How to Break The Style Rules – with Emerson Big W


Mix a bold striped tee with a bold shoe and some $9 Emerson Jeans

Sponsored by Nuffnang

I remember when growing up learning about a whole load of rules, such as “blue and green should never be seen” and “don’t mix prints”, but I have found during my time as an image consultant and stylist that these rules are made to be broken. Many of my clients are scared of trying the latest fashion trends as they ‘re not sure how to work them. Here I’ll be showing you some ways to style checks, stripes, bold colours and mix patterns so that you can feel empowered to try these trends on yourself.

How to Mix Colours

The Big W Emerson range of clothing has a heaps of gorgeous bright colours in store and I’m going to use their range to show you how easy it is to mix colours. So many people only ever wear colour with a neutral, and never more than one bright colour at the same time. But I’m going to show you how to break the rules.

Here I’ve mixed a blue and green t-shirt back with a navy jacket. The blue and green are found in the peacock earrings.


The concept to remember is to mix colours with like properties.

  • Warm with Warm
  • Cool with Cool
  • Bright with Bright
  • Muted with Muted
Go monochromatic – that means shades of the same kind of colour (blues together, greens together etc.) here I’ve mixed a darker raspberry pink with a hot pink.
Darker and lighter shades of the same colour is an easy way to mix colours without feeling too obvious

Want to wear the fabulous coloured jeans trend but feel a little unsure?

or if you are feeling bold, mix a couple of bold colours back with a neutral


How to Mix Prints

Pink ponte jacket $25

Not all prints will mix together. The key concepts to remember about mixing prints are:

  1. To ensure that both prints have colours in common – here I’m mixing navy, white and hot pink. and by the way, my skirt was sold as a boob tube top, but for me it works as a skirt. Don’t be scared to re-purpose clothing items and make them work for you.
2. Ideally, the prints should not be exactly the same in density. One print dense, the other sparse, makes for a more visually pleasing appearance and doesn’t make your eyes hurt!
3. Subtle with bold – here the subtle navy check doesn’t fight with the bolder white and pink striped t-shirt.
4. Mix stripes with stripes, but they need to be different sized stripes. The stripes going in different directions also helps!


How Wear Horizontal Stripes and Look Slim

We all know that horizontal stripes make us look fat now don’t we? But the reality is, that’s not always the case. Here are my tips on how to wear some of the great go-faster stripes available at Emerson Big W, and look taller and slimmer.

1. The narrower the stripe, if your eyes can’t focus on it easily, it will actually start to act like a ‘ladder’ and draw your attention vertically rather than horizontally.

2. Short horizontals don’t add width like wide horizontals, so layer your wider horizontal tops under a jacket or cardigan to make them appear narrower and more slimming.

3. Wearing a similar coloured jacket or cardigan to your bottom (skirt or trousers) creates a column of colour, visually elongating your frame. Then if you either wear a nude shoe with a skirt, or tone your shoes to your trousers, you will further lengthen the appearance of your legs.


Big W $200 Gift Card Giveaway – Competition Closed

Answer me this to win: What 2 pieces would you choose from the Big W Emerson range to show off your pattern mixing or colour blocking style? Leave your answer in the comments to be eligible for the $200 Gift Card prize!

Entries closed 11 March 2013 – winner notified by email

Open to Australian residents only.


What I’m wearing:


  • Navy Jacket Ponte $25
  • Pink Jacket Ponte $25
  • Navy Ponte skirt with belt $19
  • Casual Stripe twist neck tee $7
  • Top half placket check shirt $19
  • Ponte Skirt – Raspberry $19
  • Smart stripe ruched sleeve tee $14.98
  • Skinny Jean $9
  • Boob Tube (worn as a skirt) $8
  • Green 3/4 T-Shirt $7.98
  • Navy Cardigan $9.94
  • Cobalt Jeans $18.86
  • Blue T-shirt $6
  • Navy Stripe Top $19


  • LDS Micro Heels Nude 18.96
  • LDS Micro Heels Cobalt $18.96
  • Black ballet flats $18.96


  • Peacock Earrings $9.87
  • Royal necklace $14.88
  • Silver bracelet $12.96
  • Silver necklace $14.88
  • Silver necklace $12.96


I'm not sure if it's for you but how would you feel if you learned all about the colours and styles of clothing that suit your individual personality, shape and style? Just imagine what it would be like when you can open your wardrobe and pull together fabulous outfits that make you look and feel amazing every day? If you'd like to stop wasting money on the wrong clothes and accessories plus join an amazing bunch of very special women also on their style journey - then my 7 Steps to Style program is right for you. Find out more here.

More from Imogen Lamport

Join Me For Dressember and Make Another Woman’s Life Better

  Dressember by imogenl featuring a viscose dress It’s time to get...
Read More


  • I would get their navy and white bird print dress, and their navy and white striped cardigan. I could use the two pieces to pattern mix (different densities) and could also mix them back into my wardrobe with other bright items that I already own. The dress could be worn as a shirt with my coloured jeans, and the cardigan would be a great contrast piece over basic white or coloured tees, with coloured pants/skirts. Being a neutral, I could mix them in with lots of other pieces, whilst keeping it interesting with the different patterns.

