8 chic culottes to go crazy over

culottes Bay city rollers

Can We Lesser Mortals wear culottes this summer, and not look like we wore them first time round….

Summer is not yet upon us…even though it should be, and it’s making clothes shopping very tricky. An item which I think works in all weathers, is the culotte. Oh no, you cry – I don’t want to look like I bought them in 1970…..or worse! If I mention culottes to clients, they shudder. Is this because they don’t know how to wear them? Do they suit all body types and all age groups? Will they look ridiculous? I hope to address some of these issues and maybe give you a little fashion push.

They work a bit like a maxi dress or skirt, in that they are cooler to wear than full length trousers or jeans, but you don’t need to have tanned legs. I think you can wear them what ever age you are, but the older you are, the more classic you need to look – maybe styled with some medium heeled loafers (not completely flat) and a blazer. Also, because they are cropped, they can make you look shorter, so you need to wear a heel.  Below, I have shown the sort of look we are trying to achieve, and the sort of outfits to avoid. Click this link to see how I style my denim culottes.

Stylish.

culottes black goodculottes goodculottes white good

Not so stylish.

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And this is what to buy wear…if you:

Are Short:

culotte petite warehouse

Squiggle print jumpsuit. £59. Warehouse. If you are short or petite, wearing a culotte style jumpsuit with a pair of heels will make you look much taller. A stylish blazer will dress this up for work, or a leather jacket or cardi, will dress this down. Sizes 6-18. 100% viscose. Machine washable.

Are busty:

culottes busty ted baker 1

Forget me knot culottes. £90. Ted Baker. The floral design at the bottom draws eyes downwards, and the wide leg balances the size of a large chest. Size 6-16. 100% polyester. Cool hand wash

Are unsure culottes are for you: Are tall: Have short legs:

culottes unsure NExt

Black culottes. £18. Next. What a fantastic price point, which means you can take a risk buying them, and can see how much you wear/like them, before investing in some better ones. Available in petite, regular and tall lengths. Also in brick and stone colour. Size 6-22. Viscose, polyester and elastane mix.

Want to wear to work:

culottes work ted baker 2

Manta culottes. £139. Ted baker. How stylish are these? Wear with a blazer and heels and crisp shirt, and this will be fine for any office dress code. Size 6-16. Polyester, viscose elastane mix. Machine washable at 40′

Are apple shaped and have a big tummy:

culotte apple mango

Palazzo cheeky panty. £49.99. Mango. Really sliming and stylish, these go from a size 14-26, but to complement an apple shape, you need to look at the top you wear with these culottes, and of course, if you are short, you need heels. 100% polyester. Machine washable or dry cleanable. Style up with a neat blazer, accentuating your chest area.

For a summer look:

culotte holiday Karen Millen

Cropped wide leg trouser. £110. Karen Millen. Not all culottes are white or black – you can give a summery feel to your wardrobe with these tailored culottes. Great for ladies with a warm skin tone. Size 6-16. 100% viscose. Dry clean only.

For a night out:

culotte night out whistles

Edwina print silk trouser. £175.  Whistles. This slim fitting pair of crop trousers/culottes are so classy, you could even wear them to a summer wedding if you didn’t fancy a dress. Sizes 4-16. 100% silk, dry clean only. If you are radical, there is a matching pyjama top style blouse to go with it. All the rage in London, not sure how you’ll carry that look off in Cleethorpes.

For a holiday:

culotte holiday warehouse 2

Stripe culottes. £42. Warehouse. These light weight culottes are perfect for holidays – fine with flat sandals, and this seasons off the shoulder or cold shoulder tops. I would avoid a boring T shirt with flip flops, or you may look like a granny on a British promenade. Size 6-18. polyester viscose mix. Machine washable.

So, my Lesser Mortals, do you think you could get away with a pair of culottes? They are not so scary, and as I mentioned, you can wear in winter with knee boots, and a polo neck jumper and still look totes amaze balls. If you think a one to one with me, as an Image Consultant will benefit you, then give me an email. I have had fantastic success recently with ladies who struggled to clear their wardrobes outs, and ladies who thought nothing ever fitted them. Contact me here.

Further reading:

How to wear culottes: style caster

How to wear culottes: closet full of clothes

The denim trend you are about to see everywhere: pop sugar

 

 

10 fabulous footwear styles for summer YOU HAVE TO SEE!

