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fashion advice

Fashion

The best sources of fashion inspo to turn to during a wardrobe rut

12th February, 2020

When you’re faced with a serious wardrobe rut what do you do? Well, instead of just giving up on your wardrobe and deciding you need to go on a rather big (and expensive!) shopping spree to buy new things, why not just help jump start your styling creativity? There are numerous sources of great outfits out there and by calling on some or all of them, you could just find yourself feeling very inspired again.

Instagram

Of course Instagram offers endless inspiration. One way to save yourself in times of “I have nothing to wear” syndrome is by bookmarking outfits that you like so you have a ready to go mood board. There’s really no end to what Instagram can offer so make sure you have a great edit of people whose looks you love.

Newsletters

I know newsletters can sometimes be a bit hit and miss but if you sign up to the right ones you’ll most certainly open yourself up to new looks, styling tricks and possibly a new wardrobe addition that you never knew you always needed. Most fashion sites — blogs (*ahem* this one included), online stores like Net-a-Porter and Matches and news outlets like Who What Wear and Refinery 29 all have newsletters that are often filled with great ideas.

Head in-store

While there’s plenty of inspiration that’s just a click away there’s something that just ignites your styling creativity when you head into your favourite stores to check out what’s on offer. It’s a great time to check out the outfit combinations they’ve got on display to help you with your own looks, plus try on the different pieces in store. Also, things sometimes look really different when you see them in real life and you may find that you’ll end up pulling an ensemble together that you may not have otherwise considered.

Magazines

Beautiful, glossy magazines have always been one of my favourite sources of fashion inspiration. You’re always guaranteed to get some great fashion forward styling within the fashion editorials, plus they provide a great snapshot into current trends. Also, there’s just something about flicking through a fashion mag’s sleek images and layouts that can really get the styling juices flowing and help you unlock some new looks.

What are your favourite sources of fashion inspo?

Fashion

The style mantras I live by

8th February, 2020

When I was younger my style was a constant work in project but as I’ve got older I’ve started to really nail down my look. I know what I like and what I don’t and what suits me and what won’t. This has made getting dressed a whole lot easier. This process has also enabled me to start following a few key style mantras. These are the anchor points of my wardrobe and  has helped shape what I wear on a day to day basis and what also what I buy and add to my closet. Every woman will have her own different mantras according to her own personal tastes, however I thought I’d share mine with you all in case it helps you discover your own words to style by.

Always find balance

My style is a constant balancing act. This means if I’m doing one thing such as wearing a shorter skirt then I’ll aim to have a more conservative blouse to even out my look. If I’m wearing a vibrant colour then I’ll try and tone down my accessories so it’s not too overwhelming. I’ve found this has helped me edit my outfits and has given my a basis from which to style them.

Quality over quantity

Given the move towards sustainable fashion I’ve become even more determined to shop for well made pieces with longevity. I try and make considered purchases rather than succumbing to the temptation of an impulse buy. This means that I’ll always leave it a few days before buying anything as it gives me plenty of time to think about how it’s going to work in my wardrobe. I’d rather only buy a tight edit of things a year that I know will last me season after season.

Interesting elements are key

I’ll always try to add one piece in my ensemble whether it’s a killer heel, a statement bag or showstopper earrings that will elevate it. I’ve found that this is often a great way to put my own unique stamp on what I’m wearing and helps give it an injection of personality.

Aim for a polished finish

If you were to ask me what I aim for when I get dressed everyday it would be a polished finish. I always make sure that from head to toe, every garment fits perfectly (which may mean a trip to the tailor to get it altered). As I’m quite on the petite side if I don’t do this I risk looking like I’m swimming in what I’m wearing. Also I don’t forget the little things such as making sure that my bags are always clean, my shoes aren’t scuffed or needing to be resoled or fixed and my jewellery has a classic feel.

