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Category Archives: Accessorizing

Blog Banner_ Goldilocks Principle (2)


By | Accessorizing | 4 Comments

Goldilocks knew what she wanted when it came to porridge  – not too hot or too cold but just right.  The same ‘just right’ principle can be applied to accessorizing.

By knowing some simple coordination principles, you can save yourself valuable time randomly trialing lots of different accessories until your outfit ‘looks right’,

I call them the Big 3:

Goldilocks Principle of Accessorizing, Scale Weight and Harmony, Style Clinic, Image innovators, Ann reinten, Image Consultant Training, Image Consultant Tools and Resources

Once you understand how these three elements impact your outfits you’ll not only find accessorizing easier, you’ll also start to realize it is possible to bend the rules i.e., wear a large scaled item if you are petite or have a small frame.

After reading through this feature spend some time in your closet to determine which elements your accessories have if they work with your scale and how you can mix and match them in new interesting and flattering ways    

So, let’s begin…


This refers to not only how large the accessory is but how well it coordinates with your personal scale.  

When it comes to the female form there are 3 main scales: small, medium and large. Knowing which one you are will help when selecting the best scale for your accessories.

Women considered small scale are usually short to medium height, have small features and are underweight to slightly overweight.

Medium scaled women can be any height and are commonly between slightly underweight and moderately overweight.

Large-scaled women are usually medium-tall to tall, larger than most women in build and are between slightly underweight and moderately overweight.

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Accessories can also be assigned a scale: small, medium-small, medium, medium-large and large. When you work with scales that flatter your frame the look is harmonious, and you remain the main focus. The best results come from you wearing the accessory, not it wearing you. 

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You can use the following guidelines to coordinate accessories, hairstyles and prints to your personal scale.

If you are:

  • under 5’4″ / 162.5 cms and have a small frame wear small to medium accessories.
  • 5’4″ to 5’8″ / 162.5 to 173 cms and have a small frame wear small to medium-large accessories.
  • over 5’8″ / 173 cms and have a small frame, medium-small to medium-large scale accessories will suit you best.
  • over 5’8″ / 173 cms, have a medium frame and are slightly under to slightly overweight you can wear any scale of accessory.
  • under 5’8″ / 173 cms and moderately to very underweight you are best with small to medium sized accessories.
  • 5’4 to 5’8″/ 162.5 to 173 cms, have a medium frame and are slightly under to slightly overweight small to medium-large scale accessories are the way to go.
  • 5’6″/ 167.50 cms or taller and have a large frame wear medium to large accessories
  • If you have a large frame and are more than moderately overweight, select medium to medium-large accessories.

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An accessory should be in sync with the weight of an outfit – not the actual weight but the visual weight.

How heavy an outfit or accessory appears to be is often a result of a combination of factors such as its colour, material, surface and opacity.


Two objects of the same shape and actual weight may appear to be lighter or heavier than each other. Take these two boxes, for example, if I asked you which one appears to be the heavier, you’d probably say the darker one. Light colours have the lease visual weight while dark colours appear to weigh more.

The Goldilocks Principle of Accessorizing, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, How to Accessorize, Image Innovators, Image Consultant Training and Tools,  Visual Weight

Look at these floral dresses. The lighter one is not just light in colour but also in fabric; coordinating accessories in a similar weight creates balance. Likewise, the navy floral dress is made of a thicker fabric and when teamed with dark jeans works beautifully with flat suede mules.

The Goldilocks Principle of Accessorizing, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, How to Accessorize, Image Innovators, Image Consultant Training and Tools, Visual Weight


The surface of an accessory can be matte (reflects no light), have some sheen (reflects some light) or be shiny (highly reflective). The more matt the item the greater its perceived visual weight. When coordinating accessories, you can leverage its reflectivity. For example, a large-scale item that is light in colour and/or has a reflective surface will coordinate and harmonize more easily on a person with a small frame.  The Goldilocks Principle of Accessorizing, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, How to Accessorize, Image Innovators, Image Consultant Training and Tools, Visual Weight

In the left-hand photo below the flat lace-ups harmonize with her bulky sweater while the patent leather lifts and lightens the shoe to better balance with her gauzy skirt. In the right-hand photo the dark, polished stiletto boots pair perfectly with this trans-seasonal outfit giving the ‘just-right’ visual weight. Most matt surfaced pumps/court shoes can look very heavy in summer while a polished surface is better and patent leather will totally lift and lighten the look.

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This is how solid/dense or transparent an item is. Like ‘surface’, the more opaque the item, the heavier it will appear to be. In the photos below you can see how opacity affects the visual weight and scale of a necklace. Click here for more on visual weight. 

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Likewise, with fabric; the following two light coloured outfits have different fabric density and design weight and as a result are most complemented by like weighted t accessories. Light with light, heavy with heavy. Whereas the blue outfit on the right is better balanced than the one on the left. The lightness of the fabric, the amount of skin exposed and her slight figure all serve to make her over-knee boots appear a tad to heavy for the outfit.

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One of the keys to accessorizing is knowing how to pair the shape of accessories to that of the outfit or body part that it is position near to.  This is particularly important with necklaces, earrings, hats, handbags, and prints.


If the edge is ruffled, embellished or asymmetrical opt for statement earrings with a shape and colour that echoes the dominate design line and go without a necklace.

If the neckline edge or collar is simple you have more coordination options.  Follow its shape if you are not sure. 

To discover all the necklaces and earrings that suit you along with every other item you wear I suggest purchasing a personal style program from My Private Stylist.

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There are so many ways to work with colour in a pleasing way. The easy and most effective choices are: add a metal of the same undertone, a neutral, complementary or analogous colour.  

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When it comes to prints near your face consider how busy they are, their size, how bright or dull it is and the dominant design line. 

If the print is busy or bright (left-hand photo below) opt for medium-small to medium-large understated earrings, a large but relatively simple ring, and no necklace.

If the print is busy or large and away from your face, select a statement necklace or earrings for balance.

If the print is large but not busy opt for either medium to medium-large understated earrings or necklace which have similar design lines and/or a related colour.

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Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP

How to Wear Belts, Belts for Women, Style Clinic, Ann Reinten, Image Innovators, Image Consultant Training, My Private Stylist.


By | Accessorizing, How To... | 7 Comments

Far from being purely utilitarian, belts can be the final sartorial touch that completes and polishes your total look. The addition of a belt can be the equivalent of adding a period to the end of a sentence. In addition, they can add shape and aid in improving the garment’s fit. Of course, like any other accessory, there are factors and elements that come into play to successfully pull off and integrate a belt into your look.

Here’s my guide to wearing belts and looking amazing in them.

Types of Belts

Being knowledgeable about the types of belts available will better equip when it comes to figuring out which one to choose for particular occasions and whether a certain belt style will suit your personal style and body type. Knowing the belt lingo will also make it easier for you to shop and find exactly what you’re looking for. 


Whether it comes in black or in brown, the classic belt is a must-have in every woman’s wardrobe. This belt is a versatile piece that exceeds its practicality. With a simple design and buckle, the simplicity of this belt makes it adaptable to a gamut of occasions. This belt when in a good quality leather will add polish to your office separates and your denim.

But don’t stop there; why not try some bright colored belts? They are the perfect choice to pep up your LBD or a predominantly monochromatic look. Go to neon belts and you’ll add some youthful vigor and dose of trendy style to classic looks. If you’re up for getting noticed, match one accessory e.g, bag or scarf to the color of your belt.

The next step up is the metallic belt. In finishes such as gold and silver, they are as versatile and easy to style as your traditional neutrals such as: nude, navy, black, and white. If you want to add glam to your look, reach for a metallic belt and watch your glam instantly shine through. Whether you opt for a skinny or wide metallic belt, the versatility of this piece remains constant. A trendy and of-the-moment take on this belt is to buy a belt with a metallic piece on the front; this type of metallic belt gives more structure to your overall look.

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Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3


Typically a boho accessory, the woven/braided leather belt has crossed over to more traditional styles. Leather is the usual material of choice for this type of belt given its earthy style connotations. However, the ease with which this belt can be styled has made it an easy pick for fashionistas to cross over to style even their preppy looks. In my opinion, this belt looks best when worn over flowing tunic tops and maxi dresses as well as more polished pieces like pencil skirts and sheath dresses.

Trend up your belt with no traditional belting.

