Outfit Post: A simple black and white dress…

If you know me…you know I LOVE colour.  So this post is a bit of a different one for me as I am showcasing basically a black and white dress.  It is also a more feminine look than I really go for with a high neckline and an A-line skirt.  The dress was from Marks & Spencer and was paired with a pair of mules also from Marks.  I was lucky that the lovely Sabrina Sikora pushed me into wearing mules (I always looked at them with an eye brow raised) and well they were peep toe too which makes me go EEK even more (I have to keep a decent pedicure on those tootsies).  However, they ARE super comfortable and pretty much went with every outfit I had during the summer of 2015.  Also a heel that you can walk around in in HK?  SOLD.  Thankfully Marks & Spencer have reproduced them this Spring 2016.  They obviously know a good thing when they see it.  Shame though that they did not reproduce the navy version (gutted I didn’t get those last year).  For other options on the mule shape…check out Australian brand SENSO (they ship to HK!) from closed toe, open toe to various shades of animal print (cue heart emojis at this point).

 

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Senso Mules…

The dress I am wearing in this outfit post is from Summer 2015 for Marks & Spencer.  However the shape is classic and super flattering for most silhouettes.  For curvy girls like me, a nipped in waist helps give you a nice shape and though sleeveless, it is easy to cover up your bingo wings with a little cardigan (or just own the said bingo wings like I do).  I have found local brand WHAT THE FROCK?  to be a great affordable option.  No pattern but coming in a multitude of colours which adds personality to your outfit!

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What the Frock ‘French’ Dress in Pink

I have heard from a professional matchmaker that such a dress like this is perfect for a first date.  It is feminine, fashionable (without being too fashion aka scary) and has scope via the colour and the accessories you add to it to make it your own personal style.

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So there you go…dresses that do not have crazy prints can be a good thing…

Thanks as always to Bryant for making me look semi decent in photos, that boy is a miracle worker and super talented.

 

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OUTFIT POST: COBALT COORDS…

Cobalt – a chemical element with the atomic number of 27 or  a cool blue colour.  Strangely enough though, this colour like its name evokes energy, movement… electricity.  Even warmth.  In fashion, the colour has been around for a while and for us Oriental ladies it is a great shade to wear.  Actually scratch that … for any lady to wear.  I have not seen one lady wearing cobalt who does not look good and hey its definitely more interesting than wearing a black dress.  The colour just seems to brighten the complexion so for us sallow complexion ladies…(like me it is a blessing).

As I am in an adventurous mode, I stepped away from the safe zone of a LCD (little cobalt dress…I have a gorgeous one from local label What the Frock? but wanted to push it and show the current trend of matchy matchy tops and bottoms.  I found a great pants and tops set from Marks & Spencer (warning the trousers are stretchy but can be very tight fitting!!) A word of warning here, check out the size above your normal size just in case as it might be a better fit.  No camel toe please!

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COBALT COORDS…  This makes for a great change from a cobalt dress or even a trouser suit.  The top is smart enough and the trousers are sleek enough to look professional for work….

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Excited for New Work Wear Options!!  Go Bold Go Blue Go Cobalt!

Another word of warning, with slim fitting trousers such as these and in such a bright colour, make sure you do not have the bottoms too long for you.  Ideally they should skim the ankles or just cover the ankles otherwise you have a lot of material in excess and fold ups do not help maintain the silhouette!

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Does my BUM look big?  Simple accessories such as these sleek heels and my MISCHA black and white tote adds structure and balance to such a loud colourful piece…

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With a top like this…do not do what I did, forget to tie the belt and pay attention to it.  This is definitely a DON’T shot as you can see that the belt half tied makes an otherwise polished look look sloppy…

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My intention was to keep hair and accessories sleek to counterbalance my colourful clothing and also keep it work appropriate.

