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Fashion Tips Archives - Style Clinic

how to wear floral prints


By | Coordination, How To..., Work Style | 6 Comments


Have you thought of wearing florals to work then backed off because you feared they may look too girly or unprofessional? 


 Florals like all prints and patterns have a set of characteristics subliminally linked to them that when worn transfers to the wearer. Floral prints are normally linked with femininity, passiveness, frivolity and non-serious endeavors and as a result have often been avoided for business wear – especially for more serious professions such as finance and law.

However, contrary to conventional wisdom, you can wear floral prints in a business casual environment and not suffer the stereotypical afflictions or sacrifice your take-charge image at work. The secret lies with selecting the right floral prints and/or implementing some smart styling.

There are three potential outcomes to avoid when wearing floral prints to work.

These are looking:

  • Too feminine: the outfit is overall too pretty or too light colored.
    If you desire is to be seen as serious business or professional woman use the power of color psychology and stereotypes to get your intent across. Dark colors are perceived as more powerful than light colors and curved shapes and floral designs take a backseat to diagonal, horizontal and vertical lines. Also keep avoid adding other girly elements when wearing florals i.e, ruffles, bows. frills and lace etc  
  • Too overwhelming or distracting: the outfit is all floral, the print is too large or too colorful.
    The larger and/or more colorful the floral the less seriously you risk being taken.  Traditionally the patterns worn for business by men have been dark and small and this has leaked over into the world of women’s professional wear. With the acceptance of business casual wear these boundaries have been expanded but stray to far and you do run the risk of being seen as a lightweight.
  • Too informal: not enough skin is covered or there is insufficient tailoring / structure to the garment.
    In the workplace, the less skin exposed, the more seriously you will be taken. A female exposing an excess of skin runs the risk of being seen as using her sexuality to gain an advantage.
    If you wear florals and an unstructured garment you’ve immediately altered the tone of your look to casual and feminine. 

The following tips will assist in overcoming these issues.

Forgo Realism for Stylistic or Abstract Prints

Too feminine will definitely be the result if the print is too realistic looking (especially if in a watercolor print). Instead opt for an abstract, stylistic, graphic or digital style. The angularity and modernity of these type of floral prints will give your overall look an impression of progressiveness and creativity – think edgy instead of girly.  You may even want to consider pop art/mod prints since the 60′s are such a hot trendy decade at the moment. 

Look for floral prints with angles to give extra edge to the print.  

Graphic prints

 Source: Image 1, Image 2,  Image 3.


Like the Reiss top?  Check PretaStyler to see if it suits you. Place Reiss in the search box.  Price $170

Embrace The Dark Side

Dark colors are seen as more serious than light colors. As a result floral prints set against a dark background have more gravitas than those on a light background.

Dark florals are especially suitable for the colder months. For maximum impact and visual presence, wear your dark florals with moody colors like plum, burgundy and midnight blue as accents.

Dark Backgrounds

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 4 (PretaStyer)

Go Minimal

Adding a dash of floral to your work ensemble will endow it an unmistakable feminine edge and can be just the thing to soften an otherwise severe look. You can use anything from a peep of floral emerging from a sweater, to a scarf or maybe even your handbag. A floral top is one of the easiest items to pull off as part of a professional outfit. You can pair it a blazer, vest or cardigan.


Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Opt For The No Fail Floral Combo

Black and white is a color pairing that you cannot really go wrong with. You can trust this classic combo to hold you in good stead at the workplace, most especially when you select a floral print done in black and white.  A floral print in monochrome will definitely be just as commanding as your standard pinstripe for the office. Being done in black and white, the femininity of the floral is toned down a bit and its inherent design sensibility and modern look is played up even further. 

Black and WhiteSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3.

Blush on a Solid Canvas

Work is not the time to experiment with fashion or show your creative side. Wear one floral item at a time and anchor it with a strong, solid color. Tradition business colors of charcoal, black, white and navy are always a great choice and will provide a stark contrast to the floral. An added bonus to this is that the floral print pops even more against a solid canvas of color. For the summer, all white is your route to looking both fresh and polished at the same time. A white pant-suit is the ideal setting in which to showcase your floral print of the day. 

A Solid Base

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3.

Add a Structured Topper

When in doubt, opt for a statement topper with a lot of structure. This is a no-fail way to dress up anything including floral prints. Whether it’s a cropped boxy jacket with strong shoulders or heather gray cape, the hardness of the form and silhouette of outerwear balances the softness of floral print impeccably.

Get SeriousSource 

Statement TopperSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Pair with ‘Man-Style’ Pieces

Pull your florals into line by pairing them with man-style pieces. A tailored dress shirt, jacket or pants will instantly elevate your look and have you set to take on the day.

