Feeling a bit overwhelmed by your summer wardrobe? Have nothing to wear? Would you like to take the guesswork out your Summer dressing? A capsule wardrobe may be the answer for you.
Take a look at my suggestions, designed to help you build your ultimate Summer capsule wardrobe that will have you looking and feeling good.
Still feeling a bit stuck? Take a look at my suggested capsule contents and adapt for your wardrobe.
Do you already operate on a capsule basis? If so how do you find it? If not do you have any tried and tested ways to master Summer dressing? Would you like to try a capsule but not quite confident to tackle it on your own, you can always book my capsule starter service and I can help. Would love to hear from you so get in touch or leave a comment.
I’ve been following the conversations following the recent documentary, Stacey Dooley Investigates Fashion’s Dirty Secrets. I wanted time to reflect on what I thought about it all rather than just wade in. Now I have some thoughts of my own that I want to share.
This really stopped me in my tracks,
“One in 10 throw an outfit away after 3 photos wearing it”
I have to confess this is such an alien concept to me that I hadn’t even know it was a “thing”. I am horrified to think that as a personal stylist I would contribute to this awful waste but more importantly to driving the desire and eternal chase to keep up with the very latest because that will somehow make you happy. Here’s a clue, it won’t.
One of the key things I talk to clients about is how it’s not about buying a whole new wardrobe and filling it with all the latest trends. It’s about looking at what you have with new eyes and finding new ways to wear it. The shopping comes in to fill genuine gaps, items you don’t have that would make your other clothes work harder, a key trend (or 2) to update what you already have and the occasional just love it piece.
Chiming with this one of the most positive outcomes I have seen is the way “influencers’ have brought “re-styling” to the fore of what they are talking about. Showing different ways to wear things or alternatives that may already be in your wardrobe that would achieve the same effect. I think us personal stylists have a duty to take our own advice and show how we do this, social media posts about styling items really help towards this.
As with everything it’s all about balance and I am equally concerned about the way that some of the more knee jerk reactions have focussed on declaring shopping an evil pastime that must stop. Let’s not forget we are losing our high street, beloved established brands are diminishing or disappearing and if they are struggling, what hope for the independents? My thoughts on this are rather than embracing the alarmist stop shopping route, think about a more measured considered approach to shopping. Focus rather than on the fast fashion fix of buying 10 OK items (equivalent to that fast food hit that then leaves you with a crashing low) buying one thing you really love, that compliments items you already have, fits and suits you. You will wear and wear these things.
What can help with this is to try buying from actual shops, at least from time to time. Nothing beats seeing how something feels and hangs. Yes I know there is a long way to go in high street fitting rooms to beat your own home but what you very rarely experience online is service. That human connection and the experience of being valued customer receiving tailored advice and help can be a powerful one. Invariably I feel better about in store purchases because I have considered them more. It’s so easy to click “add to basket” often on things we aren’t sure about but think we will try out, often filling baskets to the brim to avoid paying delivery charges (guilty!).
One thing I advocate to clients when they are solo shopping is if they see something they like is to leave it and think about it and if you come back to it at least it 3 times only then purchase. Once things are saved into the virtual basket the act of taking it out of the basket is a lot harder. What about once those deliveries arrive? It feels like such an effort to return, and they are kind of OK or you love them but no idea where or how to wear them but keep them just in case. I’m not saying this doesn’t reflect what happens in shops and changing rooms, haven’t we all purchased something we later regret? I do think the effort it takes to actually go to the shops and lug that stuff into changing room in itself makes purchasing more considered. Plus returning is done for you. How much of the fashion that arrives on our doorsteps that should be returned doesn’t because of the effort involved.
I am not suggesting that there is no place for online shopping either, just again that there is balance. I know online is easy, convenient and often cheaper. I also know for some people it’s a necessity and can help with sizing and stock availability. I’m just saying that once in a while making the effort to go an interact with the items you want to buy rather than a midnight virtual trolley dash on a Thursday evening might be a way to make your shopping more mindful. Bringing it back to the stat at the top though, I think without online shopping this may never have become a thing or certainly the numbers would be lower if people had to squeeze in the time in lunch hours or after work to go and get the throwaway outfit for themselves.
