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.


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



Summer lace you shouldn’t be straight laced about!

lace 2016 burberrylace 2016 oscar de lalace 2016 dolce & gabbanalace 2016 moncler

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…..!

lace 2016 jacket KMlace 2016 zara jacket

  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

7 cold shoulder styles to inspire you this summer

cut out proenzacut out Soniacut out balmaincut out kenzo

Courtesy of vogue.co.uk – Proenza Schouler, Sonia Rykiel, Balmain and Kenzo

Can We Lesser Mortals expose our shoulders with out getting the cold shoulder from our friends?

Have you been out in the shops yet? I know…it’s still really cold – but if you have, you’d be forgiven for thinking the retailers are keeping their prices down, by missing out half the fabric in their garments. Oh Ye Heathens! – it’s a new trend called “cold shoulder” or “cut out”- probably derived from some retro archive, as anything not “retro” is frankly, so last year!! It’s a great trend if you don’t like your arms much, as you can flash a bit of flesh without being too “mutton dressed as”, and so it works for most age groups, without being too tarty. The down side, is that these styles tend to draw attention to, and widen, the top half of your body. So it’s not the best style for ladies, who are already blessed in the “poitrine” department. Lesser Mortals who were at the back of the queue when boobs were dolled out, well – their cups can now overfloweth ( and yes, I did intend a weak attempt at a pun!) as these styles will broaden their chest and shoulders.

I’ve tried to find an item that would suit all body shapes (even top heavy), and I am modelling my 3 ways to wear a cold shoulder top, here. I quite like the hanky top from Top Shop, but which appeals to you? Let me know in the comments box.

cut out dress karen millencut out dress coast

  1. Stripe midi dress DY191 collection. Karen Millen. £160. Size 6-16. Polyester elastane mix, dry clean only.  This doesn’t have darts around the bust area, so won’t fit if you have big boobs. The stripes are slimming and there is lycra, so this will suit boyish and hourglass best. Also if you have a slight tummy, it should be slimming.
  2. Elina cold shoulder dress. £95. Coast. Size 6-18. 100% polyester, dry clean only. A much more subtle and flattering cold shoulder look for ladies that dislike their bingo wings!! A peak of the upper part of your arms instead. Best for hourglass, slight pear shape and boyish.

cut out blouse KMcut out shirt top shop

  1. Cut out shoulder blouse. £99. Karen Millen Size 6-16. 100% polyester. Machine washable. Due to the V neck on this blouse, bigger busted women will get away with this cut out style. Balance the shape with wide leg trousers or a full skirt underneath. Good for most body shapes.
  2. Chain print cold shoulder shirt. £40. Top Shop. Size 4-16. 100% viscose, machine washable. With just a hint of cold shoulder, this shirt will suit most body shapes, but is great for apple and top heavy ladies, who can leave it more open to break up the chest area, or belt it in to give definition.

cut out T shirt oasiscut out hanky top shop

  1. Cold shoulder stripe top/ £28.  Oasis. Size 6-16. 100% polyester. Machine washable. This quite slim fitting top can be worn by anyone who would normally wear a T shirt, but it is best for boyish, pear and hourglass.
  2. Scarf floral cold shoulder top. £36. Top shop. 100% viscose. Machine washable. This boxy shaped top is best for boyish and pear shaped ladies.

cut out jumpser all saints

  1. Able open shoulder jumper. £128. All Saints. Size XS-L. Wool, nylon, alpaca mix. Hand washable. Also available in quart pink (muted) and black. Although it’s a jumper, lets face it, it’s not always so hot in the UK. Great with skinny jeans, this will suit apple, top heavy, and boyish best.

Would you wear this style of top? Do you think you shouldn’t wear it if you are over a certain age? I’d love your comments, and as always if you have a fashion query, put it in the comments box and I’ll get back to you.