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Images courtesy of Vogue.co.uk Burberry, Chloe, Gucci, and MacQueen

Can We Lesser Mortals find fabulous footwear for summer without looking like we have Hobbit feet?

Hi there Mortals! Have you rushed into the shops yet to bag your sale bargains? Crazy isn’t it, when we haven’t even started to wear our summer clothes yet, due to the weather? Well, in this post I thought I’d look at footwear, since, when the mercury starts to rise, even previously comfy footwear can start to rub. So it’s important to get a good fitting pair. By my definition, Lesser Mortals are women who are mums, working women and normal shaped(not Kim Kardashian/Cara Delivigne) women – and who may also, (dare I say it) suffer from corns, bunions, varicose veins, pronation, flat feet etc as well as the need to rush round supermarkets, stand on feet all day, or walk places. And for that reason I have chosen to l look at lower heeled shoes/sandals, rather than crazy skyscrapers – which bizarrely enough seem to be the majority of shoes when you look in a shoe shop.

Don’t forget when buying footwear, to look at how clumpy they are, compared to your size and shape. Petite ladies  – do you really look good in clumpy clogs? Statuesque ladies – are those delicate kitten heels really doing you a favour? There are some seriously ugly clumpy orthopaedic style shoes/sandals out there……do you really need those in your life?

Feast your eyes on these babies, and let me know if this article has prompted you to try a style you may not have thought about before.

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  1. Kola Mule Loafer £59. TopShop. Size 2-9. 100% leather. Everyone loves a mule shoe in summer – kick them off the minute your feet get hot (under desks or in the garden) Available in black too.
  2. Stain Away slingback mule sandal. £45 Marks and Spencers. Half sizes from 3-8. Padded soles for comfort. Black and khaki colours available too. Regular width fitting. Stylish mule but with a heel strap stopping them slipping off.

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  1. Scent sky wedge sandal. £50. Clarks Half sizes 3-8. Leather upper. Cushion soft technology on the soles. In black too. Despite having a wedge heel, the stacked sole, means the relative height of the heel is reduced and they are easier to stomp around in. Great for vertically challenged ladies!
  2. Gold leather lace up sandal. £38. Next. Size 3.5 to 8 ( or 38-42) Available in khaki suede too. This gladiator style embraces the metallic trend too, which might have been too much for you. These however, will be perfect with jean, maxis, white dresses and pretty much anything!

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  1. Suzette loafer. £70. Ugg. Available in navy, chestnut and  light tan. Cushioned sole, nubuck leather and sheepskin heel protector. Some half sizes between 3-10. Deliciously comfy and stylish with skinny jeans or a skirt/dress.
  2. Suede flatform brogue shoe £80. Dune. Size 3-8. Also in grey suede. Lets face it, it is the UK and you need a shoe sometimes, even in summer. These are soft and can be worn with bare feet. Fabulous with floaty dresses, pencil skirts and skinny jeans.

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  1. Isla embellished sandal. £28. Toyshop. Size 2-9. Textile upper. These embrace the ethnic/festival/aztec influence and will look great with denim of any type, and fabulous on a hot beach holiday (ok – less practical in wet Wales…)
  2. Chain detail jelly sandal. £12. Next. Available in navy too, size 36-41. Normally I hate jelly’s but the chain detail is funky.

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  1. Pink mid heel sandal. Reduced to £69. Carvela Also in silver. Size 2-8. Synthetic upper. This season it’s all about the shape of the heel. It’s short and blocky and often a different colour or with embellishment.
  2. All star low converse pink mono. Reduced to £35. Office. Half sizes from 3.5 to 7. Also in teal. Whatever your age or shape, you can get away with a pair of converses with your jeans. These are a lovely suede and you can get leather ones for winter.

Those are my summer essential shoe trends for this summer. Obviously these are not “the ones” you have to buy, but they all highlight trends in the shops at the moment – mules, suede shoe boots, chain detail, wedges, block heels and converses. Nip out and have a look or wait for the high summer sales (canny shoe shops are waiting)….you can look at the outfits I wear daily on my Instagram feed @welessermortals

Further reading:

Summer/spring shoe trends: Fashionisers

How to/and how not to wear converse: The Styletti

How tower wedge sandals: Fashionsy.com

25 ways real girls wear gladiator sandals: stylecaster

How to wear loafers: wardrobelooks

 

What maxi will suit my body shape?

