Newsletter
 

Happy New Year to CharityDO readers.

I hope you have had the most wonderful and relaxing holiday season filled with love, family and friends.

I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions (as I usually break them) but this year I’m doing something new – actually a lot of things news. I’m making 2015 the year for a ‘new me’. A healthier, stronger and braver version who is going to dive out of her comfort zone, face fears and break some rules.

Sounds exhausting! But it’s time for a challenge and a new fashion voice and I’m ready to give 2015 a red-hot go. How about you?

January is not only an exciting time of new beginnings – in the fashion world it’s the much-anticipated time for the Spring-Summer haute couture collections. So to give you some style-inspiration for your upcoming charity events, I’m featuring my favourite collection from fashion week so far and one that signified a ‘new way’ for the designer.

Chanel Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2015 collection – just the sound of it makes me ‘fashion giddy’.

After watching the show I felt amazed and moved in equal measure. Amazed at Karl Lagerfeld’s continued ability to conceptualise his fantasies and dreams in fabric and design, and moved that the beauty and artistry that is haute couture remains, thankfully, still in existence.

A few words here won’t convey the sheer brilliance of this collection. To fully appreciate and understand the essence of the collection, you must view it in its entirety on www.chanel.com.

Here is a snapshot. After nearly a year in the making, the fashion stage is set with a grey and barren tropical garden, origami style, in a futuristic city where the trees and flowers have long died from some apocalyptic event.

The show commences with Chanel’s muse, Baptiste Giabiconi, as a gardener in Tom Sawyer-esque garb who waters the garden from a CC-branded watering can and viola the dead blooms come alive and colour and life burst onto the stage.

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Monsieur Lagerfeld said the show came to him “one morning in bed, I saw it in a second” and from this flash of genius came the futuristic garden that he wove into this stunning collection.

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Instead of Chanel’s usual black and white, Monsieur Lagerfeld said that “something was in the air” and instead he chose strong colours, the colour of flowers, for the collection.

Lagerfeld’s 21st century modern twist on classical Chanel took form with a floral theme in graceful movement.

With an uncanny ability to keep his talented fingers firmly on the modern pulse, Monsieur Lagerfeld gave the collection into a 21st century feel interspersed with the classic Chanel. A stroke of brilliance that will appeal to 20-something It-Girls and to his long-standing clientele.

The classic tweed suit came with a hip twist – lavish fringing, floral trims, shorter jackets that bare the midriff, and slouchy midi skirts.

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It-Girls will love the low-slung belted sequin ballerina skirts (SO beautiful) and his established clients will fight for the pink sequin princess coats. Accessories were hip too with beanies, sock booties and long patent leather belts. A classic shape also got ‘Channeled’ – a wide-brimmed ‘Lady of the Manor’ hat covered with tulle.

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But the best of all were Lagerfeld’s flowers that adorned everything from jackets to skirts, shrugs and beanies. Rich with colour, crystals and sequins, the floral artistry of this show was unbelievable. The wearer will surely feel as if they have shrouded themselves in a beautiful floral garden.

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The finale featured a bride in a dress that takes your breath away. The floral bridal train took 15 seamstresses to make and untold hours. The bride was followed by four ‘gardeners’ (Tom Sawyer again) as bridesmaids carrying tropical bouquets.

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Welcome to Karl Lagerfeld’s world of fashion genius. Breathtaking.

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The Melbourne Cup Spring Carnival commences on Saturday and excited fashionistas around the country are preparing their wardrobe for a week of high style.

If you want to be ahead of the style stakes this Melbourne Cup, then adhere to the specific dress codes for each carnival.

Here are some style tips for how to dress for each race day.

Derby Day, Saturday 1st November

Black and white is the dress code for the first day of the Melbourne Cup Spring Carnival. Monochrome is a major spring trend so there is plenty of choice to create a striking look.

Stylist tip:  Siren-red lips are the perfect beauty accoutrement for monochrome styles.

