Tag Archives: layering

Go back to school in style

22 Aug

Summer is winding down, sadly, and before you know it, bells will ring to mark the start of the fall school semester. Whether you’ll be shopping for a student or are a student yourself, this back-to-school wardrobe shopping guide will help make the transition a little easier.

Back to basics

While clothes shopping for school, it’s essential to find comfortable separates that can be quickly mixed and matched for stylish ensembles. Basics such as solid coloured tees and sweaters, button-up dress shirts and denim are classic options and can be easily paired with trendier pieces for a more fashion forward look.

This Zara girls denim jacket is a perfect transition piece from summer to fall.

The item that should be in any student’s closet is a pair of jeans. Denim pants have become so ubiquitous on- and off-campus that entire wardrobes can be built around them. For girls, skinny jeans are still very much in style and are verging on classic status. Jeggings are also popular with their combination of a skinny fit and soft, flexible material. For boys, it’s all about straight leg jeans or a slim cut. Coloured denim is hot for all ages but can limit outfit options. To get the most use out of a pair of jeans, go for a darker rinse — they go well with everything and can even be worn to dressier events. For an alternative to jeans, try corduroy pants. Stores usually carry a wide assortment of fun fall colours; it’s also durable and perfect for active kids.

Bundle up with layers

Sweaters are another staple for back-to-school. Whether it’s a simple crew neck or a cardigan, there’s a sweater for every style and it makes a great layering piece for chilly classrooms. Try patterns such as stripes or argyle to add some panache to casual outfits. This is when tees come in handy for the cooler months. Wear them under itchy wool sweaters or pair a graphic tee with a cardigan or hoodie. Stores try to get rid of their short-sleeved tops in August to make space for fall items, so this is the perfect time to load up on T-shirts and tanks while they’re on sale.

A striped sweater, like this one from ASOS, makes for a practical and stylish layering basic.

For students starting post-secondary, the preppy collegiate look never goes out of style. Try pairing casual pants or jeans with blazers over a tee for a more polished look. For girls, finish off the outfit with flats or even boots if the weather is cool. The guys can complete their blazer ensemble with sneakers such as Chucks or Vans. I know fashion may fall to the wayside when you’re dealing with exams and getting to class on time, but starting a new semester also means making a lot of first impressions — on teachers and fellow students. Sweatpants may be comfortable but it’s just as easy to throw on some jeans.

Look classically polished on campus with a grey marled blazer from H&M.

Add some trends

Whether the student is in elementary school, high school or college, incorporating colour and prints into the school wardrobe will help brighten up dreary fall days. Neon’s been big this year and is surprising easy to wear in small doses. Include a splash of highlighter pink or DayGlo yellow to an otherwise neutral outfit. Accessories and sneakers are a simple and great way to add some bright colours and individualize your look.

Tangerine was the “It” colour of spring and summer, but for the fall the trend is blue — especially cobalt. Much easier to wear than tangerine, pair blue with black if you want to channel runway looks. The black and blue combo was spotted in a number of designer collections such as DKNY and Stella McCartney.

A pair of girls cobalt coloured jeans hits multiple trends at once. This pair is from Old Navy.

Most contemporary fashion stores have a kids’ line so shopping for younger ones is made simpler at all price points. Check out Joe Fresh, Old Navy, H&M or Zara, for example, and your child will be scoring aces for school style.

[Article first appeared in the Aug. 15 issue of Richmond Review.]

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Take your style to the next level: Fashion resolutions for 2012

24 Jan

As the end of January approaches and I’m in the midst of celebrating the lunar new year, it’s somewhat fitting that shops have also begun to get their spring collections in. The beginning of the year has always been an ideal time to start fresh and set new goals to improve your life. And there’s just something about the spring season that reminds us to blossom and reinvent our look. In keeping with the theme of resolutions, I’ve come up with a few suggestions for fashion and beauty goals to ensure you’ll be looking your best for 2012.

When to splurge and when to save

If you’re going to spend, splurge on classic pieces and save on the trendier items. Apparel such as peacoats, beige trench coats, black pants and white button-ups are basics and never go out of style. Invest in high quality, timeless pieces that can handle frequent wear and is cut in a simple style that will flatter your figure for years to come. Also, this time of year is great for coat shopping, as most stores will be having sales in order to get rid of their winter stock to make room for spring arrivals. For trendier items you’ll only wear for one season, shop at less pricey stores. It’ll save more and help reduce buyer’s remorse — it’s never pleasant to realize you paid too much for that tribal print maxi dress only worn twice.

Leather jackets from Mackage are always a fun splurge.

Pile on the layers

Perfect the art of layering. Not only is it a good way to make your look unique, but layering is completely practical for our climate. You don’t want to overdo it and end up bulky or looking like you’re including multiples styles into one outfit. The trick is to take into consideration colour, texture and proportions. Pair silks and satins with thicker fabrics like cottons or wools. Think about lengths: long, simpler tops underneath shorter, more elaborate pieces. One of my favourite go-to office looks is wearing a button-up underneath a cardigan so the shirttail and cuffs peek out, and then layering with a variety of necklaces. Explore what’s already in your wardrobe. If there’s a shirt you never wear because it’s too low-cut, layering solves that problem. And with the abundance of lace and sheer pieces available in stores now, your layering techniques will become effortless in no time.

Layering at play on the runway of Milly's spring/summer 2012 show.

Play with colours

Experiment more with colour this year. Pastels are going to be hot next season — they’ve been spotted on most of the spring collection runways from Milan to New York — so now’s a good time to play around with different shades to see which complements you best. If muted colours aren’t your thing, then incorporate some red-orange pieces into your closet. Pantone revealed that the colour of the year for 2012 is Tangerine Tango, a vibrant shade that works for clothing and cosmetics. The colour-blocking trend that was all the rage last year is continuing strong into this year too, so expect to see bold contrasts of colour in one ensemble.

Corset dress from ASOS featuring an adorable pastel skirt.

A combination of layering and Tangerine Tango presented at Jean Paul Gaultier.

Experiment with new styles

Go outside your comfort zone. It’s easier to rely on old standbys, but make it a goal to frequently change up your usual outfits or makeup look. If the majority of your wardrobe is solid colours, add some prints. You’re usually a jeans and a t-shirt gal? Then switch out your denim for a skirt or dress. If you don’t think you can pull off a particular trend, test it out for a day — you just might be surprised when the compliments start rolling in. Add more accessories into your daily look. I know I’ve fallen victim to applying the same makeup every day, so my main resolution this year is to experiment with different eyeshadows. One reason for fashion is for us to express ourselves, so we should have fun with it this year and try new looks!

I need to find a pair of comfy pastel pants to emulate this 3.1 Phillip Lim look.

[Article first appeared in the Jan. 18 style column of the Richmond Review.]