Tagged as: style tips

Clothing that needs to go into Room 101 during any wardrobe declutter!!


wardrobe declutterEvery time I do a wardrobe declutter for a client, I find myself tossing away a variety of wrong ‘uns. Over time a pattern has built up of the regular transgressors that people just can’t seem to part with…Have a read of this (slightly) tongue in cheek guide to see if you have any culprits lurking in your wardrobe…if you do the time is definitely nigh to give them the heave-ho!

If you can’t bring yourself to sling things it could be time to call in an expert…



  • Number one worst item found in wardrobes is the tunic top. Generally worn to disguise hips, bums, tums and thighs but tends to do the exact opposite and make this area look bigger. Also makes legs look shorter unless you are at least 5ft 9″ tall and overall makes you look dumpy and short. There are countless other ways to disguise a pear shape or curvy hourglass shape and this isn’t one of them.


  • The dreaded legging (generally black)…often worn with the tunic of item number one. A lot of people are not happy with their leg shape, colour, marks on them etc and pair leggings with tunics, dresses,skirts in an attempt to hide the things they don’t like about their legs. This is never a good move… wear thick tights with dresses or skirts in the winter and get your bare legs out in the summer. If you don’t like the colour put a light bit of fake tan on or wear trousers or maxi skirts and dresses instead. There is no place for a pair of leggings in a stylish woman’s wardrobe except for a yoga class!


  • Elbow length cardys especially those with small buttons on the cuff. Looks like something your grandma might have worn.No need for this item ever in your wardrobe


  • Ditto shrugs and boleros.


  • Nude tights or indeed any sheer pair of tights except very sheer black tights at a black tie do paired with a black tie kind of dress. Opaque tights are the only acceptable tights and them only between October and April. If the weather is cold in the summer wear trousers or jeans or a maxi skirt or dress with bare legs


  • Aforementioned tights paired with open toe sandals or shoes. NEVER EVER appropriate!


  • Peep toe tights…need I say more?


  • Drawstring cropped shorts/pedal pushers to just below the knee – in beige – particularly dire!


  • Walking sandals. Yes they are useful when warm (I imagine) but they look dreadful. If you are hiking in the summer months wear walking trainers or boots. Your feet will sweat regardless of what you have on your feet.


  • Anoraks except for for hiking.


  • Cord a-line skirts especially with applique or embroidery on them circa Boden from 10-15 years ago


  • Square toed sling back kitten heels from the mid-late 90’s…enough said.


  • Any shoes from Hotter or Gabor. Some people do have feet issues but Clarks or Geox is just as comfortable and certainly more stylish.


  • Largely anything from Fatface, Joules, Seasalt, White Stuff or Cath Kidston.


Any additions to the list or any comments in defence of the above items.. I would love to hear!

Leather trousers..if it’s good enough for Teresa May it’s good enough for us (and they suit everyone!)

leather trousers

Teresa May wearing Amanda Wakeley


When an article appeared in the Sunday Times colour supplement in the autumn interviewing Teresa May I read it with interest and in particular clocked her outfit which showed her wearing brown leather trousers. A true style maven I thought and internally applauded her sartorial choice, then thought no more about it. The following week there was a social media furore due to the price of the trousers. Allegedly £995 from Amanda Wakeley. Needless to say, the dust settled on this little spat and politicos moved onto the next important issue. However, I believe the social media fuss missed the point entirely. This  was a woman virtually in her 60’s rocking leather trousers and looking fab not in a sexy overt way but in a stylish, elegant and understated way. If she can wear them well, then all of us post 40, can most certainly wear them too!

For too long leather trousers have been associated with ageing rockers clad head to toe in black pvc or leather. They most definitely have become a classic item that any well dressed woman should consider adding to her wardrobe. Worn in the right way any woman regardless of age, shape or size can wear them well and if your budget doesn’t stretch to leather then pleather or faux leather trousers can look just as good.


Where to source leather trousers

A quick peruse of the shop style app brings over 5000 pairs of ladies leather trousers available to purchase in the UK. From the Asos or H&M pleather versions for £25 to the Hush or Baukjen leather leggings versions for around £300 through to offerings from Isabel Marant or Ralph Lauren for over £1000 there is something for everyone.


leather trousers

Liv Leggings – Baukjen

My personal favourites are the Liv Leggings from Baukjen which come in 5 colourways including black, claret,navy, chestnut and chocolate. This is a positive step away from perennial black especially for those of us who don’t have cool colouring and find it difficult to pull black off.  I have my eye on the bitter chocolate ones!  A client who has great curvy shaped legs and is a size 12-14 recently bought these leggings and looks amazing in them.. as we concluded “good for both a Xmas night out and for Xmas shopping”..she’ll never look back now she has a pair of these! Expensive at £350 but she will wear them for years to come, they will always look good and always be useful and the cost per wear will keep dropping the more she wears them.


