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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). 

Wearing Undergarments that Fit and Compliment Your Figure

There was a time when ladies undergarments could weigh nearly 7lbs and take several hours to put into place.  We are talking being squeezed into a corset, petticoats, undershirt, camisole, stockings; if it was winter, additional layers of woolly garments would be required, already I am bursting into a sweat, what a work-out!

Now compare that to today, undergarments of matching bra sets, camisoles that are worn as tops, tights in their varying denier in weight, stockings and suspenders.  Corsets are still popular today, but thank goodness there’s no holding onto the bed-frame whilst being laced into it.

When gravity wants to defy and define us, well fitted underwear alludes to the appearance of a more slender, and toned physique, which in turn makes our outer garments fit better as opposed to over-fitted under garments; an example, if you are bulging out of your bra, running over at the top and the sides, its possible the cup size of your bra is too small.  Its noticeable in a fitted top, giving the appearance of several different sized balloons having a party underneath.

Over-fitted undergarments, just as with clothes that give the appearance of being too tight, not only look uncomfortable but are just that, restrictive and uncomfortable.  There’s many a button that looks on the verge of causing some serious damage if the wearer were to breathe out!  Women have two areas from which they can work, bra’s and panties (yes I prefer the more genteel description)!  Men on the other hand, it would be their boxers or underpants, I haven’t come across the male equivalent term to ‘VPL’ which translates as ‘visible pantie line’.  Do let me know if there is one.

What is visible pantie line?  Its where the panties being worn are tight and visible in trousers, skirts or dresses, why is that a problem?  It’s not a problem per se, its about the way in which the tightness in that area takes the eye away from the contours of your silhouette when wearing a garment. There’s a reason why people say ‘you should walk with your head held high’; when you create a happy union with your undergarments and your outer-garments, the clothes you wear not only look better on you, but can also make you look taller, elevating your confidence.

In the words of Marilyn Monroe: 

To learn more about style and fitting garments, have a look at my website featuring ready to wear one-of-a-kind dresses, or complete the contact form to talk about bespoke garments.

How To Choose Quality Clothing

A friend came to visit me recently,  with her she bought 4 department store dresses that she had purchased from well known brand names.  My friend’s complaint, she had only worn each of the dresses a couple of times, but they were coming apart at the seams, she then asked me “why has the quality of clothing gone down”?

I explained that in today’s ‘fast fashion’ the turnaround to get garments into the shops, and in peoples shopping baskets, quality often takes a backseat as it is worn today, and dismissed tomorrow.  The Oxford dictionary describes quality as ‘a degree of excellence‘; so what makes quality clothing?  The essential components are cut, fit, construction and fabric, without these pieces all working together there is no harmony, the design itself is the icing on the cake so to speak.  A great design, poorly constructed made in fabric that after either dry cleaning, or machine washing has lost its lustre will never return to its former glory.

In the case of my girlfriend, the dresses were beautifully shaped, complimentary style lines, fit her like a glove, which was also part of the problem; the seam allowances were tiny, less than 0.5cm.  Made in woven fabrics these dresses had minute seam allowances especially in the waist and hips, with no ease added in, this means there is no ‘wiggle room’.

Ease is added into a garment to allow for movement, jersey fabrics do not require as much ease as woven fabrics, with the majority of jersey’s there is some form of elastane, think of t-shirts and leggings.  A wider seam allowance, with ease will allow for strain in key areas, allowing for human functions such as walking, breathing and eating!  If my friend were a mannequin the tiny seam allowances would not be problem, and have no cause to tear open.   The industry standard used to be 1.5cm, and with couture garments 1.5cm – 2.5cm.  Therefore in an attempt to squeeze more garments out of the fabric length, the quality of construction, and therefore fit will suffer.  (The picture is of a seam allowance in a bespoke garment).Inside Seam Allowance

Why buy quality clothing?  In the long run you are actually saving money, its an investment.  The next time you are out shopping when you go to try on your garment, see how it feels, is it straining in any areas, have a peak inside and see if there’s a decent seam allowance, look at the finish, how does in feel in your hands, your body will thank you for it.

For more information have a look at the YouTube video we’ve prepared https://youtu.be/sR-k4TTj_-c

 

Shoes Make or Break an Outfit

“You can never take too much care over the choice of your shoes.  Too many women think that they are unimportant, but the real proof of an elegant woman is what is on her feet” Christian Dior

Black and red shoesShoes, be you male or female can make or break an outfit, and whilst the American 80’s/90’s had women donning trainers with their suits, followed swiftly by UK  women, there’s something amiss when it comes to that particular footwear when not worn for jogging.

