirt with opaque tights and boots and will be incredibly confident.

I wouldn’t feel so happy to wear a mini skirt in warmer weather with bare legs.

Tips To Consider

If you want to wear a skirt but are not sure what suits you and really don’t have the patience to shop around, then consider:

  1. Flattering length for most women is around knee length. So the hemline finishes just above or below the knee.
  2. Straight to Pencil Skirts are broadly speaking the most flattering skirt styles for most body shapes
  3. If you have broader hips and thighs don’t try to hide this look under A lines or voluminous shapes. It will have the opposite effect
  4. If you are wearing skirts that are quite figure hugging, look in the mirror before you leave the house. You don’t want a VPL!
  5. Have fun with skirts! Skirts can be really versatile and great way to mix and match your wardrobe.

I’d love to hear about your favourite skirt styles in the comments below.

 

 

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embellished jeans

Does My Bum Look Big In This?

Do you struggle to find skinny jeans that fit?

If, like me, it’s difficult to find a pair that don’t compromise the blood supply to your calves, the next challenge is to get them over your thighs.     Get that far and I’m jiggling my booty around the changing room in time to whatever Muzak is playing in the store.

skinny jeans

Time for one last mirror check, whatever was I thinking? My big bum means I can’t wear skinny jeans. What made me think that this was ever an option!

At this point the temptation to indulge in coffee and cake is overwhelming. That’s fine go and enjoy a latte and brownie while you finish reading this post.

latte and brownie

First I am guessing that you might just be worrying about nothing. Rather than having a big bum my bet is that you have a gorgeous butt.     If Mother Nature blessed you with a well rounded derrière then congratulations! Some women pay £000s for surgical re-enhancements to reproduce Beyoncé’s look.

But please don’t assume I am being dismissive of your body confidence issues. The most important thing is to feel confident about your clothes.   Rather than asking your husband or girlfriends for their views, why not follow my hints so that you can answer the question yourself!

Let’s take a look at my 7 tips for how to look fantastic in skinny jeans if you are worried you have a big bum:

Colour

While it may be stating the obvious, lighter colours do have the effect of making anyone appear larger. So while white jeans look amazing, if you want a more slender look then stick to darker shades such as indigo or black.  Tempted by those brightly coloured jeans?  Great if you want to stand out, but they will have a similar effect as white jeans and will enhance your shape, not necessarily in the way you want!

Print

Jeans with bold prints will also draw attention.  If you are self-conscious about whether you can wear skinny jeans I would suggest you stick to plain fabrics, at least until you have proven to yourself that skinny jeans will work for you.

Leopard Print Skinny JeansSize

Some of us get very hung up about what the size label says on clothing.  I admit that this is one area I still find difficult, which is a legacy of being an anorexic for 20 years.   I struggle to admit that I

need a bigger size, even though I understand that this is totally ridiculous as we are being influenced by brands that do not adhere to a universal sizing guide.

What is important is that your jeans fit.   Jeans can be unforgiving the fabric can be stiff before they have been washed a few times.  More brands than ever now add spandex to the fabric.  Who remembers the days of lying on the bedroom carpet with a coat hanger through the zipper to get your jeans fastened?

The simple rule is buy jeans you can comfortably move and sit in,  Buying jeans in a size that creates a muffin top is not a good look!

Waistline

Whether you prefer low rise or high waist jeans depends on both your proportions and comfort. I feel the cold and do not appreciate feeling the sudden draft between my waistband and top in winter.  Back to the technical stuff, to understand what works for you in terms of the waistband you need to compare the length of your torso to the length of your legs.

As a stylist I refer to this as a game of two halves!  From the top of your head to the top of your leg is one half. From the top of your legs to the soles of your feet is the other half.

The basic rule is that longer legs than body choose low-rise. Reverse this if you have longer body than legs.

Balance

One of my favourite truisms of styling is that by understanding your body shape you then apply balance to create the perfect shape.  Look balanced and others will look at you as a whole and will not be focusing on what is out of balance.

If you are not sure what I mean, visualise an hourglass, do you look at the hourglass as a whole or do you look towards the top or the bottom? Most people will look at the hourglass in its entirety.  This time visualise a pear – your eyes will be drawn to the round luscious part of the pear and you will probably ignore the stalk and neck area.