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Photos of maxi dresses on the catwalk, courtesy of Vogue.co.uk – Kenzo, TommyHilfiger, Blumarine and Etro

Can We Lesser Mortals get maxed out in a maxi, whatever our age or shape???

To wear a maxi, or not to wear a maxi? That is the question. And “Heck yes”, is the answer. Lots of lovely ladies are saying “oh no, I am too old for a maxi”, but I don’t remember that stopping anyone in the 70’s? (ok, I may only just be able to remember what everyone was wearing in the 70’s, as I was still into knee socks and short skirts…but wait a minute – I do remember having a very fetching maxi dress for a 9 year old birthday party I went to – it matched my sister’s.) Anyway, the Brits love a maxi, because in this country, there is the eternal problem of white legs and whether to wear tights or fake tan, and did you shave your legs? A maxi dress or skirt, can solve that problem in a trice! If you are still slightly worried, there are loads of dresses in the shops at the moment, which stop just above the ankle bone, so not quite a maxi, and these may ease you gently into longer lengths. Other Mortals may feel out of place in a maxi dress, which to be honest, I do. But I love to wear a maxi skirt, and this gives me the ability to de-femininise it by wearing a denim shirt or leather jacket. Maxi skirts also solve the problem of having tops and bottoms which are different sizes. Can you wear a maxi dress if you are tall or small? Well, vertically challenged ladies, need a dress with very little volume in (like a column shape) and are best wearing some heels or flatforms (sandals with a thick sole) to elongate and lengthen them. (see the Next dress below). Very tall ladies who want a full length maxi need to look at the ranges for tall ladies ( see Next dress below, but I also noticed Top Shop have a range for ladies 5’10 and up!!) otherwise it can look like your dress has shrunk in the wash! I just want to add that the nylon maxi dresses can be very cool and airy compared to very heavy T shirt fabric. On the other hand, the knitted or crochet dresses below can add a bit of warmth for a British summer. Unsure of your arms – a silky bomber jacket or shrug works well with a maxi.

Do let me know what you think? As always, guess which my favourite is! Follow this link here to see how I style my maxi up.

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  1. Floral print maxi skirt. £175. Karen Millen. Size 6-16. 100% polyester. Dry clean only. This is good for most body shapes, but the 3 tiered skirt adds volume over your legs (not hips), so will balance out a big bust, and allow you to choose a top to fit you. And a top like the one shown, will work to balance out pear shapes.
  2. Striped maxi dress. £49.99. Zara Size S-L. Not in store yet – keep an eye out! The stripes on the bottom will broaden your hips, and the thick stretchy shoulder straps allow for good bra support, so this will suit top heavy and hourglass best. Try adding a belt to emphasis your waist.

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  1. Multi coloured stripe dress. £49.99. Zara. Size S-L. Viscose polyester mix. Machine washable. This dress is good for hourglass ladies as it nips in over your waist. Boyish can wear, if you have a decent bust.
  2. Tie dye maxi dress. £89.99 Zara. Size S-L. 100% viscose. Dry clean only. The top part of the dress is eye catching so this dress will suit pear shapes and boyish figures.

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  1. Rhiannon jersey maxi dress. £69. Monsoon Size S-XL. Viscose elastane mix. Machine washable. The clever print on this dress, makes bodies look longer and slimmer, and it nips in just under the bust. So this dress is good for apple shapes.
  2. V & A placement print maxi dress. Was £95 now £76. Oasis. Size 6-16. 100% polyester. Machines washable. The red panel in the middle draws attention to the hips. and the cut of the top, shows off shoulders, so this will suit boyish best.

maxi Nextmaxi FCUK

  1. Grey print maxi dress. £28. Next Size 6-22 in Petite, and Tall lengths. Viscose elastane mix. This dress will suit ladies of any height, and the long column shape makes petite ladies look taller (NB – wedge sandals??). It can be worn with a belt, to break up the height of tall ladies
  2. Kiki Palm rushed maxi dress. £160. French Connection Size 6-16. 100% viscose. Dry clean only. This will suit tall ladies, as the model is 5’10” and the dress still touches the floor. Also great for big busts, and it tucks neatly under the bust line and has wide shoulders for good bra support.

So are you a maxi convert? Have I persuaded you to have a try? Do you disagree with anything I’ve said? Do let me know. Or if you want a one to one with me as an Image Consultant or advice on line, contact me here.

