AW17

AUTUMN PICKINGS YOU WILL WANT TO WEAR AGAIN AND AGAIN….

This week it’s like someone has flicked a big switch and suddenly it’s Autumn. The light has changed, which means it’s time for us to change too. Fashion and the weather are in step for once and it’s time to reap the rewards. I’m going to focus on some great pieces that are wearable, contemporary and most of all comfortable. If you don’t feel good you’re unlikely to look good.

I will touch on the trends, but they are not there to be followed slavishly. Like everything to do with fashion, treat them as a guide and not a ‘must do’. The most important thing is to choose what works for you and your life.

This devore dress by Whistles is a great transitional piece and would work worn casually with attitude and some brogue ankle boots. Switch it up for party season with a pair of beautiful heeled sandals and the thinnest of belts to highlight the waist. Due to arrive in store during September, the warm rustic colour is delightful.

Also featuring warm rose pink, a key colour for the season, is this neat shift dress with fluted sleeves from Hobbs (£139). Dramatic sleeve detailing continues to be a key trend for Autumn Winter.

Whistles Limited Edition is really strong this season and the perfect opportunity to plan ahead if you have winter evening events coming up. Key pieces are selling out fast. There is a fabulous teal velvet jumpsuit with an open back is already low on sizing. I also really like this silk version (£279). Strongly inspired by pyjamas, the colours and print are exquisite, unless you can really rock a fashionista look keep it elegant and elongate the legs with high sandals as pictured here. Sophisiticated partywear.

Bringing our feet back down to ground – sneakers are everywhere this season. They have been for a few seasons now, but everyone is now doing a version and suprisingly the queen of glamour, Karen Millen, has produced some very interesting styles. Great to add a smidge of interest to a simple casual look. From left to right: Black suede trainer (£125), white glitter trainer (£155) and embroidered black leather (£145).

I stocked up on a few basic tops recently from Cheltenham store, Olive. I’m not normally a fan of one size clothing, as of course, one size doesn’t fit all. However, the website oliveclothing.com gives good advice on the best fit for each piece . This striped top is a good example (£39). If you can find a good fit, they are lovely quality at a great price.

 

A brand I discovered on my recent trip to Brussels is Rue Blanche. Beautifully made future classics, I would love them to come to the UK. They have a few stores outside of Belgium and are also available online at rueblanche.com This boatnecked top comes in a variety of colours and the fabrication is sublime.

I did my first shop of the season yesterday at Sue Parkinsons in Broadway. Their edit is fabulous this season and they had a wonderful selection of coats. One of my favourite casual brands stocked there is Harris Wharf. This teal coat is an investment at £431 but one you will be able to rely on year after year. This blouse is a great transeasonal piece by Second Female (£81).

Have a great season and remember that I’m at the end of the phone, or email, if you would like a hand finding the perfect pieces for you or editing your own wardrobe to get the best out of what you already own. Stay stylish.

www.kateparkerstyle.com

Ready, Steady, Pack

Unlike most, I love packing. I find that, limited by a baggage allowance you really have to focus on creating a capsule wardrobe. For those of you who work with me, you will know that this is my raison d’etre.

What you pack, of course, depends on where you’re going and how long for. Remember, you don’t want to waste your precious holiday time packing, unpacking and re-packing clothes you won’t wear.

Here are my TOP PACKING TIPS, interspersed with a few lovely summer pieces:

1. Check the long – range weather forecast. There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes.

Dress from Whistles from £165.
Would look also great worn with boots and opaques come Autumn

Jigsaw Ballet neck top £37.
A fabulous basic with a twist

2. Choose a colour theme to work with. Consider running a colour like orange through your selection. Brights can look gorgeous in the sun.

Whistles Silk Jumpsuit £229.
A stunning piece that would take you to a wedding or black tie event

3. Run through your itinerary visualising the things you will be doing on your trip. What types of shoes will you need?

4. Shoes can weigh heavy so limit the number of pairs you take. (Metallics are a good option and look fantastic in the sun.

Ancient Greek Sandals at Outnet from £120 to £60.
A steal for summer

 

Ilse Jacobsen at Sue Parkinsons £65.
Fun, frivolous feet

Gold Wedge Sandal Jigsaw £98.
Versatile summer wedge

5. If you have space, hang your clothes so that you see them all together and consider what works with what. Ensure each piece earns its place in your case.

