Tagged as: effortless dressing

How to decide what to wear and buy each season (without having to go shopping)

 

how to decide what to wear and buy

Decisions, decisions, decisions!

So many of my clients say they have no idea where to start buying clothes and are keen not to waste money so that when they do buy items they will actually wear them and get the wear out of them…. with this in mind I have compiled an easy guide to how to decide what to wear and buy for the coming season which I actually do follow more or less to the letter myself.. I hope you find it helpful..

1.Sign up to email alerts from your favourite shops so you will get details of all new offerings plus ideas on how to put outfits together and details of sales, discounts and other offers. Ones that I recommend and receive emails from are amongst others Hush, FCUK, Whistles, Finery, Sosandar. Me & Em, Baukjen , Boden, John Lewis, M&S, Topshop and H&M. This gives me a good cross reference of shops, prices and target market which helps me start to build up a profile of what is coming into the shops across a range of price points and age ranges.

2. I then use this info to start creating a seasonal pinboard. This is my current one that I have just started pinning on..follow it if you would like some inspiration for your own. Every time I get an email alert of items that I like I pin the item(s) on the board. Slowly over time you will build up a profile of items and trends that you like and start to get a mental picture of possibilities to consider buying.

3. Look through fashion magazines and catalogues either in hard copy or online. This again should give you ideas of what is coming, what you like and how to put outfits together. Anything you like track down online if in a hard copy magazine and pin on your seasonal pin board.

4. Follow style influencers on Instagram for outfit ideas and inspiration. It call all be quite contrived on Instagram but if you find a couple that resonate with you then just follow them and that should give you more than enough food for thought.A few I recommend are Beth Goodrham_stylist, Erica_Davies and doesmybumlook40.

5. Read the daily press online. The Times always has a style article and Sunday Times Style magazine is always full of interesting style and fashion spreads for inspiration.

6. If you are a keen pinner then pinterest itself can also be a source of great ideas that you can then pin on your own board.

7. If you do happen to find yourself in a shop or two then their key pieces are always placed at the front of the shop as you walk in so they immediately catch you eye as you enter the shop.

8. Sign up to emails from style blogs. My favourite is Who What Wear (UK version) but I also find The Pool has great fashion and style articles too.

Gradually over a couple of months.. January and February for spring/summer and August and September for autumn/winter a mental profile of  what you like and what will suit you and what you will actually wear based on your colouring, body shape and lifestyle will emerge. You only need to buy a few key pieces each season to look current and add modernity to your existing wardrobe but the trick is only exactly what these items should be. It will differ from person to person. I send out a bi-annual seasonal round up in March and October of what I think the key pieces that 40 plus women should buy but it is inevitably quite generic so use this as a further aid to hone your own pinboard. Once you have your list of 5-6 key items you would like to buy find the exact item that meets all your requirements ie colour, price and style and order it or buy directly if you happen to be in the shop. Try it on and be critical.. is it exactly what you wanted, is it flattering, will it work with other items in your wardrobe and most importantly do you feel great in it? If not… send it back or return it and move on to the next item. Don’t remove the tags when you put it in your wardrobe…only do that when you come to actually wear it as you can then still change your mind if you come across an even better ie pair of boots or floral maxi dress or whatever it may be…

Following this easy step by step guide of what to wear and buy each season might seem prescriptive but it will bear fruits in a lower spend on spontaneous items that you don’t end up wearing much or at all and a more coherent and flattering wardrobe that you wear and feel and look great in!

Follow up

For any questions about this blog or to contact me to find out how I could help you dress well call 07500 443974. If you like this blog please share with your friends and/or comment and to get regular updates on  what to buy and how to wear it please like my facebook business page and subscribe to my monthly newsletter on my homepage.

 

What to wear for Xmas – parties, drinks and the big day itself!

Party or day wear

Having just given a talk about Xmas dressing at the Lifehouse Spa in Thorpe le Soken at their Pamper & Sparkle Xmas event I thought I’d write a seasonal blog to sum up what I said about what to wear for Xmas  which hopefully you’ll find quite useful.

In essence there are two main areas of Xmas dressing…. party wear and lounging around in the house wear.. In general parties tend to be in the evening so it’s dark with lots of candles and fairy lights twinkling. It therefore makes sense to mirror this “twinkliness” with some sequins or glitter or sparkle on your clothing. Christmas dressing is most definitely the time for texture on your clothing…be it velvet, fur, sequins, chiffon or anything else you fancy…velvet is having a big moment right now and whilst it can look great.. if you are anything more than slim be mindful that it can add bulk and structure to your frame.

