You want the dream wardrobe: full of fabulous clothes that are bang in style, feel great but didn’t require a mortgage. It almost sounds too easy! 😉 If, like me, you are an impulsive buyer then you are more likely to have a wardrobe full of crap, 70% of which you haven’t worn for years.
That’s why I got together with London based stylist Suzanne Bernie to bring you the Voice of Calm 10 step style guide. Woohoo!
1. Detox your wardrobe!
If you haven’t worn it for 18 months then get rid (excluding ball gowns and dinner suits natch). Suzanne recommends doing this every season – she means fashion seasons darling, as in Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer.
Try everything on and see how you look and feel. Maybe enlist the help of your most honest friends. You could make a night of it and then return the favour.
Once you’ve filled several bags with unwanted items you could head to a charity shop (drive them round in the back of your car for a few weeks though, I know I do). Or you could sell them online and use the cash for all the newness!
2. Decide what you now need to complete your newly cleansed closet.
Having dispatched a chunk of clothes and maybe made a chunk of change there will be a gap in your fashion armoury.
Do you have a white shirt, mid length skirt, summer maxi, good heels etc? Make a wish list so you know what you genuinely need. Once you have this you will have a fashion mission, which can either be accomplished in one mega shop or more likely over time as and when you can afford it!
Start a Pinterest board. I am a prolific pinner. Check it!
3. Don’t buy on a whim.
We can all find ourselves doing the sideways shimmy into Top Shop because we saw a jacket on a size zero mannequin.
Suzanne warns against buying in this way because,
‘It often leads to unnecessary buying, wasting money and filling your wardrobe space with unwanted and unloved pieces.’
4. Try before you buy!
Whether you’re in a shop or buying online you must try it on, see how you look in it and how it makes you feel.
Suzanne’s mantra is,
‘If you don’t LOVE it, don’t buy it!’
God, I can’t tell you how many ridiculous items I bought online after a couple of glasses of wine. They will definitely be in my charity bag!
5. Buy for your body shape. CAVEAT: unless you really don’t care about body shape.
There are all sorts of ‘rules’ around this but what matters most is how you feel. If you want to wear a mini dress and you’re size 18 then rock that look! If you feel incredible then your confidence will be your best accessory.
Personally, if I wear anything with a high waste I look pregnant, which is a look I hardly ever want to achieve. But each to their own.
6. Don’t over do it just because it’s cheap.
‘There are a lot of great low budget shops but don’t over buy just because the item is less expensive. If possible mix high street with mid-price garments to make a more complimentary and up market look. Over a certain age quality is more important than quantity.’
7. Cross dress!
I have 2 teenage boys who grow about an inch a month! I refuse to buy them anything expensive, so I spend a lot of time in the men’s department of low priced shops. I now have men’s boyfriend style jeans that look bloody great! I think they were £8!
The Kooples have some gorgeous men’s shirts and jackets that I love. Sunglasses too can be better in the men’s section.
I’m not sure how well this rule works for men though……?
8. Accessorise well!
‘I love accessorising and often dress myself quite androgynous but add interest with accessories. Not forgetting great shoes and a great handbag.’
If you have a low budget then accessories can be your saviour. A great pair of boots, a scarf, some chunky bangles can add 50% extra to your look and they work with loads of different outfits.
9. Get off the high street.
It’s also important to get out of shopping ruts. Find boutiques and pop up shops that sell items you can’t buy in River Island. Just because it’s designer it doesn’t mean it’s unaffordable. In my experience clothes from small labels tend to last longer than their high street counterparts.
Invest in quality. We all have a dress or jacket we spent a little more on that we still love. You won’t regret treating yourself to a pair of shoes that took your breath away when you first saw them but you will regret spending the same amount on a load of Top Shop jewellery.
10. Be comfortable.
This may seem obvious to some but for those of us who have struggled through an evening in S+M worthy heels, comfort can often be bottom of the list. (Oh….)
I’m too old to be too cold, (that’s a song title right there!) And i don’t want to be in any kind of pain. Gone are the days when my need to show off a shoulder is greater than my need to avoid pneumonia.
If you care about yourself and I hope you do then be kind to your body. If wearing a little black dress means you can only take shallow breaths all night then fuck that!
You are so much more than what you’re wearing. It’s only fashion after all.
Suzanne Bernie offers wardrobe detox, personal and corporate styling and is totally fab. I spent an incredible day with her!
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