What are Neutrals?

Are you confused over what makes a colour neutral? Imogen Lampert, Inside Out Style, wrote an article, with useful illustrations, on the idea of using neutrals to stretch your wardrobe further. 

Sports Luxe

I was reading a blog by Angie from "You Look Fab" on Sports Luxe, a continuing trend on the catwalks recently. 

Then, nearly every catalogue I am looking at contains a variety of examples.  Bomber jackets, parkas, hoodies, knitwear, mesh tops or accents, soft silky trackpants, drawstring shorts, baseball caps, sneakers, etc... 

Are there parts of this current trend that you just love?  My favourite element is drawstring trousers, full length or crop, and shorts.  


I suggest that if you enjoy mixing in some Sports Luxe into your outfits, have a read of her full article.  

Other blogs on this topic include: 

Sporteluxe.com - luxe health - luxe fitness - luxe living

Stylemagazines.com.au - Fashion Trends 2014: Sports Luxe or Lazy?

Tomboy Style

Tomboy Style has borrowed elements from what used to be typical masculine design and turned it into a relaxed look, maintaining more presence than just thrown together. 

I had an interesting conversation with a lovely lady around her very distinct style. 

Happy New Year, and now, Happy Easter!

I am a bit embarrassed to see that my last post was in November last year!  

Summer has been and now the cooler mornings of autumn are here. 

I started this year, wanting my choleric side to have more influence than my very dominant phlegmatic personality. That meant, getting organised, putting processes into place (ie scheduling, prioritising), finding a good balance between work, relaxing, sorting, cleaning, volunteering, gardening, etc... now that both our children are at school fulltime.

So far, I have gotten through half my mending pile, stayed nearly up-to-date with my ironing, planted a tree in honour of one of our chooks that died, begun the process of sorting things for a car-boot sale for sometime in the future, home baked chocolate-banana muffins and cakes (children have gone off bananas, leaving me an abundant supply of frozen ones) and many other housey things.  

I obviously haven't been prioritising time for this blog....  Must be more organised. 

Until next time, hope you have a safe and relaxed Easter.

Finding your personal dressing style

I often hear women say they have lost their sense of style or they have fallen into a rut. That is why they have seeked out my services.

I wrote a number of articles on Personal Dressing Style, which took the reader from working out what their lifestyle needs are through to the different Styles, eg Creative, Elegant and Romantic.

Here is another article by blogger Bridgette Raes who believes (as do I) that everyone is born with STYLE, but you may just need some help developing it. 

Her article is titled "I Don't Have Style or Fashion Sense: What is Wrong with Me?". Click through for a good read. 

I'm happy to help answer any questions you may have. 

Illusion Dressing

Some colour and fabric hints: 

  • the darker a colour, the more it recedes.
  • the more neutral a colour, the more it recedes.
  • the brighter or lighter the colour, the more it draws attention.
  • the more interesting the fabric (eg texture, shine, detailing), the more it draws attention. 
  • the neater a garment hangs, the slimmer a silhoutte appears. 
  • the fuller a garment hangs, the more volume is given to the shape underneath. 


To look taller - use similar depths of colour up the body with a high focal point or vertical details. Wear the colour on the inside of your layers and keep your shoes in a similar tone to your lower body garments.


Illusion dressing - looking taller.



To look slimmer - use similar depths of colour (medium to med-dark) up the body with vertical details on the upper body. Use horizontal detailing at your narrowest point eg hemlines. 

Looking slimmer

To look shorter - use darker tones on the upper body and lighter, brighter, more interesting fabrics on your lower body. Use horizontal details to break up the body and add interest low on the body (eg coloured shoes). 

To look fuller - use larger patterns, shiny and lighter colours. Try adding balanced volume to your garments.

Men's style blogs

Here is a link to Already Pretty website which features a round up of nine men's style blogs that provide a great range of advice and information. 


Looking great at Rockingham Shopping Centre


Hi. If you are interested in any of the activities and events that Rockingham Shopping Centre is running during their Fabu13 program, please make a booking directly through their website.  Please click on the image above. 

I look forward to seeing you there! 

Blotting paper anyone? Skin care terms.

As published in the Wagin Argus and The Williams. 

Are you confused by all the different skin care products on the market?

Let us have a look at some of the terms or product names that you might come across:

Exfoliators: their job is to remove dead cells from the surface of our skin, revealing clearer and smoother skin. They allow other skin care products to work more effectively by allowing better absorption, such as a moisturizer.

They come in two different forms – mechanical includes scrubs and masks; chemical uses acids (such as AHAs, alpha hydroxy acid, and BHAs, beta hydroxy acid) or enzymes (includes papain from papaya and bromelain from pineapple) to dissolve the dead skin cells. 