Ginger & Smart dress; Olga Berg clutch;  Gregory Ladner large fascinator;  Nine West heels;  Adorne bracelet. (see Above)

Melbourne Cup Day, Tuesday 4th November

Be bold and bright.  Melbourne Cup day is all about colour and high-style.  Go all out with colour from head to toe or add bright pops of colour with your accessories or opt for an elaborate, but elegant, up-do.

Stylist Tip:  With all that colour, neutral and soft beauty tones are essential.

Alex Perry dress;  Max Alexander pillbox hat;  Oroton clutch;  Mimco crystal studs;  Tom Ford lipstick inmc14-2

Crown Oaks Ladies Day, Thursday 6th November

Elegant and glamourous is the style-rule for Oaks Day.  Opt for feminine dresses of lace or silk and accessories with lady-like jewellery – it’s the prefect time to pop on your pearls girls.  Summer’s sorbet colours of peach, pale pink, lilac and mint will provide a soft and chic silhouette.

Stylist tip:  A soft and elegant do is the perfect hairstyle for lady-like elegance.

By Johnny dress;  Mimco earrings;  Colette Hayman clutch; Jimmy Choo pumps; OPI nail enamel.mc14-3

Stakes Day, Saturday, 8th November

The end of the Melbourne Cup carnival allows for a more relaxed feel to dressing.  This season’s jumpsuit is the perfect style-choice for Stakes Day but elevate the style with heels and smart jewellery so as not to be too casual.

Stylist tip:  A stylish wedge is a jumpsuit’s BFF.

Country Road jumpsuit;  Tony Bianco heels; Samantha Willis cuff, Colette Hayman clutch;  Forever New hat.mc14-4

 I have to admit I’ve been completely caught up in the fairytale and glamour of George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin’s wedding.

The sumptuous setting, the show of wealth, the beautiful A-list celebrities, the display of love – I’ve been hooked.  I’ve fallen for the fashion fairytale and have developed a serious case of fashion envy.

Amal Alamuddin’s wardrobe for the 3-day event is the stuff of style dreams. The Oscar de la Renta wedding gown, the red and black Alexander McQueen worn at the pre-wedding dinner, the gasp-evoking Giambattista Valli floral couture dress, the black and white Dolce and Gabbana sundress and the black and white palazzo pant ensemble topped off with that amazing Stella McCartney hat.

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Her shining beauty coupled with a fairytale wardrobe has created a fashion-fantasy envied and admired by women around the world.  Lucky girl.

But now that Mr Clooney’s nuptial festivities are over (less face it for most girl’s it’s all about HIM) and we go back to our ‘normal’ lives, I’m stuck in a fashion-moment – Amal’s Giambattista Valli couture dress.  I ask myself two questions, what is it about a frock that makes for a fairytale and can a normal girl have her ‘dream dress’ moment (aside from our wedding dress).

To answer these questions I need to ask myself a few more.  Does the dress have to be designed by a world-famous fashion designer?  Does it have to cost thousands of dollars?  Can only a celebrity wear such a dress?  Can it only be worn on a red carpet or in lavish, wealth-strewn surrounds?

My stylist brain screams the answer – a resounding ‘no’.  Of course, wealth and celebrity are usually precursors to fairytale dresses and red-carpet moments but for everyday girls like you and me, it doesn’t take loads or money or fame to wear a dream dress.  A quote by the famous Vogue editor, Edna W. Chase says it best “fashion can be bought, style one must posses”.

It’s true.  Amal Alamuddin has access to wealth, couture designers and the best that money can buy, but that doesn’t mean she’s worthy of ‘style icon’ status.  What we witnessed over the last week that Amal possesses real style and essential ingredients that we can ALL emulate without the wealth and fame – style, attitude and confidence.  She wore it well, and so can you and I.

When you wear a dress that flatters your style and that you feel special in, it changes the way you move and gives you poise and elegance.