My hair (as you might have noticed) recently got cut and I have been wearing it curly.  However, for this shoot, I thought it would be nice to see how my new cut styles up when straightened.  I tried out the new GHD Platinum and they are awesome.  Hair was shiny and also easy to straighten.  Check them out (though they are pricey at around HK$2,500 per pop but much better than ruining your hair with cheaper imitations as my friend says…hair you wear with you every day!).  My bucket bag is from local favourite MISCHA and it really is a great city bag.  I put pretty much everything in it!!  I grabbed it in the warehouse sales but check out her current offerings to get something just as good.)

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This MISCH Bucket Bag has been a perfect city bag…

Unfortunately or well fortunately for me, I got these awesome sleek heels from Badgley Mischka at a garage sale but here is a pair from Pedro Garcia’s Fall 2015 collection which would be a great alternative.

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Pedro Garcia Heels from Fall 2015 collection.  Check here for stockists.

And one final thing…the COBALT COORDS!!  Yes they are from Marks & Spencer and you can get them in store or go online.

A big THANK YOU to Marks & Spencer for the outfit and of course to my boo Bryant Lee for the photographs. http://www.bryantleee.com!

OUTFIT POST: COLOUR AND PRINT CLASH – It’s OK for work wear (IMHO)

When I was younger…Just joking I will not start with that….

So where was I?   Firstly, thank you again to the talented Bryant Lee for this second outfit post shooting.  He called this the “professional look” so I apologise for some truly cheesy poses where I try to copy boss lady/corporate poses and head shots.  (Yes a bit cringeworthy) but the intentions were pure…the idea was to show you can be feminine, wear colour and print (with a bit of intentional clashing) and still be work appropriate.

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Would You Trust Your Finances to THIS FACE?  (No answers please…)

It is so easy to stick to dark grey, blacks and if you are lucky navy for your work wardrobe palette.  Yes it is the safe route to go and to be honest you can not go THAT wrong (do not make me eat my words!) with suits and shift dresses in those colours.  However, a question…would it not make you start your day with a smile on your face if you could add some colour to your work outfit?   Now, do not get me wrong, there are times when colour and patterns may not be appropriate.  I am not recommending lawyers to go and get a lipstick red suit or powder blue one and rock it to attend a serious High Court proceeding.  There are certain protocols and traditions that even this colour and pattern obsessive respects.

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I Feel Lady Like Yet Office Appropriate … The colours and prints also make me happy…

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Fit, Silhouette and Proportions Are KEY…

As I get older, I truly have learnt to embrace colour and print…I am lucky I guess that in my current role, I do not have to be so traditional in my workwear.  However, I believe any professional woman can add a little bit of print and/or colour to their wardrobe and still be taken seriously.  (Looking back, though I love it, my purple trouser suit might have been a bit too much of a throwback to Prince but hey you live and learn…right?)

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Just so you get a rough idea…but it was more fitted OK?

Anyway, if I was going to give any advice (and this is just from my own personal observations, mistakes and experiences and should not be considered to be gospel because HEY I am not an EXPERT!); then here is what I would say.

1)  Silhouette and Fit ARE IMPORTANT

If you are going to go for a loud colour and/or print (do it be adventurous!) then make sure the fit of the garments is right.  With anything that is ahem eye catching, if it is badly fitted you will just look like a hot (and not in a good way) scruffy colourful printed mess.  Stick to a streamlined silhouette (this kind of goes with the fit hence why I have put them together) and for example go for a pencil skirt (always a safe silhouette as can be super chic and lady like) or fitted trousers.  Too baggy trousers unless you are a supermodel, will make you look unpolished and is more suitable for casual outfits.  Though the neoprene skirt has a drape in my outfit post, it is still a pencil skirt silhouette so keeps it looking polished (hopefully) and professional.

