The Do's & Don'ts of Fashion


Fashion is a constantly evolving industry, with different brands and styles constantly entering and exiting the realm of trendiness. Some iconic brands have stood the test of time, while newer ones have gained prominence through the power of social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram.

I'm Emily, and I've been involved in the fashion industry for over 5 years through my work with First Date's. Over this time, I've gained deep insights into popular brands, witnessing shifts in style trends, production quality, and the unfortunate decline of once-beloved brands. I've also learnt a lot about how to care for garments and wanted to share some tips!

I wanted to share my personal insights on the fashion world—highlighting some of the Do's and Don'ts that I've learned along the way. 

Please keep in mind that the following Is my personal experience and may not be reflective of others experiences. 


My current favourites

Brands - Style 

1. AJE - One word UNIQUE.

2. House of CB - Constant flow of new arrivals, perfect for ball dresses!

3. SIR the Label - Such beautiful fabrics & amazing staples.

4. Natalie Rolt - So innovative, trend setting!

5. Rat & Boa - Unique pattern fabrics & colours.


Brands - Quality 

1. AJE - Unmatched quality - you can just see the effort thats gone into these designs.

2. Manning Cartell - These dresses just last! 

3. Shona Joy - Durable fabrics, Silks that aren't as delicate to colour loss.

4. House of CB - Great fabric selection, well designed garments. My only point to raise would be some of their stitching could be stronger. 

5. Effie Kats - Amazing fabric, well lined dresses that are very figure friendly to all. A great newer brand! Excited to see what's next for them.


Brands - Customer Experience

1. Ruby - The friendliest emails, always a great store experience. Love how they take the time to photograph garments in more than one size. 

2. Effie Kats - Quick and easy!

3. Shona Joy - Again - Quick, easy and also just such cute packaging. Even with cheaper garments they include a beautiful dust bag.

4. YLD - Amazing customer service, always happy to help. Will make any garment at request.

5. Arcina Ori - A great brand, Zoe (Owner) is so heavily involved which makes it so special. Always had great customer service from them. 


My favourite garments from our collection (Not in order)

Crossover Maxi (YLD) - The most simple yet elegant design. I am not one for high or halter necks but this dress is the exception!  It looks great on everyone & the colour options are gorgeous.

Verona Gown (EFFIE KATS) - A beautiful dress that is friendly to all figures & bust sizes. A great fabric (can be sticky to oils) but it is incredibly durable and well lined. This dress is excellent quality & looks great on everyone! 

Nour Maxi Dress (SONYA) - Big points for how adjustable this dress is. Its sizing is determined by a simple band measurement. Everywhere else is completely adjustable which I love. It such a gorgeous design - easy to see why it went viral.

Violette Bubble Hem Maxi (AJE) - QUALITY! This dress is incredibly well designed & produced. It is a show stopper! One of the best dresses Ive ever worn & there's nothing else quite like it.

Time to Shine Slip Dress (MANNING CARTELL) - This dress has one of my favourite fabrics ever. This is easily one of our most popular rentals & for how many times it's been worn it has barely ever needed repairs. Sometimes the odd fabric shave is needed but all up this dress is incredibly well made. It also features a corset back which makes the sizing flexible &  hugs in all the right places!


My current favourite brand: It might be a little obvious by now... but AJE tops it for me! Their quality and intricate designs are truly unparalleled. One remarkable example is the AJE Violette Bubble Hem Maxi. When one of ours needed a repair, my seamstress was astounded by the layers of Chiffon hidden inside that created its beautiful bubble appearance upon opening the skirt. There are numerous other instances of their outstanding craftsmanship that I could share. Their designs are truly unique, and the level of skill and effort evident in their design process is remarkable. I also want to highlight how they have incorporated an elasticated back panel into many of their designs to accommodate more flexible sizing, recognizing that not everyone fits into an exact size. I am grateful that this Australian brand, unlike many others that are highly sought after, has expanded to include stores in New Zealand. 


Staples/ Workwear Favourites 

1. Kookai - Just... YES! I'm sure you are all just as obsessed as me.

2. Henne - A little more pricey, but great for well made staples.

3. Dissh - Again.. Im sure you all know how amazing DISSH is. Amazing staples.

4. Glassons - A more affordable option for great staples. I love getting basics from here too. 

5. Ruby - Unmatched pants selection! Plus NZ made is the BEST. 


Cleaning/ Garment Care Products 

1. Shout Gel - An amazing stain remover, pop it on as a pre-wash and put the garment in the washing machine as usual.

2.  Ink/ adhesive remover - Great for adhesive marks, gum and anything ink based.

3.  Fabric Shaver - Refreshes fuzziness or micro pills to fabrics.

4. Sard Powder - A great soak powder.

5. Temperature detecting iron - Safely iron anything without risk of burn. This is my personal favourite iron. 

 6. Dry Shampoo - An amazing way to remove oil marks without rewashing. 


Tips & Tricks

Fabric - things to watch out for when purchasing designer garments

1. Silk's - a frequent request we get is for Natalie Rolt Silk Gowns. When I tell you I LOVE these designs I really do...& the fabric itself is gorgeous. Natalie Rolt & her team are a great brand, with an incredible design process who I absolutely recommend.  However these silk designs are regrettably not the most appropriate for re-wear. With repeat specialist dry cleaning the colour fades over time leaving white wispy lines. Shona Joy also commonly use Silk fabrics for dresses such as their Plunge Neck ones (very popular!). These Silks Ive found do not loose colour even when wet washing is required - far more durable! So I guess it really depends on the type of Silk!

2. Viscose - This is one of the things I don't like so much about Bec & Bridges current viscose fabric designs. Viscose is shrink prone & with wear becomes fuzzy. It looks amazing brand new but again not the most durable fabric. 

3. Satin - I love Satin dresses when the quality of Satin is good and well lined. However these garments can be very hard to clean & often cling to oil/ water marks. A tip for this is to apply Shout Gel to the mark & washing as usual. Alternatively dry shampoo can also be applied to an oil mark when ironing, then quickly iron over the area (If the fabric is iron safe) & brush the powder off! 


My personal advice for brands from a consumers perspective

Consider your customers when selecting a fabric - many designer brands have $300+ price points. For this price, you need to ensure the garment is re-wearable! Silks although beautiful and luxurious just don't clean well. Another example of this is the Silk that you find in some SIR the Label garments. It unfortunately tears very easily & the seams develop fraying/ small gapes from tension when worn. 

Think about the customer's ability to clean a garment - staining happens! Designer pieces should be forever items & cleaning is a key aspect of this. A lot of designer brands use dry clean-only fabrics, when unfortunately a lot of stains cannot be removed with just dry cleaning. I know for me I am often told by dry cleaners that I need to risk wet cleaning to remove most stains. 

High sewing quality is a MUST. Too many times we find a dress is worn once and the stitching unravels/snaps. This is particularly prevalent on mesh or elastic mix fabrics. A lot of designers don't add special stitching which is appropriate and accounts for the stretch the fabric naturally has. I remember one particular dress that many renters had to send back due to its stitching giving out (it was elastic fabric). My seamstress restitched the entire dress with a diagonal stitch that allowed the stitching to move better with the fabric flex - I never had an issue again! 


My FIVE recommendations for brands

1. Washable/ dry cleanable fabric without colour loss. 

2. Fabric & stitching is not too fragile for repeat wear.

3. Price point matches the durability of a garment.

4. The type of stitching is appropriate for the material. Account for elasticity!

5. Spend the extra on manufacturing to get QUALITY. People are willing to pay higher price points if they believe in the quality of your garments & that they will be a forever piece!

By Emily Moore

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