Key bridal trends from Paris Couture Week

Bridal fashion doesn’t change too often, but when it does, we pay attention. The key bridal trends from Paris Couture Week allow high-end designers to experiment with fabrics, colours and silhouettes, and the most successful ideas will start appearing in your local bridal boutique before the end of the year.

So, if you’re planning a wedding for 2018 or beyond, you’re going to want to have a look at the biggest hits from Paris

Lavender

Forget blush and pastel blue, the next big colour trend for wedding dresses is lavender. The couture runways were full of lavender gowns, while stylists praised it’s flattering tone and calming properties.

Fringing

Designers such as Monique Lhullier, Ralph & Russo, and Alexandre Vaulthier were all about fringing and feathers. Tiers of feathers created a flowing effect on an A-line lavender gown at Monique Lhuillier, and layers of fringe gave a Roaring 20s vibe on sheath dresses. At Ralph & Russo feathers were also lavender, but in a modern way mixed with metallics in tiers and on sleeves.

Volume

Romantic billowing sleeves aren’t going anywhere any time soon — Giambattista Valli, Rodarte, Chanel, and George Chakra all featured voluminous shapes on their runways.

Black and white

Modern and minimal are not the words that come to mind when you think of bridal couture. Yet more and more designers are experimenting with streamlined monochrome designs. Proenza Schouler is at the forefront of this trend, accenting bright white dresses with black accents. Très Coco Chanel…

Conclusion

As ever, Paris Couture Fashion Week takes all the bridal fashion rules and throws them out the window. But the good news is that there is an emerging trend to suit every bride-to-be. Embrace fringing if you plan to tear it up on the dancefloor after the ceremony. Choose lavender hues to complement an outdoor ceremony. And accentuate your curves with strategically placed ruffles and billowing fabric.

And don’t worry – we’ll keep you posted as soon as the next trends start to emerge…

Four ways to wear denim at work

Once upon a time, wearing denim to work was the ultimate fashion faux pas. But not anymore. Thanks to casual Fridays and flexi-hours, it’s not only OK to wear denim at work – it’s practically encouraged!

However, it’s hard to maintain a veneer of professionalism when you’re schlubbing about in yesterday’s jeans. Read on for a fashionista’s guide to wearing denim to work.

1. The denim shirt

Denim shirts used to be thick, rough and frayed. But they have been rebranded for the 21st century, in the palest blue chambray. Think of your chambray shirt as an alternative to the plain white shirt. Wear it under a sweater, with the collar poking out at the top. Or tuck it into a midi skirt for a fashion-forward combo.

2. The denim trousers (OK, OK – jeans)

Jeans come in so many shapes and sizes these days that you are bound to have a ‘good’ pair somewhere in the back of your closet. These are the jeans that you can wear to work. But only if you accessorise them properly. Create an office-friendly outfit by pairing your jeans with a feminine blouse and modest heels. Or tuck the hem into your favourite boots and balance the silhouette with a slouchy jumper.

3. The denim dress

Denim dresses have made a comeback this year, and there are umpteen styles to choose from. For work, layer a blouse or roll-neck top underneath a denim pinafore. Or choose a chambray shirt dress and belt for a no-fuss summer ensemble.

4. The denim skirt

A smart denim pencil skirt is a wardrobe essential. Comfy, versatile and modern, it is probably the easiest way to wear denim at work. Wear it with a Breton striped shirt and platform Mary Janes, for a young and preppy look. In the winter, pair it with knee-high boots and a classic cashmere sweater that will keep you warm.

Revolutionary Red is the new Millennium Pink

Even if you’ve never heard of it before, you’ll know ‘millennium pink’. The dusty salmon colour has come to represent the non-conformist, non-binary vibe of the younger generation. However, according to fashion writers, Revolutionary Red is the new Millennium Pink.  As Guardian fashion writer Morwenna Ferrier says: “Evidence is stacking up in favour of a rich, arterial colour we’ll call revolutionary red.”

