Category: Retail Therapy

Retail Therapy

Retail Review: Karen Millen

Sunday, April 13, 2014 /

The brand

Karen Millen is a London based international fashion brand with stores in 50 countries and is renowned as the ‘destination for the perfect dress’. The brand is focussed on creating gorgeous tailored work and occasion pieces for the woman that wants to stand out. If you are looking for feminine pieces that are strong and assertive Karen Millen is the place to visit.

The vibe

I’ve been a long time fan of Karen Millen and I was a little apprehensive when I heard the brand was changing its style and direction. Traditionally the pieces have had a gorgeous edgy, sleek feminine vibe with sculptured tailoring. The brand is in no way understated as every piece has some form of embellishment.

So what’s the new direction? It has been described as ‘a stripped back approach focussing on casual clothes and separates such as denim and leather’. The move has come with the ‘general trend to more relaxed dressing’. Insert sad face – I’m all about dressing up.

I wasn’t sure that I was going to embrace the collection but I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, there are a greater number of more relaxed casual pieces that are perfect for weekend/off duty wear. But those sexy sculpted dresses (without being overtly so) are still there.

Style Personality

The key trends for Karen Millen this AW14 are:

Boy Meets Girl
Masculine shapes and suiting. Great for Natural and Classic style personalities.

Refined Rebel
A little bit of rebel and a little bit of punk. Think leather, plaids and more leather. Perfect for Dramatics and Creatives.

Maximalist
Oversized and luxurious fabrics such as brocades and taffeta. This will appeal to the Feminine, Dramatics and Elegants.

Colour

The colour palette in line with AW14 is dark and moody with flashes of red, burgundy, deep blues and light greys. Overall it is a cooler palette with a softer and more muted edge. For those looking for warmer shades the red check print dress (see below), trenches and gorgeous jackets will appeal.

My favourites

Karen Millen Black Leather Biker Jacket Karen Millen Check Print Dress Karen Millen Modern Jersey Dress in Purple $325.00

L-R: Black Leather Biker Jacket $675.00, Check Print Dress $395.00, Modern Jersey Dress in Purple $325.00

Karen Millen Acrylic Chain Cuff Karen Millen Cube Cluster Ring Karen Millen Pocket front Leather bag in Brown

L-R: Acrylic Chain Cuff $145.00, Cube Cluster Ring $95.00, Pocket Front Leather Bag in Brown $495.00

Karen Millen Geo Dot Print Dress Karen Millen Oversize Check CoatKaren Millen Fabric Mixing Knit Jumper

L-R: Geo Dot Print Dress $375.00, Oversize Check Coat $675.00, Fabric Mixing Knit Jumper in Grey $195.00

Shapes and sizing

There are shapes and cuts to suit every figure but the majority are semi-fitted to fitted so if you prefer looser and relaxed shapes the range is not as large. Sizes range from 6 – 16 but I find the fit is on the small size.

Price point

These are investment pieces. Tops range in price from $95 – $225 with an average price of $145. Dresses range in price from $275 – $550 with and average of $350.

What do I love?

The details. I love that each piece has something special that makes it different. Even t-shirts are embellished or have a unique shape to make it stand out.

What’s not so great?

Sizing can be a little tricky as most of the items are a fitted but I find great shape wear really helps.

The essentials

Where: Available online at www.karenmillen.com.au

Delivery and returns

The online store offers free standard delivery (5 working days) and express delivery for $14.95 (allow 2-3 working days). Returns are free within 14 days.

Retail Therapy

Top 10 Statement Jackets for Work

Thursday, April 3, 2014 /

As more workplaces move away from more formal suiting a statement jacket is a fantastic way to look smart and revive neutral pieces. It can be mixed and matched with the basics (pants, skirts and dresses) and provides a great jumping off point for trying new colour combinations.

Here are my top 10 statement jackets for work. It was tricky to narrow it down (the initial list was 35) but I wanted to make sure that there was something for every colour palette, body shape, style personality and dress code. These details have been included for each jacket so that you can find your perfect jacket.

