Your style questions answered

Nikki Parkinson Fashion, How to 40 Comments

Welcome to a regular post I feature here on Styling You.

Whenever I get a fashion or style question that I think others may be interested in, I’ll answer it in a blog post like this.

If you have a question you’d like considered for this, please email me: [email protected] – I can’t answer all personally but if it has a wider appeal, you may get ideas from these posts.

Please don’t message me via the Facebook page – the Styling You Facebook page gets hundreds of messages and it’s almost impossible to manage as I can’t file them away for answering.

You might also find answers to your questions in the search bar to the right of this blog post or ask for advice in the Styling You forum.

Let’s get stuck in and get your style questions answered.

Gold Coast in autumn

I’m off on a family holiday at the end of April to the Gold Coast for two weeks and would love to know what I should pack? I always always tend to OVER PACK far TOO MUCH. Luckily we are driving up (from Victoria), so I can OVER PACK! I tend to have lots of “bling” pieces as I am like a bower bird – if it’s bright and shiny and a bit different I am drawn to have it. However I don’t feel like taking my WHOLE wardrobe with me – Sharyn

The good news Sharyn is that it will still be warm in south-east Queensland but the humidity will be lower. Amen to that. The nights will be cooler but not winter temperatures so a light cardi, jacket and one pair of long pants/jeans should cover all bases if out at night and it gets chilly. Remember this post about packing clothes for a trip away? My number one tip is to check the weather app before you pack and see what the temperature prediction is for where you are headed. The other tips in that post will be helpful too.

You do have the luxury of space but with a little planning you can pack just enough of bling pieces to see you through the two weeks. Plan out your outfits before you pack. What can you mix and match from that mix? Which shoes go with most items you’d like to take? This helps to narrow it all down to a workable travel wardrobe.

Don’t forget your togs/bathers/swimsuit; hat and sunscreen!

Tips for packing for a trip away

Melbourne 40th birthday lunch

What would you suggest to wear to a 40th birthday lunch in Melbourne in April? The invitation said to wear something that you can wear out at night also. Are jeans a bit casual? The lunch will be at a wine bar on South Bank and will be attended by couples. I am not sure how dressed up I need to get? Thanks for advice in advance. Kate 

Oh, how I do love a long lunch, Kate, yes I do. BUT. You either cut your losses and head home when the sun goes down or you keep going. Seems like the “keep going” thing will be the go in this case. It does make it more tricky, outfit wise. It is, however, do-able. I’d err on the effortlessly dressy side of things but with a pant, not a frock.

I wouldn’t do blue denim jeans (but do check with any others who are going if they’re doing jeans as they might just opt for jeans any way!). Instead, I go a black skinny jean, jegging or pant. The coated denim or leather-look pant is hot right now and just gives a regular black jean look a bit of a dressed-up status. I’d then add a top with built-in bling or sequins or a plain top to which you can add your own bling. Finish off the look with a blazer or boyfriend jacket and heels or ankle boots. If you’re going to be standing around a lot all afternoon/evening then consider the height of the heels. I find that Nine West does a great fashion heel but in a mid-range height that I can wear all day or night if required.

Here’s one styling suggestion that might work for you:

What to wear to a 40th birthday lunch - autumn

1. Seed jacket $199.95 | 2. French Connection shirt $79.95 | 3. The Adorne Collective necklace $45 | 4. Country Road jeggings $99.95 | 5. Sussan clutch $49.95 | 6. Nine West Australia heels $99.95 

Winter shoe-robe

With more overseas travel on my horizon to cooler places (everywhere is cooler than where I live!), I’m starting to think about winter shoes. I have decided I am no longer going to wear uncomfortable (even if they are very pretty) high-heels.  I am busy, got lots to do, places to go and things to see. I want to put my shoes on in the morning and forget about my feet except for the occasional downward glance to admire how good they look. Don’t shoot me – I know I’m not the only one that does this!  

I could just pack one pair of shoes but I really don’t want to go sightseeing in Italy in my gym shoes – they are the most practical comfy shoes I own. I want to be comfy. I think a small heel always looks better than flat. Should I get the tan or black boots or leopard or red? Loafers or ballet flats? What three or four shoes would you live in over winter?  If you had to pack your favourites in the suitcase, what would you take? Leslie

Leslie, this is such a good question. Not only if you’re travelling in the northern hemisphere autumn later in the year but also if you’re wanting to update your shoe-robe for our own winter ahead. It is a good idea to buy now at the start of our autumn-winter as that’s when you’ll have a great size range available to you.

In case you missed this post (make sure you enter to win too!), I think Frankie4 Footwear (disclosure – I’m the brand ambassador for this range in 2015) is a great place to start for your travel shoe-robe. Simply because you can wear them all day in comfort – and they look great. I included my favourites in that post but if I were to narrow it down to three as part of an even tighter capsule winter shoe-robe, I’d go for these:

Winter travel shoe-robe

1. Black heeled ankle boots, eg LiZ boot in black oily nubuck | 2. Tan flat ankle boots, eg JAMiE boot in camel/brown oily nubuck | 3. Black leather sneakers, eg ELLiE sneaker in black

These three would work with just about any clothing combination you’re wanting to pack – and they will support your feet while you’re out and about walking each day. Your number four pair of shoes to pack could be your gym shoes – but only pack if you’re planning to hit the gym or go running while away. The Frankie4 leather sneakers will work for general walking.

