Plaid Everything – 2017 Fashion Trends

What do I think of the plaid trend? – it’s fantastic! I think it’s fun! But more importantly, I love it because I love classics without being boring, and that’s exactly what plaids offer!

Double the benefit to all of us, fashion lovers! As by getting something in plaid pattern this season, we will look fresh and on trend but without wasting our money! Because it will be quite an investment piece!  Plaid may not be as BIG next year, or year after that, but it will never really (or I should say ‘never completely’)  go out of fashion.

As you probably noticed from my previous posts, I like a bit of a twist, I like a pop of colour, but I don’t like to be loud.  Therefore, I wouldn’t be wearing head to toe plaid I don’t think. Although some plaid suits looked amazing on the latest runway shows. And if you could pull it off – great! If you’re like me however, I’d use it here and there, in one way or another – pant, skirt, jacket or perhaps even a mini coat (I’m a little too short to pull off a long coat).

If you are wearing a suit or a long coat, perhaps you can wear a plain one-tone blouse underneath, or a scarf, to break up the head to toe check or plaid.  Otherwise, I’d wear a plaid jacket with jeans or plain black pants or skirt.  If not black, then any monochrome colour, perhaps the colour that exists in your plaid pattern already, whether it’s tan, red, grey, navy, baby pink – as long as it’s complementary to one of the colours in the plaid.

I heard it before – “good taste is too boring!”  But to me, there is nothing worse than looking messy.  ‘Neat’ and ‘Elegant’ are my keywords when it comes to any outfit.  Nothing wrong with taking a risk with fashion choices but, like with business, make sure your risks are calculated.  Make people ‘wow’ for the right reasons.

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So even if you’re mixing patterns, for example, you can be quite clever.  You may have a large plaid pattern on your jacket, but very fine, small pattern on the shirt underneath. Or, if your plaid is super fine, make sure you shirt pattern is contrasting but colour is complementing. Like in this example here.

I actually bought a pair of plaid Calvin Klein pants at Macy’s in NYC a couple of years ago, which never been worn, thanks to the opportunity to work from home for the last couple of years. But I am off to work next week and oh how handy is to have that piece in my wardrobe! Speaking of investing in timeless pieces.

Enjoy the plaid season ladies!

xxx Maria

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Runway, houndstooth coat.

Red Dress Image

Jacket With Jeans


Haute Couture vs Ready-To-Wear

What Is Haute Couture?

Haute Couture (HC) translated from French means ‘High Fashion.’ Couture clothes are fitted and sewn specifically to the client and their measurements.

Originated in France in 19th century, as hand-made dressmaking for the rich and noble, couture pieces are made of fine fabrics and feature extensive hand made work. Whether it’s a specifically designed wedding dress, a red carpet evening dress or a piece for a couture fashion show, each piece can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Some will feature extravagant beading or embroidery, all hand made, and take months to produce.

Not every made-to-measure garment is considered HC!

Any fashion designer could create a custom design made to measure for a client, but to be categorised as Haute Couture, fashion houses have to be approved by the ‘Chambre Syndicale’, the Parisian regulating commission for Couture houses. And to be approved as an Haute Couturier, the Couture houses and designers have to follow some very strict guidelines.

They must, for example, have a workshop, or an atelier, with at least 20 workers, and they must show at least two Haute Couture collections per year, with at least 35 items in each collection. Considering the amount of time and the cost of resources that go into creating each Haute Couture garment, and show, this is definitely not something every designer could afford to do. In fact, the number of Couture houses has been declining quite speedily over the last 100 years, with just a few left today.

According to various sources, in 1946 there were still 106 Couture Houses and by 1997 only 18 were left. Today, only an exclusive group of designers (less than 15) are classified Haute Couture by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture.

The decline in Haute Couture is not hard to explain. Considering that only between 1200 and 3000 women today can afford Haute Couture garments (again, the figures are slightly different according to various sources).

So Haute Couture collections and creations are largely known as a fusion of fashion and art, of costume and glamour, produced to gain credibility, the status of prestige and of course the media coverage.

Many couturiers would be lucky to sell one dress from their collections after fashion shows are over, while those collections and their showcase on runways around the globe come at great cost.

For that reason, many Couture houses have also launched ready-to-wear (RTW) lines of clothing, which actually bring profit.  While others occupied niches in the wedding gowns market, targeting celebrities, royals and other high-income clients who seek exclusivity.

The majority of income for many Haute Couture brands actually comes from the sale of accessories, perfumery and cosmetics. While Haute Couture collections and shows serve almost purely an advertising role for their brand.

What Haute Couture offers that ready-to-wear labels cannot:

  • Exclusivity (Made to measure, unique garments of highest possible quality)
  • Class/Status
  • Luxury
  • Glamour

However, satisfying some of the above emotional needs is no longer limited to the rich and noble. The sense of luxury and glamour associated with particular couture brands is now possible to middle classes, as they can afford an accessory or a bottle of couture branded perfume.

The time-starved modern woman who doesn’t make enough in a year to afford a single piece of couture can still buy a share of the dream for the price of a Chanel lipstick or a Givenchy scarf.” (W. Langley, 2010)*

What is Pret-a-Porter / Ready-to-Wear

Ready-to-Wear (RTW), or Pret-a-Porter, in French, started to develop after the World War II, when the socio-economic changes pressured for a more affordable alternative in fashion and clothing. By 1960’s Pret-a-Porter was well and truly established. The innovations in transportation, communication and technology made rapid growth possible for the Ready-to-Wear businesses.

