Tagged as: shopping tips

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.


Seven Seasonal Trends for the Savvy Shopper for Autumn Winter 2017


autumn 2017 fashion trends

Jacket Next

So it’s most definitely that time of year when I give you my recommendations for the key items to buy from the high street for the coming six months to ensure you look stylish and modern without wasting money on here today gone tomorrow trends.  The weather has most emphatically become autumnal and it’s time to drag out the coats, boots and scarves and get ready to face the winter with our best foot forward ..hopefully in a red boot!!

First up, is a long sleeved floral midi dress. They look great with trainers and bare legs whilst you can bear it and then with tights and ankle boots as the mercury starts plummeting. Layer with a leather jacket right now and with a polo neck and coat when necessary. Favourites I’ve seen are from Hush, Dorothy Perkins, H&M, FCUK, Ganni and Zara. They will work though autumn and winter and into the spring and early summer and again for next autumn and winter. Ensure the colour you buy suits your complexion.. there are a plethora of dresses with florals on a black background.. if you are anything other than very dark haired go for a burgundy or navy-esque background.

autumn 2017 fashion trends

Dress Hush


Next, red is abounding as the colour of the season particularly visible on coats, shoes and boots. I personally think bright red boots could be a here today gone in February kind of trend so would advocate going for red in a more subtle shade such as burgundy instead. Burgundy or versions of this shade are always stylish so it makes sense to play into the trend with a classic colour that will last years instead of months. If you do want to invest in some red boots M&S has a very attractive ankle boot with kitten heels for £50.


autumn 2017 fashion trends

Boots Very


Sock boots in a rainbow of colours  are also having a moment. Seen with both skyscraper heels and kitten heels they are available everywhere including Zara, Topshop,M&S, Kurt Geiger and Aldo. Invest in a lower heeled pair as you will get more wear out of them and don’t spend too much. I have bought a navy pair from M&S but go wild and buy a coloured pair which will definitely put some zing into your wardrobe.No need to spend more than £30-£40 as they are only made of fabric. Look great paired with midi dresses and skirts, cropped and full length jeans.


autumn 2017 fashion trend

Boots M&S


Slogan t-shirts and sweatshirts have been prevalent for the last little while. Hush has a fantastic collection especially when worn with their range of lounge pants which plays into the Athleisure trend without much effort required.
The sweatshirt shown here is my favourite of their offerings. As long as you buy your slogan top in a flattering colour you will wear it throughout the season and into next spring and beyond as its so easy to pull on and wear with any kind of trousers, jeans, skirts and shorts.


autumn 2017 fashion trend

Sweatshirt Hush


Pleated midi skirts show no evidence of disappearing so if you haven’t already it is most certainly time to invest in one. Available everywhere – Next has a very good range this autumn as does M&S. Look great with both ankle boots, court shoes and trainers. A useful item to your wardrobe which can be worn year round.


autumn 2017 fashion trend

Skirt Next

High cut court shoes a la Victoria Beckham also show no sign of going away and are available everywhere . Even if you don’t lead a court shoe kind of life they do look great with jeans and a top & blazer or leather jacket for a night out. Great pairs available from M&S, Next, Zara, Topshop and most major retailers. No need to spend a fortune unless you are going to wear them for work but I would recommend investing in a pair as they are very of the moment and will lend a modern twist to your existing wardrobe.

autumn 2017 fashion trend

Shoes Kin at John Lewis


Finally, a round cross body bag. Most certainly a trend but a cross body bag is always useful.. go larger if you will be using it for day and smaller if just for evenings.  Don’t spend too much but definitely invest in a coloured one and wear to lift any outfit. Great options in most retailers. This one from Cos I really like.

autumn 2017 fashion trend

Bag Cos


Possibly all seven trends are not your cup of tea but investing in just one or two won’t break the bank and will lift your current wardrobe to new heights!  If you haven’t already, I highly recommend investing in 3 perennial classics; leather biker jacket, white trainers and cropped wide leg jeans. Year round useful and here to stay and stay!

autumn 2017 fashion trend

Happy 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.


Capsule Wardrobe Tips – Invest in a denim jacket


One item of clothing I recommend to ALL clients when I’m sorting out their wardrobes, giving them capsule wardrobe tips and compiling a shopping list of key items to invest in is a denim jacket. It works for everyone; young or old; skinny or curvy, classic or romantic dresser. It’s an integral part of a summer wardrobe and can be worn year round. If you don’t have one – I highly recommend that you invest in one and here’s why…

  • It goes with everything… .colour, neutrals, patterns, plains, florals, stripes, metallics….denim is the ultimate neutral – just as jeans are. Who wouldn’t want a jacket that will go with absolutely everything in your wardrobe? My tip would be that if you are fair or redhead go for a mid blue colour and if you are brunette or darker go for a dark blue or indigo wash.


  • They are inexpensive. My current denim jacket is from the Gap outlet shop at the Braintree retail outlet. It cost less than £25. I wear it year after year throughout the spring and summer meaning that the cost per wear is down to pennies. This is the mark of a great and useful of clothing within a capsule wardrobe. There is definitely no need to spend any more than £40.


