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Are you a Lover Or a Fighter?

My Top Style Beyond Forty Shopping Tips





Ladies, are you a lover of clothes shopping or do you detest it completely?  If you are lover (and not a fighter), I am sure you can whip around the store and before you know it you’ve compiled a heap of items that you completely love and are happy with. However, if you are a non – shopper, the thought of trudging the stores can be very overwhelming and understandably so. Shopping for some women can be completely overwhelming. First you don’t know where to start and what is it you are really in search of?

As part of my Personal Styling and Colour Analysis sessions, I will work out for the client what it is they really need in shopping. If I’ve had the pleasure of working with them in my Wardrobe Wake Up session as well, I can get a good feel for what items are missing from their wardrobe and I will write them a list of what to purchase to fill the gaps so to speak.

So, to help those of you with the dreaded “I hate shopping” mindset, I've listed a few tips to help you or at least to soften the burden of clothes shopping;

1   1.  Firstly, write down a list of items you are aiming at purchasing and stick to your budget if you have one. You could browse online at your favourite store to see what is currently available. Take some screen shots and use these photos to show the shop assistants or to remind yourself of what you think you might like to try on.

2   2.  I know some of you will wonder what on earth I'm on about here, but always apply make up before you go shopping. If you feel you look good you are more likely to enjoy the shopping experience and trying on clothes will feel a bit more enjoyable. How often do you head to the shops, no make-up, hair not done only to feel awful looking in the mirror each time? Nothing you try on looks right at all because you feel scruffy or you look tired.  I can honestly say most of the clients I take shopping look in the mirrors and always comment on how bad they look that day!

3   3.  Put on your best fitting bra and underwear. You don’t want to be trying on clothing with knicker lines and bra straps falling down. Clothes will fall better when your foundation garments are fitting correctly. (It may also be time for a good bra fitting as well whilst shopping!).

4.  4. Take a pair of heeled shoes with you for trying on with clothing and any accessories you are trying to match. If you need to buy items to match with something already in your wardrobe, take that item with you.   


7 Tips for Shopping Success!




Now you have dragged yourself to the high street or mall, follow these following 7 tips to help the shopping process;
1     
1   1.  If you have had a Colour Analysis or know your optimal colours, select your garments by colour. This is something I automatically do now. I will walk into a shop, scan the rails to see if the shop stocks my colour palette. This really helps to ‘break down’ the shopping experience. If they don’t stock your best colours, move onto the next store.

2   2. Next, when you have chosen your item, check that the style compliments your body shape needs. Why choose an item that is totally wrong for your shape?

3   3. Try the garment on in the fitting room.  Don’t feel intimidated by the staff, quite often they will tell you an item looks ‘fabulous’ just to get the sale! I also don’t recommend taking a friend unless you know they will be completely honest. Sometimes friend’s don’t like to offend and will tell you an item looks ‘lovely’ or ‘nice’ just to be nice. 4. Does the item fit with your existing wardrobe?

      5. Will it mix and match easily with items you already own?

6    6. Does it fit into your budget and will the price per wear match up?

7    7. Last and most importantly, do you feel comfortable in it? If it doesn’t make you feel fabulous don’t buy it.

If you are happy with the above then go for it! Experiment too with some new styles that may attract you and don’t be afraid to just try things on. I've had many clients where I have chosen items they wouldn’t dream of selecting only with them loving it and purchasing.


Ladies, please don’t be put off by sizing. That’s all over the place and can be so hit and miss it’s ridiculous! Depending on where you are shopping the sizes vary so much. Importantly its about finding fabulous garments that work for you, your body shape and of course your budget!

Happy shopping!




The 5 Principles of Clever Dressing

A guide for choosing great style


When it comes to having great style, knowing how to wear the clothes you purchase is what its all about. Once you understand your true style personality, learning the 5 Principles of Clever Dressing’ is a way of having some guidelines to look out for so you can choose clothing accordingly. This is something I cover  in my Personal Styling sessions with clients and the aim is to create balance so that your body looks in proportion.  The most stylish of women have achieved this balance and can always look fantastic because what they wear just works with their shape.