6. Select a capsule wardrobe of pieces you can mix and match, and dress up or down, including accessories.

Tote from Whistles £80.
For stylish carryon

7. Think about what underwear you will need to work with each outfit. Will you need a strapless bra, or control pants?

8. If you are travelling with someone else, consider splitting your items across two cases. Pack complete outfits in each case. That way if a case gets lost, you will both have something to wear.

9. Wrap toiletry and make-up bags in plastic, in case of any spillage.

This Works £37
for holiday-ready pins

10. Stuff small items, such as belts and adaptors, into shoes and place in shoe bags.

11. Make sure there isn’t too much empty space otherwise things will move and get creased. Fill gaps with underwear, swimwear and t-shirts to create a firm foundation.

‘Shells in the Sand’ Shellac.
Beach-ready nails with an appointment at Nailed & Utopia

12. Fold clothing with tissue – it makes your pieces feel like new when you unpack.

13. Always unpack and hang your things as soon as you arrive to give your clothes the chance to drop out. If there are any creases hang pieces in a steamy shower.

PS.  When you return check your passport expiration to see if it requires renewing before your next trip

Bon Voyage

www.kateparkerstyle.com

Cracking Smart Casual

Of all the things I get asked, how to do ‘smart casual’ is the most frequent question. It’s mostly down to what you wear on your feet that ‘informs the outfit’ and sets the tone. So the first thing to consider is footwear, along with accessories. Avoid heels and instead opt for a flat or low heel. These Adidas Gazelle trainers feature a retro design in a feminine hue (£74.95). Whilst these Russell and Bromley boots are a dead ringer for the Isabel Marant version and their AquaItalia finish make them perfect for dodging April showers (£275).

1

Secondly shape and fit of clothes play a role in the smart casual code. More relaxed shapes and layering feel naturally more laid back. Fabrics such as denim, cotton twill and linens all say casual. Don’t lose sight of your silhouette and personality when working out what smart casual means to you.

Those with an hourglass silhouette will often find dressing casually very challenging. By virtue of being relaxed, items will not have structure or reference the waist. This instantly adds pounds to anyone with an hourglass figure. Also, pear shapes shouldn’t swamp their small upper halves with traditional layering. Instead, they should try horizontal layering by wearing a longer top under a cropped jacket, or cardigan, to divide up their longer torsos and visually raise the waist.

2

This red and cream lightweight coat by Zara (£69.99) is the new version of ‘#thatcoat’ which has over 8,000 followers and its own Instagram account. Its popularity is due to its universally flattering styling which makes it perfect smart casual fodder. If you don’t want a coat that everyone else is wearing instead take a look at the brand Vilagallo who do beautiful spring coats and jackets to pop over just about everything. Sue-parkinson.com has a fabulous selection including this apricot, pink and cream jacket (£195). They also stock this versatile jacket by Velvet (£185) shown here with a white tee and jeans. Jackets and coats like this just need the simplest of basics to ‘nail’ effortless smart casual dressing – tops just like this striped jersey by Cos (£17).

3

Great tops worn with jeans are another easy look. Linen-blend tee, is again, by Vilagallo but this time from collenandclare.com. This rosy pink blouse by Velvet (£110) from trilogystores.co.uk would look beautiful on someone who is more apple-shaped. The colour works well with every shade of jean from black to white with khakis and greys in between. The indigo embroidered blue smock top is from Toast (£185) and is in hand-spun and hand-woven khadi. Toast’s beautiful fabrics can add real luxe to a smart casual look.

4

Effortless chic…..

Get ready for a stylish spring

It’s officially spring and there is a trend to suit everyone this season. Frills are everywhere, adorning the asymetric hems of skirts, necklines, and in many cases, sleeves. If you are busty, avoid too much flounce around the chest area and keep frills and fluting to sleeves only. In the case of this sleeveless shell pink top from Hallhuber at House of Fraser (£79) frills will add curve to a boyish frame and help to balance out a more pear-shaped silhouette.

