What makes great summer style? You be the judge

Nikki ParkinsonFashion 36 Comments

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Last week I went shopping for 16 hours. Granted, it wasn’t consecutive hours. And it wasn’t with my money. But it was a lot of shopping all the same.

The reason: I was asked to help style the four finalists in the Sunshine Plaza Showcase Your Style competition, here in my home “town” on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

Each finalist had me as their shopping guide for more than four hours.

How’s this for a challenge? In that time we had to create four different “winning” outfits (top to toe) using as many of the participating retailers as possible.

The outfit categories:

Colours of summer

Summer on a budget

Summer casual

Summer events

It might sound easy but as the four finalists will tell you, finding just the right combination does take a bit of work, on-the-job-planning and a coffee stop or two.

I’m going to share the process I used as it’s one that is great to apply yourself when shopping for a particular occasion or a seasonal update.

1. I talked to each of the finalists about their style, where they usually shop and what their work and play lifestyle entails. Great style is not about copying looks from the pages of a magazine. It’s about understanding what works for you and what makes you feel fabulously different from the next person.

2. When putting together a specific outfit, start with the base of that outfit. Whether that’s a dress, skirt and top, jeans and shirt, the outfit needs to be built around these building blocks. Think about what in those outfit building blocks is going to not only stand out but suit the occasion you have in mind.

3. Bring those wardrobe building block pieces with you when shopping for the “icing on the cake” accessories.  Trying to work back a pair of shoes, bag or belt with an outfit that’s sitting at home in your cupboard will rely on guess work. Which usually won’t work.

4. Accessorise for impact. Not just because you can. You are wanting to make a statement with your accessory choice but you don’t want to diffuse the statement by adding too many statement pieces in the one outfit.

5. Never settle for just any old clothing or accessory purchase. If there’s no spark in your eyes when looking at your reflection in the change room, you can bet your clothing budget dollar there won’t be when you get home either. There is so much fashion choice out there.  Move on to the next store. What you need is probably there waiting for you.

6. All four finalists received mini-makeovers from Napoleon Perdis (yes, even the guys!) and this is something to really consider if you have a special summer occasion coming up or, like our finalists, you are being photographed. A simple addition of a bright lipstick or a smokey eye can make your outfit pop.

So do you want to see the finalists’ first looks?

The first category currently being showcased in this month-long competition (that will see one of the finalists walk away with a $5000 Sunshine Plaza gift card) is Colours of summer. I’m particularly excited about this one as this season, as you already know, is all about colour.  Walk into any fashion retailer at the moment and you are greeted by orange, blue, green, yellow … it’s impossible for it not to put a smile on your face.

Remember, if you want to embrace colour this season and colour blocking entire outfits seems too overwhelming, opt instead for popping a neutral outfit with one bright. The effect is still strong and it’s guaranteed to give you a lift.

Michelle_Weiss_Colours of Summer Sunshine Plaza

Michelle Weiss wears: Portmans dress $99.95 and flower $9.95; Mishkah belt $20; Novo shoes $79.95 and clutch $39.95; Diva ring $9.99; Diva ring set of three $7.99

Ben_Winning_Colours of Summer Sunshine Plaza

Ben Winning wears: Country Road shirt $79.95 and t-shirt $49.95; Jeanswest jeans $99.99; Cushe shoes from Footgear $139.95; Rip Curl watch $199.99.

 

Sam_Thomas_Colours of Summer Sunshine Plaza

Sam Thomas wears: Yd shirt $89.95 and tie $29.95 from Yd; Levis 511 jeans $119.95 from Just Jeans; Blaq shoes $109.95 from Myer; Nixon watch $259.99 from Billabong.

 

Celeste_Cavanagh_ Colours of Summer Sunshine Plaza

Celeste Cavanagh wears: Tree of Life maxi dress $85; Shoe City platforms; Equip earrings $16.99 and cuff $24.95; Myer clutch $24.95; Diva ring $14.99 and bangle $19.99.

Which look do you like the best?

This is where you come in. Head to the Sunshine Plaza Facebook Page and vote for your favourite look and vote for your favourite look by clicking on Latest Outfit under the Sunshine Plaza profile picture. This Thursday, the next category will be posted, followed weekly by the final categories. The finalist with the most votes at the end of the month-long competition will win the Sunshine Plaza $5000 gift card. There will also be random prize draws for those commenting on the page and voting in the competition.

So, do you plan ahead when heading out to buy new clothes for a specific occasion or a new-season update?  Do you have any tips do you have to share? Have you already added colour to your spring wardrobe?

 

Comments 36

  1. What a fantastic idea. So simple and yet I have not thought of it before. I just go out thinking I will find something when I get there. Thankyou for a great post as usual. Will be heading over to place my vote. Have a wonderful new year.

  2. Shameful admittance – I’m too scared to colour block! *sobs*

    I am rather fond of this orange and blue thing that’s happening. Might have to consider it.

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      Oh my Lady Smaggle I took you as more fashion adventurous than me … I didn’t wear more than a splash of colour a year ago. I’ve changed. Tomorrow for Cup Day I’m doing orange, yellow, red and turquoise. Eeek.

  3. Gorgeous… You are both good looking individuals and thank you for sharing these tips… I never thought that orange dress will look good with blue accessories and shoes. Thank you for sharing tips.

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  4. I love the orange dress. I’m uber surprised to find it came from Tree of Life. That shop, quite frankly, scares the cheesecloth out of me! The earrings are super too. Going to pop in and check them out!

    I like the blue dress outfit, but the rose behind the ear looked just a little too styled to me. Maybe because the hair was so perfectly groomed? The ruffles do a great job of softening the look. The yellow belt is gorgeous. Exactly what I’ve been looking for!

    I had to double check that the boys were different. They looked the same to me at first glance! I prefer the second boy as I just can’t do a short sleeved shirt.

    Nikki, I’ve been looking for the perfect blush jacket – care to share where you found yours?!

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      1. Yup, that’s the one. The one from your “dag to dashing” post? Sussan? Wow, I’m impressed. Now that I work mere seconds from Pitt Street Mall, I’ve been popping into that Sussan a bit more often. And buying a few things other than their fab PJs and nighties. Am quite impressed! Find their sizing a little bit odd though and their pricing is now comparable to Country Road, I think.

        I quite often see stylists in there pulling stuff for shoots, so I’m shallow enough to be impressed by that. Especially when I noticed I had most of the same stuff in my arms at the time! 🙂

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          Sussan has really upped their style factor. I find the sizing similar to Country Road’s but overall the garments are cheaper – my blazer was $129. Loving their maxi skirt and accessory range too. Worth a look!

  5. I love the blue in every outfit – I spot a trend!

    Michelle’s dress is very pretty, & what lovely eye candy you have included with the boys! But my vote goes to Tree of Life maxi dress. So lovely it will make me walk into the shop instead of walking past next time.

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  6. LOVE Michelle’s outfit! It all came together so nicely – pretty subtle way of doing the colour blocking trend, yet still making an impact. I’m really loving this trend, just bought myself an orange jacket – took the plunge. I think I’ll be wearing that with a navy dress. 😉

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  7. Love Michelle’s outfit, absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for the great tips. Looking forward to adding hot pink and beautiful blue to my wardrobe, Julie

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  8. Oh if only I could tell people that fashion shouldn’t be copied from a magazine, but picking the pieces that suit their body type. bless you woman, you’re doing good in the world!

    Ps LOVE the colour blocking xo

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      Ah, thanks VM … was great to work with people who had a sense of their style and I was able to help them fit the guidelines of the category. The challenge was using so many different shops in one outfit!

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