Skins that are prone to blackheads and blemishes will find BHA products useful while AHA work on sun-damaged skin that tends to have few blemishes.

Men should not use a facial scrub as it can aggravate shaved skin causing irritation and inflammation. Try instead a BHA lotion instead.

Toners / Clarifying Lotion: have many important jobs. They restore the pH level of the skin; help remove any pollutants, such as makeup, that might be left on the skin’s surface; refine the appearance of pores; and prepare the surface of the skin for moisturizing.

Antioxidants: are a natural substance found in the body as well as in nature. They work in and on the skin to improve cell production and reduce the signs of skin damage, such as wrinkles. 

The antioxidants found in skin care products are often concentrated plant extracts, eg green tea, grape-seed and pomegranate. Try in a serum, followed by a moisturizer.

Peptides: are chains of amino acids, which in turn form proteins.  They cause the skin to behave in different ways and require consistent use for maximum benefits.

Palmitoyl pentapeptide-3 (Matrixyl) helps to improve the skin’s firmness and has been demonstrated to improve the appearance of fine lines. Acetyl hexapeptide-3 (Argireline) also has anti-wrinkle properties.

BB creams / Beauty Balms: is a multi-tasking moisturizer that evens out skin tone by using micro-pigment capsules that adjust to your natural skin colouring. Some products contain a SPF.

Blotting Paper: If your skin is oily / combination, you may find them useful to have in your bag of tricks to absorb oil from your T-zone during the day. They are not designed to be used as part of your skin care routine morning and night. 

Hope that clears up some of the confusion! 

I find Paula's Choice a great place to go if you want some clarity on different products without a lot of the marketing hype that surrounds the beauty care product industry. She also has information on different skin conditions and answers to beauty myths. 

Skin care for our faces

As published in the Wagin Argus and The Williams.

Let’s get personal, back to basics.

How do you care for your face? Are you a soap and water person? Or do you have a full skin regime that you practice day and night?

Women and men’s skin care and cosmetic products are a big industry. In 2003, “The Economist” reported that it was part of a $160 billion-a-year global industry! I can only guess how that figure has jumped in this last decade.

A bit of history - one of the most famous skin care stories in history is Cleopatra’s milk baths. 18th century Americans believed that warm urine from young boys had beneficial properties to combat freckles. 

When considering your skin care regime, you need to have an understanding of your skin type – dry, normal, oily, combination – and any other factors that might influence your practice – such as eczema, acne, rosacea, extra sensitive skin, etc…

A standard skin care package includes a cleanser, toner and moisturizer.

Most packaging will tell you the skin type it is most suitable for. If you have problematic skin, you may need to do more research or see a Dermatologist. For some, there are other considerations, such as organic certified, not tested on animals, etc…

Start with a cleanser. Begin by wetting your face with tepid or warm water. Cold water will close your pores, limiting the effectiveness of the product. Use your fingertips to gently massage across the skin in circular movements. Then rinse off. Some beauty sites recommed wiping off with a flannel rather than just rinsing. 

Follow with a toner, whose job is to help the skin restore and repair itself. They will also wipe off any makeup residue. Most toners can be applied to the face using a cotton wipe.

Moisturizers main function is to hydrate the skin. Look for one that includes a SFP 15+ for day use.  Products that include anti-irritants and antioxidants will work to repair and strengthen the skin so it looks and acts younger.

If you are a soap and water person, look for soaps that are designed for use on the face and have a moisturizing property.  Foaming facial cleansers tend to be very popular as they have a refreshing feel once rinsed off. Non-foaming cleansers tend to be the mildest and can be wiped off instead.  

Whatever your skin care preferences, ensure you are wearing a SFP product on your face and neck during the day. That will have the biggest impact on sun damage to your skin. 

Colours for Spring and Summer '13

If you are interested in hearing Pantone's view on the colours we will be seeing this Spring and Summer, have a watch of their video. I found it really interesting how they talked about getting the balance right.

What's in the bag? A history of handbags.

As published in the Wagin Argus and The Williams newspapers

I am embracing, and enjoying, the use of handbags over nappybags. We are finally leaving an era tied to prams and wipes. The novelty of carrying a bag, with just a few things in it, has been one eagerly waited upon.

So, I thought it would be interesting to look at the history of the handbag, one of today’s major fashion accessories.

Handbags originated from the humble leather pouch, carrying a few coins on a strap worn around the waist. There are references in the Bible and in Egyptian hieroglyphs to men with purses. Sorry ladies, we were not the keeper of the valuables.

During the fourteenth and fifteenth century, pouches were attached to the girdle hanging off a long cord. A rosary or even a dagger, might sit alongside.  Women had begun to wear a purse, favouring more ornate drawstring styles.  

