Think fit (not exercise)

my hanging clothesEvery January, we are encouraged to go through some miraculous transformation through diet, detox and exercise, as if somehow the turn of a year demands it. (I personally think spring is a better time to do this).  But what about your clothes? They are the most visible way you present yourself to the world each day.  The most important thing to think about is ‘fit’.  And I’m not talking about exercise.

Ladies: ignore the numbers

Topshop size label 2First of all, ladies, I implore you to ignore the numbers. Today’s sizing varies widely between (and even within) brands and designers. The important points to consider are: 1) does it fit you properly (particularly at the shoulders, bust, hips and hem length)? and 2) are you comfortable wearing it?  The numbers on the label make absolutely no difference (and no-one sees them anyway).

Guys: it’s important for you, too

Fit is also vital for men.  I see so many men wearing shirts, t-shirts, jeans and trousers that are at least two sizes too big for them.  Proper fit = clothes that look better, hang better and last longer.  And consider Fashionbeans’ wise words: recognise that the fit of your clothes is just as important as how comfortable they are (Jeremy Clarkson, we’re looking at you).

Use your steely new year’s resolve to get rid of any items that you promised yourselfKaren Millen size label you would diet to fit into.  This rarely happens, and when it does, the item’s moment has usually passed.  Instead, focus on the here and now – make the best of yourself as you are today.

As always, I’m here to help, so do get in touch.

Fashion, turn to the left…

‘An artist for the eye as well as the ear’ – Jeremy Vine, BBC1, 11/1/2016

Much has been written and posted about the late, great David Bowie in the past week.  Bowie was, without doubt, a significant cultural icon – a man through whom music, art and fashion converged.  I love Bowie’s music, but I agree with Jeremy Vine, his visual appeal is just as important.

Bowie understood that his look was an essential part of his (very-theatrical) performance.  A follower (and inspirer) of fashion both onstage and off, he adopted and discarded personas, becoming rock’s greatest chameleon and paving the way for Madonna and Lady Gaga.  The great man said it himself back in 1974: ‘One of my great loves is clothes…I’m really mad about them’.

In his quest for new looks, Bowie also supported new talent. In 1996 he commissioned the then-relatively unknown Alexander McQueen to design the union jack frock coat that he went on to wear on the Earthling album cover and subsequent tour.  The coat was then displayed at the David Bowie IS retrospective at the V&A in 2013.  He was also loyal to chosen designers.  He wore Paul Smith a lot, for example, who said on Radio 4 last week that Bowie ‘had such good personal taste’.

From the glam appeal of Ziggy, to the stark Berlin-inspired elegance of the Thin White Duke, from the yellow suit for the Serious Moonlight tour (which, incidentally, was the first time I saw Bowie in concert) designed by opera costume designer Peter J Hall, to the minimalist cool of the early 2000s – no one quite wore it quite like him.

Unfortunately I don’t have the rights to any images of Bowie, but the New York Times has helpfully published a great slideshow showing some of his most iconic looks here.

New year, new style resolutions

Last year, I made five ‘style resolutions’ for 2015.  Did I achieve them? I have to admit that resolution number four – I will buy a new winter coat before the end of November – fell foul of autumn’s mild and wet weather. I just didn’t need one, so it fell off my radar. I did buy a lightweight COS long blazer/coat, but that won’t cut it now that the temperature finally looks like it’s going to dip below freezing….

So, that one stays put for 2016. I’ve also added a couple of new ones. Here goes:

  • I will wear heels more often. This one also stays for 2016, particularly in terms of my AG slim boyfriend jeans and Joseph blazer combination – a continued winner which I don’t wear often enough. The new Karen Millen heels I got for my birthday will make this resolution easier to achieve
  • I will focus more on accessories. Somehow I never seem to have quite the right jewellery, and I get tired of wearing the same pieces, but this is something that seems to slip down my shopping list. Accessorising well creates a more individual look, and a varied selection means you can make outfits look completely different. Which in turn means less clothes-boredom, particularly as winter drags on…
  • My Prada-buying days are behind me (at least for the moment), so I will need to be more creative in hunting for affordable designer treasures. Luckily, help is at hand via sites such as Vestiaire Collective, The Outnet, Very Exclusive and, based here in Sussex, EditSecondhand
  • I will buy a new winter coat before the end of November 2016. Let’s try this one again ! It might also be time to add some new boots by then, too….

What are your style resolutions ? Tweet me at @alwayschicUK and have a fantastic January.

birthday shoes

Detox your wardrobe too…

colourful wardrobe

2016 is upon us, and, as usual, everyone is focusing on diets, detox and exercise. But what about your clothes?   Your wardrobe may already be full to overflowing. Perhaps you are saving clothes to wear ‘for a special occasion’ that never seems to happen, or that you’ll wear once you lose that ‘last half stone’. Or perhaps you buy too much of the same types of item and are stuck in a style rut.

Before you hit (what’s left of) the sales, it’s a good idea to take stock of your current wardrobe and declutter it – I call this ‘detoxing’ your wardrobe – and it’s a great way to not only clear out the old and make way for the new, but to regain a sense of control over your clothes.

My wardrobe detox serves three important purposes: 1) it gets rid of the clothes you don’t, or never will, wear. This includes anything that no longer fits, can’t be altered or repaired, is desperately dated (and can’t be updated) or that you simply hate ! 2) it clears valuable wardrobe space, enabling you to actually see what you’ve got, which means you can then make informed sale shopping decisions; and 3) most importantly, it clears head space – there’s nothing like decluttering a physical space to make you feel lighter, refreshed and ready to tackle anything.

This is not something that is easy to do yourself as few of us are objective about our own clothes, and we’re not good at challenging ourselves out of our comfort zones. You need someone to be honest and unemotional yet supportive. In most cases, I am able to put together outfits from your existing clothes that you may not have thought of, instantly revitalising your wardrobe without you having to spend a penny.

Contact me to find out more.