  • They keep you warm. Unfortunately, this is critical during a British summer. An ideal item to take on your holiday abroad too as they are perfect for before and during the flight and can be balled up in a bag once you land in warmer climes and will look as good as new once you shake it out.


  • They work with all styles of clothing; maxi skirts and dresses, knee length (or shorter) dresses and skirts, shorts, trousers, palazzo pants,jeans..whatever you want!  One word of warning…if you do do double denim just check in the mirror before you go out that the double denim is working as there is a fine line between looking good and looking like an aging rocker!


  • A useful item for layering in the spring and summer underneath a sleeveless waistcoat, gillet or leather jacket.


  • A youthful look for all ages without running the risk of looking like mutton.


  • Can get in a variety of colours and washes – there will be something for everyone. The most versatile colours will be a mid or dark blue in a standard wash.. these will stand the test of time and trends. If money is less of an issue then by all means invest in a denim jacket with ruffles or embroidery but prepare for it to be out of fashion within the year.


  • They wash well and will last for years. I find mine wear out and get all faded long before I have tired of them.


  • It’s best to buy a size smaller than you are as the snug fit is the look you are after and it’s unlikely you will be wearing it done up.As long as it fits on the arms it’s definitely best to go down a size. The trend right now is for oversized styles but this is a passing trend so I would always recommend the snug fit than the slightly baggy to oversized…within a few months it will look odd.


Other places to source a classic and inexpensive denim jacket right now would be:

capsule wardrobe tips

Gap Denim Jacket £39







I need a Personal Shopper? – Shopping Skills for the Mid life Woman

i need a personal shopper


A bit of mid life background!! 

In recent years there have been a multitude of articles stating that the high street doesn’t cater for the middle aged woman. As recently as yesterday India Knight (who I love) bemoaned the UK high street in her column in the Sunday Times magazine. After having taken many middle aged women personal shopping  ( I hate that expression middle aged – it seems to imply a frumpy woman who has lost all purpose and style in life –  but for the purposes of this blog I will say that it covers the age range 39-64)  I can categorically state that whilst there isn’t any shop that is expressly targeting the 40+ woman, that within every high street retailer there will be pieces that work for us.

Typically the clients who I shop with , my friends and acquaintances and myself… all in the mid-life bracket (that sounds better than middle aged) have the below body issues…this is certainly not an exhaustive list but some of the key issues that come up time and again…

  1. typically have had children and therefore have the mum tum as a badge of honour often complete with stretch marks. If not a mum tum then certainly a menopausal tum..In any event its a tummy that needs camouflaging.
  2. tops of the arms starting to sag
  3. a morbid fear of getting their legs out – citing their “pasty white flesh” (their words) as unsightly unless masked with fake tan
  4. a belief that there is nothing available for the 40+ woman to purchase
  5. a fear of getting it wrong and looking like mutton
  6. a general lack of awareness of the colours and styles that suit them (unless they have had a session with me)


Why I find personal shopping easy for both myself and for my clients

However, I am a 44 year old woman with a mum tum, heavy thighs and long monkey arms. Yes I’m tall which does give some advantages but if you have met me you might disagree that I have the above issues but isn’t that the point of what I do – to disguise the bad and flatter the good?

Anyway despite the above body challenges I find it easy to shop and find things that I like and that suit me – be it from John Lewis, a pop up preloved sale or a charity shop. Sometimes I wish I didn’t find it so easy..my credit card would thank me!

I find it easy purely because I:

  • know my colouring and understand what colours suit me and why I have to step away from black and bright colours
  • understand my body shape – the good and the bad
  • get my lifestyle and the impact it has on my wardrobe and shopping choices..i.e. there’s no point browsing cute tailored jackets in shops or on line as I don’t have any need to wear them however much I might like them.
  • am aware of my budget and what I will and won’t spend money on – yes to handbags and shoes, no to tops and jeans
  • appreciate my natural style – I like a lot of denim, statement jewellery pieces, heels at times, stripes and clean lines with only a bit of pattern from time to time. I also like wearing current trends when they suit me and are appropriate to my lifestyle

The same applies to my clients. Obviously ones I have worked with prior to going shopping I know well. However, even with clients who I just meet to shop with, I can find out the above information which gives me a good starting point as to what they should be buying and wearing.


A typical shopping trip

I start off in Monsoon, head over to Warehouse, All Saints (if the client can wear cool colours), Dune, Cos, Kurt Geiger, Hobbs, John Lewis, Clarks, Apricot, Zara, Next and M&S. Possibly popping into Dorothy Perkins and H&M if we have time. Online I would peruse Boden, Finery (also available in John Lewis), Me & Em, Baukjen, Uterque and &Other Stories.

My clients have ranged from early 30’s to late 60’s, from 5 feet to 6 feet from size 6-8 to size 18 and every single shopping trip we have found items of clothing in the shops that work for the client’s budget, colouring,bodyshape, lifestyle and style preference

How to apply this to you – do I need a personal shopper?