Textured

Cue Speckled Boucle Peplum Jacket $189.50
Cue Speckled Boucle Peplum Jacket $189.50

Colour:
Warm & Muted; Warm, Muted & Light; Warm, Muted and Soft; and Cool, Muted and Light

Shape:
Hourglass, Triangle, Inverted Triangle and Rectangle. If your bra cup size is larger than a C you may need to wear the jacket open or try a v-neck version.

Personality:
Classic, Elegant, Feminine and Natural.

Dress code:
Smart business to formal.

Sass and Bide
Sass & Bide Worlds Apart Cropped Jacket $790

Colour:
Warm & Muted; Warm, Muted & Light; Warm, Muted & Soft; possibly Warm & Clear; possibly Warm, Clear & Light.

Shape:
Rectangle, Triangle and Inverted Triangle.

Personality:
Creative, Natural and Elegant.

Dress code:
Smart casual, smart business to formal.

 

Monochrome

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Topshop Crop Folk Tile Jacket $105

Colour:
Cool & Clear; Cool, Clear & Dark; Cool, Clear & Bright; Cool & Muted; Cool, Muted & Light; Cool, Muted & Soft.

Shape:
Rectangle, Triangle and Inverted Triangle.

Personality:
Classic, Elegant, Creative and Dramatic.

Dress code:
Smart business to formal.

102584064
Sass & Bide The Trickery Printed Jacket $420

Colour:
Cool & Clear; Cool, Clear & Dark; Cool, Clear & Bright.

Shape:
All

Personality:
Creative, Feminine and Dramatic.

Dress code:
Smart casual to smart business.

 

Bold

106744424
Review Pepita Jacket $305

Colour:
Cool & Clear; Cool, Clear & Dark; Cool, Clear & Bright.

Shape:
Hourglass, Triangle, Inverted Triangle and in some cases Rectangle.

Personality:
Feminine, Sultry and Elegant

Dress code:
Smart business to formal

106745194
Shieke Clarity Jacket in Coral $69

Colour:
Warm & Clear; Warm, Clear & Light; Warm, Clear & Bright; possibly Cool, Muted and Light.

Shape:
All

Personality:
Feminine, Natural, Elegant, Sultry and Creative

Dress code:
Smart casual, smart business and formal

 

Classic

106741964
Jigsaw Felted Wool Biker Jacket $349

Colour:
Cool & Muted; Cool, Muted and Soft; and depending on the texture possibly Cool, Clear & Dark.

Shape:
Hourglass, Triangle, Inverted Triangle and Rectangle. If your bra cup size is larger than a C you may need to wear the jacket open or try a v-neck version.

Personality:
Elegant, Classic and Dramatic.

Dress code:
Smart business to formal.

Anthea Crawfor Houndstooth Panel Knit Jacquard Zip Front Jacket $429.00
Anthea Crawford Houndstooth Panel Knit Jacquard Zip Front Jacket $429.00

Colour:
Cool & Clear; Cool, Clear & Dark; Cool, Clear & Bright.

Shape:
All

Personality:
Dramatic, Elegant and Sultry.

Dress code:
Smart business to formal.

 

Printastic

106746038
Rockmans Jersey Paisley Print Jacket $49

Colour:
Very versatile. Cool & Muted; Cool, Muted & Light; Warm, Clear & Light; and possibly Warm & Clear if worn with the a warmer colour underneath.

Shape:
All

Personality: Creative, Feminine and Sultry.

Dress code:Smart casual to smart business.

106744750
Alannah Hill Kissed By A Rose Jacket $160

Colour:
Warm & Muted; Warm, Muted & Dark; Warm, Muted & Soft; Cool, Muted & Light. Given that the fabric has a
sheen it may also work for Warm & Clear.

Shape:
Rectangle and Triangle.

Personality:
Sultry, Dramatic and Creative.

Dress code:
Smart business to formal.