Proof in point – some years ago I was attending a charity ball and I had the most beautiful red gown made (by a very talented couture-trained dressmaker).  It was a copy of a Valentino and it fitted to perfection.  I felt so beautiful in the dress and it obviously showed and at the ball a friend said to me “you look like a movie star”. There was my red-carpet ‘dream dress’ moment.

When you wear a dress that makes you feel beautiful and confident that’s your dream moment.  When you feel like you can conquer the world, seduce your lover or walk your own red carpet moment, that’s when your dress has created your special moment in time.

I know I can never wear THAT Giambattista Valli couture dress and I’ll never marry a movie-star, but all I need is a copy of red Valentino dress and I have my own movie-star moment at home in my own closet.

SOME OF MY FAVOURITE FAIRYTALE DRESSES

Last week I showed iconic dresses that created history-making moments in time.  This week I feature a few of my favourite dream dresses.  What are yours?

Firstly, Sarah Jessica Parker in Chanel couture at 2003 Emmy Awards.  Complete with diamond Chanel camellia accessories it was a pink cotton-candy dream.

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As one of history’s most stylish women, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis had many a fairytale moment.  One of her most famous is the Valentino mint off-the-shoulder dress that she wore for an official visit to Cambodia in 1967.  Jennifer Lopez re-created the moment in 2003 at the Academy Awards.

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There is one ‘dream dress’ that every stylish woman yearns for – a red Valentino.  Valentino Garavani created the most glamourous, elegant and drool-worthy gowns and dresses for the rich and famous for 50 years until his retirement in 2008.  His signature red dress was, and still remains, on the ‘dream list’ for stylish women around the world.

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Countless fairytale-moments were created for film and real-life by famous Hollywood designer, Edith Head.  Perhaps the most recognized are two dresses – the famous blue and white dresses created for Grace Kelly in the 1955 film To Catch a Thief.  Her granddaughter, Charlotte Casighari, paid homage to her Grandmother when she wore an amalgamation of the two dresses at an official dinner for her Uncle Albert’s wedding in 2011 created by Giambattista Valli.

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Another revered Hollywood designer was Helen Rose who created the famous white dress for Elizabeth Taylor for the 1958 movie Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.  Fifty-six years later it’s still a dress that all women wish they could wear as well as Liz.

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Another Valentino but this time black velvet worn by Julia Roberts at the 2001 Academy Awards.  If you know fashion, then you’ll know that this dress was just one from Valentino’s simply spectacular Fall/Winter couture collection from 1992.  It remains one of my favourite collections of all time.

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Do you remember when you first saw the now famous green silk dress that Kiera Knightley wore in Atonement?  I do.  I gasped with the beauty and colour and Kiera wore it so very well.

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Design team Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig of Marchesa create the most beautiful red-carpet gowns.  Celebrating 10 years in the business, a Marchesa dress is an A-lister’s ‘go-to’ for red carpets events.

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Every collection that Lebanese designer Elie Saab creates literally makes me gasp.  Saab’s feminine and romantic gowns are the stuff of dreams.

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This week at CharityDOs we highlight how fashion’s most loved and worn item, the frock, can help in the fight against an insidious disease known as ‘the silent killer’.

The power of the dress is both simplistic and mysterious.  No other item of clothing can make a woman feel more womanly, graceful, sexy or powerful.  A dress is the universal symbol of femininity and is worn by women of all ages, shapes, sizes and nationalities.  It can represent the most important events in a woman’s life – love, success, friendship, family and heartbreak.

The dress represents moments in history that have pushed boundaries, created trends, changed cultures and brought about scandal in all genres from art, culture, celebrity and politics.

Closer to home, the fashionable frock has joined in the fight to find a cure for ovarian cancer and brought about an important fundraising initiative that began in Geelong in 2007 when a group of girlfriends donned dresses, went to their favourite pub, passed a stylish hat around and raised $200 to donate to ovarian cancer research.  This determined group of friends did not stop there and decided to get the rest of Australia involved too – and voilà, Frocktober was born.

