Dannii Minogue opens wardrobe

Closet confidential: Dannii Minogue opens up her wardrobe
By Dannii Minogue

One of TV’s most original style icons, Dannii Minogue knows how to rock a frock. So how does she do it? She lets us in on her personal style secrets

Dannii wears an Alberta Ferretti bra and Tucker top

Get the iconic look

I believe that the key to developing your own style is to choose an iconic woman who has a similar body shape to you, and look at what works – or worked – for them. After all, they’ve had countless people – couturiers and/or stylists – who have been paid to work with them and create ‘looks’. Your icon has already spent the money and done the hard work, so all you need to do is adapt those ideas to suit yourself and you’re on to a winner. Here are some of the women whose looks I’ve drawn on over the years to evolve my own image…

Coco Chanel did away with figure-distorting Edwardian-era dress shapes and championed relaxed dressing. She is credited as the inventor of the ultimate fashion staple – the little black dress.

Louise Brooks The 1920s silver-screen star is timeless. She wasn’t classically beautiful but, boy, did she make an impact! Lulu taught me that finding your style is all about working with what you’ve got and bringing out the best in yourself.

Grace Kelly had a natural, elegant style and worked with simple shapes that look as good today as they did back then. I draw inspiration from her dresses for my fashion label Project D.

Elizabeth Taylor knew how to rock her curves! Her cinch-waisted dress shapes work really well on me. She’s helped me to find my style.

Twiggy was a ‘supermodel’ before the term even existed. She embodies the 1960s – when I think of that era, she’s one of the iconic faces that captures the mood, the time, the make-up and the clothes.

Kate Moss is a modern-day style icon – her look is a mixture of vintage and expensive pieces which create a signature style that always looks effortless.

Victoria Beckham’s look has really evolved. She’s discovered it and learnt a lot from people along the way – I love that.

Barbie is awesome – she has a bigger wardrobe than any girl in the world! It’s packed with couture from the greatest designers in history, created specially for her.

Finding that dress

'A chic number by Roland Mouret'

There’s nothing better than buying off-the-peg and having a garment tweaked to fit you – it gives clothes that made-to-measure feel, making them look sharper and more expensive.

Know what suits you and shop with a shape in mind. Find a picture of the style of dress you’re looking for and take it with you. This is where your style icons come into their own.

Once you find a dress that you love, don’t be scared to buy it in other patterns or colourways. This can solve many last-minute crises!

Reduce your chances of bumping into someone else wearing ‘your’ dress at a party by buying a pattern and either making it yourself or having it made. If you’re feeling adventurous, avoid ‘fashion clashin’’ by making adjustments to ensure that your dress is unique.

You can’t beat an experienced eye, so if you find someone local who’s really good, ask them to alter something to fit you better. Get them to explain what they’re doing so that you learn to tweak your clothes to perfection every time.

Think you’ve already got the right dress in your wardrobe? Well, you can’t improve on perfection, so take it to a local tailor or seamstress and get them to copy it in another
fabric or colour.

How to decipher dress codes

'A well-chosen LBD, like this one by Martin Grant, will last for seasons'

If you’ve ever found yourself cross-eyed trying to figure out the dress code on an invitation, you’re not alone. Many a party-goer has been tripped up by her designer trainers or caught out in a thigh-skimming mini when a ball gown was called for. Here’s my foolproof dress decoder.

Casual Anything goes! Jeans, shorts, combats, kaftans, capris… Exercise your own style
with confidence.

Smart/casual Perhaps the most ambiguous of the dress codes. What qualifies as smart/casual at one venue will see you stranded in the street outside another. Generally, if you’re nicely presented – women in a dress or trousers with great accessories, men wearing a tailored jacket, trousers and a light-coloured shirt – you can’t go wrong, right? Actually, no! A tie or even a suit may or may not be required, and some places will turn away designer denim and diamond-encrusted trainers! My advice is to call the venue or the party host ahead to make sure you get it just right.

Garden party Ladies, here’s your chance to wear a pretty flowing dress – avoiding long hemlines that drag on the ground. Men should stick to smart/casual, perhaps opting for a light-coloured suit in hot weather.

Informal Don’t be fooled – this does not mean casual. Men, wear a dark suit; ladies, wear a short (anything but evening-length) dress.

Lounge suit Lots of options for the ladies here – a pretty frock, smart suit or a cocktail dress (for an early evening event) will all pass muster. For the men, it’s a dark suit, white shirt and tie.

Cocktail (after 5pm) Now we’re really starting to stretch our sartorial legs. A glamorous frock and fabulous accessories for women, a suit (ideally dark) and tie for men.

Black tie optional This dress code implies that formal attire is required. Men have the option of wearing a dinner jacket or a dark suit and tie; women should wear a cocktail dress or long evening gown.