It’s a good idea also to buy in advance – use our winter to get used to wearing them and work out the different footbed combinations that best suit your feet for each of the particular styles.

Trans-seasonal jackets

As the cooler weather approaches, I develop an all-too familiar anxiety about finding the perfect transeasonal jacket … something that has eluded me for many seasons. Winter is fine. I have two gorgeous skirt coats that I love, a khaki parka that is okay and a cheapy black military-style felt coat that I’m ambivalent about. What I’m lacking is a throw-over jacket that looks smarter than a cardi and provides mid level warmth but can go with a dress, skirt/top or pants/top combo with equal ease.

The issues: I am small-framed but large busted, so anything big enough in the front tends to sag and hang at the back/shoulders. Buttons strain and gape, full zips look weird, anything with too many flaps or lapels or pockets is a no-go. I am short, therefore have short arms, therefore sleeves are always dangling over my wrists and looks sloppy. Leather/motorbike jackets aren’t me. I hate denim jackets and I can never seem to do a belted trench without looking like I’m wearing a dressing gown.

Is there any hope for me or do I just stick it out in cardis until it gets cold enough for serious coatage? Beth

Oh Beth, there is hope. There is always wardrobe hope. It may just take a little more searching but I think the quest is always worth it. There are number of things to look out for. For a blazer-style jacket, look for a fabrication with stretch. That way it won’t sag on the back and shoulders and won’t look strained over a bust. Because it’s between seasons, wear this style open. It will be more flattering for you on a larger bust. I always roll the sleeve of my blazers as it’s more flattering to do that and I suggest you do too.

With a trench coat – particularly a softer fabric trench – play with leaving the coat open and loosely tying the belt behind you. This has the effect of creating some shape but not the dressing gown effect you might feel. Once again, roll the sleeves for a better proportion.

The other alternative to the cardi – and there are lots of them around at the moment – is the cape. Before you think superheroes and tight undergarments, think elegant fashion outer-wear. You can layer capes over short sleeve tees or tops now or long-sleeve knits as it cools down. Your hands are free and floaty. This design is generally an open one but when bought in a winter weight, it can provide just the warmth and style you need before full winter hits.

Here are some cape and stretch jacket options that might work for you:

4 transeasonal jackets

1. Bohemian Traders jacket $109 | 2. Bless’ed Are The Meek cape $179.95 @ The Iconic | 3. Metalicus cape $199.95 | 4. Sussan jacket $83.97 (on sale)

Got a question? Email me: [email protected] Got something to add to my advice above, fire away in the comments below!

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Comments 40

  1. Help please!!!! I’ve got my daughter’s uni graduation in Melbourne Monday week & am unsure of what to wear. I have a pair of black crepe harem/soft/drapey pants that are quite dressy but I’m not sure what sort of top to wear with them. I’m 5’10 so not a shorty by any means. Any ideas you could all give me would be greatly appreciated 🙂

      1. Thanks Nikki, I went through my ironing (it’s amazing what you find in there) & found a white Wish wrap style top that is silk, soft & has the high/low hem 🙂

  2. Blue Illusion have a great trench without a belt that should work well for Beth. I too am short and have a large bust and I love the one I bought recently. It is low on flaps etc but has a cool zip at the back.

  3. I like the long lunch suggestions because there’s one thing I’ve noticed about Melburnians since I’ve been here, is that they tend to dress up rather than dress down! Plus the weather is getting cooler from this week…

  4. I have fallen in love with capes this season and when this happens I tend to embrace a trend totally. It began with a cheapie black poncho type one, then a beautiful dark brown merino poncho cape and now I have also purchased a black tailored cape jacket.Now all I need is for the temperature to drop so I can pull on my boots and fly out the door in one of my capes!

  5. Infotastic (fantastic info) shoerobe sorted. think I might just need a pair of scuffs to complete the quadrella for my trip.
    Hankering for a long lunch now tho…thanks again Nikki – youre the best.x

  6. Another good source for cooler weather travel shoes or boots is Ziera. Some style are very orthopedic, but they also have some more fashion styles and colours too. I have some lace across ballet flats that were great for Europe in Spring.
    I’m feeling that I might be ready for a cape. Veronica Maine also has one about at the moment…

  7. Great tips Nikki I am small framed but not big busted and I love your cape suggestion for Beth,I find they work well for me.Thank you for these style advise answers they help everyone Xx

  8. all great tips thankyou nikki.
    love the outfits!
    traveling lighter that’s the thing hun!
    I always think I can, but then reality bites!
    oh I brought too much! … surprise! surprise!
    shocker! next time;0! … have a great day!
    love m:)X

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