Serious times call for un-serious fashion at Dolce and Gabbana

Lined up like cavalry in the Milanese studio where Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce do all their fittings on the models in the days running up to this afternoon’s show, there must have been at least 100 different bags. Bags shaped like egg cartons (complete with plastic eggs, some with the shells half off), bags shaped like chocolate cakes, bags with Union Jacks or Tricolore flags on them, bags shaped and sized like cool-boxes. “Handy for the beach,” says Stefano Gabbana, hooking it over his elbow. And then there are their raffia fringed sunglasses and their earrings shaped like cakes.

Humour is proving a huge seller for Dolce e Gabbana. Their high net-worth clients especially, seem to appreciate the jokes. They sat there in the audience wearing flashing-light Dolce crowns and chiffon dresses printed with food. No one wants to look too po-faced about wealth these days; not even their own.

Dolce e Gabbana came relatively late to It bags. But now that they’re 50 per cent plus of their business, the label has become a powerhouse of whimsical accessories: from stretch lace ankle boots to tapestried mules and toweling-turban headwear appliqued with roses, this show kept on giving. Perhaps the most newsworthy piece however, was a humble pair of black knee high pop socks worn under a black crocheted-lace dress. Pop socks have made stealth appearances on other catwalks too. This may be confirmation of the rehabilitation.

In a week of Italian restropsectives (Donatella Versace’s show on Friday was a tribute to her brother Gianni, who was killed 20 years ago), Dolce and Gabbana paid homage to themselves by including fifteen designs from the archives: black, stretchy, curve-hugging: Sophia Loren meets Linda Evangelista. On the body, regardless of size, the dresses hug a woman’s curves as tightly as a tarmac road snaking round the Riviera. Back in a far-flung corner of the studio, I spied a rail of shape-wear dresses in mesh as taut as a trampoline and guaranteed to make anyone who wore it two sizes smaller.

That va-vam-voom black-widow look is still a potent part of Dolce and Gabbana branding. But in the intervening years an increasingly extravagant approach has taken over. Beading layered over embroideries layered over lace and brocade. “It’s a bit Scott Crolla,” said Gabbana, referring to the 1980s English label that brought C18th dandyism to a new generation.  The Red Queen, in Tim Burton’s adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Through The Looking Glass was another inspiration, depicted on glittering sequined dresses and cat-suits, buttons and bags. There was a plethora of other joyful prints: oversized garden–peas, wheatsheafs, baby chicks. They popped, spiralled and stepped their way across fresh looking cotton ball-gowns and elegantly relaxed pussy-bow chiffon columns: 106 outfits in all. To put this in context, Marni, which showed earlier in the day mustered a meagre 21. Dolce and Gabbana are far from alone among their Milanese peers in trying to bring levity to luxury. It seems serious times calls for un-serious fashion.

The meaning behind Melania Trump’s power-shouldered fuchsia look at the UN

This week has been a busy one at the UN in New York for reasons, obviously, entirely unrelated to fashion. Donald Trump has threatened to obliterate North Korea, Theresa May has had an awkward encounter with Boris Johnson in front of the world’s cameras and Malala has been whiling away the last days before she starts university meeting with world leaders to encourage them to prioritise education, to name but three of the happenings.

Yet, style-wise, the UN has become a strangely important barometer for the current state of power dressing. You only have to look at the carefully calibrated wardrobe which Amal Clooney put together forher appearences there last year (think: unmissably vibrant Bottega Veneta tailoring and Gucci shift dresses) to see that women who love fashion and understand its semantic possibilities pay particular attention to the UN as a platform.

 Last night, Melania Trump gave her first address to a UN luncheon dressed, as one member of The Telegraph fashion team observed, like a ‘Barbie Michelin man’. It could not have been a brighter, more visible, more ‘HELLO! LOOK AT ME’ look unless she had hired a Mr Blobby suit. In fact, her fuchsia coat dress is by Spanish design house Delpozo which is known for its sculptural, bold designs. She even paired the look with her signature deep tan and matching pink Louboutins.

Earlier in the week, the First Lady had taken a wildly different tact when she sat in on her husband’s confrontational address to the UN wearing one of her subtlest public appearence looks to date- a double-breasted grey trouser suit with a black blouse.

