Ask Caryn – November 2010
Tying a belt
Can you tell me how you tie/loop a leather belt?
I have a really nice, high quality leather belt and once I put it through the buckle the leftover leather is quite longer, so I would like to do a loop/knot that secures it.
I’ve seen this done a million times on others but can’t figure out how to do it myself.
Like most things it is easy when you know how! Start by tying your belt as you normally would through the buckle and take the length left over and pull it down towards your feet and then tuck it up under the belt and then pull it down again through the loop that you have created by tucking the extra length under.
Have a look at style.com at their catwalk reports section and you will be able to see images of the belt and see how it is tucked under. Alexander Wang would be a good show to look at for this.
I hope this helps you crack it!
Petite with a hollow Back
Have just purchased your petite apple e book. I’m actually 4ft 11 1/2 ” and size 15! Okay I’m a 16. Have started reading through the e book and 2 things came to mind. First I have a hollow back and so I currently own 1 black skirt, as i find it difficult to find them that don’t ride up to sit under my bust! Is there anything I should look out for? Second do I have to clear out my wardrobe there’s not much in there and 1/2 of it is my black & white uniform for work. I can’t beleive that at 41 I’ve finally decided to do something about my clothes, I hate shopping for me and especially for SHOES.
Thanks for getting in touch. With regards to skirts and other items such as dresses and trousers I wouldn’t go for anything that is too structured such as a pencil skirt as it will tend to bunch and hike up as you described. As you have a hollow back you need to trial different styles that will flatter your individual shape, try the more loosely fitting styles such as a flare skirt or the A line skirts that have a flat low slung waist panel that tend to sit flat on your tummy offering smooth simple lines from waist to hip so hopefully hugging your back waist but not adding bulk to your middle, or try a wrap over skirt so you can anchor where it sits with the ties. Look for styles that will elongate you and add knee high boots with heels as these will further enhance this effect.
In terms of dresses go for straight cut or flared options with less shaping at the waist that will deftly cover your stomach and the shape of your back. Empire line dresses also work well for elongating with that higher waistline and good for disguising your back .However, as you are apple shaped and have a hollow back a jersey wrap dress could work wonders, again wear with a heeled knee high boot, Duo offer narrow to wide calf widths for a perfect fit.
Of course with the skirts and hem lengths it might be worth visiting a tailor/seamstress or find an alterations service to make sure they fit you perfectly.
You do not have to clear out your whole wardrobe. Once you have finished reading the ebook and tested a few new styles you will have learned what shapes etc work for you and how to organise and sift through your own wardrobe to make it work for you. You will have pieces already in your wardrobe (even your black and white pieces) that can be used to style with some new key wardrobe basics to create new looks. I always find it is a good idea to have a little look online first at different brands and clothes to get a feel of what is about and what you like so that you don’t feel as daunted when you get to the shops. Have a look at our shopping mall for links to a whole range of petite brands.
I hope this helps.
Fashion Advice for new career
Thank you in advance for taking the time to read my email. I am a 31 year old female who is an average size 12, small chested with womanly hips and a bit of a belly!!!! I have recently brought the lease on a pub and am about to become a land lady for the first time which is a completely new career direction and i want a new look to match.
I want to portray that I am a young, excitable and fun person but also want to appear in control, sophisticated and knowledgeable. Please can you offer your expertise in terms of what clothing I can use to achieve the desired look? I do not like showing the tops of my arms but I am not afraid to wear something a bit different. I have dark brown, long hair with large blue eyes and pale skin if any of that info helps…? I want to be mature but young, sophisticated but fun and in control but adventurous…. This may be an impossible task!!!!
Thanks very much for getting in touch. After a very long extended ‘lock-in’ fashion has finally called time on full-on, embellished and decorated statement dressing and is opening it’s doors to a more timeless and grown up punter. This translates as graceful and functional clothes that will take you beyond just a season or two. Classic pieces that will give you that air of control, sophistication and wisdom. The key though is to style them with a little edge and to add in some of the season’s key accents to keep your look young and fun. The key classic pieces are a tuxedo or menswear inspired jacket, silk blouse (plain or printed or both), skirt (either 50’s flared or pencil), a printed dress and long lean trousers. Use these pieces as the basis to your wardrobe and style them together and with other trend-led pieces to create a variety of looks.
A silk blouse will add an elegant touch to any look. French Connection has some great options. Try teaming with your favourite jeans to strike a perfect balance of sex appeal and laid back glamour. Or how about with Autumn/Winter’s long lean trousers for a sleek, glamorous look or wear with a leather skirt (this could be your capsule wardrobe skirt option) and fierce heels for an edgier look.
Leather, in particular leather skirts, is big this season and there is something incredibly modern about the black leather skirt. You could also team with a simple black knit for an alternative chic.
If you pass on the leather then there are some great full and pencil skirt options around. Full skirts will deftly cover your hips but make sure you balance out your top half with some volume. H&M and Warehouse have some great options – try teaming with an oversized belted cardigan and brogues for example. Whistles have some really lovely pencil skirts. Try with an on-trend lace top and slick ankle boots or even that aforementioned silk blouse.
I think that you start to get the idea! A menswear inspired jacket will top off many of these looks or there is nothing sexier than a jacket a top a pair or jeans and trousers with a lace of silk cami underneath as a look on its own. Likewise a printed dress is a versatile piece, it can be worn on its own, with a blouse underneath, the jacket atop or with a big chunky knit.
The idea is to go for a sort of urban minimalism look – that is simple, elegant, paired-back clothes mixed with a little edge. Accessories are a great way to do this and to incorporate trend pieces into your wardrobe without breaking the bank. A statement belt would be a good way to start.
I hope this helps and good luck with your new venture!