  • Get a colour and style analysis done – if not with me then another personal stylist or at least self diagnose using online tools.
  • Decide your budget
  • Evaluate your lifestyle; what do you wear for work and for leisure
  • Sort out your wardrobe and then decide what gaps there are and start making a shopping list of items to purchase.
  • If you have any events coming up – do you need to buy something to wear or can you wear an existing item and refresh by buying new accessories
  • Follow my shopping guide as a starting point (this actually follows the layout of Westfield Stratford but could apply to any large city centre)
  • Accessories are an easy starting point to add colour and interest to your wardrobe. If you see an item of jewellery or scarf that you know will work for you then buy it. You can make an outfits with it in due course.
  • A great pair of  shoes adds instant oompf to your outfit – especially coloured or patterned ones
  • Invest in metallic accessories. Silver or pewter if you are cool skinned and yellow gold and copper if you are warmed skinned. Rose gold suits everyone.
  • Keep abreast of trends by either subscribing to a woman’s magazine like Red, Woman & Home or Good Housekeeping or following a  fashion blogger who actually wears outfits that could be worn in the real world of Essex/Suffolk. I like NotDressedAsLamb and The Edited


So to summarise this is not a exhaustive how to clear out your wardrobe and go shopping but more a rebuff to the constant articles that state there is nothing to buy if you are 40+. My empirical evidence of my shopping experiences with clients and shopping for myself lead me to definitely state that the UK high street ,both off and online is a fantastic place to source clothes and we are very lucky to have easy and immediate access to it. If you follow my tips in – how does this apply to you do I need a personal shopper? – you should find finding the right clothing items to purchase much easier and overall shopping should become a pleasurable experience. Obviously I would love to work with you to take you personal shopping but if you follow the above tips you should have more than enough skills to be your own personal shopper and stage your own successful shopping trip.

Don’t believe me or have any comments.. I’d love to hear from you!


Stylish Women’s Trainers for 2017


stylish womens trainers

Am sure you have a pair of ancient converse somewhere in the depths of your wardrobe or cloakroom and possibly even a pair of white Stan Smith-esque trainers.. certainly the trainer of choice of the discerning woman in 2016.  However, what if you want a pair of stylish women’s trainers that aren’t white? White trainers may be the choice of the fashion blogger but they certainly aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. I have been toying with the idea of a pair of white trainers for months but white isn’t quite my colour of choice for my footwear especially as I have size 7 feet and think they could make my feet look bigger..Also is a box fresh white pair of trainers really the look I’m looking for? Whilst umming and aahing I have been looking around online and in shops for other cool and stylish women’s  trainer options and have created a quick list of stylish trainers I would most certainly consider if I don’t settle on the Stan Smith or maybe as well as…my podiatrist would certainly be happy if I started wearing trainers most of the time!!

The price point on some of the trainers is quite high but if you wear them several times this spring and summer and the same the following the year the cost per wear will be quite low and therefore probably worth the spend especially if you love them!


stylish womens trainers

Bussey – Air and Grace – £139


The Bussey Trainer from Air and Grace. Retailing at £139 – it comes in 5 different colourways including my personal favourite rose gold shown here.  The two metallic options are out of stock right now but more stock coming in March and you can sign up for an alert when they restock. A metallic shoe or trainer is always a good option as it will go with everything much as black, white or navy footwear would.


stylish womens trainers

Essentiel Antwerp £145

Belgium brand which can be found online at www.essentiel-antwerp.com or on sale at local Colchester boutique Simply Living. The leaf print is really unusual and would work really well for someone with autumn colouring.The platform sole and pull on design make them a really stylish option.


stylish womens trainers

J Lindberg – £145

Found on Atterley.com website. These have the 3 velcro straps similar to Stan Smiths but come in 3 colour ways – blush, bright blue and white and are made in Italian suede..hence the high price.


stylish womens trainers

Rose Rankin – £189


Found on the Collen and Clare website and also available in their shops in Suffolk and Norfolk this pull on chelsea boot trainer is quite unusual and the stars make them really quirky. A very high price but if you wear and wear them for a few years worth the money. As  they are a metallic colour they will go with everything.

Stylish womens trainers

Ash Virgin boot – various prices

A long time favourite of mine. I have the taupe pair which are now so battered I have replaced them with a metallic colour in the sale. Really useful for all eventualities and the Ash sale is always fantastic with discounts as high as 70%. Have a look at their current sale items here. The Virgin Ash boot comes in multiple colours so take your pick. I have recommended this trainer boot as an essential item to several clients and none have been disappointed in terms of comfort, style, use and value for money.


stylish womens trainers

Office – Fluffy Pompom Trainers – £38



This cheap and cheerful option from Office  is really good value for money and come in off white, grey and pink. The pompom is very now but they can be removed once the trend passes.

stylish womens trainers

Vagabond Pink Trainers- £75


Found on Urban Outfitters website and comes in pink and black.


Obviously there are loads of trendy trainersque shoes on the high street and online from places such as Office, Schuh and Dune but this selection is hopefully items that you won’t necessarily find  on the high street..something a little bit different to consider buying.

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.