Monday, 25 June 2012

Work bags - the best (part one)

Sadly we can't all have a crocodile-skin birkin to tote our essential files around town, but there are a few slightly more attainable options that will do you just as well. (ok, maybe not just as well, but they are a good place to start)

Prada's Galleria bag sure has been a hit in the city.  It seems I can't dash across George Street for my mid-afternoon sugar fix without running into a corporate lady wielding one of these beauties.  Of course it comes in just about every colour and size imaginable, which means that at least a half-day should be allotted to choosing the right one for you. A half-day in Prada, what a chore!

I must confess, my personal favourite is the Bayswater.  It is a classic, no question, and will happily fit your ipad, makeup bag, spare cardigan, foldable umbrella, and even a few important documents if you so desire.  Again, there are enough different leather and colour combinations to keep you occupied for at least a few online hours.  Mulberry also issue a few new variations on this classic seasonally, so if you are looking for a bag that is uniquely yours, this might be a good place to start.

The new contender from Mulberry is the much-anticipated Del Ray. While I have only seen one example on the streets of Sydney (and on the arm of my housemate, no less!) the twitterverse has been abuzz ever since the bag was announced during London fashion week earlier this year.  Combining the luxe of this blue-blood leathergoods specialist with the hot-right-now star power of Ms DR, it seems certain that this will become the it bag of 2012.  Sure, it won't fit a lever-arch file, or probably even an ipad, but all you really buy it for are the jealous oohs and aahs of other office fashionistas, right?  Besides, you never take work home with you anyway, right?  As for what will become of last year's Alexa, we must wait and see.  But for those ladies who are inclined to be the first in the office to carry the hot new thing, order it now, it's available on mytheresa if not in stores.

Mulberry's Del Ray bag in black and tan leather at mytheresa

Sydney's perennial favourite seems to be Louis V's Neverfull.  The jury is still out as to whether the damier or the monogram is more chic, but let's face it - neither is particularly subtle.  If you are going to carry this bag you really have to own the look and in this regard I tend to prefer the monogram.  But really - you're the one buying it, do what you want.

This bag is perfect for that "sure I carry around my trainers and gym towel in Louis Vuitton" casual chic look.  It's big, it's practical, and it's perfect for those of you who, like me, often find yourself running out of room in a conventional-sized handbag.  But it doesn't quite cut it in the boardroom.  Then again, if you live in a cubicle or leave your bag in a locker, this might be just the thing to add a bit of bling to your working day.

and of course its always handy to take on your yacht

An honourable mention also goes to Vuitton's alma bag. The classic elegance of this silhouette makes this a true investment buy.  It will look as chic on the arm of a 60-something as it does on a 20-something, possibly more so.  As with all LVs, there are a range of leathers available - all customisable.  I love the epi leather or a glossy patent.  Buy it in black - I doubt that's going out of fashion any time soon. 

Stay tuned for part 2 of the big bag shop next week, and in the mean time let me know: what is your favourite bag for work? 

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Wear it to work: Leather

This is the first in a series of posts about how to wear typically "fashion" trends in a corporate environment. My theory is why only be trendy two days per week?  If you have any requests for trends you would like to see featured, just email me!

This week: leather.

The trick to bringing an unusual texture like leather into a workday outfit is to go subtle - a hint around the collar or a chic lapel.  No bikie jackets or rockstar pants here! Certainly the safest way to wear it is in black, but there are some lovely soft nudes emerging recently, especially in coats.

Emmanuel Ungaro GBP 329.19 and Elisabeth and James GBP 191.66, both at the outnet

Left to right:  DKNY GBP 125 and Vionnet GBP 326.25, both at the outnet.
Pastel Princess - L to R: 
Boy. by Bank of Outsiders GBP 728.23 and Helmut Lang GBP 344.17, both at net-a-porter.

Ava coat by Selected $357 at asos

If you are intent to take this trend further than a collar or belt, start on the bottom.  Pleated leather skirts are everywhere this season, and their conservative cut, especially in a midi-length, is completely appropriate.   The texture of pleats or loose gathering takes away from the sheen of the leather. Go for a soft lather that will flow more like fabric.  It is more flattering and will be more comfortable at 4pm.


Maison Martin Margiela GBP 291.67 (now additional 30% off) and Marc Jacobs GBP 364.24 at net-a-porter.

Mason by Michelle Mason GBP 400 (on sale now for 40% off!) at net-a-porter and Cue $179 at

And finally, for those inclined to go all-out and sport the leather dress: this is the way to do it.

Reem Acra $3,126.03 at shopbop

Thursday, 14 June 2012

How to: casual fridays (part one - colour)

There it is, THE question on every corporate woman's lips. The black hole at the end of the week. Can I wear jeans? What if I want to go out to drinks? Will everyone think i'm boring if I suit up?

Lets face it - casual fridays are a minefield. Too casual and you are unprofessional, too formal and you are no fun. Throw in any attempt to look half presentable or, god forbid, even fashionable and you have yourself one hell of a headache.

Mmm... classy.

Many women I know have cultivated a unique collection of "friday clothes" that they have found to be appropriate and safe. And while this is one way to go, I don't think it is necessary to invest huge amounts in a wardrobe that you will really only wear one day per week.

