After yesterday's post I was considering what it takes to shop and dress well. I don't believe in being prescriptive about style and think that every woman should find her own statement with her wardrobe but there are some simple rules that help in looking pulled together.
These simple style solutions can pretty much apply to everyone regardless of age or style:
1.] Always wear clothes that are appropriate for the occasion [whether that's in style or practicality], and the weather. Now this may seem like the most blindingly obvious piece of advice but I'm constantly amazed at how many women get it wrong. Particularly those women up North who don't wear the appropriate attire for an evening out in winter [you know who you are!].
You'll never look or feel more uncomfortable than when you're inappropriately dressed, and style and comfort to me or inextricably linked. If you want more evidence of this read Caitlin Moran's hilarious piece on current trends in last Sunday's Times - particularly the sky-high platforms that are impossible to actually walk in.
2.] Buy clothes you love; in other words don't be a slave to fashion. If there's one thing I learnt in 10 years working on magazines it's that very few people actually working in the industry follow the trends, or could afford to buy them if they weren't 'gifted' them by the designers.
3.] Take care of your clothes; this means keeping them in a wardrobe / drawers / cupboard space that allows them to be seen and not squashed into oblivion. I've seen too many friends with crammed wardrobes full to bursting with clothes who tell me they have nothing to wear. If anything they have too many clothes and because they can't actually see what they have, how on earth can they figure out what to wear.
Storing clothes is a whole art form and something I'll be covering in another blog. If the clothes you have are clean, pressed and ready it is much easier to put an outfit together in a morning when you're rushing out the door, or juggling a giddy toddler while dressing yourself and cleaning their teeth at the same time.
This leads to point...
4.] Be ruthless and have a clear out of your wardrobe every 6 months. This may sound like a big headache, but believe me it will save you a lot of money in the long run. When you are forced to go through your clothes and consider what you actually wear you are much less inclined to spend money on something similar a couple of weeks down the line. Put the clothes into 3 piles: keep; mend/alter; charity/ebay. Religiously get rid of anything that doesn't fit or can't be mended.
5.] Rather than buy lots of cheap clothes, buy fewer clothes but invest more wisely. Again, this is speaking from experience of friends who have a wardrobe full of cheap clothes, and yet seem to be constantly spending money on new things.
Cheaper clothes don't last as long - fact, so the trick is to buy the best you can afford. That might mean saving up to buy one really great piece from French Connection rather than 3 bits from New Look or River Island.
If you'd love to buy designer but your purse won't stretch try looking on ebay for second-hand finds. I'll be posting soon about where to find the best bargains.
6.] When you're shopping think fabric, fabric, fabric... there are some fabrics that shouldn't be considered after the age of 30 - anything with polyester in should be avoided like the plague particularly in knitwear. This is one area where it is really important to stick to rule 5. Cheap knitwear is always guaranteed to look tatty after a few washes, it will lose it'sshape, start to bobble, and generally look messy.
7.] Good news: Don't spend alot on expensive denim - if there is one thing that you can buy well and buy cheaply this is it!
I'll be blogging more on style in the weeks ahead...