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how to fall in love with your wardrobe again

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...when opening it just makes you yawn.

So you open your wardrobe, do a dramatic sigh and close it again feeling like you hate it all, have nothing to wear and proceed to get out your laptop to start browsing Zara in an effort to feel better. Yep, we’ve all been there, and we’ve all made the subsequent three figure order where you end up seeing sense and returning most it any way (although something always gets through the net doesn’t it?). So if you’re feeling down in the dumps with your current wardrobe then I have a couple of style tricks up my sleeve. Three in fact, that should get your styling juices flowing and should help you find a couple of new and exciting options amongst your current clothes. The best bit is that it’s completely free! No quickie online hauls. No impulse purchases. Just working with what you’ve got to find some new outfits, discover old pieces and learn some styling tricks to spice things up again…


EXPERIMENT ONE: FIVE NEW OUTFITS

I can be guilty of wearing the same outfits on repeat. In fact I kind of encourage it in a way, because having these ‘formulas’ takes the guesswork out of putting outfits together. Plus, it’s always handy to know that we can rely on them whenever we’re in a rush and that we know that we feel good in our most-worn pieces. However, they are exactly what cause us all to get into these ruts in the first place. So instead try and find five new outfits in your wardrobe that you have never worn before.

The best way to start each outfit is to have an item that you might not wear that often, that perhaps you’re not sure how to style or maybe it’s a piece that you feel is best suited to another time of year but you want to get more wear out of it. From there you can build; either by the process of trial and error and turning your bedroom into the world’s most chaotic changing room, or by taking a look online or on Instagram to see how other ladies you love have styled it out. I did a bit of both and ended up finding the perfect casual way to wear a blazer that was gathering dust, and I have taken out my dungarees from summer storage to wear over the coming months after learning that big chunky knits look pretty awesome under them. The best bit? I didn’t even need to spend a penny.

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EXPERIMENT TWO: THE 10X10 CHALLENGE

The wardrobe challenge to beat all other wardrobe challenges! Blogger Caroline Joy gives a detailed account of her 10 pieces, 10 outfits, 10 days challenge here. The premise is that you pick 10 items from your wardrobe and create 10 different outfits over the next 10 days with them. Not only should it help you flex your styling muscle, it also gives you a chance to get ready real quick in the mornings and to see if you’re happy with what you’ve currently got in your wardrobe. I’d say that it’s a good one to crack out at the beginning of each season to get you in the mood and see where the holes are that you need to fill with your new clothing additions.

Accessories aren’t included, so that’s how you’re going to spice things up here – with a colourful bag or a red lip to make our outfits look different if there are repeats. No need to buy anything. No need to throw anything out. No need to commit to minimalism forever. No need to overhaul your wardrobe. Instead, it’s all about trying something new and having fun. Here I wanted to focus on how to get my use out of my skirts rather than just wearing them for evenings and events, for Autumn layering them up with knitwear.

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EXPERIMENT THREE: STYLE IT OUT

Whereas the other two challenges can be a little time consuming, here’s one to whip out when you’re in need of a speedy dose of inspiration. The idea here is that you find a basic piece of clothing – let’s say a white crew-neck t-shirt and a pair of high-waist pale denim jeans – and then attempt to style it out as easy, breezy weekend attire and then as a more formal outfit option. It’s definitely not as taxing and more straightforward than the previous experiments, but it’s still a good way of seeing if you have the right kit in your wardrobe and a reminder of how easy it is to dial down/up an outfit. A good one to remember next time you’re packing for a trip. Be your own personal stylist here and don’t skip the finishing touches such as a red lip or a clutch bag. Here I used my leather leggings to dress up for a more formal look and down with a chunky knit and checked shirt for daytime.

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Can you wear converse with everything?

edits styling notes

This humble sneaker has long been owned by many of us and considered as one of our wardrobe staples. But should it be elevated to 'hero' due to it's ability to multi-task within our wardrobes? No longer a sports shoe, the classic Chuck Taylor has made it's way into the fashion mainstream. The timeless all-white sneaker is all the rage — again. Actually I don’t think it ever really went away. And just like denim jeans and the classic white shirt, the white sneaker is also ageless, classless and timeless. Just what every woman needs!

Last week Alexa Chung was seen on the beach with hers, gone are the Birkenstocks of last year, her old faithfuls went on holiday with her this year.