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Seven years later the Frocktober initiative has raised $800,000 for ovarian cancer research and next month, October 2014, you too have the chance to participate by simply donning a dress to help raise money for an insidious disease that will strike approximately 1500 women of all ages in Australia in 2014.

Ovarian cancer is often referred to as the ‘silent killer’ as symptoms can be non-specific and strikes without warning.  There is no early detection test available and usually the cancer has spread before detection and only 20% to 30% of women will survive beyond five years of diagnosis.  In comparison, survival rates increase to 80-100% when ovarian cancer is detected and treated early.

Frocktober helps to raise funds for research into ovarian cancer and their mission statement is:

“For the good of women's health, we'll
Raise our voices, and some wealth.  October, 10th month of the year, we'll
create awareness, knowledge share.  Kick up our heels, reject our jeans
Take Nan's old dress, take to machines ....
Our message is "We're
Beautiful – no matter size or shape".
 Enjoy the month, frock up and please...
Reach deep for FROCK-ing sake!!!”

There are so many easy ways to participate in the Frocktober 31-day challenge.  Wear a frock one day of the month, week, or fortnight in October or of course if you’re up for the challenge, don a frock daily.

As someone who likes a good ‘girlie-get-together’ filled with champagne and laughter, Frocktober’s event suggestions such as hosting a Frocktail party, a frock morning or afternoon tea or a frock swap, are just the ticket for fashionable party girls.

So this October buy, swap, beg, borrow or steal (only from the closets of relatives and friends) a frock for the month of October and help raise money for this important cause.  Visit the event page to find out more.

ICONIC DRESSES IN HISTORY

Here are 10 frocks that created unforgettable moments in history.

PORTRAIT OF MADAME X

This little black dress caused scandal in Paris society in 1884. The painting of young socialite Virginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau by John Singer Sargent was considered highly suggestive in manner and dress and caused Gautreau to retire for sometime from society.  It also curtailed Sargent’s career as a portrait painter in Paris.

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A NEW LOOK

Coco Chanel remains fashion biggest influence and revolutionized the way women dressed in the twentieth century.  Chanel did away with the restricting corsets, elaborate headwear and long dresses of the day and gave women freedom in the form of short, uncluttered dresses in shades of black, white and beige.

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DIAMOND’S ARE GIRL’S BEST FRIEND

In the movie, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Marilyn Monroe’s pink satin strapless gown and diamond accessories is a iconic cinematic moment.  Modern-day copies such as Gwenyth Paltrow’s pink Ralph Lauren dress for the 1999 Oscars have not come close.

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BLACK MAGIC

You can’t have a list of history’s most iconic dresses without including Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  Both the long black evening dress and chic day dress are perhaps the most famous and well-loved frocks of all time.

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THE MONDRIAN DRESS

Yves Saint Laurent’s Mondrian dress was a masterpiece in tailoring and fit.  Inspired by the abstract paintings of Piet Mondrian, the dress was a demonstration of the best of dressmaking skill and artistic genius.  The dress was a huge success with the well-dressed and wealthy and also a huge commercial success with the design being mass produced around the world.

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DVF WRAP DRESS

The invention of the wrap dress in 1973 by Diane Von Furstenberg is one of the most successful fashion ventures to date and is still being created 41 years later.  The end.

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THE REVENGE DRESS

Princess Diana’s LBD dress was dubbed the ‘revenge dress’ when she attended a Vanity Fair party after her separation from Prince Charles in 1994.  The sexy dress represented her freedom from the restraints of royal dressing and gave her ex-husband and his family a huge and well-deserved middle finger.

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THE SAFETY PIN DRESS

Both the dress and Elizabeth Hurley became a household name in 1997 when Hurley stepped out on the arm of Hugh Grant to attend the Four Weddings and a Funeral premiere.  Lady Gaga recently wore the dress but the impact shadowed in comparison to the original moment in time.

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THE J-LO MOMENT

Another celebrity on the red carpet and another Versace creation, Jennifer Lopez’s revealing floral at the 2000 Grammy’s still lingers in our minds 14 years later.

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ROYAL WEDDING DRESS

Perhaps the most anticipated and watched wedding dress of all time, Kate Middleton’s magnificent Alexander McQueen bridal gown was loved by millions around the world, but her sister Pippa’s bridesmaid proved to be the most critiqued.

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‘Culottes’ a simple word but which often strikes fear into the hearts of multitudes of women. But fear not. Style culottes correctly and they are a versatile and stylish option that work across the seasons.

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That latest trend to hit the runways for this Spring/Summer is the culotte.

Culottes are usually described as “a split or divided skirt or any garment which hangs like a skirt, but is actually pants”. The fashion-set call them “wide-legged cropped pants” but whichever term you prefer, the culotte is a versatile and flattering option for women of all ages, shapes and sizes and a stylish choice for the many upcoming charity events listed on the CharityDos website.

Here are my style tips for how to wear and style culottes:

  • NO FEAR: Approach wearing culottes like an A-line skirt and wear them that way. Easy.

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  • LENGTH: My most important style tip for ‘real women’ wearing a culotte is the length. The most flattering and versatile style sits on the lower calf which gives the appearance of a slimmer and longer legs.

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  • STYLE: Again for ‘real women’ the most flattering style of culotte is a softer, more voluminous style, like a skirt. If you’re taller and slimmer, various lengths and styles will suit.

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  • HEEL HEIGHT: Yes, the fashion trend for summer is flat sandals and brogues, and for the young and trendy go for it, but for ‘real women’ I recommend wearing your culotte with a mid or high-heeled shoe in softer, feminine styles such as ankle-straps or t-bars.

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  • BALANCE: For most women, the key to wearing a culotte is to balance the volume down below with sleeker top. A slim-fit crisp white shirt, a fitted tee, or a defined jacket is the perfect balance.

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  • STYLING TIPS: With the balance rule in mind, choose a style that suits your lifestyle or event. Are you going to a smart lunch? Opt for a crisper, classic style paired with a fitted jacket or cotton shirt. Attending a friend’s BBQ? A softer, more feminine version in a print or floral is perfect. Do you want to be directional and on-trend? Go for a wider-leg styled with short crop top.

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Wear your culottes with confidence and attitude (like Ms Beckham) and they are a fashionable and functional option for your wardrobe all year round.

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Hair and beauty trends for Spring/Summer 2014 range from pretty and polished, bare and au natural to bursts of high-wattage colour and glamour.

If you’re attending one of the many day or evening charity events on the CharityDos website, here are some of the hottest hair and beauty trends for summer 2014.

MAKEUP

Pink and Orange Lips

The hottest beauty accessory for Spring/Summer 2014 is a hot-pink or orange lip.  Choose a colour that suits your skin tone with the general rule-of-thumb being for fair skin opt for cooler tones, for warmer complexions choose from a wide range including corals and deep pinks.

Beauty tip:  Pair a bright lip with minimal eye makeup.

Try:  Nars Satin Lip Pencil Collection in Yu (Shocking Pink), $34

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Winged Eyes

For evening charity events, channel Sophia Loren and opt for a sexy winged effect with a sweep of the blackest eyeliner.  With a little practice and the right tools, you can achieve this look no time at all.

Try:  Bobbi Brown Long-wear Gel Eyeliner, $35

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Golden Girl

Summer wouldn’t be complete without a golden glow and for 2014 the inspiration comes from 1970’s disco-diva with glamourous gilding on eyes, lips, cheeks and face.

Try:  Becca Cosmetics Beach Tint Shimmer Soufflè in Fig/Opal, $45

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Sweet Cheeks

Pretty sorbet colours are on the ‘hot beauty list’ for 2014.  Sweep soft pink or pretty peach across cheekbones for a ‘flush’ of summer sweetness.