Also pay close attention to how your clothes fit; you may even want to consider having your pants and blazers altered to fit your body. That being said, you can pretty much get away with wearing any type of floral print (within reason, of course) if you wear it layered under an excellently tailored ensemble. 

Manstyle PiecesSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Think Conservative, Think Polished

Floral dresses in the workplace call for a sleek and conservative silhouette that is paired with a dark modern floral print. You can both tone down a bright floral dress and give some edge to a dull print solid colored, neutral jacket or blazer.  Keep lengths appropriate and accessories understated.

Floral Dresses

Mastering Monochromatic Styling


By | Colour, How To..., Trend Tutorial, Trends | 8 Comments


Containing or using only one color Monochromatic outfits are created by wearing colors based from a single base hue and extended shades, tones and tints 

Have you ever considered wearing a monochromatic outfit but shied away unsure how to pull it off?  

If you have you’re not alone; many women fear they may end up looking bland or boring but with a little a little fashion aplomb you can look fantastic.

Monochromatic outfits have a lot going for them: they’re always in fashion, they can be worn at any time of the day or year and any occasion, they’re chic and can always be counted on to convey a polished and modern elegance. Plus they have the added bonus of being slimming when not comprised of bulky items.

The aim is to create visual interest.  This week we tackle how to wear outfits based on multiple hues of the one color and in a few weeks I’ll follow with how to wear outfits of one color and depth. 

Texture Play

A surefire way to update your monochromatic look is to experiment with various textures and how they visually work together. Consider the surface quality of your clothing, or maybe even vintage finishes, and fabrics with some sheen when shopping for pieces to pull together your monochromatic look. Knit with corduroy, dark denim with leather, faux fur with animal skin, satin and shantung; these texture duos add depth and dimension to these one-color ensembles.


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

The Bling Ring

There’s nothing some sparkle and glitter can’t fix. Upgrade your monochromatic look with choice embellishments on one of the main components of your outfit. Some sparkles on your sweater neckline gives a head to toe hunter green look a little pop and a lot more chicness. An embellished mini skirt, on the other hand, gives your autumn sweater and one color look glittery glamour, just like how layering a bejeweled boxy top breaks up an all white outfit with some glitz.


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

Belt It Out

Use one of this season’s hottest accessories, the statement belt, to give your monochromatic ensemble a trendy flourish. This is also a great way to personalize this trend as you can pick a belt that reflects your own style. If you love a bit of glamour, opt for belt with gold hardware. You can also use your belt as a subtle yet effective way to integrate a color splash into your look. For maximum impact and high street style fab quotient, an oversized belt in an interesting shape is the way to go.

Monochromatic_Statement BeltSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4.

Full Spectrum

Harness the full visual impact of monochromatic by creating an outfit using a single color in a variety of its hues and shades to make encompass the current fashion trend. Using colors like gray and pink will increase the elegance of your look, and display your fashion forward smarts at its best. Don’t be afraid to experiment when trying your hand at the monochrome trend. You can integrate different extremes of color depth in a single outfit, i.e., you can wear dark purple and plum or mix together pale pinks with bright bubblegum pink or the extremes of dark to light with black and white combinations – see image above..


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

Read the Fine Print

Give some complexity to your monochromatic fashion by incorporating a subtle print into it. Pinstripes, snakeskin, and checks are muted prints that subtly add some visual richness to the singular color of your look. Understated sophistication should be your watchwords as you select patterns that are more fine and subdued to complement the color you choose to don that day.

Monochromatic_ComplexSource – Top Line: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4.

Source – Bottom Line: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4.

diagonal design lines


By | Body Basics, Figure Flattery, Line and Design | No Comments

Of all the design lines seen in accessories and garments above all my favorite is the diagonal. At first this line can seem innocuous but look a little closer and you’ll see that it is possibly the most common and most impactful line of all.

Diagonal design lines may be single or divergent lines with each causing the eye to move from one side to the other on an angle.

  • Physically, diagonal lines can slim and lengthen when more vertical lengthen. While those that are more horizontal will shorten and widen the area they have been place over.
  • Psychological, diagonal lines can be generally described as dynamic and interesting as they are not as conventional as horizontal or vertical design features. 
    ~ As a single design lines or features: interesting, inventive and lively. 
    ~ As zig zag lines within patterns they can be seen as fun, creative or busy.
    ~ As alternating lines within patterns they can be seen as dramatic, erratic or intense.
    ~ Diagonal prints and patterns are best left for after work hours as they can be overwhelming especially when in bright colors.

  • Associations: Alternating diagonal lines are often subconsciously associated with danger as many dangerous events and animals in our natural world have diagonal shapes.

Diagonal lines and features can be found:

  • within prints and textures: such as herringbone, chevrons and argyle etc.

