Posted by on Jun 29, 2016 in Balanced Style, Fashion

There are only a few things that I love about the cold; hot chocolate, red wine in front of the fire and black leather pants.  (There are possibly a few more things but for the purpose of this post I will leave it at that).

If, in my over a decade of styling, I had a dollar for the amount of times I have seen ‘that’ look of horror sweep over my 40+ clients’ faces when I suggest black leather pants as a winter must-have, I would have a wardrobe full of them in the most luxurious brands money could buy – Saint Laurent, Chanel, The Row, Tom Ford.

The thing is that black leather pants are no longer items of clothing reserved for rock stars and biker chicks under the age of 30 but a winter wardrobe staple that adds a little polish and a whole lot of sex appeal to any woman’s wardobe.  Yes I said ‘any’ – remember the Frocknet adage ‘style at ANY age’.

Many over 40 woman of all sizes and shapes wear black leather pants very well and very appropriately, par example Elle MacPherson, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Watts, and those who are not size 8 and 10 feet tall, again par example Queen Latifah and Melissa McCarthy.

The fact is that black leather pants are chic and versatile option for women of all ages and can be worn day and night paired with anything from an effortless knit and flats to killer statement heels and a sharp tuxedo jacket.

Although a good pair can set you back a bit, there are very good faux leather (aka leatherette, leather-look) options around in a range of styles from jeans, leggings, jeggings and pleated.  Personally I love my Country Road leather pants, but I also love my Zara faux leather ones that look like real leather and as far as I’m concerned work just as well.

A few style rules to remember when wearing black leather pants:

  • recite these three words when styling your black leather pants – polished, classic, chic
  • keep accessories and jewellery to a minimum
  • pair black leather pants with classic styles such as a blazer, shirt, pointy-toe pumps
  • pair with quality pieces in luxurious fabrics – cotton, silk, quality knit
  • DO NOT wear anything that has a slogan, picture or saying of any kind (quelle horreur the biker chick look on an over 40)
  • do wear killer statement heels
  • tone down beauty looks when wearing leather – over 40s’ should go for polished rather than rock-chick
Finally, don’t forget THE  most important thing to style with black leather pants.  ATTITUDE!
Style Info, left to right:  ASOS leather-look joggers $76, www.asos.comForever New ‘Kate’ leather pant sale $149,; Zara leatherette pants $99.95,; Little Joe Woman ‘Tournaquet’ stretch leather pant sale $399,; Country Road leather legging $699,; Target leather-look pant $25,

Posted by on Jun 23, 2016 in Balanced Style, Fashion

Never in my stylish dreams would I have thought that I be recommending the puffer jacket as a wardrobe staple.

Once scorned and derided and commonly perceived as making you look like a) the Michelen man, or b) your grandmother, no stylish woman worth her weight in fashion gold would be seen in one – blizzard or not.

But somewhere in our recent fashion history, a celebrity or designer must have braced the chilly cold in one and voila the puffer jacket is now a must-have wardrobe staple worn by all the cool girls and women, especially on the snowy streets at New York fashion week – and forking out $1000 and upwards to have their own ‘Moncler‘ the Italian luxury brand (unless you have much more money to burn and then of course you would buy Chanel).

No longer a black or taupe topper thrown over jeans to keep you warm at weekend sports matches, the puffer jacket or vest is now a high-end style statement in bold colours and patterns and luxurious finishes styled back with anything from a sexy pencil skirt to a tailored pant.

I have recently joined the style set and purchased my first ‘puffer’ but with very strict rules in mind to ensure the only thing that looks ‘puffy’ on my body is my hair (70’s style very DVF).

Here are my golden rules of wearing a puffer jacket or vest:

  1. Opt for a style that is either belted or elasticed at the waist to create a flattering silouette and reduce the ‘puffy’ look
  2. Opt for a style without too much volume or ‘pillow’
  3. Opt for a modern and streamline cut and style
  4. Jackets or vests with side panels or details will help streamline or ‘slim down’ the look of a puffer
  5. Wear skinny leg jeans or pants to balance the volume of the puffer jacket
  6. Avoid boxy or short shapes unless your Elle MacPherson or her doppleganger
  7. Length:  Generally a mid-length puffer jacket is the most flattering, especially for shorter frames

Style Info, clockwise left to right:  Country Road longline puffer was $249, now $186.75,; Seed Heritage vest $129.95,; Katies mid-length puffer $89.95,; Witchery mid-length puffer was $179.95, sale $119.95,, Moncler Fabrefox jacket approx $3000,; Target sleeveless puffer $39,; Cotton On ‘Clarence’ jacket sale $30,; Lorna Jane vest sale $50,

Posted by on Jun 16, 2016 in Balanced Style, Fashion

A statement coat is a winter style must-have I can’t live without.  It’s my fail-safe style option for days when I’m busy and I need to pull something super-stylish together at a moment’s notice.  I love a patterned or coloured version over all-black separates – jeans or pants, top and boots; conversely I can’t live without a classic colour of black or camel to throw over literally anything from blue jeans to a dress.  I also prefer a collarless version which is so effortless to wear.