So why has this primary colour suddenly hit the mainstream?

According to Ferrier, revolutionary red’s timing is on point thanks to the TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. The show’s heroines (the handmaids) wear red robes to represent their fertility. But the show – and the colour red – are symbolically fighting back. While millennial pink may be the colour of gender politics, revolutionary red is more closely associated with protests.

“It’s impossible to get away from red’s radical roots and the way it became part of the anti-establishment design canon,” says Patrick Burgoyne, editor of Creative Review.  “Its original meaning has been subverted and co-opted.”

Simply by wearing or using red, you can associate yourself with a movement without committing to it.

In fashion and in branding, red has always been popular. For a start, it’s cheaper to print with fewer colours. Plus, an strong shade of red is hard to ignore. Just ask female politicians.

Theresa May wore a red jacket to meet Donald Trump. Likewise, Hillary Clinton’s red Nina McLemore jacket took on a life of its own on the campaign trail. See also Ruth Davidson, Diane Abbott and Nicola Sturgeon, who all love bold red ensembles.

For female politicians, red represents power. It is about being a woman in a man’s world.

For the rest of us, Ferrier says, the change is welcome. Revolutionary red is a chance to wear a colour that means something other than “I’m young”.

Bold, affordable, feminine, and empowering – what’s not to like?

Super-modern bridal accessories that we love

Bridal fashion tends to move quite solely, but every year or so a few new trends start to emerge that take the wedding world by storm. Here are the super-modern bridal accessories that we love for 2017 and beyond. Get on board before they hit the mainstream!

• A feather stole

Move over fur, ostrich feather is rapidly becoming the cover-up of choice for autumn/winter brides. Feather stoles have been gaining popularity with bridal designers for a few seasons now. They offer cloud-like volume and a dash of Deco glamour. What’s more, they can completely transform your bridal silhouette in an instant.

Choose pastel-hued feathers to contrast with a white or ivory wedding gown for added impact.

• A green veil

You can thank Beyonce for this one. Queen Bey announced her latest pregnancy with an elaborate photoshoot in which she wore a pale green veil over her face and very little else. After her twins were born, she posed for another shoot, this time wearing the veil pulled back behind the crown of her head. And just like that, a new veil trend was born.

The simplicity of the fine-gauze veil juxtaposes with the unexpected hint of colour, making it perfect for non-traditional brides (or just devotee of the Bey-hive).

• Black shoes

White shoes have been the standard for decades, but modern brides have been experimenting with other colours for a while now. Think Carrie’s electric blue Blahnik’s at her (second) wedding to Big. Red, green, blue and purple shoes have all been popular in recent year, but the latest ‘in’ colour is good old faithful black. In keeping with the 90s revival, chunky black heels are back in vogue, and making an appearance at the coolest weddings of the year.

• No jewellery

This is one couture trend that is actually achievable to all brides. After all, why pull focus from your dress with a random necklace or brooch? The no jewellery look allows you to focus on the only bridal jewellery that really matters – your engagement ring and your wedding ring.

• Succulent bouquet

Succulents have been big in hipster homes for a while now, so it was only a matter of time before they made their way into bridal bouquets. Tillandsia, crassula, eucalyptus and echeveria all look amazing with thistle, ranunculus and roses. Plus, you can easily repot and keep them for years after your wedding!

Six ways to beat thigh rub on hot days

Nobody wants to talk about thigh rub. But for the vast majority of us, it is a very real – and very uncomfortable – summertime problem. Thankfully, journalist Lauren Bravo has taken up the cause and come up with six ways to beat thigh rub on hot days. Read on and never suffer from chafed legs again…

1. Talcum powder

If you’re happy using it, a good talcum powder can mop up sweat and keep friction at bay for a short while. Just be prepared to reapply regularly, and to leave a suspect trail of white dust in your wake. 3/5.