So what does this all mean?

Well in the pink, La Trump was visible, feminine and working the uber-shoulders to take up maximum space, an effect which was only enhanced by the fact that the outfit was mostly photographed from the waist up. It was a big moment for her going it alone- a crucial point- as FLOTUS and she was sure to make a confident splash which also underscored her personal, unashamed love of fashion.

Power connotations were undoubtedly still at play with the tailoring but this was a quieter, more businesslike choice which was perhaps selected to allow the President to take centre stage for his speech and, knowing what he was going to say, keep the spotlight firmly on him- wearing bright pink demi-couture as your husband wields threats of nuclear war would have made the heels-in-a-hurricane, er, storm seem minor by comparison.

Melania talked about kindness and anti-bullying in her pink dress speech, which many have pointed out as ironic given her husband’s Twitter tendencies. But if she’s letting her clothes do some of the talking this week, then it’s clear which outfit, and moment, she wanted us to actually remember.

 

Mindy Kaling’s Sparkly LBD Is Her Most Glam Maternity Look Yet

Since announcing she was pregnant with her first child, Mindy Kaling has been serving up a series of fierce maternity looks, from statement sleeves to Valentino LBDs, but Tuesday night’s look might just be her most glam one yet.

For The Mindy Project‘s final premiere party, the mom-to-be sparkled in a glittery caped little black dress that accentuated her changing figure and gave us Superwoman vibes in the process, which is fitting for this actress, producer, and soon-to-be mom. Kaling accessorized with metallic pumps, drop earrings, and matching silver jewelry. She polished off the maternity look with a crimson lip and soft waves.

“‘A little less conversation a little more action’ is how I would describe my look for the final [The Mindy Project] premiere party,” she wrote on Instagram.

While Kaling has not confirmed the identity of the baby’s father, we now know the sex of her first child: The actress is having a girl! Sources confirmed to People this weekend that Kaling has a baby girl on the way.

“It’s so unknown to me,” she told Sunday Today of her pregnancy. “I have a lot of control over a lot of aspects of my life, and this is one where I’m like, ‘Okay, it’s out of my hands,’ which is kind of a fun feeling.”

We’re wishing all the best for this glam mom-to-be.

Transform your outfits with pearl, vintage necklaces

statement necklace, touch of modernity, trendy outfits, pearl necklace, classy look, necklace, Indian express news, Indian express

Accessories like good statement necklaces can transform a dull outfit and make you look more glamorous and chic. Invest in neckpieces like those made from pearls, coloured pieces or buy the multi-layered strings, suggest experts.

Shehzad Zaveri, creative director at Minawala and Parneet Thukral, Co-Founder at Gioielli have shared a few examples:

Pearl necklace: An all-time classic, a statement pearl necklace is perfect for an elite and sophisticated look. To add a touch of modernity to your style, pair your trendy outfits with a pearl necklace to achieve a well-groomed and classy look.

Vintage necklace: Vintage inspired necklace oozes class and sophistication. When paired with evening gowns, these types of neckpieces give an eternal look. For day time, combine it with a patterned or striped buttoned-up collared shirt to achieve a retro chic look.

Geometric neckpiece: The clean lines of these necklaces will give you a sleeker and edgy look. Many people doubt the prospect of wearing a statement necklace with simple outfits, but you can always select a necklace that is not very loud and can best suit your needs.

Coloured stone necklace: One of the basic tricks to wear a coloured stone statement necklace is to match the colour of your necklace with one of the colours in your outfit. These necklaces can also be used to add a pop of colour to the outfits with pastel or nude tones. You can also team them up with your all black outfits to create a distinctive look for yourself. Do not wear bright coloured necklaces at work. Instead wear a piece that has neutral colours.

Multi-layered necklace: These go well with casual as well as dressy outfits. They can also be worn with v-necks and striped shirts as they balance out the shape of the neckline. Layer it up over solid coloured evening wear.

London Fashion Week: The trends you can expect to find

Victoria Beckhams Spring/Summer collection at New York Fashion Week (Image: Rex/Shuttershock)

There is so much to look forward to with this seasons fashion must-haves.

