Your style questions answered

Nikki ParkinsonFashion 34 Comments

This is the fourth post in a series that I started on the blog this year – Your style questions answered – to answer publicly just a few of the hundreds of style questions that land in my inbox each month (catch up with last month’s here).

I try to respond to all emails but it’s not always possible. If you have a question, doing a search on my blog is always a good start. I’ve been blogging for almost six years and there is an archive of more than 1600 posts for you to explore. The questions I choose to feature in this monthly post are generally chosen because I consider them to have a broad appeal beyond that of the person asking the question.

I also try to keep each of the three questions/scenarios as diverse as possible.

Style Q1

I’m in the thick of winter where I live, and would appreciate some advice on how to wear an item I’ve had since last year, but still has the tag attached. How can I jazz it up but keep it smart so as I can wear it to work as a high school teacher, while also keeping warm! I’m late 20s (size 10 tops size 10/12 bottoms), and live in the south west of WA in the forest.  I would LOVE to hear/see your ideas! Alycia

I love this question. Items you buy should not be left hanging in your wardrobe with the tags winking at you. This is a cotton shirt so not something you’d immediately think of to wear for winter but I do think it’s possible to achieve a great layered winter look using it as a base. I would add a ponte pant as the pant underneath and then layer a knit over the top so that we see the collar and the cuffs of the shirt – as well as the hemline of the shirt. Ankle boots or knee-boots on your feet, scarf around your neck and a coat to get you to and from work and I think you’re good to go with an outfit that has a lot of interest thanks to the layering.

How to wear a white shirt dress in winter | Your style questions answered

1. Brown Sugar shirt $19.95 (on sale) | 2. Adorne necklace $39.95 | 3. Sportscraft knit $127.46 (on sale) | 4. Target coat $69 | 5. Maria Rossi boots $284.97 (on sale) @ Styletread | 6. Seed snood $39.95 | 7. Seed ponte pant $89.95

Style Q2

I work for a government agency in a role that requires me to look professional, but not stuffy. When needed, I wear more tailored dresses, pants and skirts, stockings and heels but I don’t feel comfortable in those clothes. I have finally gotten the hang of layering and love to wear more loose and flowing clothes with low-heeled boots and scarves etc. How can I wear this style and look professional for less formal days at the office. I also really dislike synthetic fabrics and would love to wear more natural fibres as well. I’m 162 cm tall and size 14 top/16 bottom, hourglass shape. Michelle

I wouldn’t advise opting for a totally flowy and floaty approach to a work outfit, Michelle, but I would say that you can bring elements of your weekend style into your work week and vice versa. The key to making it work at work is to keep at least one of the pieces in your outfit structured. Then add at least one “romantic” piece and you have more of your personality coming through but in an appropriate style for the workplace. It seems like I’m chief cheerleader for the ponte team today but I make no apologies for that. I love this fabric. It’s thick enough to get the structure you need but comfortable enough to wear all day long. Add a skirt, pants and a jacket in this fabric to your winter work wardrobe and you won’t look back.

In the outfit below there is a general structure to the entire outfit but it’s also relaxed in that the fabrics are stretch fabrics and there is flow to the garments. This jacket would work equally as well on the weekend with printed pants and a tee. The dress could be worn with flat knee-high boots and a knit cardi as a casual weekend alternative.

how to bring less structure to a winter office outfit | Your style questions answered

1. Jacquie E jacket $169.95 (take 30% off) | 2. Ruby Olive necklace $60 | 3. Verily dress $89 (on sale) | 4. Ambra tights $10.46 (on sale) @ David Jones | 5. Sportscraft bag $52.46 | 6. Rockport pumps $169.95 @ Styletread

Style Q3

I’m a mother in my early 40s and our daughter is getting married end of August. I don’t want to wear the typical outfit that mothers of bride wear but want to look more my age. Everything I see is for the older woman or too young. As the wedding is at the end of August and I hate being cold, I was wanting something to cover my shoulders without the suit look. Andrea

Congratulations Andrea! You are a young mother of the bride but what I find is that women of all ages no longer want to look like mothers of the bride “should” look. The other good news is that end of August in south-east Queensland will most likely be warm (I attended a wedding on the final weekend in August last year and wore this … it was actually too warm during the day). There is no reason why you have to wear a suit Andrea, or venture too far from the style of clothes you wear for your age. The key is to think of how your dress is going to work when photographed – because you may not be in as many photos as the bride but you will be in quite a few. You don’t want to out-shine the bride but you want to complement the style of the her wedding and feel comfortable and confident in yourself. Find the frock first and then work back with shoes and other accessories. Here are four frocks that I think suit the occasion but are still young looking.

