How to style a sweater and skirt in the winter

Lately, I can't get enough of a dramatic sleeve. Statement sleeves have been SO major the past season and I, for one, am totally on board. Gimme all the sweaters, tops, and plus size prom dresses ukwith a ruffle or bell sleeve. I MEAN... you know that I'm a sucker for a ruffle just IN GENERAL. Ruffles are all the yes to me.

So when I spotted this blush sweater, it clearly had to be mine. (Available in 4 other colors, btw.) Seriously considering wearing all blush, all the time. I just love the color and I especially love pairing it with leopard. When I got this sweater, I had a VISION of the outfit I wanted to make it into. (Does that only happen to me?? LOL!) I knew I wanted a jean skirt, my leopard Clare V. clutch and these amazing Chanel slingback dupes that are only $33.90. If you've been drooling over the classic Chanel slingbacks but don't want to drop the $$ for them... they are a PERFECT affordable alternative and I can't recommend them enough! They're very comfortable. I am kind of loving this move towards a more comfortable shoe, aren't you?? I can actually WALK PLACES IN MY SHOES it is a miracle. I checked and it seems sizes are limited, but they are constantly restocking them, so I will keep you posted on when they restock. (Stay tuned to Instagram!)

But back to the skirt. I literally had this outfit in my mind for, like, 3 weeks while I tried to track down the perfect skirt. Ummm jean skirts are sort of tough to find by the way. Like, a good one I mean.This jean skirt was on sale and I had sort of been eyeing it, so decided that for $31, I had to take the plunge. I like that it has a higher waist and I feel SUPER skinny in it. As always, don't forget to size up in Topshop. (I am wearing an 8, but don't tell anyone.) I can already tell it's going to be on major repeat. It's just such a good skirt! I'm into a skirt all the sudden. Bring back the jean skirt, I say.

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2016: Who were style winners

IN 2016, we saw an uptake in functional (but ugly) activewear, cringe-worthy naked mariepromdresses and celebrity fashion collaborations that wouldve otherwise been consigned to the sartorial scrapheap.

And on the ruby rug, things werent much better, with some truly awful fashion moments immortalised by the paparazzos lens.

Montana Cox. Picture: Christian Gilles

Megan Gale.

Montana Cox

Being dumped by David Jones as an ambassador hasnt halted the Top Model winners sartorial ascent. Montana Cox, who is as in-demand as ever, rarely puts a foot wrong.

Megan Gale

A long-time favourite of the flash pack, Megan Gale has been on the scene for 20 years. Judging from what weve seen in 2016, her fourth decade could be her best yet.

Rachel Finch.

Miranda Kerr. Picture: Richard Dobson

Rachael Finch

A Myer ambassador, Seven presenter and mother, Rachael Finch wears her multiple hats with aplomb. With a delicate and feminine style that favours dresses and high heels, Finch was certain of a place on our 2016 best-dressed list.

Miranda Kerr

Even before she bagged billionaire Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel, Australias sweetheart — herself not exactly short of cash — was always on point with her look. Now with bottomless pockets, we can only imagine that shell keep on putting out red-hot style.

Jodi Anasta. Picture: Christian Gilles

Teresa Palmer.

Jodi Anasta

The Myer ambassador, whose svelte frame was the subject of not-so-quiet whispers all year long, constantly kills it on the style front. From the races to the ruby rug, the mother-of-ones polished look is evergreen.

Teresa Palmer

Not everyone can look chic at 30-plus weeks pregnant. But then not everyone is Hacksaw Ridge star Teresa Palmer, whose stylish bump surely inspired a few other expectant mums on how to dress this year.

Lisa Wilkinson.

Sonia Kruger.

Lisa Wilkinson

Unlike some in breakfast television, Lisa Wilkinsons on and off-air choices are rarely deemed headline worthy. Consistently getting it right, the Today host proves you can rock high fashion well beyond its traditional limitation of your second decade.

Sonia Kruger

While Sonia Kruger has had a somewhat difficult year following her controversial comments about Muslim immigration, the same cant be said of the Today Extra hosts look. Always impeccably dressed and groomed, the mother-of-one can hold her head up high when it comes to style.

Jesinta Campbell.

Jessica Mauboy.

Jesinta Franklin

The new Mrs Buddy Franklin had all eyes on her after she and the Swans forward tied the knot in secret last month in custom Vera Wang. Paid to look good in fashion shows and catalogues, Franklin also has killer off-duty style that gets her probably more attention than shed like from Sydneys paps.

Jessica Mauboy

Off the back of last years fashion-related meltdown at Melbourne Cup, Jessica Mauboy has bloomed like a butterfly from the chrysalis into a red-carpet master. Her looks at the ARIA and AACTA awards have proven that the Pop A Bottle singers talents go beyond her voice.

Jess Hart.

Bec Judd.

Jess Hart

Aussie model Hart cant put a foot wrong.

Bec Judd

While Judds style has changed since her barely there 2004 Brownlow Medal dress, we arent sure it has improved. For a woman so often pictured, her misses far outweigh her hits.

Erin Molan. Picture: Tim Carrafa

Edwina Bartholomew.

Erin Molan

We at Confidential think that Molan has some serious potential, but her red-carpet ensembles almost always leave something to be desired — and its usually clothing that covers her body.

Edwina Bartholomew

Were huge fans of the sunny Sunrise presenter, but the now-infamous vagina” dress that Bartholomew rocked at the Oscar Awards this year left us no choice but to put her on the list.