Belts 2

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3


This belt is especially appropriate for evening occasions and can be relied upon to make a major impression. From a belt that sparkles for the glam queens, to a studded belt if you’re more of a rock chick and an animal print if you’re a dramatic gal, the choices are endless.

The key here is to find a style that resonates with your style so you can wear it with confidence.

Belts 3

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3


Skinny belts are subtle accessories that can easily spruce up your outfit and make it look complete. It’s also easier to play around with colorful hues and bolder prints since it’s width makes it understated.

When styling this belt take note of proportion since the belt is so skinny wear it with jeans or skirts that are more fitted. Loose and flowing pieces will drown out the belt and it will lose its chic appeal.

Belts 4

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3


Wide belts are another kind of statement belt; from an Obi to add a little oriental flavor to sexy corset style or a classic wide sash style, each makes a unique statement. A wide belt is perfect for creating an amazing hourglass shape and will work wonders for most waistlines.  

If you want to cinch in your waist when wearing shapeless shift dresses or empire waist pieces, a wide belt is your best bet. Invest in a neutral wide belt that you can style different options with, and invest in a fun, trendier version for nights when you’re feeling a little bit funkier. 

Recently there has been an upward spike in the presence of Japanese-inspired fashion trends on the runways. Multiple seasons have passed and the popularity and prominence of obi belts have grown by leaps and bounds. What makes the Obi distinctive is that there is a wide base that serves as the base to wrap around the thinner straps that tie in the front. Obi belts are a hot trend right now and it is a worthy addition to your wardrobe, for sure.

Belts 5

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3


Tying a rope around your waist says effortless style to a T. They are an easy way to add structured and shape to your more casual looks. You can tie your rope belt in multiple ways, either in the middle front, the back, or even asymmetrical to one side. It’s just a one-of-a-kind way to finish up a look. This rope belt works especially well for the warmer months with lighter fabrications. You can even personalize this type of belt even further with the way you decide to knot it.

Belts 6

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3


Elasticized belts can have a tendency to look 80s-inspired, especially if they sport an ornate buckle. Fight against that by making sure that your elastic belts serve as a seamless component of your look instead of a focal point. If you do decide to let your beautiful waist and elasticized belt take center stage, keep the rest of your look simple and let the attention be on the belt.

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Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3


Fabric belt or sash belts are another hot trend that emerged from street style this year. Scarves used as belts, either tied at the waist or slung low on the hips, is the ultimate in cool-girl styling. This styling insider trick will give you a definite fashion editor feel.

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Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3 

The Right Belt for You

If you are high-waisted with long legs

Your aim is to visually elongate your torso so narrow belts and/or those that sit below your waist is often the best way to go. You can also:

A. Wear a single color above and below the waist and a narrow belt in the same color.

B. Continue the visual length of your torso by wearing a belt in the color of your top.

C. Wear a single color above and below your waist and then add a narrow belt at the waist.

D. Wear a hipster belt.

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If you are low-waisted with short legs

You have plenty of torso to experiment with all manner of belts with medium to wide styles being your best. Avoid wearing belts too low as this will emphasize your long torso. 

A. Wear belts that match your pants to extend your leg length.

B. Wide belts.

C. Contrasting belts.

D. Obi and corset belts.

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If you have little waist definition

The goal here will be to create the illusion of a waist. This can be achieved by:

A. Wearing a medium to narrow width belt in a darker color than the garment you are wearing.

B. Wearing a belt in a color matching your top or dress.

C. Calling attention to your waist with a belt peeping out from an open jacket or sweater.

D. Teaming the belt with tops and bottoms with volume to create the illusion of a waist.

Belts rectangles

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3 

If you have a large bust

Often your bust sits lower creating the appearance of being short-waisted with little to no waist definition. You can counter this with:

A. Medium to narrow width belts in the same or darker color than the garment you are wearing and positioned.

B. Belts that sit on the hips.

C. Belts peaking out from under open jackets.

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 Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

If you are full hipped

You are blessed with a waist so belts are a great accessory for showing off your figure and improving the fit of many garments. However, they can also emphasize the size of your hips and buttocks. Your best belts include:

A. Those that sit slightly above your natural waist.

B. Styles in the same color as your pants or skirt.  

C. Belts under open jackets and vests.

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Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Do’s and Don’ts of Wearing a Belt

Do you think you’re ready to conquer belts now? Before you go armed with your newfound knowledge, here are some do’s and don’ts to bear in mind:

  • Do wear the same color of belt as your dress. It’ll make your look more streamlined. 
  • Do store your belts and clean them properly. A little bit of care goes a long way in making your accessories last. 
  • Do create shape and curves using belts. Belt phobia is worth conquering if only for this one reason. 
  • Do get colorful and bold when shopping for belts. It’s a great way to bring some life into your more basic pieces. 
  • Do show off your belt. Put the attention on your awesome accessory and your amazing figure. 
  • Do declutter your closet and swap ‘out of style’ belts each year. 
  • Don’t fold your belts or curl them tightly when storing them. 
  • Don’t match every single accessory to the color of your belt. 
  • Don’t wear your belt too tight. 
  • Don’t be afraid to wear your belt over your cardigan or cover up. It’s a chic and refreshing way to add shape while wearing outerwear. 
  • Don’t overshadow a statement belt with other large and/or prominent accessories. 
  • Don’t wear lighter belt fabrications (fabric, rope) for the colder seasons. Leather can be worn all year round. 
  • Don’t be afraid to show off your fun personality with an equally fun and fabulous belt. 
  • Don’t ever be scared of belts. No more belt phobia for you!





If you enjoyed this week’s feature
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or leave a comment/question below.
Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP

Acc Banner


By | Accessorizing | 9 Comments

Nobody’s perfect, and just as people have bad hair days; so too we sometimes experience bad styling days. Sometimes the blame lays with the accessories we’ve chosen.

Personal style like fashion is an art form. An expressive medium allowing us to emit all manner of information about who we are, what we hold important and where we want to place ourselves within the communities we live. Over time, through trial and error we learn what makes us look in the mirror, smile and say ‘that’s me!‘ and why the things that fell short missed the mark.

Accessories are often the make or break factor especially if you have a figure that does not allow you to wear all the styles you may like to. Conversely, the rest of your outfit can make your chosen statement accessory shine or look out of place.

Choosing the perfect accessory to go with an outfit comes naturally to some, while it takes others a little longer to work out what’s right for them. This week I want to explore some of the keys to finding the perfect accessory for an outfit and how to fix things when you know something is wrong but are not sure what.

Comfort is key

If something you’re wearing is making you physically uncomfortable: maybe it’s a pair of earrings that are too heavy, a tote that feels cumbersome, or a pair of stilettos that are killing your feet even before you’ve left the house – exchange them.   All of these things distract us, cause us to feel a level of self-consciousness and in the case of painful shoes, can turn us into ill-tempered she-devils. In short, they affect how we carry off our look and interact with others. Fidgeting and looking uneasy is the total opposite of chic.


Trust your gut

You know the situation you’re standing in front of your mirror and you like the outfit in theory but you have a niggling in your gut that there’s something not quite right?  I’m not sure about the…..color, bulk, style etc. Trust that feeling and follow your style instinct, whatever it is that you’re unsure about just take it off or replace until you can look at yourself and say – I love it!


Take your time

Accessorizing can be a tricky business. The previous styling tip promotes trusting yourself, and in order to do that you need to take your time to get to know which accessories look good on you, match your personal style and coordinate with the outfit you’re creating. Whenever you have a little downtime, play dress up in your closet. Get intimately acquainted with all the items in your wardrobe. Seek to find as many flattering and personally satisfying outfits as possible. It may take a few months but if you do you’ll soon be pulling items together and accessorizing expertly and effortlessly. 

I take photos of every outfit I wear – that way I can more easily see what worked and what didn’t in terms of style, coordination, and accessories. It also provides a visual record of my outfit options and takes only 2 minutes to do each morning.



Gone are the days (well, until it’s ‘in’ again) when it’s all about matching your accessories. That kind of matchy-matchy styling is considered out of sync with today’s thinking and constructing a look that appears stylish yet effortless.

Pick one statement piece and aim to complement/harmonize it with your outfit, rather than matching all the items. Take inspiration from your outfit but don’t let it dictate everything—the key word here being ‘harmony’.

