21 September 2012

the challenge

Spring is officially in the air and with it comes some pretty important events on the Australian fashion calendar.  We've just seen Melbourne's Spring Fashion Week and as I type the Perth Fashion Festival is underway.  Melbourne's Spring Racing Carnival is certainly a reason to head to the shops and discover what is on offer.  But for Year 12 students (and their teachers!), Spring is also about graduation ceremonies, dinners and a whole raft of other events associated with the end of the school year.

For those young ladies about to graduate from the clutches of High School, the challenge of what to wear to these functions can be a difficult one.  Many seek something youthful and fashionable, but understand that this is not the occasion for leather mini-skirts and mid-drift tops. How to meet the modesty criteria without looking like you are swathed in your mother's hand-me-downs can be a difficult task. 

So, in an effort to help all the wonderful young ladies I am lucky enough to teach this year, I have searched around and come up with a few options for those seeking something stylish that won't make daddy blush.

ted baker
I adore this Ted Baker dress.  Its has a vintage feel thanks to its cinched waist and full skirt.  The floral print gives it quite a prim feel, but that is offset by the sweetheart neckline.  The book-a-holic in me loves the fact that the print resembles pages torn from an old-style botanical guide.

country road
This 'Spliced Dress' from Country Road is a clean, modern look that is available in two colourways.  I like its simplicity and subtlety.  I also love the potential in a piece that could be so easily dressed-up or dressed-down.


Cue's 'Spiked Orchid' dress has a fitted bodice and is made of contrasting panels of sateen, satin and georgette.  Featuring a full skirt and details such as pleated sleeves, this number is slightly avant garde thanks to the print and the combination of fabrics.

Morrison is one of my favourite brands.  The label originated in Freemantle, WA and all garments are still designed and produced in Australia.  Designs are organic and evoke a classic simplicity and effortless elegance.  The 'Maddie' shift dress is a timeless and beautiful piece.  Wear with a stunning pair of shoes and minimal accessories.

leona edmiston
For some 50s inspired glamour you can't go past Leona Edmiston.  The 'Hazel' shirt dress features a full pleated skirt and fitted 3/4 sleeves.  No need for much in the way of accessories - let the gorgeous ikat print be the statement.

And just because I'm kind of obsessed by Thurley at the moment and because lace is experiencing a massive comeback, my final suggestion is the 'Lady Lace' dress.  Made from fine French lace, this exquisite and very ladylike design features a full skirt accentuated by layers of featherweight tulle.  Perfect for a twenty-first century fairytale princess.     

17 September 2012

5 reasons i love penny mccarthy

penny mccarthy, associate fashion editor vogue australia
I officially have a super-sized crush on Penny McCarthy, Associate Fashion Editor of Vogue Australia.  I should let you know that I develop crushes on random people quite easily and for no apparent reason, however in this case there are some pretty good reasons.

Reason one:

"Fashion doesn't have to be expensive to be fabulous." 

Sitting at the Vogue Australia Style Workshop at Chadstone the Fashion Capital yesterday,  I was acutely aware of my mortgage, kids' private school fees and all those other lovely little costs that relentlessly eat away at my savings account.  And so, I was totally thrilled to hear Ms McCarthy share these words of wisdom.  In fact, lots of what was on show were totally affordable ways of updating your wardrobe.

windsor smith pixie black/gold studs $159.95
Reason two:

"Tailoring is the backbone of your wardrobe."

I am a girl who likes her tailoring.  I am a firm believer that unless one has been blessed with the body of a supermodel, which unfortunately I have not (thanks mum and dad!) good tailoring is vital.  Tailoring can help give you shape and lend your outfit a touch of elegance.  This rule of thumb was clear in the 'City Luxe' trend on show.

portmans jacket, witchery skirt, coach bag
escada jacket, saba dress, clavin klein shoes, coach bag

arthur galan dress, portmans jacket, wittner shoes, cue bag, david lawrence cuff, diva necklace
 Reason three:

"When mixing prints, keep within the same colour palette."

You would have to be living in a cave to not be aware that prints are on trend this season.  However, despite the claim that there are no rules when it comes to fashion, the reality is, if you want to avoid looking like one of the Von Trapp children who has had their latest outfit made from hideous old curtains, BE CAREFUL.  The right use of prints can be amazing, gorgeous, inspiring.  The wrong use can cause onlookers to fall into an uncontrolable seizure.

country road pants, emporio armani shirt, wittner shoes, mimco bag
lisa ho jacket and pants, wittner shoes, coach bag, mimco bangle

witchery jacket, shirt and skirt, wittner shoes, coach bag
 Reason four:

"Break it up - put your own stamp on it."

Best. Advice. Ever.

Reason five:


Enough said.

armani exchange jacket, thurley pants, withery tank, mimco necklace and bag

thurley jacket and pant, witchery top, windsor smith shoes, max alex vnder head piece

thurley jacket and skirt, windsor smith shoes, mimco bag
thurley jacket and pants, emporio armani shirt, armani exchange necklace


15 September 2012

fashion vs. style

I should have been focused on the runway.  There was so much to see - cobalt blues, graphic prints, embellishments.  But I have never been very good at doing what I am meant to do.  Here I was - first assignment as official blogger for Chadstone 2012 Spring/Summer season and I was more focused on those in my immediate surroundings than the lithe and perfectly coiffed beings floating down the runway in the latest fashions.