Ben Lee. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Sam Frost. Picture: John Fotiadis

Ben Lee

A streak of individuality on the red carpet goes a long way in Confidentials jaded eyes, but the bright-yellow suit actor-musician Lee wore to the 2016 ARIA Awards is the definition of a few steps too far.

Sam Frost

Frosts shrinking frame has been the subject of many a story this year, and it seems the radio personality still a bit bamboozled about how to dress it.

Samantha Jade. Picture: Julie Kiriacoudis

Imogen Anthony. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Samantha Jade

The X Factor winners small frame is admittedly hard to dress, but her stylist seemingly gets it wrong time after time. A pretty girl, Jade could seriously elevate her look with a new approach to dressing.

Imogen Anthony

Kyle Sandilands girlfriend Imogen Anthony is never generic and shes certainly never dull. But we have to say that dressing like a Rainbow Paddle Pop topped with bright orange fairy floss just is not a great look.

Sophie Monk. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Guy Sebastian. Picture: Christian Gilles

Sophie Monk

As much as we at Confidential abhor fashion rules”, the notion of getting your legs or your boobs out, and never both at once, still holds true. Funnywoman Sophie Monk clearly missed the memo.

Guy Sebastian

Singer-songwriter Guy Sebastians raw talent is eclipsed only by his style fails. Whether its a superfluous hat, a bulky jacket or an inexplicable necklace, somehow the Australian Idol winner gets it wrong.

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Going Mod: 1960s Vintage, Simplicity-Style

Ive been sewing most of my life. As a kid, I used my moms sewing machine, making a few basic things such as shorts with elastic waists. And, for my 19th birthday present, my mom got me a machine of my very own. I love this machine. Its a Bernette, an all-metal behemouth. In the 24 years since Ive owned it, Ive made countless pieces of clothing, bags, pouches, bean bags, toys, and more.

Simplicity isn't kidding about this being a vintage pattern. Here is the image from the original pattern. Image: Simplicity

One of my favorite things to sew is clothing for myself. I rarely find anything I like in the stores these days, but perusing the pattern books at Jo-Ann Fabrics always leads to great discoveries. Simplicitys collection of Vintage patterns is always entrancing. As a student of American history, Im especially drawn to those, and Simplicity has some particularly interesting patterns from the 1960s.

The 1960s were a fun decade for womens clothing. There were miniskirts, shift cheap prom dresses uk, trousers for women, clothing inspired by the Space Race, and the ever-famous pillbox hat.

Shift dresses were fairly shapeless tube dresses, easy to sew and easy to wear. (And great for wearing to those all-you-can-eat buffets, beginning to be popular in that decade.) I found a Simplicity pattern for a dress that at first glance appears to be similar to a shift dress, but is actually a wrap-around dress. Its in their 1960s Vintage line, Simplicity pattern 8049. The pattern even says on it, No Zippers, No Buttons, Its a Wrap—drapes front to back!”

This sounded like the perfect dress for me to try out. The pictures on the pattern made it look very simple with clean, clear lines and not a lot of pieces to cut out. I had Space Age stars in my eyes.

And the only fasteners are two small snaps at one shoulder! The dress goes on very easily. Put your left arm in and then your right, as if youre putting on a jacket. (No Hokey-Pokey required.) And then wrap it around your front, putting your left arm through the third arm hole. Then snap at the shoulder, and youre good to go. You can even add a belt if you like.


Now that I had my pattern, I needed fabric and notions. The pattern listed some recommended fabrics, but finding those at my local Jo-Ann is sometimes difficult. (Our local store caters to the retired generation, which is great, if youre into quilting, but quilters cotton doesnt work well for clothing.) So I ignored the recommendations—at my peril—and searched for fabric that I liked and wanted in a dress. I planned to wear the final result to a fancy event, so I needed to look the part. I found one fabric which looked very Mod, but was just a basic cotton. Not dressy enough, but it pained me to put the bolt back on the rack. I reluctantly moved on to the brocades. Yeah. This was the ticket.

Though made of polyester and nylon, this brocade struck me somehow. I knew this would look nice in a dress. After having made my self-measurements at home, I procured the requisite number of yards of fabric. When the lady at the cutting table cut it with pinking shears, I knew I would have to worry about fraying. But it was also a thick fabric which is flattering on many body styles. (What I did not know was that this kind of brocade does not take well to an iron. I ended up having to make some adjustments to the instructions later.)

Another note: Your size in a sewing pattern will likely not match the clothing size of clothes you wear off the rack. You may grow 10 sizes. No joke. Do not be alarmed. Just be sure to measure yourself before you choose a pattern size and have fabric cut.

Now, on to the notions!

This dress takes very few notions, fortunately. Two snaps, thread, lace hem tape, and fusible interfacing. The snaps I already had, and I bought two spools of thread, matching it as closely to the fabric as I could. I also bought the required two packages of lace hem tape, and I already had fusible interfacing at home. I was all set. (In the end, it took less than one spool of thread, and only one package of lace hem tape.)

I wont go through the dress sewing step by step, as there were many, many, many steps. So, Ill just hit the highlights.

Though the shape of the cheap evening dresses looks incredibly basic and simple in the drawing (there were no zippers, after all), I falsely believed that the pattern would also be easy. I thought I could whip it up in a couple of sewing sessions. Needless to say, I forgot about the subtle gathers, darts, and facings which always complicate matters, especially with fraying fabric.

Note: This pattern says nothing about it being a simple or quick; all assumptions were on my part. I do wish, however, that Simplicity had a difficulty rating system, perhaps ranging from level 1 (a pillow? a placemat?) to level 5 (a wedding gown).

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