Bridgette Raes has a very good feature on how not to be matchy-matchy.


Follow Coco Chanel’s advice

“Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” These are wise words for any woman who has a tendency to wear too much color, too many accessories or too many focal points.

Elegance and sophistication is underpinned by simplicity and moderation. If your bangles make a racket, your neon pink heels clash with your bright yellow necklace or you’ll drown if you fall in the river under the load of your accessories – tone it down by removing the most distracting item. Let the mirror be your friend and always edit yourself.

Source: Image 1, Image 2

Scale to flatter

Accessories should harmonize with the scale of your body’s frame and your outfit.

If you have a small frame, be mindful not to overwhelm it oversized bags or large or chunky jewelry. Instead, opt for small to medium sized accessories.  Tall gals can handle bolder, larger items if their personality also supports it, while curvy women are best with medium to medium-large sized items.  Small items will exaggerate their size by comparison while large items will enhance size.

scaled right  

Visual weight fails

Some accessories fail because of visual weight imbalances.  While contrast in weight can look great it often takes expertise and experience to know how to pull it off.

Take note of the visual or apparent weight of your main garment and add accessories that have a similar visual weight. This is apparent in the image below. While the dress is light in color so too it looks light in visual (apparent) weight and as a result, requires accessories that appear to have a similar weight. Both the heavy visual weight of the black bag and shoes and the solid nature of the embroidery throw off the visual balance of the dress while the accessories for the second are visual harmony.

Weight Balance

Theme unity fails

Another common accessory fail is a lack of unity between the styles. In the first outfit below the earrings and clutch share both color and geometric shapes and are just passable with the dress.  However, they have no unity to the lace ankle boots.  In turn, the lace boots while sharing the color black are too feminine and light-weight to work successfully with the heavy style of the dress.  

All the components of the second outfit share a similar theme. 

Them Unity   

If all else fails, consult a professional 

While DIY-ing your style is always great, nothing beats the opinion of a professional. If you feel you need assistance Image Innovators have many consultants around the work that can help you.

Building a wardrobe with key clothing pieces will be the foundation of your style. Think of accessories, as the cherries on top or the decorative icing on the cake, these embellishments or outfit add-ons are what can make your style stand out and make your looks more personal and unique. 

Want more?



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Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP



By | Accessorizing, Wardrobe Savvy | 4 Comments

Can I have a collective cheer?

Flats have finally entered the world of high fashion, in fact, runways the world over have been alight with stylish flats worn in a number of ways.

So, now that flats have become trendy, and possibly even the “it” shoe of the season, there’s lots of style inspiration out there for you to take cues from. Irrespective if you’re petite or full-figured, flats can work wonders for your shape and size. Whether you like more classic, comfy or edgy styles, there’s a pair of flats that can complement and enhance your personal style and preferences.

When fashion and function meet comfort, what more could a girl ask for? Even if you’re a devoted lover of heels, consider this feature proof that it’s time to diversify your shoe game.

Here are 8 ways to make flats work for your figure and increase your style acumen too:

Point toe flats rock

If there’s one takeaway from this article, it’s this: pointed toe shoes rock. Not only are they a classic shoe shape, pointed toe flats are having a major sartorial comeback at the moment. Another added bonus to pointed toe flats is that it’s pretty easy to transition it from day to night. Pointed toe flats elongate your legs, and by extension your legs.

Pointed toe shoes have a reputation for being uncomfortable but following these two suggestions will help.

  • Look for pointed flats with a false front. “A pointy-toe shoe with an area that is much longer than your toes has a false front. It keeps your toes from being squished,
  • Make sure the toe box – the area across the ball of your foot is wide enough to ensure comfort.

Point Toe FlatsSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

Match the details of your shoe with your body type.

Like most styling tips, proportion is key. If you’re petite, flats with daintier detailing such as lace-up details and delicate floral embellishment will suit you best.

If you have a fuller figure, steer clear of slight/delicate details that may make your ankles appear larger and can look disproportionate with your frame. Instead, opt for bold features such as studs.

If your legs are heavy or short avoid ankle straps unless they are flesh colored, not too thick and definitely not too tight. 

Flat Shoes Detailing and WeightSource

Test for comfort – adapt or move on

If a shoe is not wearable for at least several hours what the point – right? It’s important to know how to assess a flat shoe for its wearability.

  • Try to push in the area around the heel. If the heel collapses enough to touch the insole, the shoe will not be supportive.”
  • Hold each end of a shoe and try to twist it. If the shoe bends too much, it won’t be supportive.
  • Look for flats with a little bit of a heel if you have high arches. Heels provide relief from all types of foot pain and I always add into flat shoes an orthaheel insert to improve comfort.
  • Shoes with leather or rubber soles provide maximum shock absorption making walking long distances easier.
  • Shoes with leather or suede insoles are breathable and pliable and help prevent chafing and blistering because they mold to the feet.
  • Avoid slippage and cuts on your heel by finding a shoe with a back that fits snugly and holds your foot securely.

Show off your feet.

To reveal more of your foot is always more flattering since it gives that visual illusion of a longer leg. So sandals, toe posts and D’orsay (image 2 below) styles are always wise choices.

Open FlatsSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Expose your ankle when wearing flats with pants.

Since flats do not give you the height boost of heels, showing off those ankles are a great way to add some sexy into your ensemble. This is especially true when you wear flats with pants. Roll up those cuffs, and flaunt those fashion-forward flats.

expose the ankleSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3 

Pairing hemlines.

The quickest way to tone down an uber sexy LBD or an ultra short mini: wear flats with it. Heels and high hemlines can be a little bit too much, and too much sexy in one outfit does not equal chic. So tip the style scales in your favor when you sport your sexiest pieces with a pair of flats.

On the other hand, flat shoes with longer hemlines give a relaxed vibe that can make any day feel like the weekend.

minis and midis

Source: Top Row: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3
Bottom Row: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Formality and image

Given the comfort of flats, it’s easy to want to wear them all the time and it’s totally possible if you keep a few image guidelines in mind. Many of these work in tandem with each other.

Things that impact a flat’s formality:

  • Upper Material: Leather is the most formal to canvas being the least. Skins such as faux leopard are sexy/exotic, silks are elegant and dressy. Fabric like spots are fun.
  • Upper Structure: the more firm or structured the upper the more formal the look.
  • Sole: The thinner the sole the more formal the image. Thick soles are typically considered fashionable or casual depending on other aspects of the shoe.
  • Surface: Matte is casual, sheen adds polish and shine ups the image to formal. Metallic and sequins add glamor.
  • Toe shape: the more pointy the more dressy and sharp the look down to rounded toes which are seen as casual, comfortable and even a little matronly.
  • Coverage: the more the foot is covered the more formal the shoe tends to be. 
  • Embellishments: studs add a masculine/biker image, bows are feminine, gemstone are fun or add evening glam, pom,poms are fun and youthful etc 
  • Color: black is the most formal of all colors for shoes while bright colors are the most casual.  White adds a touch of summer, though can be worn in winter too.

Flat Image

Menswear-inspired flats can be tricky to pull off.

Tassel details, loafer styles, and monk straps spell instant chic for your looks. But be weary of these styles since they tend to cut you off at the ankle. Reserve these styles of colder climes. Wear with monochromatic tights if you’re petite. You can get away with playing with sock print and textures if you have longer and leaner legs.

Mens Style Flats

Want More? Dress Like a Parisian: How to Wear Flats.

Related Features: Well Heeled Part 1, Well Heeled Part 2


If you enjoyed this week’s feature
please like it on Facebook or Instagram
or leave a comment/question below.
Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP



By | Accessorizing, How To... | No Comments

Anyone for the races?

The Australian Melbourne Cup is only just over a month away and those planning to attend will be starting to plan their outfits of which a hat is an essential element. The right hat will not only complete your outfit it will add a glamorous flourish and they are an essential part of the traditional etiquette that surrounds many race meetings.

The first and most important point is give yourself plenty of time to find the right hat and outfit by starting at least a month in advance.

When it comes to your hat try on a variety of styles and experiment with the way you place the hat on your head. One rule of thumb is the crown width should not be narrower than your cheekbones. This will ensure a good visual balance. 

Don’t feel obligated to match your hat exactly to your outfit. Complementary colored hats can look just as stunning as a fully coordinated ensemble and trimming your hat with flowers is a great way to add extra pizzazz. However, if you’re wearing a floral printed dress, it may be best to keep your hat flower free.

