As summer gets in to full hot sticky swing your professional obligations unfortunately still apply. Networking events, work and meetings will need to be attended and you will need to be fresh and ready. So how you can look and stay cool?

  1. The Tapered / Cigarette Trouser

The easiest way to look stylish in the summer would be to throw on a cropped version; Jigsaw has some great ones!  The sharp tapering keeps it really smart and paired with some kitten heels you’ll look like you mean business.

  1. The V-Neck Collarless Shirt

Keep cool in this summer classic. Elegant in style, the collarless design allows fluidity of movement without looking too casual. It is best to wear these in soft cotton or a similar natural fibre to allow the skin to breathe in the heat. The V-neck line, as long as this isn’t low cut, is also flattering for the larger bust whilst still maintaining an elegant office style which looks fantastic with a boxy cropped thin blazer.

  1. The Midi Skirt

So here I mean a modest office ready piece that flares out from the waist and sits just below the knee. Again it’s all about fluidity. Knife pleats break up the fabric affording texture whilst maintaining a formal edge. Pair with a statement shirt if the skirt is of one block colour or a flattering cap sleeved ivory shirt looks fantastic with a crisp floral skirt.

  1. The Shift Dress

My personal favourite as it’s so easy to wear. Choose smooth silks or rayon and cinch in at the waist with a vintage leather belt particularly if you choose the looser shift dress styles as the belt will create structure to keep it more formal. Add a boxy jacket to

What do you think?

 

N.B. stock image.

So when you think of suits what do you think of? A stuffy lawyer and a male one to boot? Perhaps you think of a traditional matching two-piece trouser suit with pinstripes or slightly ill fitting trousers (why do they never make them to fit!?).

What about the word power? Well I would say a feeling of strength or confidence or even a great influence.

So put these together for your standard work get-up and you have the ultimate outfit for any woman. In the future I can see the typical power suit shifting from the androgynous styles of the last few years to more feminine styles and even more gender neutral classics. Think maybe more like 1920s Chanel.

For now my favourite has to be the Celina Suit from Twenty Four Fashion. It can be found on their website www.twentyfourfashion.co.uk or Silk Fred. Why is it a power suit? Well firstly the suit and range were designed by Lucie at Twenty Four Fashion to solve a problem. (Something all us career women love to do). She wanted simple yet classic and great quality pieces and could never seem to find anything. It was all about the fussy detail and she felt there was never any focus on the minimalistic suit that women could be free to dress up how they wanted.

The Celina solves all of this as it designed with clean lines and lack of detail so you can dress this up or down as much as you want. A perfect way to wear a suit with the freedom to style it however you want.

It looks and feels like linen but is actually woven silk so there’s no worrying about quality of fabric and it still makes it light enough to wear in the stickiest of summers.

The best part is the beautiful pink hue of the fabric which gives it that uniqueness so you can stand out but edges towards that feminine vibe I mentioned. Its far more acceptable now to wear these unique suits and they can be seen as power suits as we move towards a world more embracing of women not afraid to shake up the rules of power dressing.

 

Last month I attended Fashion Show MK at Chicheley Hall in Milton Keynes. This event is run by GM Events (www.gemmediaevents.com) who can assist with planning and organising events which include corporate, charity or party’s to name a few.

The designers who featured had lots of exciting new pieces to offer.

The first designer, James Virgo, showcased his innovative collection of bow ties for men and women. I loved how these androgynous designs stood out and I can see how they can appeal to men and women. It’s a case of art and craft meets fashion. (www.jamesvirgoartwork.co.uk).

Along came Mad FX who feature well designed and creative fun t-shirts for men with kooky and colourful designs. Check out their website for more inspiration. (www.madfxclothing.co.uk).

The fantastic Boutique Cholpon exploded on to the catwalk with some amazing colourful dresses. I particularly liked these as they were elegant and simple yet each one was so different! (www.facebook.com/boutiquecholpon or visit their shop in Newport Pagnell).

It’s not just about celebrating glamour on the catwalk and GM Events were thrilled to showcase Wheel and Thread who are a British heritage brand. They stylise the textile industry and really epitomise industrial high street wear with the tees and caps. (www.wheelandthread.co.uk).

Following on Daisy and Co London specialise in funky active wear and was one of my favourites simply because I am very active and am always looking for cool functional activewear. Some of the pieces have also been featured in Vogue! (www.daisyandcolondon.com).

Last but definitely not least you may have heard of Krisp; a high-street favourite with seriously affordable high quality women’s wear. They feature everything and anything but I loved the prom dresses which were featured at the event. Menswear I believe was a particularly new addition. It was a perfect all-rounder which caters for the trend obsessed. (www.krisp.co.uk).

Contact GM Events / Media if you are interested in being featured in the AW show – info@gemmediaevents.com

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Work and office wear can be dull and for the fashion conscious out there it can be hard keeping up from season to season. For me it’s not all about the trends but the details! Here are my tips.

1. Ensure there is detail. Every season a new print, pattern or fabric is thrust back into the limelight. Floral, gingham, tartan, paisley, shantung.  It can be confusing and obviously the detail can clash with whatever else you wear. Grab one item in this season’s hottest and keep everything else tonal.

2.  One stand-out accessory is more than enough. So if lace chokers are your thing in a cautious nod to the 90’s grunge look or if you prefer something ostentatious and vintage remember that something that stands out such as a choker can make or break a look. Make sure it ‘marries’ with what else you are wearing or match it to pretty shoes. Necklaces are the best accessory as they sit in the centre of your chest and add balance.

3. Add a piece with a twist! That boring old pencil skirt again?? What about the asymmetric hem skirt instead? Pretty, stylish and chic! Or the culotte? Perfect. Kimono instead of jacket – spot on.