Lounge wear or anytime you are at home either chilling or entertaining does not mean it’s time for a onsie..obviously comfort is key but try a loose dress or jumpsuit for Xmas day so that you looked pulled together but still lots of room for tummy expansion after you have eaten your body weight in Xmas dinner and festive chocolates! Pair with some metallic jewellery and heels or shoe boots – high-ish if you can stand it…lower if not.. you’ll inevitably kick them off during the day!

 

Festive colours

In terms of colours to wear.. if you are very dark – black is always a good and safe bet. However, why not push the boundaries a bit and go for pine green, fuschia or royal blue. If you have lighter coloured hair and eyes then try pink (there’s a lot around this year), navy, soft burgundy, silver or grey. If your colouring is warmer copper, gold, navy,forest green  and brown are all good options. Having looked around the shops online and IRL I think there are a multitude of options in all colour ways which would work without having to go down the usual black root. Places to look include H&M (their forest green sparkly jumper at only £17.99 is well worth purchasing), Phase Eight (especially with their 25% off everything Black Friday offer right now) and Next.

 

 

Christmas Jumpers

Whilst understanding that novelty Christmas  jumpers are very popular I don’t really grasp why… they are hot, unflattering and only see the light day once a year. Why not wear something equally festive but that is more flattering, cooler and can be worn more than once a year? Good options would be this jumper from Next, great for Xmas day or for lounging but can equally be worn in February. Sosandar and M&S have some good options for tasteful Xmas jumpers this year. If you are more of a traditionalist with your festive attire then Primark has some great and inexpensive options.

 

Metallics

If you read my blog from earlier in the year when I waxed lyrical about the benefits of wearing metallics then you will already be familiar with how useful metallic shoes, boots, bags, belts and jewellery can be ….silvery or pewter coloured if you have cool skin and gold or coppery coloured if you have warmer skin. Rose gold is having a moment right now and particularly suits  summer colouring but can be viewed as universally flattering. Alternatively, get some three tone (yellow gold, silver and rose gold) jewellery.  However, during the Xmas season metallic clothing can also be a great option – a silver top worn with jeans or black trousers with silver boots or heels is a stylish and very easy festive-esque outfit to procure. A gold dress or short cardy paired with a simple top and gold jewellery will look fantastic and again very festive but can be worn throughout the year. I’m a big fan of gold shoes so would highly recommend these from Boden as shoe boots are a great option that will go with skirts, dresses, trousers and jeans.

 

Legwear

A question I am always asked is about what to wear on your legs during the winter. In general I am not a fan of sheer tights… I don’t think there is ever an occasion for them…at a push if you have great legs and are wearing a LBD you may be able to get away with sheer black tights but in general I think opaques in the same colour as your boots or shoes work best in the winter. For evening wear I think you can definitely get away with bare legs if your dress or skirt is knee length or below…any higher hem line and I’d put the opaques on. Over the knee boots are also a great option for legs with skirts and dresses and totally remove the issue of what to wear on your legs as your legs are entirely hidden!

 

Magic Metallics – time to embrace metallic accessories!

 

metallic accessoriesEver since I had my first colour analysis done in my my mid 20’s I have been a fan of gold jewellery and accessories seeing how it looked really lovely against my skin making it look warm and burnished and really bringing out the the yellow undertone. This opposed to silvery coloured jewellery that made my skin look cold and unappealing.

I have bought gold coloured necklaces, bracelets, bangles, earrings, toe-rings, ear cuffs …. you name it I have bought it. When funds or a birthday came along I might invest in real gold jewellery but in the main it was gold or copper coloured costume jewellery. I found that not only did it work with my skin tone but it was so versatile.. it went with  everything in my wardrobe.. summer or winter.. day or night…

metallic accessories

 

I slowly started investing in gold/copper coloured totes, clutches, shoppers, sandals, court shoes, flip flops, belts and scarves… eventually there wasn’t a single accessory that I didn’t have in a gold hue….

 

As with the jewellery I found that there wasn’t anything in my wardrobe that wouldn’t work with a gold bag or pair of shoes, scarves or belt. I believe I have found the ultimate neutral (an colour that works with the majority of items in your wardrobe).

In any holiday capsule wardrobe I put together either for myself or a client there will be at least 2 pairs of metallic shoes/sandals and a metallic bag or clutch. In every wardrobe audit and shopping list compilation there will metallic accessories on the list as they are an integral part of any fully functioning and cohesive wardrobe and are often overlooked by people so are rarely in people’s wardrobes until I come to visit!

