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4 Secrets You Can Learn About An Elevated Wardrobe From Coco Chanel

The Devil’s in the Detail

Gabrielle Chanel was a fashion trailblazer. She designed timeless, elegant, luxurious clothes and accessories that are still used to create garments we buy today. Her personal style, individuality, and how that translated into her designs are beautifully displayed at the ‘Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto’ exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria (Australia).

I hadn’t realised before my visit that Chanel’s genius lay with her apparently simple designs paired with divine attention to detail. We can use her creations as a source of inspiration. ‘Simplicity with a twist’ is something you might consider when creating your own outfits.

Excerpt from L'art et La Mode, 'Chanel's creations are always the epitome of grace and youthfulness, and delight through the simplicity of the line and carefully considered details.'

Excerpt from L’Art et La Mode, September 1932.

Look at the skirt and top ‘sportswear ensemble’ below. The outfit appears unadorned, but cast your eyes down to the arrow-like features on the skirt – so subtle, yet very distinctive, and a luxury design detail that elevates the outfit to a whole new level.

This Chanel soft white sportswear ensemble consists of a sleeveless, collared blouse and a straight skirt with distinctive 'arrow-like' details on the front.

Over to you: What are the components of your outfits that make your look elevated?

How Chanel created outfits for her lifestyle

Coco Chanel designed garments to suit her lifestyle. She was active (thus the short skirt in the image above), forward-thinking, had a strong practical side, yet had a deep appreciation for elegance and femininity. She loathed the restrictive clothes of the past; tight corsets, long skirts, high necklines, and layers of fabric. Instead, she favoured styles that allowed freedom of movement and comfort and allowed for the practicalities of everyday life.

Photo of a white Chanel dress made from cotton chiffon. It has spaghetti straps and eleven ruffled tiers from hip level down.

Over to you: What’s not working for you in your wardrobe?

Chanel was the master of the timeless wardrobe.

One huge room in the exhibition featured dozens of Chanel’s iconic suits with their collarless, buttoned, boxy jackets and straight A-line skirts. Yes, they all had similar lines; however, each one was unique due to the interesting details that had been added.

Three Chanel suits. All are cream in colour with different red and black trim details.

A selection of nine classic style suits and coats in khaki, coral and cream colours.

Over to you: How much of your wardrobe is classic and more timeless, and how much is looking dated?

Practical Chanel

Gabrielle Chanel was free-spirited, was a rebel, and she enjoyed experimenting with style. She created garments on a mannequin rather than sketching them first. Fabrics such as jersey that had only been used as underwear were now outerwear in garments such as the Breton tee. Jersey fabric is easy to wash, with no special care required.

The quilted 2.55 bag – She threaded a fine stripe of leather through the metal chain, so it didn’t make any noise and was quiet to wear. Inside the bag was a special compartment for your lipstick (How often has your lipstick got lost in the bottom of your bag?)

A classic, black Chanel 2.55 bag. It is quilted and features a metal chain strap that is threaded with a fine strip of leather to minimise noise.

Chanel’s two-tone slingback pump was beige, so it’s elongating and very versatile. The toe was black, so it was easy to polish if it got dirty or scuffed.

Prototype of two-tone slingback pump in beige and black.

 

Over to you: Is your wardrobe working in the practical way you would like it to?

What have you realised about your current wardrobe after reading this? Is it as elevated and stylish as you would like it to be? Is it a pleasure to wear because it’s comfortable? If you’d like some help curating the wardrobe that really works for your life and style, discover how you can work with me. I’d love to help you create a beautiful wardrobe that makes you feel stylish, comfortable, and confident.

Sticky
March 15, 2022

Statement Necklaces to Liven Up Your Outfits

Statement necklaces provide an attractive focal point and turn a boring outfit into something special.

Eye-catching necklaces are a simple way to express your personal style. From classic to quirky, feminine to playful, there are plenty of designs, colours and styles to choose from. 

Are you finding it hard to find accessories to go with your outfits?

People often ask me to find unique jewellery pieces for them or want to know where to find them. I thought you might like to see some of my suggestions. 

