Fashion Tips from Style Experts

Three fashion tips each for men and women from six Vancouver style experts If, when getting ready for the day, you spend a lot of time rummaging around, mumbling that you can’t find anything to wear, consider taking the time to map out a more functional wardrobe strategy. It will save you time and streamline your expression.


Three fashion tips each for men and women from six Vancouver style experts

If, when getting ready for the day, you spend a lot of time rummaging around, mumbling that you can’t find anything to wear, consider taking the time to map out a more functional wardrobe strategy. It will save you time and streamline your expression.

To help you get started, here are some pointers from six local style experts. They’ll teach you how to detox your wardrobe by evaluating what to keep, what to ditch, what to add, what to mix, and what to fix. Just in time for a fresh start, too – as we prepare to bid farewell to short sleeves and hello to shorter days. And though we dread the incipient chill in the air, our closets will be ready for fall.

Rebecca Tay
Editor, Fashion


1. Does your suit fit?

Try on all of your winter suits to ensure they still fit properly. A finely-tailored jacket, no matter how expensive, won’t look right if it isn’t nipped in just so, and the same goes with pants — have the waistband taken in or let out if you’ve gained or lost a few pounds since last fall. This is also a great way to update your wardrobe without spending a lot of cash: most good seamstresses can alter the shape of a pant leg to make them slimmer, according to the season’s trends.

2. Are your shoes scuffed?

Invest in a few good pairs of untreated cedar shoe trees, and you’ll soon forget the last time you had to buy a new, expensive pair of dress shoes. By slipping trees into your dress shoes at the end of each day, the leather will last longer (they absorb moisture) and your shoes won’t lose their shape. If you get stuck in a rainstorm on the way home, don’t dry out your shoes too quickly by placing them over a vent—this can crack the leather. Instead, stuff them with newspaper and let them dry naturally before inserting your trees.

3. Will your shirts last?

Preserve your dress shirts by laundering them in cold water (and ask your cleaner to do the same) and, when ironing, lay off the starch if possible (again, ask your cleaner to do the same). We all like the look of a stiff collar or cuff, but the chemicals will reduce the lifetime of your shirts, as will subjecting them to too much steam.

Tips for Women

1. Get them cleaned

If you haven’t already, get your fall jackets and coats professionally cleaned. After months of storage, musty odours and moth-eaten holes can appear—and besides, there’s no better way to welcome the chillier season than to fall back in love with a freshly-laundered favourite sweater.

2. Get them organized

Pack away all of your summer flip flops and get out your winter shoes and boots. Seeing them all lined up will help you evaluate what holes in your closet need filling (did you forget that you threw out those black suede knee-highs after last year’s snowstorm?) or what trends you’d like to spend a few dollars on. Then, have your cobbler re-heel any dressy shoes or stilettos—you’ll be amazed at the difference this can make on your step.

3. Get them trimmed 

Try on every single pair of jeans in your closet. After throwing out the ones that no longer fit, consider having pant legs altered to be more in line with this season’s trends. Slim legs and skinny jeans don’t appear to be going anywhere this fall; consider having those ultra-flares taken in through the leg and ankle for a cheaper alternative to splurging on a new pair of Sevens.

Victoria Potter
Fashion blogger,

Tips for Men

1. Ensure you have color in your wardrobe

This can be as simple as little shots of color in a tie [or bow tie] and socks, but to compliment the very visual nature of the season will be very effective visually. Additionally, ensure your colors are rich and saturated (pastels are only suitable for summer).

2. Accessorize

Two smart pairs of leather and knit gloves, a scarf and head gear (which can range from a toque to a trilby). If you love messenger bags, get yourself a leather one to look smart in the office and during off time.

3. Have an old suit tailored to fit

As long as the design is still reasonably current, you can take a suit that is a wider cut and instantly update it with a narrower leg and fitted blazer. Not only is this cost effective, but having a suit that fits properly is an exceptional asset for any man.

Tips for Women

1. Used is the new black

Instead of splurging on new pieces, liven things up with vintage cuff bracelets and strands of chains and pearls. Add a statement jacket (with sequins, beading or bright color) and suddenly what’s old is new again (without bankrupting yourself).

2. Invest in a pair of quality mid-height (black) heels

Every woman needs a pair of heels that have no embellishments and will go with everything: ideally 3- to 3.5-inch black leather pumps with a slim cone heel. When you can’t buy everything on trend, aim for a classic look and create it with dependable basics and you will always look well put together.

3. Purchase a body shaper

If you need one, get yourself a body shaper. This can be worn under suits, pencil skirts, anything. It will create a smooth, toned shape.


Lindsay Wilkins & Alicia Churchill
Consultants, Elite Image Consulting

Wall street may be the talk of the town in 2009, but this fall is all about Main Street. Every businessperson should be looking at their fall wardrobe collection the same way they are looking at their investment portfolios: Invest in what will still be here next fall. Fall 09 shopping should be about purchasing key pieces.

Top Three Tips for Men

1. Good trends come in threes.

A three-piece suit can cover you for all occasions — from formal to casual and everything in between — as long as you know how to work the three pieces. Lose the vest for days at the office. Lose the suit and wear the vest with jeans and a fitted T-shirt for weekends. You can’t get a more multi-functional trend for all season. Stick to greys and blacks to make the three pieces a lifetime investment.

2. On the job

Work boots are not just for construction sites. They are versatile and can in fact be an important part of any workplace wardrobe. Wear them to the office, night club or just day to day. Round-toed, scuffed up, rough-looking laceup boots are in vogue. Just ask David Beckham.