 

Retail Therapy

The Fashion Treasure Hunt – The Results

Thursday, March 6, 2014 /

Individuals and teams descended on Westfield Belconnen on Saturday 1st March to show off their fashion knowledge and participate in the first Fashion Treasure Hunt. Teams competed against each other to collect items, take photos, solve clues, and find bonus points. There were perplexed looks, furrowed brows and some fast walking going on as teams raced against the clock (they only had an hour) to earn as many points as possible. So much fun!

The Fashion Treasure Hunt was a joint event hosted by Style Liberation and Westfield Belconnen to raise money for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance in the ACT. Thanks everyone we raised an amazing $5,500!

Here are some of the highlights from the day.

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Registrations opened at 1pm and my army of fabulous volunteers settled the nerves and were on hand to answer questions.

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Yes, I’m a bossy boots – giving orders and outlining the rules to the Treasure Hunters.

The Treasure Hunters

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There were some very serious competitors with strategies in place – great to watch. Best team names were The Duracks Wear Prada, Off the Cuff, Trashion and Legally Glam.

DSC_1226 DSC_1238 DSC_1246

There was tension as the clock counted down but luckily there were delicious cupcakes provided by Jazz Apple Cafe to keep blood sugar levels high whilst our markers got on with the important job of determining the winner. While we waited for the winner to be declared Napoleon, Hairhouse Warehouse and the Body Shop presented workshops on Autumn/Winter 14 trends and the Treasure Hunters were spoilt with lots of gifts.

Congratulations to our winners! First place went to SamBelCaHe, in second Fit Fashionistas and third the duo – Gleeson & Carney. The prizes included vouchers and gift cards from Style Liberation, Westfield, Hoyts, Hairhouse Warehouse, Rebel Sport, Outback Jacks, Yogurtland, Cold Rock, Blue Illusion and Napoleon.

Helen,Sam,Cathy,Belinda

The winners – SamBelCaHe

 

Helena,Sonia,Angel,Mahdi

Second place – Fit Fashionistas

 

A big thank to Westfield Belconnen and their retailers for their generous support and hosting the event.

A special thank you to Papercut Graphic Design for designing the gorgeous logo, flyer and clue booklets for the day.

Thanks to our sponsors Rolfe BMW, HerCanberra, Griffin Legal, Successful Alliances and Outback Jacks.

We would love to hear how we can make this fun event even better so if you have any suggestions I would love to hear from you. Xx

Retail Therapy

Top 5: Online Shopping Destinations (Make up)

Thursday, March 6, 2014 /

I love the online shopping! Not only can you shop at any time, in your pjs, with a glass of wine and without any makeup on but you are free to compare prices without any pressure to buy helping to keep make clear and level headed choices.

So what are my top 5 online shopping destinations for the beauty addict in your family? Get your clicking finger ready, because here we go!

1: KitCosmetics.com.au – Kit Cosmetics is a sister store to Mecca Cosmetica, which is really like Meccas’ hip little sister. In any other state you could go into the store but for us Canberran’s we need to use their online shopping facilities to access all the amazing brands and products they stock!

Including travel sizes of all your travel beauty needs, this handy set is great way to be introduced to the brilliance of Kit Cosmetics! $59.95

 

2: MakeupandGlow.com.au – This is a mostly industry based online store catering to makeup artists and hair stylists but there is absolutely no reason why you cant shop here either. Based in Brisbane these ladies will go above and beyond for each customer and you can request samples of anything posted out to you so you can try before you buy

For the budding makeup artist in your family, this basic kit contains everything they could need to get started!

 

3: LipstickRepublic.com.au – This Melbourne based online store sells both professional cosmetics and consumer targeted cosmetics that are 100% cruelty free! Shopping without the guilt and with really reasonable shipping prices!

My perfect gift pick from this site is the Butter London nail polish/lip gloss duo. $39.95

 

4: CrushCosmetics.com.au – Known for their oustanding customer service and brilliant international brands, Crush Cosmetics offer free shipping for any purchases over $65, so stock up ladies!

