A Cool Fashion Insider Shares Her Style Dos & Don’ts
A Cool Fashion Insider Shares Her Style Dos & Don’ts

A Cool Fashion Insider Shares Her Style Dos & Don’ts

A one-time fashion director for Tatler Asia turned freelance journalist and tastemaker, Rosie Lai is one of the most stylish women on Instagram. From dressing for the heat to breaking out of a rut, we asked her to share her main style dos and don’ts.
By Sapna Rao

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DO Choose Unfussy Silhouettes

Most days I’m wearing dresses or billowy shorts with a cropped shirt. I don’t want to wear anything that sticks to my body when it’s hot outside. My favourite pieces include my Frankie Shop denim shorts with the inside-out pockets (I get stopped on the street by a lot of people asking where they’re from) and a floral Ganni dress that I wear with Ancient Greek Sandals.

DO Pull Out Your Hero Pieces At The Start Of Each Season

Toss them onto your bed in a pile – you’ll find you end up piecing together new combinations simply by having everything in front of you, making it one of the easiest ways to breathe new life into your wardrobe staples. Sometimes all it takes is a new perspective on the same clothes.

Follow the ‘BIG, SLIM, SKIN’ rule – created by the founder of Tibi Amy Smilovic, it’s ALL ABOUT MAINTAINING BALANCE.

DO Mix Feminine And Edgy Pieces For A Cooler Take

For example, I love pairing a graphic t-shirt with a structured skirt. Dries van Noten makes beautiful, artistic skirts that can easily be dressed up – but also down with a tee. I’d throw on some elegant, statement jewellery from Completedworks to balance things out. 

DO Find Those Core Pieces You Can Wear On Repeat

Mine include a utilitarian Tibi jumpsuit – its laidback but still feels polished if I’m off to a meeting. My Gestuz tiger-print shirt and trouser set is another go-to combo – I wear it with a black bandeau to keep things cool without baring too much skin. Finally, my white Rejina Pyo sandals are  one of my top three most-worn items. They add an eclectic touch to all my dresses. 


DO Stick To Two Colours Or Less Per Look

Usually, I’d have one that is dominant that’s emphasised by a matching bag or shoe. I’m often partial to orange and green in the summer but this year I have a newfound appreciation for pink and red too. 

DON’T Get Stuck On The Same Few Brands

While it’s great to have your go-tos, it always pays to discover something new. For example, I recently got married on the Amalfi Coast and had my minimoon in Sardinia – so I’d been looking at a lot of new resortwear brands. This is when I discovered Eiko Ai. They make beautiful silk pieces that are perfect for wandering around coastal European towns or for summer weddings. Similarly, there's a reason Magda Butrym is getting so much attention right now. Finally, A Piece of White is a master at linen. I practically live in the mustard Rafaella dress. Also, check out Evarae Aya Muse for crochet cover-ups and Siedres for colourful, boho separates. 

DO Follow The ‘Big, Slim, Skin’ Rule

Created by the founder of Tibi Amy Smilovic, it’s all about maintaining balance. For example, if I’m wearing a pair of balloon-style trousers, I try to wear a fitted tank and barely-there sandals. Alternatively, wear a floral slip dress with chunky sandals to contrast the slimmer fit. 

DO Invest In Versatile Statement Pieces

My black JW Anderson balloon skirt is one example. I like to wear it with a one-shoulder A.W.A.K.E Mode top and Balenciaga pumps – like I did recently to the Alaïa show – but I’ll also wear it to a beachside dinner with just a tank and some sparkly Rene Caovilla sandals. 


DON’T Be Afraid To Make Mistakes With Trends

Everyone has to do it before they can learn what truly suits their figure and style. I’ve certainly made my fair share of errors, but now I know which trends suit me. For the most part, I refrain from buying ‘it’ bags because, working in fashion, I know how quickly they become overexposed on social media. Glam denim is a trend I wouldn’t mind dabbling in – denim is always relevant.  

DON’T Get Lazy With Summer Footwear

There’s a lot to love right now, from Chanel flats to the fishnet Alaïa ballerinas. A pair of those would look great with my trusty Citizens of Humanity balloon jeans. For now, you’ll find me in my toe-ring Ancient Greek sandals.

DON'T BE AFRAID to make MISTAKES WITH TRENDS. Everyone has to do it before they can learn WHAT TRULY SUITS THEIR FIGURE AND STYLE.

DON’T Just Revert To A Basket Bag In The Summer

Milanese brand THEMOIRè is best known for its clutch bags and it has a new range of straw versions this season. Marina Raphael’s crystal bags also reflect her Swarovski heritage and add a touch of glamour to any look. 

DO Go Big With Sunnies 

I’m partial to an oversized style. Mine are mostly from Linda Farrow, Bottega Veneta and Emmanuelle Khanh. I either go for something quite masculine in black or something bold and playful in a bright colour.



DON’T Forget About High-Low Dressing

The key here is accessorising – for example, I’ve worn a Zara two-piece set with some high-impact vintage jewellery and everyone was convinced my outfit was designer. Jewellery and shoes play a big part in completing an outfit and adding a bit of personality to an otherwise simple look. 

DO Prioritise Comfort When It Comes To Swimwear

That means choosing a cut that is supportive of your body – for me that’s spaghetti straps on top and higher-leg briefs. I don’t love bandeaus as they tend to slip when I jump into the water, and I prefer thinner fabrics that dry quickly. Moré Noir and Vanessa Sposi make chic, comfortable swimwear that can be worn like bodysuits in the day with a pair of trousers or a skirt.




DON'T Overthink Holiday Wear

A beautiful dress with a sparkly bag is my failsafe combo. A pair of statement earrings is also key – for example, I love my starfish Jennifer Behr earrings and Magda Butrym chandeliers. Again, it’s all in the accessories – switching up your basket bag for a sparkly evening clutch and big earrings can make all the difference. 

DON’T Underdress On Hot Days

While most places don’t have a dress code now, I find that maintaining a level of polish even when it’s hot pays off. Whether that's adding accessories or having one longer element in the look like a hem or a sleeve always keeps summer looks feeling sleek and elegant. I rarely wear mini shorts with a tiny tank top and flip flops. I like to make sure I’m presentable if we suddenly decide to pop into a fancy bar or restaurant. 

DO Layer Up For Travel

I always get cold, so I always try to have a layer on hand to warm up. That could be an oversized shirt (I recently got one from Each x Other with cool text details on the collar and sleeves), or a cropped knitted set from The Frankie Shop. You’ll never see me in jeans at the airport – I need to be comfortable!

Follow @RosieLai on Instagram.

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