Retaining your individuality and spending time getting an idea of what you like as a base is also helpful. That’s not to say you shouldn’t occasionally shake up your style, it can be liberating. But do so in the knowledge of what makes you tick rather than simply hastening after that latest item. Time and time again I see people in things where they could be wearing something far more flattering but it’s the latest instamust have everyone is wearing so they have gone for it. If they love it then good for them but I do wonder how many aren’t so sure but do it anyway. Remember you are not less if you decide that the latest must have is not for you. Curating your social media feed can really help with this. Look at what accounts you are following, ask yourself are they still bringing you joy, interesting images, information and opinions that align with your values? If not cull them and get some that are.
There is no easy, one size fits all solution (a bit like there isn’t for our wardrobes either). It’s about a more considered multi-layered and balanced approach. So follow the tips out there,
make more of your existing wardrobe,
make yourself look at something at least 3 times before you buy it to make sure you really want it (if it’s gone then it wasn’t meant to be),
don’t shop in a panic,
buy less but better quality,
engage a personal stylist to help you (sorry couldn’t resist the plug),
think about going into actual shops every now and then,
don’t be sucked into the latest instafamous item (unless you love it and it suits you)
After all who wants to be in a world where we all dress the same? Wouldn’t that be boring? (more…)
I’m a bit of a “bah humbug” type but can no longer resist with Christmas literally on the horizon. However I do stand my ground on the Christmas jumper craze which seems to have taken over in the last few years. Don’t get me wrong I am happy to contribute to charity but I refuse to wear a travesty of a jumper doing it. So if you feel the same as me, I have collated some jumpers that whilst may not officially fit the criteria of Christmas Jumper I think you can more than get away with and not compromise your sartorial sensibilities.
With slogans tees not going anywhere they I think are a good place to get involved without being ridiculous – I draw the line at #ELFIE but I feel that this House Of Fraser number fits the vibe perfectly and also prevents people asking why you haven’t gone to town more.
For those of you who like sparkle this time of year, how about Oasis’ sequin tinsel – suitably Christmassy and will work well in your festive wardrobe from parties to cooking the turkey.
If you like your sparkle slightly more subtle try these sequin tassels.
Be a pearly queen with statement sleeve to boot or how about some angel wings to show santa you have been good (available for local types from Lilac Rose boutique).
Make a statement with colour – flirt with withmulti-coloured sequins
or go full on festive with the colour of the season – Red (which gives a double hit of trend and Christmas) –
Here’s me in my favourite of the bunch, which I think I can just about slide into the category because it mentions booze and it sparkles (it also comes with reference to champagne or prosecco).
What’s your take on Christmas Jumpers – love ‘em or loathe ‘em?
In the first of a mini series on the blog which will be featuring what I love from the shops right now as we get involved in Autumn. I am talking those few key purchases that will give your wardrobe an updated fresh feel. This week’s faves are from good ol’ M&S who keep bringing their A-game to affordable fashion.
Straight in at the top of the lust haves is this gorgeous grey jumper dress. There is a bit of nostalgia involved due a gorgeous brown (yeah I know) jumper dress I had when I was 18 that made me feel like I was so sophisticated.
However this piece is more than that, it has no seams! This engineering feat along with the side tie detail and the cosy but not chunky merino equals a flattering dress to anchor your Autumn wardrobe. I’m seeing it with prim shoes, trainers but most of all boots, ankle or over the knee preferably in a shade of red or Oxblood. Which leads us on to the next fave……
These red ankle boots with metallic heel detail, look much more expensive than their £79 price tag, and will work beautifully with dresses, jeans (particularly the straight crop style that Autumn is ushering in) and even a faux leather legging which are not going anywhere (but more on those for next week’s Five Faves).
Sticking with shoes, tassels have not deserted us but they have graduated from blouses and earrings to shoes. These heels tick the key colour trend red but also come in black for those who prefer a neutral.
A nod to tweed and the suiting trend these trousers will bring texture and interest to your new season wardrobe and make a great alternative to your navy and black neutrals. Pair with a classic white shirt and some Oxblood courts for a smart look or red boots and a slogan tee for a more casual affair.