  • Looking at your inspiring outfits makes me want to rush out and buy a new skirt if not boob tube! I was limited by having to decide what to pack for our week’s holiday – well, that’s my excuse anyway!

  • Do you know what, I am such a chicken, I would probably directly copy one of your examples! I’m so glad you give detailed and explicit examples- suits me perfectly to have no margin for error, then I’m more likely to give it a go. Thank you!

    • Bettina, I’m with you on this one: Imogen looks so great that if we follow her examples (bearing in mind other factors such as individual colouring) we can’t go far wrong!

  • The Navy Jacket Ponte and LDS Micro Heel Nude would be my first picks, I can see from your blog they are a staple in most of the looks you put together. They would also make a great start to a work capsule wardrobe I am starting to build…. in fact I think they would transition to casual wear really easy too making them duel purpose and even better value than they already are!

  • Love it! After reading about time capsules, I headed down to Big W to start on mine! Love the variety of colours available (and super affordable for a student like me) 😀 No more black outfits for me! You’re a gem!

  • I love Emerson cardys. Such a great price. But from the new season styles, I would go for the soft look blazer – I couldn’t find a price on it but I think it would look great with some of the coloured jeans.

    I also am refreshed to see all the colour choices from Big W. I love black, but know that I need more colour!

    btw – I like your tip about mixing stripes!

  • I really like the classic lines of the navy cardigan plus the pop of candy colour from the hot pink skirt/tube. These items could mix and match very easily with my wardrobe!

  • I am quite impressed with bird print dress. It fits so nicely and can be mixed with tights or leggings in colder weather. Number two are cobalt skinny jeans. I love the colour and it can be worn in so many differen styles.

  • It’s hard to pick just two items…. as I’m loving MOST of their products! But I would definately get the Emerson striped Jacket (the fine lined, black [navy?] & white one)…. and wear that with the hot pink 3/4 sleeve t-shirt. (I’m also loving the pink stripe cardi over that shirt too!!!).

    Your tips are great too!!! (like the capsule blog post… I’m bookmarking this one too!!).

    I loved watching the Big W videos too, particularly the ‘Behind the Scenes’ one. Thanks for the link to their site.

  • I love the pink jacket and the cobalt jeans… there are a million different ways I could wear those.

  • I think the striped blazer and some coloured jeans, maybe those red ones, even if it’s not quite the red for me, it’s far enough away from my face that I might be able to get away with it!

  • I’m always wearing black. I want to dare myself to try colour blocking. I’d love to try the red coloured jeans with the nice blue cobalt top. I will feel fiRED up and empoweRED

  • Love love LOVE that Raspberry Ponte Skirt. And although I’m normally terrified of horizontal stripes, I see your point with the narrow stripes – the striped twist neck tee looks great.

    • SWOOOONING over this outfit, it is just icplmcabee! I love the black and white and pop of raspberry pink. I would love to sport that look this spring, thank you for your inspiration. Hope you have a wonderful week and Happy Friday!!Toodles, Twirling

  • Great to see a real woman wearing bold colours, thank you Imogen. Love reading your blogs. I would have the navy blazer, ponte fabric has stretch so it would be very comfortable. I have too much black as core pieces, so this would be a good start to broadening the basics in my wardrobe. Then the raspberry skirt, for the bold colour.

  • Love this article and I love all your outfits. Also you are almost the same exact size and shape as me, so I am very inspired.

    I have some matching jacket and pant suits sets that I bought for interviews. Once I went to a job placement counselor at my university. Aside from all the other weird things she said, one thing I remember is that she said to wear a suit to the interview and make sure the jacket and pants match. This is what I have done at every interview and I’ve gotten the job. However in the new job I am currently going for, suits are going to be every day wear and I think I may cry myself to boredom if I have to wear an uncomfortable matching suit every day. I’ve been buying some printed skirts and I’ve put together a few outfits, specifically NOT matching the colors in the skirts and POP my outfits are really coming alive!! Add some fab jewelry and suddenly I dont recognize myself in the mirror. She seems much cooler than me.

    Thank you for this article. I am also afraid of stripes, but you give me hope.

  • I love this article, and the related capsule on a budget article. However, I’m a but devastated that I’m 3 years too late to race out and buy these items.
    Is there any chance of doing another similar budget capsule shop with recent, still in stores items.

    I’m so inspired by this blog, so glad I stumbled across it on Pinterest. I love seeing this sort of seriously stunning and achievable fashion from gorgeous Aussies.

    Tarn x

      • Any similar sorts of stores would be great, so Big W, Target and maybe Myer for a great cross section of some longer lasting items.
        I’m looking for nice casual clothing styles, I have two kids under four so need comfortable but stylish clothes to suit my lifestyle and slightly tubby H body shape. I’d love to see what your finds are!

        Thanks so much for the reply ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *