How to wear velvet

Velvet has well and truly entered the mainstream. From punk rock velvet ankle boots to sumptuous dresses and jumpsuits, this is one 2016 trend that just won’t die. But many style-conscious women are still not sure how to wear velvet on a day to day basis. If this rings true, read on for a few of our favourite ways to wear velvet in 2017 and beyond…

Velvet ankle boots

If a full look seems too scary, then dip your toe into the trend with a single piece. Velvet boots worn with skinny jeans feels a little more rock n roll than opulent.

A velvet blazer

A velvet jacket is the perfect finishing touch to any outfit, making it feel instantly more luxurious. A deep red is a great colour to start with; mixed with a silk camisole and denim, it feels effortless.

A velvet jumpsuit

An elegant velvet jumpsuit is an easy choice for evening, paired with chic accessories and a red lip.

A velvet puffa jacket

Stella McCartney reimagined the luxury puffa coat in velvet for A/W. Channel the sports-lux trend by pairing it with tailored trousers and box-fresh Adidas trainers.

A velvet suit

For the velvet connoisseur, and the truly brave, there is the suit. Dress it down with a cotton shirt and flats for day, or wear with a silk camisole and killer heels for cocktails.

A velvet utility jacket

The military jacket was prominent on the A/W catwalks, in everything from cotton to wool. Velvet is the unexpected option but looks chic over a printed dress and ankle-boots.

Velvet trousers

The perfect on-trend alternative to a tailored trouser, experiment with colour and fit to find your ideal pair. A looser fit will feel more modern.

Head to toe velvet

If you are feeling bold, this is the look for you. Stick to deep hues of navy, red, emerald and black for evening glamour.

Glamorous, photogenic and versatile – velvet is a surprisingly easy look to pull off. Whether you are adding a flash of jewel-toned velvet to a classic ensemble, or working the look in a plush velvet gown, this is a trend that everyone can follow.

(Photo credit: Arslan via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA)

The DIY fashion skills every woman should have

When Kim Kardashian admits to customising her designer wardrobe, you know that DIY fashion is a thing. With a few DIY fashion skills, you can refresh and repair your favourite outfits without making a costly trip to the tailor or cobbler.

Here are our top four DIY fashion skills that every woman should have…

1. Hemming a skirt

This is a lot harder than it sounds, and is best accomplished with a sewing machine. First, wear the skirt (or get someone else to model it for you), and gather up the hem as high as you want it to go. Then fix it in place with pins.

Take off the skirt and make sure everything is straight by measuring the height of the new hem at every pin mark. Then either sew it by hand or whiz it through the sewing machine.

2. Sewing a button

This is one of the DIY fashion skills that most people get wrong. The trick is to sew it in really tight, then wrap a length of thread between the button and the fabric, making a sort of collar around the lengths of thread in between. This ensures that there is enough space around the button to get it through the button-hole.

3. Unscuffing your shoes

Most scuff marks don’t need professional attention – in fact, you can probably fix them up using just a few household products! For patent leather shoes, dab some Vaseline on to the scuffed area and rub it in, then wipe the area with a damp cloth. A spot of toothpaste will remove stains on canvas shoes (just dab the area with a warm, damp cloth afterwards), and a simple pencil eraser will rub out scuff marks on vinyl or suede shoes.

Leather shoes are a different story, as it all depends on the type of leather used. However, in many cases a bit of mild hand soap and a microfibre cloth can work wonders!

4. Distressing your denim

Most fashionistas will pay a premium for ripped jeans, distressed hems and artfully scuffed patches. But you can update your own denim for next to nothing! To add rips in your jeans, first put them on and make pencil marks wherever you want the rips to go. Then take them off and use a knife or box cutter to make a small hole anywhere along the pencil-line. Use your hands to make the rip bigger, and pull at the threads for an extra distressed look.

To distress your hems, the same rules apply. First cut around the hem of your jeans, then pull on the threads until you have the look you want.

And to get those scuffed patches? Just take a piece of sandpaper and rub away at the area until the denim starts to fray.

Ten ways to wear a plain white shirt

The plain white shirt is one of the unsung heroes of the female wardrobe. Once you find your perfect fit, you will be amazed at how many outfits can be anchored around this simple staple.

Here are just ten of our favourite outfits for white shirts..