Experiment and have fun

Fashion’s meant to be fun. It’s a great way to express myself and play around with different styles and trends, but ultimately I know it’s meant to be an enjoyable part of my life. So this is why I make a point of experimenting with different colours, combinations and brands to find looks that I love to wear and make me feel great every time I walk out the door.

What are your style mantras?

Photography: Sophia Athas

Fashion

What I’ve stopped wearing in my 30s

1st February, 2020

My style, like most women, has evolved as I’ve gotten older. There are things that I wore when I was younger that I probably wouldn’t even consider now because of changes in lifestyle i.e not practical when chasing after two little girls and because my tastes have matured, there are simply pieces I just don’t think are right for me anymore.

Whilst I’ve given up wearing a few different styles, on the flip side, there are certain things in my wardrobe which are now ideal for where I’m at in life and I wear them non-stop. It’s a style evolution and I think it’s one that I’ve happily embraced and has allowed me to discover the new Kate. Reflecting on it, here’s what I’ve firmly left behind in my 20s and those that I’ve welcomed with open arms in my 30s…

The things I’ve stopped wearing

Sky high stilettos

When I was in my 20s I was working as a fashion editor and was either in an office or out at events so my look had to work around this accordingly. As such I used to be happy to walk around in stilettos all day. I used to wear them all day, everyday and looking back, I’m not sure how I even managed that. My poor feet!

Fussy outfits

Upon reflection I used to wear a lot of outfits that I’d have to adjust all the time to look perfect. Whether it was a particular neckline or a certain dress style, I’d constantly be fixing myself up. As you can imagine I can’t do that now so when it comes to my looks I steer clear of anything that remotely requires fussing about.

Short hemlines

When I was younger I used to wear lots of ultra minis and short shorts. Why not when you can get away with it, right? These days if I was to wear something of a short-ish length I’d probably do a more understated, conservative blouse up the top, whereas I might have done something with a plunging neckline in my 20s.

The things I now wear to death

Flat shoes 

My motto is comfort, comfort, comfort. So unless I’m going to a big event I’ll often be in flats. Styles like loafers, sneakers and slides are now my go-to. I think flats have evolved a lot and are now equally as stylish as a pair of high heels so I’m happy to be in them all the time.

Structured pieces

Shirts and blazers are key pieces in my look. I like things that are comfortable yet can look polished at the same time. They’re also really versatile and can be worn with myriad pieces in my closet, which is a must as I like to have a tightly edited wardrobe nowadays.

High quality staples

I probably spend more on key purchases now than I did in my 20s simple because I now appreciate why quality is often better than quantity. I’m always willing to splurge on things such as a classic designer bag or a pair of leather pants which I know I’ll wear to death and will be good value for money.

Understated silhouettes

Maxi and midi lengths and long, flowy styles are now favourites of mine. I have more fun playing with those lengths than I do with anything that’s tight and short. I’ve also found myself gravitating more towards one piece swimsuits than bikinis this summer. I think those styles just simply flatter my shape more.

Accessories

I like to play with accessories a lot more. I have my accessories which I wear day in and day out have great sentimental value to me such as my watch, wedding and engagement ring and a gold antique medallion that my dad gave to me. However I also like to add the occasional statement earring to elevate an outfit. I’ve learned that accessories really can make an outfit.

What are some style lessons you’ve learnt in your 30s? What are some things you’ve firmly left behind in your 20s?
Fashion, Fashion & Beauty

Wardrobe tips for petite girls

21st November, 2019

Dressing when you’re on the petite/short side can be quite the challenge at times. You’re often faced with the quandry of having things that are too long or too big and the proportions of garments are often not quite right as a result. However all is not lost. There are some easy tricks to ensuring that you get an amazing fit every single time.

Make a tailor your new best friend

Tailoring is one of the easiest ways to ensure that a garment is the perfect fit. So find a reputable tailor whose work you like and make them your new go-to person. It’s easy to have something taken in or up and end up with a new garment that fits like a glove.