I guess for me fashion has always been about wearability.  So, while some six foot tall size two glamazon might look amazing in something, the stark reality is even if we purchase the identical items, most of us mere mortals will look vastly different than the walking mannequin being paraded before us.  So for the Cheeky Fashionista, while the Vogue Australia Runway Show presented some breathtaking creations, ever the pragmatist, I was more intrigued by what 'real people' were wearing.  This was revealed in spades at the Australian Designer Cocktail Party.  

Chadstone, Vogue Australia and Laurent-Perrier put together an outstanding 'do' - an elegant and classy club smack bang in the middle of a shopping centre complete with a DJ spinning the decks.  Gorgeous looking hors d'oeuvres, lovely Laurent-Perrier bubbly and of course, a smattering of Melbourne's beautiful people.

However amongst the beautiful people and the bubbly were also some who confused fashion with style. 

Now let me say straight away that I am certainly not the most attractive human being to ever walk the earth.  I am uber-short, too rounded in some areas, and not rounded enough in others.  My nose is too wide, my jaw too square and thanks to an often incomprehensible love of teaching, I lack the means to robe myself in the labels I covet.  But I do my best.  And most importantly, I don't kid myself.

Lycra mini-skirts might be in vogue, but I am acutely aware of the fact that thanks to short and relatively stubby legs if I chose to don one I would look less like Rachel Zoe and more like a slutty oompa loompa.  Likewise, while I adore the embellishments being used by designers like Sass & Bide and Manning Cartell this season, I need to be selective with my use of it to ensure I don't end up looking like something one should hang on their Christmas tree this December. 

That's why I love this little number:

sass & bide
Separates always appeal to me, because while I can't see myself stepping out in the full ensemble, one of the two pieces would certainly work as a way to update a classic other half.  The top half would work beautifully as a companion to an existing pair of black pants, skirt or even a pair of jeans.

Likewise, these gorgeous pieces from Thurley:


Either the shirt or the skirt could be worn to update a range of other items already sitting in your wardrobe. 

There was one dress that caught my eye and I have the distinct feeling this beauty would make me, and any other woman, feel like the fairytale princess most of us dream of being at one point or another.

adolfo dominguez
Adolfo Dominguez is a Spanish label that has been around since the 1970s and now has over 600 boutiques globally.  Its Chadstone store opened late in 2011.  Complete with the simple but sparkly Oroton mini clutch, this look embodies modern romance.

I view runways and the images designer bring us as something we should take inspiration from, not slavishly follow.  Truly stylish individuals borrow from the latest looks, knowing what works for them and what doesn't.  Truly stylish individuals don't look like walking advertisements for a particular label, they advertise themselves and their own unique sense of style.

Truly stylish individuals know that looking like a slutty oompa loompa is never 'in'.

5 September 2012

the divine ms. eva

Is there anything Chadstone the Fashion Capital can't do? 

I am the first to admit that I have limited talents.  However, one of my few saving graces is my ability to be completely honest about what someone should and should not wear.  So, last week I combined the power of Chadstone with my abilities and joined a friend in search of some key wardrobe items to complement her new slender physique. 

Now, I must first tell you that Ms Eva is an absolutely stunning woman - both inside and out.  Chestnut hair, beautiful eyes and one of the most kind and generous individuals I know.  She works, runs her own business and is a complete supermum.  Ms Eva was also in desperate need of jeans.  The ones she had been wearing were being kept up by a thick belt and doing that baggy arse thing that was clearly the result of her weight loss, but none too attractive.

Off to Just Jeans we went.  Ms Eva tried on a range of styles and brands (thank you awesome customer service assistants!) - Levi, Mavi, Lee, bootleg, skinny, straight leg.

riders by lee mid rise skinny black coated jean

riders by lee bumster skinny dark aqua jean
In the end Ms. Eva selected a gorgeous indigo Mavi pair.  Firm where they should be with just the right amount of give.  Seeing Ms Eva in these jeans reaffirmed my belief that the right pair of jeans is all a woman needs to feel amazing about herself and her body.
After that we were off to ZARA to find Ms Eva the perfect pair of work pants.  After scouring one of Chadstone's latest additions and discovering a heap of possibilities, we were off to the changing rooms.  Yes, 'we' - I couldn't help myself! 
Ms Eva's final choice? A classic colour (charcoal) and cut which can be worn for both the office and casually.
zara cotton trousers with turn up hem
Witchery was next, where we were lucky enough to scoop up some bargains.  A few cute tops for Ms Eva, a dress for me, and even a couple of skirts for the Little Fashionista.

A quick visit to Decjuba and Portmans for accessories rounded off our little expedition.
portmans metallic pop belts

decjuba hardware tassel necklace

Three hours.  Five stores.  One gorgeous woman.  Love your look Ms Eva!