Archive | October 2011

Fashion Notes from Europe

I am back from an enjoyableEuropean holiday with my husband.

While I didn’t spend hours in department stores and shops, I was always sneakily window-shopping, observing what  stylish women were wearing and  noting websites to research over the next few weeks.

As we were moving from place to place by train and my darling husband was carrying both bags up and down stairs in French and Italian railway stations, suitcase weight was an issue. I did manage to buy an interesting scarf  combo (more of that next issue). A scarf doesn’t weigh much.

Here for you today are three comments on women and fashion in Europe to inspire and encourage you.

Summer White

Along the French Riviera (Cannes, Nice, St Tropez and Monaco) white is THE colour. There are many all-white shops like ‘Blanc du Nil’ in St Tropez. These shops only sell white clothes and accessories. In the heat, white is cooler than our Queenslanders’ love of bright tropical colours. Planning a Mediterranean cruise like many Australians I met? Then add some white if it suits you. Remember to wear skin-coloured underwear under white. It doesn’t show. Some women haven’t learnt that trick yet.

In Mediterranean Italy, the women are more colourful and white is replaced by beige tones that suit their olive colouring. Beiges and browns can look ‘naked’ from a distance. On Capri (the upmarket Italian Riviera) their ‘white shops’ like ‘Scacco Matto’ add colourful scarves to brighten their white clothing.

This September was unusually hot and sunny (not the norm in southern Europe). All those smart European women were cool while I was hot in my red-based tops and dark jeans. Only an occasional gelato ice-cream and a 5 o’clock beer in the shade saved me.

Gladiator-style Heels

I am a ‘shoe’ girl. So shoes always catch my attention. Unfortunately the ones I liked weren’t my size or a bit too expensive. My husband was relieved – no extra weight to carry.

The gladiator-style high heels are still around and there are lots of them displayed for Europe’s coming winter. These shoes have gone from being a ‘fad’ to a ‘trend’ and look like becoming a ‘modern classic’ within the next few years.

Here’s my tips. A well-chosen pair of these shoes provide an instant modern update to your classic clothes. You will feel more ‘with it’ and good about yourself and look younger in these shoes.

The chunkier, thicker strapped styles (especially those that end above the ankles) are best suited to long slim legs and above-the-knee skirts. For everyone else, they can make your legs look thicker and shorter. If you like the chunkier style, wear them only under or with long pants or jeans.

Best styles – Try Ziera brand which has an ‘Ipswich’ shoe with a shorter heel. Look for gladiator-style shoes in a skin-tone colour that blends with your leg colour or a dark colour that blends with your pants and jeans.

The most flattering style for all leg shapes has a more open weave or thinner straps that end on your instep just below your ankles. These styles will make your legs and feel look slimmer.

Geometric Prints

Fashion goes in circles – sometimes big circles. So it is with the modern version of the ‘60s Mary Quaint’ geometric prints. No! don’t pull out your vintage ones. You’ll just look old and sad. Re-invention styles are never exactly the same as in the past. This style will be a short-lived fad. Admire, reminisce and if you must buy, wear with pleasure and get rid of it next year.

Your modern ‘ageless’ take on it = Colour Blocking of plain or printed fabrics in diagonal or curved blocks. Colour Blocking means panels of contrasting plain or patterned fabric. It is not contrasting collars, cuffs, pockets or frills. It is a very popular staple in one-piece swimsuits to give the illusion of a slimmer waist and hips.

Try it as a different shoulder piece or sleeve insert, a print dress with a wide plain-colour waistband or even a dress with top-stitching to create a panel  effect.


(Article sent to readers of ‘The Fashion Translator’ ezine on 19 October 2011. Click here to sign up for the ezine.)