The following four international race events all have a rich traditions and a history of fabulous fashion, and with it we’ve included a quick how-to and etiquette guide when dressing up and picking the right hat for each race day event.

Australian Spring Racing Carnival

Held in November this is one of the most-awaited sporting and social events in Australia for the summer season. Selecting what to wear for the Melbourne Cup is not as simple as wearing your favorite cocktail or little black dress, each day of this event has its own unique set of fashion traditions.

Derby Day

Theme: Black and White

This day marks the start of the Melbourne Cup Carnival. This is the day when you can bring out elegant striped or polka dot black and white pieces.

As for your racing hat of the day, stick to the black and white theme while opting for a more understated hat. Try a modern pillbox hat or a fascinator with a geometric or architectural design.

Emirates Melbourne Cup Day

Theme: Bright Colors and Bold Prints

Today is the day to be more audacious with your sartorial decisions. Have fun with your outfit today and get playful with vibrant hues and patterns. The Emirates Melbourne Cup Day is your chance to make a major fashion statement and to embrace and show off your love for color. Get creative and express your personality with your various options for color and prints today.

Your hat choice should, of course, complement your ensemble of the day. If you are wearing a striking print or color, it is best to coordinate your hat with that to avoid looking too busy. You can still be daring with your hat choice though, provided that it matches the dominant hue of what you’re wearing. Given the elegance of the occasion, solid color hats (no hats with patterns, please) would be your best option.

Crown Oaks Day

Theme: Feminine and Ladylike

Crown Oaks Day is when the Myer Fashion on the Field parades happen. So this is the day to dress to impress. Bring out your Sunday best and the more feminine the better. Think delicate florals and dreamy pastel palettes. Midi skirts, structured pieces, and fit-and flare frocks are silhouettes that you should look for.

Your hat today should reflect the ladylike and traditional atmosphere of the day. Vintage-inspired hats in pastel colors are a great option, and so are floral headbands. Floral headbands are easy to style and coordinate with your looks and are considered a great option for your hat accessory of the day.

Emirates Stakes

Emirates Stakes Day also known as Family Day comes with a more relaxed dress code. That’s not to say you’ve got a license to get too casual though, you are still at the races after all. However, feel free to choose clothing that allows for a bit more movement. Look out for floaty fabrics and breezy silhouettes.

Contrast your more relaxed look with a hat that is made for the races.

It is also important to note that there are traditional flowers worn by men in their lapels for each day.

  • Derby Day: Cornflower
  • Emirates Melbourne Cup: Yellow Rose
  • Crown Oaks Day: Pink Rose
  • Emirates Stakes Day: Red Rose

To up the style of your hat even more, you can pin some flowers on the brim.

MelbSpringCarnivalTop Row: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3. Bottom Row: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3.

Royal Ascot UK

Held in Nine and considered the major highlight in the British social calendar, a day at the Royal Ascot races will surely necessitate an ensemble worthy of the Royal Court. Established by Queen Anne in 1711, the Royal Ascot is a major institution in British Culture as well as one of its richest traditions. Potential for rubbing elbows with members of the Royal Family is high, and a celebrity sighting or two, of course. The dress code of this major event depends on where you’re seated. Keep tradition top of mind, as the Royal Ascot places tradition above all else when it comes to its fashion. So above all else, keep your sartorial choices on the elegant and conservative side.

Royal Enclosure

The most prestigious seating during the event, hats are required in this area. Fascinators are strictly prohibited, however you can wear headpieces with a base covering of at least 4 inches. Given the strict rules for dressing, you can probably tell that this is a formal event in which you should bring out your sartorial best. Bearing in mind the dress code, of course. Dresses or skirts cannot go above the knee and straps should be at least an inch in length. Formal daywear is the suggested dress.


Just like at The Royal Enclosure, the dress code here is formal daywear. Royal Enclosure dress rules still apply. In this section, however, you are permitted to wear fascinators, hats, and headpieces. You are still required to wear your headwear at all times.

Silver Ring

No formal dress code is required in this seating area, but the conservative code of dress still applies even though you can wear more relaxed clothing. The Royal Ascot is not the place for short hemlines and strapless numbers. You can still get into the spirit of the races with a hat, but you need not wear a large one. Opt for a classic pillbox hat that complements your relaxed yet sophisticated look. Also important to note, replica sport shirts are not allowed during this event.


Dubai World Cup Carnival

Dubai is an emerging fashion capital. With all the top fashion brands setting up shop there and a market that is hungry for fashion, it is no wonder that the Dubai World Cup Carnival is becoming a fashion destination and event all its own. Just like other prestigious race events, the Dubai World Cup Carnival attracts people from the world over. The Dubai World Cup Carnival is similar to the Royal Ascot when it comes to their seating area corresponding to a certain dress code.


Since Dubai World Cup Carnival is more modern, the dress code for the grandstand is standard race wear. It is not required to wear formal attire, but you should still aim to dress to the nines. Traditional hats or fascinators are encouraged. Revealing attire, nightclub outfits, and evening gowns are prohibited.

Parade Ring/General Admission

These two sections are more dressed down, but it will be a mistake to go too casual. No jeans, T-shirts, sneakers, flip-flops, and shorts allowed. You can still wear a hat to get into the race day spirit, but it is not required in this section.

DubaiCupSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Kentucky Derby

The most awaited social racing event in the United States is the Kentucky Derby. Colonel Clark, the founder of the Kentucky Derby, had a vision to create a racing event akin to those in Europe. He wanted to recreate that same upscale and luxurious feeling, and thus the Kentucky Derby was born. Dressing for the Kentucky Derby is all about opulence and lots of color. This event is also seen as the perfect opportunity for fashionistas to showcase the latest of spring fashions.

Like other race events, hats are a huge part of the fashion during the Kentucky Derby and at the Derby: the bigger the hat, the better. Whether you’re sitting pretty at the VIP box or the field, you should never be caught without a hat. From the simple and elegant to the fashion forward and fantastical, there is more leeway during this event as to what kind of hat you’re going to wear. You can be as creative and daring, as you want, it’s all up to you. Just make sure that you head wear matches what you’re wearing. And remember, going to the Kentucky Derby without your statement hat is a major faux pas.

 Kentucky Derby

 Top Row: Image 1, Image 2, Bottom Row: Image 1, Image 2


If you enjoyed this week’s feature
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or leave a comment/question below.
Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP


WELL HEELED: How Shoes Can Transform Your World – Pt 2

By | Accessorizing | 3 Comments

Following on from last week we continue our insights into shoes; how they impact our appearance and how to care for them.

Teaming Comfort and Quality with Style

Selecting the right shoe for your outfit/garment means covering off a few key aspects however, keep in mind that fashion is constantly changing and pushing the boundaries, which means that you will see outfits parading the catwalks that do not follow my guidelines. In addition individuals with strong personal styles can also pull off looks that the rest of us may not be able to.

  • Unless you’ve been blessed with long lean legs, high vamp shoes and boots are best with teamed a similar coloured opaque hosiery or worn long skirts/dresses or pants.
  • The more open the shoe the better sheer hosiery will coordinate with them.



Image sources: Wardrobe Oxygen  and Girl with Curves

Flattering or Frightful

If I were to liken my legs to that of a breed of equine, it would be a Shetland pony. Because of this I have always used shoe strategies that will help give me the look of possessing longer, leaner legs.

  • Heel Height:  Medium to high heels will visually elongate your legs and beautifully shape your calf. Low heels can visually shorten and thicken legs.
    • Women with busts greater than DD are best to wear heels no higher than the mid heights as their
      center of gravity is different to other women and the chance of falling over is increased.  Likewise with a breast reduction comes the increased risk of a fall until their sense balance is restored.
    • With advancing age high heels become increasingly difficult to wear due to aging feet which includes the loss of fat in the pad under your toes (can be fixed with party feet gel inserts) and deteriorating joints in the foot. Wear high heels for the important events and lower heels the rest of the time.


  • Heel Shape: This is the area that dates quickest, so do not select a fashion forward heel if you want the shoe to last for many seasons. As for what a heel can do for the leg:
    • Thick heels make heavy lower legs appear heavier and very thin legs and ankles look even thinner.
    • Very fine heels may look as if they will collapse under the weight/thickness of heavy/swollen ankles.


