Your style questions answered

Nikki Parkinson Fashion 36 Comments

Welcome to a new monthly post on Styling You – Your style questions answered.

My aim with these posts is to answer some of the style questions that land in my inbox on a daily basis. I’m thinking that if one person has asked the question, there’s a fair chance that more would like to ask the same or a similar question.

Let me know what you think.

Style Q1

I have an occasion I have to dress for that is a bit unusual for ladies of our age. I have to attend my graduation ceremony for a Bachelor of Science – Psych (Honours) and when I say have to, I sort of have to. I would avoid it if I could (having already done the whole cap and gown business just shy of 25 years ago for Commerce) but you see I went and won the University Medal. So of course when stuff like this happens, the most important thing is … I want to look good. Catherine

Catherine, firstly … CONGRATS. Studying and completing a course is a huge achievement at any age or stage but coming out on top? That really does call for something new, I’d say. You want to feel comfortable but ooze confidence. It will be at a fickle time of year weather wise where you live so perhaps good to plan to include a jacket or longer sleeves. I wouldn’t worry too much about coordinating your dress with the colours on the hood of the academic gown as the gown when it’s on will cover most of what you’re wearing. Wear an outfit that feels great but has components you could wear again for a different occasion.

Outfit idea

What to wear university graduation

1. Trenery dress $149 | 2. Witchery necklace $59.95 | 3. Rockport pumps $169.95 @ Styletread | 4. Mimco clutch $179

Style Q2

I am currently going through quite a transformation in my business where we will be pivoting from just doing financial advice to actually doing seminars and coaching programs to empower people to get on top of their finances. This will mean I will be doing a fair bit of presenting, and in fact already have a few gigs lined up. I am a very functional dresser, and therefore to date for work wear primarily smart suits, with very little or none of my personality coming through. However as a speaker I believe I can no longer do that as I need to connect with my audience, many of whom are overwhelmed and even afraid of my industry. One thing I am trying to avoid is the generic female speaker look with black pants or skirt, white top and block colour jacket or vice versa with a feature necklace. It can often feel manufactured and not reflecting their personality or quirks. Pieta

Great question, Pieta. I firmly believe that speakers need to be themselves in their presentation but with a professional edge. I think one part of your outfit needs to have structure for that professional edge. I’m a huge fan of the jacket for this reason. By building a collection of them, you always have the capacity to take an outfit from casual to dressy. Avoid wearing a tailored shirt underneath, instead opt for a soft knit or silk and then contrast the structure of the jacket even further with either dark denim jeans or printed pants. I have a thing about always speaking in heels. I feel like I’m more switched on and ready to deliver a presentation that way. It may work for you too. They don’t need to be sky-high but just high enough to give you a lift. Accessories wise, I use my hands a lot when I speak so I like to wear a statement ring on my right hand. Like wearing heels, that ring helps anchor me to the job at hand. Here’s a post from the archives that might help too.

Outfit idea

What to wear when presenting

1. Country Road top $129 | 2. NYDJ jeans $219 @ Zambezee Boutique | 3. Trenery jacket $249 | 4. Diana Ferrari heels $139.95 | 5. Dinosaur Designs ring $50

Style Q3

I’m 50 and was a size 6 a year ago. Now I’m sitting between size 12-16 due to high doses steroids, I have double chin and look nine months pregnant. What is the best neckline to take away from my chin and how do I hide my tummy? Kerrie

Oh Kerrie, I feel for you. When we’re not the size that we’re used to being it’s very difficult to re-adjust our wardrobe so that we feel good about ourselves in the now. And feeling good in the now is what the aim is here. It’s incredibly frustrating to have the weight fluctuations (believe me, I know), but life is too short and we need to make the most of the everyday. Firstly, I’d like you to pack away any of your “old” clothes. You don’t need to get rid of them completely but you do need to put them out of sight. This post from the archives about shopping for clothes while losing weight may help as the tips apply when it comes to styles and fabrics you should look for. The key with hiding a tummy is more in the skimming of the area as opposed to wearing something that is tent-like in shape. And the ideal neckline is a wide scoop of a v-neck – these are universally the most flattering. And I say, employ accessories as a diverionsary tactic. Fun accessories can’t help but make you smile.

Outfit idea

What to wear if you want to disguise a tummy


1. Verily dress $129 | 2. Zoe Kratzmann kitten heels $225 | 3. Sterling & Hyde bag $129.95 (on sale, one left) | 4. Lovisa bangles $19.99

Do you have a style question you’d like considered for this post? Please email me: [email protected]

Comments 36

  1. Love the presenting on stage outfit as I need a few more ideas to break out of my black trouser uniform. Great idea about the ring and being short I’m with you on the need for heels.

  2. Thanks, Nikki. You have again managed to post exactly what I needed! I have changed body shape due to steroids (they also did what they were supposed to-life saving drugs) and had bought that exact dress last week! Love it and had great customer service. Have also bought another Verily dress that you posted. And your tips on business attire are always welcome as I have not worked in office for 20 years until now. Many thanks.

  3. Great new series on your blog Nikki ,I love what you have chosen for each woman and I will take those tummy ideas on board ,thank you Nikki!

  4. Congrats to Catherine on the Uni Medal – that’s a big coup!

    Nice outfits and would be wearable by most ages

      1. Blondes can wear more orange! Because I am a brunette with pale skin and hazel eyes, I just feel all clashy in orange. Definitely blue toned reds for me.

  5. I would add to the presenting advice that if you feel confident everything else seems to follow, so take the time to find things that really suit you.

    Love those Zoe Kratzmann kitten heels!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.