leather trousers

Esprit Bordeaux Red Leather Trousers


M&S, H&M and Sosander all have good faux leather offerings that won’t set you back too much so you can try them out without breaking the bank. If  you find them a useful addition to your winter wardrobe you can consider upgrading to a leather pair in the autumn or when you next see them on special offer. I have my beady eye on this pair from Esprit (love the colour). I  think I will buy them and if they really do rock my world I will invest in the Baukjen pair next year.

leather trousers

Hush Leather Leggings

Me&Em and Hush – two of my favourite online brands for stylish, well priced and good quality items that suit the modern woman’s lifestyle both have great offerings. Hush as shown above is priced similarly to Baukjen with Me & Em leather trousers for sale at over £500. They  also do have a half an half option for £400.


How to wear leather trousers

If you are tall and slim or are more rounded on top with great legs then you can wear leather trousers any way you want. With a knit and boots for daytime or with a shorter dressier top and heels for going out… the possibilities are endless . If you are more hourglass or pear shaped then you too can wear leather leggings..for day wear a top that covers the top of your thighs with boots to balance out your hips and thighs and for evening swap to a sheerer top that is more glitzy but still long enough to obscure the tops of your thighs or pair with  a long line shirt or sleeveless waistcoat..anything that skims over your thighs, hips and bums. A faux fur gillet always looks a million dollars with leather trousers.

Don’t believe me? Try with the pleather or faux-leather option and I guarantee you won’t regret it.. stylish, elegant, versatile for day or night, comfy and affordable (if you go for the pleather option). You will always have something to wear throughout the autumn and winter. They will become a staple item of your wardrobe.. a classic that will work for as long as you are happy to wear them!


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.

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.

Banish the Bingos… 7 easy ways to have bare arms this summer without baring all!

banish bingo wings

Even though we all love it when summer rolls around (even when summer isn’t quite as hot and sunny in this country as we might like…) many of us dread the prospect of getting the tops of our arms out in the summer months.  We would all like to banish our bingo wings! According to an article in  the Daily Mail there are 6 types of fat found on upper arms..ranging from your classic bingo wings to jabba flabba to  arm charms. In my experience women’s upper arms are rarely as bad as women believe them to be and if you are wearing a nice outfit which flatters your body shape your arms will barely be noticed. However, to banish bingo wings and make you feel confident about going out without covering the entire arm in one or more layers this summer then read on to find out what options might work for you….


Cold Shoulder Tops

banish bingo wings

cold shoulder top

Everywhere this summer and are incredibly flattering for all ages….Show off the tops of your shoulder which always carry less weight than the arms and skim the tops of the arms with the sleeves.  Overall effect is very flattering as the slimmer part of your body is exposed leaving the wider part hidden. On sale at all high street retailers. I particularly like the ones at New Look which come in a variety of colours and are only £9. Definitely not worth spending too much on this style as it is very much a 2016 trend which whilst flattering isn’t going to be a classic trend.


Bardot Tops

bardot top

bardot top

Another key trend of 2016 but more of a classic look that is having a renaissance this summer. Very flattering as it shows off the slimmer shoulders and clavical area but hides parts of the upper arms and also helps balance out your hips and thighs if you are pear shaped by making the shoulders look wider.  Make sure the band that goes over your arms doesn’t keep working its way up your arms as you are wearing it. The more you spend on this item the better it will fit and look.


3/4 Length Sleeves

3/4 length sleeve

3/4 length sleeve

Hides the majority of your arm but shows off the forearm and wrist which is always the slimmest bit of the arm – therefore giving the illusion of slimmer arms (even if they aren’t further up the arm). This length sleeve also has the benefit of making your legs look longer as the hem of the sleeve is further up the body.. it’s true – that’s how the eye works! Also allows the wearing of bracelets/bangles etc which adds interest to your arm and overall outfit.


Bell or Kimono Sleeves

short kimono sleeve

short kimono sleeve

kimono sleeve

kimono sleeve

Loose and floaty so helps keep you cool but also disguises the tops of the arms. Also allows the wearing of bracelets or bangles as these type of sleeves tend not to be full length.


Chiffon Material

chiffon top

chiffon top

Chiffon is a very light/sheer fabric so keeps you cool in the summer but will slightly obsure the exact shape of the arm therefore making this a flattering choice if you are not happy with the shape of your arms. A good evening choice as there is a hint of skin but not too much.


Lace Sleeves

lace sleeves

lace sleeves


Works in a similar way to chiffon sleeves as a touch of skin is visible but the exact shape is largely disguised. As long as is not heavyweight lace fabric will be a cool option for the hotter days.


Use a coverup

One final option… wear whatever short sleeved top you like and to keep the arms disguised use a wrap, pashmina or shawl around the back and the arms.. keeps the shoulders exposed but the tops of the arms hidden… Given the weather at the moment you are probably going to need an extra layer so this works a treat.


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.

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:


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.