This continued through the seventeenth century where purses became more elaborate in beautiful fabrics and began to take on different shapes.

With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, there was a dramatic increase in types of materials, clasps and buckles that were available for women to create purses that coordinated with their outfits.

As train travel took over from horse carriages, people become more mobile. Hand held luggageHermes icon stylingsoon became known as “handbags” to describe its portability.  A number of today’s famous handbag designers developed their workmanship as luggage makers, such as Hermes and Loius Vuitton.

By the 1930’s, handbags had found most of their current shapes – handle and clasp, clutch, satchel and shoulder strap. Zippers and plastic fabric had been invented and found their way into their construction.

By the late 1970’s, anything went as dressing rules relaxed. Small bags on long chains, satchels with lots of buckles and zips, former army bags, fabric bags with embroidery and patchwork, to name a few.

Today, bags reflect this variety of options in style and material, while classic icon bags continue to demand their status place.

Do you have one or two trusty bags that are your go to stapels? Or, are you someone who likes to change your bag to suit the occasion or outfit?

Whichever you are, take a moment to be grateful for the heritage it represents. 

Tying a men's tie

My husband and I had to get a bit dressed up last Sunday when we went to a friend's son's baptism. It was in the beautiful Guildford Grammer Chapel. 

So, in the 5 minutes before we rushed out the door, my husband pulls out his favourite blue silk tie, and asks for some help. I can only do one simple knot, and that is one that I have to do around my own neck and then pass on. 

I'm not sure if it was my Mum or my Dad who first taught me how to do it. But I have found a youtube clip that takes you through the same steps. 

I am a bit intrigued by the man's long silver pigtail that makes a brief appearance!

There are a lot of different youtube clips for all sorts of tie knots.  

Here is one that goes through some of the logistics - width of tie to lapel; colour coordinating; etc... 

Hiding in Men's Wardrobes

Now, what about the guys? What do the clothes in their wardrobes say?

There isn’t much written or talked about on men’s dressing styles. More is said on what their core wardrobe should hold, current trends, how to tie a tie or watch reviews.

So, let’s relate the personal dressing styles featured in my last series to men.

Dramatic  - strong colours and fabrics in styles that help create an entrance and lasting impression. Think Graham Norton (UK tv chat show host) or Seal (“The Voice” tv series).

Creative – combining colours, patterns, fabrics and styles in ways that express their personal creativeness. Be inspired by Elton John or Mick Jagger in all their stage finery, Matt Preston’s colour combinations (“Master Chef” tv series).

Classic – beautiful styles in a combination of neutral and complimentary colours that work across so many occasions, from smart casual dressing through to formal wear (such as the Country Road ensemble below).

Consider news readers or politicians outfits, Matt Damon (actor) and Michael Parkinson (UK tv chat show host).

Romantic - Not a style commonly related to guys, but becomes more of an influence rather than a style on it’s own. Think about Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen (UK interior decorator) with his floppy hair and beautiful patterned shirts or ‘Jack Sparrow’ the pirate (whose look was inspired by Keith Richards).

Practical – once again jeans or chino’s are standard wear with Rossi boots and a t-shirt. Think comfort first. There are many examples of this style: Jamie Oliver (UK chef), Jules Lund (“Getaway” tv series) Hamish and Andy (tv and radio presenters).

Elegant – Taking the Classic a step further with charm and confidence in the knowledge of what suits their own physique and personality. Reflect on the presence of these gentlemen - Cary Grant (actor), James Bond, Simon Baker (“The Mentalist” tv series) and George Clooney (actor).

Like women, there are many different variations on these styles. Preppy is based upon a classic wardrobe made up of clean lines, neutral colours with splashes of vibrant tones (such as in the Ralph Lauren image above). Sporty wears like a team uniform of brand sneakers, fitness shorts / track pants and relaxed hoodies. Then there is biker, bogan, cowboy, surfer, etc...  

Until next time, happy dressing!


Choosing Necklaces

I follow a number of blogs and have loved the articles that Inside Out Style and Already Pretty have recently posted on choosing the right necklace for both your neckline and bust size. 

A necklace can be just the finishing touch an outfit needs.

If you are a visual person, you will appreciate their use of images.  I hope you find them helpful and interesting too... 


Inside Out Style: How to choose a necklace to work with your neckline (2009)

Inside Out Style: How to choose necklaces to work with your neckline (2013)

Inside Out Style: The scale of necklaces relating to your bust size (2013)


Already Pretty: Necklaces and Necklines revisited (2013)

Already Pretty: Necklaces and Necklines (2009)


What's your favourite necklace and / or length?