Further reading:

The key pieces that look good on all ages: who what wear

How to wear cold shoulder tops: Audrey Salutes

Cold shoulder tops – t they’re hot: fabulous after 40

How to rock the cold shoulder look: MissMalini

Cold shoulder top + ripped jeans: Style my dreams

How to wear cut out shoulder tops this spring: fashionsy

8 crazy stripes you need to wear this summer!!

stripes 2016 catwalk missonistripes ss2016 catwalk tommystripes 2016 catwalk pradastripes ss2016 chanel

Photos courtesy of vogue.co.uk – Missoni, Tommy Hilfiger, Prada and Chanel

Can We Lesser Mortals wear bold stripes without looking like a pair of curtains?

It’s SO exciting at the moment – the shops are starting to fill with the new Spring styles, and that always makes me feel like spending money and updating my clothes! Is this blog your little secret for keeping in the fashion “know-how” or do you share it with your friends? Because it’s time you were all aware of the stripes trend this summer. They are in all sizes and patterns, but stripes are in the shops and in your face! Bring it on, I say. I’m sick of drab greys, navy’s and blacks, and am ready to kick some serious summer butt, with bold and bright stripes. Can anyone wear them? Well, the stripes are great for hiding imperfections – which is reassuring!! For the more faint hearted, there are stripes in the stores which are more tonal – like the blue top below, and this may appeal to the older or shy-er Lesser Mortals reading the post. I would suggest the 2 dresses will suit more mature, or less bold readers, as would the long sleeve Zara top. I would only advise this based on the fact that, as you age, your hair may go grey, and your skin paler, therefore too bold a pattern could end up wearing you. But hell – if you’re game – then go for it!!

As always, I adore something bold and bright, so my fave is the Karen Millen coat!

stripe 2016 dress warehousestripe 2016 dress oasis

  1. Chevron stripe belted dress. £35. Warehouse. Size 6-16. 100% polyester. Machine washable. You could choose to wear a different belt with this dress or wear it loose, so it will suit most shapes. It may not fit though if you are very big busted.
  2. The new 9-5 dress. £46. Oasis. Size XS – L. 100% polyester. Machine washable. Again, you can ignore the belt, or wear one of your own choice. The diagonal stripes, and cheeky black panels at the front and sides are very slimming, so this is great for apple and boyish, but hourglass may get away with it too.

stripe 2016 karen millen coatstripe 2016 river island trousers

  1. Striped wool and cashmere coat. £299. Karen Millen Size 6-16. Wool, polyamide and cashmere blend. Specialist dry clean. This is a limited edition coat, but I think it will be a timeless item. This will suit hourglass and pear shaped best, but it may fit boyish figures too.
  2. Black stripe high waisted wide leg trousers. £40. River Island. Size 6-18. 100% polyester. Machine washable. These fabulous trousers are selling out quick! They will suit top heavy, hourglass, pear shape and boyish!!

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  1. Frida stripe blouse. £59. Phase eight. Size 8-18. 100% polyester. Machine washable. With the misleading stripes and panels, this will suit most body shapes.
  2. Striped mini skirt £19.99 and top (not available yet) Zara Size XS-L. Polyester elastane mix. Machine washable. The cute mini skirt will suit boyish and hourglass ladies. It may suit some top heavy ladies.

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  1. A line stripe dress. £29.99. Zara Size XS-L. 100% polyester. Machine washable. This is perfect for pear shaped ladies.
  2. Cinched waist sweatshirt. £17.99. Zara Size XS-l. Polyester elastane mix. Machine washable. This is good for apple and boyish shapes.

So are stripes for you? They appeal to both classic and adventurous women. If you want more help, you can contact me through the comments box on this blog, or through Vicky Smith Styling

Further reading:

Stripes, trench coats and rain: fashionsta

10 stylish striped street styles: all women stalk

5 ways to wear bold stripes: parischerie

6 ways to wear bold stripes: blue is in fashion

How to wear a striped dress: girl.com

modern ways to wear the vertical stripe: whowhatwear

The modern way to rock 70’s suede

suede catwalk balmainsuede catwalk coach

Photos courtesy of www.vogue.co.uk Balmain and Coach

Can We Lesser Mortals be per – SUEDE – ed  to wear suede?

