Don't be caught panicking
with 'nothing to wear'. Consistently review, clear out the failures
and rebuild your wardrobe
basics, that way you are ready for every climatic change. Maintaining
your image is one way to develop self esteem and feel more confident. If you want to look like those you admire, then you must do what those people do -
work at it.
You don't have to be pin thin, but you must review your haircut, make-up and
footwear choices before analysing the general fashion looks that will appeal
and take you into a new season and to a new you.
Frocks are back. Women are buying them. I'll tell
retailers a secret we women all know - it's that manufacturers have added sleeves
to dresses. Look out for cap, short, three quarters and long sleeves that adorn many of the 2006 styles. A
dress can then be a useful piece in a wardrobe. This is truly good
news for women who like the choice of dressing in a more feminine way when
the mood takes them, but are beyond spaghetti straps for daily work wear
Increase the volume on one half of your body only.
The rules for successfully wearing the volume look are still the same. So, to avoid hippo
proportions and photographs, that you only want to burn, this what you should do.
When you select the more voluminous bottom half, whether a skirt, dress, coat or
trousers aim to have a neat or close fitting top half. Alternatively, a looser
more boxy top half should be
teamed with a narrow more slim line bottom half, otherwise you may appear
to have the silhouette of a pudding.
left is courtesy of Dorothy Perkins. I love the whole outfit. Its snappy clean cut boxy jacket, the bow at the waist belt and the
navy trousers, which make a great fresh spring smart outfit.
courtesy of Dorothy Perkins
Spring Summer 2006 Womenswear. This is a white cropped jacket £45/70 Navy and
lime striped vest £8/12, worn with navy striped slouch trousers £28/ 45.
A simple clean look, like this, will make you appear far more sophisticated than you
might in the latest puffed sleeves or shorts. If you hate your arms,
cover up with a jacket or one of the new
60s dresses were
often A-line,smock like or frequently tent like. They were
attractive because they were short and revealed a formerly much hidden
erogenous zone the legs.
60's A-line dresses are set for a huge revival
A-line dress stylesalso lend a youthful air and very much
suit the younger woman and teen girl. But if you can get away with
youthful, and ask yourself honestly if you can, the look is worth a try.
A sleek modern A-line shift with low shoes, and a sharp bob haircut will instantly revamp you.
Cap sleeves have made a welcome
reappearance for those who just cannot wear sleeveless frocks.
This gorgeous sheath dress in the image to the left, is
courtesy of Dorothy Perkins. The design pays homage to elements of the
Roland Mouret. Pure Glamour for spring 2006. This little
black dress is so
classic that you will have it in your wardrobe for a long time.
Spring Summer 2006 Black fitted dress £40/60 Green bow bag £12/17
Tulip line skirts are also set to be a winner with women.
Whatever your size try on lots of tulip style variations, as a good fit is
crucial to the skirt looking correct and flatter curves rather than making
you appear lumpen and bulgy.
The tulip line is especially suitable for pear shaped women who
cannot normally find dresses to fit because they spill out of the hipline.
They may find the bulbous nature of tulip skirts will accommodate this, but
still you need to be careful to get an exact fit as otherwise the shape can
be ugly. Bubble skirts draw attention to the legs so be sure you have
great legs below the knee.
But for those who can reveal more, perhaps choose an asymmetric cut. A one shouldered, draped, goddess dress, leaves just one bare shoulder and covers all the bust. These leave lots of room for the
imagination with the nakedness of a bared shoulder.
Or totally expose
the shoulders whilst emphasising the waist with a fitted bodice and fuller
skirt as in this lovely photo of a
Dorothy Perkins red and white spotted dress.