Here are 10 statement necklaces to add to your jewellery collection.

Tip: Click on the image to take you to the source.

This handmade necklace in cool blues is made from Tagua nuts. It would look gorgeous with a scoop neckline. I love the organic shapes and adjustable cord (which can be lowered or raised depending on the top or dress you’re wearing).

Blue handmade necklace with five organic shaped flat beads with an adjustable black cord.

 

Here it is in beautiful warm greens.Green necklace made from Tagua nuts. It features five large organic shaped beads.

Now here’s a very versatile piece! Multi-coloured links made from resin. I can see it working with a great variety of outfits from super casual weekend wear (tee and jeans) right through to an office environment.

Colourful link necklace with adjustable length.

It’s handy to have a long necklace in your accessory stash. This style comes in 13 different colours including sunny orange, tradition black, and warm and cool reds combined. Don’t get too hung up on the silver beads if you suit warm colours – it’s far enough away from your face and in such a small quantity not to matter. Just make sure the coloured beads are in your palette.

Long statement necklaces with silver and resin beads. There are 13 colours to choose from.

If you’re looking for feminine sophistication, this Kate Spade ‘Lady Marmalade’ short (16″) necklace is a perfect choice. It will team nicely with a V neckline or an open collared blouse.

Kate Spade 'Lady Marmalade' 16" necklace in gold and diamonds.

‘Glamour personified’ is how I’d describe this statement necklace. Don’t you just love the glittery bits?! The shape is perfect for everyone because it’s not quite square and not totally round. Perfect for special occasions, the office or when you need a little sparkle in your life 🙂

Yellow gold soft square pendant necklace by Kate Spade. Beautiful glittering cubic zirconias are pave set on the square shape.

Statement Necklaces from Nature

This gorgeous bib necklace is made from strands of black onyx. The same style comes in seven other stones including lapis lazuli, turquoise, tiger eye, and amethyst.

Multi strand black onyx bib-style necklace with a silver ring clasp.

There’s so much to love about this cultured freshwater pearl necklace. At its shortest length the strands are 45 centimetres (18 inches) long and at their longest, 58 centimetres (23 inches) long. This stunning piece comes with a certified Seal of Authenticity. These silvery grey pearls are perfect if you suit cool tones.

multi strand cultured freshwater black pearl necklace.

I couldn’t leave my warm sisters out of the pearl party. Here’s your version of the multi-strand cultured freshwater pearl necklace. I love it!

Cultured freshwater pearl necklace in warm tones. It has nine strands.

So romantic! Swarovski’s Infinity Heart necklace features a white crystal heart and a rose gold infinity symbol that intertwine elegantly together. It may not be big, but this necklace really makes a statement – it’s a very special piece.

Swarovski Infinity Heart necklace featuring a white crystal heart intertwined with a rose gold plated infinity symbol.

 

 

 

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Sticky
February 11, 2022

Perfect Maxi Dresses for Summertime Bliss

Down here in Sydney Australia, it’s Spring, moving into Summer. And with that comes the call for dresses: for parties, the races, hot days, and warm, sultry nights.

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to wear. So, I’ve put together a collection of my favourite maxi dresses for all occasions.

But, before you spend any money, here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing your maxi.

  1. Maxis are often loose and flowy, so if you have a defined waist, show it off by adding a belt.
  2. Are you petite? The hem should be ankle length.
  3. Depending on the occasion, you can wear heels, sandals, wedges or sneakers with your maxi. Boho styles look great with cowboy boots.

Tip: When I refer to sneakers, I mean slimline white, neutral, or coloured ones that relate to the colours in your dress and not anything chunky or heavy-looking.

  1. Avoid maxis with volumes of fabric unless you are very tall.
  2. Look for solid colours, dense all-over prints, or vertical prints if you want to look taller and slimmer.
  3. Choose prints that are proportional to your scale. (We cover proportions and scale in a Personal Style Consultation)
  4. Soft, floaty fabrics will be cooler and more flattering.
  5. If your maxi is too long, i.e. hits the ground or fabric pools on the floor, shorten it. This is mainly for safety reasons. Tripping on your long dress is only going to end in tears!
  6. Dresses in plain, solid colours lend themselves to being accessorised. If your dress features a busy pattern, allow it to be the focal point and go easy on the jewels.
Seven maxi dresses in cool colours. Five of the dresses feature floral and paisley patterns.

