The top fashion mistakes and how to avoid them

Maggie McMillan, founder of The Style Counsel tells us how to avoid the top fashion mistakes ahead of the first Style Makeover weekend, launching at Grayshott Spa on 27 April 2012.

1 – What is the single most common fashion mistake women make in their wardrobe and how do we overcome this?

Buying on impulse without thinking what  they already have to go with the item, and how often they can wear it.

Try not to buy an item of clothing unless you can think of 3 things in your wardrobe you can wear with it and 3 occasions on which you can wear it.

Make a realistic inventory of your lifestyle and the types of clothes you need to fit the life you lead now – not mybe the life you used to lead.

2 – What 5 items should every woman have in their wardrobe ?

That depends a bit on their lifestyle, so the list will vary a bit according to their day to day needs.   The following however, are the items I think are universally useful:

Little back dress – can be dressed up or down with accessories NB a dress becomes a skirt then you wear a sweater over it

A good coat – classic shape & can be worn alone or over other outfits

A good fitting pair of trousers which flatter your shape – can be dressed up or down with vests, T shirts, sweaters, shirts , day or evening tops

A pair of comfortable versatile shoes – cheap shoes  usually do hurt  when worn for long periods of time

Some really distinctive jewellery – smart or casual

3 – What edits should we be making to our wardobes for the spring?

Add some colour. Pretty little cardis can transform a dark outfit and take you effortlessly into spring.  This spring I would suggest Ice cream colours or beach brights. You can introduce colour as accessories or separates. Our weather is so unpredictable so layering is perfect.  Sleeveless summer dresses can be reintroduced  and worn like pinafores with little tops underneath.

4 – I have a wardrobe full of clothes and nothing to wear – What should I do?

Apart from engaging Maggie, DETOX, Less is more .   Your current wardrobe should only contain the clothes you are wearing at this point in time, not those which are out of season, too big , too small or don’t suit you and your lifestyle. Look realistically at how you spend your time and the kinds of clothes you need . Do the kinds of clothes you have suit your lifestyle? e.g. do you have a wardrobe with lots of evening wear yet rarely  go to events where you can wear them these days? Do you have lots of formal work suits which do not work now you  in your current work or home environment. Quite often our lifestyle changes  but our wardrobe does not keep pace. If you have a real detox you can see what you have and assess your true needs.

5 – When I go into a shop I get overwhelmed etc…..What should I do?

Know your body shape so you can choose clothes which will enhance, understand your style and true wardrobe needs

Make a list and stick to it

Follow the rules above about buying outfits and separates. Disregard sizes. Always try the size bigger or smaller if you have any doubts as you will always wonder otherwise

Wear good underwear and comfy shoes for shopping

Take appropriate accessories (eg shoes) and undies if you are shopping for a special occasion

Never buy anything unless you love it

What is a capsule wardrobe ?

This is a set of clothes which work together to make a number of outfits for different areas of your life. Everyone’s ideal capsule wardrobe will be different, according to their lifestyle.  The essence of a capsule wardrobe is a few basics which can be mixed and matched. They can be added to, according to trends, seasons etc. Capsule wardrobes are not usually trend led, but can be built up around one veryfashionable item eg a pair of  candy coloured jeans or a great  coloured leather jacket this spring.

How do I avoid the dreaded “mutton dressed as Lamb” look?

Know your body shape and colouring and dress accordingly to highlight your “best bits” and disguise the rest

Use interesting accessories, bags, scarves, jewellery and shoes to to add interest

War good fitting underwear always

Remember that black is not the only base colour

Wearing a column of colour with a contrasting colour over flatters most shapes

Find interesting but comfy shoes and boots – the pain shows in your face

Remember that fashion etiquette has changed and there are few fashion rules now, so concentrate on wearing clothes which flatter you and reflect your personality

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