The only issue here is working out what your metallic colour should be…if you have yellowy skin with greenish veins you have warm skin and as I do, should wear  yellow gold or copper shades of accessories. If you have bluey/pink skin with blueish veins then you have cool skin and should wear silver or pewter coloured accessories. This could also incorporate platinum, white gold and silver jewellery.

Around 70% of people in East Anglia have cool skin and silver coloured jewellery has been the metallic colour of choice for well over 20 years so if you are in any doubt stick with silver coloured metallic accessories as statistically you are more likely to have cool skin if you live in Essex or Suffolk. Alternatively, colour analysis session will definitively confirm which undertone of skin you have and therefore which metallic works best with your skin tone.

metallic accessories

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rose gold also works well for cool skins but I do believe that those of us with warm skin can get away with it metallic accessoriestoo.. I certainly wear it. Rose gold is having a moment right now so please do incorporate it into your wardrobe as I think it’s such a pretty colour.

 

 

One word of warning… metallics work best when you have a uniform look of colours so a gold coloured watch on one wrist and a silver coloured bracelet on the other wrist looks a bit odd so one solution that I have embraced for years is wearing two or three tone jewellery and watches to bring silver, gold and rose gold metallic shades together in a cohesive look. I invested in a three tone watch not long after finding out that I should be wearing gold coloured metallics . This enabled me to be true to my skin tone but also wear silver coloured pieces whilst I was building up my collection of yellow gold/copper coloured accessories… try it it does work!

 

Any questions or suggestions I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

Giving your outfit the Wow Factor – how to create really stylish outfits!

stylish outfits

 

So with Christmas rapidly approaching it’s time to consider what to wear for a non-stop round of drinks, dinners, parties and family gatherings.  Before you select your outfit(s) for all of these festivities consider how you can inject some glamour into your outfits using some of the following pointers so that you have some really stylish outfits to wow everyone over the coming weeks. Tips apply year round not just at Xmas!

 

  1. Go monochrome

stylish outfits

Far from being boring – an entire outfit in one colour can look very chic. Be it black, burgundy, green (as shown here), navy, chocolate brown, grey, camel or any other darkish colour your fancy.  It is possible to do monochrome in any colour you fancy but tread carefully with brighter shades ie red, purple or jade green etc. When starting out with monochrome outfits stick to darker more neutral shades. I wouldn’t advocate a monochrome outfit on a daily basis but from time to time it can look really great. Think black jeans, black sparkly top, black heels or boots and a black jacket or furry shrug at this time of year. Pair with some silver or pewter coloured costume jewellery and you are ready to go.

 

2. Show off your back.

 

stylish outfits

 

As we get older we are rightly less inclined to show off much cleavage or leg but a flash of back can be equally alluring and quite unexpected especially if you are talking to someone face to face at a party in a high neck top and then you turn to mingle and your back is on display..subtle  but very attractive and our back ages less than our face or neck….See my dress at a ball.. very demure from the front but a different matter from behind. Another idea for Xmas dos is this fab dress from Finery (shown up) …even comes in a seasonal colour!

 

stylish outfitsstylish outfits

 

3. Wear eye catching shoes or boots.

stylish outfits

A simple outfit – be it jeans and a top or a simple shift dress can be given the wow factor by the addition of some great shoes or boots. Certainly doesn’t have to be a new pair.. have a good look through your wardrobe and see what you can find that will give your outfit a lift and create a talking point. EVERYONE loves an interesting pair of shoes. and during party season what you have on your feet can become a useful ice-breaker. This pair (shown above) from Zara are similar to some I have pinned on pinterest and they have been repinned countless times as everyone loves a metallic shoe… always classic and chic and provided you chose the right metallic colour – silver/pewter for cool skin and gold/copper for warm skin will look good until they wear out!!

 

4. Carry an unusual bag

stylish outfits

As with the shoes or boots pairing a simple outfit with a great bag.. be it a clutch for party season, a tote or day bag or straw or cross body bag can give some extra ooomph to your outfit. It doesn’t have to be a new or recent purchase..get your outfit together then have a rifle through your wardrobe to see what bags you have that could lift your outfit. It certainly doesn’t have to match as long as there is some correlation with pattern/colour or style with your outfit then it will look great. As with the shoes or boots it can become a talking point or ice-breaker at a do and will get lots of oohs and aaahs.

 

5. Add interesting accessories

stylish outfits

 

Adding any interesting accessory to your outfit…statement necklace, bracelet or bangle, hat or even furry snood will give what you are wearing the wow factor.  It shows you have thought about what you are wearing and the impact you want to make and as with the shoes and handbags can become a talking point. Even paired with the simplest outfit it makes a huge impact.  As a big fan of accessories I definitely believe in wearing something with oomph every day – making me look like I have made a big effort meaning the rest of my outfit can be simpler. My motto is you can never have too many accessories! I particularly love the above necklace from Boden.