Last but not least – THIS jacket it’s a parka yes but it features shearling and camo which bring this staple bang up to date. Pair with pretty much anything but black denim and a statement ankle boot will see you from the school run through to gin o’clock.
What’s caught your eye in the early Autumn drops? If you don’t know where to turn, think about booking a seasonal update session with me. It’s a mini wardrobe edit focused on the key trends for the upcoming season, quote “Five Faves” and get this service for just £70.
One advantage of the distinctly unseasonal weather is that I am already actively plotting my new season wardrobe, Usually I would be glossing over such things because I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to look at them in any form of heat
I’ve spied a few things recently that I believe qualify as anchor pieces. Specifically those pieces that allow you to segue effortlessly into the new season because they work just as well for now in this transitional period as they do for new season proper. To avoid disappointment I won’t be looking at soft suiting which is a key trend for next season that I can’t quite get on board with. I think it’s something to do with coming of age in the nineties when going out out in a suit was the thing! I had a pretty amazing silver suit from Warehouse which was worn on repeat including to celebrate my 21st birthday. It was still hanging in my wardrobe when I met my now husband, where he promptly dubbed it my spaceman suit!! I had clear early warning that he would not always understand my sartorial choices but I digress.
First up is this vibrant trench from H&M. They are calling it red but for me it’s very much fiery sunset orange. Either way it is the perfect slouchy silhouette and is heavy enough to be worn through even the chilliest Autumnal days. It also looks way more expensive than its £59.99 price tag which makes it a shrewd now buy. Plus it’ll keep some of this endless rain off.
If you are a fan of this sunburnt orange then may I recommend this French Connection dress. Still summery enough to wear now as a dress, later you can throw over your favourite pair of jeans with a biker jacket or blazer.
Pleated midis are not going anywhere but they have got bolder. For an instant update add pattern, like Louche’s floral print version (which I may have just picked up at one of my favourite local boutiques Lilac Rose). If you aren’t a floral lover then try Next’s midi with its geometric print.
Skirts earn their place as a transitional anchor because they can be worn now with a simple tee and sandals or trainers, just add boots and sweaters for Autumn proper. If pleats aren’t your thing or you want to make the skirt your centre piece (it’s going to be mine) just go for print or patchwork. I am coveting Second Female’s navy gold spotted version.
Also on my wish list is Numph’s suede zip front skirt, somewhere between slate and a softer hue. I can see me wearing this now with a slogan tee (yup they are still here) and with a jumper and boots for leaf kicking later. Both Second Female and Numph are available from another local favourite boutique, Karabo.
Block colour is still current to make a statement. I’ve opted for these slacks (slacks?!?! I know I was pondering who on earth who still used the term slacks the other week and now I know, it’s H&M). Brilliant fit and stretch plus a side zip is always more flattering for those of us wanting a smoother, flatter tum.
H&M also has two more of my wants/must haves. The first I picked up this weekend and have already worn twice. It looks like a tee because of its soft cotton body but the addition of statement balloon sleeves compete with tie, in a cotton/poly mix elevate it to so much more. It’s a proper top with interest, pair it with jeans and some jewellery and you are ready to take it almost anywhere. It’s also great to give balance to pear and apple shapes. Please please can you do it in some more colours H&M?
The other is this hot pink cotton jumper, weighty enough for cooler days but still able to wear now for those rainy summer days.
This kind of jumper always make me hanker for a beach house somewhere and imagine myself in white cuffed skinny jeans, on the beach with a dog, you know Jennifer Anniston rom com style. Just me?
So to footwear. I have come to the stage where almost all of my staple, waterproof shoes have given up the ghost at the same time, but I find buying more sensible shoes slightly dull and I am definitely not ready to crack out the boots yet, it is still officially August. Enter the T Bar shoe, which are going to be everywhere. They bring polish and poise but with a bit of fun and look great dressed up or down.
Here’s me in the bolder pleat and paired with the statement sleeve tee, proving their transitional fashion points. What are you most looking forward to updating your wardrobe with?