1. Tucked into blue jeans

Without a doubt, the most popular way to wear a plain white shirt. This all-American, girl-next-door ensemble suits just about everyone, and can be worn with boots, heels or flats – whatever the occasion requires.

2. Belted as a shirt-dress

Of her many memorable outfits, one iconic Carrie Bradshaw look is the plain white shirt, belted at the waist and worn with nothing but stilettos. It’s a look that exudes confidence and sexuality (especially since Carrie championed the look during the ‘walk of shame’). Choose a man’s shirt, extra-large, or nod to the look with a classic white shirtdress.

3. Over cigarette pants

With most pantsuits, shirts are tucked neatly into the trousers or skirt. But with cigarette pants, the rules are different. By mixing the propositions of the short trouser leg and the long shirt, you can create a cool new silhouette that is still appropriate for the office.

4. With a faux collar

Update any plain white shirt by changing up the neckline. This might mean adding a statement necklace or placing a bib necklace just under the collar. Alternatively, add collar tips to the edges for a unique take on a traditional neckline.

5. As a beach cover-up

Forget kaftans or kimonos, all the cool girls are wearing white shirts over their bikinis on the beach. Linen shirts are best for sandy, sunny weather, and the bigger the better! Accessorise with wedge heels or flipflops, and a wide-brimmed hat.

6. Under a pinafore dress

Pinafore dresses look great with a plain white shirt underneath. Just make sure your shirt is buttoned all the way to the top, and stick to an elegant monochrome palate.

7. With sweats and sneakers

A white shirt with white sneakers and slouchy sweatpants is a great ‘casual-but-not-too-casual’ look. Tuck the front of your shirt into the waistband of your sweats to add some shape.

8. Tied at the waist with a maxi-skirt

Rather than tucking your shirt into your skirt, leave the last few buttons undone and tie the ends together at the waistband. Think Grace Kelly with a 50s pin-up edge. This looks amazing on curvy women, as it accentuates a tiny waist.

9. Under a preppy sweater

This look has been popular for a while now, but the latest version pairs a longline white shirt with a thick knit jumper, and allows the hem of the shirt to peep out at the bottom.

10. Unbuttoned to reveal fancy underwear

This doesn’t need to be as racy as it sounds, but you do need to be brave to try it. Roll up your sleeves and unbutton your shirt until you are showing off a pretty cami, vest top or bustier underneath.

Photo credit: Tradlands via VisualHunt / CC BY

Party fashion tips for every age

Everyone loves a good party, but party fashion is a whole other story. There are few things more stressful than choosing a new party look – especially if you are still relying on the same look you’ve been rocking for the past ten years. Party fashion is supposed to be sparkly and fun, but you also have to be comfortable enough to allow for a bit of dancing (and maybe the odd drunken stumble…). As you get older, these priorities may shift a little, but that doesn’t mean you need to hang up your dancing shoes. You just might want to replace them…

Read on for our guide to the best party fashion tips for every age.

Party fashion in your 20s…

This is the time to experiment with your look, even if it means that you make the odd fashion fail. Lamé turbans, leather minis, thigh-high boots, faux fur coats and sequins galore. Anything goes, just as long as it appeals to your specific sense of style. Over time, you’ll learn what makes you look good AND feel good, and your party wardrobe will evolve accordingly.

Party fashion in your 30s…

Three letters: L.B.D.  A beautifully cut black cocktail dress is one of the best fashion investments you can make. Add the  right accessories and your look will be transformed from one party to the next. Monochrome palates look sophisticated and cool, so keep it simple and let your confidence shine through!

Party fashion in your 40s…

By now you will know what suits you and what doesn’t, so there’s no need to mess with the formula. All you have to do is upgrade a few wardrobe favourites for the party season and you’re good to go! Invest in a few designer separates and mix and match with quirky high street pieces for an individual look.

Party fashion in your 50s…

You might have left your sequinned mini-dresses back in your 20s, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for sparkle in your 50-something wardrobe. Ramp up the glamour with subtle flashes of rhinestones, shimmer and sequins which catch the light when you dance.

Party fashion for 60 and above…

With 40 years of partying under your belt, you’d be forgiven for wanting a quiet night in! But if you can’t be tamed, at least you’re going to look the part. Layering is your friend, allowing you to warm up or cool off at a moment’s notice. If you are layering black, make sure to mix up the textures to add interest, or add a flash of colour with your accessories. If you can’t handle a night in heels, try fitted boots or bohemian sandals instead.

