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Fast track to femininity
7:00am Saturday 31st August 2013 in Lifestyle
Grab your handkerchief and heels. Lisa Haynes reveals how to work your womanly charms with the ladylike look.
Tomboys take cover - fashion is embracing all things feminine with the ladylike trend.
Perfect for transition season, womanly styling looks equally as pretty in summer or autumn - just add a coat or cape when temperatures drop.
"There's nothing like a favourite dress or skirt to make you feel oh-so-feminine," says Gok Wan, who plays on elegant silhouettes for his latest Gok for TU collection at Sainsbury's.
"I've applied a Forties American twist, seen in the fit, flared hems, long, plunging necklines and billowing fabrics, for a look that's sophisticated, smart and chic."
From hourglass curves to cinched waists, flaunt your female form with some grown-up glamour.
Look to the runway of Dior for the ultimate in ladylike dressing: billowing full skirts that gracefully skim the shins, pointed heels and neck scarves to really raise the retro glamour factor.
Full skirts with maximum volume have an instant ladylike appeal from the moment you secure the zip.
"Layer up with net underskirts to add as much volume as you want," recommends Gok.
The trick to wearing swooshy skirts the modern way is to team them with simple and elegant tops. Even a plain T-shirt will pull the biggest of skirts back down to earth for a daytime-friendly look.
Prom-style skirts and dresses will skim the hips and disguise heavy thighs making them perfect for pear shapes.
Say hello to the hourglass silhouette with curve-clinging frocks that enhance the waistline.
You don't have to have perfectly-proportioned curves like Mad Men's Christina Hendricks to pull off this look. Seek out dresses with pull-in panels around the middle or bottom for a figure-boosting cheat.
If your bust is your best asset, look for scooped necklines but always balance out the decolletage on show with a longer hemline.
Separates are more flattering for those who are top or bottom-heavy and need to vary sizes.
Gok describes pencil styles as "the sexiest skirt shape on the planet". Try teaming one with a wrap-blouse to achieve the form-fitting effect and stick to darker colours on the half you want to slim down.
Forget fine and dainty pleats and aim for the catwalk's box-fresh versions.
Pleated dresses and skirts are still ladylike, but the larger box pleats look more powerful than pretty, making them ideal for the office.
"Sophisticated A-line skirts flatten a bigger bottom and balance out curvy cleavages," Gok advises. "Balance out the volume by keeping everything else as simple as possible."
For a floatier look, opt for lighter fabrics with movement or go structured with heavier fabrics that won't budge at the slightest gust of wind.
Box pleats can easily be dressed up or down - just adjust your top, jewellery and shoes accordingly.
For top-to-toe demure, accessories will complete your ladylike look.
Gok says: "For a Grace Kelly look, team a fine-knit sweater with a pearl necklace and mid-height heels or ballet flats."
Whether you opt for above or below the knee hemlines, heels instantly elongate legs and boost the slimming effect. Keep things prim 'n' proper with round toes, or vamp things up with points.
Take inspiration from Her Majesty the Queen with the ultimate ladylike accessory - pearls. If you don't fancy wearing them the traditional way around your neck, experiment with an arm cuff or clutch bag, for a modern twist that won't remind you of an eccentric auntie.
Get the look
The Duchess of Cambridge takes a break from baby boy blues in bright pink to show off George to the world. New and expectant mums can pre-order her exact maternity Fuchsia Knot Front Seraphine Dress for £46 (www.seraphine.com).
Buy it now
Model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's collection for Autograph has gone down a storm in the lingerie aisles at M&S. The one-year anniversary collection celebrates the collaboration with updates on favourite styles, like the Pure Silk Rose Print Wrap, as well as brand new pieces like the Pure Silk French-Designed Rose Lace Teddy. Prices start from £12.50, available now.
:: Sock swan song
Knee-high socks could be consigned to the closet history books if sales are anything to go by. After a century as a traditional menswear staple, demand for men's knee-highs has dramatically slumped, Debenhams reports. Modern men are opting for ankle socks, sport socks or - in high fashion circles - the sock-free look instead. Debenhams spokesperson Ed Watson says: "The common phrase 'pull your socks up' could mean nothing to future generations. Knee-length socks once conquered an empire, but now they seem to be fading into history."
:: Recessionista alert
Time for a wardrobe detox? The average woman has approximately 22 garments in her wardrobe that she will never wear, worth a total of £300, according to a recent survey by Tags-On.com. Placed on a clothes rail, the great unworn would stretch for 15,534 miles. Empowering people to free up their wardrobe space and secure extra cash, Tags-On allows shoppers to re-sell unwanted designer items languishing at the back of their closet. To find out more, visit www.tags-on.com/sell-now
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