Like much of the fash pack (yes I really just did use that term, shoot me!) I have become addicted to Sky Atlantic’s Riviera, despite the tad bizarre plot because of the stylish wardrobe – effortless chic set against the backdrop of the Cote D’Azur. The lead character, Georgina Clios (do you think the writers came up with that name by thinking of French cars?) has been firmly filed under the list of other fictional characters whose style I want.
Claire Underwood (Robin Wright in House of Cards)
but lets face it I just don’t have the body shape and angles to pull off those lines, although I think a healthy dose of her ruthlessness wouldn’t go amiss.
Alicia Florrick (Julianna Marguiles in The Good Wife)
More me (not just because of the legal aspects) however very formal corporate and Dianne Lockhart (Christine Baranski also of the Good Wife and more recently The Good Fight) but honestly she’s more who I want to be when I grow up and her style feels suitable for someone slightly older. Her statement necklaces though!
But Georgina’s style seems more everyday (if somewhat expensive) and key to this is her weapon of choice – the humble shirt dress, in Episode 1 she wears 3. It takes her from Villa Carmella (now my dream holiday home – although curiously for such a big place seems to have more sun loungers than bedrooms) to stitching up Interpol and the art world and escaping nefarious baddies.
Already a staple for this season but its style points have been pushed up thanks to Riviera So what is the allure of the shirt dress? For me is that it suits all body shapes. Don’t believe me, here’s why….
Adjustable Neckline – hourglasses, apples and strawberries – aka those blessed with boobage (technical style term doncha know!) can tweak the neckline for maximum flattery by undoing a few buttons. My advice grab one with the clever concealed buttons feature to avoid unsightly gaping.
Adjustable Hemline – likewise control how high the hemline goes from demure to dramatic split. Useful to show off those legs if you are a slim rhubarb or also a strawberry/apple.
Waistline Wonder – create or disguise a waist as you wish. To bring focus to the waist cinch with a belt. My top tip is to switch out any fabric belt that comes with the dress for your favourite belt. It adds better shape and brings a bit of your personality.
Flexible Fabric – Choose lightweight fluid fabrics for summer. This also helps to skim rather than hug the figure and avoids the swamping effect for both petite frames and those that want to gloss over any of their least favourite parts of the body. Go for thicker fabrics to create a more structured look for slim athetic builds or for a more utility feel.
To Sleeve or not to Sleeve – Use sleeve length and detail to add balance to your shape. A statement sleeve for pear shapes works brilliantly.
Slimline or A line – both look great and the A-line works really well on those that love more of a vintage style.
Multi Functional – Not just a dress but a great layering tool. Wear undone over a cami and jeans, this creates layers and shape but without adding bulk when trying to disguise tummy areas and hips. Be sure to go for a fluid fabric though. Also wear as as a cover up at the beach or instead of a jacket.
Alas Riviera started to air when I was actually in/on (what is the correct term?) the Cote D’Azur, so I travelled with not one shirt dress #stylefail! Here are my picks so your summer wardrobe can avoid my mistake.
My favourite because it perfectly channels Riviera – elegant and longer at the back than front (one of my favourite designs in a shirt dress) best of all its currently in the sale at £35. My advice would be to size up.
If you prefer more structure, try this one from M&S, smart, great belt (which with this one I would keep) and tie sleeve details. Plus it comes in navy/black and tan.
Keep things interesting with print, Florence & Fred has this take complete with cold shoulder detail. Switch the matching belt for a metallic one for extra style points.
If you like a more vintage feel the Boden Sophia is for you, it has the advantage of being available in multi colour way prints and an A-line shape.
Easy to wear utility chic comes with this navy tencel version from The White Company. This lightweight fluid fabric is perfect for trans-seasonal dressing.
Give block colour a twist with some sculpted detail.
How are you wearing the shirt dress this season, I’d love to know. If you aren’t sure about it for you, get in touch and book a styling sessions to find looks that suit you.
Spring’s officially sprung and I feel the need to bring up the “C” word – yes colour.
I have lost track of how many times I hear “Oh I don’t do colour” or “I couldn’t possibly wear ….. Insert relevant colour”. It seems evident from the sea of almost exclusively black and grey that I encounter on my regular commute (in all seasons) that this lack of colour could be an epidemic. With the high street awash with vibrant shades I challenge you to add some colour to your looks, I promise it will instantly update your look (and dare I say mood) for Spring.
