In the Southern Hemisphere (and in Australia, specifically), we're coming to the tail end of what has been an indescribably hot summer.
A summer that was even too warm for summer dresses. One where, really, a handkerchief top a la 1997 was almost too much fabric to bear.
So now that we’re inching toward the country’s most highly anticipated autumn, we’re ready to embrace some proper styling. To help edge us out of the air conditioning and into reality, we enlisted the advice of style expert Victoria McEvoy of Irving & Powell fame. From the best way to style a shirt, to the colours to look out for, here are the style notes we’re taking for 2020 …
After a long, long summer, many of us are struggling to think beyond the flowing summer dress when it comes to outfits. What’s the quickest way to smarten up our look?
A white shirt of course! Such a versatile item for every woman’s wardrobe. It’s an especially good fix for that balancing act with your work wardrobe, when you want to wear that floaty dress, but it’s 18 degrees in your chilly office. Throw a classic white shirt (like our new Lennox style) over the top, tie it in a chic little knot and poof – instant floaty shirt dress.
You’re known for your gorgeous shirts. What are your top three favourite ways to style them?
See above for number one! I also love wearing them layered open over a great basic tank like a relaxed jacket. Then, as the weather gets a little cooler I love to layer my shirts. Particularly under a classic stripe t-shirt like Armor Lux.
What are some more unexpected ways to style a shirt?
Taking a leaf out of stylist Tash Sefton’s book, I’m really into the tuck-n-wrap look at the moment. There’s something about it that looks so effortless and easy. It can also give the illusion that the shirt is a little big for you too, which is really flattering on the waist.
What role do accessories play in a look? And what are some of your favourites?
My friends will tell you I’m obsessed with adding accessories to my look. They instantly inject personality to your style. Right now I find myself constantly switching between 2 styles. Tortoise shell & gold for when I’m wearing muted linens, like our Sullivan Chambray Shirt. And the amazing rainbow necklaces from Elsie Frieda when I want a pop of colour. I particularly love them with our Franklin Bold Stripe Shirt in Indigo. The colours all just sing together and make me happy.
Other than Irving and Powell, where do you shop for great quality basics?
That’s easy. Uniqlo and Assembly. Although I’m leaning more towards the latter at the moment. Socially I feel a responsibility to try and shop Australian and avoid the big big chains. As someone who manufactures products locally I have to question how the big chain stores can charge so little? Someone somewhere is getting a raw deal so we can have $30 jeans.
What about investment pieces?
Denim is definitely where I like to invest. As the weather cools I live in denim, so I need my jeans to go the distance. Quality and fabric is key. I go for Japanese denim whenever I can. Bassike & Nobody Denim use amazing fabrics for their denim. We lived in New York for 10 years where I had a heavy addiction to Madewell. Whilst not typically an investment brand, every once in a while I allow myself to ignore the US exchange rate and place an online order. But it’s just arrived at David Jones now so perhaps I won’t have to feel so guilty about that anymore.
If you have 5 minutes to get out the door, what’s your go-to outfit?
I work from home and am lucky to live in a neighbourhood where everywhere is in walking distance so my 5 min go-to tends to be more casual. Jeans and a toss up between my Franklin Poplin in Periwinkle or Armor Lux Heritage Tee in White/Red with a pair of Veja V-10.
How do you dress up a look to take it to night?
Again, it comes down to accessories for me. Heels and killer earrings. Personally I think there’s nothing sexier than a crisp white shirt. We just introduced a new silhouette, the Franklin Band Collar Shirt which has a grandpa collar detail which just helps to elevate the shirt. It’s so simple and chic. Paired with slim denim jeans, heels and gold hoop earrings is my go-to evening outfit. It’s certainly what I feel most confident in and that oozes sexiness in my book.
What are some of the colour palettes and trends you’re most excited about in 2020?
Well of course I’m so excited that Pantone’s colour of the year is blue!! Blues and indigos are at the heart of Irving & Powell. Our Franklin Poplin Shirt in Indigo is the colour that started it all. A few years ago, working for Tory Burch (who is a navy advocate) I made a conscious effort to stop wearing so much black and try wearing navy instead. And I haven’t looked back. It’s warmer on your skin tone and pairs fabulously with so many other contrasting shades.
I am also excited to see this awareness/movement that’s happening on social media about shopping from your wardrobe and wearing things that last. That’s truly at the core of Irving & Powell. I want to make a shirt that you just reach for time and time again and that lasts you a lifetime.
What trends are you happy to leave behind in 2019?
To be honest I’m really not a trend follower so I’m not leaving anything behind in 2019! However I am bored of the short shorts phenomenon here in Sydney. I’m happy to see some longer, Bermuda styles taking off. In my book, it’s a hell of a lot chicer to show a little less!