It’s the start of Autumn and we are already prepping our favourite winter wardrobes items with chunky knits and layers and layers of fun styles.

With New York Fashion Week setting the bar high with fresh new looks for fashion revellers, London is also predicted to be exciting fashion followers with looks to replicate.

80s styles

(Image: thefashiontag.com)

This style has been visible in many stores, both high street and designer, with flared trousers, fluted sleeves and 80s hair styles all making a massive comeback this summer.

Now there are new styles to bring into the new season with fishnets, varsity jackets, light florals and dramatic shoulder pads and over-sized coats all having a comeback.

Mix and Match

(Image: Boohoo)

Their has been a flux of fashion crossovers in recent years with sports, casual and smart tailoring all being worn in the same outfit.

Popular online store Boohoo has mastered this way of styling for customers, with the sports luxe genre featuring in many products in store.

Cropped trousers

Cropped, capri and flared trousers are a huge trend this season.

(Image: ASOS)

Teamed with casual or for a more tailored look, the designers at fashion week will be incorporating this trend into their shows.

Also, we can imagine they will be a hit for the frows, with the style being perfect to take you through the seasons into the chillier months.

Online store ASOS has many variations of the new fashion, and extremely affordable so you can feel bang on trend.

Animals

(Image: Anya Hindmarch)

One of the most highly anticipated shows, Anya Hindmarch, has released their Autumn/Winter collection online and in store which features some furry friends.

These fox, bear and husky cross body bags will set you back £550, with more of these fun styles being present in other big named brands in the industry.

Parrots, Flamingos, parrots, you name it they are going to printed on many items this season.

Shoulder skimming earrings

This is a trend that has kind of accidentally comeback, with some quite daring and outrageous looks being spotted in and around the fashion scene.

Here Sofia Ritchie rocks a large hooped earring at Oscar de la Renta’s spring collection show.

This particular style can be seen in all shapes and sizes, depending on how confident you can wear them (because the bigger the better).

Many of the styles are heavily multi-coloured, heavily beaded, it is a style that less is definitely not more.

The likes of Etsy and Topshop have some hoop and tassel variations which will be getting more popular into the new season.

HOW CALCULATED WAS VANS’ NEWFOUND CHICNESS?

While men’s sneaker culture has always been a thing, it’s a more recent development for women. Among the fashion crowd at least, having the right athletic shoe has become akin to having the new “It” bag — except there’s a good chance the sneaker has been around for at least a couple of decades, while the bag likely hasn’t been on shelves longer than a couple of months. From Adidas Stan Smiths to (maybe) New Balance 990s, it seems that every season, fashion collectively decides to resurrect another classic, old-school sneaker with which to accessorize both their on- and off-duty outfits. And one brand that has enjoyed a notably long run in this trend cycle is Vans.

In particular, its Old Skool and Sk8-hi styles have enjoyed widespread popularity among fashion girls and those who want to dress like them lately; from models and bloggers to editors and stylists, they’ve practically become the de facto uniform for anyone working in the industry. The piece of this equation that some might find puzzling is that the vast majority of these people have likely never set foot on a skateboard, and Vans’ history is, of course rooted in Southern California skate and surf culture. The recent success of Vans can be traced to fashion’s sudden realization that skaters dress really cool, and that non-skaters could also buy their sneakers and sweatshirts, etc. But is the industry’s appropriation of skater culture the only reason for these styles’ recent ubiquity? On a recent trip to Costa Mesa, CA to tour Vans’ brand-new headquarters (the brand was a big driver of parent company VF Corp’s growth last year), we were set on finding out what role Vans, itself, has played.

While the 51-year-old footwear brand might not have been directly responsible for the recent chicness of its aforementioned styles (the brands themselves rarely are in these situations) it laid the groundwork that allowed it to happen, and worked to support it afterward. As April Vitkus, Senior Director, Global Brand Marketing explained from one of many cozy sitting areas in the open, modern new HQ, “It’s intentional, but it’s a little bit of luck, too.” She does credit skate culture’s recent influence on fashion, but contends that it goes back further than that, to the development of Vans’ women’s business, which involved some hits and misses. “I started about nine years ago and I was the ‘girls marketing director,’ which, what does that even mean? And that was a very deliberate move on their part to expand beyond skateboarding into women’s.”