(Photo via VisualHunt)

Your ultimate guide to bridal style for lesbian couples

Bridal style for lesbian couples is a potential minefield. Given that same-sex marriage was only legalised at in 2014 in England and Wales, lesbian bridal fashion is still very much a work in progress. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When you are planning a same sex wedding, you can create your own traditions and stamp your own unique style on the big day.

However, that doesn’t mean that anything goes. Here are a few dos and don’ts for brides and their brides…

DO…show your pride with a rainbow motif

It wasn’t too long ago that same-sex marriage was illegal in the UK, but thankfully LGBTQ rights have come a long way since then. Your wedding day is the perfect opportunity to show some love for the pride movement. This could be something subtle such as a sparkly brooch or a clutch of colourful ribbons, or you could go all-out with statement heels or a dip-dyed dress!

DON’T…forget your surroundings

If you are planning an outdoor wedding, make sure you haven’t chosen outfits that are too chilly. You might also want to have some wellies and umbrellas on standby, just in case. If you want to hit the dancefloor during the reception, make sure you choose a dress that you can move in! And if you are getting married abroad, bear in mind the local climate and the effect that humidity may have on certain fabrics.

DO…co-ordinate your outfits

You may want to stand by tradition and wait until the day itself to see each other’s bridal outfit, but that doesn’t mean that you should be completely in the dark about your partner’s style. At the very least, make sure you co-ordinate your colours. Certain shades of white and cream don’t photograph well together, so  swap fabric swatches to make sure you don’t clash. If one (or both) of you chooses to wear a suit, make sure any accent colours (for instance, a cummerbund or a pocket square) are

BUT DON’T…wear matching outfits

You aren’t twins, and you aren’t five years old.

DO…rewrite the rules

Traditionally, wedding attire means one person in a dress and the other in a suit. But same sex couples are used to doing things differently. Why not go for hers n’ hers tuxedos that you can wear again and again? Or take the opportunity to design your own outfits? Bridal style for lesbian couples is still in its infancy, so write your own style rules!

DON’T…overthink it

At the end of the day, a wedding is all about showing your love for your partner. It’s not about the cake, or the dress, or the number of guests in attendance. So plan the wedding that YOU want, and there’s a good chance that it may actually be the happiest day of your life.

The ten sale items you will wear forever

No fashionista can resist a bargain. But sales can be a danger zone. If you aren’t careful, they can steal all your money and leave you with a wardrobe full of ill-fitting or just plain ugly clothes. In the quest to find the sale items you will wear forever, we came across this great article on The Pool, which contains this priceless advice:

“Even if the evil nut cracker inside your head is telling you to buy a fuchsia lace dress because “it would be great for the weekend”, I suggest you don’t go there, especially if you’ve never considered pink lace before now. So, what should you look out for? Answer: classics.”

According to The Pool, these “classics” include jumpers, jeans, denim shirts, white shirts, ankle boots and a bag that works with just about everything. Meanwhile, “good knitwear, ankle boots and a white shirt are the eggs, flour and water of a woman’s wardrobe”.

This is truly advice for the ages.

Need more guidance before you hit the sales rack? Read on for the ten sales items you will wear forever.

1. Ankle boots

Black, brown, red or blue – it doesn’t matter what style or colour you go for as long as they go with at least five outfits in your wardrobe

2. A pea coat

It’s a design classic that never goes out of style. A quality pea coat is a must-have for any woman. However, a cheap one will almost instantly start to pill and thread. Pick up an investment piece for a bargain and you won’t regret it

3. A party bag

Sales are great for those zany, sparkly pieces that didn’t sell out over from the party season. The chances are you’re going to be invited to another party at some point in the future, so this is your opportunity to buy a statement bag which will lift your mood and update any outfit.

4. An oversized shirt

This is another one of those items that you won’t think about until the day you need it. Choose a plain white shirt or a chambray number that can be worn over jeans or belted as a dress.

5. A shirt dress

Speaking of shirt dresses, this is another silhouette that never goes out of fashion. Print or plain, the choice is yours. Just make sure you try it on first to check that the buttons won’t strain.

6. A lace dress

After the LBD, a lace dress is a classic go-to formal option. Avoid anything synthetic, and choose a dark colour that will stand the test of time.

7. White trainers

They go with everything (yes, even dresses), they’re super-comfy and they’re easy to wash. What’s not to like?

