Archive | October 2012

Most Sophisticated Skirt Length

‘Regardless of your age, the most sophisticated length for a dress is either an inch below or right above your knee’ said Adam Glassman, Oprah’s Creative Director in the Nov 2011 Magazine.

From experience, my tip is that a straight dress or skirt is best just below the knee as it is more elegant when you sit down. Just above the knee is fine for dresses and skirts with more movement in them as they will not ride up as far as a slim-fitting skirt or dress. At all costs avoid the ‘tugging my hem down to protect my modesty’ look. Wear the shorter above-knee length when you go to a standing-up event or your legs are hidden under the table.

How do work out exactly where your knee is? Use the curve at the back of your knee as your guide. Your legs look sexy and slim and your clothes look modern when they end at the narrowest part of your leg behind your knee.



(Article sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 25 October 2012. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine.)


The Rear View

I bet Kate Middleton never imagined when she married Prince William that she would be upstaged by her sister’s rear view. Probably Pippa was not aware of it either before her bottom became a media obsession.

Pippa may not want to capitalise on her rear view but Kylie Minogue and Jennifer Lopez do and Marilyn Monroe did.

A pert or shapely bottom is not an essential requirement for reading this article. There’s more to your rear view than your bottom.

Most of us concentrate on the impression that our front view gives while forgetting that people see us from all angles. Your back is as important as your front. Who knows! Your rear may become your new best feature.

Here are my tips from observation, experience and image knowledge to help you appreciate and celebrate your rear view.

The Element of Surprise

Let’s start with the positive. Adding surprising touches to your rear view pleases yourself, adds variety to your wardrobe and brings you interesting compliments.

Start with your hairstyle. If you love your front style, why not ask your hairdresser if there is something a little different he or she can do to the back of your hair to be modern, stylish or funky.

Start searching for back necklines that are different to the front. It can be but does not have to be a cut-out or a low back. It can be something as simple as a high front and a V back. Crossover jackets like my Intimo top (shown) can be worn back-to-front to give a high front and a crossover V back. Add an accessory that hangs down your back.

An interesting exercise is to take some of your tops and put them on backwards. You may be surprised at how different and good they look. Forget the criticism! Play!

Anything in a princess line will give you a shapely rear. Look for blouses that have a simple fitted front with a different back style. Fishtails, pleats and gathers on skirts or dresses add an element of surprise to your rear view.

Don’t forget your shoes. I have wedges that from the rear view look like stiletto heels. Interesting heels add an element of ‘ooh’ to an otherwise classic outfit.


A client reminded me that shoes, especially high heels, can get scuffed when driving. Someone will notice it; so have different driving shoes or use texta or white board markers to cover scuffs or damaged heels.

Always check for falling hems or loose threads. Repair them as soon as possible. Check zips, buttons and hooks. Split seams can show when you stretch or bend. Inspect clothes and accessories regularly.

You are too old to put up with annoying things on clothes. You have my permission to unpick or cut off those ties anywhere across your back. Find a nice belt, alter it or just leave it plain.

Embarrassing Faux Pas

We have all seen them and I probably notice more of them. Unless she is a close friend, we are often too embarrassed to tell them.

This is what the dressing room and your bedroom mirror is for – to check all the angles as well as when you stretch, bend and sit. That too tight skirt three-quarters zipped up will show if your top is stretchy and moves as you stand up. Your undies or thong will show when you sit on a chair in front of me and your pants gape and your top does not cover it while sitting. The young often don’t care about revealing their bra straps. We do. Check the rear straps as well as the front straps.

Many women forget to check how that style or pattern makes them look from the rear. Does it make you look better? Does it draw unwanted attention to the wrong area? Or does it make some part of you look bigger than you are?

Last Words

If your rear view has been neglected or just overlooked, now is the time for a re-assessment. Minimise the problems and add the element of surprise and you will want to wear more of your wardrobe more of the time.

(Article sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 1 November  2012. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine.)

16 Features of Savvy Internet Fashion Sites

16 Features of Savvy Internet fashion SitesI remember a time when your only fashion options were local shops, home-made clothes or going interstate or overseas for your unique and perfect fashionable item.

Today, a click of the mouse or a flick of your finger across the screen and the whole world opens up to you. Provided they ship to your country, you can buy from anywhere.

After researching and getting feedback from the recent participants (all business and professional women) at my Fashion Over 40 Meetup on Internet Shopping, here’s my guide to the best features I have found on savvy internet fashion sites. No one site has them all.

Making It a Safe and Special Place to Enter

You judge very quickly whether you want to enter a physical shop. It’s the same online.

1. How to Use the Website Guide

Birdsnest has a ‘how to find your perfect dress’ guide with illustrations and simple descriptions. They make it easy with body part descriptions rather than figure shapes.

2. Being Able to Set up Your Profile

This is good because it narrows down your search for clothes, which saves you time.

3. Common Concerns

These are quick links to special styles or new season looks to appeal to you like ‘cosy and chic’, ‘little black dress’, ‘travellers’ or ‘slimming styles’.

4. Best Sellers

We women always like to know what’s popular as we may want it too. This category covers ‘best bargain buys’ and ‘most popular’.

5. Web Exclusives

Chicos does this well with their Black Label clothes. Other websites tell you when you click on an item that it is exclusive to their website.