Try cropped silhouettes

Oversized garments will swamp a small frame so instead look for cropped styles that will elongate your figure instead. Cropped tops look great with high waisted garments whilst cropped pants work beautifully to showcase statement footwear.

Opt for structure

Go for cuts that are close to the body as anything too boxy or flowy will look like it’s wearing you rather than you wearing it. This will flatter your figure and avoid your outfit looking like it’s not in proportion to your size.

Consider proportions

A diminutive shape calls for diminutive accessories. Go for mini bags which work better with your frame rather than giant, oversized bags which can often look way too big worn by a petite person.

Keep everything balanced

I’ve found that incorporating at least one fitted piece into an outfit will ensure a flattering look. Whether it’s a fitted skirt or a tapered pant worn back with a blouse or a fitted tee worn back with culottes, maintaining the balance with loose garments vs tight garments is important for achieving a cohesive look that works with your body.

Fashion

What my fashion mistakes have taught me about my style

3rd August, 2019

I am the first to confess that I have made a million wardrobe mishaps where I’ve thought ‘What was I wearing?!’ However that’s all part of the fun. I think you need to be able to experiment with fashion because that’s how you will inevitably discover your style. I know from the mistakes I’ve made that I’ve definitely learned what suits me and what doesn’t.

The biggest thing I’ve learned would have to be that looking great doesn’t come down to how much you’ve spent or if you’re wearing new season clothing it’s about knowing your body shape intimately so you’re confident in what will work on your frame and what won’t. For me, I’m not very tall and quite petite so I can’t wear anything that may swamp me. I steer clear of things like sack dresses for example because I’m not tall enough to pull it off. It sounds really simple but that only came from a lot of experimentation and trial and error. I can now flick through clothing racks or scroll through websites and know immediately whether something works. And I think that’s all from making a fashion mistake or two.

I think the key to knowing your style is paying attention to the times when you’ve had a mishap and knowing why it didn’t quite work. Often those are the little moments that can really help you define what your look is all about.

Tell me, what’s been your biggest fashion mistake?

Fashion

5 pieces that always save me in a wardrobe crisis

22nd June, 2019
 

An unexpected wardrobe crisis is not something I can usually afford to have first thing in the morning. This is why I’ve developed a roster of key pieces that I know will always save me when I’m having issues on the outfit front. They’re tried and tested and I know exactly how to work them with what’s in my closet so I can easily pull together an outfit in minutes. Here’s what’s saved me more times than I can count…

Little black dress

A little black dress is the equivalent of a get out of jail free card when it comes to fashion. An LBD has saved me on numerous occasions from having a wardrobe crisis as it’s such an easy foundation from which to build an outfit—all it needs is a great pair of shoes and accessories and I’m done. I know it’s also guaranteed to be flattering so it’s ideal for those days when I can’t afford to waste time trying on multiple outfits but need to look and feel my best.

Jeans

I always feel comfortable and confident in my favourite pair of jeans so for casual days out I know I can always rely on them to build an outfit around. I can easily just add a tee and flats if I’m out running errands or a structured blazer and heels if I’m after something a bit dressier.

Leather pants

I live in black leather pants throughout winter as they’re so comfortable and can also easily be dressed up or down. As a lot of people probably do, I generally always turn to anything black when I’m having a wardrobe crisis as it’s always a flattering hue and is an easy jumping off point to build a look from. The perfect pair of black leather pants can easily be paired with a tee and sneakers for great off duty style or a blouse and heels for a dressier look.

Shift dress

Shift dresses have always been my go-to at all times. Even during pregnancy I found them to be a great option as the silhouette works with my frame and is an easy basis from which to create a look. I’ve found dresses are a lifesaver during times of wardrobe dilemmas as you don’t need to fuss around trying to match tops and bottoms—simply throw it on, find a pair of shoes and you’re done. Shift dresses may not work for everyone so definitely find a dress style that you know works with your shape.