I appreciate comfort like the next girl, and I know you will change into your stilettos or the equivalent of, when you get to your place of work, I guess it goes back to the saying ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’.

There is something uniquely feminine about a heel, be it kitten, or stiletto’s  3 inches plus, the elongation of the leg, the confident stance of standing tall, the gasps as admirers say “gorgeous shoes where did you get those” as you raise the hem to your evening gown.

I’m a lover of shoes, boots, sandals, ballerina pumps, yes, I do have trainers for exercising, a beautiful shoe however, never fails to go unnoticed, just like the person wearing it.

The January shoe sales are still with us, and there are some bargains to be had, but before you go rushing out to bag all that your hands can carry, have a look in your wardrobe and see what outfits would benefit from a change in footwear scenery, take the outfit with you, play around with how interchangeable you can make it, create a new look.

In addition, did you know there is also an instant test that you can perform with your shoes to learn more about comfort?  Chyna Whyne founder of ‘Walking In Stilettos’ http://walkinginstilettos.com has very cleverly come up with a unique concept, as well as teaching you how to walk in your stilettos, I guess you would call it the ‘finishing school for shoes’, click on the link for more information https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSssgjzvQ3o.  Share the love with your fellow shoe gurus on your social media platform, (pardon the pun)!

Ways to Make Your Apparel Look Stylish

By Coral Turner, Couture Designer

You may not consider yourself to be a fashionista, but you don’t have to be one to stand out and make a fashion statement. As a couture designer, I want to provide you with a few suggestions that can be incorporated into any wardrobe.

A ring and a necklace dress up any outfit but make sure these two pieces of jewelry complement each other. Every woman should have several rings and necklaces as accessories as well as earrings.

Let’s use an example of a jeans outfit. The blouse could be solid colour, like orange.  Next consider your biggest piece of jewelry – the necklace. With jeans, a sporty-type of necklace made of shells or beads over the solid colour blouse will look striking. It’s nice to incorporate the colour of the blouse into the necklace although solid white will do just as well. A sporty ring will be a nice accent if you can follow through with the colors in the necklace and try not to mix gold and silver. For sporty outfits, leave the diamond dinner ring in the jewelry box. The same thing with any noisy jewelry. For cooler nights, you can replace that necklace with a scarf. Long scarfs are very popular now. If wearing a scarf, tie a chic knot.

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Handmade  silk scarves from India

For more formal affairs, a hat adds a flair of glamour. If your hair is long, take the curl out and wear it straight down or pin it up in a bun or French twist. You want the hat to stand out;. the hat should match a colour in your outfit. A black and white outfit and a black hat are bound to turn a few heads. A hat with chiffon, a feather, or piece of jewelry adds excitement. You can always add your own pin to that hat too; so go ahead and raid your mother’s vintage pins.

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Romance a day to evening top by Coral Turner

A print blouse with a solid coloured sweater always looks attractive. Next time you wear that long sleeve sweater, consider folding the cuffs back to expose the cuffs of the blouse.

If you still have a long ankle-length skirt hanging in your closet, before you put it to rest, perhaps you should consider giving it a second life. Cut off twelve inches and hem it. Voila! A new item for your wardrobe.  Pair it with a crisp white collar shirt and black and silver studded belt and you are good for the office and drinks after a hard days work.

No fashion blog would be complete without the mention of shoes. In general, have your shoes match your clothing if you are conservative in your taste.  However, if you are daring, go ahead and use them as an accessory to the outfit.  I love animal patterned shoes of late, they add fun to any outfit as well as they are sexy and daring and there is nothing wrong with being a little sexy and daring.  Kitten heels are equally chic.

If unsure about accessories, less is more. If you use too many accessories, nothing will stand out to make a statement, so keep it simple.  Also, it is okay to buy those fashion magazines where they have the models stylized to get ideas.  I also love a website called Stylish Eve at www.stylisheve.com.  They search the globe and put together outfits for day or night, formal and casual.  I’m not sure why they haven’t picked up my couture fashions yet???  However, I cannot help but love the outfits they stylize.

By following the suggestions above, you’ll begin to impart your own style and people will notice, and don’t forget the perfume.

One last note, I am available to help you create and design your own look.  I make one of a kind, never to be repeated couture designs for the modern woman, the fashionista in you!