Dresses

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Fashion and the Older Woman

Age and Fashion – Who Makes Up the Crazy Rules

I’d like to meet the people who police our wardrobes telling us what we can and cannot wear, especially when women reach a ‘certain age’.

As for the certain age, I’ve noticed its changes like the weather; one minute 40 is the new 30, then 50 is the new 40 and so it goes on.  The other interesting discussion I was having recently, is the terminology used to describe older women, take for example the word mature, it’s also used to describe ‘cheese’, then there is ‘seasoned’, what’s with the food and cooking connotations?!

I know lots of women of varying ages, I find it amusing that an 18 year old wants to look and dress older, yet nothing is said; but heaven forbid an older women dresses to suit herself in a style that is considered for a youthful teen only, and she is considered to be ‘mutton dressed as lamb’.  Have you noticed how the phrases used to describe older women have some negative undertone attached to it?

So just to set the record straight, a woman in her 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s plus, these women, they know stuff, and some of us are still figuring things out; newsflash, that’s called Life, we are constantly figuring things out.  However, back to our wardrobes and what we can and cannot wear, lets start with the obvious, I know you’ll catch on:

  • If its too tight and you can’t get into it, guess what you can’t wear it, but hey that applies to all ages.
  • If its bright yellow and you don’t like bright yellow at all, what’s it doing in your wardrobe?
  • If its tired, bobbled, and faded in colour then do the garment a favour and lay it to rest.
  • If you are uncomfortable, wearing a dress or skirt that is too short for your taste then don’t wear it.  Trying to lengthen the hemline by constantly pulling it down is not going to change anything, except draw attention to the fact that you are constantly trying to pull down your dress or skirt, you will feel miserable in the process, as guess what you are uncomfortable!

Simple facts not rules.

I’m now going to hand you over to one of my favourite women in fashion, Iris Apfel who at 96 and has no intention of retiring her wardrobe anytime soon.

Let’s Talk Sleeves – Sleeves on Dresses

Fashions speak and media say ‘2017 is the year of the statement sleeve dress’.  Well in my book dresses with sleeves have always been a wardrobe staple regardless of the fashion trend or season.

Fashion history has always had some form of dress or dress coat for that matter with elaborate sleeves, if we look to the Orient the Kimono sleeve its drama and embroidered detail warrants attention.

There’s something romantic about a sleeve made in lace for example, it’s ephemeral grace as the lace weaves around your arm, with slight hints of what lies beneath.  Or the way a slim fitting sleeve can lengthen your arms, creating a slender look, then there’s the look of a Bishops sleeve which plays homage to an equestrian look of bold and dashing.

Long sleeves on dresses provide an alluring quality, and are a great cover up if you don’t like to show off your upper arms.  Three-quarter length sleeves provide and opportunity to show off bracelets and a fine watch.  Short sleeves are also wonderful in evening wear, and they vary from having a flared sleeve to a petal shaped sleeve of the 40’s as seen on vintage dresses.

There’s a whimsical feel to a sleeve with volume and flare, a throwback to the 60’s bohemian, peace and love, did you notice how everyone seemed much happier in their floral outfits?  The sleeves for that era, crazy patterned flared pleated sleeves, bell sleeves elasticised at the wrists, lots of fringing and tassels, it was all so groovy.

Sleeves can and do make a statement, long sleeves in particular, more distance for the eye to travel.  I think of sleeves on dresses, the same way a peacock struts his plumage, you’re looking so fine, you have to take another look!

(Happiness a ready-to-wear dress, can be found on my website in the collection called Glamour, only one made). 

The Power of a Dress

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Dressing up – and looking your loveliest, isn’t for me based on special occasions only, everyday, in my books is truly special.

The personal armor that we all wear, is about helping us to stand tall and confident, elegant and regal, our inner foibles we have to work on, but our clothing can give us a head start.

Interestingly, in the case of a woman’s wardrobe, no one garment has caused such a stir throughout time, and to this day other than ‘The
Dress’.

The dress whose construction can be a myriad of style lines, or simplicity of cut which lets the fabric do the talking, contains within ‘her’ the power to turn heads, start a conversation or stop one, ‘the dress’ – the right dress that is, does exactly that.

A dress of elegance is a quietly confident style, it doesn’t shout at you because she doesn’t need to, you will come to her.  Softness and frills don’t have to imply being submissive, femininity is a strength to be celebrated.