White shirt

A crisp white shirt is considered a wardrobe classic for good reason—it’s an easy option to pair with everything from jeans to leather pants to a skirt and always looks polished. I find it’s always a good idea to have a white shirt ironed and ready to go at all times as it’s an easy option to turn to when you’re staring at your closet feeling really uninspired. Throw on a white shirt and I guarantee it’s wardrobe crisis averted!

What are your go-to wardrobe lifesavers?
Fashion, Shop

What I will never scrimp on in my wardrobe

25th May, 2019

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My wardrobe is an eclectic mix of different pieces at various price points but there are definitely special pieces that I have splurged on. I have always believed in being a discernible shopper and not just purchasing things on a whim so I’m quite strategic in my approach to shopping. I always do my research and will keep an eye out for sales both in store and online as there’s nothing quite like getting a piece you’ve been coveting at half price! That said, there are certain things that I will never scrimp on simply because these pieces are the workhorses of my wardrobe and need to be the best quality possible.

Shoes

Given how much time we spend in them I think shoes have always been a worthwhile investment. Finding good quality shoes will mean that they stand up to the daily wear and tear we put our footwear through and won’t require replacing or repairing as often. I’ve often rationalised that buying a slightly more expensive pair of shoes will often be better value for money than buying several cheaper pairs that will need to be replaced sooner.

Bags

I don’t buy them often so when I do I make sure that a bag is well made, from quality materials and of a style that will remain a classic for years to come. I’m all about quality not quantity in my wardrobe so I’d rather hang out for a slightly more expensive bag that I know will have plenty of longevity than go for an of-the-moment fix. For example I have a Chanel bag that I have had for years and that I still wear regularly and is still in great shape simply because of the craftsmanship that has gone into it. The same goes for my Givenchy bag (above) which I use all the time and I know because it’s so well made I’ll be able to wear it season after season.

Coats

I’ll happily scrimp on things like t-shirts and jeans but outerwear is something I will always willingly splurge on because of the number of times I’ll wear each item. Coats in particular are something I like to purchase each season and will wear throughout the cooler months so I always make sure it’s a classic style, made from a quality fabric such as wool as I will wear it day after day.

Jackets

I regularly wear jackets so I will make sure to buy the best quality that I can as I wear them so often. I have a Balmain blazer that I remember trawling the internet for for years before I finally snapped it up on sale but it’s the kind of strategic purchase I don’t regret one bit as I wear it to death. And yes, it’s definitely more expensive than your average blazer but I often think of things from a cost per wear basis and have definitely got value for money out of this particular buy.

Fashion

Refresh your wardrobe without spending a cent

18th April, 2019


If there’s one thing that’s pretty much guaranteed to happen at some point in every woman’s life it’s feeling rather uninspired when looking into your wardrobe. It’s easy to turn to buying new things to help break out of this rut but it’s also a costly exercise if that’s your go-to each time you think you have nothing to wear. That’s why it pays to get creative and look to other ways to refresh your existing clothes and find new ways to wear them. Try the following things the next time you’re faced with wardrobe boredom, and the best bit it is it doesn’t cost a thing…

Rediscover your accessories collection

I can’t stress enough how playing with different accessories can really help revamp a tired look. The important thing is to get creative and experiment with different pieces. Challenge yourself to wear things that you wouldn’t usually wear with a certain outfit such as switching out the statement necklace you’d normally pair with it for a pair of earrings. You don’t just have to stick to jewellery either. You could also try tying a scarf around your hair or popping on a hat—it doesn’t take much effort but it can really help bring an outfit to life.

Play with your beauty look

You may be wearing something you’ve worn hundreds of times before but by changing your beauty look it can feel fresh all over again. A bold statement lip or a sultry smoky eye, even a bright pop of colour in the form of nail polish, can really help rework an outfit into something that feels new.

Work with bold prints and patterns

One of the easiest ways to refresh an existing piece in your wardrobe is to work it back with interesting prints or patterns. A plain white tee is brought to life when paired with a striking pattern such as a bold stripe or classic polka dot. If you’re feeling adventurous, try clashing different prints for a look that feels modern and on trend—just make sure to choose prints with at least one colour in common to help bring cohesion to your look.