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My serious face….?  This Marks & Spencer Limited Collection Skirt has a drape front but is still a pencil skirt silhouette and the orangey red is so on trend at the moment…

2)  Invest in Prints…

I cannot remember where I read it (if I remember I will edit and add the link) but fashion editors are right that you should spend a bit more if you are going to go for a print.  This Doll Memories printed silk blouse (http://www.doll-memories.com) is may be a tiny bit on the pricier side of my price range but you definitely are getting your money’s worth.  The print (whimsical cosmetics print) is detailed and crisp and clear on the silk.  The colour of the blouse is bright and consistent.  Not to be a snob, but printed clothing that is at a lower price range really can look cheap and would not probably pass muster for work.  Also it can look a little junior as well.

3) Keep Everything Else Simple…

With your clothing doing all the talking, keep accessories simple.  I focused on my wrists and fingers (accessories same as previous post) and kept it to one metal scheme…gold.  I avoided adding too much jewelry as it can just be a bit too much.  My hair is kept back in a pony tail and make up is quite simple.  A small cat’s eye and well I love my lip colour so an almost matching orangey red lipstick from MAC (matching to my skirt) are all that is needed.

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4)  Proportions

If you are going to play the colour and print game, then definitely pay attention to the proportions.  Simply put in my case I made sure that my skirt goes slightly below the knee and also rolling my sleeves up emphasises the skinniest part of my arm aka my wrists.

5)  HEELS HELP…

Something about a great pair of heels does complete an outfit.  Now do not go crazy and add glitter, bows or unwalkable heels (ideally not open toe either…strangely enough I find it really not professional looking even if your toes are beautifully pedicured.)  I was lucky that Voltage PR gave me this amazing pair of paint splattered snakeskin pump heels from Andrew Kayla.  They added a really nice contrast to my outfit and are actually quite comfortable.  The heel is not super high and the pointed toe helps to elongate my legs and make my ankles look relatively slim… A BIG YES in my book….

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Anyway…have fun…experiment and you WILL find the right mix…

Marks & Spencer HK A/W 13 Fashion Show

A very belated post about the amazing runway show that was put on by Marks & Spencer HK to celebrate their 25th year in HK and also the launch of their revamped women’s wear.  The new collection is definitely more stylish, fashion forward yet still wearable enough for women of all ages.

Key trends were the mix of animal prints, leather and faux fur.  My favourite pieces were the leather pencil skirts, the range of coats and also the 50’s style prom dress.  We were also fortunate enough for some of the lingerie (designed by Rosie Huntington Whiteley) to be on the runway.

Here are some photos (from the FROW!)

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HK celebrity Mandy Liu kicked off the runway show…Check out the gorgeous coat flung over her shoulders!

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The Pink Coat is a KEY Item this Autumn/Winter

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Gorgeous Mix of Brocade Textures…Check out the gorgeous coat – Perfect for the festive season!

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Sexy Lingerie!!

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Mixing of Animal Prints is a fun way of wearing layers…

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Double Leather is another key trend for this season and the leather pencil skirt is an easy way to wear leather…

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Tartan prints are on trend and not only restricted to the “Punk” style…

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THAT 50s style Dress…so reminiscent of Dior…

Through out the next few months leading up to Christmas, M&S HK will be launching all these goodies in their stores.  Check out their newly refurbished Festival Walk store for a relaxed shopping experience or pop into their Central store for a quick lunchtime retail fix!

Marks & Spencer HK:

Website: http://global.marksandspencer.com/hk/

Festival Walk
Unit LG1-01, Festival Walk
80 Tat Chee Avenue
Kowloon Tong
Tel: +852 2928 2211

Central
Basement – 1/F, Central Tower
22 – 28 Queen’s Road
Central
Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2921 8323

Lace, Print and Vintage Scarf…Outfit Post

When I saw on instagram a picture of a print dress with lace inserts, I instantly thought “BUY IT NOW”.  An even bigger draw to this dress was that Vogue UK was considering it for their September shoot of top M&S picks.  Yes, M&S is cool now!