Spring Summer 2006 Womenswear Red and white spotted 1950s dress £40/60
From this look
move to halter necks that again totally cover the bust, but leave toned bare
Long floor and ankle length dresses in soft silky
materials that move with the body work well with either one or two shoulders
The Empire Line is a very feminine line and in this image from the
Principles collection at John Lewis we see a lovely summer sleeveless empire
version with a swirl fine pleated sunray style fuller skirt. This is
such a romantic pretty dress and suitable for holidays, special occasion
wear and romantic
Empire lines will be a definite silhouette feature of 2006 in fashion
Fashion Racing means certain styles are
sometimes said to be so over even before they have been worn by
many. Fashion racing means its almost impossible to stay
ahead so I say get to know your own body shape and go with
the flow of what suits you and looks good on you. The
wrap dress has been a hit for several seasons, but
this year it will reach a new mass peak, as dresses in all forms take on a new importance in dressing quickly and easily. Since most will have sleeves, they will suit all ages. The
transition to the spring summer look, will for many, be made
easier by wearing these jersey Wrap
Dresses or other lace dresses over jeans or leggings.
Alternatively wear thick textured tights or lovely legs!
The cinched waist and fuller skirts to this summer's dresses should suit
pear shaped women. This year, mass manufacturers have taken
the wrap dress to heart and you should be able to purchase
one in any solid colour. Choose the right dress and you have elegant comfort wear in one item.
The bold all over energetic
print flattering wrap dress image left, is
courtesy of NEXT UKand is
available from the online NEXT
NEXT Jersey printed dress 964611
at £36.99. Teamed here with
972579 Bronze soft plait wedges at £19.99. Available in UK
sizes 6-22 plus and petite sizes.
Unfortunately only 8% of women today have hourglass bodies. A recent study
suggests that designers like to ignore this fact, which is why so many of us have to buy separates. For many of us, buying a
dress is therefore a nightmare, but you will find wrap dresses, for example in the above dress
a more tolerant experience. Observe how
forgiving jersey and A-line
dresses have a little
size leeway as you control the degree of wrap. Others have fixed wraps and
are often high waisted or drop waisted and will be welcomed by those who are
aghast at fashions current passion with hour glass waist emphasis.
Feminine, modern and nostalgic are all words that describe the dress of
today. Summer sees softness in antique effect
effects used alone or mixed with washed floral
faded prints. Eyelet fabrics are everywhere. White dresses can
be simple shifts or more complex designs like the French Connection frock
girlie white and
neutral broderie anglaise and the PLWD (pretty little white dress).
Choose to wear a dress over skinny jeans and thus get away with the skinny jeans that you
thought you could never wear. Make a summer white dress have a very
different look by wearing boots to style it in an unexpected country
left is of French Connection Spring Summer 2006 White embroidered
wrap dress £110, Khaki silk camisole £55, Orange and amber necklace
£30, Gold chain and bead necklace £26, Brown cut out boots £155. Image courtesy of
As you can see,
lengths can be mid calf, on the knee, maxi or mini. I prefer those
images that show the dresses on the knee - they look so much more snappy,
but being of average height, I feel clothes at the knee often balance me better, so I think we are attracted to outfits we can see ourselves wearing. You may feel longer or much shorter skirts suit
your shape better.
Isn't it wonderful that we have so many options to pick and choose.
white comes in a range of tones from icy cool white to more creamy ivory
white. Hold white items white against your face to see which tone
suits your skin best. If you can't wear it near your face, because it drains your colour, opt for a skirt, trousers or cropped pants in white. Then you can add a
darker top as shown in the image of wide trousers right.
The outfit left is from Matalan Women and is available only directly from Matalan stores. Spring Summer Spring Summer 2006 range.
Gold button jacket £28 Linen tie waist trouser £14 Metallic clasp bag £12
It's not just the face that can be balanced with white on the lower
half if white is too harsh for you. Whilst a lot of UK women have a pear shaped or hour glass body, some
of our visitors to the site are like myself - an inverted triangle
body shape. So the bottom half is slender and the top half is
sometimes a size or two larger for a broader or bustier upper body.
Styles that draw attention to the narrower hipline measurement of this body
type include pencil skirts, dropped waist skirts, slim line skinny and
cropped trousers. These bottom garments when worn with a cropped
jacket draw the eye to the proportionately slimmer lower half.
Fuller skirts gathered from the waist may hide the best bit of this body
avoid these unless the skirt is set on a low hip basque.
shorts shown on the right, are from Dorothy Perkins and are perfect for sightseeing.