RTW clothing is a lot more practical and less extravagant in appearance than Haute Couture garments. In short, it is always designed to be wearable, easy to sell and cost effective. The clothes are mass/factory produced in standardised sizes. In fact, standard sized clothes, available to purchase off the shelf is one of the key elements that distinguishes Ready-to-Wear clothing from Haute Couture.

RTW designer clothes are mostly sold through boutiques, prestige department stores and are also available through various online stores.

What Ready-To-Wear offers that Haute Couture cannot:

  • Standardised sizes
  • Mass production – Cost benefits for the designers
  • Off the shelf purchase experience from various retail outlets and online stores – customer convenience
  • Affordability
  • Wearability (Haute Couture is not always wearable)
  • Practicality

Some designers enjoy the art of making a special garment, even if they are not Haute Couture. Thus, well-known brand designers such as Vera Wang and Carolina Herrera, who only show Ready-to-Wear collections, still create a few couture pieces for some of their clients.

At the same time, some couturiers including Elie Saab and Dior produce what’s known as ‘Ready-to-Wear-Couture.’ The exclusive but wearable garments usually targeted at specific celebrities and wealthy clients.

We must also note that Ready-to-Wear fashion can be further classified into Designer Ready-to-Wear and High Street fashion. Brands/designers such as Victoria Beckham, Zimmerman and Camilla – although not couturiers and can be afforded by a lot more people than Haute Couture, still offer a sense of luxury and higher status to their clients, as opposed to highly disposable and cheap high street brands clothing such as H&M, Zara and Topshop.

I hope you found this helpful! ❤

XXX Maria

*Quote: Langley, William, 2010. Haute Couture: Making a loss is a height of fashion.

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Bold Pant Suit – 2017 Fashion Trends

Worn with a white crisp shirt or just a bra, a la Heidi, a bold pant suit is the thing for 2017!  If you are brave about patterns, check, stripes, etc., great! But if you you’re more of a one-tone girl like me, just go for a bolder colour.  But you know what, even white and black will work and will keep you on top of the trend if you keep in with the shape.

Good news is, whether it’s skinny leg, wide leg or flared leg pant that looks most flattering on you, all those styles will work perfectly this season.  You can even wear jeans and pair it up with a jacket or a double breasted blazer. Trust me, you’ll feel like you just walked out of a magazine. Or the runway!

Slouchy blazer and wider softer pant will give you a stylish but effortless  look. You never want to look like you tried too hard anyway. And you’ll be comfy!

A jacket or blazer is a perfect tool to enhance an outfit. Wear it with jeans and a plain tee or a lightweight knit, and look casual and sophisticated at the same time.  Have a work meeting and want to look fashionable without being too loud? The black pant and a two tone jacket, like the one pictured above, is a great way to achieve that.

And don’t forget, a nice blazer is really an investment piece, especially if you go for white, cream or the good old black.

To add femininity and fun though, stay away from black or break it up with other colours. Create flow by wearing same colour head to toe.  It sure is flattering!

Until soon!



Image sources:

Cream & Black Gucci Suit

Heidi Klum Red Suit – Daily Mail UK

Massimo Dutti SS14 – Vogue MX

Miroslava Duma, Blue Suit 

Chanel Collections – Keeping Mademoiselle’s Spirit Alive

Since 1983 and up to this day, La Maison Chanel continues its success, thanks to the incredible talent of Karl Lagerfeld, the brand’s Artistic Director.

Although Lagerfeld introduced many new items to Chanel collections such as denim, pulled on leggings and hiked up skirts, he remained faithful to the spirit of Mademoiselle by keeping with the elegant flare and retaining all the traditional elements throughout his designs.

“Diana Vreeland would say, “These post-war suits of Chanel were designed God knows when, but the tailoring, the line, the shoulders, the jupe – never too short …is even today the right thing to wear.”” (Chaney, 2011)

Looking at Chanel collections through the years and today, we see Chanel’s spirit still alive through her ‘signatures’: the tweed suits, the quilted shoulder bags with chain straps, the chunky jewellery, and of course the ‘little black dress’ which became such an iconic term in itself and is replicated by many designers.

Karl Lagerfeld, who is recognised as one of the most high-profile designers of the last 20 years, once said that it wasn’t hard to keep the brand alive, as he already had many timeless elements to work with.

While Karl retains Mademoiselle’s basic ideas, he highlights them in his own personal way, with an added modern twist. As much as Karl realises the importance of Chanel’s signature pieces, he realises the importance for the brand to stay ‘au courant’. He creates bags and in ‘cool leathers’ vibrant colours ‘and his ‘Ready-to-Wear line extends beyond cocktail dresses.’ This, in fact, is also keeping with Coco’s spirit, as she always said that “a fashion that does not make one look up-to-date is not fashion” (Chaney, 2011).

Chanel, then and now, is a mixture of ‘modern’ and timeless ‘classic’, as much as Coco herself was. ‘Shocking’ and different but very ‘elegant’ in her style during her youth and her lifetime.

If you love Chanel and haven’t read Lisa Chaney’s Chanel: An Intimate Life, then I highly recommend grabbing a copy. It’s a very interesting and inspiring read.

With Love,

Maria V.

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