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Wardrobe Essentials

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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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What to ditch from your wardrobe to make you happy

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There is a difference between saying you hate everything in your wardrobe and owning items that actually make you feel sad. When it comes to your wardrobe, stocking it with items that make you happy should be a number one rule. If you agree, then you need to ask yourself why are you holding on to pieces that trigger feelings of insecurity, disappointment or the kind of nostalgia that hurts, such as trousers you used to fit into or gifts from someone special who is no longer in your life, or maternity wear that you no longer have a need for?

In my opinion, life is stressful enough, so when it comes to my wardrobe, I want it to be a place where I can temporarily escape to; one that makes me feel like the best version of my current self, and nothing else. Here, I break down the items I (not so easily) ditched from my wardrobe in order to make my life a happier one overall. From personal experience, I can tell you that letting go of the five types of items was not a walk in the park, but after ripping off the Band-Aid, I live a life that is generally more at peace with my style, I increased my self confidence as I now know the pieces I own fit and suit me, and I have less urges to buy new things all the time.

Go on to read about the items I ditched from my wardrobe that lead to a happier stress-free style!


ITEMS THAT DON'T FIT

I think it's safe to assume that most women (and men) keep that more than one article of clothing hidden away in their wardrobes that used to fit them, but no longer does. The intention behind keeping said item is to hopefully motivate yourself to trim down enough to fit into whatever it is. From personal experience, this tactic only stirs up negative feelings about your body, and no one wants that.

Instead, I recommend ditching those items. For me, it's my "too-skinny" jeans. I'm now investing in jeans that not only fit, but ones that make me feel more confident and happier with my body.

Jeans chuck out of skinnies that no longer or will never fit me again.

Jeans chuck out of skinnies that no longer or will never fit me again.

 

PIECES WITH UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

When I was younger I had tended to buy articles of clothing that require a lot of work to wear—fashion tape, cross-over bras, slips, etc. Or items that I can only wear to one type of event or holiday - that strapless ball gown or an over complicated top and skirt, that kind of thing that you end up never wearing again. These items always overwhelm me when I come across them, as I remember all the activities I imagined myself doing in them, but never actually did and all the extra items I had to buy to make them work. 

Once you get rid of these not so versatile items from you wardrobe, promise yourself to buy pieces that are a breeze to wear, uncomplicated and doesn't require a slip or cami top in every single colour you can think of.

Unrealistic ball gown that is never going to be worn again.

Unrealistic ball gown that is never going to be worn again.

PIECES GIVEN TO YOU OR HAND-ME-DOWNS

We can all fall into that trap of accepting items from our Mothers, Mother-in-laws, sisters, friends but this is just a cycle of cluttering rather than making you feel good. They are handing you the items that they no longer want, so why would you want them? If it's a Burburry Mac, Chanel bag or a pair of Chloe boots I wouldn't say no, but your mother-in-laws purchase from Matalan 5 years ago, just isn't going to cut it with your style let alone your confidence.

Learn to say thanks and then bag it up for the charity shop. Don't feel bad about this, if they were going to chuck it out then there is no problem with you doing it for them. 

TRINKETS FROM A PAST RELATIONSHIP / LIFE

When it comes to nostalgia, I am someone who appreciates my memories more than the physical items that trigger those memories. But I have clients out there who love keeping their memories alive with items of clothing or gifts that have been given to them from a past relationship. Unless this is something you wear everyday, like a ring from your grandma for example, then keep them in a memory box. You don't want that cut up t-shirt from circa 1990 from your travels around Europe clogging up your wardrobe in the summer months, when you could be making room for something that fits and suits you.

If you make a memory box with items that bring back good memories then make sure you put it somewhere you will remember and won't throw out in the future.

ITEMS THAT HAVE DUST GATHERING

When I am helping clients detox their wardrobes we often find items of clothing with a heavy layer of dust on them. Most commonly this is suits that women have worn in a past corporate life and are now either in a different job, are Mothers who don't work or just have no need for suits in their life. Don't hoard these in your wardrobe thinking one day if you go back to work in a corporate environment that you might drag those suits out of the back of your wardrobe, because inevitably you will buy yourself new clothes for your new job.

Think of all that space you will create by getting rid of all those old suits that by gathering dust they are no longer wearable anyway. 

Upto date suits, gathering no dust.

Upto date suits, gathering no dust.


By having the items we love the most in our wardrobes we are taking back control of our identities and have a wardrobe that serves your life and future goals. If you need help with reviewing what you have in your wardrobe and want to develop your signature style then please get in touch now to book your consultation with me.

Dreaming of an uncomplicated de-cluttered wardrobe.

Dreaming of an uncomplicated de-cluttered wardrobe.