If you need something more formal, but still want to wear shorts, then a
longer pair of knee shorts teamed with a jacket may be a better option.
Spring Summer 2006 Black and white stripe top with crochet trim £22/35 White linen shorts £25/40 Braces £6/10
White also works very well this season with the preppy and
nautical looks that team white with red and navy. The result is a very
easy to wear look that always gets compliment for its crisp, but
relaxed jaunty air.
If white seems a fragile choice consider one of the
neutral blush tones made
up in lace and semi sheer fabrics. If you are fair, the blush tones may
be difficult to wear. Try different weights of blush tones against your
skin, until you find a blush tint that suits you.
Left is a Spring/Summer 2006 Womenswear John Rocha antique lace and pintuck sundress £60, for Designers at Debenhams Rocha. The scarf is a
J by Jasper Conran pashminetta £18. Image courtesy
of Debenhams PLC.
for summer also include the soft lines of the tulip and the bell styles.
A crisper more minimal look is that of the A-line shaped sixties skirts. These modern skirts all finish around the knee so be careful to keep the length on the knee for that trend setter factor.
Pencil skirts have been in for several seasons, yet until this season,
they have been quite hard to get hold of; much in the same way as skinny
jeans have proved difficult to find until now.
Tulip skirts are being sold quickly across the UK.
This tulip skirt is from River Island and the top features puff sleeves a very young look.
The bob haircut looks pretty good too. See another
River Island Spring 2006 - Womenswear Metallic shirt and tie £29.99/50.50 Metallic linen tulip skirt £39.99/67.00 Beaded necklaces £9.99/16.50
You can wear the softer looks, which men love, when you adopt a fuller high waisted
tulip shaped skirt and draw the waist in with a waist cinching belt.
If your waistline can tolerate the look of increased volume, then the
tulip skirt can draw attention to a neat waist and to good lower legs, whilst
disguising the hip heavy.
Remember that theory of men seeking lifetime partners, the ratio they subconsciously look for is (0.7), small waist to round hips. Need all the help you can get - then this is your chance to show off
In this new fashion era, fashion trendsetters everywhere will love wearing
these comfortable and fashion trend setting shapes. This year the fuller skirt will take on a fresher look as individuals start to wear
colourful contrast net petticoats to show just at the pushed out the hemline
can can style.
Accentuate lower skirt fullness with a neat
cropped jacket or a belted fitted cardigan as shown in the outfit available
from 2006 Spring women's wear at John Lewis and from the collection by
line which has proved to be growing in popularity in the past season is the
full slouch skirt with fullness set from the hips. Most women now have much
thicker waistlines than in the 50s, so this fullness dropped to the hips is
more flattering to wear than a skirt gathered directly from the waistline
This skirt style is also much more luxurious looking when made up in rich
taffetas. Some versions of
the full skirt are softly pleated as the one
below, whilst other skirts are gored in panels giving lots of hem width only. These styles that get fuller from the hip can
really increase the lower volume without adding too much waistline bulk.
Being fuller, these style variations are also very comfortable skirts in
wear. I am sure they will be worn everywhere this summer, and at last
will overshadow the gypsy skirt as a practical easy moving skirt for most
Other variations of the full skirt include sunray pleated skirts and these
could be a good investment as metallic sun ray skirts should be part of
In general, hemlines are higher in keeping with
the new simple A-line silhouette. Many skirt hems have opaque or semi sheer bands which create an illusion
of a hem. It becomes hard for the onlooker to decipher if the hem effect makes
the dress short or not.
This year, one aspect of fabrics that is worth note, is the way in which designers have layered different fabric weights. Look out for garments with transparent or semi sheer areas and optical
illusion effects such as dresses which give both an illusion of being shorter because for example a hem panel in semi sheer or sheer fabric has been used. From a distance the dress seems shorter yet
this method of banding hems makes the wearer feel the dress is longer because it physically is longer.
Banded insertion hems of several inches depth were a feature of mid 1960's
dresses and was one way that women were encouraged to gradually adopt
One similar look is that of
refined puff hemlines.
So you think you need some skinny jeans.... or even leggings.
If you look as slim as this model in this photo courtesy of Matalan
Women Spring Summer 2006 then they will look great.
