From the New South Wales South Coast (Woollongong to Eden for locals in the know) comes Donna who Does Dresses (as she says) and writes the blog with this name. Donna is here to share her stylish thoughts with you today!
What is the secret to great style?
Like everything else ‘great style’ is in the eyes of the beholder! I feel good in what I wear and I wear what I feel good in – if that makes sense!! What I do is not a struggle and has always given me great pleasure! My style is defined by colour, monochrome, retro/vintage and interesting details. I keep an eye out for fun prints, coloured tights, cute zips, leather jackets, hats, leather gloves, umbrellas and unique shoes and booties. Of course the really fun part is putting it all together, taking risks and not worrying too much about getting it right or wrong because I can always change my clothing!
What is the one thing you would spend a lot of money on?
I’m generally a fairly careful shopper, but I will spend a lot of money on signature pieces. Two years ago we went to Europe for our daughter’s wedding and did some travelling. Whilst in Brussels I picked up two beautiful leather jackets … my daughter claimed the green one when she set eyes on it, and I wear the burgundy one all winter!! You just can’t find such items here. I have done the same with shoes or booties, now and then.
What’s the secret to looking polished?
I’ve always believed that polish comes down to basic grooming, like hair flatteringly styled, makeup neatly applied, nails clean and shaped, clothes fitted to your shape and shoes that are clean, well-maintained and appropriate to the activity. I get my clothes tailored to fit my shape as my bust, waist and hip ratio is a bit challenging. An outfit looks more polished when there’s layers to it – not so easy in the warm climate of Australia, but I will sometimes use a cotton shirt as a jacket layer or a sleeveless vest or a jacket around the shoulders, easily shrugged off when I get too hot!! Care, time, effort and thought all make for polish!!
How do you balance new trends with a more timeless look?
I think it’s important to embrace change and part of that is enjoying new fashion trends. I layer the new trends around my timeless pieces so I will wear a cold shoulder top with a full-skirt or incorporate the latest colour trend in a cardigan, the print in my skirt or a little sandal. If it’s a trend I love, I will embrace it wholeheartedly and unapologetically – like the military look! I will gladly pair my simple black dress with a stunning and detailed military jacket or wear it with jeans or a leather skirt.
What’s your secret to making yourself stand out?
I like to keep my style a little bit unpredictable. I love bold, bright colours in the dead of winter, an all cream boho look in the middle of summer one day, unrelieved black elegance the next day and follow it with a cacophony of print and colour in a floral printed maxi. The important thing is to have fun with style and fashion and not take it too seriously – life is too short not to gain even the small joys!! Dare to be different!!
The one piece of advice most women need but don’t get?
It’s important to do you, in style as in anything, but be aware of convention and realise that as unfortunate, unfair and annoying as it is, people do make judgements on how we present ourselves. With that in mind get up, show up and dress up – and try to gain joy from doing so.
What’s the best piece of style wisdom you’ve ever received?
You only get one chance to make a first impression – so make it a good one!!
What’s your favourite short cut to style?
I’m not a person who operates with shortcuts and tend to be prepared, spending a few minutes each weekend giving thought to the week ahead and planning some outfits accordingly. I’ve found that keeping my wardrobe in order expedites this process so that I’m not rifling through stuff to find what I’m looking for! When I just want to get out the door in a hurry I prefer a faux wrap jersey dress and some sweet sandals in summer, with a coordinated scarf to keep the hair off my face and for winter I add some coloured tights, booties, a beret, a scarf around the neck, leather jacket and some leather gloves …
What’s the worst current trend?
I think the worst current trend is “fast fashion”. I’m very conscious of the footprint that I leave on this planet so I am always very mindful about what I purchase, intending to get lots of wear out of each item! Sustainability is key!!
How would you describe your personal style?
I am not a slave to fashion but prefer to have fashion serve me. My personal style is eclectic, feminine, sometimes boho or retro with tailored pieces to pull the look together. I love shopping my own wardrobe and enjoy thrift shopping. I have a couple of beautiful local boutiques that sell pre-loved designer clothing for a fraction of the price, some of which is vintage, and I always enjoy such “slow fashion” forays! I don’t take fashion or myself too seriously and also love to cosplay on occasion…