 

stylish outfits

 

For those of you with dramatic style preference you will be comfortable wearing your clothes and accessories as a kind of art to get attention and to stand out. For those of us who don’t have this style preference wearing a statement piece may push you out of your comfort zone slightly but it’s good to push your boundaries and sometimes its essential to move out of your safe zone to get the wow factor into your outfit!. If you aren’t sure what your style preference is read my blog on the 5 style tribes here.

 

6 Mix your patterns

stylish outfits

 

Not at all as hard as it may look to mix your patterns.. an easy one to start with is spots and stripes. As long as the 2 patterns are the same colour way  ie navy and white as in the photo of me with stripes on top and tiny spots on the trousers then it is easy to do. Ensure that one of the patterns is bigger/bolder than the other and away you go. As your get more experienced with mixing your patterns you can beyond 2 colours and 2 patterns. The more you experiment the easier it gets.

 

As a final note if in doubt then add another wow item to your ensemble. I don’t believe less is more especially at this time of year..if you don’t think you are going to make a sufficient impact then add a furry jacket, statement piece of jewellery, cool shoes or even a hat.

 

Follow up

For any questions about this blog or to contact me to find out how I could help you dress well call 07500 443974. If you like this blog please share with your friends and/or comment and to get regular updates on  what to buy and how to wear it please like my facebook business page and subscribe to my regular newsletter on my homepage.

How to look expensive (when you’re on a budget)

dressing classy on a budget

The holy grail of dressing once you are past 30 is to look smart, elegant and stylish without actually spending much nor putting too much effort in…. but how do we look like this without spending a fortune? It’s presumably relatively easy to look a million dollars if you have a massive budget to hit Bond Street, but for the rest of us mere mortals follow my easy tips to ensure we look more high end than high street…

 

  • Wear natural fibres; wool, cotton, leather, silk, linen, suede. Whatever you buy and wear doesn’t have to be expensive but if you buy these fabrics wherever possible, your clothing will look better quality than if you buy synthetic fabrics. I’m all in favour of a mixture of fabrics but in general items you have in natural fibres will last longer and last better. A merino wool jumper from M&S or a leather jacket from Zara won’t break the bank will look like an expensive and quality item.

 

  • Wear different shades of the same colour – this tonal dressing always looks elegant especially if you wear a neutral colour. Depending on your colouring this could be navy, gray, black, camel or chocolate brown.  The darker the colour you go for, the more streamlined you will look.

 

  • Carry a plain bag – either in leather or suede. When it comes to handbags pleather or suedette isn’t enough – it needs to be leather or suede. Not having any logo or metal ware could mean the handbag is from a brand so exclusive it doesn’t even need to have any branding on it or it could be from M&S, John Lewis or Aldo… either way it will look great but without the need to have cost a fortune.

 

  • Replace cheap buttons with more expensive buttons from a haberdashers. An easy and very inexpensive way to elevate an item.

 

  • Mix low end high street with high end high street i.e.. don’t wear an entire outfit from one place – mix it up i.e.. top from Cos, trousers from H&M, shoes from Kurt Geiger and jacket from Monsoon… also a mixture of newer pieces with some older staples always works well.

 

  • Add one designer element into the mix – the easiest and most cost effective and lowest cost per wear is if it is an accessory such as a handbag, pair of sunglasses or a watch (with subtle logo).

 

  • Have regular mani-pedis and keep hair well maintained with regular cuts and/or colour.

 

  • Metallic items – be it jewellery, shoes or bags always add a touch of luxe to an outfit. Silver or pewter if you have coolish colouring or yellow gold or copper coloured if you have warmer colouring.

 

  • Get items tailored to get them to fit just so and keep them stain free. Have items that require it dry cleaned regularly and use an iron or steamer every morning

 

  • Keep shoes heeled and soled, clean and scuff free.

 

My personal recommendations for high street shops that deliver great style, modern trends and classic pieces all at fantastic prices would be H&M and Zara. For other shops that help you to look expensive on a budget click the below link:

http://www.whowhatwear.co.uk/how-to-look-expensive-online-shopping

Follow up

For any questions about this blog or to contact me to find out how I could help you dress well call 07500 443974. If you like this blog please share with your friends and/or comment and to get regular updates on  what to buy and how to wear it please like my facebook business page and subscribe to my monthly newsletter on my homepage.