China Glaze is used by nail technicians world over – $11.86

 

5: ScottysMakeup.com.au – This is another store that is mainly set up for makeup artists and hair stylists, but this Sydney based shop carries everything from regular makeup products to educational dvds and even specialised hair styling products!

This cute little travel brush set is perfect for any makeup lover! $20

I hope this helps you on your quest to find the amazing makeup gems for you or the makeup lover in your life!

xx

LJ

Lesley Johnston

Lesley has been working with make-up since 2006, being predominantly involved in bridal and fashion but also dipping into freelance television and celebrity event make-up. ‘For me, it’s not just the creativity of make-up art, but the opportunity to work with a diverse range of people that keeps it interesting. Every woman is different in what she needs to feel beautiful and I enjoy finding out what that is and showing how to achieve that look.’

To find out more about Lesley visit www.lesleyjmakeup.com

 

Retail Therapy

Fashion that keeps you cool

Friday, January 17, 2014 /

Ok, I know this post is a little off topic for me but given the current heatwave and the lack of air-conditioning at my place I couldn’t resist sharing some of the funniest fashion pieces that I have come across. Hilarious!

The Japanese Ice Bra

My personal favourite. Wrong for so many reasons plus I’m concerned about the side effects?!

Japanese Ice Bra

Japanese Ice Bra (to find out more visit www.huffingtonpost.com)

Solar Powered Fan Hats

I have visions of the blade coming loose – that’s all I want to say.

Solar Powered Fan Hats

Solar Powered Fan Hats (www.squidoo.com/hat-with-fan)

 

Air-conditioned Clothing

I’d consider it, although I would request a more flattering cut.

 

kuchofuku-air-conditioned-shirt

Air-conditioned clothing (www.smartplanet.com/blog/thinking-tech/video-air-conditioned-clothing-keeps-you-cool-saves-energy/)

 

Cooling Vests

Fun for the whole family and sports stars alike. I’m sure I spotted Maria Sharapova sporting one yesterday at the Australian Open and who could blame her. Also available in bandanas – now they should make a come back.

Cooling Vests

Cooling vests (coolbandanas.com)

 

Air-conditioned shoes

Sorry ladies, only available in Men’s styles.

Air-conditioned shoes

Air-conditioned shoes (designtaxi.com/news/355990/Japanese-Air-Conditioned-Shoes-Make-You-Cool-Literally/)

 

Retail Therapy

The Revamp – I Heart DJ’s

Wednesday, December 4, 2013 /

David Jones Entrance

On the 16th November David Jones Canberra Centre unveiled its much anticipated make over and it’s fabulous. Stocking iconic Australian and international labels in a gorgeously revamped store, this is Canberra’s one stop shop for luxury brands.

The lower ground houses childrenswear, toys, homewares, luggage and food. Stocking 50 children’s brands including exclusive labels such as Polo Ralph Lauren and Indie Kids by Industrie, mini fashionistas have plenty of choice.

The ground floor is an exciting collection of make up, skin care, lingerie, shoes and accessories. Celebrated brands such as Laura Mercier (a favourite of mine) and Philosophy are now available in Canberra.

It is on the first floor that my heart started racing when I scanned the 140 womenswear and 80 menswear brands and realised that there is something for everyone.

So, let me take you through the fashion highlights.

Denim Boutique

Yes ladies this is the place to score the perfect pair of jeans. Stocking labels such as J Brand (international icon), Not Your Daughters Jeans (that’s right – no need to share and she’ll be after yours – tell her hands off), Mavi – super flattering (on my Christmas wish list), Adriano Goldschmied, Lee, Levi’s, Guess and Nobody Denim. If you are after a second opinion you can take a full length picture of yourself on the social share screen and send it to your Facebook friends.

DJ's Denim Boutique

Concessions

From Country Road to Veronika Maine, many of the top high street retailers have a presence. Even more excitingly fantastic international brands such as Ted Baker (gorgeous feminine tailoring) and Maison Scotch (classic and vintage styles from the uber cool Dutch outfit Scotch and Soda) are available.

