Styling Tip for today…don’t spend too much on on-trend pieces, as often they can be worn this season but do not carry well into another. Thankfully over recent seasons we have seen many trends stick around, moving smoothly into the next season with an added touch, but ultimately meaning we can re-wear and still keep up with the trends.
Our wardrobe is generally filled with a mixture of basics, workwear, dressy and casual styles, and a selection of pieces that were bought on a whim, fitting in with a seasonal trend, but that we no longer really wear.
My worst shopping habit is that I never plan to buy. I am that person who buys things on a whim – but as soon as I buy, I integrate the piece into my wardrobe (labels straight off and worn the next day!!). I am proud to say I have worn everything in my wardrobe at least three times (many pieces have been worn hundreds of times *see my 15 year old shirt on Instagram;) ). I also do not spend a lot of money on any one piece, I often seem to get lucky with my purchases.
And so to a few on trend pieces introduced to my wardrobe over the last month or so.
First up…my new trainers, bought in the Next Outlet minutes before our movie was about to begin in the Omniplex;) I eyed up the Stan Smith version when they first came out but I didn’t have a place for them in my wardrobe then, so paying over £70 just wasn’t worth it. I recently saw them on a pre-loved site I follow for £50 but still couldn’t do it. They are a velcro close, something I knew I may fall out of love with. So at £10 (from the Next Outlet), I happily made a brand compromise!
Next, my new trousers. Wide legged trousers have always been a favourite of mine, even though I spend most of my time now in skinnies. So whenever they are revived on the catwalks, I happily pick them up. But these are sports luxe so have to be carefully styled. These are also from Next and purchased on the sale for £12!
Worn dressy with my Gucci style loafers (bought in Topshop for £7 in the New Year sale).
Or casual with one of my favourite printed t-shirts made by local designer, Gordon Donaldson.
And finally for now, on a wander around Forestside I dandered into Warehouse to have a look at their final sale items (always look out for this sign!). I noticed this cold shoulder top, the perfect transitional piece as the weather brightens up. Marked down to £8, an extra 20% off. A bargain! You may notice in the photo that the straps are a little long for me (I am quite short between neck and bust) but this didn’t stop the purchase – a quick stitch will easily fix this!
Any bargains you have got lucky with recently?
In a recent post we talked about basics in our wardrobe. Much of what was mentioned was plain colours, standard shapes and essentials. But how can we remain on trend when we only the basics in our wardrobe? Well, of course that’s where I come in with some styling tips!
1 Jewellery – add some colour or some drama with a statement necklace, keep the look subtle with a simple bangle or go dramatic with an oversized watch
2 Layering – whether this is an obvious addition like a cardigan or a subtle light coloured vest showing below a darker coloured top. A sleeveless jacket over a coat, or the layers that you don’t see to wear your S/S when the temperature still feels like A/W!
3 Tuck and Roll – an all over tight tuck into your skirt, a front tuck into trousers, a roll of the cuff or messy fold of the full sleeve
4 Footwear – flats to dress down an otherwise smart look, heels to dress up your casual jeans and tee
5 Outerwear – add the texture (fur or leather), the shape (bomber or fitted jacket), the colour (swing coat or shawl)
6 Accessories – the giant scarf, the oversized handbag, the pussybow. I see that patterned tights are returning for A/W16, update now to be ahead of the trends!
7 One trend shop – check the current trends and select one piece to add to your basics collection, something you can easily mix and match with many of your basics
I’ll be talking about S/S16 trends in a future post, pick your favourite colours, shapes and textures and build your S/S wardrobe around this. If is a trend that suits you, or you really like, it will maybe become part of your basics.
*images from Pinterest*
I’ve talked about wardrobe clear outs before and at a time when mine is once again bursting at the seams, I have been thinking of all that waste. Yes, some goes to charity, some gets passed on to friends, some goes on eBay or Depop, but actually how much of what I buy do I even need?
We naturally navigate to our favourites in our wardrobe – for me, it’s skinny jeans, flats and a printed t-shirt with a jumper to throw on over the top. If I could just wear this style everyday I would be happy. But I also like to update my look, whether because I just fancy a change or because I like a current trend. And of course I love to shop!
This leads me to thinking about what we actually should keep in our wardrobes.
As per usual, I say forget the rules. Don’t just google ‘capsule wardrobe’ and tick off everything on the list (although this is a helpful place to start!). You have to think about how you want to dress – and that includes your own style, the season, what you are comfortable in as well as what you need to wear, to work for example. And most importantly, the shape of your clothes is dependent on your body shape and what suits you, everyone’s wardrobe should be different! Also, basics are best plain, but you don’t always have to stick to black, white or grey; again, work with your own colour preference.
So here is my list, this is the ‘capsule wardrobe’ that works for me.
Tops – plain t-shirt, breton t-shirt, shirt, dressy top (quantity of each depends on what you prefer to wear – but remember, there are only 7 days in a week so two of each is plenty!)
Jumper/Cardigan – thick knit and fine knit jumper in neutral colours e.g. black/grey/maroon tend to go with most other colours; simple fine knit cardigan, long cardigan (covering the bottom area!)
Trousers – cigarette, leather (my must have for casual and ‘going out’ styles), print
Jeans – skinny black and blue denim (on trend pieces – boyfriend/flares)
Skirts – pencil, mini, midi (this is the area most dependent on style that works for you. I wear short skirts in winter, pencil or midi in summer)
Jewellery – one essential…a statement necklace (how ‘statement’ is up to your personal style)
Outerwear – parka, three quarter length coat, fitted jacket (mine’s leather), gilet (I suggest faux fur of course!), shawl/blanket scarf
Shoes – flats (of course I will recommend brogues), trainers (for fashion, not for running!!), ankle boots, knee high boots
Now, using this list, check out what you have in your wardrobe, it’s time to sort! Quick trip to Ikea, buy a clothes rail for £6 (the perfect clothes sorting essential).