Vans' new Costa Mesa headquarters. Photo: Courtesy of Vans

Vans’ new Costa Mesa headquarters. Photo: Courtesy of Vans

Ashley Ahwah, Director, Global Footwear Merchandising and Angie Dita, Senior Footwear Designer, were both also closely involved with the development of Vans’ women’s business, which began about 10 years ago. “It was an initiative for the brand to start putting a team in place to focus on the women’s consumer,” says Ahwah. “We hired more merchandising support for women’s and we really started speaking to her through our icons, because if you look back when we first started, we were definitely more male-driven.” The company didn’t quite hit the mark at first. “It was like, oh, ok, a pink shoe. That’s women’s,” says Ahwah.

They also created slimmer versions of the classic men’s styles and then learned that wasn’t what women wanted. “What was interesting designing for women was [that] actually, you can’t make it too feminine,” adds Dita. Responding too directly to trends also resulted in some missteps. Ahwah gives the example of creating a wedge version of the Sk8-hi (oof) when wedge sneakers were a thing. “I think what’s more true to us is if we did a platform version, basically keeping the DNA of the upper what it is and just adding height to it,” she says.

Ahwah feels that the turning point for women — aside from the female skaters who had long been wearing the men’s styles — taking Vans seriously was its quietly cool collaboration with A.P.C., which began in 2004 and continued for several seasons (and which I totally forgot about and would really like them to reissue). The collab’s success, she says, inspired the company to focus on simple, easy-to-wear styles and styles that speak to women in a more thoughtful way than just making something pink or adding a wedge. They didn’t start thinking about capital-F fashion until more recently, instead focusing on the company’s longtime strategy of aligning with athletes and creatives in ways that feel authentic.

Vitkus says this has been the key to Vans’ longevity as a valuable brand. “Vans also has always been — I don’t want to say the same — but it’s always been about creative cultures,” she says, speaking of the brand’s frequent partnerships with artists and musicians. (One could argue that music appropriated Vans from skate culture long before fashion did.) When women’s sneaker culture became more mainstream, it made all of their jobs easier. “All of a sudden, it was OK to wear a dress and sneakers and I remember being very concerned, like, oh, is this trend going to go away? And then what happens if we built this women’s business and we’ve done all these things and the trend goes away?” says Vitkus. It didn’t. “We were really cognizant of, well, let’s bring these people into the brand.”

Inside Vans' new Costa Mesa headquarters. Photo: Courtesy of Vans

Inside Vans’ new Costa Mesa headquarters. Photo: Courtesy of Vans

Vans started to make collaborations a big part of its women’s business; increasingly, they’ve been with big-name fashion designers and retailers. Marc Jacobs, Opening Ceremony, Kenzo, Nordstrom, Off-White, Alyx and, most recently, Karl Lagerfeld are just a few recent examples. And that’s not to mention Vans’ countless collaborations with streetwear brands, musicians and even video games. For potential collaborators, Ahwah and Dita look for people with a genuine love of Vans. “It’s true partnership. When we look to partner with another brand, we have that filter of, they’re a Vans fan at heart; everyone has their story when they got their first pair of Vans and we definitely like to make sure they have that consumer connectivity and that authenticity that we have,” says Dita. And for those just looking for classic Vans icons, it’s about updating them with fresh fabrics, patterns and colorways. The brand has also made a big customization push lately with one of the most user-friendly tools you can find online to design your own sneakers, and plans to bring shoe screen-printing machinery to events (and, one day, stores) that allow for same-day customization.

