Friday, May 22, 2009

Ballentynes Fashion Parade

On the 1st of May, I attended a Ballentynes Fashion Central display hosted by the local bowling club. I've wanted to experience one of these fashion parades for years, and finally I knew the right person who mentioned the right details which got me the right invitation. It was a stimulating experience.

About 50 ladies bowled in, mostly white-haired, chattering vigourously and juggling a cup of tea in one hand and cake loaf with lashings of butter in the other whilst waiting for the parade to begin.

The local Ballentynes store manager switched on the microphone, addressed a warm welcome three times over, and the show began (without raucous soundtrack, hurrah, hurrah), starring white-haired ladies and a particular clothing concept I'm delighted to share with you here.

As new winter styles have arrived in stores, have you been annoyed by the light-weight fabric used for high-neck tops? Perhaps you've been frustrated by the preponderance of low necklines and three-quarter sleeves challenging modesty and warmth as winter encroaches. Here's a solution for both.

  • Take a v-neck jumper.
  • Place a roll- or turtle-neck top under it.
  • Accessorize with a long necklace in a vibrant colour.
  • For extra warmth, add a long-line cardigan or overcoat.

Black Turtleneck Tulle Top with Wool/Acrylic Striped Mock-Wrap Jumper

  • Take a 3-quarter sleeve top in a bright retro print.
  • Place a roll- or turtle-neck top underneath.

Purple Turtleneck Tulle Top with Poly/Spandex Tie-Front Top
Ballentynes offers several types of high-neck underlayers. Try the merino or ruched skivvies, or the turtleneck tulle top, which may seem insubstantial on its own but looks like solid colour when poking out from under another top.

Below is a poly/cotton long-sleeved skivvy with ruched neck and elasticated bell sleeves (terrific for gals with long arms), priced from NZ$19.99. I bought an ivory one of these, and it works beautifully under a v-neck jumper. The pale colour allows some transparency, so I place a white crewneck t-shirt (purchased from The Warehouse last season) underneath it if I'm likely to want to remove the jersey.

Deep Jade Ruched-Neck Skivvy with Polyelastane Multi-Coloured Top
Slub Knit Striped Long Line Shawl Cardigan, was from $69.99, now $29.99

One of the things I love about the BallentynesFashionCentral website, which few other online stores provide, is that a simple click on a colour swatch changes the image to the chosen colour. You don't have to rely on a tiny square for what the whole garment will look like.

Purple-Marl Merino Turtleneck with Wool/Acrylic Crossover V-Neck Jumper
If you have fair skin, I don't recommend you wear the Rosebud Merino Turtleneck (below) unless you have a top layer with a modest neckline. This colour was worn during the fashion parade by a fair-skinned woman, and the dressers had given her a plunging v-neck cardigan to wear over it. As she proceeded down the catwalk, my first and second impression was that she had nothing on under the cardigan, the lighting conditions and pale pinkness causing the top to blend in completely with her skin.

All of these groupings will work with this stretch skirt in graphite. The skirt is fully lined (an important point the website neglects to mention). It's long, elegant, interesting, and works well with a lot of colours.

New York Stretch Skirt With Cris-Cross Ribbon Trim Detail And Swooping Panels. Elastic Waistband. Length At Centre Back, 85cm. From $69.99

Red Turtleneck Tulle Top with Poly/Spandex Twist-Front Twinset and Wool Double-Breasted Coat with vertical flap pockets and inset waist panel.
Check out the Ballentynes Fashion Central Look Book
for more layering ideas.

The show closed with all the models on the catwalk together, adding cool shades to their last and cosiest garment display of coats and scarves. It was a heap of fun and I hope I get to the next one!

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