8. A dark knit

One of Alexa Chung’s fashion staples, a dark knit is sophisticated and flattering. If you can find one with a cashmere mix, even better!

9. A bright blazer

The easiest way to brighten up a boring ‘jeans and t-shirt’ look – just ask Mary Berry!

10. A leather biker jacket

The ultimate find for any fashionista. If you can snap up a buttery soft leather biker jacket for less than £300, you’re onto a win.

(Photo credit: James Spahr via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA)

Finding the right wedding dress for your body shape

Choosing the right wedding dress is not easy. Most brides will try on dozens of different dresses before finding their dream gown. However, you can avoid a lot of dressing-room frustration by seeking out the right wedding dress for your body shape right from the beginning.

Read on for The Knot’s guide to the most popular styles on the market for women of every shape and size.

The ball gown

What is it? The number one distinguishing trait of a ball gown is its very full (aka huge) skirt. This creates a fairy-tale silhouette when paired with a fitted bodice and a cinched waist.

Best for: Brides with boyish figures. The fullness of the dress will make you look curvier.

Avoid if: You’re a petite bride. You’ll get swallowed up by a dress this voluminous.

The mermaid

What is it? This shape is defined by a slim, tapered, curve-hugging skirt that follows the line of the hips and thighs and flares out below the knee.

Best for: Brides with hourglass figures who want to show off their curves.

Avoid if: You know you don’t want something tight; this style is constricting.

The column dress

What is it? This formfitting style follows the body’s natural line and doesn’t flare out. It’s also referred to as a sheath.

Best for: Petite women, since this slim shape adds length. This silhouette also looks great on brides with sleek figures.

Avoid if: You’re pear-shaped (when you’re small on top but more rounded on the bottom). This silhouette will make you look unbalanced.

The drop waist

What is it? This silhouette is exactly as you would imagine—it drops and flares out slightly below the waistline around your hip area.

Best for: Brides who want to flaunt their trim middles and shape, since it hugs your waist and hips.

Avoid if: You have a boxy figure—it might make you look like you have less curves.

The A-line gown

What is it? As its name implies, this cut is narrow at the top and extends out along the body in the shape of—you guessed it—an “A.”

Best for: All body types. There’s a reason it’s one of the most popular skirt silhouettes—it’s super-flattering on almost everyone.

Avoid if: You’re looking for something really sexy.

The trumpet dress

What is it? A straight-lined skirt subtly flares from the knee toward the hem in a trumpet shape.

Best for: Curvy brides who are looking for a formfitting dress that’s slightly easier to move in.

Avoid if: You’re not comfortable with clearly showing off your shape or if you have an apple or boxy body type.

Finding the right wedding dress for your shape doesn’t have to be difficult. A great tip is to think about the style of your favourite (and most flattering) dress and seek out something similar. You’ll know you’ve found your dream dress when you look in the mirror and see a huge smile staring back at you.

Mastering trans-seasonal dressing

Trans-seasonal dressing is one of the trickiest skills in fashion. While we all know what to expect from our winter wardrobe or our summer wardrobe, dressing for changeable weather is a whole other issue.

That being said, there are a few handy rules and tips that you should know before stepping outside the front door…

Look ahead, not behind

It’s tempting to try to eek out the value from last season’s outfits for a while longer, but this is how you end up getting stuck in a style rut. Instead, you should to the season ahead for fashion inspiration. In the springtime, gradually start introducing summery prints and bare legs. In the autumn, experiment with subtle layering as the weather turns cooler.

Invest in your coats

The right coat is your key to nailing trans-seasonal dressing. You probably already have a heavy winter coat and a lighter summer jacket in your wardrobe, but what about those ‘in between’ days? Invest in a classic trench coat for breezy days, and a smart raincoat to see you through the occasional downpour. Denim jackets and long-line blazers are easily stowed away in a tote bag if the sun comes out.

Learn the art of layering

There’s a lot more to layering than you might think. From a fashion perspective, you want to end up with a sleek silhouette. But practically speaking, you need to be able to add and remove layers easily. As a general rule, choose finer fabrics which won’t bunch up when layered. Natural materials such as cotton, silk and linen will keep you relatively cool when the temperature rises, while wool-based outer layers will help to hold in the heat.

