Dress for your life not your fantasy life

Two weeks into 2019. If you are like me and you’ve only just finished the Christmas cake, now is the time to focus on the ‘chairdrobe’... …yes most of you will relate to that word.

A huge pile of clothes that get piled up over weeks - ‘my wear again pile’ as my best friend calls it.

Wear again? when? not until you’ve washed it, ironed it and hung it up dear! There is no way any of that ‘chairdrobe’ will be worn for that meeting, coffee with friends or at the networking lunch.

It’s got to get back on that rail to be considered any outing.

Let 2019 be about organising your ‘chairdrobe’ and creating a wardrobe of well worn clothes.

You’ll need at ‘least’ an hour, some coffee, wine (or herbal tea if you really are punishing yourself).

1. Produce a wardrobe diary.

IMG_4042.jpg

Most of us have ‘fantasy garments’ hanging in the wardrobe. It’s time to get real and brainstorm your wardrobe diary.

Consider your life over the next 3 months. What are you doing? Where are you going? Look at your diary and write down work meetings, social occasions, parties (lucky you!) and occasions.

-So for me, I need good ‘meeting’ outfits. An outstanding presentation outfit. Comfortable clothes to work in, good casual/smart outfits to visit clients. Cosy casual outfits to rehearse in at weekends and I’ve just realised I need fabulous sparkly dress to wear to a 40th in March (yippee)

2. Clothes that make you feel fabulous.

IMG_3711.jpeg

Pull out garments that you reach for every time. The ones that make you feel good, safe, comfortable and smart to wear now.

-So for me this would be my black blazer, multi coloured dress, purple knit, silky blouse, black culottes, red blazer, pleated skirt, flared trousers, velvet tracksuit, pleather joggers. cosy pink wrap, bright blue skirt, silky roll necks, white boots oh and a bit of leopard print!

3. Clothes that make you feel rubbish.

These are the garments that you never reach for. You think you will wear but you never do..

IMG_1540.jpeg

These are the clothes that when you do put them on, you take them immediately off. They are hung, never worn and gathering dust. Or you may have worn it recently and not felt great.

-So for me it’s my black leather skirt (too narrow to walk in) tapestry waistcoat (wrong colours) dark floral suit (trousers feel too skinny)/cheap) tapestry jeans (bit dated and tight) short floral pencil skirts (prefer a midi), old jeans, blanket skirt (I’ve had for 25 years!)

4. Consider you colours.

IMG_7333 3.jpeg

Look at your ‘fabulous’ garments and the colours.

Do the colours compliment together? If they do, you are on your way to create lots of different outfits. If they don’t; work out what colour palette best suits your skin tone and your personality.

Consider colour analysis or try an online quiz at Kettlewell Colours first to get you started.

I’m a cool winter so strong, vibrant, bold, rich colours work best on me and this is what at I tend to wear the most.

6. Get creative & break the rules.

IMG_3671.jpeg

This is the fun part. Look at your ‘Wardrobe diary’ and start creating outfits from your fabulous garments.

Mixing colours and textures together is a great way of adding interest to an outfit. Dressing down something you would consider a posh item really works. Here I’ve mixed pink cotton t-shirt under & bold green lace.

I’ve also layered lace with my dungarees to twist up my weekend style.

Break style rules.

I love mixing navy and black (so chic), Mixed metallics look fabulous stacked up together on bangles or layered in a necklace.

Mix up your prints - yes! It may take a bit of trial and error but if the colours co-ordinate, you are onto a fantastic outfit. So just be confident and go for it.

7. Record that outfit with a selfie!

IMG_1564 3.jpeg

Produce a diary of your wardrobe at its best.

Don’t be shy! Every great outfit you produce, needs to be recorded. My clients always get a printed poster of all their outfits I produce, that hangs seasonally in their wardrobes. Just take a picture with your mobile and have albums of outfits that fit in with your wardrobe diary




8. Compile a list of what is missing

IMG_4044.jpg

Jot down missing pieces you’ll need to enhance your outfits. You may require a new pair of boots to modernise your looks or a great new wool coat. Write the ‘wish list’ down and work towards sourcing only these pieces.







9. Brands and budget

Be realistic with your budget and buy what you can afford. I love Whistles and Jigsaw but often buy their classic pieces in the sale.