Take that to the next step. If you are worried that you have a big bum and that skinny jeans just don’t work for you, balance this with a top or a jacket that adds volume to your top half. Consider lapels, ruffles and shoulder pads for example.  This is perfect for AW15 trends, as we are still seeing retro 1970s alongside 1980s influences.  Think Glam Rock and New Romantic, or Biba with ruffles!

Lengthen your Legs!

Want longer legs? Join the queue as most of us would secretly love our legs to grow a bit taller!  Abracadabra!  – by wearing ankle boots or shoes the same colour as your jeans you will automatically add a few centimetres!  Wear a contrasting colour and the eye will subconsciously create a horizontal line at the change in colour. By creating a horizontal line you will appear shorter and wider.

lengthen your legs

 

Top Down Approach

The simple rule with regard to the length of your top, ensure the hemline does not finish level with the widest part of your body. Just be careful of this if you are consciously thinking you have a big bum, the temptation is to wear a long top. This is fine but just be careful that the hemline doesn’t sit on the widest part of your hips. This will create another horizontal line. This will trigger the brain to make you look shorter and wider.

Now time to head back to the stores and find that perfect pair of skinny jeans and stop worrying that you have a big bum!

 

Do you have a wardrobe full of clothes but nothing to wear?

 

Book a 30 minute discovery call with me to find out how I can help you to look and feel fantastic every time you get dressed!

 

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Latest Fashion Trends

fake fur jacket

There’s still a couple of weeks until the children return to school but the latest fashion trends are now starting to arrive in retail.

Websites and social media sites are showcasing the latest fashion trends, while summer styles in bricks and mortar are giving way to the latest fashion trends at front of store.  Sleeves are getting longer, colours darker and fabrics are getting warmer. We’re kissing goodbye to summer and heading towards autumnal colours and then on to the party season.

But what does this mean for your wardrobe? The first thing is use the latest fashion trends as a reference point. What’s ‘in fashion’ should not be your key buying motivator.   Always think about what will help you to look good and feel fantastic, not being a slave to the latest fashion trends. However, it’s useful to know what are the latest fashion trends, to help you understand what you’re likely to find in the shops and how you can adapt this to suit your shape and style.

This post is going to explore the latest fashion trends, and talk more specifically about colour, print and fabric. I will follow this with subsequent posts looking at shape with different items of clothing, showing how this can work and what challenges there might be with some styles.

Nostalgia with a Modern Twist

1970s

During the summer there’s been a definite 1970s feel and this continues into the latest fashion trends for Autumn. It translates into a South American influence with blanket coats and ponchos, or Eastern European Folk and Boho styles.

1980s

Power shoulders are back, along with ruffles and big belts. Luckily they are not accompanied by an obligatory perm!


ruffle collar

Fabric and Texture

Pile it On!

Fluffy, colourful, the bigger and shaggier the better!   Fake fur is going to be everywhere this season!

Brocades

A luxury look which works well for the party season and for smart jackets particularly to liven up plain and muted neutral colours.brocade

Velvet

Luxury texture that works well with 1980s styles and is also works teamed with brocade fabrics or 1970s folk look.

Colour

Red

Classic and uplifting for the darker months, working well with blacks and grey. Depending on the tone and shade everyone can wear red.

Pastels

Winter pastels have been around for a couple of seasons and they are still popular. Pinks, purples and blues look fabulous with darker colours to provide contrast. If you suit deep intense colours, be sure to wear stronger colours close to your skin.
Neutrals

Brown, while not quite the new black, is a really strong choice this year, which fits with the 1970s styles which are being revived with a 2015 look and feel.
Brown is great if you are an Autumn colour palette but for those of us with cool undertones look for other neutrals such as charcoal grey and dark blues. Those with a muted warm colour palette (Spring) will find camel a good choice for neutrals.

Print

Check Mate!

Houndstooth, Plaid and some Tartan make an appearance this year. Suited to the textured wool fabrics that are really popular.

Geometric Abstract and Bold

It will be interesting to see how the bold designs seen on the catwalk translate to what women want to buy and wear as bold geometrics look great but they need to be the right size and scale for the wearer.

Floral

Winter florals are still popular and either taking influence from the Folk Eastern European look or the rich brocade designs – think curtains in grand houses!

How to Make the Latest Fashion Trends Work for You!

Having explored the big picture look out for my next post on latest fashion trends and the key shapes and styles for you.

 

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