Hallhuber-ruffle-blouse-£79

Top Ten Spring Summer Trends

  • Key colours are pink, yellow, blue and teal
  • Ruffles are everywhere, but especially on sleeves
  • Kitten heels vs block heels
  • Sport-luxe trousers
  • Vintage wallpaper inspired floral prints
  • Cold shoulder tops
  • Cropped trousers
  • Statement earrings
  • Avant-garde shirting

Pink is a key colour for spring and most notably a soft-shell version. It’s a great hue that works well as a neutral. Elegant worn with black, it also holds its own against stronger tones like this cobalt blue, another important colour for the season.

Karen-Millen-coat-£345

This vibrant blue wrap-over style coat from Karen Millen (£345) is a great way to inject some early colour into your wardrobe whilst there’s still a nip in the air.

LK-Bennett-Darcy-dress-£295

Another useful piece to bridge the seasonal gap is this floral print dress from LK Bennett (£295). This floral print combines the colours of the season against a sensible sheer navy backdrop. To give it more structure, swap the fabric belt for a simple leather one in either pink, or yellow. Most floral prints you will find in-store this season will feature full blooms inspired by vintage wallpaper.

Ted-Baker-striped-jogger-£119

Yellow is a strong colour for spring and summer, especially daffodil and mustard. This yellow ‘cold shoulder’ jumpsuit with cropped trousers from Whistles (£175) is an ‘on-trend’ winner and would be great to snap-up now ready for summer holidays and parties. It is also available navy.

Other key trends include: Sport Luxe, depicted in these elegant navy jogger-style trousers with piping detail, from Ted Baker (£119); Avant-Garde shirting such as this wrap-over white shirt from The Fold London (£125).

Statement Earrings worn in the daytime to elevate more casual looks have punctuated all the best street style looks at the recent fashion weeks. This selection is from JCrew.

JCrew-£58

Your final decision will be whether to go low with a block, or kitten, heel? Your choice should be determined by your leg and ankle shape. If your legs are more sporty than fine then opt for the block heel. Monochrome pointed shoes with metallic kitten heel Zara (£19.99) or bang-on-trend high-sided block heel slingback in a lovely dove grey from Cara London (£90).

Cara-block-heel-shoes-£90

The right pair will see you stepping into the new season in style. kateparkerstyle.com

Zara – let me count the ways I love you…..

What should you look for in a date night outfit this Valentines? Well, if it’s the male of the species you’re looking to impress, it’s well documented that anything ‘high fashion’ will have them running for the hills – definitely not what you want on the most romantic night of the year. Instead think soft, sensual fabrics and glimpses of skin accessorised, with candlelight – the perfect recipe for love. Zara’s new collection has plenty of eligible pieces.

zara

This gathered wrap-front dress in plush black velvet (£29.99) is perfect for romantic suppers. This style works well for a curvy figure. It will flatter a fuller bust and even disguise a tummy. It’s the kind of piece you can wear in an elegant minimalist way, as shown here with these pointed-toe elasticated black boots, which fit snug to the ankle (£29.99). Alternatively, ramp it up with heels and blow dry for full-on glamour. Tone down the lip in this instance to avoid an eighties revival, especially if you were there the first time round.

top

For the girl who likes to keep things understated, an elegant blouse with jeans and a statement red lip says it all. I love this peek-a-boo off-white top (£29.99) with its choker neckline and long-line dipped back detail. This look is at its most chic with a small bust.

fashion

This soft shell pink cropped top with open back and ribbon detail (£17.99) focuses on a feminine waistline. If you’re pear-shaped, team with a high-waisted skirt that’s gathered on a waist band, or if you are column shaped add curve with a pencil skirt in brocade, leather, or lace. If you have slender ankles, add heels with a sexy ankle strap (£39.99). Arrive in style with this faux-suede collarless coat (£49.99) in a beautiful blush colourway, which will also be a very useful piece for spring.

Romantic and frothy, this Victoriana lace blouse (£25.99) would be the perfect partner to some leather, or coated, jeans. Soften your step with rose pink velvet block-heeled ankle boots (£29.99).

lace-blouse

The addition of this corset (£15.99) will add a little edginess to an existing dress, or even better, a simple longline jacket in black, or navy.

zara-jacket

Finally, I just had to add this fun and flirty ‘love heart’ cross ‘my heart’ bag (£29.99) in pillar box red.

heart-bag

True love, true style…

New Year, New Pickings

I could have used my January column to trawl through the sales with you, but instead thought we would go straight to ‘new arrivals’. Sales often bring out bad judgement, encouraging us to buy things just because they are cheaper rather than because they are good.