Modern mother of the bride outfits | your style questions answered

1. Country Road dress $179 | 2. Leina Broughton dress $235 | 3. Veronika Maine dress $239 | 4. Sacha Drake dress (available for pre-order)

Do you have a style question you’d like considered for this monthly post?

{While I would like to be able to publish answers to everyone’s questions this is not always possible. If your question is time-sensitive, please note that and I’ll aim to personally reply to you. Please make sure you include all relevant details – size, budget, where you live so I can adjust ideas to suit the climate and any preferences when shopping for clothes. Please email me: [email protected] instead of a Facebook message.}

Comments 34

  1. Nikki, I love every piece you’ve suggested for the winter office outfit. The orange jacket is stunning and I can see myself in the verily dress. Great advice about keeping one structured piece. I’m off to source all of these now. Thank you so much. You are, as always, an inspiration.

  2. Hi Nikki, I would like to echo Sonya’s sentiments. I purchased this dress ( for a 40th birthday after admiring your Maiocchi ‘model and me’ post from back in March. I rarely find a dress that I feel comfortable in and still like how my body shape looks – usually opting for boring black pants. I loved this dress and would never have found it without your help. Also attempted a ‘Nina’ inspired look last weekend. Thank you!Good luck with the book launch.

  3. Great post! Since turning 40, I’ve struggled to find my style. I think I’m in need of professional help or an intervention when it comes to my bursting at the seams wardrobe. I’ve set myself a little challenge and I’m hoping your new book might be a great starting point.

  4. Great options Nikki, with those first two outfits having lots of mixable elements. Wouldn’t it be great if the questioners each month could post photos of what they ended up buying/wearing? I’d love to see the results after they get your advice.

    Also, has anyone tried the Seed ponte pants? Or have any cheapish recommendations? I have some Mela Purdie ones that are great but would like another (cheaper!) pair for at home days.

    1. I recently bought a pair of Sportscraft pointe pants and find them very comfortable and flattering. And around the $100-120 I think.

  5. Love all of those Mother of the Bride dresses- and now I need a white shirt dress! I am always scared of white due to being a mum, but the layered option seems very appropriate for both home and work.

  6. Great ideas and tips Nikki I think we can all take away something from each of these style questions,I love your ideas and your blog is like having a personal stylist……Thank You!

  7. Great advice yet again Nikki. Been meaning to say thanks to you. Since following your blog my style has really developed! I’ve bought clothes that work together and have built a reliable wardrobe that I can pick and choose from to move between uni and casual get togethers with friends to board meetings, gallery openings, conferences and job interviews. I particularly love Sasha Drake and Metalicus – neither of which I would have found without your blog, so a big thank you to you.

    1. Oh thanks so much Sonya – it means a lot to me that you’ve let me know that. I HOPE that’s what I’m doing each day – helping others work out their style – but you never know. Your lifestyle is quite varied so it would have been a challenge to build a diverse wardrobe to match. Congrats!

  8. morning nikki, always like the mixes … I’ve been looking for a new cross body bag and saw that sportscraft one yesterday. I especially love the taupe dress for the mother of the bride outfit … very elegant and could be dressed up or down with accessories … have a good day! m:)X

      1. Lucky they so cheap at the moment!!!! I paid a lot more!!!!!!! THANKYOU for the post. I love it and luckily am on camp in Canberra with shoppingbscgedukwd THIS AFTERNOON. On the hunt for the knit. Have all the rest. Perfect and wouldn’t have thought it!

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