  • Soles: Soles can be thick, medium or thin and the rules are pretty much the same as for heel thickness.~ Thick soles and heavy stacked heels will make heavy lower legs and thick ankles look thicker and are best replaced with medium to thin soles and classic or lighter looking stacked heels. Women with heavy lower legs are also best to avoid stiletto heels as they result in an ungainly gait and often appear to be in imminent danger of breaking under the weight.


  • Toe shape: The toe shape is very important to the overall look of your legs and therefore your total appearance.
    • Very square or oblique toe shape will make most legs look shorter and heavier.
    • Round toes are associated with mature age and vintage looks. They are also the most comfortable and the least flattering, making most legs appear shorter and heavier.
    • Almond, square-round or tapered are great for every leg.
    • Point shoes are sexy and very elongating to both the foot and leg.
    • Peep toe shoes become increasingly uncomfortable the higher they are. The opening should also not be so large as to allow your toes to extend over the front of the shoe. 



  • Vamps: The vamp of the shoe (aka mouth) is where you put your foot into the shoe, low vamp style are court-like styles and high vamp styles are mules, boots etc. Simply put, the more foot you see the slimmer and longer your legs will appear to be and this also goes for strappy sandals.One word of warning though – low vamps when they expose toe cleavage tend not to be comfortable after about 30 mins of wear.


  • Ankle Straps: Any item that interrupts the visual length of the leg can make you appear shorter and your legs a little heavier.  If you are short, have heavy/chunky legs or wish to keep the attention off your legs then choose straps that are as low on the shoe as possible e.g, Mary Janes. 


Coordinating Shoes with Outfits

  • Garments made of heavy looking fabrics or textures are best teamed with shoes with a similar look for harmony and vice versa.
  • The proportion of the heel height in comparison to your garment hem length is also important and a good rule of thumb is (though not set-in-stone) is, the higher the hem, the lower the heel and the lower the hem, the higher the heel.
  • A patent leather shoe is youthful, will lighten the look of, and dress up an outfit.
  • Medium to high heels are seen as more formal/dressy and as such are perfect coordinates with corporate attire. 


Heels for Sex Appeal

Author Jena Pincott sifted through hundreds of scientific studies in order to explain what’s behind many sexy truths in her book, Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes?

When it comes to high heels, Pincott says “The stuff you strut is more sensual when you’re up on your toes. …Heels force your pelvis to tilt so that both your rear end and chest stick out.” One study showed that leg lengths 5 percent longer than average are the most attractive, so for most women, a 1.5- to 3-inch heel would create the ideal leg length. “This attraction might be evolutionary, because long legs are associated with better long-term health, which would appeal to a mate,” says Pincott. “Plus, much like a peacock flaunts his feathers, which are really quite heavy and a nuisance, a woman teetering in heels can show off her fitness and coordination.”

high heels

I have Feet Issues!

I can’t wear heels, I have bad feet/bad knees/bad back…I have heard this many times over the years.  The simplist way to combat this is to keep your feet quiet.  In other words wear the shoes you need to and ensure they blend with your legs and/or hemline then, add a high placed attention grabbing feature or accessory high on your body.  

  problem feet

Taking Care of Wear and Tear

No matter what item you own, you need to care for it if it is to last and look as good as possible.

Shoes, especially those made of leather need to be rested and not worn every day. Cleaning, and in the case of leather, polishing, should be a regularly practised with a quality polish or cream and protected against water damage.

Another significant area of wear and tear on women’s shoes is to the back of the heel, caused by driving. For any trip more than ten minutes I suggest you wear one of your older, less important shoes and change into your good ones when you’ve arrived at your destination.

Shiny shoes have a more ‘polished’ image. The shinier a shoe the more dressy and formal it will appear. Therefore polished leather shoes are more dressy and professional looking than matt/dull leather shoes and the shine of patent leather will up the ante to a sophisticated or evening image every time.

To clean leather shoes:


Step 1: Place a small amount of a gentle, moisturizing soap on a damp cloth and bring it to a light lather.
Step 2: Rub the damp cloth on the leather without putting too much water on the leather.
Step 3: Wipe away lather with a fresh damp cloth. Don’t rinse the leather in water.
Step 4: Polish leather with a dry towel.
Step 5: Treat leather with a leather conditioner after it has dried completely.


Step 1: Use a damp cloth or sponge to rub saddle soap into the leather; work soap into a light lather.
Step 2: Wipe away lather and allow to air dry.
Step 3: Oil leather with a leather preservative such as mink oil.



Step 1: Spray a recently purchased or recently cleaned suede item with one of the many products that protect against water damage and other stains. As with any fabric, test a small, unseen patch first.
Step 2: Store suede items so that they can breathe. Avoid plastic bags, which prevent air circulation, and opt for a pillowcase instead to protect clothing from dust. When traveling, store shoes in cotton flannel shoe bags instead of plastic bags.
Step 3: Keep suede away from light, which will fade the color, and damp conditions, which can encourage growth of damaging mold and mildew.
Step 4: If suede clothes or shoes get wet, soak up excess moisture with a clean towel. Then allow the suede to dry naturally; do not use a heat source to speed up the process. After the item dries, restore the nap (the raised fibers typical of suede) with a suede brush.
Step 5: Use a nail file to remove dry mud and scuff marks on suede shoes. Gently file away the stain with delicate strokes. A suede brush also works to remove dirt on shoes and clothing.
Step 6: Remove oil stains on suede by rubbing talcum powder or cornmeal directly on the spot. After several hours, brush off the powder. Repeat if necessary.
Step 7: Keep in mind that major stains will probably require professional care. Take your suede item to someone who specializes in leather and suede; inexperienced dry cleaners or cobblers can cause more harm than good.


Step1: Use a shoe brush to get out any bits of dirt from between the stitching. A shoe brush has soft bristles, which makes it the perfect candidate for cleaning patent leather shoes.
Step 2: Wash your patent leather shoes in a mixture of mild soap and soft water. Use a soft cloth made of cotton to wipe down the shoe, inside and out, until it is cleaned. This will prime the shoe for future steps, but you must do this first. Allow to dry at room temperature for two days before moving to the next step. 
Step 3: Use saddle soap with a soft cloth to clean your patent leather shoes inside and out. Make sure you clear off any excess saddle soap. The leather will absorb only as much as it can.
Step 4: You can also apply a leather conditioner to the shoe inside and out. This will not only finish off the cleaning process, but will soften your patent leather shoes a bit for maximum comfort.
Step 5: After cleaning and drying, you should apply a wax or polish to your patent leather shoe. This will protect the leather from future dirt, but it will also help to waterproof the leather, making for greater longevity.


Step1: Remove the laces.
Step2: Use a brush to remove any mud or dirt and don’t forget the sole.
Step3: Put a low-alkaline detergent in lukewarm water, and soak the shoes and laces overnight. Rub vigorously with a stiff brush to remove dirt.
Step 4: Get rid of excess water by placing shoes on a rack in your clothes drier. Alternatively, lace up the sneakers and dry them by hanging them out in the sun on the clothesline by their laces.

More Hints to Keep Shoes Looking Great

Water stain protector and waterproofing: Leather water proofer will prevent water from staining the leather of your shoes in addition to keeping spots off. Application is a snap — you simply spray the product and let it dry. It’s also a good, inexpensive investment, especially if you live in either a tropical area or someplace with lots of rain or snow.

Quick shine wipes: These handy little wipes (similar to the ones in a seafood restaurant, but made with shoe-cleaning stuff) won’t come anywhere close to the result you’d get with a real hand shine, but are good for quick touch-ups when you’re running to a meeting and short on time.

Leather conditioner: Try Kiwi’s Leather Cleaner and Conditioner, which uses jojoba oil and coconut oil as active ingredients, and keeps your shoes and other leather items soft and supple. Olive oil straight from the kitchen is great too.

 Terminally Ill Shoes

As much as we have all have our favourite, most comfortable shoes, there comes a time when mending is no longer going to bring the shoe back to a satisfactory appearance. Like your favourite outfits, old, worn out shoes must be allowed to die with dignity. Place them in a satin lined box and send them on to shoe heaven.


Clever Storage Ideas

Shoes thrown in the bottom of a wardrobe will soon show the neglect. There are many ways to store your shoes depending on the size and shape of your wardrobe.