Click here to shop this board.

How to Accessorise your Maxi Dress

Let your imagination run wild!

You could go understated with stud earrings, a simple necklace and a daytime tote. Or, you could add larger jewellery pieces to make more of an impact. How about some bling earrings and a statement bag for the evening?

Seven maxi dresses in warm colours. Five of them have either a floral or paisley print.

Click here to shop this board.

Now’s a Great Time to Buy

Are you (and your wardrobe) ready for all of the fun get-togethers and parties that happen this time of year? Don’t find yourself stressed out with the “I have nothing to wear” syndrome. Shop early so you’ll be prepped for summer – stepping out in style.

Watch the video to see why I’ve selected these maxi dresses.

Do you need help sorting out your wardrobe, creating new outfits and shopping for the new season?

Sticky
November 09, 2021

Funky Flat Sandals for Easy Spring and Summer Style

Flat sandals are so handy to have in your wardrobe for spring and summer.

They allow your feet to breathe, and you can wiggle your toes (LOL)! They’re such an easy ‘grab and go’ option for the warmer months.

Nude coloured flats that are close to your skin tone are the most versatile. Then, neutrals like tan, navy, white, grey, brown, and black are handy because they mix and match with every colour. And finally, fun, interesting colours such as green, red, orange, purple etc., are the least adaptable but will add an element of interest to any outfit.

If you have skin with warm undertones, choose yellow-based colours. And, if your skin is ‘cool’, then select blue-based colours. I’ve included a range of both warm and cool coloured flat sandals, as you can see in the shoppable boards below.

 

 

 

Watch this video to see why I chose these flat sandals:

If you’ve had your colours done, you’ll know if you should be focusing on the warm or the cool range of colours. If you’re at a loss as to whether you suit yellow or blue-based colours, a personal colour analysis consultation will take all of the guesswork away.

What To Wear with Flat Sandals

  1. A maxi dress
  2. Jeans
  3. Casual skirt
  4. Knee or above the knee length dress
  5. Culottes
  6. Shorts
  7. A jumpsuit
  8. Cargo pants
  9. Casual pants made from light-weight fabric like linen

Let’s just look at #1 and #4. Flat sandals and casual dresses are a match made in heaven. These are two wardrobe items that require minimum thought and time, with maximum impact. No worrying about which top and bottom coordinate together – just slip on your dress, slide into your sandals, grab your handbag, and you’re out the door!

Here are some long and short dresses that would look great with your flat sandals.

Sticky
September 10, 2021

Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson: ‘Step Into Paradise’ exhibition

In 1973 Jenny Kee opened her Flamingo Park store in the Strand Arcade. ‘Step into Paradise’ was the sign that hung on the door. The shop was described as “romantic, exotic and kitsch” by Jenny – a riot of colour, texture, and pattern. It showcased vintage clothing finds from London, Linda Jackson’s unique creations, and Jenny’s famous knits.

The exhibition is showing at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney until 22 March 2020. It celebrates the creative partnership between these two inspiring Australian fashion designers as well as their individual achievements in the fashion world. Over 150 garments, textiles, photographs, and artworks are on display. These items give us an in-depth insight into their design style, sources of inspiration and creative evolution.

Flamingo Park was a ‘must-see’ destination in the 70s and 80s. Famous visitors included David Bowie, Christie Brinkley, Lauren Bacall, and Olivia Newton-John. They were a global sensation! Local and international celebrities wore their clothes. Remember the media frenzy when Princess Diana wore the Jenny Kee koala jumper to a polo match in 1982?

Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson’s creations were brightly coloured, heavily patterned or both. They were inspired by everything iconically Australian. Years spent exploring the bush, especially in and around the Blue Mountains, influenced their Australian flora and fauna themes. Other sources of inspiration were semi-precious stones like opals, Australian landmarks, and indigenous art.