The fabric’s used for dresses, they too have their part to play, the fluidity of liquid silk, frolics with the sensuous shaping of the body especially when cut on the bias; jersey fabrics cling, drape and move with your contours and looks amazing in both day and evening wear.

That special dress is usually the number one factor at weddings, but wait, what about that first date, evening cocktails after work, a weekend away, office parties, a black tie event, the red carpet… the list continues to build.

Even the tomboy of a lady, has people doing a double-take when seen wearing a dress, there was a reason the fairy Godmother stepped in and said to Cinderella ‘you shall go to the ball’, and then the transformation took place.

Dresses, long, maxi, short, midi, have been head turners throughout the centuries, and will continue to be so.

Coral Turner – Couture Designer

Fashion, Television – Dressing the Celebrity in ‘YOU’

Day to Evening Wear

There is a lot to be said for dressing up, standing out from the crowd, being the special individual you are born to be.

At the moment, I am in love with the unique glamour dresses as worn by the
characters in the television series ‘Suits’

SuitsThe Cast from Suits

For those not familiar with the series it’s all about the power struggles, and lawsuits at a high profile law firm, composed of secrets, intrigue, and cliff hangers, all set to the background of men’s tailored sharp fitting suits; hot dresses that speak of luxury, high end designer looks!

With the added bonus that a lot of the garments are in one of my favourite fabrics ‘jersey’, I am a very happy lady!  You have the cling, fit, shaping and the pertness of the derriere, that gives you a knock-out look, the view is great from all directions, and all of this set in an office environment for our female characters.

sj_722_2x03-meet-the-new-boss-1The character of Jessica Managing Partner

The character of Donna Harvey’s PA

Dressing the celebrity in you, boils down to a) how you see yourself, and b) the message you want your clothes to convey about you.  For example how do you feel about a little cleavage exposure?  The above image of the character Donna, you know will achieve admiring looks from your male counterparts, however, what about your female colleagues, and more importantly, do you care?

Your day to day environment does play a part, and you may prefer the subtly of Jessica’s style,  however, both garments are great for day to evening dressing. There is also the question of jewellery, big statement pieces or soft and delicate. Personally, I would say the simplicity of a fine delicate necklace with a very low cleavage in the case of Donna’s dress, and a bold unusual design where there is nothing on show, as with Jessica’s dress.

If you’ve been wearing a jacket in the office all day, then for the evening, this is the perfect opportunity to show off that dynamic silk or wool patterned scarf, draping it elegantly around the shoulders.

Celebrities exude an air of sophistication that many of us would like to emulate, some of it is acting, but mostly it’s confidence.  As with children when they play ‘dressing up’ it’s about play acting (do you remember those times)?  Having fun is the key, if your didn’t play dress up, now is your chance to embrace a bit of that childhood spirit, added to that a pinch of acting skills, authenticity of character, great looking and feeling clothes; camera, action… it’s now your turn to be in the spotlight!


Rosetta day to evening chic dinner dress by Coral Turner

Dressy Dresses for Women

What is Jersey?

It is basically a knitted fabric also known as stretch knit, and comes in a variety of textures, weights, fibres and colours.

There are various types of knits, however two basic types of machine knitted fabrics, are weft and warp knits; weft knits are similar to hand-knitting and warp knits are made by a machine called a chain loom.  Fundamentally, they are formed by the same principle, interlocking loops of yarn from one or more points of
origin.

If you think of an everyday cotton t-shirt, round neck, short or long sleeves, this is considered to be part of many a staple wardrobe, the quality of this t-shirt, does it shrink in the wash, lose its colour after one wash – all of these factors are determined by the yarn used, construction methods and the amount of stretch in the knitted fabric.

The beauty of the stretch that this fabric retains, is what allows it to stretch over your body and return to its original shape and size.  It should also be noted that some knits will stretch more than others and as with all things; quality is always a major factor.

Jersey cocktail dresses, to sexy going out tops, can be made in a variety of blends: rayon, silk, cotton, mohair, wool, acrylic, polyester each have their own allure, coupled with their stretch and recovery, they are not only comfortable to wear but resist wrinkles better than some woven fabrics, which makes them great for travelling, and be can washable or dry clean only.

Couture clothing in knitted fabrics can be made to fit every occasion which is one of the reasons they are so popular in the world of fashion.

Velvet

Zoe Belucci models ‘Velvet‘ the Little Black Dress as featured on http://www.coralturner.com , photography by Minna Rossi http://minnarossi.com.