Matalan Stripe stretch 3/4 length sleeve £8 Black skinny jean £14
Some think skinnies are on the way out already - another factor of
fashion-racing. I say just do your own thing. If they look good
on you wear them, if not choose from many alternatives.
Stop and consider that Miss Average is not Miss 6 foot Model and so remember there are plenty of other trouser styles to choose from apart from skinny jeans, including full capacious sailor
stride styles as well as baggier boyfriend style jeans, knee length shorts, cropped trousers and culottes.
Choose those pants that
flatter your figure not those that make a skinny model look even skinnier. Be realistic
and choose a fashion that flatters not fattens.
are now in most shops yet this style is less flattering to a great
many women. The best skinny jeans are said to
be from Sass and Bide. Many consumers are happy with affordable skinnies
from high street stores such as Topshop, Dorothy Perkins or The Gap.
If you are larger than you feel looks good in skinnies, but you long to wear them, why not wear
under a dress that
perhaps goes to mid thigh or with a long white shirt.
Try several styles of
dress over the skinny jeans. For you it may be a wrap dress that looks best,
for someone else a baby doll empire line dress, for another a shirt and for
another a smock top. Find the style that flatters you and you too can
wear skinny jeans. The biggest factor in choosing jeans once
you have found a pair with a reasonable body fit is then just trying
about seven or eight pairs of the same style until the perfect fitting
pair emerge. Be fussy about fit.
For most people
the problem with skinny jeans will be visible bulge thighs wider than the
hips, so any dress that
pitches mid thigh or longer should do the trick. This look can also be
used with opaque or patterned tights.
Choose black, grey or dark blue skinnies or stop
fretting and just buy equally fashionable very wide linen pants and look
like a groomed continental lady.
Black jeans need to be black - nothing looks worse than washed out black
Expect to see more
deep semi square necklines and wide set collars in keeping with boxier
jackets lines. Scoop and V necklines still abound as do
bra slip dresses and halter styles. Deep low Grecian
looking cowls are a change from the minor flippy higher cowls of
the turn of the century. Deep low V necks remain popular on shrugs
With the waist really back in fashion and nipped in looks becoming
more popular, it may be that some of you will need some Spanx
style underwear, a few weeks of pumping iron or very good posture! You will have to stay off the biscuits though to keep that hour glass
figure that the 50s fashion with its fitted bodice and
cinched waist requires. The image of the bow tie cardigan right is courtesy
Laura Ashley Spring Summer 2006
Satin ribbon bows will emphasise waists and will appear on dresses, jackets
and knitwear as cardigan belts or as jacket trims and this is a good and
easy way to update many items.
Loose airy and flowing sleeves are a feature of dresses and of fulsome
blouses. Draw attention to
shoulders with bare shoulders or
shoulder lines that are
puffed with fulsome airy voluminous, often semi sheer sleeves.
Bell and puff sleeves are appearing on blouses and tops.
It's not difficult for someone over 22 to look ridiculous in
short puff sleeves, but the same women may get away with fuller
blouson sleeves and deep cuffs. Many of the sleeves are
full at both the top and the bottom and are reminiscent of
romantic gigot and
Cap sleeves have also re-emerged and will be most welcome to those who hate
strappy dresses that reveal less than model toned arms and chicken wings of
flesh. The dresses we have this year
are for grown ups who long to have the freedom a dress can bring to a
wardrobe, but who would never wear an arm revealing spaghetti strap number.
This is the season of the oversized bag and any tone of
There are also many oversized white bags, textured bags, tall tote bags and
Update a bag
this spring by adding a scarf to the handles or loop the scarf through
any rings. Or buy one with a corsage trim or tassels or bobbles
I really like these bags shown left, image courtesy of
Debenhams PLC Spring/Summer 2006
Accessories Preview. Star by Julien Macdonald Designers at Debenhams bronze
gathered ring shoulder bag £30, and gold gathered ring shoulder bag £40.