Further reading:

The right way to wear a maxi dress: who what wear

21 ways to wear your maxi dress: babble.com

Style tips on wearing a maxi skirt: girl.com

48 maxi skirt street style: allforfashiondesign

Summer lace you shouldn’t be straight laced about!

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Photos courtesy of Vogue.co.uk: Burberry, Oscar de La Renta, Dolce and Gabbana and Moncler Gamme Rouge

Can We Lesser Mortals wear lace and not look like a crochet table cloth?

Lace often conjures up images of old maids in dowdy lace dresses or the primness of the Victorian era. In addition, there is the issue of cheap nylon lace looking like a net curtain which can be off putting. But times have moved on and a lot of nylon lace is quite authentic looking. When cut into an item of clothing where you can see through the lace, it can be quite a sexy summer offering. Nude linings hint at nakedness, but when manufactured into a midi length skirt, conversely suggests demureness. What a conundrum!! So below I have shown some of the many versatile ways that lace can be worn – from smart tailoring, to edgy culottes. What temptation!!

What tickles your fancy? I actually really like the Monsoon ensemble, and quite like the Boden blouse. If I hadn’t got a white midi skirt already, I  might have got the Zara culottes. Remember age is just a state of mind…..!

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  1. JX059 Sculptural lace jacket. £200. Karen Millen. Size 6-16. Polyamide viscose mix. Dry clean. Low on stock, this is now reduced from £299 to £200. I have one from a few years ago, and it never fails to get compliments. Because this doesn’t close across the front, it will accentuate your top half, so suits pear, boyish and hourglass best.
  2. Guipure Lace jacket. £59.99. Zara. Size S-L. 100% polyester. Machine washable. A pretty little summer cover up, with long sleeves, this will suit most body shapes.

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  1. Limited edition lace midi dress. £150. Oasis. Size 8-18. 100% polyester. Hand wash. A beautiful cobalt colour, this style will suit hourglass, and pear shapes best.
  2. Navy leaf dress. £75. Next . Size 6-22. In tall and petite as well as regular length. 100% polyester. Also available in ivory. A lovely dress, this will suit slight pear, boyish and hourglass best.

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  1. Lace culottes. £39.99. Zara. Size XS-L. 100% polyester. Machine washable. Now normally I hate the whole see through lace trouser thing, but maybe because these are fully lined they work… and come on ladies – culottes are not so scary are they? More like a crop trouser? Great for pear shape and hour glass ladies, but other body shapes may get away with too.
  2. Demi lace top. £49.Monsoon. Size 8-18. Viscose nylon mix. Dry clean only. Quite a cheeky little skirt with a nude lining underneath to hint at sexy!! Described as green – I would say a lichen green colour/grey. Suits most body shapes, but not great if big chested.
  3. Demi lace skirt £69. Monsoon. Size 8-18. Viscose nylon mix, Dry clean only. What value – a skirt and top, which can be worn as separates or as an outfit. And not boring black!! Suits most body shapes, but may not suit very hippy ladies.

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  1. Floral Lace top. £89.50. Boden. Size 6-22. 100% cotton. Hand wash. In white and navy. Lots of fab comments on this top, on their website, from busty, apple shaped and slim women. Also, you can wear a clashing top under it & that will look good. Cut slightly A line, this will suit most body shapes, but beware big chested ladies.
  2. Meadow Lace top. £120. Whistles. Size 4-16. 100% polyester. Dry clean only. Described as pink but looks corally. This is best for pear and boyish, and for other body shapes, it will depend how big your chest is.
  3. Meadow skirt. £140. Whistles. Size 4-16.100% polyester. Dry clean only. The fuller skirt works on most body shapes, but won’t suit you if you have a bit of a tummy.

So do you think lace will be your “thang” this summer? It doesn’t only have to be a smart option – all these items can be dressed down with different footwear. If you’d like more ideas, you can contact me through www.vickysmithstyling.co.uk or the comments box on this blog.

Further reading:

8 modern ways to wear white lace: whowhatwear

How to wear a lace dress: Just the design

Lace clothing at work: fashion gum

How to wear lace skirts: fashion gum

9 Lingerie Style fashions to lust after this summer!!

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Lingerie style fashions, courtesy of Vogue.co.uk – Celine, Alexander wang, Burberry  and Givenchy

Can We Lesser Mortals wear the Lingerie Style clothes, without looking like we’ve gone out in our underwear?

