Wardrobe Angel Case Study – Better with Age

Phrases such as “women over a certain age” and the “style rules” that used to accompany them are now obsolete when it comes to fashion and style. My Nana was one of the most glamorous women in my life growing up: she never wore black, she loved bright colours, and had an enviable collection of silk scarves which I inherited. To honour her memory I named my beautiful baby girl after her! Since tripping over the Advanced Style blog on the world wide web a few years back, I started to see ageing in a wholly positive light.   Not so much decay and lost opportunities, wrinkles and being ‘over the hill’ as the media at one time suggested, but more a celebration of all the new opportunities that age can bring. One of my first Wardrobe Angel clients was an amazing lady called Sharon who embraced her milestone birthday with open arms. She too contributed to my own views on what it means to get older. What did Sharon have to say about her Wardrobe Angel Experience? I celebrated my 50th birthday a few weeks ago and far from feeling gloomy about my age I am genuinely excited about my ‘coming of age’ and finding an increased confidence that comes with caring far less about what other people think. I’ve always had a passion for art and design but yet my wardrobe has seldom reflected my true style and I recognised that the lack of choice offered by a homogenised High Street and the limitations of a size 16 hourglass body shape were not the only factors holding...
Do you buy designer clothes?

Do you buy designer clothes?

Designer clothes have become a lot more readily available over the past few years. Sites like Vestiaire Collective and Buy My Wardrobe are resale sites for second hand designer cast offs. Even TK Maxx has got in on this burgeoning market by selling designer clothes in their Gold Label sections. However, not all designer clothing is a hit: you only have to look at the tat on eBay to see even designer designers can have a bad collection. Buying a designer label doesn’t make you stylish. It doesn’t even mean you have money – fake handbags bought from abroad do a roaring trade. Yet we still live in the age of conspicuous consumption – I had the FCUK t-shirt splayed across my bust in the late 90’s (I didn’t even like the t-shirt – I got foundation on the neckline and had to buy it to hide my shame…) – and a subtle logo can go a long way. This year I met a wonderful client who had been promoted at work in the finance sector – a wonderful and well deserved experience yet her promotion was riddled with doubt over what to wear. The client had a bad habit of stress shopping on her lunch hour and as bargain basement shops were the ones nearest her work, she furnished her wardrobe with cheap 1 hit wonders which didn’t reflect her pay grade or job title. I’ve worked with a lot of accountants, financial advisors and Finance Directors over the years and the most important thing I say to them is “you have to look like wealth, you have to...

Wardrobe Angel Case Study – Working in a creative industry

Lots of my clients work in creative industries, namely television and radio. This creates some interesting wardrobe dilemmas as the creative industries are usually pretty casual in their dress codes. This then leads to people wearing the same things for work as they would at the weekend and never quite standing out in the workplace as they should. Here is one Wardrobe Angel Case Study to show how I turned one creative worker’s wardrobe into a career defining success: Fiona, TV executive Recently promoted to a lofty and visible position of authority, each night driving home from work instead of feeling incredibly proud of her awesome achievement, she would start to feel anxious about what to wear the following day. This became a self-fulfilling prophecy; as she stressed more and more about what to wear, she found it harder and harder to find something to wear. Plus, she didn’t even really know what she was supposed to be wearing – the job description didn’t come with a Dress Code. What did I do? Utilised jackets to convey strength in her position  – sartorial armour if you will – by giving her a defined silhouette. Removed black from her wardrobe (with her soft colouring the contrast was too harsh) and focused on creams, taupe, sky blue, yellow and navy. Combined low heels (she was on her feet a lot during the day, a high heel wouldn’t have been appropriate) and jackets as the pillars of her wardrobe, combined with a variety of dresses and the odd pair of trousers and jeans. Made necklaces her USP and wove them into nearly...

Why doubling up could be damaging your style

Style is increasing individual but have you ever bought 2 or 3 of the same item of clothing for your wardrobe because you liked it so much? One of my first clients did a lot of TV shopping on QVC and bought items in all the colours each range had to offer. Needless to say she didn’t wear half of what she owned and found the choice in her wardrobe overwhelming! Buying duplicates can seem like a good idea when you really love an item of clothing but in my experience it really means you will wear your favourite item less. I liken it to really enjoying a meal then ordering the same meal again only to find that the taste is slightly different and you are already full from your first sitting. If you really love an item of clothing then wear it and enjoy it. When I was a teenage I was the proud owner of a velour Miss Sixty t-shirt (I know! Sounds hideous! But it was awesome, I swear) but I hardly ever wore it. It laid perfectly folded in my wardrobe and each time I went for it I thought “no, it’s for best” and opted for another t-shirt. Then I went to university, shrunk the t-shirt in the wash and the rest is history. I only remember wearing it once for an extended family picture. What a waste! If you repeat buy the same items, as well as running the risk of never wearing the item, you also run the risk of looking the same all the time.  Your style uniform becomes so small that...

“My name is Sue and I’m something of a hoarder.”

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting Sue: a hoarder. Sue had called me to help her declutter and minimise the number of clothes she owned. I’ve had several clients with hoarding tendencies over the years and each session has been an eye opening couple of hours into the mindset of why we hang on to things. Why do people hoard clothes? Sue summed it up perfectly when she said she hoarded for these reasons:   It cost a lot One day I’ll be this thin again This is special and we had good times (even if it’s not fashionable or doesn’t fit anymore) Saving it for best Still got plenty of wear in it   There’s also:   Hoarding in adulthood as a reaction to poverty in childhood, A coping mechanism for the death of a partner in their adult life (shopping to fill a void) A copycat action – their parents hoarded so now they do too.   Hoarding is a compulsion and a habit but once you know why you are doing it, it can be easier to change the pattern and form a new, healthier habit of shopping and hoarding less. To help Sue get to the root of her hoarding I challenged her to think about her wardrobe and the amount of clothes in terms of past and present:   “if your house is full of the past how can you allow the future in?”   This simple mantra gave Sue the power to start parting with clothes. Into the sell pile went some vintage wool coats that were too big, too masculine. Into the charity bag...