I wore this dress on a quick coffee trip to meet my vintage sister Norbyah who gave me a gorgeous vintage scarf as a gift from her US trip.  The weather was still relatively warm so there was no need for any layers or tights.  The lace on the sleeves of the dress gave welcome ventilation (TMI?) and also textural interest to the dress.  Clashes of print and textures is definitely a key A/W 2013 trend and keeping the dress in a simple colour palette makes it an easy dress to wear.  This dress would take you through to colder times, sling on a chunky cardigan or a leather biker jacket and add some black tights and you would be protected from the chilly climes.

For this trip out, I wore it with a pair of heeled Ash biker boots and a simple Cole Haan black bag.  I added some contrast by tying the gifted vintage scarf onto said bag.  As I was having a bad hair day, the hair was slicked back.

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M&S dress, Cole Haan bag, Ash biker boots, Gifted vintage silk scarf

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Adding a splash of colour with a vintage silk scarf tied to the bag

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Loving the Lace and Print Clash in this M&S dress

Add Texture & Colour to Your Work Wardrobe – M&S style

Ladies – have you been into M&S recently?  Yes, I know I am a self-confessed M&S-addict but seriously get to your local M&S store now?  If not – GO ONLINE!!

Work wear can get a little bit boring but the slim line silhouettes that are currently being on offer at M&S HK brings to mind glorious Mad Men curves and easy to wear smart looks.  Different textures, piping details, colour and shirt collar detailing to add modernity and interest to the classic lines of the pieces.  Anyway, here are some of my favourite pieces:

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Per Una Speziale Red Textured Dress

Per Una is not my favourite collection from M&S, it usually tend to cater for an older woman however the Speziale collection (usually limited edition and at the higher end of the price range) tends to be a bit more fashion forward.  The attention to detail with the piping details and the gorgeous Italian woven fabric adds a luxe edge to the dress.  This dress is an easy silhouette to wear and will easily go from day to evening with a great pair of heels and a little clutch.  The bright red colour just shouts Spring/Summer!

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This is a really easy colour and print to wear in a dress.  The black detailing makes it look a bit like a suit which gives a smart edge to this dress.  The 3/4 sleeves makes it elegant and lady like.  However the zipper adds a modern edge to the dress.  Attention for us curvy, a bit busty girls, the pocket like detailing on the top might add extra emphasis on the chest area which may not be welcome to all.

The Speziale range in Per Una is usually a little bit pricier but the quality of the fabric and finishing makes it a worthwhile investment.  Also these dresses though fashionable would still be wearable next season and adds a bit of colour and interest to what could be a very traditional work wardrobe.  Being dresses, these two picks of mine are easy to wear and do not need much accessories to make it into a great statement outfit.  Basically put it on, grab your bag, slip on some shoes and you are ready to go.

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Collared Black Jersey Dress with Cut Out Panels

I shamefully admit that I have bought this dress as I love the cut out details.  The nude lining gives it a bit of a lingerie feel to the dress and the boyish shirt collar gives it a modern edge. I love how the cut out details are done in panels which helps to slim down the waist and hopefully for me give me a better looking figure.  Will try it and keep you all posted!!  This is a great version of the classic LBD.  I have this dress and it really makes you feel incredibly womanly.  The extra lining in this jersey dress gives extra support for your curves.  I have to admit that I did start walking with a little “Marilyn” wiggle!  Word of warning, due to the cut out detailing on this dress, you might get some funny looks from a distance, my aunt asked me if I was showing flesh through said panels.  I guess you could say it was incorporating the underwear as outerwear trend!

Saving the best for last…am gutted that I have not been able to find it in my size but have been drooling over the navy version on Pinterest for months.  However as Pantone says that emerald green is THE colour of the season, I guess this green version is rather appropriate.

