Dressing for our predictably unpredictable weather

biker jacket01The weather is being decidedly unpredictable, to say the least – one minute it’s (sort of) warm and sunny, the next minute chilly and/or raining.  One of my clients recently told me how much she struggles with this transition – especially as warmer temperatures often mean revealing unwanted pounds gained over the winter .

So how do you dress for our predictably unpredictable weather?  ‘Smart’ layering is the key.  Here are some pointers to get you started:

  • Don’t just add layers willy-nilly.  Layer carefully, ending up with no more than three.  Go beyond that and you risk adding unwanted bulk.  Start with, for example, a basic white t-shirt.  Add a chambray shirt or a lightweight spring knit. Top it off with a fluid sleeveless blazer, a tailored jacket or a trench or duster coat.  This bamboo print duster coat from Topshop would look great paired with a simple white t-shirt and black jeans, for example.  Likewise, this sleeveless trench from Mint Velvet at John Lewis, in on-trend khaki.
  • A leather biker jacket can be your best friend.  Throw it on over almost anything to add a bit of an edge (and warmth).  Mine’s the ‘Bleeker’ by All Saints, and it’s actually the cheapest item in my wardrobe based on cost-per-wear.
  • If you worry about your bottom half, keep your jacket length to fingertip length or longer.  This will help to elongate your frame and hide a multitude of sins.  A long white shirt is also great for this – here’s a simple but chic longline white shirt from COS (pair with skinnies), and a drop shoulder fluid shirt from M&S, this time in pale pink (another on-trend colour for spring/summer).
  • Add a scarf to keep off the chill !  But think beyond woolly winter versions – try an oversized linen scarf or a bit of silk instead – it’s surprisingly warm.  The one in the photo below is by StephieAnn, who makes luxurious silk lingerie in beautiful prints.

In Stephie scarfFinally, ditch the dark tights and knee high boots !  They just look wrong now that we are in May.  Switch to sheer nude tights (Wolford’s ultrafine Naked 8’s are my go to choice) or prepare your legs to bare if you dare (body brush, exfoliate and moisturise should be your mantra…).

However unpredictable it may be, enjoy the weather !


Wearable heels: height, comfort and style

Wearable heels are big news again this spring.  And I think this is fantastic news. Why should we cripple ourselves in unwearable stilettos, or consign ourselves to flats when we’re desperate for some height?

Red dune block heelsFor me, height is particularly important. Sometimes your look needs some elevation (literally) and flats don’t quite cut it.  I’m only 5’3” and I love wearing culottes – but these demand heels, otherwise I’m in danger of looking short and, heaven forbid, frumpy.  My block heeled sandals and mules give me that added height without sacrificing comfort.  And they’re incredibly versatile.  My very wearable red Dune block heeled sandals get worn with dresses, boyfriend jeans, silky joggers and culottes all spring and summer long.

white block heel mulesWearable heels provide the perfect combination of height, comfort and walkability. They can be block mid heel sandals (like these monochrome beauties from Kurt Geiger), peep toe shoe boots (Russell & Bromley’s are fab) or even mules – there are loads of options to choose from.  The white mules you see here are from Autograph at M&S last year – but thankfully they’re doing them again.

Choosing wearable heels also means I don’t have to carry an extra pair of flats in my bag.  And, because of the heel shape, there’s no danger of sinking into grass or getting caught in pavements, grates or escalators (which I’ve done twice already this week in stilettos!).  Height, comfort and versatility – what’s not to love?










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

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.