  • as structural components: such as triangle and inverted triangle silhouettes, panels, seams, collars, necklines, darts, flared pants and raglan sleeves etc.
  • garment detailing or embellishments: pockets, inserts, rick-rack and pleats etc.
  • accessories: scarves, bags, pendants, toes of shoes, earrings etc.


The wearing of garments with diagonal design lines or features is best achieved when they feels in-sync with your personal style expression.

Single lines

The longer and more vertical the diagonal line design features the more powerful the effect. Add color contrast to amplify the result.

A. Length is highlighted by the color contrast.

B. Diagonal line is slimming but not as much as A.

C. Only slight slims the mid torso.

D. While the line is highlighted by the color contrast the angle is more horizontal than vertical.

Divergent Lines (Triangles)

Triangles are one of the most common diagonal design lines found within garments e.g., ‘V’ necklines, collars, lapels, ‘V’ shaped button placement on a double-breasted jacket or a chain and pendant.

A triangle is formed when two or three sides are apparent (e.g., ‘V’ necklines, collars, lapels, pendants and jacket openings etc). The widest arm of the triangle is the one that commands the most attention (even if the widest arm is missing e.g., V-neckline). The brain will perceive that area as the one with the most width. Below jackets (C and D), each have a ‘V’ shaped hemline. The jacket with the widest inverted ‘V’ hemline ( A ) is the one that makes the hips appear widest. The triangular opening in jacket D is longer and narrower, lengthening and elongating the area.

Likewise the width and length of the ‘V” in V-necklines will impact the width and length of the face, neck, shoulders and bust line:

E: Balanced width and length

F: Widens shoulders

G: Lengthens face and neck and slims bust line

H: Lengthens the face and neck, plus slims the bust line even more than G

how to wear a bomber jacket


By | How To..., Trend Tutorial, Trends | No Comments

There is no question—the bomber style jacket is the “it” jacket of the season. Everyone from Karlie Kloss to Olivia Palermo has been spotted rocking their own take of this style. Once known as a “flight jacket” created for pilots, the bomber has come a very long way in the fashion industry!

Now and Then Jackets

Vibrant colors, wild embellishments and delicate details have lent themselves to the success of the modern version of the classic jacket. 

So exactly how many different ways can you style the bomber jacket? From preppy to pretty there’s plenty!

Borrow Inspiration from the Boys

Blake Lively gets a gold star with this look. Her rolled skinny jeans, floppy hat, and knotted scarf over this outfit a touch of femme. On the other hand her menswear inspired shoes and grey bomber mix well with the rest of her look. It’s very appropriate to use your bomber as a way of dressing down an ensemble. You can even rock it with a feminine dress for a cool vibe.


Play With Colors and Textures

Quilted textures, leather shoulders, brocade panels, satin sleeves—it is very possible to have fun with a bomber and let it be the main event of your look. If the masculine style frightens you, then choose a bomber in a pastel hue, or with girly prints and embellishments. Don’t let the original idea of a bomber jacket fool you, you can surely use your jacket to dress up any look.


Dress It Up

Gwen Steffani’s look is very easy to steal! A solid colored bomber jacket can be paired with floral print tuxedo pants and your best pair of colorful pumps. Reverse the look with patterned bomber and solid colored pants.

Bombers a little more fitted look edgy yet refined especially when paired with dressier separates. Use your jacket to make your outfit appear more easygoing. A zipper closure also lets you have more control over how much to cover as opposed to just buttons.


Turn Heads

Going back to basics with a leather bomber can easily be stylish enough to turn the heads of everyone you pass when it possesses a smooth surface and is in a sophisticated camel or caramel color and teamed with the polish of pure white or cream.

Or go to the other extreme and take the lead from Tina Leung in a duo of brocade bomber and pants from J Crew for a look that will diva up your image for instant attention.


Keep Things Simple

Karlie Kloss knows all about keeping her off duty wear plain and simple without looking boring. Want to go for a casual look, then dark jeans or fitted pants with a simple top can go a long way with a standard satin bomber draped over your shoulders. Ballet flats are comfy essentials that help you breeze through your day.


vertical fashion trend

THE VERTICLE ADVANTAGE: how to dress slimmer

By | Body Basics, Figure Flattery, Line and Design | 4 Comments

Imagine walking into a room or onstage and your audience sees you as strong professional woman, maybe one who’s even taller and more slender than you really are. How is this done? Through vertical design.

What is vertical design? It is clothing design elements which draws the eye up and down. The more vertical elements you use, the greater the elongating, slimming effect. For each element used, you can appear almost 4.5 pounds (2kg) thinner! This is the key for how to dress slimmer.