How many of you were brave enough to buy leather in the last few years? Not just a timeless jacket, but a skirt, leggings. coat? Did you worry you wouldn’t get your wear out of it, and now, 3-4 years later, you’re still able wearing said item? That’s getting good Value For Money. Well, suede is set  to take over from leather this summer- in every shade possible. But if you invest, will you get your moneys worth? A jacket is a fairly safe timeless option, but what about the other choices? I would say that you can get reasonably priced 100% suede skirts on the High Street, and there are really good imitation suedette options available too. The advantage there, is that they are easy to bung in the wash if you spill your salad dressing on them, probably lighter weight, and less likely to crease in your suitcase. Still, it’s never the same as the real thing. Here I give your shopping mojo a kick in the pants, and show you what’s in the shops at the mo!

Can you wear suede whatever your age? Maybe avoid the mini skirts!! But a trench coat or long length A line skirt, is ageless. Still not convinced? Then a pair of suede ankle boots, or a suede handbag, maybe with a few tassels to show you know it’s in fashion. Remember, a small nod to fashion can knock years off your apparent age. After all, unless you’re into vintage, no-one is wearing twin set and pearls…….

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  1. Suede trench coat. £289. Mango. Size S-L. 100% goat leather. Not washable or dry cleanable. This is a great colour, and will suit tall ladies – it can be worn open or fastened, so will suit most body shapes, but will flatter on apple shapes the worn  undone.
  2. Grey sleeveless suedette jacket. £45. Next. Size 6-22. 100% polyester, dry clean only. Again, this will suit most body shapes, but the vented pockets on the hips, mean you should avoid this style if you are hippy.

suede crop jacket Nextsuede shirt whistles

  1. Berry suedette pocket jacket. £50. Next. Size 6-22. 100% polyester. Dry clean only. A short crop jacket on regular ladies which means it will suit hourglass, pear (if worn with wide leg trousers) and boyish figures.
  2. Griffin suede leather shirt. £350. Whistles. Size XS-L. 100% leather. Dry cleanable. Don’t be put off by the short sleeves – you can get more wear by putting a jumper, or blouse on underneath. This is quite a shapeless shirt, so it can be worn undone to suit lots of body shapes, but is best on boyish figures.

suede long skirt all saintssuede long skirt warehouse

  1. Emme suede skirt £198. All Saints. Size 2-14. Colour chocolate and sand available.  100% goat leather. Dry cleanable. This is a fairly straight style, so will suit boyish, top heavy and slight pear shapes best.
  2. Burgundy suede midi skirt. £80. Warehouse. Size 6-18. Also available in a blue colour. 100% leather – dry cleanable. This A line midi shape will suit pear shape and hourglass figures best.

suede short A line skirt warehousesuede button through skirt Oasis

  1. Berry suede A line skirt. £55. Warehouse. Size 6-18. Available in teal blue too. 100% leather dry clean only. This A line shape work well on most body shapes but best for pear and hourglass.
  2. Suede button through skirt £39. Oasis. Size 6-16. In natural and black. 100% polyester, machines washable. Again this will suit most body shapes but best for pear and hourglass.

Hopefully this will tempt you to think about popping into the stores soon, to get an early lead in the fashion stakes!! You always feel so much better when you have something fresh to wear, and have a spring in your step. I can do one to one sessions in the Midlands area. If you are interested, click here

Further reading:

How to wear suede this spring: Fashion Gum

Massive trend alert – suede: the fashion tag

Patchwork suede: we wore what

Suede trench coat: fashion agony

Street style trend suede: fashion fade magazines

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