4. Ensure there is some kind of accessory i.e. a nice jumper and trousers can go a long way but so can a pretty headband (which is big right now) or some bangles and a chunky watch.

5. Stand out shoes. For women especially shoes are a great way to brighten up any outfit. Pretty much anything goes and as long as they aren’t too high, trainers or flip-flops you can add them to your shopping basket in every shade.

6. Layering. By this I mean dresses over tees, vests over shirts. Maybe not recommended for the summer but it’s easy to do and is unique to you and your particular ensembles.

7. Add collar clip/tips or a fake collar. These were around not long ago and make a plain shirt look super cute. They look like real collars and the tips can look like they were sewn in to the detail of the shirt already. For a real individual look, pin some earrings to the collar tips.

8. A silk or foulard scarf. Timeless, Parisian and always in fashion. Best worn with neutrals so you can showcase a bright hue. I would go with the fuchsia tones of late. Fuchsia looks fantastic against darker skin tones but bluer toned fuchsias also look great on paler girls.

9. A bag of great proportions. I never do small bags. It’s obviously a woman’s prerogative to carry around her laptop, make-up, work notepads, pens etc. in one bag and the best way is in a large leather tote. A brown or tan one can add classic elegance and carrying it in the crook of your arm against your outfit is a winner.

10. Lastly I recommend the matching suit. Pinstripes are a must for elongated legs or tapered trousers for the shorter leg. Add a pretty camisole and you’re ready to go.

IMG_6334Why is it important to cut yourself off you may ask?

Think about how long you are connected to the internet in a day? What’s the first thing you do ( well i do!!) when you get to a hotel or work? Connect to wifi of course. Running out of data. Hell no. May as well cut my arm off now. What else do you detox? Your liver? Do you go on diets? Do you cut out chocolate?

When I thought what it was like when I was growing up in the 90s; not a million years ago. The iPhone didn’t exist. Tablets were a distant plague on the future. I had a windows 95 computer and later a MySpace account. When I left the house the internet didn’t come with me. Now it’s like we are on call twenty four hours a day.

So why is it bad??

1. You literally become addicted to it.
2. It stops you from sleeping or you feel you need to do it to fall asleep.
3. You constantly compare yourself to your friends / acquaintances online wondering why your life is so crap compared to theirs.
4. It makes it easier than ever to bully / hurt / troll / target someone.
5. A lot of horrible things are spread around social media i.e. animal abuse.
6. Tracking how many followers you have becomes a ‘thing’.
7. You can be judged on it (potential jobs, friends etc).
8. You find out things on there that once upon a time you couldn’t possibly have known as social media didn’t exist!!
9. You lose the ability to function in a face to face world.
10. You feel like if you don’t go on it every day you may miss something important.

To all this I would say :-

(All soooo easy I know)!

1. It’s like anything. Life will not end of you don’t see it / use it for a length of time. Start off with a few hours off. A few days off and then possibly not check it first thing in the morning and last thing at night until it’s not an issue anymore. If you try to go cold turkey for days and days it usually fails.
2. Have a few hours before bed where you switch off and watch a film or read. This is hardest for me as I tend to scroll and scroll before I go to sleep with the standard one eye open and one closed. Great for wrinkles, not!
3. Again most people will put the best of their day or lives on there. Do you know what’s going on behind the amazing Insta worthy photos? No. They are not better, just different. And as above, the less you check the less you’ll see!
4. Nothing a pattern by now? Don’t look at it and don’t rise to it. Block block block and delete and remember the classiest people know when to stop.
5. As above. When I joined Facebook (in 2006 at the tender age of 18) it was literally ways to keep in touch with friends and see photos from nights out and the occasional stalking of randomers. The best bit as it developed was the way that the newsfeed used to show what people had commented on and who had got in to a relationship with who and who had broken up with who. I think this is where the addiction starts! It becomes something that you must check in case you’ve missed something but there was a time before it! Now it’s become a platform, as others are, that is abused by conglomerates who can abuse you and target you and show all kinds of……..( insert swear word here). Don’t follow them!
6. Before Twitter and Insta, Facebook was a place to befriend friends only. It’s still much of the same but in the work of network marketing it’s become a place where you can regularly get targeted by the latest get slim now product. Now the unfollow culture on the aforementioned is huge and quite frankly pathetic. Not to mention the ‘buying followers’ apps. What happened to good old supportive friends. Well bugger them. Don’t fall for it, don’t engage in it and certainly don’t become one of them. Be a good follower and friend and others follow you ( literally not on the platforms hehe).
7. Now I think this is a bit sneaky to be honest as you shouldn’t be judged on your ‘home’ life when applying for a job. Simple. Don’t put anything on your platforms that you don’t want potentials to see. Or keep them private. You can also have separate accounts for business and pleasure. Check out privacy settings on each one. I know there is a definitely a setting to not allow your FB profile to be picked up by Google or change your name to something that is not obvious ( nickname, surname etc). And again… friends know where the unfollow button is.
8. Not always a bad thing but is being connected a good thing all the time? I know for me definitely not. Breaks are important. Would you spend 24 hours a day on your work computer? Hell no.
9. Absolutely. Who feels much more confident and comfortable via email or FB? Who then suddenly has to do a presentation for a job or go on a date? What do you do? Wind yourself up on how hard it’ll be. There’s no way to get over this except practice and give that person you are with your full attention. That phone needs to be allowed to run out of battery sometimes.
10. I think we’ve covered it all. The most important people and important things that will happen will find their way to you without FB, Twitter etc. They did 30 years ago. Now calm down and get outside.

Life is honestly too short and guess what, I’ve learnt the hard way too.