Monday, 30 May 2011

What to wear to a garden party

I recently received an invitation to a garden party from one of my husband's friends. I have never been invited to a formal summer garden party before and the invitation is definately posing an interesting challenge for my "chic and minimalist wardrobe".

The dress code is  formal and the party starts at 6.30 in the evening. Most garden parties are held in the afternoon, so a garden party in the evening is an added challenge.

Will my wardrobe contain a solution? I hope so. 

For women, the usual outfit  to wear to a formal day time garden party revolves around a formal summer day dress. The overall look of the dress should be pretty and summery and reflect the fact that it will be worn in a garden setting.

The fabric should be light to medium weight, in light to medium colours and either plain or printed. A beautiful floral printed dress is ideal. The dress can be worn with a jacket, cardigan or wrap incase the weather turns cool.

For a formal garden party, you are normally required to wear a summer hat, which has the practical function of keeping the sun out of your eyes.  For less formal parties a pretty straw summer hat is ideal.

For shoes, pretty medium to high wedge heel shoes are perfect as they are dressy, yet unlike shoes with a stilletto heel won't sink into soft turf.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Storing your clothes - the chic and minimalist way.

It is the middle of Spring here in England, and over the last few weeks I have started to prepare my wardrobe for the warm and sunny days ahead.

I don't keep all of my clothes in my wardrobe, instead I have spilt my wardrobe in two - Spring/Summer clothes and Autumn/Winter clothes.

Clothes for the current season are stored in my wardrobe, and the out of season clothes are stored away in a suitcase under my bed.

Last winter in England was one of the coldest on record and when the weather started to turn warm a few weeks ago, I couldn't wait to pull out the suitcase from under my bed and start to unpack all my lovely light Spring/Summer clothes. It was just like Christmas as I rediscovered summer clothes I had forgotten about over the long winter months. 

I gladly packed all my winter clothes away into the suitcase, and started to fill my wardrobe with my light, bright Spring/Summer clothes.  

As I unpacked my clothes, I also tried many on to make sure they still fitted, which thankfully they did and checked to see if anything needed repairing - which they didn't.

I store my clothes in my wardrobe in a really simple way. 

I have a rail and two shelves in my wardrobe. On the rail I have hung my three summer dresses, and then all my summer tops,  grouping together t-shirts, long sleeve tops, blouses and cardigans.  On the shelves, I folded my summer skirts and stored them on one shelf, and on the other shelf I have stored my shorts, summer trousers and jeans.

On the rail I also have a long fabric shoe organiser.

Storing my clothes in this way makes getting dressed in the morning easy. I simply open my wardrobe,  choose which bottom  I would like to wear that day and then choose a top from the rail.

If I want to wear a dress, they are all stored together and if I need a cardigan to wear over the top, it is easy to choose one as they are all hung together.
When I have put all my clothes away into the wardrobe, I then carry out a review of my clothes to see if there are any gaps.

My next blog entry will be about my review and the resulting chic and minimalist shopping trip.

Friday, 20 May 2011

How to create a chic and minimalist wardrobe the Parisian way

Over the last few years, there has been a growing interest in the way that chic Parisian women dress, with many women wishing to create a chic and minimalist wardrobe based on their style.


Parisian chic is essentially frugal and minimalist in approach, based on purely practical reasons - many Parisians live in small apartments and due to lack of space are unable to store large quantities of clothes.  

As a result many Parisiian women have embraced the "less is more" approach to dressing. 

"Parisian Chic: A Style Guide" by Ines de la Fressange, was published recently. 

Ines was a supermodel and the face of the Chanel brand for many years.

In her book Ines identifies the Top Seven Items that all women should own in order to create a chic and minimalist wardrobe. 


I think they offer a great basis for building a chic and minimalist wardrobe and would like to share these ideas with you.

Outerwear - 3 items:

The first three items are outerwear:

  • A Trench-coat- a practical item, ideal to wear all year round.

  • A Leather Jacket - ideal to wear with jeans for a smart casual look or over a floral dress. 

  • A Black, masculine style blazer - again can be worn with jeans with the sleeves pushed up or for evening with black evening trousers.

Tops - there are two tops recommended that are versatile and can be worn in a variety of ways.

  • V-Neck Navy Jumper - this can be worn with jeans and dressed up with a scarf or necklace, or under the leather jacket for a smart casual look. It also looks great with white jeans for a nautical look.  Navy is softer than black.

    Neutral coloured Short-sleeved Top - The Colour could be white, black or grey. It should be short- sleeve or sleeveless such as a t-shirt,camisole or vest top. The fabric should be slightly luxurious such as having a small amount of silk or cashmere. It can be worn with jeans and the leather jacket for a smart casual look, or can be dressed up with sparkly jewelry for evening.


    The final Two Essential Items:

    I am sure these will come as no suprise as they are great basics to have in your wardrobe:

    The LBD - Little Black Dress - this item can be worn in the daytime for a smart look or dressed up for the evening. Choose a simple versatile style such as a black wrap dress in a good quality jersey fabric or a shift dress. 

    A great pair of jeans - that fit well and for in a dark blue wash for most versatility. They can be worn casually in the day with the black jacket or leather jacket or with the silk top for a casual evening look, just add a pair of evening shoes.


    I hope you have found this post useful. 

    I think Ines' " Top Seven Items" are a great place to start building a chic and minimalist wardrobe around. 

    If you have enjoyed this article and found it useful, you may like to read one of my articles that I have published with Hubpages. It uncovers the secrets of how Parisian women create a chic and minimalist wardrobe.

    If you would like to read it, click the following link:


Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Minimalist Travel Wardrobe - Beach Holiday Essential Items

It is possible to look chic and glamorous on a beach holiday, and  you only need to take the following items to keep your beach holiday wardrobe minimal yet practical.

The items that I consider essential for a chic and minimalist beach holiday wardrobe are as follows:

  • For protection against the sun:  you need sunglasses, a packable sunhat, and a  long sleeved, thin cotton shirt. 

  • For protection against insects in the evening:  Once the sun has set, the biting insects (mosquitoes) come out to play, and you need some form of protection against them. So for your evening stroll or dinner at your favourite beach restaurant, I recommend covering up in style with a pair of long linen trousers and a stylish long sleeved evening top.
  • For the beach and pool:  A simple and chic swim suit, sarong and flip-flops, beach bag and the all important suncream and aftersun.
  • For sight-seeing: A pair of shorts and t-shirts, and flat shoes, such as converse, worn with the hat and sunglasses.