2. Dry shampoo

By the same logic of absorbing moisture and stopping friction, a powdery dry shampoo should be a thigh’s best friend – but although a spray can make application much easier than talc, one intrepid tester reports that “it turned into a paste really quickly”. And if the Friends episode with Ross’s leather trousers taught us anything, it’s to stop right there. Emergencies only. 1/5.

3. Body Glide the Original Anti-chafe Anti-blister Balm

A little like applying Pritt Stick to your thighs, Body Glide is a heavy-duty barrier balm that promises to resist sweat and protect your skin all day. It works a treat on blisters and under bra straps, but on tender thigh skin my tester found it more of a nuisance than a help. “I was just very aware of it at all times,” she says. Let’s not talk about the identical “For Her” version that comes in a pink tube, either. 2/5.

4. Lanacane Anti-chafing Gel

Working on the principle of keeping your skin slippy, rather than dry, Lanacane Anti-Chafing Gel gives the same silky finish as a silicone-based face primer. On the thighs, it feels nicely soothing and reduced friction up to a point, but on a long, sticky walk we found it actually made things more uncomfortable. Best for short-shorts, where a fabric barrier would look weird. 3/5.

5. “Comfort shorts”

We’re talking long-line, microfibre pants, somewhere between Spanx and long johns. They give reliable protection, but the main drawback is that they add an extra layer of insulation to what is, frankly, an already sweaty situation. Best for cooler days and spontaneous cartwheels. 4/5.

6. Bandelettes

Like the lace tops of hold-ups without the tights below, Bandelettes were invented specifically to prevent thigh chafing and look vaguely sexy, not surgical. Much breezier around your nethers than cycling shorts or tights, once they’re on they stay put all day and a pair could last you years. I discovered them a few years ago and have never looked back – except to boast about my unchafed thighs as I hike cheerfully up hills in a midi dress. The Holy Grail. 4.5/5.

In conclusion…

It sounds like Bandelettes are the way to go, but in a pinch, it’s good to know that a few bathroom essentials can offer a bit of relief. As well as talc and dry shampoo, good old-fashioned Vaseline is a reliable cure for thigh rub. Keep a tub in your handbag while you wait for your Bandelette delivery to arrive.

Beach cover-ups – the 2017 edit

Say goodbye to your kaftan and sayonara to your sarong – the new breed of beach cover-ups are here to stay.

From mannish shirts to bohemian style crochet, we’ve put together our 2017 edit of the best beach coverups on the high street right now.

  1. The oversized shirt

Whether you are borrowing your boyfriend’s plaid shirt, or rocking an oversized white linen number – this is ‘the’ cover up of choice for 2017. Wear it with a bathing suit and denim shorts on your way to the beach, then use it to cover up burnt shoulders later in the day.

  1. Fringed dress or waistcoat

Fringing has come back with a bang this year, and the chances are you’ll see this trend all over the beach. Its bohemian and swishy, and just screams ‘holiday’. If you don’t want to commit to the full fringed dress look, choose an extra-long fringed waistcoat instead.

  1. Bardot dress

The off-the-shoulder look has been one of the biggest looks of the year, and it is perfectly suited for its job as a beach cover-up. It’s easy to slip on and off when you’re ready to tan, and pretty enough to take you straight from the beach to the bar. Look for a natural fabric such as cotton or linen so that you can wear it all day without suffering from the dreaded cling.

  1. Playsuit

It may seem like an odd choice for beach-wear, but the playsuit is surprisingly practical (and versatile). For one thing, it is an instant outfit. Add a pair of heels and some statement earrings and you’re ready to hit the town; or grab a wicker bag for a beach-ready look.

  1. Crochet

It was arguably the biggest trend at Coachella this year, and it just so happens to translate very well to beach chic. Crochet is pleasingly retro, with a boho 70s vibe. Thanks to its new-found popularity, you can find it in an array of colours, cuts and styles. Pair it with a floppy hat and a fringed bag for maximum effect.

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)