Try:  Chanel Le Blush Crème in Affinité, $60

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Colour Me Happy

There is no better time than an evening charity event to opt for a bold eye.  The hottest colours this summer are purple and blue (yes blue).  For those who are young and daring, apply liberal amounts of colour to eyes, for those not-so-young, just a dab of colour to the inside corner of the eye will ensure your beautifully on-trend.

Try:  By Terry Ombre Veloutee Power Eye Shadow in Milky Marshmallow, $52

Au Naturel

The other side of the beauty spectrum for this summer is a pared-back ‘natural look’.  Achieve this look with a strong and well-groomed brow, a hint of foundation and barely-there eyes and lips.

Beauty tip:  Thick lashings of mascara will add definition to this pared-back look.

Try:  Guerlain Eyebrow Kit, $59

Pretty Polish

The ‘pretty’ trend extends to fingers and toes in sweet colours of nude, lilac, rose and mint.

Style Tip:  Nude fingernails give the appearance of longer, leaner hands.

Try:  Christian Dior nail enamel in Rose Tutu, $39

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HAIR

Whether you prefer short locks or long, there is bound to be a hairstyle perfect for your charity event this summer.

The Lob

The shoulder length bob has proven to be a popular style amongst A-list celebrities and you can choose sleek and chic or tousled and textured for your charity event.

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Short Cut

Charlize, Shailene and Sharon showed that short hair is classy, sexy and flattering for women of all ages.

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Braids

If the thought of chopping off your long locks is a little frightening, update your summer ‘do’ with a sexy and ‘undone’ braid for day or evening.

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Chignons

From a tight and feminine ‘ballerina bun’ to a tousled and sexy loose chignon, the ‘up-do’ is always a beautiful option for summer hair.

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Side Swept

British it-girl Cara Delevingne won best hair award at this year’s Met Gala Ball for her sexy side-swept do.  For those with long locks, copy Cara’s style easily – all you need is lots of pins and super-strong hairspray.

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One thing is style-clear – when it comes to Spring Summer 2014/2015, it is the season of the dress.  Mini, midi or maxi, a gorgeous frock is style du jour this summer.

How wonderful then that the impending season of the dress is coming just in time for the many upcoming spring/summer charity soirees featured on CharityDos.

To make it easy, here are some of my favourite looks for Spring/Summer 2014/15 from Australian designers that translate into the ‘the perfect frock’ for your next charity luncheon, high-tea or evening event.

A Slim Silhouette

One of the most wearable trends for spring/summer is a slim-fitting mid-calf dress that gives the illusion of a leaner, taller shape.  Choose a style with a sculptural fold or frill at waist-level to conceal tummy issues.  Pair with the highest heel.

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Hemlines

Mini, midi or maxi; asymmetrical or straight, hemlines run the gamut of style for summer.

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The LLD

Dubbed the “LLD”, the little lace dress is the perfect accoutrement to a smart charity soiree.  Brighter colours of pink, red and lime is the new way to wear lace.

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Frills and Folds

Ruffles, folds and frills are all the rage this summer.

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Floating

Floaty, feminine dresses in the softest georgette and chiffon are just the thing for summer soirees.  Opt for lady-like or boho-chic.

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Monochrome

This powerful colour duo suits all ages, shapes and sizes.  This year’s monochrome reptile print is a favourite.

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White is Right

White-on-white is a strong statement for summer.  The perfect accessory?  A golden glow.

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Pretty Sorbets

Sweet sorbet colours of lavender, palest pink, soft dove grey and powder blue are a pretty change for summer.

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Brights

On the other side of the colour spectrum, bright colours of tangerine, lime, red and cobalt blue make a vibrant statement this summer.

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Prints

Prints that tell a story, prints that clash, prints that are pretty; prints make a powerful statement this summer.