Black tie (after 4.30pm) Out come the lush evening dresses for the ladies, while the guys get to channel their inner James Bond in dinner jackets, matching trousers and – my favourite – black bow ties.

White tie (after 6pm) Ready for your Cinderella moment? White tie is super-formal, with men
in black tails, black trousers, white waistcoats and bow ties, and ladies in evening gowns. Glass slippers optional…

Get the foundations right
'The London-based Aussie designers who made this dress, Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo, are long-time favourites of mine'

My underwear secrets

With all the brilliant products around these days, there’s no excuse for nipples or knicker lines to be on display when you’re in your party finery. Good underwear is the solid foundation on which style is built. The people who do red carpet might well have the personal trainer and the special-event diets, but they also have all the tricks going on underneath the dress.

The perfect bra

A bra that fits really well can completely transform your décolletage and make you feel – and look – like a new woman. Rigby & Peller is famous for its bra fitting and alteration services. The size of a woman’s breasts fluctuates constantly. To avoid the horrors of four boobs and back cleavage, Rigby & Peller recommends we have our measurements checked every six months. Most department stores and lingerie shops have in-house bra fitters these days. You may discover that your size varies from brand to brand – you’ll most certainly discover that you feel good and look great when you’re wearing the right foundations. You don’t need to buy dozens of different bras, you just need a couple that fit really well. It all comes back to making the most of your assets. One brand I love is Aussie label Pleasure State.

Banish VPL

Seam-free knickers are the only way to guarantee that you will avoid visible panty line. Marks & Spencer sells seam-free, no-VPL knickers in every possible style, from boy shorts to thongs. The trick is to always wear nude-colour underwear under white because if the fabric of your clothing is at all see-through, white under white will show through.

Shape up

Possibly the greatest fashion invention of the 21st century (and the company was only established in 2000, so that’s not bad going), Spanx is a range of body-shaping underwear that smooths and streamlines the figure, helping you to retain a fabulous shape in the face of close-fitting cuts and clingy fabrics.

Don’t reveal too much

Hollywood is a genius Aussie range of red-carpet-ready products including CoverUps and No-Show Concealers – nipple covers that ensure you leave a little something to the imagination, especially when you’re going bra-free.

Perfect pins

The right hosiery can put the finishing touches to an outfit and deftly update an ensemble from day to evening. I love opaques and boots for winter, and there’s nothing like a pair of sheer stockings with seams down the back for a touch of sexy sophistication. Then there are Capezio professional dancewear fishnets (of Kylie’s Homecoming Tour fame). They look fab and they’re the tights equivalent of Spanx. Love them! l White tie (after 6pm) Ready for your Cinderella moment? White tie is super-formal, with men in black tails, black trousers, white waistcoats and bow ties, and ladies in evening gowns. Glass slippers optional…

The handbags
'You need a decent-size day bag, like this one by Anya Hindmarch, to throw everything in!'

Day bags

I like a decent-sized bag so that I can throw everything in it. I joke that my handbag is a mini wardrobe. I choose bags with at least one zip pocket inside them where I can keep the things
that I can’t afford to lose – my keys, phone and lip balm. I put everything else in a Ruby and Ginger handbag insert and just lift it out to transfer my gear to another tote. It’s a little piece of portable genius.


There’s so much opportunity to express yourself with a clutch. My favourite is a gold leather Lulu Guinness one in the shape of a pair of lips. My Giani Bernini clutch has a detachable strap, so I can pop it under my arm or hang it over my shoulder to keep my hands free for a glass of champagne.

Clutch control When you’re not using your clutches, stuff them to help them keep their shape. I like to use bubble wrap because it has some guts to it and won’t mark or stain the inside of the bag

All about the extras

My accessories principles

I believe that a beautiful outfit doesn’t truly come alive until it has been accessorised. I still have pieces that I bought years ago, and my collection is now a mix of big show stoppers and elegant trinkets. Choices are often influenced by lifestyle: I love earrings, but I don’t wear them much as my toddler Ethan tends to grab them. Then there are the accessories that are so much a part of you that you feel naked without them.

You can change the personality of an outfit by styling it with different items, and you don’t have to spend a fortune to create your own look. If I ask a friend about something they’re wearing, often it will turn out to be from a high-street store.