Here’s a sneak peek into some of the fabulous outfits on display.

Step Into Paradise: the store

Mock up of Jenny Kee's Flamingo Park store in Sydney circa 1973

Mockup of Jenny Kee’s Flamingo Park store in Sydney, 1973

 

Bright pink, over-sized knitted top with Jenny Kee motif on the back.

Bright pink, over-sized knitted top with Jenny Kee motif on the back. Mannequins in 50’s style outfits on the right.

 

Glamorous evening gowns inside the mockup of Jenny Kee's store, Flamingo Park.

Glamorous evening gowns inside the mockup of Jenny Kee’s store, Flamingo Park.

 

Three dresses from the Flamingo Park store circa 1973

Three dresses from the Flamingo Park store circa 1973

 

Australian Themes

Hand knitted wattle dresses 1978

Hand knitted wattle dresses 1978

 

Jenny Kee Waratah dress

Waratah dress

 

Three garments featuring Australian wildflower motifs and boomerangs.

Australian wildflower themes with hearts and boomerangs

 

Three Jenny Kee hand knits in earthy colours.

Hand knitted pieces in earthy tones. Intarsia knits. The Australian bush inspired these scribbly bark and leaf patterns.

 

Two outfits that feature water themes, dolphins and fish.

Celebrating the ocean and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

 

Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson: Bold Colour and Pattern Statements

Jenny Kee mannequin wears her iconic red glasses and densely patterned scarf and jumper.

Jenny Kee mannequin wears her iconic red glasses and densely patterned scarf and jumper.

 

Mannequins wearing colourful dresses.

Beads, feathers, ruffles, and striking colours.

 

Mannequin wears an bright, bold outfit featuring large rounded shapes.

Bright, saturated colours and large shapes make this outfit anything but ‘beige’.

 

Asian inspired jacket with pointy, exaggerated shoulders and appliqué.

Asian inspired jacket with pointy, exaggerated shoulders and appliqué.

 

Ethnic Themes

An outfit from Linda Jackson’s ‘Indigo’ collection. Ethnic patterns.

An outfit from Linda Jackson’s ‘Indigo’ collection

 

Outfits feature beading and vivid colours

Beading, vivid colours, triangular and diamond shapes give these outfits an African feel. Colourful organic shapes reference Australian opals.

 

Jenny Kee 'Harvest Goddess' costume designed for the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000

Jenny Kee ‘Harvest Goddess’ costume designed for the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000

Portraits of Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson

Mixed media portraits (drawing and paper collage) of Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson were a fitting way to end the exhibition.

Portrait of Australian fashion designer, Jenny Kee.

Jenny Kee

Portrait of Australian fashion designer, Linda Jackson.

Linda Jackson

Would you like to see more photos of amazing outfits and jewellery from fashion designer and artist exhibitions? Here are links to Dior, Cartier, Guo Pei, Hermes, Frieda Kahlo Museum, Viktor & Rolf.

Sticky
March 02, 2020

Guo Pei: ‘Legend’ extravaganza at the NGV

The National Gallery of Victoria’s impressive inaugural Triennial exhibition featured displays of contemporary artists from 32 countries. A stand out for me was the collection of wonderful creations from Chinese born fashion designer Guo Pei. The stunning costumes were from her 2017 Spring/Summer ‘Legend’ couture parade.

All of the ‘Legend’ pieces were on loan from a private collection. These amazing gowns showcased Guo Pei’s remarkable imagination and design prowess. Bringing her phenomenal concepts to life took hundreds of skilled artisans thousands of hours to complete.

Pei’s inspiration came from her visit to the baroque cathedral of St. Gall in Switzerland. She was mesmerised by the stunning ethereal murals, its dome and the rich gold ornaments. And so began a two-year journey of inspiration and creation leading to these impressive haute couture gowns.

This display was a feast of sparkling crystals, sumptuous embroidery and silk. As well as feathers, metal, PVC, dazzling gold thread and organza.