Think Pink was the message loud and clear from the catwalks and its not just one hue will do but any type of pink you can imagine goes. From magenta through to the softest blush. You may not imagine yourself as a pink kind of person but it’s a very versatile colour and is much more than its stereo typical fluffy image.
Alternatively bring the sunshine into your wardrobe literally with another of the key colours of the season – yellow. One of the most frightening colours for a lot of people, perhaps because often the wrong shade can be unflattering. With the racks carrying the full spectrum from egg yolk through softest primrose to ice cool pastel it could be time to find the one that suits you.
How to Wear
It’s not what you wear but how you wear it. Injecting colour relies on the right placement for your body shape – it’s a bit like contouring in make up – wise placement of colour can work wonders.
Focussing bright and light colours on your top half with darker shades on your bottom half is a flattering way to use colour on pear shapes especially when combined with another of this season’s hot hits- a statement sleeve.
A block colour or pattern trouser really show off the slim legs of those with strawberry and apple shapes.
All over block colour works well on hourglass shapes, include texture and a v neck to ensure shape is enhanced not lost.
By combining colour and prints, athletic builds and rhubarb shapes can create curves on their frames.
A common question – if I wear colour what can I wear it with? Here are my tips for colour combos.
Blush + Neutral = Pared Back.
My choice at the moment is khaki/olive green, it’s an underused neutral and adds just the right amount of polish to a look.
Bright + Blue = Colour Pop
Bubblegum pink and magenta both play well against navy and gives a classic combo just the right amount of pop.
Colour+Layers = Chic Impact
Layer your pinks, starting with a blush base and adding hot pink accents or vice versa.
Yellow +Navy = New Nautical
I still love the freshness of a nautical vibe for Spring. I think navy and yellow take it up a notch.
Colour + Classic Details = Colour Lite
If colour is outside of your comfort zone, try combining with classic detail. This Cos jumper is the perfect hack with its white shirt detail. Layer over a Breton stripe and wear with a cigarette trouser and trainers.
Pastel+neutral = Luxe
Yellow with grey particularly a pastel yellow is the perfect Spring combo.
Bright + Denim =Instant Update
Yellow begs to be a bright be brave. Throw this pretty Warehouse sweater with back strap detail on with your favourite blue denim. Guaranteed instant Spring.
Colour+Trend = Update Plus
Embrace colour incorporated into another trend to give your wardrobe a super boost.
Try a retro floral print incorporating one of the key colours like this pretty Emily & Finn shirt or Warehouse’s Wisteria print (comes in a blouse and a dress too) or take get 3 in one with this shirt dress (key dress shape of the season, in double on trend yellow stripes.
Go Bold or Go home with this great neon yellow jacket.
Or you could be uber daring and wear pink and yellow together – did I go too far?
If all of that seems a step too far and not really you -try coloured accessories, a great bag or show is a simple way to elevate your look.
So now the train platform will be brimming with colour, Right?
If you would like to embrace some colour or refresh your wardrobe or look – get in touch to book your styling session, I’d be delighted to hear from you.
January, grim? Simply not so. For one its my birthday, so yay! (well for me anyway). It’s also the start of the run up to the Oscars. This guarantees gowns, glitz, glamour and the odd faux pas, what better way to brighten up the month. First step on Red Carpet Road is the Golden Globes which took place last night. So here’s my annual rundown of faves from the first red carpet of 2017.
There was so much to look at from belts with bows, embroidery and florals to art deco pleats and patterns via cold shoulder and even trompe d’oeil details. However it was also a year where many of my favourites didn’t wow as they might and those that don’t normally rate with me, really delivered.
With no one colour sweeping the board (unlike the awards themselves). I naturally gravitated to the clutch of amazing Yellow gowns. All of these gowns let the colour do the talking by only using the most delicate of details to enhance them. My ultimate, was Viola Davis in Michael Kors, elegant simplicity at its finest. Almost my favourite of the night.
