Christmas is chaotic at the best of times. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had our very own personal shopper to pick and style our outfits for the bustling holiday season?

We had the chance to chat with Topshop Bondi’s very own personal shopper, Mel Costalos, about fashion tips for the office Christmas party, New Years Eve, meeting the in-laws and Christmas lunch with the girls, all taking inspiration from TV series The Wrong Girl.

Collared shirts for Christmas lunch with the girls

Throughout The Wrong Girl, Lily is a fashion powerhouse, playing with patterns, colours and fabrics. It seems basic, but a collared shirt can be styled in a range of creative and uber-chic ways. Mix up your standard white collared shirt for a printed piece with a hint of metallic. The holiday season is all about being fun and flirty; so don’t be afraid to pair your shirt with a pop of colour, like a scarf, hat or handbag. Finish off the look with a pair of patent black heels and cue the compliments.

Celebrate the office Christmas party in checks

It’s tough going from corporate attire to casual wear to bring in the holiday season with your colleagues. Keep it classic in a statement skirt paired with a plain top to guarantee yourself a place on the best-dressed list. Lily is a pro at subtle, yet sophisticated pairings. And when it comes to the office Christmas party, opting for a comfy, yet trendy outfit is exactly what you need. For extra style cred, slick a bright hue over your fingertips and add a statement necklace or ring.

Metallic New Years Eve moments

New Years Eve is the perfect occasion to be the star of the party. So don a metallic dress and get ready to shine bright. Metallic pieces are perfect for evening gatherings as they’re subtle and capture the light perfectly for memorable New Years Eve snaps. Keep it simple with your shoes like Lily, and chose a nude pump to compliment your overall look.

Keeping it classic for meeting the parents

The holiday season is filled with family get-togethers. Perhaps the most nerve-racking is meeting your partner’s parents for the first time. A pair of cropped black pants is a staple, not just at this time of year, but for life. When meeting the parents, simplistic pairings are guaranteed to keep you in the good books. Pair with a trusty collared button up and your favourite sweater for a preppy look.

Swing by Topshop Bondi Personal Shopping for a glass of prosecco and let Mel pick and style your outfits for the bustling holiday season…for free! Email to book your appointment now. Spend $80 or more with Mel to enter the draw to win The Wrong Girl Book, DVD and GO-TO Lips!Squared! for you and a friend.

This article was brought to you by the DVD and digital release of The Wrong Girl, based on the ever glam Zoë Foster-Blake’s best-selling novel,

Trying to decide what to wear to the office this winter? As the mercury drops and we automatically start to pile on the layers, we’ve asked Sydney-based Australian fashion brand Blooms Design what we should be looking for to add to our work winter wardrobe to stay stylish in the cooler climate.

Supporting executive women for over 20 years, every garment and accessory has been created and chosen by the Blooms team with a genuine love for modern sophistication and fashion.

Here are five top trends to incorporate into your work attire this Winter season:

1. Cobalt Blue – the colour of the season


This season’s stand out colour is Cobalt. A bold and elegant shade of blue, adding a splash of cobalt to your wardrobe (whether through a scarf, dress, cardi or accessory) will not only keep you on trend but have you projecting natural peace and calm, perfect when working in a busy or stressful office. It also suggests stability, great for locking in that deal with a new client.

2. Winter warmer favourites


Are you more of a neutral person? Soft greys, browns and burnt oranges remain a popular staple this Winter taking inspiration from the natural Australian colour palette. Team soft greys with black, charcoal or brown with pops of burnt orange or copper colours to bring more warmth into the office. Also works well with soft, natural fibres – cosy!

3. Monochrome graphics


Monochrome is always a winner for the work wardrobe, but this winter print placement monochrome is the way to go, adding edgy graphic elements to your outfit. Try a jacket or dress which incorporates monochrome graphics like geometric shapes over bolder block colours to take your outfit to the next level.

4. Stripes


Thick horizontal stripes this season are designed to make a statement. These stripes are great in a jersey dress or top, connecting comfort with high fashion trends to give you movement and flexibility. Anything geometric will work, especially if they are larger.

5. Winter coat


Keep warm while you travel to and from work this winter while looking great by adding a long collarless jacket to finish your look! Use simple monochrome techniques matching your colours and pieces to create a timeless look that can take you from day to night in the cooler months.

This article was written in collaboration with Blooms Design.

Blooms Design has been celebrating the style of Australian women in ready to wear apparel for over 20 years. Beginning with the original founders of the Blooms Design label, the team has evolved and grown with each generation of customer, adding a fresh contemporary interpretation to every original Blooms creation.

