What I Think Defines New Zealand Style

In her first column for Who What Wear AustraliaJaime Ridge of Dillon Dot talks us through what defines New Zealand style.

New Zealanders are known for their monochromatic sense of style. We are famous for wearing black, black and a little more, black! However, I believe there is a deeper overarching theme that underpins New Zealand style. Authenticity. Authenticity is something I am constantly reminded of when working on my blog, Dillon Dot. We capture the bigger global trends and mold them into our own interpretation. The digital platforms we now interact with, often several times a day, allow us to look beyond the local market and beyond the ‘black cloud’ we are known for.

New Zealanders strive to be connected on the global fashion stage. The way we dress is evolving, we are no longer the tiny country at the bottom of the southern hemisphere, disconnected from the rest of the world. We are recognised for producing authentic and fresh interpretations of style. I remember when I had to travel abroad to purchase both high and low end fashion pieces. The last two years have seen Prada and Dior open their doors in Auckland’s CBD, as well as our first international high street store, Topshop. The next two years will see Zara, H&M, Tiffany & Co. and Chanel also opening in New Zealand. Accessibility is no longer hindering our style, our boutiques are importing a wider selection of international brands as well as stocking a broader collection of local brands. Online stores are now starting to offer shipping to New Zealand (which until now, meant online shopping was not an option). The possibilities are broad and as a result, our style is becoming more and more in tune with that of the global industry.

As a whole, I see New Zealand style as understated and simple, but authentic and unique. To see what key pieces I believe warrant a mention, or to see if you have the desire to take some New Zealand style on board, keep scrolling!

A selection of fresh white shirts are a staple in any woman’s wardrobe (not just in New Zealand). Whether it be a boyfriend style, a classic tailored style, a feminine silk shirt, or a more on-trend wide sleeve or oversized style—in my eyes, having a wide variety is essential. The white shirt is the master of understated style.

Photo:

Holly Sarah Burgess for Dillon Dot

Photo:

Holly Sarah Burgess for Dillon Dot

Photo:

Holly Sarah Burgess for Dillon Dot

Simple black pieces with softly structured silhouettes, will forever hold a significant place in the New Zealand woman’s wardrobe. Modern shapes and clean lines are highly sought after. We desire pieces that seamlessly transition from day to evening. My personal key pieces include a classic black dress pant and an elegant black structured top, both of which can be effortlessly dressed up or down.

Photo:

Holly Sarah Burgess for Dillon Dot

Photo:

Holly Sarah Burgess for Dillon Dot

As New Zealand style is simple, garment details play an important part in completing the look. Currently, the ‘undone’ look is dominating the details. Frayed hems, interesting necklines and dramatic sleeves are everywhere.

The dramatic sleeve has been mastered by two of my favourite designers—Kym Ellery and New Zealand designer Georgia Alice. A beautiful statement sleeve is the perfect way to incorporate understated chic detail to a sleek simple outfit.

Photo:

Holly Sarah Burgess for Dillon Dot

Frayed hems radiate low maintenance, and this effortless look resonates with New Zealanders. After all, who wants to look like they spent hours getting dressed?

Photo:

Holly Sarah Burgess for Dillon Dot

Striking necklines provide another opportunity to create an on-trend statement. Along with plunging necklines, the elegant off-the-shoulder silhouette is a current personal favourite, and can smoothly transition from day to night. The off-the-shoulder silhouette, is a look that appeals to women of every taste and leaves plenty of room to add your own unique style through accessorising (especially fabulous with a pair of beautiful bold earrings!).

Photo:

Holly Sarah Burgess for Dillon Dot

Photo:

Holly Sarah Burgess for Dillon Dot

We love to be comfortable, which is why denim is so big in New Zealand. Traditional denim pieces are always on rotation, however, re-worked and novelty denim pieces are slowly beginning to make a mark on our style.

Jeans are the go-to. I often pair mine with a pair of designer heels. It’s my saving grace when I’m staring at my closet thinking ‘that’s it, I desperately need a wardrobe overhaul!’. Novelty jeans, like my Zoe Karssen jeans, or patchwork jeans are slowly becoming more and more visible in New Zealand—perhaps a small indication of the slow shift away from the simple, understated style culture that we are surrounded by. Common accessories such as brooches, are the perfect versatile piece to help conquer this detailed denim trend!

Photo:

Holly Sarah Burgess for Dillon Dot

Photo:

Holly Sarah Burgess for Dillon Dot

We don’t stop at jeans, I believe our commitment to denim stretches far beyond the classics. The trend isn’t going anywhere just yet—denim dresses, skirts, coats, shirts (I could keep on going) are becoming more and more visible. The ever-so coveted Penelope Denim Coat was a Georgia Alice creation that is still sought after. Fortunately, it’s becoming more acceptable to wear denim to the office, so this trend will no doubt continue to flourish. 

Photo:

Holly Sarah Burgess for Dillon Dot

Photo:

Holly Sarah Burgess for Dillon Dot

Photo:

Holly Sarah Burgess for Dillon Dot

What are your favourite NZ designers? Share in the comments below and then shop one of our favourite boutiques from New Zealand.

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