Expert shoppers know the brands that work for them and often buy within these brands. This helps your outfits looked pulled together. Look at your clothes you feel fabulous in and jot down the brands that work for you, both in your style and in the fit. So for me, I turn to Kettlewell Colours for fabulous colourful pieces, I love ZARA for a fashion fix , ME&EM trousers and Massimo Dutti’s blazers. I’m also a fan of M&S jeans and visit the charity shop regularly to seek out individual vintage pieces.

10. Consider your capsule pieces..

The capsule wardrobe pieces are the brilliant essentials in your wardrobe that work for you at each season. The pieces you can’t live without, the pieces that co-ordinate together. The pieces you always need.

I’ve put together my own list for guidance, but remember we are all different, so if you have done your lifestyle homework, you should be able to start putting together yours.

Good luck!

IMG_0165.jpg






MY TOP 20 WARDROBE UPGRADES

  1. THE FUNNEL NECK KNIT.

    It’s all about the slits at the side allowing you to layer over dresses and tuck in at the front. Comes in lots of colours - my eye is on the purple.

2. BIG FAT WHITE TRAINERS

These will up date any garment. Don’t think American commuter. This will keep you running stylish right through to Spring.

3. A BLACK BLAZER

Yes I kept it. A sharp black double breasted blazer will work with every colourful item in your wardrobe to keep you sharp (even on a denim day).

4. 70’S PRINT

Geometric all the way.Fabulous non crease fabric that you can throw in your Christmas suitcase. Tart up with heels or boots. It comes in a dress which I team together to wear as a coat.

5. PURPLE

Rich up your wardrobe with the colour purple. Colour block with strong reds and mustard. These purple trousers are divine.

6. CORD

I love cord but a cord suit feels too trendy. A cord blazer however will work wonders with your denim, to keep you snug, cosy and this season.

Top Shop Cord Blazer £65

Top Shop Cord Blazer £65

7. SNAKE PRINT

Snake takes the lead for me and is a fresh change to leopard. This snake skin skirt from Zara is a winner. The colour is richer and the fabric has a slight sheen. It also has a sexy slit and classy covered buttons so looks expensive. I’m wearing snake dress by Belle Modelle.

IMG_8716.jpeg
Zara Snake Skin Skirt £29.99

Zara Snake Skin Skirt £29.99

8 & 9 TOP TO TOE VELVET

Zara again but this was hard to send back. The ultimate lounge wear and if you’re feeling really trend work top to toe with heels.

Zara Velvet sweatshirt £25.99 & Joggers £25.99

Zara Velvet sweatshirt £25.99 & Joggers £25.99

10. A SILK BLEND SHIRT

No dry cleaning required, comes in lots of variety of colours. I love this Cornflower blue. So pretty to wear now for events over Christmas but it will look pretty in the Springtime too.

11. & 12. TOP TO TOE RED

Me & Em never fail to impress. Pricey but the quality of those trousers are divine. The silk blouse will update last years velvet trousers.

13. CROPPED WIDE TROUSERS

The best cropped wide trousers on the high street. These are so light to wear, flattering (I sized down to an 8) - perfect for when you want a more modern shaped black trouser.

14 & 15. HANKERCHIEF PRINT

Mango has produced this fabulous asymmetrical handkerchief skirt and matching blouse. Both work wonders alone but equally impressive together.

16. THE CHECKED DRESS

This 70’s inspired check dress is floaty and cute. I love the mustard check and open neckline. It works well with a roll neck now but will work next year with a denim jacket and bare legs.

17. THE WHITE BOOT

Yes, I blogged about this earlier in the season. I adore this fresh foot against a sea of jewelled winter colours. I decided to buy these as I didn’t want to spend anymore on something that is a trending piece. A slightly higher heel, but these are replacing my courts this winter so they are my ‘going out’ boots.

18. THE MIDI DRESS

I wanted to feature the Carlotta from Whistles but its already sold out. This dress will work famously from desk to dinner. Midi, printed with sleeves.

19. VEGAN LEATHER

Get on the waiting list (due in for Nov).A fabulous dress for parties but this dress will act as a coat over jeans too.