But did these projects and updates really inspire us all to make Vans our 2016/2017 wardrobe staple? Or did they just perpetuate their relevance and visibility? It seems to be more of the latter; Vans has succeeded in ensuring the brand is stocking the styles its consumers want at any given time. “The top selling Vans silhouette for woman is the Old Skool,” says Ahwah. “However, the beauty of our Classics collection is the style diversity that is offered, giving our consumers additional options like the Authentic and Classic Slip-On, which are also top sellers within the line.” It has also — perhaps most importantly — stayed focused on maintaining the brand’s image of authenticity and preventing dilution by maintaining a balance of projects in and outside of the fashion realm. “One of the things we talk a lot about is really protecting the core of who we are as a brand,” says Vitkus. The company also doesn’t engage in typical pay-to-play influencer marketing. “You’ll never see Vans just paying someone to do a brand endorsement, so generally we’ll either see people who are wearing Vans and we’re like, ‘Hey we like that you like those,’ and we’ll probably start a relationship with them.”

That authenticity is what will make people want to align themselves with the brand in the long run, even as trends pass. So then if Slip-ons, Old Skools and Sk8-his have all enjoyed their moments in the spotlight, what’s next?

Praying on our undying love of nostalgia, the company is focusing on reissues, like the Anaheim Factory collection it reintroduced this spring. It plans to introduce more women’s-centric styles to that range. Ahwah describes a style with a lug sole and cap toe as being “super ’90s.” For 2019 (the designers work that far ahead), she says, “You’ll see more models coming out for women’s that don’t just look like our iconic uppers; you’re going to see a little twist on it that was actually [inspired by styles from] the past and it’s going to be really relevant right now.”

Annie Georgia Greenberg on day 2 of this New York Fashion Week. Photo: Angela Datre

Annie Georgia Greenberg on day 2 of this New York Fashion Week. Photo: Angela Datre

As for existing styles, Vitkas predicts we’re all going to be bringing Authentics back into rotation.

Whether their predictions will line up with the fickle street style set’s preferred aesthetic at any given moment, we’ll just have to see.

Glam Tricks to Pulling Off the Daytime Pajama Fashion Trend Inspired By NYFW & Celebs

The idea of pajamas as daywear sounds comfy, but it doesn’t draw the mind to words like “fashionable” or “stylish” or “chic.” Yet that hasn’t stopped a trend of daytime looks inspired by sleepwear.

Fortunately, major fashion houses at New York Fashion Week as well as celebs like Victoria Beckham and Demi Lovato are here to help the trend along and show how to pull off the look without looking like you just rolled out of bed. The trick? Calculated footwear choices.

Oscar de la Renta got on board with the trend in time for New York Fashion Week. Bella Hadid displayed a daytime pajama on the brand’s runway Monday afternoon, this look in a sleek navy hue with a graphic splotch pattern throughout. The loose-fitting button-down top and shorts were finished with see-through pumps that elevated the look into something too sophisticated for sleepwear.

Oscar de la Renta spring 2018Oscar de la Renta spring 2018.Rex Shutterstock

Along the same lines, Mansur Gavriel sent a model down its NYFW runway in a matching orange pattern top and trouser set. The look was so reminiscent of pajamas that without its peep-toe pumps to bring the look into daytime, the model may as well have gone to sleep in it.

Mansur Gavriel spring 2018 nyfwMansur Gavriel spring 2018.Rex Shutterstock

Victoria Beckham spent a day at the U.S. Open with her family late last month. For the occasion, the fashion designer selected a pajama-inspired look from her own resort 2018 collection. She paired the matching collared shirt and flowing wide leg trouser combo with a sleek pair of strappy sandal pumps that brought a polished look to her outfit, making it an ensemble perfect for daytime.

Victoria Beckham on her way to the U.S. OpenVictoria Beckham on her way to the U.S. Open.Splash News

A few weeks earlier, Demi Lovato wore  a satin blazer and trouser set by Baja East. The blazer’s buttonless form with two pockets plus the tapered leg of the trouser added to the notion of pajamas that the satin material had already put forth. Lovato teamed her look with Paul Andrew Ingrid sandals. The stiletto-heeled footwear featured dramatic straps with buckle detailing and made it clear that Lovato’s look was not made for sleeping.

Demi Lovato at Elvis Duran and the Morning Show in New York

Stirrup pants and kitten heels are the fall 2017 fashion trend to watch

Hunting for the next fall 2017 fashion trend can feel on par to staring into a crystal ball and expecting answers to immediately pop out — it’s rarely a successful endeavor, and can make you feel out of touch in the process. However, when it is successful, you feel like a clairvoyant genius. Because not only do you get all the bragging rights for calling it, you also get the added benefit of being the best dressed in your circle.