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Green Lace Pencil Skirt

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Green Lace Blouse

The lace is made from cotton so there is no scratchy feeling (that you would get from some synthetic lace) when you put these pieces on.   Also have no fear of flashing as these pieces have a nude camisole (for the blouse) and a nude underskirt for the skirt.  Wear together to make it look like a dress or diversify by wearing these garments separately and pairing with cigarette pants or a plain skirt (for the blouse) or a gorgeous crisp white shirt with the skirt.  You can play around with these pieces and still look extremely elegant.  I would definitely wear these pieces together first and match the outfit with may be a skinny belt and a beautiful statement necklace which is tucked underneath the blouse collar.

All items are currently in Marks & Spencer stores in HK and if not check out the website as they do international deliveries.  Items cost from around HK$500-HK$1,500.  For the stores locations, please check out the store locator on the Marks & Spencer HK website.

Marks & Spencer…As Seen in VOGUE…Hallelujah!

Yes you saw right…M&S as seen in Vogue!!  Now you know I LOVE M&S… (hey my blog name is based on my obsession) so imagine my delight that style bible Vogue is now featuring M&S????!!!!!!

Sorry for the exuberant use of exclamation and question marks but I am so excited.  M&S have had some hits and misses over the years but they have really been upping their fashion game the past year or so.  Therefore, it is a delight to see more and more M&S products seen in editorials for fashion magazines such as Marie Claire and now Vogue!  My only hope is that most of these pieces come to HK!!!  (Subtle hint and prayer there!)  I have spent many years proudly announcing that I bought a lot of my clothing from M&S and now my decisions seem vindicated (not that I really need it but nice to see Fashion Editors of major publications agreeing with me)…he he he not such a fashion horror now am I?

 

 

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Photo from M&S website and Vogue (Photographs by James Meakin)

Loving this pale brocade jacket which is a great transitional piece for cooler Spring weather to Summer.  Also for Autumn to Winter (think icy cool tones for Winter).  This jacket is a perfect piece to add to any woman’s wardrobe.  Wear as suggested with a classic white blouse or follow the monochrome trend wearing a black shift dress, or sleek pencil skirt or even a sleek cigarette black pant.

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Per Una Jacket (£79)

As it was the year of the Snake is upon us, I am loving the nod to Chinese culture with this vintage inspired snake necklace.  (Unfortunately out of stock online)  HK – is in stores?  Would expect it to be a BIG seller!!

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Simple Classics & Separates

I love the white blouse (very reminiscent of my VAUGHAN blouse) which is a classic staple for any woman’s wardrobe with sleek dark trousers – this is a great look for work, evening (with the strappy sandals) or even a smart casual look for lunch/dinner with the girls.  I am love, love, loving the bag.  In season snake print (well in season definitely for me as I am in HK for the Year of the Snake – call me superstitious!)   Roomy and versatile, it makes a great shoulder bag as well as an amazing large clutch!!  THIS IS THE M&S BAG I WANT!!!!!

Autograph Leather Crocodile Skin Design Handbag - Marks & Spencer
Notch Lapel 1 Button Blazer - Marks & Spencer
The skinny denim/jeggings that they recommend are definitely available in HK, approximately HK$399, I can tell you they are definitely one of my key pieces in my wardrobe right now.  Smart enough to wear to functions but still comfortable enough to run around doing errands.
Limited Collection Notch Lapel Biker Jacket - Marks & Spencer
Loving the way that this leather jacket was paired with a sleek black office dress to give a normal office look a little bit of edge!  Also the geometric necklace is super cute.
Cap Sleeve Dress with Studded Belt - Marks & Spencer
Autograph Interlock Geometric Necklace - Marks & Spencer
I am so so delighted to see this news on the M&S website.  Hopefully most of these pieces will be available in HK stores but if not then M&S ship to HK.  Just be aware of the shipping prices.  Well done M&S, I LOVE YOU!
It is amazing what a great model and some fantastic styling can do with high street pieces and make them editorial worthy!!
LOVE LOVE LOVE….keep it going M&S!!