Q. I am attending more than one party over the festive holidays and plan to wear the same dress. It’s a classic shift style, how can I make it look different each time I wear it?
A. In order to change the look of your dress you must first learn to understand the power of accessories. Getting these key items right will not only provide more options for your wardrobe but will also make you look and feel more confident. A classic shift style dress can be transformed time again through good use of the right accessories.
By adding great costume jewellery you can achieve fantastic results – strong metallics and bright detail will ensure you catch the attention of everyone’s eye. Although you must be cautious not to over do it – go for either a statement neckpiece or chandelier earrings depending on the neckline of your dress.
If the style of your dress allows for the addition of a belt, choose one that matches your shoes and handbag – teaming these three details together is a great way to introduce colour and texture to your look and can provide a contrasting feature to your dress. Every woman should invest in good accessories and buy pieces that reflect her own personality and taste.
It’s important to express individuality through fashion and accessorising is one of the best ways you can achieve this – remember a great pair of shoes or a statement necklace will always be there for you even if you do gain or lose a few pounds. Hoisery has been going through a bit of a renaissance over the past few years and winter is the perfect time to invest in some of the most decorative couture styles.
Go for heavy embellishment to create an air of dark romance (winter’s favourite trend) or stay sheer for a more classic sexy feel. Change your hairstyle – simply wearing your hair up, curling or straightening can make a huge difference to your appearance. It’s also very important to change outerwear when wearing the same dress on several occasions. Choose a tailored short jacket for a sexy cool edge or faux fur and feathers to create more glamour. The shrug and attachable collar are still favourite cover up options for any dress.
Q. Help! I am a typical pear shape and find it hard to find party dresses that flatter my figure. What are the best silhouettes to suit my shape?
A. The pear shape is the most common figure proportion in women today. All women who have the typical pear shaped body (widest part is below the hips) should be aiming to create a visual balance between the hips and shoulders. You need to balance your top half with your larger bottom half by creating the illusion that your bottom half is more slender. Learn ways to balance your hips and shoulders while still showing off your curves.
Luckily for pears the eye is drawn from the top down so make the focal point your top half. The shoulders and décolletage are two of the sexiest parts of the female body and you should make good use of them. Dare to expose a little more flesh by wearing a deep plunge neckline that draws attention to a fabulous cleavage.
Choose a dress with spaghetti straps or an off the shoulder dress that exposes one or both shoulders. If you prefer to keep your shoulders and arms covered, embellished details, ruffles and puffs on shoulders and sleeves are another great option to attract attention to your upper body. Wear volume, pattern and bold colour on your top half to distract away from your hips.
Always accentuate your waistline - prom style dresses cut in the circle shape will hang from the waist to the knee creating an A line to disguise large hips. A maxi dress with a full skirt that has been nipped in at the waist will elongate your figure beautifully. Choose styles that are fitted around your waist such as empire line, wrap dresses and peplum skirts. Shift styles will only work if they fit correctly. If the fabric sits tight across your stomach or hips it means the dress is ill fitting. The fabric should give a clean lean line to your silhouette whilst hiding everything underneath. This style will accentuate your upper body and make you appear leaner.
How to do party glamour
Evoke the spirit of the late 70's New York disco era this party season and flashback to the heyday of Jerry Hall, Halston and YSL for inspirational glamour perfectly suited for a night at Studio 54.
Pleated halter neck maxi dress by Biba £185 at House of Fraser. Platform sandals by Terry Dehavilland £495 at Cruise. Superstud crystal haze silver necklace £1785 & matching ring £275 both by Stephen Webster & Silver link chain necklace (worn as belt) by Hamilton and Inches £330 all available at Hamilton and Inches. Vintage mother of pearl hair comb (part of pair) £75 at Chic and Unique. Merino tights by Wolford £31 at House of Fraser.
Black evening cape by Alexander McQueen £1850 at Cruise. Assymetrical red maxi dress slashed to the thigh by Biba £275 at House of Fraser. Vintage diamante earrings £38 at Chic and Unique. Shark tooth silver bracelet £1100 & Topaz bug ball pendant £495 both by Stephen Webster & Silver domed ring by Hamilton and Inches all available at Hamilton and Inches. Cayla champagne glitter clutch £595 & Totem champagne glitter sandals £460 both by Jimmy Choo at Pam Jenkins. Net stay ups by Falke £20 at House of Fraser.
Avalanche adjustable fur trim hat £45 at Celia Anastasio Millinery. Emerald green silk one shoulder grecian style maxi dress by Amanda Wakeley £1295 at Harvey Nichols. Eilsa leopard print clutch with satin trim by Christian Louboutin £875 & Ailsa black & gold sandals by Rupert Sanderson £625 both at Pam Jenkins. Vintage diamante silver chain bracelet £63 at Chic and Unique. Invisible tights by Wolford £21 at House of Fraser.
Styling: Lisa Ringrose
Photography: Jeff Mars
Hair: Austin Shirley assisted by Chelsey McQueen for Toni & Guy Edinburgh using Volume Mousse & Hairspray by Label M.
Make Up: Lou Lou Brown using Nars Andy Warhol Collection.
Lashes: Rosebud by We Are Faux
Location: Prestonfield House Edinburgh