Visit to check out more Australian designer trends.

Appropriate cosmetics to wear around the workplace is a tricky business. For many, it may feel like there’s a fine line between “natural” looking makeup application and no makeup at all. There’s also that delicate balance between “enough makeup application to look polished and professional” and “Saturday night makeup”. Here, makeup artist Carly Lim gives us her 5 makeup tips that will help you nail a polished work look.

1. Use a good Primer

Gone are the days of a heavy over-powdered base. A good primer, used together even just with tinted moisturiser or concealer, will give you a long lasting, healthy and polished base for work.

Top 3 Primers

  1. Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer: Gives a silky smooth satiny feel, minimises shine and gives foundation longevity.
  2. Laura Mercier Radiance Primer: Has a lovely creamy gel like texture that is lightweight and feels soothing. Instantly feel radiant and fresh!
  3. Stila One Step Correct: This one colour corrects and brightens your complexion in one step. A weightless, serum-type primer


  • After cleansing and moisturising, wait about 5-10 minutes to let the moisturiser sink in. Take a tissue and split their layers, so you are left with one ply. Place this over your face and gently press and pat all over. Thich helps to remove any excess product
  • Apply primer, a pea size or less will be plenty for your face
  • Apply your foundation/tinted moisturiser/concealer. An efficient way to do this is to pat all over with fingers blending roughly and then using a clean brush to polish and perfect the blending
  • If you have dry skin, you can skip powder. Otherwise, set with translucent powder, but only on T-zone (forehead, nose, sides of nose, chin)

2. Take Care of your Brows

Invest the time and money in a good brow specialist. Nothing presents a polished look better than a good set of brows. If you are time-strapped, a good brush will help too.


Using a spoolie, brush all the brow hairs in the opposite direction and down. Then brush upwards and outwards at a 45 degree angle. Repeat this, brushing them back and forth a couple of times.

This is the standard guide for achieving your best brow shape.

This is the standard guide for achieving your best brow shape.

Top 3 Brow Products

  1. Tweezerman Tweezers: Pricey for something so basic, but the difference in quality and ease of use is astounding
  2. MAC Eye Brows: A great mechanical brow pencil: ultra thin, easy to use and good range of shades available
  3. Eyeko Brow Gel: For those blessed with naturally full brows, a quick swipe of this in the morning keeps them polished and neat. For those of us less blessed, this product helps ‘plump’ up the brow hairs

3. Use Mascara

Applying mascara is the quickest way to look awake and polished for work. You can forgo any eye shadow with a good application of mascara. Before applying, it is important to curl the lashes too.

Top 3 Mascaras

  1. Rimmel Wonder’full Mascara with Argan Oil: This formula is slightly wetter, and gives the effect of fluffy, separated lashes as a result
  2. L’Oreal Million Lashes: This has a formula which is creamy and black, providing lots of volume and length
  3. Lancôme Grandiose: The swan-neck shaped wand helps the shakiest hands get into every lash


  • Before jumping in and applying straight from the tube, it’s a good idea to remove excess product from the applicator. Scrape the applicator at the opening to do so
  • If you have good bottom lashes, apply mascara here first. If your eyelashes are sparse here, just skip this step
  • Always apply first to the roots and avoid pulling through, at first. Deposit as much product as you can at the roots to achieve the illusion of fuller lashes
  • Following this use a zig-zag motion while pulling through for your second coat of mascara

4. Use a good Highlighter

A good highlighter (also known as an Illuminator) makes accentuating your bone structure easy, and keeps you looking fresh and polished throughout the day. The most important thing to look for is a very fine pearl or shimmer. Anything with large particles of glitter might be okay for evening but is an overkill for the office. For the best, no-fuss results, use a fan brush to apply.

Top 3 Highlighters/Illuminators

  1. Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Powder Candlelight: Despite being a powder formula, this provides a gorgeous skin-like finish with the right amount of glow
  2. Benefit Watt’s Up: An easy-to-apply highlighter in stick form, with a handy built-in sponge applicator to help blend your product onto the skin
  3. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector (Pressed): This is available in four shades, and again it’s a great powder formula that offers a natural glow. A light hand is recommended, however

5. Invest in Lip/Eye/Cheek Palette Sets

A palette that offers coverage for your eyes, lips and cheeks is great to keep at your desk, or in your handbag for any important work events that crop up at the last minute.