3. Boho Man

A wool blend tweed blazer can be worn with jeans or trousers. This look can represent a bohemian style, with a scarf wrapped around and a cashmere sweater worn as an under layer. If you’d like to carry this trend to the office, wear it with a wool blend trouser and loose cotton shirt underneath.

Tips for Women

1. Wrap it up

Fall ’09 is about scarves, scarves, scarves. Thin or thick, casual or dressy, they complete any outfit. This accessory is for indoors and outdoors. Have fun with colours, patterns, and materials and this will kick any outfit up a notch.

2. Investment

A good wardrobe has to be built around multi-functional classic pieces. The two most important fall wardrobe essentials are the black suit and the trenchcoat. Your suit should fit tailored on the waist and have a nice lining to flip the cuffs up on a more casual day. Pinstripes can add some spice to the suit as well. Your trench can be single- or double-breasted. Stick to blacks or taupes for all seasons.

3. Biker chic

Biker jackets aren’t just for riding motorcycles anymore. These fitted leather jackets are dynamic and will create a chic look whether paired with a posh dress, layered tees, or denim.  [pagebreak]

Jillian Crago & Kristy Rogerson
Image Consultants, Operation Style

Tips for Men

There is a broad range of trends for men this season. Designers were inspired anywhere from the great depression, 60’s Hollywood glitz, the future, and even red wine. The three outfits we chose are great looks for a casual day off, a day in the office and a night on the town.

1. Spice up the black suit

Black suits are always classic but can get gloomy and boring if worn every day. Try adding different elements to spice things up. For starters, fur coats—and Armani did it best this season. Wear them casual and add a samurai-inspired bulky sweater and a casual pair of trousers, “rugged chic” never looked so good (sample look from Armani pictured left below).

2. Pay attention to shape and texture

Pair a heavy frock coat in a luxurious material like tweed or wool over a dark blue three-piece suit with a pop of colour in your tie, shirt, scarf, or pocket square and finish the look off with a pair of Italian tan leather shoes. Nipped at the waist, slim lapels, and a snug fit through the body finished in a monochromatic colour scheme is classic and fluid with a new age spin (sample look from Etro pictured middle).

3. Wear accessories that compliment your clothes

Consider the patterns or the hue of the fabric you are wearing when choosing accessories. For example, watches with cream-coloured faces go best with dark blue pinstripe suits; watches with black faces go best with grey pinstripe suits.


Tips for Women

Femininity is back with a twist. Women express their confidence and sophistication this season by combining menswear with some sparkle and a little creative sculpting.

1. Keep up with the hemline fluctuations

If you buy into the Hemline Theory, perhaps it’s an auspicious sign that this fall we are starting to see hemlines climb to the knee and above.

2. Create a sleek silhouette

The much sought-after hourglass figure is achievable without sweating for hours at the gym. Simply incorporate a jacket with exaggerated shoulders, wear a skinny belt to emphasize your natural waist, and, if you’re adventurous, add volume to the hips by way of pleated pants – please, when trying this trend purchase a new pair with a contemporary cut, this is not a recyclable item from seasons past!

3. Change it up for the weekend

Put your big bags away and embrace the day clutch, for most working women this may not be practical, so keep this as a weekend treat, along with leggings and an oversized sweater. Not only will you be comfortable, you’ll look effortlessly chic.


Lily Page
Consultant, Flair Image Consulting

The style principle I always follow no matter what the year, no matter what the season is this: wear it if it fits, wear it if it’s your best colour and more importantly wear it if it makes you feel fantastic.

Tips for Men

1. Update your look with strong accents

Be bold and add striking colour by way of ties. Or if you are more of a fan of the tie-less look, which is becoming more popular, try other things like scarves or adding a vest to your ensemble. And a great timepiece always works.

2. Pick the right suit for your body type

If you are broad-shouldered, make sure to pick suits that are double-breasted. If you have a narrower frame, choose single-breasted, three-buttoned suits. 

3. Choose a contemporary cut

Narrow-legged pants are in this season. Acquire new ones to update your look or see if you can infuse new style into your old threads by having them altered.

Tips for Women

1. Flair with care

Be selective when it comes to adopting fashion trends. For example, capes are in this year, and if a cape suits your frame and you have that wonderful dramatic personality to pull it off, go ahead and wear one. Same thing with off-one-shoulder dresses. They are trendy, but only invest in one if it fits you well.

2. Tried-and-true boots

Would you believe it, over-the-knee boots are back! Thank goodness — I’ve had mine going into the fourth winter now.

3. Recycle and update

What’s always in for me is recycling what you have then adding a new piece here and there, like a bright new jacket, or those low-cut plaid boots that have caught your eye.


Jennifer Silk
Stylist, Style by Silk

The classic wardrobe principles can be applied universally to men and women.

Tips for Men and Women

1. Get thee a suit

Invest in a fabulous tailored one that can help you walk into a job interview or presentation with confidence, and can be taken apart for work, dinner or the weekend.

2. Accessorize

One chic piece will help you stand out from the crowd. Also it’s a great way to add colour. For women, use scarves, gloves, or handbags. For men, look for printed socks or colourful ties.

3. Complete your look with a versatile coat

Women, choose one that can be worn with pants and is long enough for dresses. The coat transitioned from day to night with every piece.

For men, it’s the classic alpaca peacoat. Full of fall flavour, it’s just the ticket to springing out in the brisk weather.