And here’s your step by step guide –
1 Put on the rail anything that falls into the above points
2 Sort into categories and eliminate any items that you know you will never wear again (I have a rule – not worn in a year, bag up and leave somewhere convenient to access if necessary. Not taken out of the bag the next year, bin!)
3 Go back to your wardrobe and sort the rest into categories (this includes any on trend/print/best loved pieces)
4 Repeat Number 2
5 Put your basics back in amongst your wardrobe, keeping in categories
6 Sort through each category – do you have too much of anything or need to shop for a particular category? (I would leave it a week or two before writing any shopping lists)
This next section may be on a separate day and maybe needs a whole post of its own!
7 Try on what you have left – make outfits from items in different categories. This is where you need to get out your accessories too – try it all! In fact, put on one pair or trousers, one top – and see how many combinations you can make by changing cardigan/jumper/necklace/adding a scarf etc, etc. And take photos of all the combinations, know what you have, what looks good, and wear it.
And by the way, you will find at this point you are one of two people…
One who plans to repeat this process every season. You can now happily write your shopping list to include any key pieces that are missing.
Or the other who cannot wait for the process to end and only to swears they will never buy anything again so you don’t have to go through this process one more time!
This is normal, but now your wardrobe is organised, you can plan the next month of outfits, easy peasy!
A while back I was invited to Dr Martens store opening in Belfast. Now to be perfectly honest, I was excited about the opening because I knew the store design would be really quirky, but as a girl who grew up with an older sister who loved her DM’s and bomber jacket while I loved my dresses and pretty shoes, I wasn’t really thinking too much about their stock.
I tried it on…it’s not a style that works for me!
But that’s what surprised me. First up, I tried on a few pairs of boots, and as with anything, there are certain styles that just didn’t work for me. However, there were many styles that did! But more importantly, Dr Martens isn’t just about shoes, they sell clothes too, and that’s what I wanted to find out more about!
I had an opportunity to go into the store and style some of their clothes as I would wear them. Thanks to Laura who let me take free reign of the Belfast store, in fact to the whole team who managed to inspire me with their style before I even began!
Now I’ve said it before, and this is the time to reinforce it – don’t disregard something until you have tried it on. I didn’t really process the fact that Dr Martens was about clothes before the launch, and I never imagined I would own a pair of DM boots – but just look at me now! The dress?? The coat?? The brogues?? The boot became my one thing!
If you are not local, check out Dr Martens online here…happy shopping, and remember, you sometimes need to try something new to find the style that works for you!
Thanks to Lauren at OPR and the team at Dr Martens, Belfast for all your help!
Search online for ‘Body Shape’ and you will find an array of websites guiding you towards selecting the size of your hips, the width of your shoulders, how well endowed you are in the chest area and so on.
To any female, this is a good guide for how to shop. But as a lover of personal styling, identifying which category you come into is not where it ends.
So technically, I am a pear shape because my hips are wider than my bust. That means I should wear tops with fitted waists, off the shoulder or wide at the neck. I should wear flat fronted wide legged trousers and avoid tight trousers and pencil skirts. That wardrobe clear-out I was doing, I may need to start again?!
The idea of the body shape guide is to balance each part of your figure, with the aim of a flattering look. I agree with the aim, but if I wear tops tight at the waist I look short, if I wear wide neck tops, I just look wide all over, and as for the suggestion of strapless tops – an impossible style for me because of the length (and size!) of my chest area. I love wide trousers, but they need a pleat to extend my leg length, and my favourite jeans and skirts are tight! On the other hand, I know another ‘pear’ who could stick to every rule!
It’s not just your chest, hip and waist measurements that define your body shape – if you really want, you could measure your neck to chest, the length of your stomach, the length of your legs, in fact, even the length of my hair determines some styles I wear! Of course, some of the rules will work for you, but what is important to remember is to not limit yourself! We are all different.
Unfortunately, if you are not a shopper, here comes the bad news. The only way you will learn what suits you, is to try it on – all of it. But never fear, tips at the ready!
- Start by using what is already in your wardrobe to build a picture of what you feel most confident in – and the biggest tip, if you don’t feel confident in it, it probably doesn’t suit you.
*However, just a quick story to go with that point…on my final day helping out at Fashion Week, taking the heat backstage and the ‘black’ rule into account (I own very little black!), I decided to wear a pair of vintage palazzo trousers and a little blouse – you can see the image here. I felt this style worked best on me after trying a few tighter tops and loved this when I left the house, but as soon as I was walking, I felt uncomfortable. I wore the same trousers and top the following day, only with different shoes – different feeling; I loved my outfit the whole day! So don’t discard straight away, items may need a few attempts!
- Think about what you need your clothes for and try them on as you would be wearing them.
I’ve said it before, I wish I wore heels more often. But as this has never happened, there is no point in me trying on an outfit for work, or for an afternoon out shopping if I will never wear it. Be practical!
If you are happy with an item, take a picture and keep a separate file stored on your phone or computer. If you area anything like me, I generally do this photo shoot at the end of a long day and therefore take the picture without a head, these are not posing shots but rather think of it like a catalogue to your wardrobe – and you don’t have to spend any more money to look this fabulous;)
- When you shop, try something new
We often develop our style and get so comfortable it is hard to divert from this but our body shape and colouring changes over time and between seasons. What may not have suited you even a year ago, may suit you now – so if you like it, have a go!
And again, if you are not sure how well a piece of clothing, or an outfit suits, feel free to tag me on Instagram, message on Facebook or Twitter or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss. Remember, its all about ‘style that works for you…’.