For several years now, a younger fashion set have ditched their predecessors’ love of stilettos for more sensible footwear — mostly sneakers — a trend coined as “normcore”. Needless to say the fashion industry, which often takes its cues from the street, has in recent seasons featured more athletic-inspired and the very on-trend sports luxe looks on the runways. As a consequence the traditional sports shoe has transformed into more contemporary versions and is being paired with everything from couture to casual.

So to prove how versatile they are, I set myself the challenge of whether my white converse high-tops can be worn with everything in my wardrobe, read on for the outcome....

1. Dungeree's + Converse = A timeless duo

2. Jumpsuit + converse = Will never go out of style

3. Jeans + sweater + converse = Relaxed weekend look

4. Trousers + converse = Sports luxe look

5. Flowery dress + converse = A match made in heaven

6. Tailored masculine pieces + converse = Most stylish at the office

7. Skirt + converse = A modern and stylish look

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Some seriously stylish slacks

edits styling notes

I honestly think that at the moment pretty much any trouser shape goes. Skinny, culotte, wide leg, sports luxe, tapered, cropped, cuffed. So how do you find a style that suits you and is going to last the test of time?

Firstly it is down to taste, what ever floats your boat and fits into your wardrobe seamlessly. In other words you can wear with lots of tops/shirts/knitwear you already own.

Secondly you have to take into account body and leg shape, and what suits you. For example I love skinnies in the winter with an oversized jumper and a masculine coat. But wearing them with a cropped top in the summer, makes me come out in cold sweats - it's just never going to happen!

So this summer I have been drawn to more looser, sports luxe styles and been obsessing over finding the right ones for me and my wardrobe. As I normally live in jeans all year round want these trousers to add something new into my wardrobe and even though I'm buying them in summer I want to be able to wear them in Winter too.

They create a very modern silhouette whilst being ridiculously comfortable and fit perfectly, but I can't guarantee that they will go with every top in your wardrobe. I have found that plain or stripe jersey tops are the best, shirts and in the winter I will pair with smart knitwear. You can't wear them with printed tops unless you want to clash with the stripe down the side or with sweaters, unless you want to look like you are going to the gym. Here is some style inspiration to check out and follow my pinterest board here - slacks 2016

Here is how I have styled my sports luxe trousers -

To shop for your own pair of sports luxe slacks, check out my top 5 picks of the high street right now -

Top 5 sports luxe trousers

1. Zara jogging trousers £25.99

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3 ways to wear the statement sleeve

All hail the statement sleeve! Roll up your sleeves girl and show some serious shoulder this season as this trend will dominate 2016...

The weather's finally warming up, which means its time to shed the layers and show some shoulder in this season's newest trend. Whether they're puffy, frilled, bell off the shoulder or cut-out, it's all about fancy sleeve styles for Spring; sleeves become the focus of the outfit. Bare shoulders and collarbones are proving to be the most popular erogenous zones in fashion right now.

The great thing is it's a trend you can get on board with now and wear with ease daily. It’s sexy without going overboard, head-turning but wearable, fresh and new but also good for any age.

Inspiration as has come from the SS16 catwalks such as Roksanda Ilincic, Erdem and Jonathan Saunders (seen below).

Roksanda Ilincic

Roksanda Ilincic

Erdem

Erdem

Jonathan Saunders

Jonathan Saunders

There have been many fashionista's, models, actresses and style icons wearing this trend out and about attending the numerous fashion weeks or award ceremonies recently that we can take inspiration from.

Street style

Street style

Caroline Flack

Caroline Flack

Street style

Street style

Liv Tyler

Liv Tyler

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney

Laura Whitmore

Laura Whitmore

Dermot and wife Dee

Dermot and wife Dee

Off duty model

Off duty model

But how does one make a statement with such an unusual part of the outfit?

By choosing sleeves big and even bigger, playing with bare shoulders or contrasting volumes, and by making sure we see the sleeves immediately. This new top silhouette is sure to instantly kick up the coolness factor of your Spring wardrobe. 

A bold full-on volume style on top calls for a subtle bottom half, so balance out the oversize proportions by pairing it with skinny jeans, cropped trousers or a midi skirt. My approach is that there really can only be one hero to an outfit, a ruffle sleeve for example needs to be completely played down by a streamlined outfit. See my 3 wears to wear this trend below and let me know which one you think you would adopt yourself...

1. Shirt from Marks and Spencer £29.50 - BUY NOW HERE

2. Top from Whistles £50.00- BUY NOW HERE

3. Top from Topshop £42.00 - BUY NOW HERE

For more inspiration and clothes to shop then check out my pinterest board - Roll up your sleeves

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