If you are short on space, consider buying an under-the-bed storage box or shoe racks designed for the bottom of your wardrobe. Hall cupboards with a hanging rack are great place for canvas shoe closets, where the shoes hang from the rack in compartments. I keep some of my shoes on an old bookshelf placed in a hall closet. For shoes that you may not wear very often keep them safe in their boxes with a label stuck to the outside indicating which shoe is in the box. Sandals, thongs and athletic shoes can be stored together in a wire basket.




WELL HEELED: How the right shoes can transform your world – Pt 1

By | Accessorizing, How To... | 3 Comments

Let’s face it what girl can live without lots of shoes? They can make or break an outfit and mood in milliseconds. Surely they have to be our ultimate accessory!

Shoes hold a special power over women and we need little persuasion to purchase a new pair. No matter how many shoes we have, there’s always room for more.

If you’re not convinced take this simple test:

Put on any outfit and try it with high stilettos, then a low sandal, a Doc Martin like boots, a pair of classic pumps and finally a pair or thong/flip flops. Instantly you’ll see and feel how each shoe lends its personality to the outfit and how it dresses up or down your look and if it meets your personal style. Instantly shoes have the power to change your image, demeanor and mindset. The power of shoes is quite amazing, and once realized, can become a powerful image making tool.



However, not all shoes are created equal and for that reason it is worth knowing a little more about the intricacies of shoes.

The Price You Pay

While expensive shoes offer a higher standard of craftsmanship and design, there are times when less expensive shoes have their place:

  • When comfort is more important than style. Especially if you are going to be on your feet all day. I have no hesitation in saying that I would rather wear my $89 pair of Easy Steps than my sky-high Prada stilettos if I’m set to walk the city in on a day long fashion reconnaissance mission.
  • When the shoes are for a special event and you have no intention of wearing them again. This could be anything from a pair of specially dyed satin court shoes to an extreme style for a special outfit.
  • When you’re doing the gardening or if the weather is bad.
  • When you’re wearing something on the cutting edge of fashion, and it’s not likely to stay around very long. Interestingly fashionable foot wear only came into vogue in the early 1960s with dramatic improvements in the manufacture of ready-to-wear shoes.

Cheap is Not All Right When

  • You’re aim is a great impression e.g., interviews and important occasions.
  • You’re about to purchase a classic style i.e. black pumps or knee high boots.
  • When you intend to wear them a lot. No matter what the style, value will always come from investing in quality for those items you intend to wear the most.


Ten Basic Shoes Every Woman Should Own

  • Good quality black leather pumps shoes with a medium-high heel.
  • Good quality black patent leather pumps shoes with a medium-high heel.
  • Sneakers
  • Casual shoes e.g., loafers or ballet flats
  • Flat sandals in black, white or tan
  • Flip flops/thongs
  • Nude heeled sandals or pumps
  • Black medium to high heeled boots.
  • Tan low to medium heeled boots.
  • Dressy evening shoes

10 shoes

They’re Gorgeous (who cares if my feet hurt?)

You will. It only takes about an hour of walking in an uncomfortable pair of shoes and your face will take on a tortuous scowl and your disposition will quickly follow. Uncomfortable shoes are not worth their cost, no matter how little you paid for them or how prestigious the designer’s name on the label.

For the sake of your health, disposition and those who have to work or live with you, buy shoes that are comfortable.

Here are a few of my favorite tips to ensure comfort:

  • Buy shoes in the afternoon when your feet have expanded somewhat through being upright and walking.
  • Know your size if buying online; like clothing sizes differ from country to county and even label to label. Have you feet measured years after you turn forty because your feel flatten with age.
  • Purchased lower heels the older you get. After fifty the pad under the front of your foot loses its depth of fat making standing in high heels more painful. TIP: You can try adding gel inserts such as ‘Party Feet’ to help.
  • Look for shoes made from soft, high-quality leather or suede as these tend to stretch to accommodate your foot shape.
  • Don’t get caught telling yourself the shoe will stretch, it may a little if it’s leather but on the whole it’s better to buy shoes that are comfortable at the time you buy them. Shoes that have top stitching around the outside of the mouth (vamp) of the shoe will never stretch in that region.
  • Stick to heels no higher than 8cms / 5inches.
  • Sturdy heels: those that have plenty of purchase with the ground i.e., stacked, classic and wedges cause much less foot strain than heels such as kitten and stilettos.
  • Pointy toed shoes are less comfortable than toes that are wider.
  • Sturdy soles: Ultra thin soles can be torture because there’s little between your feet and the street. Solid soles act as shock absorbers. TIP: You can also ask your shoe repairer to add rubber soles.
  • Go with higher cut vamps: the closer the vamp is cut to your toe cleavage the likelier they are to be uncomfortable – mid height vamps are best.
  • Shoes that encase your foot rather than allow in to just sit on the insole will ensure your foot stays in correct alignment and can prevent arch, ankle and knee pain.
  • Arch supports and at least a heel of 2cms / ¾” will also aid in the comfort of the shoe.
  • Comfort also comes from good fit and quality workmanship, so it’s wise to know the signs of good workmanship.

seven times

Signs of Good Workmanship

  • Back height and heel pinch. Hold the backs of the two shoes together and check that they are equal height. Then put each shoe down to make sure the sole sits flat on the floor.
  • Toe spring. The tip of toe should sit off the ground to allow for flexibility when moving forward.
  • Synthetic or leather. No quality shoe has an upper or lower in anything but leather. The material in the shoe should be clearly stated on a label or printed on the inside of the leather upper. Leather soles are always better than resin. Resin soles will make your feet hot due to greater friction on contact with the footpath. Leather inner soles provide more structural support, insulation and greatly add to the life of the shoe.
  • Top line. Look at the inside of the heel to check that the shoe’s outside rim is straight.
  • Top stitching. This should be straight and well machined.
  • Sole bonding. You should not be able to pull the insole away from the base. There should be some cushioning material under the innersole for comfort.
  • Sole stitching. A leather sole should be stitched or welted, to the upper. A channel is cut into the sole, the shoe is stitched together, and then the channel is put back to hide the stitching. You should clearly see the welt mark running all around the sole.
  • Heel attachment. Press your finger inside and around the innersole and feel for any bumps caused by the size or type of nail used.
  • Heel position. The center of the heel should be placed directly under the center of your heel as it sits in the shoe (not pictured).

Quality Points

Want More? 

Watch this great feature on - the history of high heels.

Next Week:

How to Team Comfort and Quality with Style, Shoe Coordination, Clever Leg Enhancement Techniques, Care and Repair.



By | Accessorizing | 4 Comments

In Part 1 I discussed how to accessorize solid colored garments, how some accessories are linked to a season or time of day and how to create a mood with accessories. This time we’ll go a step further and discover how visual weight harmony matters, how to dress up pr down an outfit with accessories and lastly, how to accessorize a patterned/printed garment.     

Visual Weight

Like the timing of accessories, selecting an accessory that harmonizes with your outfit in weight will create a pulled together and appealing result.

This is not the actual weight if the accessory but it’s perceived weight and is based on a combination of factors.

In general terms, visual weight increases with the following factors:

  • Size: the larger.
  • Opacity: the more opaque.
  • Color: the darker.
  • Structure: the less structured.
  • Surface: the more matte the surface.
  • Texture: the more textured.
  • Embellishments: the more embellished.

In addition


  • Exposure: the less open the shoe/less foot it exposes.
  • Sole: the thicker.
  • Heel Height: the lower.
  • Heel Style: the thicker/ chunkier. 


The following necklaces are large which may cause some to believe the scale is inappropriate for them however, if the color of the beads are light or the beads are transparent the visual weight decreases and the necklace will be more easily worn by those who are short, petite or over their ideal weight.   

Likewise the more light reflects off the surface of the the necklace (shiner) the visually lighter the necklace will appear to be. 

Also the finer the detailing the less weight (visually lighter) the overall design will appear to be.  

Combining accessories with a visual weight that matches your garment will also result in a harmonious design.  In this set the accessories on the first dress are too heavy for the lightweight dress while the 2nd and third examples coordinate well to create a stylish and harmonious look.  


Accessories are perfect to dress a garment or outfit up or down or update it, with relatively little cost. This is stretch the usefulness and life of your garments.