Love your accessories

Specifically, your umbrella and your sunglasses. And thanks to the British weather, there’s a good chance that you’ll need both of these on any trans-seasonal day. Ditch your boring black umbrella and replace it with a stylish (or ‘birdcage’) umbrella, or a rain-repelling print in bright colours. Start putting together a collection of sunglasses so that you have a pair for every mood. After all, good accessories never go out of fashion.

Seven chic plus-size brands you need to know about

If Marilyn Monroe was around today, she’d be horrified. As a woman who was celebrated for her plus-size curves, she would struggle to find flattering, fitted clothes on the High Street. Chic plus-size brands are few and far between, but a few great designers are starting to change this.

If you are sick and tired of tunic tops and leggings, read on for style maven Rachel Zoe’s pick of the most chic plus size brands of the moment…

1. ASOS Curve

One of the biggest challenges for the curvy girl is finding fashionable clothing. ASOS is great at affordable fashion for the average woman, but with ASOS Curve it is finally providing a similar service for plus-size ladies. The company’s designers are always updating the stock, so keep an eye out for your next favourite outfit.

2. Good American

Khloe Kardashian’s new denim line offers cool-girl silhouettes from sizes 00 to 24, sure to hug every curve. Unsurprisingly, these jeans have been specifically designed those of you who have a bit of junk in your trunk, so you can show off your assets like a true Kardashian!

3. Melissa McCarthy Seven7

After struggling to find red-carpet worthy clothing, actress Melissa McCarthy took matters into her own hands! Her collection offers every major staple you need, from dresses to jackets, accented with playful colours and prints. Whether you are heading to the red carpet or just painting the town red, you’ll love her party staples.

4. Carmakoma

The Scandinavian brand’s range is understated yet elevated. If you are a working woman who needs some chic dresses and separates for the office, this line is for you.

5. Elvi

Born and bred in the UK, Elvi specialises in casual separates to evening statement pieces. Furthermore, this chic brand offers everything under the sun marked with a polished, contemporary aesthetic.

6. Coco Cooper Denim

If you are looking for classic cuts from flares to skinnies, Coco Cooper Denim is a dream come true. The denim brand is the master of figure-enhancing shapes that lift and sculpt your curves.

7. Eloquii

Just a few years ago, Eloquii was being threatened with closure. However, thanks to a dedicated group of investors, it survived and thrived. The brand has won a cult following with  designs that are feminine yet fresh. If you love to flaunt your figure, this is the brand for you.

Of course, as well as these seven rising brands, you can’t forget about plus-size stalwarts such as Evans and H&M’s curve-friendly lines. However, if your plus size wardrobe needs an update, you aren’t short of designer options. Soon, you won’t have to look too far to find the sort of sexy, flattering designs would make Marilyn proud.

Stylish hats for any occasion – the ultimate guide

Hats – you either love them or hate them. Stylish hats can be hard to find and even harder to wear, but when the time comes to don your finest headgear, you need to be ready for it. So if you tend to look more like Princess Beatrice at the Royal Wedding, rather than Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, read on for our essential guide to hats for every occasion

1. At the races

For a glimpse of the most stylish hats in the country, just make your way to Royal Ascot. There is no such thing as ‘OTT’ when you are at the races – think big, bright, zany and unique. Just don’t forget to post for the photographers.

2. At a wedding

Not so long ago, hats and weddings were considered to be a perfect match. But the rise of the fascinator and statement hair accessories has seen wedding hats fall out of favour. Of course, at high society dos, there is no substitute for a bespoke designer headpiece, but for everyone else subtlety is the key. Go vintage with a pillbox hat perched atop a chignon, or choose a mini-saucer hat with organza trim for a femme fatale vibe. Keep it small, chic and timeless, and you can’t go far wrong.

3. In the cold

Whether you are on the ski slopes or simply braving the icy winds of rural Britain, a stylish hat can mean the difference between cosy fashion and cold ears. An oversized beanie is versatile enough to wear with any outfit, although (faux) fur-trimmed trapper hats are starting to make a comeback. Go for big, comfy hats in muted colours and you will survive the coldest weather.

4. In the sun

If you’ve ever experienced the pain of sunburn along your hairline, you’ll understand the importance of a good sun hat. Floppy fedoras ooze old school glamour, and will keep the sun well away from your face. Meanwhile, the classic panama hat is a hipster stalwart which looks just as good on men as it does on women. However, the humble baseball cap deserves a look-in here as well. The likes of Gucci and Chanel are selling out of their designer baseball caps, and the classic New Era styles are fast becoming collector’s items.