Rework existing pieces

You’re probably so used to wearing particular items in your closet a certain way that you’ve not thought about styling it differently. Simple tweaks like rolling up the sleeves of a shirt, tying the ends of a button down, belting a dress or tucking in a tee can achieve a new look without having to do much at all.

Think outside the box

You know your favourite skirt? Well, could it be fashioned into a dress? How about pairing a one piece swimsuit with a pair of jeans? Look beyond a garment’s original purpose and think of ways that it could possibly work in another way. I’m betting there are plenty of things already sitting in your closet, that with the right styling tweaks could easily be given a refresh for free.

What are some of your favourite no-cost ways to refresh an outfit?

 

Fashion

The one thing I always do when I plan an outfit

13th April, 2019

Oh dress codes. I find that some people are either a stickler for sticking to a dress code or they will just try and remain in the vicinity of it. I’m the former. In fact, it’s the one thing I will always consider when I plan an outfit. My job often requires me to go from a casual launch one minute to a black tie event the next so to me dress codes are a way of guiding my outfit planning for the week. Even without a stated dress code my brain tends to go into that mode and I will allocate one to whatever event it is I’m going to as it helps provide me with some styling structure.

When it comes to deciding what I’ll be wearing the one thing I never do is start with a single accessory such as a hat or shoes. I know lots of women who will tend to work around a particular piece but it’s just one of those things that has never really worked for me. I tend to get in a better styling frame of mind when I can work with a solid base such as the dress I want to wear (in keeping with the dress code of course!) and then visualise the pieces that will work with it. Usually I find this gives me a more cohesive look and I’m able to pull together something a little easier.

Which camp do you fall into? And how important are dress codes to you when it comes to styling your outfits?

 

Fashion

How to keep your clothes looking pristine

9th March, 2019

We all drop a fair amount of money on our clothes so it’s important to ensure they last season after season. If your clothes don’t tend to go the distance it may be time to tweak your clothes maintenance routine. Adopt some of these basics and you could well give your clothes a new lease on life.

Say goodbye to wire hangers

If you want to keep your clothes’ shape be sure to invest in wooden hangers or flocked hangers. Wire hangers tend to end up misshapen and don’t provide enough support so you’ll end up with wrinkled, bunched up clothes. Additionally you don’t want to have delicates such as a silk shirt snagging on a hanger. Plus when you’re flicking through your clothes rail it’s highly likely wire hangers will end up in a gnarly mess which will make it much harder to find what you’re looking for.

Folding and sorting

When it comes to closet organisation be sure to fold anything that can easily be stretched out such as t-shirts and knits. Hang garments that tend to wrinkle easily such as dresses and shirts.

Follow care instruction labels

Yes, they might be a pain to follow at times but going rogue when a garment clearly states dry clean only or throwing something in the washing machine when it specifies hand washing it will compromise the quality of a garment. If you want your clothes to stay in the same condition as when you first bought it it’s important to launder it as instructed.

Always separate your clothes into whites, brights and dark colours

Failing to separate your clothes will mean that your once bright white t-shirt may end up looking dull and grey as a lot of garments aren’t colourfast which means colour molecules will end up settling on lighter coloured garments.

Examine where you do the most damage to your clothes

Are you constantly damaging your clothes in the same spots? It’s time to look at how you can minimise it. For example if you’re always getting frayed hems it could mean that you need to hem your pants a little higher to avoid it dragging on the ground or alternatively you may need to limit the shoes you wear to a particular height. Pinpointing how you damage your clothes the most means you’re better able to avoid it.

Don’t ignore stains

Deal with a stain immediately to avoid it setting in. A baby wipe or soda water will help temporarily treat a stain if you’re out and about but be sure to dab it with a pre-stain treatment and wash immediately when you get home.

What are some ways you keep your clothes in great condition?