20. THE COSY COVERUP

We all need a big snuggly something to throwover our glittery jumpsuits or jeans. This Holly Wrap works as a snuggly cardi-coat and oversized enough to layer over all your cashmere. Lots of colours. I’ve the hot pink!

what's your signature piece?

IMG_3896.jpeg

Last month, I was guest speaker at the WHO Networking group.

I discussed personal branding and the importance of tailoring your personal style to suit your business. Whatever your business is, it’s fundamental that your style suits the environment you work in. Whatever work you do, It’s also incredibly important to have a signature piece that clients and customers remember.

When rebranding last year, I wanted to portray a business element to my brand - an image with a blazer felt right to convey my professional style. This is my signature piece.

I wear a lot of print and vintage so a sharp tailored blazer pulls my look together.

My red blazer is a garment that when I put it on, I mean business. To me it reflects my business personality - vibrant, energetic, un-noticeable and punchy.

So my question to you is ‘If your business was a blazer, what blazer would it be?’

Here are some inspired ideas..(All Massimo Dutti new season)

A twist on the country tweed. Authentic, classic, traditional English. Perfect with jeans and I love it mixed with the tweed skirt.

Grey minimal and sporty. For the individual who likes simplicity, clean lines and no fuss.

The 70’s corduroy is back. This feels preppy, nostalgic, soft to touch. Worn simple with jeans or throw over a printed floral midi dress.

The classic pinstripe is now not just for the city. This looks very Parisian worn with straight cropped denim. Oversize is best - thrown over classic separates.

Plaid check is everywhere. Chuck on with tracksuits and t-shirts nod to the 90s or do the sporty thing and team matching trousers, trainers and t-shirt.

White boots

Need a instant wardrobe update?

White boots will sharpen up your autumn look.

Preen midi dress

Preen midi dress

After months of wearing sandals, these crisp coloured boots will modernise your look.

Mine are a block heel so easy to wear at work or daytime.

wrap dress by Kettlewell Colours

wrap dress by Kettlewell Colours

How to wear..

vintage skirt & blazer

vintage skirt & blazer

My were a steal in the Top Shop sale in the heatwave in June.

They will effortlessly take you from to autumn to winter.

The perfect transitional look worn with bare legs with midi dresses and white jeans for a minimal look.

IMG_5976.jpg

Pile on with print

Matches Fashion

leap into leopard print

If theres one print you need to update your style this September its leopard print. If your fearful of looking like Pat Butcher, or it being a bit edgy,  here are some grown up sleek ways to style this print. One things for sure, this trend is ageless and timeless.

For the evening, invest in a more loose fitting leopard dress. I love the loose style this dress by M&S Limited Collection. Great to wear now with ankle boots but it will work with tights, boots and a belt in the winter months.

Zara Leather heeled ankle boot £149

Zara Leather heeled ankle boot £149

Leopard print boots will add some interest into your weekend style. Wear with blue and black denim or tart up last years leather skirt.

A soft flowing wrap skirt will be really easy to wear this season - worn with a simple vest now, polo neck later and white crisp shirt tucked in for the office. 

If you can't wear leopard on your body - try a bag. This faux fur one by Top Shop has loads of personality.

Kettlewell Colours have some fabulous leopard print tops (in other colour ways too!) this scoop one looks fab with navy and red - they also have a 'v' wrap style which is very flattering.

A silk leopard scarf worn with all black looks oh so chic. For weekends wear the scarf as a belt tied through your denim or even a headscarf with your dungarees.

Oh and from the archive, here's some inspiration of how I've worn mine.. (probably not so smart but definitely a little funky)

IMG_5277.jpg

Sport style with trainers

IMG_4256.jpg

My newest edition - a silk shift dress worn over a white t-shirt.

IMG_9780.jpg
IMG_8735.jpg
Hobbs Helena Belt £65

Hobbs Helena Belt £65

Hobbs accessories are always really high quality at an affordable price. Work the leopard print trend in the office.

I adore this Mango t-shirt. Love the deep V and the plain black at the back. Fabulous for the evening or teamed with a suit.

IMG_8014.jpg
IMG_9061.jpg

Leopard looks fresh worn with white denim or a white tuxedo.

IMG_7106.jpg

Clash your leopard with bold bright colours and stripes.

IMG_6178.jpg