Top 3 Lip, Eye and Cheek Palette Sets

  1. Charlotte Tilbury FilmStars on the Go: A luxurious two-step product in lovely satiny cream formulation
  2. Benefit Sugarlicious Kit: This provides coverage for cheeks, lips and eyes – all in one nifty set
  3. Too Faced Natural Eyes Collection: A collection of work-suitable eye shadow colours in a beautiful, portable tin


Featured image courtesy of Carly Lim.


Carly-Lim-profile-img-Leaders-in-HeelsCarly Lim

Carly is a freelance makeup artist currently based in Brisbane, working primarily in fashion and advertising. Soon after finishing university she realised a career behind the scenes was what she craved most. Her regular clients include Universal Store, Beginning Boutique, Dissh and Style Keepers Boutique. For more of her work please visit or follow on Instagram @carlylim_makeup.

Using headshots and professional portrait branding photographs is vital to attract the right type of clientele to your business, so how do you ensure that you are conveying the right messages, that you are an authentic leader?

Your branding image includes the photos that you use to portray yourself on your website, business cards and any other social media or online networking platform.

Here are a few tips on creating the right type of branding headshot:

1) When ensuring the right look for my clients, natural lighting is key! If your images don’t have sufficient light, you may just end up looking rather outdated and dull – possibly a little off-putting to your clients! In addition, avoid any type of harsh lighting as this can bring attention to frown lines. For a great authentic image, it is important to highlight the trust building features of your face, like your smile or eyes.

2) For a great image, make sure your eyes are clearly visible as they reveal so much about who you are. A clear shot of your eyes will also assist you in coming across as more authentic. Remember – People like to feel like they can trust you before they’re willing to go out on a limb and purchase your product or services.

3) Make sure that you take the time before your shoot to dress for the part before you have your photograph taken, especially if you’re trying to brand yourself and business for online success. Visual branding largely relies on the trust that you build, and looking unkept is one of the surest ways to do the exact opposite. For example, if you’re a woman, then enhance your features with appropriately styled makeup or have your hair styled in a professional manner. Your photographer should have a consistency for the look of your corporate branding images, so make sure you ask to see their photography portfolios ahead of time to ensure they’re suitably skilled for the job.

4) A prime example of corporate digital branding gone wrong is using sexy poses and clothing in your online business brand. You may end up scaring clients away. A sexy corporate branding image is an inappropriate representation of your business – if you don’t believe that, let your customers do the talking.

5) Ensure your personality is shining through like a beacon. A tuned in photographer should be able to capture this easily for you. If you do this correctly, you will successfully connect with your clients because you will come across as an authentic person – not just some face they recognise from the Internet. Your clients will feel the authentic connection via professional branding images. You’ll know when you’ve achieved this level of authenticity by the way your clients interact with you, and the way they recommend you to other people.

To make sure you’re getting started in the right direction, make sure you’re using a highly skilled professional photographer who is experienced with online personal branding portrait photography. Investing in yourself will make a difference to your business in the long run. There is a massive difference between your friend’s digital camera images and a professional photographer who taps into you the brand, poses you well, includes the correct lighting, make up and provides an overall positive atmosphere for your personal brand success.

Zahrina Robertson

Zahrina is Australia’s Leading Personal Branding Portrait Photographer for Business Women – She creates magnetic and insightful images that talk 24/7 to best represent her clients businesses in the social media and online world. Through her coaching and authentic approach, Zahrina brings out the best in her clients as she gets to know them behind their public persona, capturing their true essence and X-Factor. To find out more about Zahrina and view a wide range of her images, please see

When your boss tells you that you’re being sent on an international business trip, your mind probably fills with excitement and anticipation for what lies ahead.

You research the company and the people whom you’ll be meeting. You prepare your business notes so you can arrive at each meeting ready to go. You even research the hotel where you’ll be staying and find out what fabulous restaurants are nearby. But what about the professional dress code, body language and general business etiquette of the country you’ll be visiting?

Below I want to share with you 5 practical tips for professional women that can help to prepare you for a successful international business trip.

1. Take clothing that is conservative and not too revealing
In some cultures the professional dress code is highly conservative, in others it’s more relaxed. If you’re travelling to Europe on business, make sure you pack into your suitcase a dark coloured suit (navy, black, or charcoal) with a crisp white shirt to wear to business meetings. Add elegance and contrast with unique buttons, cufflinks, or a scarf. You also need to take into consideration how much skin is acceptable to show. In some Asian cultures, it’s not professional to show your bare arms in a shift dress no matter how humid it is. As a rule of thumb, the more conservative your professional dress is, the better. And the less skin you show, the more professional you appear.In Western business culture, you may be able to wear peep-toed heels and still be considered “professionally dressed”, but in Asian and European business cultures, it’s conservative, closed-toed heels that you should wear

2. Wear closed-toed shoes
In Western business culture, you may be able to wear peep-toed heels and still be considered “professionally dressed”, but in Asian and European business cultures, it’s conservative, closed-toed heels that you should wear. Pack a pair of heels that give you a little height, but make sure that you can still walk confidently in them. As much as a fabulous pair of heels can instantly make you feel more confident, the wrong pair of heels can immediately make you feel uncomfortable and insecure.