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Style rule breakers: how to wear navy and black together

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Recently I have been asked a lot by clients and friends for inspiration on how to style navy. What other colours can it be worn with and the ultimate style question is can you wear navy and black together? The answer is YES! It has long been considered a winning colour formula, dark navy and black and both from the same colour category (Winter), so sit tonal well together. But if you are still hesitant at this coupling of colours, then read on and take note.

If you’ve ever found yourself staring in the mirror asking, “Can I wear this navy blazer with these black trousers?” or “What colour shoes and tights go with this navy dress?” You’re not alone.

However, the old sartorial rule that cautioned against wearing black and navy together, has no real merit. The truth is, most neutrals look great together, like white and beige, black and white, white and navy … You get the idea. These colours usually make up the foundation of our wardrobe, so it’s only natural that we’d wear them together.

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Whether in a single garment or combined in a head-to-toe look, black and navy blue look ultra-sophisticated together. It’s dark without being gothic, and sleek without being too stuffy. Adding the dark blue shade can soften the look of a harsh all-black edit, whilst still nailing a cool winter style. Consider it as low maintenance styling at it's best as you most probably own both colours in your wardrobe, all you need is some styling inspiration. Follow my pinterest board for more style ideas - Navy & Black


Shop for black and navy

1. Blouse with neck tie, Zara £39.99

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The big coat edit

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The clocks have gone back, the nights are darker and it's finally getting chillier! It's not all bad news though as you can now wear your winter coat, scarf and hat and style out the Winter months confidently. The other good news is that there is loads of sales on at the moment so it is the perfect time to buy a new Winter coat for the season.

Coats are a weakness of mine and a good coat can update your style very easily. In the northern hemisphere it also, sadly, happens to be the piece you will end up wearing most from October to March. So with that in mind, it is really important you spend time thinking about what you really need and want out of your coat. Practically speaking, there are two main issues that need to be considered when buying a new coat: one, as this is a big wardrobe purchase (possibly the biggest of the entire year), it has got to be spot on. I’m talking goes with everything, fits like a dream, is warm but not bulky and, importantly, looks a knockout. The second is getting all of that without spending the sort of money that would buy you a small car. Style speaking, think about colour, shape, trend and remember one size does not fit all - you're leopard print fur coat might be someone else's poison!

So to help you here is my AW17 winter coat edit with 5 new season's styles to pick from, including discounts where I could get them! Buy now and you will love wearing it everytime you put it on.

Follow my pinterest board for more coats inspiration - 2017 Coats Style


1. CHECKED COAT

If there is one coat that sums up the season, it’s the double-breasted, checked, tailored style. A smash hit among fashion editors at Paris Fashion Week, this is all about 2017 power dressing. Try Whistles or Zara for crombie check coats or French Connection for smaller checks. This large check coat from Marks and Spencer currently has 20% off if you have a Sparks card.


 

2. RED COAT

Red is the fashionable colour of choice this Autumn and I would suggest that a fabulous coat is one of the easiest ways to wear it. Check out M&S and Jigsaw (its signature wool “Grace” coat is pricey, but something you’d have for ever).  Fantastic for chucking over jeans or a grey jumper, as famous fashion designer Bill Blass once said, “When in doubt, wear red.” This Mango masculine coat is currently in the mid season sale for £39.99 - what a bargin!


 

3. STATEMENT COAT

The beauty of a statement coat is that you can be wearing any old tat underneath it and no one would know. If your coat smiles, the rest of the world smiles along with you. And for this reason, this season’s panache for bold, jazzy coats is great news. If you’re not into the aforementioned red, then have a go at pink (this pink one form Boden has 25% off with code - DW33X4L4), green or colbalt blue. Or there’s my personal favourite, leopard print, always a great statement.


4. TEDDY COAT OR FUR COAT

My vote for comfort coat of the season goes to the bouclé slouch coat, aka “The Teddy”. Knobbly, bobbly and oh so cosy, this has a whiff of the 1960s, but has a very new-season nod to texture. Fur has also made a triumphant season return with this season seeing it being bolder than ever. Fun, colourful and not traditionally classic, faux fur is a great eveningwear alternative that will add a little wow factor to the plainest of looks. Check out Topshop and Zara for their Teddy coat's and Mango for some fun colourful furs. This tabacco number from Warehouse looks very appealing and has currently 30% off it online.

 

5. THE POSH PUFFER

The coat that defined 2016. Although puffer coats might not be quite as significant as this time last year, they are sticking around and for good reason – they are incredibly toasty. If you’re worried about looking like the Michelin Man, then check out Whistles forest green velvet puffer, which is easy on the puff-factor, but still fabulously warm. Currently is on discount on House of Fraser, from £159.00 to £127.20. Or REALLY stand out of a crowd with this metallic gold puffer jacket from &other stories.

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