Here are some of the photos I took during my visit.

Ensembles

Black chest piece and lace gown Guo Pei

Black chest piece and lace gown

Lantern sleeve gown Guo Pei

Lantern sleeve gown

Deep green and gold dress Guo Pei

Deep green and gold dress

Feathered gown Guo Pei

Feathered gown

Angel gown with gold Guo Pei

Angel gown with gold

Skirt of Angel dress with gold Guo Pei

Skirt of Angel dress with gold

White Goddess Guo Pei

White Goddess

Luminous spirit Guo Pei

Luminous spirit

Fantasy Footwear

Suede and beaded shoes from Guo Pei's Legend collection
Feathered fantasy footwear Guo Pei Legend collection
Gold fantasy footwear Guo Pei Legend collection

Fabulous Fabrics

Sequinned and beaded lace Guo Pei
Red Goddess dress metallic fabric Guo Pei Legend collection
Heavily embroidered fabric Legend Collection Guo Pei
Dazzling emboidered fabric from Guo Pei's Legend collection
Silk, polyester, pvc and emboidery used to make a Guo Pei Legend collection dress
Feathers on fabric Guo Pei Legend collection

The Finale

Guo Pei’s ‘Legend’ couture fashion show ended spectacularly with this Red Goddess gown. Carmen Dell’Orefice, octogenarian and American model, paraded the gown which is said to symbolise blood.  Made from metallic fabric, silk, crystals and embroidery, this sculptural piece makes a dramatic statement as you enter and exist the exhibition.

Guo Pei Legend collection Red Goddess ensemble
Close up of Red Goddess dress Guo Pei
Red Goddess ensemble with train Guo Pei Legend collection

 

Ann Vodicka is a Sydney based image consultant and personal stylist. She believes that all her clients have their own unique sense of personal style and she delights in helping them express it!

Image Confidence was created to help you look your best with minimum effort and maximum impact.

Contact Ann to start your transform to image confidence.

Sticky
March 21, 2018

Put the Brakes on Fast Fashion

You’ve probably heard of the term fast fashion. The Oxford dictionary defines it as, “Inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends.” I think it’s fair to say that most of us have bought fast fashion.

In March 2017, ABC’s Lateline program reported that “in Australia alone, more than 500,000 tonnes of textiles and leather end up in landfill each year.”  That’s mind blowing!

These days the fashion industry has the ability to manufacture cheap, low quality clothing very quickly. Retailers are introducing new trends every few weeks and this is impacting our buying habits. We’re buying more and more clothes and the flow on effect is that the amount of clothes we’re throwing away is increasing too.

So how do we put the brakes on this fast fashion phenomenon? What can we do to extend the lifespan of our clothes and delay their journey into landfill?

Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling:

  •  Donate to and shop at charity stores. There’s plenty to choose from: Australian Red Cross, Vinnies, Salvos, Anglicare and The Smith Family. I bought this stunning Elie Tahari silk blouse for $28 at my local Red Cross shop…. Bargain!
Saying "no" to fast fashion: my Elie Tahari blouse bought at the Red Cross Shop

Elie Tahari silk blouse from my local Red Cross shop

  • Sell or buy at recycle/consignment boutiques. I’ve used Recycled Rags Emporium in Sydney to sell some of my near new clothes and shoes that were lying idle in my wardrobe.
  • Buy and sell online at websites such as Ebay, Gumtree and Facebook’s Marketplace.
  • Organise swap meets with friends or participate in a local community event. Last Sunday Inner West Council held a clothing swap as part of their Footprints Eco Festival.  It was a fantastic initiative and lots of fun.
Say "no" to fast fashion by clothes swapping.

Clothes swap at Eco Festival

What else can I do to put the brakes on Fast Fashion?

