Tag Archive for 'continental style'

What has happened to Italian fashion and why I started Sfera – part 3

This is the third in a three part post on why I started Sfera. 
Read part 1 here
Read part 2 here

The pictures in this final part are from the Sfera Spring-Summer collection; and you can see a wider selection in the Sfera section of the new season Wardrobe website which went live yesterday.

Why has Sfera been successful? 

Sfera is the product of all the experience I’ve gained over 36 years of what women in our market want.  In my experience, women want to look as sexy as possible, but in a stylish way – not in an ostentatious way.

They want to stand out and look successful, but they want to do it elegantly.


That’s what our “edgily classic” approach tries to do.  We create many new jacket and dress shapes each season – all made by craftspeople with the highest quality fabrics, beautiful lining and top-quality buttons in what I believe to be one of Italy’s best factories.

It’s only available at Wardrobe, it’s designed with our customers in mind, and we only make a few pieces of each garment, so they’re properly exclusive.  As there is no publicity cost, all of the money spent on them is in the clothes.


An equally good question is why, if there’s such a big gap in the supply side of the market, has Sfera not been more successful and not sold elsewhere.  Possibly it will be in the future – if we can figure out a distribution model that allows us to keep our important values in place.

At times it feels like we’re rowing against the industry tide; but our boat is increasingly full of people who want to go in our direction.  So for the moment Douglas and I are happy focusing on developing a collection which delivers what Wardrobe customers tell me and my stylists they want.



Style dilemma: Do I dress down for the interview?

The following was posted on the Fashion Forum page:

I’m going for a job interview with the BBC. I do want to look smart – in the past I’ve always ‘overdressed’ for interviews and, as you say, it has made me feel confident and I’m sure that has rubbed off on the interviewees.

But the thing is, most people I’ve met at the BBC tell me they don’t worry too much about what they’re wearing, and I’m concerned that looking too ‘continental’ might come across as flashy or threatening – or just a bit vain.

Any tips?

First of all, it’s great that you’re thinking about this.  It’s important know who is interviewing you and it’s worth thinking about how they will be dressed and how they will see you.

My advice is:

  • continental women tend not to look flashy – confident, professional, successful, yes; but rarely flashy.  The way to pull this off is to make it look as if you’ve put together your look effortlessly – that you haven’t tried too hard.  Don’t dramatically change your style for the interview: it’ll be obvious.  Even if it is the BBC, don’t try to be overly ‘creative’.  Avoid bright colours; stick to so softer ones.  If you want to show a little flair dress it up with an interesting piece of jewellery or at most a colourful shirt.

  • no matter what the interview is for, always wear a suit (or at the very least a jacket).  You are always more likely to be taken on if you look presentable and successful.  Over three decades of working with senior executives – and hiring quite a few people for Wardrobe – I am convinced that there are few, if any,  circumstances where it’s a good idea not to wear a suit for an interview.

  • whatever you wear, make sure it really, really fits you.  You need to appear 100% confident that you look good when you walk into the room. You don’t want to be fiddling or adjusting your clothes, so ensure that they look and feel as though they are you (and not just your interview persona) – and make sure that you can walk comfortably in your shoes.

  • make sure your hair looks good and your make up is natural – but don’t go without make-up – and if you wear glasses, don’t forget to give them a clean

I don’t know if you are going for a presentation job or an executive job, but I am constantly amazed at the way the BBC’s female presenters dress.  While the men are always immaculate, it seems to me that the women get it wrong more often than they get it right.  It is harder for women, but you only have to look at their counterparts on the US news channels to see how to put together a well-groomed professional look that can complement the undoubtedly professional content of their work.  Just as in your interview, looking successful and confident in front of the camera can only enhance credibility among their audience.

Good luck with the interview.