The tights


I love wearing black opaque tights with little sweater dresses in winter. Seamed stockings look
cheeky teamed with 1950s-style frocks and high stilettos, and I love Capezio’s ‘power’ fishnets – they look super-glamorous with pencil skirts

The sunglasses

Don’t underestimate the power of sunglasses to jazz up an outfit. I never go anywhere without a pair in my handbag and a back-up pair in the car, and I have a few spares in a drawer in my wardrobe, too. I choose them according to my mood. Some are very, ‘Hey, look at me!’ Others allow me to hide when I’m in the mood to blend into the background, and some are practical for throwing on when I’m driving or have had a sleepless night with Ethan. The secret is finding a shape that suits your face. I think aviators are timeless — I have some in gold and silver. I own a pair of cherry-red, heart-shaped sunnies from Cutler and Gross, and the vintage Christian Dior super-sizers I’m wearing here for when I want to up the glam factor!

The scarves

I feel naked if I leave the house without a scarf, such as the Tabitha one I’m wearing in this photo. I’m constantly adding to my collection and thinking of ways to pair scarves with different outfits. A scarf has the power to elongate and slim the body in the same way as vertical stripes and pleats.

Storage solution I hang scarves on fuzzy hangers, a couple over each, so they’re easy to find and don’t crease or fall on the floor of my wardrobe

The shoes
'Absolutely fabulous! Me and my Georgina Goodman Love shoes'

Whether it’s on the red carpet or in front of TV cameras, I’m judged, quite literally, from top to toe. My feet are pretty teeny — I take a European size 35 — and many brands don’t even make shoes that small, so it can be quite an achievement for me to find something I like. If I do see shoes I like
in my size, I tend to buy them and hope that somewhere down the line they will go with an outfit. It means I generally go for more conservative shoes as I don’t really have that many to choose from.


I have been walking to work
a lot lately — I’ve even been known to run through Sydney to get to appointments on time! I’ll wear ballet flats or flip-flops, race to a meeting, then put on my heels, pop the flats in my handbag, and attempt to make a grand entrance! Lindsay Phillips makes cute Switch Flops, where you can change the strap to suit your look, and Snap Shoes with interchangeable adornments.

My favourite brands

Giuseppe Zanotti There are many good reasons why Italy is renowned for its shoemakers and Giuseppe Zanotti is one of them. He creates shoes that are beautiful with an edge. I visit his store on London’s Walton Street every opportunity I get.

Charlotte Olympia British shoe designer Charlotte Olympia is amazing. Her handmade shoes are old Hollywood glamour with a modern twist. I have a black satin pair with a really high heel, a platform sole and a frill at the back, and I wear them with everything. Her trademark is a nude-coloured sole with a gold metallic spider on it. I love the soles as much as the shoes themselves.

Georgina Goodman I discovered British shoemaker Georgina Goodman through her unmistakable Love shoes. Her styles are just so cool and different. They are beautiful — it wouldn’t be a sin to own them in two colourways!

Yves Saint Laurent I’ll go into the YSL store on London’s Bond Street for one pair of shoes and come out with some in every colour. This may seem excessive, but it’s a splurge that has actually worked wonders for photo shoots, the red carpet and TV shows.

Sergio Rossi Italian shoemaker Sergio Rossi’s designs are fantastic, with stack heels, sexy strapping and divine crystal and metallic embellishments.

The hats
'This hat by Philip Treacy is a favourite'

Bowlers I’ve got a gorgeous black bowler from a Marks & Spencer commercial. I don’t get many opportunities to wear it, but I’m planning to hang it on the corner of the mirror in my wardrobe so that I get to enjoy it just the same.

Berets My go-to hat when I have a bad hair day. Berets hide a multitude of sins – especially handy when I can’t get to grips with one of the styles that my hair stylists have taught me to do myself. I have them in navy and black, so they go with just about everything. I love the way they keep my head toasty in winter.

Dressy hats Flowers and Philip Treacy! My wardrobe wonderland… How can I choose my favourites? You can never have enough in your wardrobe.

The jewellery
Necklace by Pink Loulou

Rings I got to wear some magnificent statement pieces on The X Factor – bold, funky rocks and quirky cocktail rings. Fashionista heaven. One of my favourite ring designers is Lola Rose, with its classic-cut crystals, semiprecious stones and a choice of gold and silver. I can wear the same big ring with jeans and a jacket or use it to dress up a frock.

Everyday rings For daywear, simple and delicate is always in style. I’m slowly adding to my collection of Annoushka stackable rings. I can mix the metals and stones to suit my mood. There’s a combination to go with every outfit.

Gold or silver? I go through gold and silver phases so, if I really love a piece, I never give up on it and chuck it out. I know it will come back into favour eventually.

Something borrowed A lot of ‘unauthorised borrowing’ goes on in the Minogue household. I found a beautiful pearl necklace in my mum’s jewellery box a few years ago. Happily she made the ‘loan’ permanent!

Vintage jewellery can be a real talking point. You can pick up fabulous designer pieces at auction for a fraction of the price. If you inherit a piece of jewellery that you don’t feel suits you, a bit of remodelling can work wonders.