Your style questions answered

Nikki ParkinsonFashion, How to 43 Comments

This is the second post in a series I’ve started on the blog that helps get your style questions answered (you can read the first here).

My aim is to answer a few of the style questions that land in my inbox. 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.

Style Q1

So, here’s the thing. I’m just accepted a new job, starting in a couple of weeks. I have to look ultra professional, after years of working from home. The challenge for me is that I’m an hourglass size 18, 5’ 6” with G cup boobs who is not a fan of the um, colourful and voluminous approach to plus-size fashion. Casual is fine if you’re an 18, but professional is another matter. I look best in fitted clothes with structure. My go-to choice is Anthea Crawford. I have several of her dresses and some great black crepe pants. Hopefully she’ll put out a black crepe jacket soon, because I really need a good fitted suit. Otherwise I’m not sure where to go for a good fitted suit unless it’s to a tailor. I’m stumped trying to find some beautiful simple tops that don’t show too much cleavage but aren’t too high cut either. Plus, I’m not great with heat. Where does a plus-size (hate that expression) girl go for good corporate wear? Kylie

I hate the expression plus-size too Kylie. I really do. And I also hate that it is not easy for every woman to find clothes that make them feel confident and comfortable in any given situation. For your size, there are a number of chain store retailers which do cater up to an 18 – Trenery, Sportscraft and Jacqui E are stores that do. They also include pieces in their collections that can be worked into a corporate wardrobe. I’d also suggest checking out these sites: Christine Kardashian, 17 Sundays, Harlow and Embody. Each of these Australian labels get that just because you’re a size 14 or up doesn’t mean you want to lose structure in your clothes. I’m a size 14-16 and own pieces from each of them that make me feel a million dollars, are comfortable to wear but are still on-trend.

Outfit idea

What to wear corporate plus-size

1. Trenery ponte skirt $79.95 | 2. Sportscraft blouse $169.95 | 3. Christine Kardashian blazer $195 | 4. Seed leather tote $229.95 | 5. Diana Ferrari pumps $149.95 @ Styletread

Style Q2

I have noticed that celebrities, models etc these days don’t wear a lot of jewellery. Whenever I get dressed to go out I always wear earrings, necklace, dress ring and bracelet and try to co-ordinate them all to a certain extent with my outfit. I even sometimes wear matching necklace & earring sets although I have stopped this lately as it does look too much. I have recently been wondering whether I should cut down on the jewellery that I wear and just wear one statement piece of jewellery that stands out to co-ordinate with my outfit ie. either earring, necklace or bracelet and not all at once. I guess maybe a necklace with a low cut top or bracelet with sleeveless items perhaps but not both. Marie

I too have noticed that trend Marie – and an overall trend to wearing more fine jewellery. It’s a bit cyclical really. Jewellery trends have always swung between chunky and fine. What does persist though is the effect that one statement piece has on an outfit and, as you know, this is something I very much endorse. I love the power that one piece can have in pulling an outfit together and creating a focal point. I’m also not afraid to throw in a couple of other focal points at different parts of my body. These aren’t matching pieces – more complementing pieces. Mix your metals if you want but pull the combination together with one or two matching colours. Am I breaking the rules of the current trends? Most probably. But like in the SY manifesto, I suggest that we “forget the rules and write our own”. Wear the jewellery pieces that make you feel confident. Play around with different combinations but settle on a style that suits you. The below capsule jewellery combination could be worn all together. Or one piece on its own, two pieces together or three.

Styling idea

What to wear jewellery combinations 1. Seed necklace $39.95 | 2. Colette Hayman earrings $8.95 | 3. Uberkate rings $660 | 4. Samantha Wills bracelet $130

Style Q3

I have recently gone from a corporate manager to a new stay at home mum for the year.  I am struggling with style choices as my wardrobe seems to be full of “Cue type” outfits or “going out at night” outfits. What recommendations can you make for clothes that are versatile enough to breastfeed in, yet are trendy, classic and not frumpy? Lauren

I am a Mum with a toddler and new baby and need some ideas on casual wear for day to day.  I find myself just throwing on shorts and a singlet top with thongs most days and would love to dress up a bit more, albeit mostly around the house or local shops. A lot of my wardrobe is now redundant corporate workwear so need some versatile casual smart looks. Vicky

Lauren and Vicky, I’ve grouped your questions together as they are similar and a very common theme I am asked about here. I think one of the most confusing wardrobe stages in our lives is when you go from full-time work in a corporate office to full-time mum. You may have a couple of casual outfits for weekend wear but nothing that comes close to getting you through the whole week. The key to having a casual wardrobe that looks put-together is in starting with good basics – jeans, shorts or pants and tees or tops. Then it’s about layering. It’s amazing the difference just adding a scarf to a basic jeans and a tee outfit can make. It’s also worth investing in comfortable, flat shoes that look good too. The outfit below is geared to layering in autumn-winter. The jeans outfit is generally an easy one so I’ve concentrated on a tunic dress/leggings outfit as an alternative. You can layer or “unlayer” depending on the temperature. A dress – even tunic style – always looks a bit more dressed up than jeans. Look for pieces that are easy care and easy wear. You want to know that you can wash, dry and go. Also, make sure you read this post: 9 style tips for stay at home mums. You’ll find some great general styling ideas.

