You can achieve elegant simplicity

Richard Branson once said, ‘Complexity is your enemy.  Any fool can make something complicated.  It is hard to make something simple.’  Now Richard may not have had clothes in mind when he said this, but he’s right – so many of us struggle to achieve elegant and effortless simplicity when it comes to dressing.

Working with my clients, ‘simplicity’ is a theme I find myself returning to again and again.  As you know, most of my clients are over 40, and simplicity is the key to avoiding fussiness and frumpiness as we get older.

Betty Jackson was interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Woman’s Hour’ last week, and she agreed – keep it simple, ladies, no matter your age, shape or size.

me in black Oct 2015 croppedYou can achieve elegant simplicity.  It requires paying attention to three important elements:

  • simplicity in colour: my golden rule is to wear no more than three at a time (excluding prints) to keep things streamlined and polished
  • simplicity in accessories: less is more.  Wear a statement earring or necklace, for example, but never both
  • simplicity in shape: know what cuts and shapes work for you and stick with them

I’m happy to help, of course. Give me a call !

 

 

Time for some spring (wardrobe) cleaning

It’s officially spring.  The weather here in the UK is (slightly) warmer and the clocks go forward this weekend which, happily, means more light.  Spring is a great time for cleaning and decluttering, but don’t forget your wardrobe.  Here are are my top five tips that will help you keep your wardrobe under control all year round…

  1. Review it quarterly. Keep your wardrobe organised and wearable by re-examining it every few months.  What are you wearing most?  What are you not wearing?  Do you have too much?  Do you need a full detox?
  1. Make sure everything has a home.  Keep shoe boxes, for example, for storing shoes and small accessories such as belts and scarves, and dust bags for protecting handbags and clutches.  Drawers should be organised by theme (underwear, nightwear, socks and hosiery) and shelves stacked with easily folded items (jeans, jumpers).  Every item in your wardrobe should have its own ‘home’.
  1. Put items away after wearing or washing.  Once everything has a home, make sure you return the item to it after wearing or washing it.  This will help you keep things tidy.
  1. Take care of your clothes. Get items dry cleaned or repaired when they need it. They’ll look better and last longer.
  1. Pack things away seasonally. This will give you more space and you can actually see what you’ve got.  It also gives you a chance to regularly ‘edit’ things.  When packing away knitwear, make sure you protect against moths and other nasties –  Total Wardrobe Care do some good products.

Happy spring cleaning ! If you think you may be in need of a more complete wardrobe detox, contact me today.

Samantha_in window smiling

What is the ultimate capsule wardrobe?

hanging rail editedI recently came across some interesting statistics.  Evidently, the average woman in the US had 36 items of clothing in her wardrobe in 1930 (making just nine outfits, according to Forbes).  Today, the average woman has 120.  Clearly a lot has changed in the past 86 years.

I think we would all agree that 36 items would represent the ultimate ‘capsule wardrobe’ – something which many of my clients ask me to help them create.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the capsule approach, but it is difficult to achieve in a world dominated by cheap and readily available fashion.  It takes some commitment and effort to accomplish its promised ‘effortlessness’.

Of course, people also have different ideas of what ‘capsule’ actually means.  Some bloggers have written and talked about editing it down to only 10 items, or 12 or even 20.  (This usually excludes ‘extras’ such as coats, shoes and eveningwear).

My advice?  Don’t aim for a specific number of items, just plan to reduce your wardrobe down significantly, keeping in mind that most people only wear 20-30% of their clothes.  Examine what you actually wear (and what fits) vs. what you don’t (and doesn’t).

This is difficult to do yourself as we are all too emotionally attached to our clothes. Here’s where my wardrobe detox can help.  You may not get down to 36 items, but we will pare things back significantly and put together combinations you won’t have thought of before.  Contact me and book a session now!

 

Cary Grant’s rules for dressing

Images courtesy of Simon Carter menswear.

IMG_1010_cravatCary Grant had a reputation for being sartorially superior, as it were, and was often cited as one of Hollywood’s best dressed men.  His preference were for the clothes of (in his words) a ‘well-dressed, sophisticated chap.’  Of course he even managed to look elegant when being pursued across a midwestern plain by a crop duster in Hitchcock’s North by Northwest (which, by the way, required six suit changes and dozens of ties…)

Mr Grant was often asked about his ‘rules’ for dressing, and in an article for GQ/This Week said, ‘I can’t think of any rules about clothes, since there really aren’t any….’.  But he did go on to advise the following (although these are aimed at men, the first four can apply equally to women):

  • Buy [shoe] trees to conform to the shape of your shoes, and keep your coats on curved hangers
  • Don’t stuff your pockets with heavy articles and bulging wallets filled with seldom-used cards.  They ruin not only the neatness of your appearance but the actual tailoring of your suit.  (Ladies: take note where your handbags are concerned)
  • Don’t overbuy.  When you contemplate an article, judge whether or not it harmonises with items you already own
  • Take care of your clothes, keep them clean and in good repair
  • Do see that your socks stay up.  Nothing can spoil an otherwise well-groomed effect like sagging socks

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Whether you prefer formality like Cary Grant or are happier in a more casual look, pay attention to the details.  Care about your look.  Be a style icon.

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Give it the cold shoulder !

IMG_2383I love it when less-obvious areas become a fashion-focal-point.  And this spring, we see the return of the shoulder.

The new cut out shoulders, off the shoulder tops and Bardot necklines are so flattering, particularly if you want to hide your upper arms.  They come in stretch jersey, knit or floaty blouses, and there are a wide range to choose from – but snap one up quickly – they are selling out fast.  There are so many options to choose from, from high street choices such as M&S, H&M and Whistles, through to designers such as Baukjen, Splendid and Rosetta Getty.

I’ve just bought a ribbed knit one from Whistles which can be worn with the ‘V’ at the front or the back.  I wear mine at the front, as it’s more flattering, particularly if you are larger than a c-cup.

Wear yours with minimal jewellery as you don’t want to dilute the dramatic effect of the neckline.   It can be dressed down with jeans and trainers, or up with smarter trousers, skirts or cropped kick-flares (this season’s key silhouette).

So prepare to bare, in a distinctly elegant way.