6. Styling Advice

A number of websites do have live chats with their stylist as well as a selection of styled outfits that you can peruse and then click to see all the items from that outfit on one page. Ezibuy has a ‘styling tips by brand’ which tells you the personality and lifestyle essence of each of their brands.

Is This Item for Me?

After you have picked some clothes to look at in closer detail, you want your buying decision to be  safe and easy.

7. Accurate Sizing

Most websites have sizing guides and international conversions. As we all can name a non-standard sizing label, it would be useful for websites to state whether your item is from a smaller, larger or a normal-sized label. Sometimes you can find this information in the reviews.

8. Full Description

The more information they give you the better, including length in centimetres or inches. Savvy ones include washing instructions.

9. 3600 View

The best websites give you zoom front and back and 3600 rotation so that you can see the item from all angles.

10. How to Wear It

Birdsnest often includes one or more ways to wear the item. Otherwise, a view with accessories or styling tips adds value and versatility.

11. If Not This, Maybe That

Savvy sites show you similar styles as an alternative or an additional purchase. It’s like a salesperson with your interests at heart but no pressure.

12 Reviews

Good websites make space for customer reviews. Read them, especially reviewers who describe the fit, size and quality. Chicos replies to review comments. The replies are standard and I feel a more personal one would make you feel more valued. Chico reviewers can add their age bracket, body type, shopping frequency and location. All helps.

13. Acknowledging Reviewers

Savvy Chicos encourages women to be reviewers. They indicate Top Reviewers on the item page as well as having a ‘meet our top reviewers’ page. This build a loyal tribe which you want to be part of.

Delivery and After Sales Service

Now to crunch time and the major fear of buying online.

14. Value for Money

We all want quality items and we know we must pay for that. If the clothes look good and the price is right, delivery time and shipping costs are the tipping points. Make them reasonable and we will buy, especially from another country.

15. Surprise Me

A little extra here adds the personal touch. Some sites wrap it in special, non-branded paper. Birdsnest sent me a personalised card. Ok, it may have been computer-generated but it looks personal. Savvy sites surprise and acknowledge you.

16. Ease of Return

This is important. It should not cost you to return it. Prompt refund of payment is essential.

Last Words

Baby Boomer women are not computer luddites. We are looking and we do compare sites and stores. Make internet shopping safe and easy to use and make us a bit special and we will spread the word and return time and time again.

(Article sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 18 October  2012. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine.)

Practical Tips for Accentuating Your Best Body Feature

You are not listening for comments like ‘you always wear pants’. You are listening for a compliment like ‘you always look fabulous in pants’. There is a subtle difference.

Here are my practical tips for women over 40 to help you blossom into the beautiful woman you are so that you attract compliments rather than comments.


We live in a visual world; so people notice colour first. This is a good starting point. You cannot accentuate your best feature by only wearing conservative, basic, one-colour combination eg all black, grey or beige outfits. One-colour outfits may downplay your negatives but they do not accentuate your best feature. They may be easy to choose but they will never give people that one point of reference that makes you memorable. Classics combined with other colours are fine, especially if you use those other colours to draw attention to your best feature (your face, eyes, waist, height, body shape, legs or hands).

Colour is used in one of two ways. You either compliment or enhance. Complimenting is using a lighter, deeper, stronger or brighter tone of a colour to consciously reinforce a colour. Enhancing is using the direct opposite colour to subconsciously magnify a colour. If your eyes, skin or hair is brown, other shades of brown draw attention to that body part by intensifying the colour. Blue is the opposite of brown and the subconscious immediately recognises a perfect contrast. Blue shades may range from aqua blue to blue-purple (ie jacaranda), depending on your shade of brown. Wearing these colours from light to dark, in patterns or combining both near your best feature brings attention to it and gives you a positive lift.


Using style to highlight your face is wearing your best hairstyle plus accessories that are in the same shape as your face or that incorporate the third part of your personality eg elegant or feminine. If you have a round face and feminine is your third and often hidden personality trait, you would play with accessories and tops that include rounded and floral shapes and patterns in your best complimentary and enhancing colours. Your hairstyle would be more feminine that pixie or dramatic. You might also add feminine accessories to your hair.

For your body shape, height, arms or legs, a good starting point is to do the online ‘My Private Stylist’ Program or come to me for a personal consultation so you know what to wear that plays up your best body part. Peplums are in fashion at the moment and they are a great way to highlight your waist or body shape. Choose one in a classic style and it will always look beautiful and stylish for years.

Use the same guidelines to highlight your hands through flattering sleeve styles, accessory shapes and colours.


These are the icing on the cake and an un-iced cake is easily forgotten. Use accessories strategically placed to bring positive attention to your best body feature. A vertical scarf, a brooch or a full or half-belt in a contrasting colour draws attention to your waist even if it is not as small as it used to be. Accessories above your bustline draw attention up to your best facial feature. An interesting hemline, tanned legs, silky stockings or interesting shoes draw attention to your long or shapely legs.



Last Words

Every woman has one body feature that others recognise them by. Discover it, learn to love it and use these practical tips to celebrate it. Play with colour, style and carefully chosen accessories and you will find so many simple ways to celebrate and love being ‘you’.

(Article sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 4 October  2012. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine.)