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Deciphering The Dress Code

By Sharmin Musca, Personal Stylist on November 26, 2015 in Other

Photo: Sharmin Musca

Photo: Sharmin Musca

Many women tell me that words like ‘black tie’ and ‘formal’ evoke feelings of excitement and fear in equal parts. Most relish the opportunity to dress up, but they worry they have nothing appropriate to wear. Let’s face it, even those used to the red carpet find it tricky, often leaving little to the imagination or combining one too many look-at-me embellishments. The problem for us mere mortals is that dress code terms are quite broad and A-List celebrity interpretations of them have really muddied the waters. So how can you navigate the codes to look best dressed? Here are my tips for nailing it this season.

Dress for your shape and size – Whether it’s an evening dress or a knockout Melbourne Cup number, always ensure you dress for your size and shape. A long, flowing gown looks better on tall ladies as excess fabric can swamp shorter women. Petite women suit 1950s style midi-dresses or those with a fitted silhouette, finishing at the knee.

Think about your accessories – A common mistake is leaving your choice of accessories to the last minute; these can make or break an outfit. Your hairstyle and make-up are just as important. An up-do can show off a stunning neckline or plunging back while a brightly coloured lip can add interest to a classic outfit. When shopping for a dress, think of your look in totality, from shoes and bag to hair and jewellery, making sure everything is in tune. Unadorned dresses need accessories to make a statement; if your dress is busy or bold then use straightforward accessories to accentuate it.

Spring racing attire – In general, you could look sophisticated in a midi-length dress with a full skirt – think 1950s Dior at all events. However, each day is slightly different:

• The week starts with the traditional black and white on Derby Day. For this I suggest wearing white lace.
• For Melbourne Cup, think bright colours like red or orange, or bold prints – exercise your creativity.
• Oaks Day features the final of the Fashions on the Field and is all about dressing to impress. Ladies usually wear their soft, feminine outfits.
• Stakes Day is a more relaxed family day with ladies usually wearing bright, floaty dresses and large brimmed hats.

On the streets this month I found:

Name: Natasha
Suburb: Bondi Beach
Occupation: Assistant manager
Fave Item This Season: An Enzo Costa jumpsuit.
Street Style: Natasha looks relaxed in Rialto jeans and a top by Free People, both from Come As You Are, as well as boots from Zara and a bag bought on holiday.

Name: Sarah
Suburb: Bondi
Occupation: Wedding planner
Fave Item This Season: New season Scanlan and Theodore heels.
Street Style: Sarah wears a Burberry vest, Acne jeans, shoes from Sambag, bag by Estilo Emporio and Ray-ban sunglasses.

If updating your look or shopping for a special event sounds daunting or time-consuming, Sharmin Personal Stylist can help. Give her a call on 0405 518 155.