Tousled Boho hair is out,
but bobs with a bit of lift a la Sharon Osbourne
or Sienna Miller or Erin O'Connor are
back in vogue. Getting the hair right
is the very easiest way to move easily into spring trends. If you have long hair
wear it in a chignon or dress it in oriental style with
decorative sticks like Kelly Osbourne does.
Whisper light translucent shimmering Organza moirι, silk jersey, taffeta,
brocade, duchesse satin, fine cotton lawn and textured materials such as
plisse are the fabrics to choose when selecting garments and accessories.
Metallics bring glimmer and shimmer to many materials.
Fabrics are quieter with more subdued greyed shades, but with
a few clear colours like lily green and skyblue. The
dazzle really comes from the metallics that compliment less
Keep anything you already own and in
the sandy beige,
cappuccino, pewter, taupe, off white, light grey, black, indigo and navy
anything made of brocade, velvet and organza. Read more
Be ruthless as you go through that wardrobe rail for out of date fashion
trends. If a garment is 12
months old and still taking up space, but unworn, reassess the item and
relocate it fast to the Salvation Army. If you have not worn if for a
year, the chances are 95% certain you will not wear it this year. My
image planning tips and
TICKS RULE may also help you.
We wear only 20% of our wardrobe whilst 80% languishes waiting for that rare
day when the weather is just so, or our weight hovers on the correct part of
the scales and the occasion can match it. One problem is our wardrobes
probably contain too much seasonal stuff that has had its moment, but we
feel it is too good to ditch because
a) we delude ourselves we still could look great in it on days we don't feel
b) it cost an arm and a leg
c) it's really brand new (may even have a tag still attached) because it
never really felt right whenever we went to put it on.
Spring 2006 fashion buys should include lighter weight wool mixes, some heavier
cottons and linen items for warmer days, plus a raincoat such as a
fashionable trench. These are all useful basic items as the weather
moves from cooler and damp to milder and warmer.
As far as the fashionisti were concerned Boho had had its day by autumn
2005. As there are still
so many influences visible in mass fashion shops you will have a hard job
though to avoid it.
The easiest way to move on in fashion and wean yourself off too obvious Boho
2005 is to scourge your wardrobe of the tiered layered gypsy peasant skirt
or just keep it for the beach as a swimwear cover up to pad up to the ice
A transitional look is to adopt a full skirt as shown in the
styles above and which is set on a
yoke or stitched to hip, but with just one to knee tier softly pleated or gored rather than
multi tiers of lower fullness. You could also opt for a maxi skirt,
but minus the
Functional slips such as those by
Spanx have been
back in fashion for sometime by those in the know. The latter are not pretty
pretty and mysterious, but they do perform the job of making a sleek
foundation for the slimmest of sheath dresses.
If you are still hanging on to that suit with a long low hip or to knee
jacket a la mid nineties/turn of the millennium, add it to a charity shop
Whilst we review our wardrobes spare a thought for your spectacle frames. Do
yours need updating. Check out modern frames easily by browsing online
sites such as Vision Express, Dollonds and Boots.
I thought you knew this last one - that belly flab is so passι. But still
we see what I think of as slabflab when we are out and about and worse, certain celebrities in the
know still refuse to give this up.
I've mentioned the slabflab look the last few seasons, but this look really is so past
its sell by date that I shouldn't have to mention it again. Yet still
I see the odd person slavishly revealing all. So I will repeat once more
that jeans hanging down exposing the pelvic line is not a good fashion look right
Why? Because not only has this look had its day, but the
majority of people cringe when they see it on another. More
importantly the bulge of flesh seen hanging over a low cut jean now has now
officially entered new vocabulary. Teen girls frequently describe this bulge as muffintop.
Both mean slabs of flab, both descriptions are most apt.
Slabflab overhang bulges are long gone and smooth contoured body curves a
must have. No bulges are allowed over waistbands. All the
best design houses are making lingerie ranges with slips this year.
Take a look at Figleaves and see slips by La Perla and others. Now that
you know a ladylike slip is in, let's hope you'll agree that that the death
knell to slabflabber fashions has been tolled for good.
Fashion-Era.com looks at women's costume and fashion history and analyses the mood of an era. Changes in technology, leisure, work, cultural and moral values. Homelife and politics also
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