Let’s make 2017 the year that you get your wardrobe working for you. Start as you mean to go on and only let things through your closet door that you love! If we find some great sales pieces on our journey then that’s a bonus!

whistles

I love this floral embroidered sweat top by Whistles (£95). It’s lots of fun and will brighten up the dullest winter day. Wear it with jeans and sneakers, or dress it up with heels and a leather pencil skirt for a creative take on office wear.

coach-bag

New York-based, luxury leatherwear company, Coach has moved into the impressive flagship store on London’s Regent Street, recently vacated by British stalwart Jaeger. Having started life in the nineteen forties, Coach knows a thing or two about leather. Add to that fabulous heritage, Stuart Vevers who joined as creative director in 2013. He is the man behind some of the most iconic and coveted handbag designs from his time at Mulberry and Loewe. Stylish emerald green hobo bag (£325). As I write, this particular bag and colourway is full price on the Selfridges website but has been discounted to half price on uk.coach.com (£162.50). Now that’s a real bargain.

zara

This faux fur lined jacket by Zara (£89.99) is a replica of one I spotted the actress Alicia Vikander wearing in London before Christmas. Cosy and chic it looks great with a flash of bare bronzed ankle. The perfect juxtaposition.

maxmara

This versatile tee from Weekend by Maxmara (£53) at House of Fraser is in shimmering silver and a wonderful foil to more casual pieces. This cobalt blue top by Ted Baker (£99) is a lovely punch of colour and a timeless piece. The gathered detail at the neckline, means it should work well for smaller and bigger busted girls alike.

sandals

I know it seems early to be looking at sandals but it’s not always easy to find flat sandals that are also smart like these from LK Bennett (£210), and believe it or not, they are selling out fast.

Jigsaw’s ‘Shoe Room’ is already looking strong this season. These easy-to-wear navy cross over leather trainers will become a firm new year favourite (£98) and are also available in white and dove grey. These Gracie sunglasses, also from Jigsaw (£59) in pink enamel with brown lenses, mean you will be ready for any winter sun.

jigsaw

Happy New Year everyone.

Party Style

When people ask what I do for a living, they assume two things. Firstly, that I only work with wealthy clients and secondly, that I spend most of my time finding special occasion outfits. Not so.

I work with savvy people who don’t have money to waste on clothes they won’t wear. It’s my job to ensure they have a selection of well chosen pieces that they can dress up, or down, depending on the occasion.

So, when a party invitation hits the doormat (or inbox) I endeavour to remind myself and others of the old adage “Beware of any enterprise that requires new clothing”. For this is where expensive mistakes are made.

As I write, I’m planning a party outfit for myself. The dress code is smart casual. The only new piece I might add to the black Whistles jumpsuit I bought three years ago; soft-gold clutch bag purchased in the summer sales and existing shoes, is a Ted Baker printed cape. Before it’s allowed to come to the party it will have to earn its place. It will have to fit perfectly, be flattering, work with the jumpsuit, as well as go with at least two other things already in my wardrobe. So, before you head to the shops open your wardrobe door and your mind and see what you already own that you can restyle.

ted-baker

Jumpsuits make great contemporary party wear and this one by Ted Baker in rich ox blood (£149) is perfect for desk-to-dinner dressing.   Team with a longline blazer and some ankle boots by day and switch to heels and a tux jacket for night.

party-wear

And Other Stories (stories.com) have some fabulous party wear. This classic androgynous style tuxedo jacket (£165) would look chic worn with any of the pieces on this page.

asos

ASOS Premium also has some great pieces, including this nude structured jumpsuit (£50) and ‘Downton inspired’ embellished floral print column dress (£75). Both would also team up with lighter pieces, for a spring, or summer, wedding.

xmas-wrap

Add a touch of luxe to an existing pair of black trousers with this soft velour wrap- around blouse (£48). It’s a great piece for someone with a curvy bust and to make it look even more high-end add a beautiful brooch, or necklace. You would have this one by Max Mara (£215) forever.

cocktail-rings

Cocktail rings are great for parties, sparkling as you bring up your hand to sip your drink. JCrew do great costume jewellery like this enamel and crystal ring (£48).

imon-dress

Ted Baker is King of Party and has apparently been globetrotting around the Far East to bring opulent prints such as this embroidered Imoen dress (£229).

black-heels

Add a pair of black suede heels like these Eve suede wraparound sling backs from Hobbs (£169) and you’re good to go. Merry Christmas everyone!