Whether you are curvy, tall, petite, athletic build etc, if you follow these 5 Principles you can then learn how to purchase the correct items for your wardrobe;
     1.    Lines – Vertical, Horizontal, Diagonal, Converging etc.
Everything in clothing comes down to the ‘Line’ of the item. Whether it be the hemline, collar or lapel line, pockets, length of sleeve, button line or the pattern.  For instance, where your skirt hem sits, where the cuffs of your sleeves sit, the positioning of a stripe sits on your body all should depend upon your proportions. When you think of horizontal lines in a pattern (stripes), wearing these across a large bust or wider hips will only enhance the size of this area. Or, for someone very tall with a rectangular body type, a vertical pattern (pin stripe) down the body/legs will enhance their tallness.
     2.   Colour – Dark, Light, Contrasting
As part of my Personal Styling services, my favourite is conducting Colour Analysis. It still amazes me how Colour can play such a huge part in a woman’s appearance. Once I have identified the most optimal colours for a client, selecting their best colour palette is really helpful to help them choose wisely.
So, as a principle, remember that dark colours hide and recede, where light colours enhance and bring forward. For example, wearing darker colours (within your optimal colour palette of course!) will disguise a larger bust or bottom or the area of the body you want to diminish. Light colours will draw attention to that area and enhance (if you are a Pear body shape, wear lighter tones on your top half and darker on your bottom half to disguise the fuller hip/thigh area and the opposite if you are more of a Wedge body shape which is larger on the top half and smaller on the bottom).
     3.    Fabric – Shiny, Fine, Thick, Light, Flowy etc
Fabric can play a huge part in balancing your body type. Heavy, thicker fabrics will ‘bulk up’ and add volume to the area you are wearing it on. Fine, flowy fabrics will skim and flatter the body unless you are choosing stretchy & tight fabrics. Sometimes, depending on your body type of course, these tight fabrics can enhance lumps and bumps and maybe show a bit too much, especially if you are a curvy lady or are conscious of a particular area on your body.  Personally, as I am fuller in the bust and upper arm area, wearing tops too clingy accentuate this area.
     4.   Pattern – All sorts!
One thing I first noticed when shopping here in the UK, is the vast array of patterns available. I do love a nice pattern, to me its just much more interesting than always wearing plain fabrics. The right pattern can also hide or accentuate the body, depending on the size, print, line and colour.  My advice would be to give pattern a try ladies, you won’t know until you try!
        5.   Scale – Large, Medium, Small
Scale plays a big part in stylish dressing. It relates to your body type and proportions. For example, if you are a ‘curvy’, larger or taller woman, a larger scale of pattern & accessories is going to work much better with an outfit. On the opposite side to this example, a small, petite woman wearing larger scale items will only drown her or look too big. The best thing to do here is try different sized accessories and patterned clothing items to see what works the best and helps you look more in proportion and balanced.
So ladies, following these '5 Principles of Clever Dressing' you are well on your way to looking more stylish, balanced and simply gorgeous!





How To Wear Stripes

Breton Stripes





The Breton - do you actually know the meaning? I know I didn't until a few years ago, I would have just referred to these tops as stripey! The word 'breton' means from Brittany in France but the striped breton shirt that we know today came about in the 1800's after being introduced as the uniform to the French navy seaman in Brittany.





Originally the design featured a white background with 21 navy coloured stripes representing the 21 victories of Napoleon, along with a boat neck style neckline. In later years, the design became fashionable as Coco Chanel introduced the style in her nautical inspired designs, typically teamed with wide leg trousers and a blazer. 

The style has become synonymous with Parisian chic and brings to my mind an image of this stripey top, teamed with a cute beret, pencil skirt or fitted Capri trousers and ballet pump shoes. Very Audrey!

Nowadays, you can find a breton top almost anywhere. From H & M, Uniqlo and M&S. Even the Duchess of Cambridge has been known to choose this classic, casual style.


However, I used to feel that not every woman can carry off the breton top. In my earlier view, I felt that wearing horizontal stripes, of any size and width, could possibly add width to larger, curvier or big boobed women. Today I realise that this doesn't have to be the case. Like anything to do with style and fit, it all comes down to scale. Wearing the correct scale compared to your body type all comes into play and for instance, larger stripes and patterns will make you appear smaller when the opposite effect applies when wearing smaller versions. 

My Tips for Wearing Breton / Stripes

  • Big Boobs - Ladies, if you are 'big boobed' look for a breton style that does not have smaller, thinner stripes as this will enhance the bust area. Choosing a darker coloured background, as opposed to the classic white, plus a thicker stripe will minimise the larger bust. Also, you could opt for a breton with a cowl neck design (like the one attached) or a lower neckline to break up the chest area and take the emphasis away. Choosing a fabric that isn't too thick or clingy is also best and try wearing a long line necklace or scarf to minimise also.
  • Larger, Curvy Figures - Contrary to how I used to think, yes ladies, you can wear stripes. The same applies as above for big boobs but trying a style with a vertical stripe instead of the classic horizontal can really look fantastic and minimise your curves. I particularly love a diagonal stripe as this tricks the eye and helps to give the illusion of a slimmer figure. 
  • Diverging Stripes - This means the stripe starts off narrower at the top then gets wider at the bottom (think of a triangle). Avoid this style of breton or stripes if you want to minimise your fuller tummy area or larger chest.
  • Converging Stripes - This style has the stripes starting broader or wider at the top with them coming to a narrower focal point at the bottom (an upside down triangle).  This is a great style if you wish to enhance a small waist but avoid if you want to disguise broad shoulders. 
A breton can be styled casually with jeans, casual trousers, ballet pumps and fashionably with trainers and sneakers. Plus it looks really Parisian chic styled up with a fitted pencil skirt or pleated skirt, cinched at the waist with belt, glamorous accessories or short tied neck scarf.