Friends, we believe our crystal ball is indeed working today, and that we’ve discovered the next big fashion trend: stirrup pants and kitten heels.

stirrup pants kitten heels
Photo by Vanni Bassetti/Getty Images

A resurrected ’80s trend, stirrup pants are equal parts punchy and practical. As for kitten heels, well we’ve never *really* seen them fade completely from style. But the two together? They’re a breakout combination that wields the power to overtake NYFW as the standout trend of the season.

Stirrups pants and kitten heels fashion trends
Victor VIRGILE / Getty Images

First cropping up on the runways of Balenciaga and Marni way back in the fall 2016 season, stirrups and kitten heels are really just igniting as the biggest up-and-coming trend. As cliche as it is, good things really do take time, and in this case, this trend is just now picking up speed.

Curious to find your own combination of stirrups and low heels? Well, then look no further.

1Clayton Rib Stirrup Pants, $97

stirrup jeans kitten heels
Shopbop

2Jeffrey Campbell Carla Low Heel Pumps, $130

stirrup jeans kitten heels
Shopbop

3Silence + Noise Stirrup Pant Leggings, $30

stirrup pants kitten heels
Urban Outfitters

4Sole Society Desi Kitten Heel Pump, $70

stirrup pants kitten heels
Sole Society

5Siwy Elin Stirrup Jean, $196

stirrup jeans kitten heels
Shopbop

6Banana Republic Kitten Heel Bootie in Whisky, $168

stirrup pants kitten heels
Banana Republic

7Free People Ponté Knit Stirrup Leggings, $40

stirrup jeans kitten heels
Shopbop

8J. Crew Esme Leopard Calf Hair Kitten Heels, $77

stirrup pants kitten heels
J. Crew

9Higher Ground Stirrup Leggings, $49

stirrup leggings kitten heels
Beyond Yoga

10Sam Edleman Sinara City Sandals, $90

stirrup pants kitten heels
Shopbop

11Uniqlo Heattech Knitted Stirrup Legging in Wine, $15

stirrup pants kitten heels
Uniqlo

12Talbots Erica Kitten-Heel Pumpin Tortoise Shell, $139

stirrup pants kitten heels
Talbots

13Theory Pull On Stirrup Pants, $225

strirrup pants kitten heels
Shopbop

14Nine West Xeena Pointy Toe Pumps, $79

stirrup pants kitten heels

Lauren Conrad: How to Wear Fall’s Best Fashion Trends

Lauren Conrad has joined the team as a guest editor for Fashion Week at E!. Along with unveiling her third Kohl’s LC Lauren Conrad Runway Collection, the style expert has already recalled her first time at NYFW, her first runway show and the essentials you need to conquer any busy week like a fashion mogul.

Today, Lauren shares how to wear fall’s best trends, seen across the runways, including in her own collection. The style star even shares how interprets the trend and what to wear them with—yes, we know, this is good insider info!

Photos

Best Looks from NYFW Spring 2018

ESC: Lauren Conrad, Trends
Metallics: Shine is everywhere right now. There are a lot of trends out there that I’d say not to take so literally. For example, the pajama trend—I think people are literally wearing pajamas; whereas, that can be interpreted as a slip trip or a silky, pajama-like top with denim. But personally, I think the shine trend should be embraced. Maybe don’t wear it head to toe, but when it’s appropriate, it’s fun to include a glittery or shiny piece or a metallic fabric into your wardrobe.

ESC: Lauren Conrad, Trends
Fall Florals: It’s sort of like a ‘70s vibe, like a vintage wallpaper floral as opposed to a bright, summery floral. They are a bit darker in color scheme and simpler. I know in the past there’s been a lot print mixing. I think this upcoming fall is all about bold colors, so if you do wear a print, I’d wear it with just solid colors and let that stand out.