The style of a statement coat is ageless – Iris Apfel, Kate Moss, Miranda Kerr and the Duchess of Cambridge, to name a few, are all known for their love of a great statement coat. One of my fav style icons is a woman who understands the brilliance and versatility of the statement coat – Linda Fargo, Senior Vice President of Fashion and Store Presentation Director at Bergdorf Goodman.  Fargo cleverly uses her collection of statement coats of bright colours, patterns and prints over timeless basics for night and day.

If effortless and easy style is for you, then make the statement coat your style BFF this winter.

Style info, clockwise left to right:  Sussan knit coat $169.95,;  Peter Pilotto coat sale $1302,; H&M puff sleeve coat $69.95,; Witchery tie wrap coat $399.95,; Trenery Abstract coat sale $186.75,; Marcs Cocoon coat sale $239,; H&M coat $59.95, as before.

Posted by on Jun 8, 2016 in Balanced Style, Fashion

The ‘Oscars of Fashion’, the CFDA Awards (Council of Fashion Designers of America) were held this week and I loved to see three over-40 women rocking the red carpet in ageless style – Naomi Campbell, 46, Donna Karan, 67, and Very Wang, 66.  Just another example that age, style and beauty are NOT mutually exclusive.  See more of my favourites from the CFDA Awards at

Posted by on Jun 8, 2016 in Balanced Style, Fashion

The weather has finally turned cold and although most of us would prefer to stay indoors sitting in front of a cosy fire drinking our beverage of choice (for the record mine are red wine, tea, hot chocolate, cognac and water – in no particular order) our busy lives continue and our daily style dilemma is now how to stay stylish and warm.

Winter’s most versatile and must-have essential is a great coat (or topper or outerwear if you’re into the latest ‘fashion speak’) and it’s absolutely vital that you have these five coats to get you through the chilly months for work and play in style:

  1. Trench:  No need to explain why this style classic dating back to the 1850’s is every woman’s style essential.
  2. a) Black Blazer: I can’t survive winter without it.  Thrown over jeans, a dress, pants paired with flats, boots and high heels this wardrobe gem sees me through many a winter day and night, especially when travelling.
    b) Cape Coat:  The recent revival of this classic style makes it a new must-have and adds a little extra glamour to days and nights.
  3. The Belted Coat:  No other coat is more flattering than the belted style.  Either buttoned or in wrap styles, this versatile style is easy-wear to wear and makes the perfect ‘topper’ to your work wardrobe of dresses, pants and suits.
  4. Leather Jacket:  A common misconeption of women over 50 that a leather jacket is no longer appropriate.  Mais non.   A slim-fitting leather jacket is both chic and cool when styled well and following certain do’s and don’ts.  Par example – ‘do’ wear with pants or jeans paired with classic looks, e.g. white cotton or silk shirt, fabulous jewellery and killer heels; or alternatively over an elegant dress.  ‘Don’t’ wear with biker boots, mini anything or sequins.
  5. Statement Coat:  A statement coat is my other absolute winter essential – make it yours.  On days when I can’t decide what to wear (or those dreaded ‘fat days’), I go for a classic and monochrome look underneath, usually black jeans and top, and throw on a statement coat.  Easy …. and I’m out the door in 5 minutes.

Style Info:  David Lawrence ‘Kelsey’ black and taupe trench $229,; Little Joe Woman by Gail Elliott ‘Rock Your Baby’ blazer $350,; Saba ‘Lara’ leather jacket $599,; Saba black ‘Penny’ coat $499, as before; Forever New ‘Willow’ belted wrap coat sale $160.99, New ‘Alice’ capelet $129.99, as before; C/Meo Collective coat $289.95,; Sass & Bide ‘Faces & Places’ print coat sale $390,

Posted by on Jun 2, 2016 in Balanced Style, Fashion

This week I start a regular series called ‘Women of Style’ to highlight women over 40 who have great style.

They will not all be stick thin, tall and glamourously beautiful – though some are – and their styles may hugely differ, but they all share common traits when it comes to style – they understand their style, embrace the power of tailoring and classic pieces, break rules, make new ones, are unapologetic of their style choices, highlight their perfections, embrace their imperfections AND all understand the secret ingredient to great style – confidence and attitude.

My first style muse is one of my all-time fav style crushes (can I say that in my 40’s?), Net-a-Porter’s Vice President of Global Buying Sarah Rutson.  A revered fashion heavyweight with more than 20 years in the industry including a long stint as Fashion Director for Hong Kong’s luxury store Lane Crawford, Rutson is the queen of classic with a modern twist.  One of her signature looks is a cargo paired with a tailored jacket, and no one understands the art of understated layering like Rutson.  Her looks range from sharply tailored to softly feminine all finished with statement making heels.

Rutson is clever with her beauty by not deviating from her signature look of a chic bob and polished makeup in neutral tones – so easy to maintain.

Rutson is not just a fashion plate but a woman of substance “I am offended by people who just talk about what I wear,” she says. “I love my Alaia’s, but I am so much more than that.”