Style Doctor Jackie answers YOU

Style Doctor – Jackie O'Fee

Ketz Ke

I am 48 years old and have that all time pear shape with a size 8 top and size 10 bottom. My biggest problem is what really suits my shape. Contributing to this is my bottom as it just sags into my thighs without a definite distinction of where my bottom ends and thighs start.

Dear Sheryle
If you ever needed proof that Mother Nature is surely not a nice woman it’s in how we age! OK, let’s deal with the pear-shape thing first. The key to dressing a pear-shaped or ‘A’ frame well is all about the shoulders and upper body. Loads of women with this shape traditionally spend all their time focussing on their thighs and bum without giving their top half any thought – but that’s where the key to looking great lies.
You see – the more impact your upper body has, the more balanced your lower body becomes. So, this season you’ll love all the shoulder detail – from ruched sleeves to shoulder pads, military epaulettes and chunky scarves, as they all work brilliantly for girls with bigger bums/thighs. It works best to wear darker colours on the bottom and brighter colours/prints on top and it's also a good idea to keep things simple on your lower body with flat fronted pants and simple skirts rather than anything ruffled or bold.
Now, the bum issue: the reality is you are going to look best in skirts but I know that’s not always practical. When you do buy pants look for those with pockets that are set slightly higher on the bum to visually “lift” it.

Hi Jackie
I am off to India for a three week holiday in March – will
probably be 30+ degrees. Would love

Stich Ministry

your thoughts on a great small capsule wardrobe for this type of travelling…i.e. light, easy to wash and dry, casual but still stylish…has to cover shoulders for cultural reasons.

Dear Letia,
I think you can cover most warm weather options with this simple 12-piece capsule:
2 x cardigans, 3 x skirts, 1 pair of shorts (or cropped pants), a dress and 5 x tops
(if you are more of a pants girl than skirt girl you can swap one of the skirts for pants).

If you chose a neutral tone for your cardigans and pants and include a couple of white tees amongst your tops, you will be able to mix and match these items to create over 30 different looks. Layer a tee under your dress by day and take a pair of dressy sandals to wear with it at night and you are away. Accessories will jazz everything up or dress things down and a scarf would make a great addition too, as you can use that as a shawl if needed.

Ask the Style Doctor your own Style question here.

Is it ok to wear a three piece suit, minus the jacket, to a wedding with an unbuttoned white shirt? Or would I look too much like a waiter? Should I add some colour with the shirt to separate me from the staff?

Hi Clayton
Are we talking a black suit here? If so, you do run the risk of looking like the wait-staff and I would go for a coloured or patterned shirt instead of plain white. If you really want to do white, make it a great fabric with a bit of texture like a jacquard and rock out the key accessories – cufflinks, and perhaps rather than no tie, go for a loosely tied one – I’m thinking Justin Timberlake as I write this, so google him and you’ll see what I mean. Have fun!


I’m 41 and would like to know what to wear. I want to dress for my age but with a bit of “fun” added without looking like “mutton dressed as lamb”. I love the young fashion of today but feel I’m too old to wear it.

Dear Paula,
Trust me: 41 is certainly young enough to still have fun while dressing but I do hear you regarding not wanting to look like you are trying to be a teenager. You can pretty much wear any of the trends you see around – it’s all about “how” you wear them. This morning I watched a couple in their sixties head into a shop and she was wearing a teeny-tiny pair of white shorts that looked fantastic on her (she had great legs). If she had teemed those shorts with a pair of flip-flops and a shoe-string strapped singlet top like a teenager she would have looked ridiculous. Instead, she wore smart loafers and a sleeveless shirt on top. The key to dressing well whatever your age is to know your strong points and dress to those- for example you might want to wear shorter dresses over slim pants rather than as a dress. Resist the temptation to do the “whole” look, rather take elements of trends and work them into your existing wardrobe and be careful with how you accessorise. Keep reading fashion magazines and you’ll get a sense of how to wear key

pieces each season. It’s always a good idea to check the age of the other shoppers when in store and don’t be afraid to try something new. Oh, and this is probably terribly un-PC but spend more money…cheap garments never look quite as cool on us older gals.

I am a 58 year old grandmother who is 5 foot tall and has short stumpy legs. Every time I buy
pants I have to take so much off the bottom that they end up looking ugly. What do I do about it and what would suit me most?

Dear Eyvonne,
Buy skirts. OK, maybe it’s not that simple but if pants make you look stumpy then a skirt will definitely have you looking and feeling better. Make sure your skirts aren’t too long – about 6cm below your knee is good otherwise you run the risk of looking like a walking skirt.
If you’re really keen on pants check out Suzanne Paul’s “Petites” range and go for a slimmer cut. Don’t take them up too much and perhaps wear a slight heel to elongate your leg.

Ask the Style Doctor your own Style question here.

Caroline Sills
I have a couple of questions for you that have been bugging me. Is it ok to wear 3/4 pants and a long cardigan top together so both cardigan and pants bottoms are the same length with heels as a summer look, or should you wear a long cardigan with full length pants?

Dear Amanda,
The big question for me is how tall are you? I’m thinking if your long line cardigan is the same length as your ¾ pants then you must be quite short? As I visualise that, I would have to say that I don’t think that’s going to be your best look. When you wear a cropped pant you visually shorten your leg, then a long line cardigan will elongate your torso – so I fear you run the risk of looking a bit like you have very, very short legs. I say yes to cropped pants with heels but this season's look with cropped pants is a slimmer leg that hovers just above the ankle rather than mid-calf.

Hi there, I’m 1.57m tall, have a tummy and a big bust with broad shoulders – what is best for me to wear?

Dear Lucinda,
The key principle to dressing your shape well is to soften your broad shoulders, minimise that full bust and add oomph to your lower body. If you wear anything super slim on your bottom half (like skinny jeans) you are likely to look top heavy, so instead head for skirts, wide-legged pants, hem detail etc. Soften your shoulder line and flatter your bust with narrow ‘V’ necked tops, raglan sleeves, longer necklaces, long scarves etc. You want longer-line cardigans and jackets to elongate and balance your torso. Wear lighter colours on the bottom and deeper colours on top so your bottom half comes forward and top half recedes slightly. The secret is to visually ‘draw’ vertical lines (between your bust) in your upper body and add width to your bottom half.

Ask the Style Doctor your own Style question here.

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