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Stripey Girl

Vertical, diagonal, horizontal, summer stripes come in a myriad of colours.

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I’ve done a style 360° this week and take fashion from formal to fitness.

When you’re registering for your next CharityDo’s athletic event, consider some style information and tips in choosing activewear that will guarantee a few extra likes for your ‘healthies’ on your Instagram account.

Activewear is a booming fashion market and sporty luxe is no longer just a trend but a fashion market that is here to stay. With advances in technology and manufacturing and a new focus on hip and stylish designs, working up a sweat in style is the new norm.

Activewear is no longer relegated to the bottom drawer of your wardrobe but rather takes a very important top shelf. Luxury online retailer, www.net-a-porter, are so serious about activewear they have launched ‘Net-a-Sporter’ to keep up with demand for luxury sporting apparel.

Now that both women and men are no longer limiting their activewear to exercise but incorporate it into their daily lives and daywear, what to wear to hit the pavement for a run, strike a downward dog pose or hit the gym is tres important.

Tips to choose stylish activewear:

  • Choose your sports bras and tops, such as racer back styles, as you would your swimwear by ensuring bust size and cup is the same
  • Tights should fit firm and snug, not loose and floppy
  • Choose high-waisted tights to avoid muffin top and pair with a loose-fitting singlet or top
  • Panelling on tops and bottoms create the illusion of length and flatter the figure
  • Matching top and bottom also creates the illusion of length
  • Choose breathable fabrics such as mesh to avoid unsightly sweat marks
  • Spandex and lycra hug the body for a flattering figure
  • Choose a ‘total’ look – match your tights, top and bra for the ultimate stylish look

So with those few style tips in mind, throw out your daggy, old running shorts and tees and jump into new and fashionable activewear to pound the pavement in style.

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Just who invented the cocktail party is up for debate. Americans claim the invention as their own when in 1917 a Mrs Julius S Walsh of St Louis, Missouri, invited 50 guests to her house on a Sunday for a one-hour soiree after which a St Louis newspaper reported that “the party was an instant hit and within weeks cocktail parties had become a St Louis institution”. On the other hand, there is also suggestion that it’s origins date back to 1798 when the word was first used in a London newspaper.

Regardless of it’s origin, the fact of the matter is that what to wear is the crucial element in attending a charity cocktail party.

With the variety of upcoming day and evening charity cocktail events listed on the Charity Do’s website, it’s timely that the old rule of wearing a perfect knee-length dress and chic clutch is no longer de rigueur.

Fashion’s hierarchy is setting new rules for cocktail party dressing and you can shake it up and stir the style pot when choosing your ensemble – just remember the two key words for cocktail dress code, “elegance” and “dressy”, and you won’t put a red-soled foot wrong.

So what do you wear to a charity cocktail party? Firstly consider the type of event, is it:

  • a day or evening event?
  • modern or traditional?
  • formal or a little more relaxed?

Secondly, consider your moda-operandi – to frock or not to frock? Consider this tidbit of fashion history relating to the invention of the cocktail dress when making your choice; cocktail fashion for women began in the 1920’s marking a shift in their social role with a new-found freedom which came about from taking jobs in the First World War and from their ability to vote. Their liberty was said to have been expressed by dress, with shorter hairstyles and shorter hemlines.

So if you wish to adhere to nearly 100 years of style tradition and frock up for the occasion, the style of dress is perfectly explained by fashion’s ultimate style authority, Vogue:

“A cocktail dress can be many things—embellished or plain, jewel-toned or black, sleeveless or strapped, decollete or covered-up but it can never be long. Its abbreviated length is its defining characteristic, and what sets it apart from formal dresses that deliver codified glamour head-to-toe”.

Well said, thank you Vogue and point taken – formal wear including floor length gowns and tuxedos are not cocktail party etiquette.