Cosy Knits

Knits come in many guises. There are cosy sweaters perfect for country walks and snuggling up on bonfire night. Then there are superfine knits which can be worn more elegantly. As the name infers, Toast do the most toasty of knits and they currently have a great selection of chunky sweaters, such as this merino wool donegal tweed in storm blue (£135).

toast

Whistles and LK Bennett can always be relied upon for a strong selection of fine knits. This sparkle striped knit from Whistles (£85) makes for a stylish ‘Christmas’ jumper.

xmas-jumper

Recently launched, Arkell and Wills from Cheltenham has created a fabulous core range of 100% sustainable cashmere with the fun option to customise your piece with added details. Waterfall cardigan with rolled-edge and rose gold elbow patches (£210) arkellandwills.co.uk.

arkell-whillis

Jaeger also excell at knitwear, especially cashmere. They are even offering free cashmere combs with many of their knits to keep them in tip-top condition. Create a warm rosy glow in this off-duty slouchy cashmere by Jaeger (£175) which borders on a sweat top with its flattering envelope style neckline.

jaeger

Another knit which has taken inspiration from the sweat top is this fabulous design by Top Shop Unique. A highly-styled piece, it also nods to the current military trend in army green (£145). A knit such as this provides the perfect foil for styling a statement skirt. The juxtaposition creates quite a different vibe, than say a silk blouse.

knitwear

This mulit-tasking ribbed hazelnut sweater from Weekend at Max Mara (£185) at House of Fraser, switches from casual to statement piece with its fun detachable ostrich feather trim.

maxmara

Sweaters can even make their own statements like this one by the slogan maestro, designer Bella Freud. She, who penned the famous ‘Je T’aime’ and ‘1970’ sweaters, now gives us ‘God Created’ in this lovely warm red (£280).

god-created

I’m not normally a fan of the integral shirt/sweater combination, but I make an exception for this exquisite version by Joseph (£225). Fashioned from beautifully soft and chunky ivory cashmere, the fine cotton fabric falls from the sleeves in an elegantly fluted shape. Fluid sleeves are a micro trend this season, with fashionistas wearing ‘regular’ shirt sleeves unbuttoned to achieve the look. Bella Freud and Joseph are both available from Sue Parkinsons at their Broadway and Cirencester stores, or online at sueparkinson.com.

joseph

This frilly knit from Top Shop (£42) is a high-fashion look that nods to the eighties and would look great worn with high-waisted cullottes and heeled boots.

topshop

Many women love the simplicity of a poncho as they are so easy to throw on, especially as you head out on the school run. I have chosen this ribbed border version by Jigsaw (£79) as it doesn’t overhwelm a petite frame like some and it comes in a selection of lovely colours. Although, you’re best avoiding if you are at all pear shaped. Also bear in mind, that a poncho (or cape) works better with a hand-held bag.

jigsaw

Stay cosy!

 

 

Velvet Goldmine

Soft, sumptuous velvet is everywhere this season. Dresses, jackets, trousers and accessories are luxuriating in this most decadent of fabrics. As you prepare to indulge, think textures and how you can bring them together for a look that is pure luxe.

ankle-boots

For those who appreciate traditional workmanship with a luxurious twist Penelope Chilvers is a great shoe brand to seek out. See the range at their two London stores, or find them on-line at penelopechilvers.com. These strokeable ankle boots (£269) combine a casual Cuban silhouette with rich velvet tones. Available in pewter, claret, or forest green, these multi-taskers work by day with skinny jeans and relaxed cashmere. Or team with a floral midi-dress and bare legs for a high-fashion look. Switch up for evening with other luxurious fabrics including silk and chiffon.