Outfit idea

What to wear new mum casual autumn-winter

1. Trenery dress $149 | 2. Sambag ballet flats $180 | 3. Metalicus leggings $39.95 | 4. Metalicus cardi $179.95 | 5. Blue Bungalow scarf $39 | 6. Il Tutto baby bag $249

Do you have a style question you’d like considered for this monthly post? While I would like to be able to publish everyone’s questions but this is not always possible. If your question is time-sensitive, please note that and I’ll aim to personally reply to you. Please email me: [email protected]

Comments 43

  1. Just browsing some old blogs, and although I know everyone’s said it already – great post!! So many of us are in this scenario (#2, post corporate work, stay at home mums, breastfeeding etc.) and it’s great to see some ideas. I agree with you that good layering is the key!

  2. Fab advice for all Nikki. New mum style made easy.. I especially love the green shirtmaker dress – a tailored element is brilliant for mums as it makes an outfit look “pulled together” at a time when we feel anything but. Kate x

  3. Love this discussion and photos added extra value x from Alofa Designs – the home of orchid pink soled heels

  4. Hi Nikki,
    I hope you don’t mind if I add a few more tips for the person who posted the first question 🙂
    I’m also a size 16-18 hourglass working in an uber corporate setting.
    For me online shopping is very hit and miss as I need to try on half a dozen things to get the right fit. So I get my work clothes from physical stores including dept stores.
    In addition to the brands you’ve suggested I wear: Perri Cutten – initial outlay is expensive but my suits from there are now going into their 4th year so the cost per wear is low; Jacqui E is great for nice tops with stretch that work under jackets. Basque is very much work wear and goes up to a size 16 and some of them are generously sized. Basque Woman does sizes 16+. Leona (Edmiston) only goes up to a size 16 but her dresses fit me and look great under a jacket. Queenspark now goes up to a size 18. Diana Ferrari goes up to a size 16 but they are generously sized across the bust.
    I must confess I AM into bright and colourful but don’t do voluminous.
    One day when I become a confident online shopper I plan to try some of the brands that Jo from wears in the corporate setting but for now all my work clothes are bought from the above brands.

  5. I love the variety of questions you feature, Nikki. I think everyone, no matter what stage of life they are in, can take something from each one. You’ve featured some really beautiful, classic and versatile pieces in this post. The ladies are going to look fab!

  6. These type of posts are great because they answer the questions that a lot of people have on their minds but never actually ask!

  7. I’d like to suggest Blue illusion for dresses and jackets with a great size range, Ollie and Max for shirts that fit really well and for fantastic leather bags check out the new Kikki K Stockholm range!!

  8. This is a great post Nikki I love all these pieces you have chosen for all 3 women.Great advice for all situations and I’m sure a lot of other people can take something away from your post!

  9. Fantastic post Nikki. I so remember the challenge of going from corporate to stay at home mum ( for me with literally no transition time in between as my little peach decided to arrive early!). I love that for these questions you’ve chosen an outfit that will look fabulous as your body changes again too. For me now though I love your choice of coordinating but not matchy accessories. I find This can be tricky to pull together but you’ve done it perfectly.

  10. These are great questions/answers Nikki. Love this type of post! As women, our situations/environments can change so drastically from the workforce, to working from home, to being a stay-at-home-mum – all requiring the right “uniform” but with comfort and our own individual style – this can all be very confusing and hard to figure out. Plus most of us like to experiment too! With your daily clothes photos (love them) and model and me posts, we get to see you experimenting for us!

    1. Thanks Petra – and I totally agree. I’ve been through so many “stages” in my life time – all that you’ve mentioned above and even now my every day can be quite different from one day to the next!

  11. More of these posts please! love to see how you put everything together and consider the person’s current lifestyle. Thanks Nikki!

  12. These are my favourite type of posts Nikki, very informative. Thanks for putting them together. Timely too, I was just looking at a tunic top I have and thinking it needs some leggings and perhaps ankle boots, now the weather’s turned a little cooler.

  13. good morning nikki, I’m with you on make your own style rules!
    being a visual artist I always make sure I make a statement with a stunning piece if jewellery or scarf to set off and tweek an outfit and especially the choice of shoes is paramount … my obsession!
    love that metalicus cardi!
    definitely make the style your own
    the question I ask myself I do you want to stand out at this occasion or blend in tweek it up or down, but not lack lustre ever!… cheers m:)X

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