The first thing to do when planning an outfit for a friday is take a look around you. Are you co-workers in flannies and track pants? If so, go wild. Are they all still as formal as they are Monday to Thursday? If so, i'm afraid you might need to follow suit. (pun totally intended)

But for those with a mixed bunch, I find the best way to go is play it safe. Think of yourself as dressing up, rather than down. This is doubly useful if you also intend to stop by friday night drinks.  But remember, you are still in the workplace, so the rules still apply.  Not too much leg, or arm and no cleavage. Ever.

What? You can see my bra?!

I find that the easiest way to "casual up" an otherwise fairly conservative outfit is with colour.  A bright skirt, a floral print or funky jewellery is a good place to start. The printed pants and blazers that are in stores everywhere right now seem custom made for fridays. Its about being a little bit fun - but not overdoing it.

So crack out the colour, see below for a little inspiration and just think: it's nearly the weekend already!

And as a little treat for the weekend, i've got a voucher for you to use at the Iconic to get 20% off if you spend over $50 - just click the link below and enter code 20PAFFCF at the checkout.

20% off min spend $50

Monday, 11 June 2012

How to: silk scarves

A chic silk scarf is one of my most favourite things.  Especially in a bright colour or creative print, they are such a thing of beauty that I don't ever think I could feel down when wearing one.  My favourite is a truly lurid orange Hermes number with a an Indian Elephant print that I was given for my 21st birthday.  It's perfect for those days when I find myself wearing head-to-toe black, to give everything a little light.

But how to wear one without looking like an air hostess? See below videos from the super-chic stylist Lauranne Plat of Liberty's, the home of print.

This way is my favourite for winter...

So now you know how to do the scarf, all you need is to perfect the cute french accent and you're well on your way to being a style goddess.

Work it on the red carpet

Public School's Maxwell Osborne and Dao Yi-Chow, with Edita Vilkeviciute, in Public School at the CFDA awards.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Dress of the month

Here it is.  The put-it-on-and-make-no-other-effort-and-still-look-good dress.  Many designers try to achieve it, very few pull it off. Yet Leona Edmiston does it time and time again.  It's as though she knows what it's like to be a woman choosing dresses to wear...

Anyway I bought it.  I love it.  I think you will too.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

a little bit political...

A quick note to say just how impressed I am with marie claire magazine for their brave cover this month.  Ending marriage discrimination is a cause that I feel very strongly about.  Whether you are gay or straight, finding someone to love is hard enough, without the law getting in the way.  

The message of this GetUp! campaign is simple: We've removed discrimination from our hearts - now it's time to remove it from our laws. While I don't often read marie claire, I salute Jackie Frank and all her team for dedicating the cover this wonderful statement of hope.

clcik here for a link to the GetUp! campaign page and to sign the petition

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

In the press

Well what timing!  On the same day I launch this blog, Paula Joye (whose articles for the age and smh I read often) has posted an article about this exact problem - girls dressed inappropriately for work.

As she puts it there "has been the gradual dilution of what is and isn’t appropriate in the office... Success now looks like the lost property bin at the local primary school not a three-piece custom suit."  As I put it: Skanks need to get some clothes.

Very interesting reading, click here for the full article.

Desk draw essentials #1

If you are like me, along with various plastic bags, receipts, half-eaten lunches and old pay slips, your desk draw has become home to a core cache of fashion essentials.  Here I give you a snapshot of a few little things that save me on a daily basis.

My first revelation to share with you: dry shampoo.

Perfect for those rushed mornings when there is just not enough time to wash and blowdry and make it onto the train.  Or for those blunt fringes that get a bit glossy around 3pm.  Or for spraying in an annoying co-worker's face.  Just kidding.  I never did that.  Yet.

I use Cedel.  You can buy it in the supermarket.  

Introducing the Iconic

My blog has its very first sponsor: the Iconic!

The Iconic is an Australian-based online store stocking a whole lot of stuff. They have got a bunch of local favourites such as Ginger & Smart, Shakuhachi, Ellery, camilla and marc, and plenty of others. And they ship free Australia wide (always a win).

To get you in the mood, i've picked out a few of my favourites:

Wishbone bangle $55 and Beetleshell bangle $75, both by Dinosaur Designs

And as an added bonus (because I think you're kind of cute) until 1 July, the Iconic will give you $20 off your basket price if you spend over $50 and use the code AFFCF20 at the checkout. Score.

No stripper heels to work (or, how to tell the difference between a skank and a suit)


About four months ago I started my first full-time job.  Most days I love dressing for work, but occasionally there are mornings where I sleep through the alarm, run out of stockings or simply can't seem to work it all out.  So I have decided to start a blog, and in it I aim to offer you a guide.  A few handy hints to help make your wardrobe work for you.  I want to get you turning heads at the photocopier as well as at the Ivy.  To help you decide when to save, when to buy and when to leave it on the rack.   And to help avoid the mornings when you find yourself late for work, with unwashed hair, and heels stuck in the cracks in the pavement on Martin Place.

But most of all, my goal is to help you discover that there is a world of corporate attire beyond the black suit. And that dressing for work can be, and should be, a whole lot of fun.

And a big thank you to Marissa Santikarn for my awesome logo!