So how to choose your cocktail dress? Here are some style tips:

  • The classic sheath dress or LBD to the knee remains the perennial favourite and is the epitome of lady-like elegance. Modernize the look with a lace-embellished version.
  • Peplum styles are also perfect for adding extra style élan
  • If you want to add a little sass and sexiness (but not too much), opt for a fit-and-flare style or if you have great legs, choose a shorter style above-the-knee
  • For evening parties, add maximum amounts of glamour and shine with sequins, embellishments and lots of bling.
  • Fabrics such as lace, silks and chiffons are great for daytime events. Eye-catching prints or delicate florals can add style-wattage as does monochrome looks that is so on-trend now.
  • Evening is the time for sequins, flounces and embellishments in either sleeker sheath-style dresses or softer more fluid options

Pretty cocktail style for day:

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Glamourous evening styles:

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Alternate Styles for Cocktail Party Dressing

On the other hand, if you want to shake it up a little and opt away from the traditional frock, choose from a number of styles:

  • Soft and fluid wide-legged pants teamed with a soft blouse and jacket is perfect for day or night. If it’s an evening party, opt for a sequinned jacket.
  • A jumpsuit is a great way to modernise cocktail dressing. For day choose a softer style with wider-leg pant, for evening choose a sexy fitted style with strappy sky-high heels.
  • A beautifully cut suit is a great (and comfortable) choice for evening cocktail dressing. Rev it up with a bright colour such as siren red or fuscia pink and pair with a beautiful evening sandal or jeweled pump.

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Accessories

For day, beware too much bling – perhaps a lovely set of crystal earrings and elegant bracelets or cuffs. A cocktail ring adds a little glamour to day dressing and of course, pearls are perfect for day or night.

Evening soirees demand show-stopping jewellery so up the ante and go for maximum (but elegant) shine.

An elegant shoe with slim heel is your best choice and the perfect piece de resistance for both day and night cocktail parties is an elegant minaudière

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Whether your choice is a fabulous frock or more contemporary style remember to let your personality define your look and you can’t go wrong.

I leave you with a quote from novelist F. Scott Fitgerald who wrote what kicked off the Jazz Age was the general decision to be amused that began with the cocktail parties of 1921.”

“A black tie affair calls for a statement evening sandal”.

So says iconic luxury shoe and accessories brand, Jimmy Choo and I couldn’t have said it better myself.

A gala charity event calls for a dazzling shoe worthy of a red-carpet moment.  Whether your choice is for a fairy-tale shoe bejeweled with crystals or an elegant satin pump, a statement-making shoe packs the ultimate style-punch when stepping out at your gala charity event.

Embellishments of jewels or crystals or finishes of satin, velvet or lace, your shoe style should be delicate and feminine, rather than heavy and chunky.  Styles that are best for an evening shoe is a strappy sandal, peep toe or pump or a lady-like platform.

The heel that lends itself best to a feminine evening shoe is a sky-high stiletto.  Of course you want to dance the night away so comfort is key and a platform or ankle-strap style adds extra support.

A metallic finish in gold or silver adds an extra-special element to an evening shoe as do crystals and embellishments.

Black is always a fail-safe option for glamourous evening shoes and is a functional addition to you wardrobe.  Matching your shoe colour to your dress is also a stylish option, however ensure you choose a classic-style shoe such as a platform peep-toe that will not detract from the detail and statement of your gown.

Lastly, perfectly groomed feet is the ultimate finishing touch to show-stopping shoe style, so a pedicure is a must.  I also recommend your feet have a golden glow and suggest a visit to your favourite tanning salon.

Let the choice of your nail polish make a statement – siren red screams sexy and sultry, dark nails make an edgy statement, neon colours suggest fun, metallic and glitter put your feet in party mode.  If you’re not sure what colour to choose, the latest beauty trend of matching your polish to the colour of your frock will make your choice a little easier.

For style inspiration, check out these gorgeous styles worn by stylish A-list celebrities on the red carpet.

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