ESC: Lauren Conrad, Trends
Velvet: I felt like velvet was so present this summer, which is interesting—it was more in a slip silhouette or little cami. I just went to a wedding, and there was so much velvet, and it was like 90 degrees outside. I was so surprised to see it, but I thought it was fantastic—it’s such a great, luxe fabric. Right now, it’s being done in a transitional way. You’ll be able to continue to wear it in more of a layered way through fall.

We did an exposed, sort off-the-shoulder velvet top in a couple of colors that I really like. We actually did a pleated velvet skirt, which is kind of fun. I haven’t seen a lot of pleating in velvet.

ESC: Lauren Conrad, Trends

Faux Fur: It’s all about how it’s styled. Part of its appeal is that it’s a little bit costume-y, but I like that. It brings a fun element to an element. It usually a fun layering piece that you maybe shed once you arrive to your party. I think colors are important—we did it in a dark navy, so it feels a little more subtle. It’s also more of a shrunken piece. I think if you style it with cleaner pieces, it doesn’t look too silly.

Do the colours you wear at work matter?

Different coloured ties

Does the colour of the clothes you wear at work matter? Could wearing a red tie or dress be the key to getting promoted?

Pennsylvania bank boss John Spier was fed up with looking like a “stuffy banker”.

So after decades of wearing loose-fitting pinstripe suits and anonymous ties, he decided he wanted a fashion makeover.

Taking a leap of faith, Mr Spier enlisted the help of a corporate stylist Toi Sweeney.

Overnight his old wardrobe was binned, to be replaced with “warmer ties and a more fitted suit”, says Mr Spier.

“She was able to preserve the professional look I wanted without making me seem like a stuffy banker.”

Mr Spier says he went from an executive who rarely thought about what he was going to wear, to someone who likes wearing colourful ties.

More importantly, he says the makeover has put a spring in his step, and made him more confident.

The saying, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” perhaps resonates most in the workplace, where bosses must exude authority but also friendliness, and the rest of us want to look professional, but stand out.

Ms Sweeney believes “we are all products and your personal brand steps through the door before you do”.

She may have a point. According to research from Princeton University, when we see a new face, our brains decide whether a person is attractive and trustworthy within a tenth of a second.

Ms Sweeney says that the colours you wear also have a big impact on how others quickly perceive you. For example, she says red is a powerful colour that implies confidence and leadership qualities.

Whereas, blue apparently connotes a warmer approach, since “it’s the colour of trust and being a peacemaker”.

And black can suggest authority and sophistication, but Ms Sweeney advises that it should be mixed up with a splash of colour. She recommends a bright handkerchief in a suit pocket for men, or a colourful handbag for women, so as the person can stand out from the crowd.

Meanwhile, the colour brown should also not be discounted since it often suggests that the wear is reliable. “Ever wonder why United Parcel Service workers only wear brown?” says Ms Sweeney.

Kara Kuryllowicz, a 57-year-old corporate writer based in Toronto, hired a stylist last year to help modernise her look.

“I thought everything I owned was fine, but she came to my place and went through my closet and threw out 80% of my clothes,” she remembers.

Ms Kuryllowicz says she had “a long-time love affair with black and white, but now I’m wearing more colours”.

“Now I’m [also] wearing more jewellery with colour, and I feel really comfortable wearing it.”

Her new colourful look makes her feel more “professional and confident” and has helped her to win more work, she says.

While the cynical might question whether wearing a certain colour to work can really make a difference, a number of studies have actually shown that it can affect how we feel.

In a report published earlier this year in the European Journal of Social Psychology, participants who wore red reported feeling more physically attractive and sexually receptive than those who wore blue.

Also, in a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, subjects who donned white coats that they thought belonged to doctors did better on tests than those who wore casual clothes, or those who thought the coats belonged to artists.

“What you’re wearing affects your mood and builds your confidence. It’s worth it to always dress a little better than those around you,” says Toi Sweeney.

Someone who knows about dressing better, is Kim Winser, a former chief executive of the UK fashion brands Aquascutum and Pringle of Scotland.

She now runs Winser London, a luxury women’s fashion label which also advises clients on what to wear in the office and for overseas meetings.

Ms Winser says that using colour is important, but doesn’t override the overall need to look as smart and presentable as possible.