silhouette

Mary-Janes are a style perennial and Hobbs has this classic block-heel version in store with round buckle detail (£159). Again, there are three colour choices – black, dark burgundy and teal.
Worn in simple silhouettes, velvet suits every age group. It’s gentle sheen flatters a more mature complexion, or it can be styled in more louche way for a younger, edgier vibe.

velvet-suit

This grey velvet suit by Fashion Union at asos.com comes in at a budget-friendly £40 for the blazer and £30 for the trousers. The jacket is a flattering style for most figures, but if you are tempted by the trousers consider that they will look best on a straigher, slender, leg. Team with suede footwear to keep the look elegant, or metallics or glitter for full-on party mode. Maintain a degree of modesty with some satin, or lace.

lk-bennett

For a more demure look this burgundy dress by LK Bennett (£295) is also available in sloane blue. Velvet hasn’t ruled the runways like this since the eighties and this black velvet bodice with sheer sleeves and bold polka dots would have been spot on in that too. A great piece to wear with a statement skirt. Claudie Pierlot top £100 from Selfridges.

embroidery

Velvet and embroidery are fashion friends in this jacket by Zara (£89.99). With all this embellishment, keep it simple with blue jeans and a plain tee.

evening-bag

Not only the reserve of evenings bags, velvet can also work for casual day with a squishy cross-body tote. See By Chloe (£171.23) from farfetch.com with detachable swallow and leaf key ring.

eye-shadow-stick

Keep make-up velvety too with the Nars velvet eye shadow stick from Space NK (£21). The Oaxaca colourway suits most skin tones.
Kateparkerstyle.com

Jean Queen

Look along any high street, in any town and a good 75% of people will be wearing jeans. Jeans are big business and designers keep reinventing these casual staples to keep us hooked.

Jean Queen, Donna Ida Thornton celebrates a decade in denim this month with her ‘To the Moon and Back’ collection inspired by the night sky. Dungarees with leopard print on the reverse and cashmere knit both (£210) at donnaida.com. This busy lady has also launched a hugely successful capsule collection for Jaeger this month, including these seventies-inspired flares (£120) and some other great jean styles, knits, blouses and a wonderful denim jumpsuit.

jump suit

Another easy-to-wear jumpsuit in a lighter fabric and colourway is by Numph at John Lewis. It is also a great price point at (£78). Wear with converse style trainers, ankle boots, or dress up with heels for evening.

numph

The undone hem continues to be the key detail this season. Think fringing, deep rips and step hems.

  •  Zara light grey ‘mom fit’ jeans with stepped hem (£25.99)
  •  Top Shop Moto fringe-hem mid-rise straight jeans (£43) – coming soon

moto-hem

For something more understated, these cool black DL1961 Margaux ankle skinnies are available from John Lewis (£180). Whilst these relaxed boyfriend jeans (£75) and star trainers (£165) are both from hush-uk.com

star trainer

DENIM TIPS

  • Denim will stretch. Make sure you don’t buy yours too baggy. You should be able to fit two fingers into the waistband, not your whole hand.
  •  Keep the original hem when shortening jeans.
  •  When taking up boot cut styles, do so from the back rather than the front so they don’t become too short.
  •  Wash jeans as infrequently as possible and then do so inside out on a low temperature.
  •  Style boyfriend jeans with at least one feminine element such as a bold lip, killer heels, or a soft sexy blouse.
  •  Check your rear view. Positioning of pockets makes a big difference.

womens jeans fashion

SHAPE UP

  • Pear Shape: Look for high-rise styles with some stretch. Avoid embellishments, fancy washes and coating.
  • Hour Glass: Again a high-rise is good to get a good fit on the waist. Flares and boot cut styles will optimise your curvy figure. Choose straight cut styles with some stretch.
  • Petite: Play with proportion so that you aren’t overwhelmed. Baby boot cut can be good option. Also look to cropped styles which could work well as full length for you.
  • Tall: Play with colour and texture. You can also do a flared style with a flat sneaker style shoe which looks great.
  • Apple: Mid to low rise can be a good option, but if you carry weight on your tummy and want to feel contained go for a soft-waisted high rise. Have fun with details on your slender legs.
  • Boyish: Use shading and whiskering detail to add curve. Zips and pocket details also add interest. Slouchier styles like boyfriend jeans can soften your silhouette.