One of the critical factors is to start with a dress or outfit that has a simple yet flattering style to effectively work as a blank canvas to allow for the maximum number of different looks.  These dresses from Dorothy Perkins are perfect examples,
  • solid colors,
  • classic unadorned necklines
  • elegant semi fitted styles

Each allows for a multitude of possibilities and none can be pegged to a particular fashion date making them worth extra dollars, as they are likely to wear out or you get sick of wearing them before they have to be tossed for being out of fashion. 

In general terms, formality increases with the following factors:

  • Size: the smaller.
  • Style: more classic, less trendy
  • Opacity: the more opaque.
  • Color: the darker.
  • Structure: the more structured.
  • Surface: the more reflective (polished/shiny/sparkly).
  • Texture: the less textured.
  • Embellishments: the less embellished.
  • Print/Color: solid colors.
  • Fabric: natural.
  • Condition: good to excellent.

In addition


  • Exposure: the less open the shoe.
  • Sole: the thinner.
  • Heel Height: the higher.
  • Heel Style: the finer and more classic. 


Accessorizing solid colored outfits and garments is relatively easy but when it comes to accessorizing patterned garments some women feel a little lost. Like most things it’s not that difficult with a few tips and a little practice.

The following dress has all the basic traits of ‘The Versatile Dress’ talked about in Part 1 with the exception that it’s a graphic print.  No don’t be scared, it’s not that hard.

Breakdown the Style

  • Color Temperature: Cool
    Wearing accessories on the same side of the color wheel as the colors within the garment is the easiest option and will always result in a harmonious look.
  • Color Hierarchy: Black, Yellow, White, Grey. 
    ~ By hierarchy I mean the color that is the most dominant.  In this dress black is the most dominant followed by yellow, white and grey. 

    ~ While you could accessorize this dress with any of the four colors, balance is more often created when you use the dominant colour.
    ~ When it comes to shoes, neutral colors like skin tone can also be used, and in cases of garments with unusual colors neutral shoes are a God send. 
  • Design and Structural Shapes: Mainly curved shapes.
    ~ Echoing the shapes within the garment creates an insync appearance. The top half of the dress is very curved making the selection of similarly shaped earrings the best option.  
    ~ The lace pattern at the neckline makes adding a necklace or pendant un necessary and unless very fine may create a cluttered or overly busy appearance.
    The design angles at the base of the dress allows for pointy shoes to be worn.
    The scooped neckline allows for a short pendant and the rounded shape of the pendant harmoniously echoes the shape of the neckline.
  • Theme: Graphic Print + Color Blocking Trends
    Print based on lace.
  • Image: Strong Femininity 
    ~ The strength comes from boldness of the black against the lighter and softer colours of white and lemon and the delicate lace pattern.
    ~ Being able to look at a garment/outfit and determine its perceived image will give you the advantage of knowing when to select a look that will work towards your daily goals.
  • Size of Print: Large
    ~ As a general rule, the larger the print/pattern the larger you will appear. If you are petite, the larger the print the higher the risk the design will overwhelming your frame.
    ~ The color contrast within the pattern will increase or decrease the effect.  A large print of similar depth colors that softly blend into each other has less enlarging power and a print (any size) of bright contrasting colors has more power to enlarge.
  • Neckline: Scooped (medium depth)
    The shape and height of the neckline determines the type and length of neckline accessory. Some necklines and collars are best left unadorned (see below).
  • Sleeves: Sleeveless
    ~ The type of sleeves (or lack of) helps determines the type and number of arm and hand accessories.
    ~ The shorter the sleeve the more you can add
  • Occasion: Dressy
    ~ The base formality level of a garment will determine how far it can be dresses up and down.  This dress being dressy in its unaccessorized state is unlikely to be able to be dressed down enough to wear on casual occasions. However, the second dress is basically casual and can be dressed up for business casual or down for the weekend but it will always appear too casual for a evening dinner.
  • Timing: Day+
    The dressiness of this dress means it can be accessorized to wear to work as well as evening events such as a dinner.  The second dress is suited to day wear only.    

Accessorizing Necklines and Collars

  • Necklines Best left UnAdorned

Any neckline or collar that is ornate or already impacted by strong pattern are best left accessorized.  The addition of beautiful earrings are all that is required to complete the neckline.

  • General Necklines:

While there are plenty of Google and Pinterest sites with examples of what accessory to place with which neckline, my opinion is that what you place at the neckline has more to do with getting the harmony right with color, style and formality rather than shape.  Mirroring the shape of a neckline does work but being restricted to that idea is very limiting.  My advice is to experiment; accessories are so inexpensive and abundant that you should allow yourself to experiment and play until you find the styling that works with your personal style.

In the meantime here’s some inspiration:    

End of Topic


By | Accessorizing, How To... | 7 Comments
I’m often asked questions about how to accessorize various garments and outfits.  It’s one of those skills that many think you need to be blessed with but the fact is anyone can learn how to accessorize with a few easy guidelines and a bit of practice.  

Why Accessorize?

  • To create different moods: From polished professional to cafe charisma, all it takes is the right accessories. 
  • To dress up or down: From a lazy weekend lunch with the girls to dinner to a Broadway show with your man. 
  • To add personality: Some accessories will speak directly to your style personality and the more you express the authentic you through your clothes the more relaxed and happy you’ll be with your image.
  • To play-up your assets:  Great boobs, tiny waist or shapely arms – whatever you assets accessories can highlight them. 
  • To direct attention: OK, we all have areas that are not what we’d consider our best features; accessories can be used to draw attention to other areas. If you don’t like an area, don’t accessorize it. 
  • To make Fashionable: As long as the dress is free of any distinct fashion date adding this seasons trend accessories will instantly update the dress.
  • To have fun: Dressing should always be fun – if not we may have well wear a bag!  Don’t be afraid to express a touch of fun, just be mindful of appropriateness. 

The right accessories

Start Simple

The simpler the garment the easier it will be to accessorize it to produce the greatest number of different looks and occasions it can be used for.  A dress is one of the most complex garments to accessorize so let’s start with it and work down to other items. 

  • Clean lines: a dress with lines that flow freely over your body from neck to hemline uninterrupted by too many seams, ruching, draping etc. The biggest challenge to accessories is clutter, complexity.  The simpler your dress, more versatile it will be and the easier it will be to accessorize to change its look and mood.

Clean, Simple Lines = Lots of Possibilities

  • Tailored: a dress that has some shape/fitting.  A semi-fitted style will deliver you a form-flattering shape while being appropriate to most occasions and lifestyles.      
  • Sleeveless or Short Sleeve: a sleeveless or cap sleeve dress will allow for the widest selection of accessories to be added.
  • Minimal to Unembellished: The more details on the dress such as collar, pockets, ruffles etc the fewer options you will have to dress it up and down with accessories.
  • Solid Color (or close to it): as you’ll learn you can successfully accessorize a patterned dress but it take a little more strategy.  Solid colored dresses allow you unlimited scope to play and experiment with accessories.
  • Medium Depth Color: a medium-light to medium-dark color is the easiest value range to wear as it suits everyone and can easily be transformed from day to evening wear.  
  • Classic Neckline: scoop, V and square necklines allow for many styles and lengths of necklaces. Unusual necklines and collars are more limiting.
  • Above Cleavage Neckline: an appropriate, take you anywhere, flattering depth.  
  • Midi Length: just above the knee to mid calf will be flattering and versatile.
Easy To Accessorise Dresses

Timed Right

Many accessories are best suited to a certain time of the day, occasions or seasons. Sparkly earrings, multiple strand pearl chokers and rhinestone studded clutches are items that are most appropriate for evening wear while canvas bags, straw hats and shell jewelry will look odd with winter attire. The material that the item is made of and/or its surface are the characteristics that most often links it to a particular season, time of day or level of formality. Generally speaking, the shinier the item, the more formal/dressy it will appear to be add sparkle and the item will be best suited to after dark wear.     Accessories with matte surfaces are commonly casual and many are linked in some way to nature making them most suitable for day wear. Winter accessories are often fluffy, furry, heavy, closed, dark or bright. Summer accessories are lightweight, flowing, flat, open, light or bright colored. Color too has its place to play. As winter turns to spring and the temperature starts to increase we see the appearance of pastels and soft, water-color prints. As spring turns into summer colors become progressively righter or spicy to compliment the heat. It’s in summer when we see the emergence of white being used in entire outfits.  