That’s it – we’re all so hard up now after the recession, we’re about to spend the summer going out in our underwear!! Or so it looks to the untrained eye. Catwalk designers have turned to lingerie style garments to inspire their summer collections, and this has in turn, influenced the High Street. It’s not the easiest of trends to follow if you need some serious scaffolding to support your chest, but there is a vast array of support underwear in the shops, for whatever your size and shape. Failing that, choose some brightly coloured bra straps and make a contrasting feature of the whole thing!! Can you wear slip dresses and camisoles whatever your age? Personally I would steer away from anything too white  and lace-y (lets face it, you are kidding no-one about the state of your innocence, and you don’t want to look like a bride) If you are older you may be conscious of your arms, but it is totally acceptable to wear T shirts or such like under your slip dress, or a shrug over the top. Having said that, they don’t give you much to hide under. It doesn’t really matter what size you are. Nowadays, it’s all about accepting yourself for who you are and embracing it, rather than covering it up. For me, I think the camisole tops are easy to wear on holiday or during hot weather, styled with a skirt or skinny jeans – and with a blazer or bomber jacket chucked over the top. Slip dresses are fabulous with flat converses or sandals, and a pashmina for evening (possibly avoid mules, or they’ll look like your slippers!!)

Let me know what you think, would you or wouldn’t you? And how would you style them up? Shall I do a “3 ways to wear” piece on lingerie style clothes? Let me know. Best bargain for what you get – the Ghost dress at the bottom.

 

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  1. Lace Doll Dress. £55. Top Shop. Size 4-16. Polyester cotton viscose mix. Machine washable. Perfect for a more modest look. This shift dress is inspired by the “lingerie” trend, but is much more user friendly. Best for boyish shapes.
  2. Lace Crepe Dress £199. Karen Millen. Size 6-16. 100% polyester. Dry clean only. This has a fitted bodice and is straight to the knees so best for boyish shapes, although less extreme apple shapes or hourglass, may get away with this style.
  3. Lace trim dress. £39.50 Marks and Spencers. Size 6-18. 100% viscose. Machine washable. This is much looser and unstructured so anyone can wear, but it will suit boyish and apple shapes best.

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  1. Lace trim camisole top. £22.50. Marks and Spencers. size 6-18. 100% viscose. Machine washable. Also available in khaki. Loose fitting and flowing, this top fits most body shapes but will flatter boyish and apple best.
  2. Sage lace trim came top.£24. Next size 6-22. 100% polyester. Machine washable. Also available in black.  There isn’t a lot of shape to this top, but the black trim means this is a great top for boyish, and slight apple. Again, other shapes can wear, but it depends what you co-ordinate with.
  3. Emeline Camisole Top. £68. All saints. Size 2-14. Available in black too. No info on fabric and care. Nearly all of these tops, are just slip over, so not great for big busts. However, out of all the tops,  this V neck line is better for slightly larger busted ladies. Most other shapes can wear too.

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  1. Dress with lace hem. £35.99. Zara Size S-XL. 100% polyester. Machine washable. This flowing style is best for this with bigger busts, if they can find the right bra. The elastic waist band nips the dress in, under the bust line. It may also suit apple, pear and hourglass shapes.
  2. Janine Dress Lint green. £95. Ghost.  Size XS-XL. 100% viscose, hand washable. This bias cut dress, has the most structure out of all the items shown. Adjustable straps and bias cut skirt, make this suitable for pear shapes, hourglass and larger busted ladies.
  3. Miki monochrome high heeled sandal. £295. Lk Bennet Size 35-42. Leather. Inspired by the black and white trend. Also available in orange. A lovely high heel for special occasions. The fastening at the front allows for some lea way on width of foot.

So I think you can see, this lingerie inspired trend is best for more boyish figures, although there are styles to suit all body shapes if you like it. If you need help on deciding your body shape, and what styles suit you, you can always books one to one with me here

 

Further reading:

11 lingerie inspired pieces you could wear from dinner to the bedroom: bustle.com

How to wear lingerie styled fashion: Thefashionroom.net

lingerie inspired fashion for every occasion : my fashion.com.hr

celebrity style / the slip dress: whowhatwear

7 ways to wear a slip dress: style caster

How to style a camisole top 10 ways: fashion lady.in

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