Ted Baker

Designer Labels

Where do I start? It is so exciting to have brilliant designers such as Alex Perry, Collette Dinnigan and Ginger & Smart under the same roof. Department store exclusives include: Bec & Bridge, Camilla, Camilla & Marc, Collette by Collette Dinnigan and Zimmerman. If you are after the perfect party outfit look no further.

Camilla & Marc

Shoes

Enter shoe heaven! From Midas to Marc by Marc Jacobs, Kenneth Cole (a particular favourite for work) and Kate Spade how am I ever supposed to get over my shoe addiction? You will also find Australian brands such as Tony Bianco, Steve Madden and Mimco.

Kenneth Cole Shoes

Kate Spade

Accessories

After shoes, my next love is handbags and the range is superb. Imagine ‘IT’ bags galore. Being surrounded by Michael Kors, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Armani and DKNY it was lucky I escaped without doing serious damage to my credit card.

Bags

So if you haven’t taken a look I would highly recommend it. Scope it out and create the ultimate Christmas wishlist.

 

Retail Therapy

Spring Race Wear: Dash to the finish line

Monday, October 28, 2013 /

It’s only a week until Melbourne Cup and no matter how you plan to celebrate, let’s be honest (well for me anyway) it’s about the fashion rather than the race. If you’ve left it to the last-minute, don’t worry, I have found great pieces that you can buy from the comfort of your sofa, during your lunch break or late night shopping this Friday (highly recommend it).

Just a few tips to creating a great look:

  • Embrace colour! Unless you are rocking the ‘Monochrome’ or the ‘All White’ trend.
  • Shoes and bags don’t need to match unless you are channelling ‘Monochrome’.
  • If you find that you shop at the same places all the time, mix it up a little as you’ll be surprised by what you’ll find.

Feminine

For those that prefer their look soft and sophisticated mix a bold colour with neutral accessories. This Alannah Hill dress can do amazing things: enhance your bust, minimise your waist and create a gorgeous hourglass shape. The soft pink heels and cream clutch are so versatile and right on trend.

Spring Race Wear - Feminine

Alannah Hill A Wonderful Thought Dress in Cobalt $389.00, Samantha Wills Sagittarius Skies Grand Earrings $190.00, Garcia Clutch in Cream at hardtofind.com.au $179.00, Jo Mercer Zoe Heel in Nude $149.95.

Au Naturel

This relaxed silhouette is flattering for all body shapes, especially if you prefer to keep things simple. I’ve teamed this gorgeous dress with a pair of wedges, statement jewellery and fascinator. When choosing the colour for the head-piece I looked to the print for inspiration and chose a fascinator which picked up the coral and green tones in the dress.

Spring Race Wear - Au Naturel

Sacha Drake Kristella Batwing Dress $415.00, Blue Illusion Jardin Fascinator $105.00, Jigsaw Cluster Bead Bracelet $59.00, Country Road Andi Wedge $149.00.

Fun and Flirty

Ok, so I’ve cheated a little – I have just purchased this dress for an upcoming race event. I love the fun and flirty nature of the print, especially the pop of ‘hot pink’ which I have then used to match the shoes and head-piece. I used to be a peplum sceptic but I have been surprised by how flattering it is for most body shapes.

Spring Race Wear - Fun and Flirty

Leona for Leona Edmiston Gingham Rose 3/4 Sleeve Peplum Dress at Myer $100.00, Mimco Plisse + Pleat Headpiece $169.00, David Lawrence Ellis Lizard Clutch $269.00, Topshop Rebel Pink Mirror Heels $83.00.

Classic Monochrome

Perfect for Derby Day this look is chic and elegant. I love the dress for its simplicity and the fact that it is great for work or play. If you want to play with this look substitute the belt or bag with a brighter version such as cobalt or hot pink.

Spring Race Wear - Classic Monochrome

Target Secret Sculpt Dress $59.00, Diva Vintage Fascinator $20.00, Veronika Maine Foldover Clutch $174.30, Sportscraft Gabriella Snake Belt $48.00, Florsheim Poca Dot Black $160.00.