Summer Daytime Accessories

  • Fabrics: Those that breathe and are light to medium weight. For example cotton, silk, chiffon, muslin, linen and gauze.
  • Jewelry: Natural materials, including, cork, wood, stones, leather thongs, colored enamels and bone.
  • Scarves: Lightweight and fluid. For example, silk, chiffon and gauze.
  • Hats: Straw, canvas, fabric, baseball styles and wide brims.
  • Shoes: Light weight and/or open – mules, sandals, toe post (thongs), espadrilles, sling backs, open toe and canvas boat/sneaker styles.
  • Bags: Light weight fabric totes, crocheted, straw, canvas, see-through or transparent plastic.
  • Hosiery: Sheer, neutral or pale colors and ankle decorations.
  • Eye wear: (Sun glasses) – Tortoiseshell, wrap around styles, larger and more decorative frames.
  • Make-up: Light and natural giving a youthful, fresh less contrived appearance.

  Winter Daytime Accessories

  • Fabrics: Denser and more tightly woven. Colors are rich, dark and accented with vivid hues. For example, velvet, corduroy, heavy silks, brocades, tweeds, plaids, paisley and felt. Animal prints re-emerge in felt and fur.
  • Jewelry: Predominantly jewelry is metallic, gold or silver solid or inlaid with precious and semi-precious stones.
  • Scarves: Heavier weight silks, wool, felt, fur and chenille.
  • Hats: Styles worn close to the head (for warmth) and made of wool, felt and chenille etc. Berets, Tam-o’-shanters, Fedoras, Crushers, Cossack styles, Beanies and Cloches.
  • Shoes: Closed (showing little of the foot) – boots, high vamp shoes, lace-ups and closed court shoes.
  • Bags: Leather predominates – animal skins, suede, patent leather and the occasional felt bag, are all examples.
  • Hosiery: Medium to opaque in medium density. Medium to dark colors as well as patterns and textures.
  • Make-up: Medium intensity, highlighting the eyes or the mouth, defined but not over powering.

Evening Accessories

Evening is the time when you can let your dramatic, romantic or sultry impulses run wild. Everything is intensified; the strength of color you wear for clothes and make-up, and the degree of luminescence. 

  • Fabrics: Fabrics that shine or sparkle, such as those run through with metallic thread or those adorned with sequins and rich looking fabrics such as velvet. Colors are vivid e.g., cobalt, fuchsia and deep periwinkle or sophisticated e.g., black, silver grey and pale rose pink. 
  • Jewelry: Anything that glitters or calls attention to the face e.g., gemstones and rhinestones. Or that which has a sophisticated evening elegance e.g., two strand set of pearls, twisted together and joined by a large gold and diamond clasp. Earrings that are medium to large with drop style being the most popular.
  • Scarves: Silk, lame, chiffon, ostrich, velvet and brocade seductively draped over the body.
  • Hats: Decorative and small.
  • Gloves: Fine, black or white, elbow length.
  • Shoes: Strappy, high and delicate in shiny fine leather, fabric or metallic. Shoe ornaments e.g., clips may be present.
  • Bags: Small to medium – leather, fabric, beaded or sequinned.
  • Hosiery: Sheer, either shiny or patterned in nude or dark colors.
  • Make-up: Intensified (to counteract the harsh effect of artificial lighting) and sultry to create a dramatic, formal, sophisticated or seductive look.
  • Hair: Swept up, full and bouncy or slicked back with gel.


The Mood of Accessories

Movie costume designers skilfully design the exact look for each individual character. So much so, that within a few seconds and without the actor uttering a single word you already know a great deal about the character they are to play — young, old, wealthy, poor, intelligent, stupid, sophisticated, artistic, sinister, immature and so on. It’s all to do with the way they are dressed and accessorized. With a little knowledge you too can control the look, mood, quality, character and attitudes you are seen to possess by the skillful adaptation of accessories.

Here are a few different looks you can obtain by working with color and accessories.  

To look confident, inspiring, stimulating and to be noticed: Wear light or dark colored outfits and accessorize with items that are bright or in a contrasting or complementary color.

To look lively, fun or inspiring: Wear medium-light to medium toned outfits in warm colors and add bright colored accessories.

To Look energetic, eye catching and to attract attention: Wear medium toned garments and bright accessories.

To look friendly and approachable: Wear medium muted, warm colored outfits and accessorize with soft, slouchy bags and tactile scarves etc.

To look dramatic, powerful, dignified or formal: Wear outfits that comprise of mostly dark tones and add light colored accessories.

To look sophisticated and elegant: Wear outfits and accessories in closely related colors; medium to deep (not dark) colors.

To look feminine, gentle and friendly: Wear outfits that comprise of light tones and add delicate accessories in the same tonal value. 

fashion accessories for work


By | Accessorizing, Work Style | No Comments

Dressing for the office can be a tricky situation to navigate; you want your work style to look confident and chic while maintaining an air of professionalism and adhering to dress codes.

Far from being something that only younger women need to concern themselves with, the more mature woman should also strive to always look polished, professional and in sync with fashion. After all she is the one most threatened with being seen as ‘past her professional prime’.

The great news is looking professionally chic is something every woman can easily excel in and it will reap rewards both personally and professionally, while also empowering you to seize the day and conquer all challenges.

The easiest and quickest way to upgrade your standard work wear is to accessorize.

Make a Statement

Working while wearing chunky bracelets, earrings or over-sized cocktail rings can be cumbersome, your best bet in displaying some bling at the office is sporting a statement necklace. This type of jewelry instantly adds glam and edgy flavor to your work style attire.

When wearing a necklace that is very intricate or detailed, keep your makeup dewy and fresh. Let the statement necklace take center stage, it is a guaranteed way to show more of your personality when going to work.

Workwear_Statement necklace

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 Scarf Savvy

Whether it’s for the cold A.C. in the office or to battle the chilly winds outside, scarves do double duty as they serve both as a chic outfit add-on and a piece to keep your warm and cozy. Scarves are also one of the best ways to add a splash of print or pop of color to your ensemble or to unite two solid colored garments into a unified outfit. You can even opt for a fur scarf during the winter, and let it give your look some luxe texture and glamor.

 Workwear_ScarvesSource:    Image 1,   Image 2,   Image 3,   Image 4

In the Bag

Far from being just your carry-all, you can add personality, punch or power with the right work style bag.

If you need some professional kudos stick with structured silhouettes. Traditional colors such as black, navy, and tan will always be safe but that will not stop many business women from being able to sport bags with a little flare from embellishments, prints, and metal hardware.

Veer away from shapes and materials that are too casual, such as canvas or slouchy hobo bags. A vintage leather briefcase, animal print satchel, and black totes with gold hardware are all excellent options for increasing the elegance and sophistication of your look.

Workwear_BagsSource:   Image 1,   Image 2,   Image 3,   Image 4.

Footwear Frenzy

Don’t let your staple black and nude pumps limit your office look. In all but the most conservative professional environments you can show some personality and flare when choosing your footwear.To jazz up your monochromatic and neutral outfits. Red pumps and animal print pumps are no-brainer alternatives that give your look a bit more oomph. If you’re feeling a bit more sartorially brave and fashion forward, select loafers to go with your pantsuit for a menswear-inspired tailored vibe. Now if you’re the type that just prefers the classic quality of vibe, you can opt for more daring shapes like a lace-up heels or even sleek ankle boots.

When on doubt opt for closed toed styles.


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Belt It Out

Never underestimate the impact of creating an hourglass silhouette. Accentuate your curves and cinch your waist with a figure-flattering accessory that creates a streamline shape and look, a belt. Done up in gold metal hardware or just with simple yet elegant leather, the simple addition of a belt works wonders in making you look more pulled together. Go the offbeat path and wear it over your blazer, or you can tuck your shirt in to show off more of the belt’s details.


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Layers of Style

A layered office look already stands out from the pant-suit and neutral wearing crowd, since it makes use of different finishes and prints to make the ensemble look more interesting and multidimensional.

Layer a sweater over a striped button-down or a military jacket over a crisp tailored shirt, there are endless ways to do unexpected pairings that make one’s work style look more dashing and smart.

Workwear_LayeringSource:   Image 1,   Image 2,   Image 3,   Image 4.