Fulfilling the demands of a fast-paced modern life, balancing career with personal life and on the top of it all, mastering the art of styling an outfit is indeed a challenging task. However, the Australian born, Jess Dempsey, founder of the renowned fashion blog ‘What Would Karl Do’ knows how to do it very well.
Whether styling an every-day-look or for special occasions, the mum of two takes inspiration from the creative director of the house of Chanel.
Learn more about Jess Dempsey’s style, her fashion tips, personal life and take notes on how to style your one-piece swimsuit, the ultimate summer garment.
1. Can you tell us the meaning behind your blog’s name ‘What Would Karl Do’?
'When I decided to start my blog, I knew I wanted to give it a really good, memorable and fun name, with the potential to expand it as a brand. I remember one day, I was trying to put together an outfit in my wardrobe and it just wasn’t working for me. I quickly went onto style.com and looked up the latest CHANEL runway to find inspiration of the way Karl Lagerfeld styled his models and the theme, colours and elements of that season. I went back to my wardrobe and found items I had in my wardrobe to re-create one of the model’s outfits. This was the beginning of me thinking to myself “what would Karl do?” “How would he style this?” and so the name was decided.'
2. Which other designers or influencers have inspired you along your blogging journey?
'Aside from CHANEL and Karl, Anna Dello Russo was a huge inspiration for me when I first started blogging. We shared the same, loud, creative and eccentric style and I would worship anything she created in her personal style or editorials. Later on, as I became a mother, I would look to Lena Perminova, Dolce & Gabbanna, Natasha Poly and many Numéro and Love magazines.'
3. How would you describe your style and what makes it unique to you?
'My style has changed over the last 6 years, I started in the blogging world with more of a creative, avant garde style, pushing the boundaries and making any trend of the time work, I called myself ‘fashion confident’. Now days, as a mother of two, and in my early 30’s, I believe I have toned down this ‘confidence’ and prefer to call it playful, wearable and very 60’s. I love 60’s style mod and 70’s Charlie’s Angels as I know that the shapes and styles of those times really suit me. I am known to wear the high street brands along side my high-end shoes, bags and accessories, often being CHANEL.'
4. The One-piece swimsuit is back in fashion and looks like it is here to stay, how do you choose the best swimsuit? Do you have any style advice for someone looking to buy one?
'I used to fear the one-piece, I always put it in the ‘grandma or mummy’ category, but now mummies are sexy and so are the one-pieces. I think it is important to firstly know what styles best suit your body shape, for example, a high cut piece would elongate those with shorter legs, ladies with a larger bust might like to select a low front or balcony style. The options are endless these days when it comes selecting your perfect one-piece swimsuit, there are halter necks, strapless, V-necks, high cut, low cut, cut out on the sides, cut outs on the front, long sleeve, short sleeve, so much!'
'One small bit of advice is to also know what colours suit you, a one-piece might look wonderful in a yellow colour way but will it look great on you? Is it one of your colours? When in doubt, black is always a winner. Also, I am very sun-conscious and stay safe when it comes to UV rays, I am absolutely loving the long sleeve one-piece swimsuits that are still very sexy but also good for your skin.'
5. Do you have any particular advice on how to pull off the most flattering look when wearing a one-piece swimsuit? Would you consider it to be a summer essential?
'I think the most flattering look is the high cut look. Wearing a one-piece is a lot of fabric you might not be used to wearing for swimwear, a high cut piece will elongate your legs giving you great confidence. I am not sure I would call it a summer essential for everyone, but when you find the right style for you, I know it definitely make its way into your swimwear drawer. Everyone I know has a one- piece swimsuit, so yeah; maybe it is a summer essential.'
6. This garment can be quite versatile. With a few styling changes you could go from sunbathing on the beach to sipping some cocktails by the pool. How would you style your swimsuit for both these occasions?
'I love styling one item several ways; it is one of my fashion obsessions, as I like to challenge myself. A one-piece swimsuit would look super sexy with mini skirts or short shorts, a big hat and some wedges for a beach side lunch or a long flowing skirt (sheer in black would be amazing) with some statement earrings, tousled hair and heel sandals for cocktails and dancing at dusk.'
7. Which brands are on your summer wish list?
'I love Dolce & Gabbana jewellery and swim, Nobody Denim shorts, Ginger and Smart dresses, Valentino sandals and Bassike go-to items.'
8. Which brands should we all look at to buy the perfect one-piece swimsuit?
'I love Fleur Du Mal long sleeve pieces, Brigitte have a great selection for women of all sizes, Dolce & Gabbanna swimsuits are my current obsession with their gorgeous prints and Moschino have some very playful pieces.'
9. What are your favourite trends for spring and summer?
'I love anything off the shoulder, love big sleeves and accessorising with big earrings and straw hats.'
10. How do you balance your work and family demands?
'It is one of the most challenging things for me, my children and family come first, and so I would simply drop anything to attend to them. Recently I have started to plan better and allocate three week days when the children are at care or kinder, to use that time as my workdays. I get everything done on those three days and plan for the week ahead so that on the other two-week days, I can be the best mum I can be to the children. Saying all this, I am still yet to squeeze in some ‘me time’ in my week amongst the work, kids, activities, events, house duties etc. but I am sure I will get there in the end.'
11. What would you say is the biggest fashion challenge when you are a mother of two? Have you changed your fashion preferences since you became a mother?
'The biggest challenge is to look some-what decent to leave the house by 8’o clock in the morning with the two boys dressed, fed, packed lunch and myself ready. I always leave myself until last in the morning so to avoid wearing active wear every morning, I have my go-to items ready to go in my mind that is: a pair of jeans, sneakers or loafers and a button up shirt.'
'I have changed my fashion preferences since becoming a mother, because it isn’t practical for me to push the stroller in heels so I wear more low heels or ankle boots or loafers now. I do, however, get to style myself in any shape, form of fashion confidently when it comes to fashion events and fashion weeks. Halleluiah!'
12. As a fashion influencer, what words of wisdom would you share with other fashion lovers?
'Don’t forget who you are, it is so easy to get caught up on what everyone else is wearing or looks like, you are you, you are beautiful in your own unique way, find what it is that sets you apart and embrace it. Fashion is personal and there are no right or no answers, we you feel confident and comfortable in what you wear, you will always look amazing.'