White featured prominently, unusual on the red carpet as you don’t want veer into bridal territory (yes I mean you, SJP). Gillian Anderson avoided this due to the styling of her hair and minimal accessories.
Meanwhile Issa Rae also stunned in white due to the art deco beaded detailing of her gown. Art deco was a key look on this red carpet, however few others managed to make it look flawless.
Menfolk got in on the white act, lead actor and best actor winner Ryan Gosling pulled off the white tie look best and was definitely a white knight after delivering his heartfelt winner’s speech. *swoon*
His co-star, Emma Stone was my pick of the pastels channelling not only the feel and style of La La Land but also showing us a preview of the Spring ’17 which sees pastels coming through strongly.
Any colour as long as its black universally works – last night it was best on those who added interest with plunging necklines. I’m a big a fan of these, see my fave from last year Jamie Alexander. It was Mandy Moore and Kristen Bell who were the winners in this category.
Magnificent in monochrome was Michelle Williams working lace detail, black and white and cold shoulder.
Rachel Evan Wood in custom Altuzarra nailed the girl in a tux look with aplomb by eschewing the usual plunging neckline used in this look. Instead going for Fred Astaire old school ballroom style look, in keeping with the La La Land theme of the evening. She kept the femininity with a large bow detail on the shirt.
As mentioned art deco detail and pleats were a feature and Naomi Campbell stole the show in hers, the cut and colour being what made it work where others failed to.
My hands down favourite, Jessica Biel. A complete shock to me as I normally find her style a little dull. Her plunging neckline gown by Elie Saab featuring appliqué and embroidered floral detail against a monochrome backdrop had the drama and grace required for the red carpet. For me – the look of the evening.
Some of you (although I appreciate very few) may like me be taking a well earned mid festive season night off to recharge before it really hits its stride and others may be nursing hangovers from the night before as you read this but thoughts will be turning to just how your wardrobe will keep pace with the varied events the next week is sure to throw at you. With this in mind instead of an Outfit of the Month for Royal Priors thought would show you what’s in store with my guide to dressing right the way through from works do to the New Year.
First up the office or work do – you want to look up to date but appropriate (best to avoid becoming talk of the workplace because of a wardrobe malfunction!) and still look good if you are one of the last ones standing at 3am. You need an LGD – little glam dress! This one from Topshop ticks the boxes, covered up but in molten metal texture. To keep it on trend team with a biker jacket and a velvet heel. Add some detail and fun with these fantastic fox studs from Pia Jewellery and an easily portable purse come handbag, impossible to lose a wristlet (yes they are a thing), the cheesy disco awaits. Note: you can always double and use this look for New Year’s Eve too.
With the main event itself looming, you need a look for tucking into your feast, unwrapping those pressies, charades with the family and a good old Christmas Day walk. I think this will do it. Sticking with metallics but softening the look to make it daytime appropriate but remaining stylish all day long. The fun holiday season Alex and Ani bangles available from Fabulous Collections keep it Christmassy. Layer up with this cosy but classy coat from Jigsaw, thick tights and over the knee boots when you venture out.
The day after the over indulgence and the excitement, I think lends itself perfectly for a more casual combo. Cath Kidston’s robin Christmas jumper works really well when teamed with Gap’s True Skinny jean with studded details. Keep the festive feel by repeating the bracelets of the day before and finish with a metallic boot, these ankle ones will ensure that you can manage a walk to blow the cobwebs off and maybe a sneaky visit to the pub. Keep toasty with M&S’ faux shearling (one of this winter’s key fabrics) wrap.
Just enough time to roll out the red carpet glamour to close out the festivities for New Year’s Eve. This look works whether you are welcoming 2017 by staying in, going out or with dinner a deux. The full skirt has seen a real revival and this rich plum version from Roman Originals channels one of the colours of A/W 2016. Keep it tonal with Jigsaw’s tie top. Add interest with texture and print in your shoes and accessories but go for one full on statement piece in the form of these Soru earrings (available from Fabulous Collections). I suggest repeating the biker jacket to give the look some edge but the Jigsaw coat from Christmas Day would work equally well.
So nothing left to say on this other than to wish you a happy and stylish Christmas and New Year.
Note: All items available at Royal Priors Shopping Centre.