Outfits: orange and aqua, orange and green

This burnt orange dress by Ladakh ($120) is light, flattering, and easy to dress up or down. The right amount of detail and spark to balance the plain dress is provided by the stunning Swarovsky crystal cuff from Cotourlove by Dalia Navarette ($272), and by the beautiful box clutch with python-printed leather in aqua (Diane Von Vurstengerg, $365). A patent leather nude heel won’t distract from the main features of the outfit (Machael Kors, GBP129)

An alternative is to complement orange with this Islamic green leather bag (My Choice, EUR165), tide the colours together with floral earrings from Atelier VM (EUR40), and finish it up with simple and neutral nude heels from Tony Bianco.

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Black and gold look, April 2012

These beautiful embroidered black Casadei boots ($1548) are the key piece of this look. The flowing samurai skirt from Staple the Label ($75) adds the main touch of colour, and the top from Don’t Ask Amanda ($60) brings texture with its lace. To balance the richness of details on the boots, I would add a statement hairpiece, like this Bimba & Lola comb ($46), and classic aviator Ray Ban sunglasses ($140).

An evening wedding – 12 looks for guests

I have two weddings to attend this year in Italy, so I thought it would be a good idea to remember some basic guidelines about outfits and colours.
Wearing block white is never recommended for female guests – unless the bride is OK with it and explicitly lets you know. There is also a debate over red, purple or black.
I would solve the matter as follows:

  • A red dress is ok if not too eccentric or sexy in cut or length
  • Black looks more appropriate if accessorised with colour, or if it’s a matt fabric for a day wedding (a black linen ensemble, for example)
  • Purple is a lovely colour if it suits your skin tone – I don’t think any bride is going to point at you and go, “How dare you wearing the colour of Lent?!”

I would personally avoid diamante or paillettes on dresses, but I do like sparkling jewellery for an evening wedding.
As a style exercise, I’ve put together twelve looks that would suit a summer evening wedding, everything from Yoox.com.

Styling Notes wedding guests outfits1

Styling Notes wedding guests outfits2

Think outside the bag

Toolbox clutch by Elena Scarmagnan

There is something intimate going on between women and their handbags. You could say they’re a woman’s extension, judging by how lost we feel if separated from them: walking and standing feels awkward and unnatural when we’re not holding on to our totes, clutches, purses or shoppers.
For our delight, we have an endless variety to choose from when looking for our next favourite or collecting the right bag for each occasion. Designer handbags are the most widely desired, as they also incorporate craftsmanship, luxury and status. Not many of us, though, can afford a Hermes or a Louis Vuitton piece, yet walking around in the city – in Sydney and in Italy for sure – you’ll see hundreds of designer bags under ladies’ arms. Will all of them be originals? Probably not. Would I spend thousands of dollars and wait years to have a Birkin, after seeing copies in shops and on the street every day? Maybe not.
How, then, do you find a bag that complements your personality and your outfit for a reasonable price, without getting you lost in the mass? My answer is to try vintage shops, or visit the markets, or check out local artists for a handcrafted piece. I believe that is where you should look, until a beautiful Miu Miu bag comes your way.
In the hunt for a unique but affordable bag, you could even look in your own backyard. You would expect to see a bag you love in a shop window, possibly in a magazine, maybe online. Instead, I found mine in the shed.
One day, my partner came home from a trip to a hardware warehouse, proudly carrying a brand-new, 10-piece wrench set, packed neatly in a red metallic box. In my eyes, though, it wasn’t a toolbox, but a gorgeous container that was just waiting for me to transform it into an original accessory. And that is exactly what happened.
The re-baptised handbag won me over with its masculine lines and its shiny metallic coat as bright as red-painted nails. The sharp edges and the steel latch give a strong industrial look, but the proportions of the skinny rectangle make it a perfect, extravagant accessory. It can be worn with a sleek minimalist black outfit; or with heels, jeans and a funky t-shirt; or even with a light and feminine floral dress with some red in it. The obvious handyman reference on a feminine and well-groomed woman instantly creates an androgynous look, not too far away from the tomboy trends recently outlined in press and publications.
When I first carried it, on an evening out for dinner and drinks, I noticed people staring, which is rare in a city where you can walk around barefoot and be ignored. Some might argue it is still a toolbox, and I’ll tell why I think they’re wrong: if I open it, inside you will see a mobile phone, a large wallet, and even a folded cotton cardigan. I say it’s a bag, with a strong personality.