3. Always wear stockings
Imagine being invited to a business meal in Japan. You arrive at the restaurant and are asked to take off your shoes at the entrance. You then realise that you’re the only business women to not be wearing stockings! Avoid this potentially embarrassing situation and pack a couple of pairs of neutral or black stockings in your suitcase. And why not treat yourself to a professional pedicure before your trip?

4. Use a gentler handshake
We’re often taught that a firm handshake with direct eye contact is how you project confidence and power in the business world. As professional women, we take particular care to convey this exact image when we greet somebody for the first time. But how do you think somebody from China would interpret this type of handshake when they’re more accustomed to a gentler handshake with little eye contact? Soften the grip of your handshake and tone down your eye contact just a little.

5. Be aware of your personal space
Depending on the culture in which you grew up, you may need a large amount of space around you to feel comfortable when talking to others, or a small amount. In Australia, the UK, and the US, it’s usually an arm’s length. In Asia or Latin America, it’s often much smaller. If you travel to those regions on business and you stand an arm’s length away from the other person, you’ll probably be standing too far away. They may feel they can’t connect with you. Close the gap and stand a little closer to that person so they feel close enough to connect with you.

Read Leaders in Heels ultimate guide on how to choose the right management style for you.

Image credit: Sam Churchill

Kara Ronin
Kara RoninKara Ronin is an international business etiquette expert and founder of Executive Impressions. She offers a wealth of practical advice and inspirational tips to move professional women toward an international mindset and an amazing corporate career. Kara is also the author of the eBook, The Ultimate Networking Roadmap: Rise above fear to network with confidence and class. Visit Kara’s blog Executive Impressions to claim your free 7 Step Networking Roadmap and to get fabulous tips on networking as well as international business etiquette. Connect with Kara on Twitter @execimpressions.

Complimentary Offer:
Visit Kara’s blog Executive Impressions to claim your free 7 Step Networking Roadmap.

Hi ladies, the next instalment of my dressing for your body shape series is concentrating on the hour glass figure. I have previously covered apple and pear shape so check them out if this applies to you.

The hour glass body type is considered to be ideal so lucky you if you have one! The characteristics of an hour glass are a full bust, generous thighs, a narrow defined waist and rounded shoulders that align with your hips. Your bust and hips are roughly the same size creating a curvy silhouette and your upper body is proportionate in length to your legs. You are a picture of balance from top to bottom, a classic voluptous shape. Think Marilyn Monroe or Scarlet Johansson.


Dorothy Perkins Wrap Top Was $43.04 Now $38.74


Miss Selfridge High Waisted Trousers $50.57


Kenzo Belted Blouse Was $594.23 Now $297.12


Karen Millen Pencil Skirt $189.38


Finders Keepers Crochet Waist Top Was $180.77 Now $89.52


David Lawrence Crossover Dress $289


Donna Karan Belted Kimono Jkt Was $2834.79 Now $1700.88

Style tips on how to dress an hourglass body type:

  • Belted tops accentuate the waist
  • Choose fitted clothes that nip in at the waist
  • Pencil skirts keep your body streamlined and hug your killer curves
  • Choose high waisted pants to elongate the leg
  • Jackets and coats with two buttons to elongate your torso
  • Opt for tops with cinching at the waist
  • Wrap-style tops and dresses are very flattering drawing focus to your waist
  • Wear voluminous A-line skirts/dresses
  • Choose tailored shirts and jackets
  • Don’t wear straight silhouettes that hide your waistline
  • Belts are your friend, choose a medium size or skinny belt to highlight your waist
  • Avoid high necklines
  • Choose boot legs pants/jeans. The flare balances out your wide hips and gives the illusion of longer, slimmer legs.
  • Choose deep V necklines to draw the eyes to your waist
  • Bias cut dresses and skirts are great for an hourglass shape

You want to flatter your form without adding bulk and bring attention to your shoulders and neckline. You have a lot of options because your shape is already in proportion! Just remember to try to maintain the balance of your beautiful body shape.

I hope these style tips helped you if you are blessed with an hourglass figure.

Stay tuned for my next post on the rectangular body shape.

Featured Image Credit

Mama Stylista