Stylish Stuff (be the best dressed guest)

Our Buying and Design Director, Antonia Long,
knows a thing or two about style. We're always
asking her for fashion advice and thought she'd be
the perfect person to answer your style dilemmas.
Get in touch with your questions; the best one
will win a £20 White Stuff voucher.

Unfortunately Antonia can't respond to every
email, but don't forget you can ask questions and
leave reviews on every product on our website.

Email your style questions to

I love wearing patterns but shy away from
mixing them (i.e.tops and skirts) yet often the
models do and it somehow looks 'right'. Any
advice on how to mix them so they look trendy
and not like a fashion fuddyduddy disaster?
Thanks, Kate Loe

We love print at White Stuff.
Some women wear pattern all
the time and seem to mix it
effortlessly but I think the mixing
bit is not always that straightforward.
Here are some ideas:

A. Easiest to do:
Play with scale. Try wearing a
ditsy printed top with a skirt in
an oversized floral.

Why does White Stuff always make their
necklines so low? I hate having my
boobs/cleavage on display and it means I
can never wear any of your stuff to work.
Please, please, please can you add at least
2-3 inches of extra material to the necklines
so we don't suffer embarrassment (and also
don't get so cold!). Don't tell me to layer up
because then I get too hot, and extra layers
make you look fatter.
Thanks, Ann Childs

Boobs on a plate? That’s not what we want at all!
In my 20 years of Buying, one thing that never
ceases to surprise me is how different people's
bodies are. One of the measurements I learned as
a rookie Buyer's Assistant was that the length of
the body from the shoulder to the cleavage level
varies enormously, up to 10cm on different
(average heights) adults. What we aim to do is
provide the optimum depth of a neckline to satisfy
lots and lots of people.

There's quite a lot of science behind this and we
check ourselves against industry averages for all
measurements (including bust) but interestingly
I don't get requests to lower our necklines, usually
to raise them. Your question has got me talking to
my lovely Head of Technical, Elissa. Thanks for
your question, we will definitely look into this, so
keep your eyes peeled.*

B. Trickier, but makes a statement:
Mix different prints with different colour
palettes. Strictly for those with a
confident, eclectic sense of style, it’s
possible and made more logical if
you anchor back to strong coloured
accessories e.g. red necklace, blue
shoes - to say something about your
love of colour mixing.

A great look if you can manage it, but
I know it’s definitely harder to execute
well and the older I get, the more I
realise how challenging this can be!
I like the first approach personally.

Good luck and have fun with it.

I love the tunics and layered look – however I have a
rather large bust and find that I can look matronly.
Which tops would you advise to help me look modern?
Thanks, Vannessa Shield

Tunics are our heritage and we have built our business on
providing gorgeous prints in fitting, flattering tunics and
kaftans. Big busts can look fab in a tunic but I agree;
get the wrong neckline and you feel like a "ship in full sail" as
my sister says.

The best tops for busty ladies are: scoop necks, soft V-necks
and low cut wraps. The trick is to cut the volume of the bust
down. It’s all about making the eye see less fabric at that
point (and more lovely décolletage).

In terms of kaftans, I think they work really well on bigger
busts. An under bust seam or "empire line" on the kaftan
shows off the smallest part of your body, again emphasising
that you're all curves and not big all the way down.
Not forgetting their amazing bum-covering qualities, which
many of us find helpful.

*NB. Referring to industry averages there is a company called Size UK that conducted an independent body scanning
survey of 11,000 women in the UK.  They gathered data on 130 body measurements from each person.  This accurate data
has been used to help major retailers including ourselves to average measurements ie neck drop and this is what we use
when we benchmark our sizing and measurement points.  Equally, we also conduct in house fit reviews each season on live
models to make sure we are on the right track and to identify if there are any exceptions.

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