Nikki’s Inbox: The Easy Switch from Casual-Cool for Class to Chic & Fun for Work

I wonder more and more about the clothes I can wear as I favor darker colors like black, gray and navy blue. Summers here though, are quite sunny and dry and can change to rainy and humid in a few hours.

I usually wear loose shirts or camisoles tucked into high-waist skinny jeans and a long cardigan over it, but people around me have commented that my style is very mature but doesn’t really fit how I look.

As a college student, I don’t have a lot of money to spend on clothes, but I do splurge every now and then on a dress or two or some accessories. I do wish to change up my style a bit and wear a bit more casual clothes but still look nice enough when going to my part-time job where, although there is no dress code, most colleagues wear very stylish and put-together outfits.

My measurements are 94cm – 75cm – 95cm and I am 163cm tall. My bra size is an European size 75D and have a bit of a tummy that I usually fail to hide during summer. I really love the lace-up trend but do not really know how to incorporate it together with casual as well as dressy style.

I hope that you can help me find a way to stay cool while looking casual at school while dressy enough for work and drinking afterwards. Thank you.

Wendy, 21/The Netherlands


I hope you’ve read my advice to Vanessa on how to incorporate other colors like blue and pink to her predominantly dark wardrobe palette, which is pretty similar to yours actually, Wendy! Adding some variation to the colors — not just pastels — of your clothing really makes a difference in making one look more youthful. Black is timeless and elegant, yes, but wearing all-black in 36°Celsius outdoors is definitely not a picnic.

Summer is the Perfect Time to Wear More Colors

All that sunshine really makes bright colors more vivid, which includes white. The added bonus of wearing more white is that it reflects light and heat instead of absorbing it, unlike black. White also makes a bold statement by itself. Notice how a lot of celebrities like wearing white? Or how popular white sneakers are currently? Pairing it with other colors instantly makes it stand out, while serving to ground the rest of your outfit especially if you’re wearing something really strong like neon, metallics, or deep shades.

Complement the Weather

We don’t have a lot of control over the weather so the only solution is to go with the flow! On rainy days, you only need to add a few more to your ensemble like a rain coat, ankle wellies and a compact umbrella. A knee-length A-line dress looks great with these wet-weather accessories. Your curvy hourglass shape will benefit from dresses and skirts with a cinched waist. If not, you can always create one by wearing a belt!

Stash a soft open-front cardigan or a lightweight scarf in your bag in case you get cold. Most open-front cardis have a waterfall silhouette so they drape nicely, don’t bulge and make you look more graceful. Make sure they’re no longer than your hips .Team your dress with wedge sandals on sunny days, and pop on a statement necklace or earrings when you’re heading to work or a night out with friends.

In a Playful Mood

Sleeveless playsuits and jumpsuits are also popular in summer, and you can have your pick of different lengths to suit your mood. I do recommend, however, that you opt for something cropped or shorter. They’re very versatile too. Wide-leg jumpsuits look so chic with heeled sandals for the evening, and with white sneakers during daytime. Some designs also have high-cut waistlines and blouson details that slightly pouf in the middle so if you’re conscious about your tummy. This is worth looking for. For playsuits, the latest crop of rompers take a leaf out of summer, featuring botanical prints and saturated colors that spell fun!

Rocking Lace-Up and Off-Shoulder Styles

The off-shoulder trend is definitely having a fun time this year. Friends who are usually shy about showing skin are now proudly baring their shoulders and upper arms. The nice thing about this particular trend is that it’s also body-friendly — size and body shape doesn’t matter! So go ahead if you want to wear off-shoulder tops and dresses, Wendy!

The lace-up trend is still going strong as well. Its variations include lattice- or ladder-style details on sleeves, while the more classic ones replace button plackets on shirts and blouses, and zip closures for skirts. I love that they’re also using other fabrics like grosgrain ribbons, tassels, faux suede and velvet for the laces, which all add textural interest and color to the outfits!

I hope these will prove useful for you so you can really enjoy the rest of your summer!

P.S. If you’re sending a question, please don’t forget to include any helpful information about your body type or shape, your tastes or personality. You can include a selfie (link only please) or a photo of your clothes (which I will never publish without pre-approval). Thank you!

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