  • Offer or gift items to family and friends (with no offence taken if they don’t want them.)
  • Buy eco friendly fashion items from businesses that promote ethical and sustainable fashion such as purepod.com.au, theark.com.au (their Travel 17 collection is fantastic), wellmadeclothes.com.au and threadharvest.com.au
  • Sell at markets and car boot sales. I have sold clothes, shoes, accessories and other bits and pieces at Rozelle markets in Sydney on the occasional weekend. Each time I walked away with a tidy profit of more than $600!
  • If you buy from fashions brands like H & M, Nike and Patagonia, look into their recycling programs and incentives.
  • Donate ‘gently used’ professional clothing to your local not for profit organisations that support women and men in their quest for financial independence through employment and upskilling. e.g. Wear for Success in Melbourne (for men and women), and Dress for Success (Women only. Locations around Australia).
  • Vivienne Westwood said it so well; “Buy less, choose well.” Invest in higher quality items that mix and match with pieces you already own. Not only will they last longer, (that’s the aim of the game), but you’ll get better cost per wear per garment. Every item will earn its keep. Spending money on higher quality fabrics and textiles helps garments retain their shape, colour and surface texture for longer.
  • Shop your wardrobe. Spend an afternoon reinventing new outfits from the pieces you already own. You’ll probably discover items you forgot were there or find pieces that still have the shop tag on them! Get your creative juices flowing! Breathe new life into the existing contents of your wardrobe.
  • If you’re handy with a sewing machine or know a quality clothing alterations store you can repair or restyle garments to give them a new lease of life. You could change them to align with current fashion trends or to better fit your figure and proportions. And, if you’re stuck for ideas, Suzannah Hamlin Stanley’s book, ‘DIY Wardrobe Makeovers: Alter, Refresh & Refashion Your Clothes * Step-By-Step Sewing Tutorials’ provides plenty of handy tips and inspiration. Another book worth mentioning is, “The Refashion Handbook: Refit, Redesign, Remake for Everybody.’ by Beth Huntington.
  • Rent items you’ll only wear once. It’s such an easy, affordable way to stay current and you’ll never be seen wearing the same outfit twice. Rates are very reasonable compared to the cost of a new garment and most suppliers offer next day delivery to capital cities. dressedup.com.au glamcorner.com.au yourcloset.com.au
  • Lastly, create a capsule wardrobe: a group of clothes that mix and match with each other unified by colour. You’ll need less clothes and have more options because all items work together. It also equates to better cost per wear per item e.g. A $100 for a shirt worn 100 times =  $1 each time you wore it.
Sticky
September 03, 2017

Fashion Colours for Winter 2017 – Your Trend Forecast.

For those of us in the southern hemisphere, we’re in the thick of winter right now: time to be adding some fun, fashion colours to liven up your day and your wardrobe.

So how do we know what colours are on trend for this season?

Every year fashion colour trends are summarised in reports from world renown colour authority, Pantone. These reports highlight the colours we will see in shops for the upcoming seasons. Forecasts are based on colours showcased at New York and London Fashion Weeks.

Pantone’s Fashion Colour Report for Fall/Winter 2017 has a collection of warm and cool reds, deep port, soft pinks, olive to lime greens, autumn leaf colours like rust, terracotta and spiced mustard and some light to medium cool blues.

Pantone’s New York Fall/Winter Fashion Colours 2017

Use accents of these colours to add interest to your winter outfits. Style with accessories like scarves, earrings, necklaces, ties, hats and gloves. It’s the easiest way to incorporate colour to achieve an on trend look.

If you have warm undertones consider hues like Grenadine, Lemon Curry and Golden Lime. If you have cool undertones choose colours like Blue Bell, Shaded Spruce and Ballet Slipper. Experiment with these fashion colours to discover what works well for you.

Pantone’s London Fall/Winter Fashion Colours 2017

Choosing colours that best suit your hair, eyes and skin tone will have you looking healthy and vibrant even on the greyest of days!

Have you been trying out various warm and cool colours, like those in the Pantone winter colour range, but are still baffled by which colours work for you? A personal colour analysis will eliminate all of the confusion and guesswork. You’ll know your best colours for every season, including this winter.

 

Discover what colours work for you.

 

 

Ann

ann@imageconfidence.com.au

0408 108 804

 

 

 

Sticky
June 27, 2017
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