Vertical design is achieved through garments via:

  • shape:  straight and pencil skirts, straight and tapered pants, straight and tapered jackets/tops
  • silhouette: semi- to very fitted (boxy and soft somewhat)
  • structure: darts, panels, pleats, vertical folds, iron creases, seams
  • embellishments: vertical lace paneling, pin tucks, ruffles
  • fabricvertical patterns and prints; fluid fabrics which follow curves.
  • closures: zippers, buttons, lace-up
  • accessories: oblong scarves, pendants, drop and hoop earrings, open vamp shoes, high heels and/or pointy toe shoes, nude shoes, hosiery that blends into hemline and shoes
  • focal points: statement necklaces, medium to large or colorful earrings, applique design, embellished neckline/collar, scarf
  • length: the longer the garment, the more vertical power
  • grooming: long, short, straight hair; hair which stands up on top

Pictured are several outfits using vertical elements. Can you guess what they are (answers are at the end of the feature)?




Pants vs Skirts

Pants elongate the legs from waist to hem, which is usually at the ankle (J). Skirts vary more, going from waist to around the knee, leaving the legs exposed (K). The shorter the pants or the wider the skirt, the less elongating and slimming effect. Why? Because where the legs are exposed is usually an area of colour contrast that horizontally divides the length of the body (L). If hosiery and/or shoes/boots are worn in a similar contrast level (depth and colour) to the hemline colour, the vertical influence is maintained.


Run a Line

The most effective vertical line is one that runs down the center of your torso or limb (a seam, contrast stitching, zipper, row of buttons). However, the line’s position and width can negatively impact the elongating effect. This is definitely worth considering in light of how to dress slimmer.

Dress O’s wide vertical central panel, which is lighter than the sides, adds width to the torso. The wide central vertical seam in dress P divides the torso in two equal halves; however, the purple side is shinier, which makes it appear slightly wide than its darker matte counterpart. With sweater Q, the wider panel makes the torso appear wide regardless of the seam (vertical line). Sweater R is slimming due to the vertical seam being on the center of the torso.

A crease down the center of a pants is slimming. Pairing such with pointy toe high heel shoes looks even better.

Color in the Lines

Color coordinating your outfits can achieve an elongated look, either with an inner or outer line.

For example, a solid color single breasted jacket left open and paired with pants of the same or similar color creates an uninterrupted appearance from shoulder to pants hemline. Worn with a bright/light top and you create an outer vertical line (S). The darker colour is slimming because it recedes; a lighter/brighter colour advances, drawing the eye to the centre.

For variety, wear pants and a top of the same colour along with a solid colour single breasted jacket or cardigan in a different colour. This creates an inner vertical line (T). A light/bright jacket or cardigan should be avoided by those who are large above the waist because it will cause the upper body to appear wider.

Focal Feature

Even the best-laid lines of style and trends can be undone if you add a focal point which minimizes the vertical effect. For example, wear a low-placed focal point (colourful shoes, border on skirt) and you draw the eye downward, which in turn ruins the illusion of slimness and height. However, all you have to do is wear something eye-catching up high as a counterbalance (an accessory, statement jewelry, make-up or hairstyle) to move the eye upward. Ta-da!


Beware the Stretchy Stripe

While it’s well-known that vertical stripes elongate your appearance, some fabrics undo all the good of those stripes. Stretchy, clingy fabrics with vertical stripes can stretch out of shape where you are widest and end up accentuating what you want to camouflage. Stick with non-stretchy fabrics and a semi-fitted silhouette for stripe success.

Toe the Line

Wow! Who knew design lines exerted so much influence over how people perceive your physical appearance? Did you know it also affects them psychologically? It’s true. Tall is associated with strong (think trees, skyscrapers, and pro basketball players). Someone with “upright” morals is viewed as having strong beliefs. So it’s natural to view someone who walks tall or has an elongated appearance to be some kind of authority.

You can use vertical design to as part of your plan for how to dress slimmer. If you want to appear more professional, more authoritative (and slimmer and taller), be sure to incorporate vertical elements. After all, pinstripes for menswear hasn’t lost its pro touch!


A: 1. pintucks in shirt, 2. skinny pants, 3. high focal point with button on collar
B: 1. one colour outfit, 2. raglan neckline drawing attention upwards, 3. embellished collar, 4. pointy toe shoes.
C: 1. outer vertical colour flow, 2 .strong focal point blouse
D: 1. semi fitted tubular dress, 2. vertical pattern, 3. pointy toe shoes
E: 1. solid coloured dark dress 2. eyes up focal point – white shirt, 3. pointy toe shoes.
F: 1. solid coloured dress
G: 1. knee high boots, 2. striped coat, 3. focal point on shoulders and at neck, 4. high heels, 5. pointy toe shoes.
H: 1. gored skirt, 2. high waistband on skirt, 3. high focal point – leopard blouse
I: 1. vertical pattern in skirt, 2. pointed toe shoes