If there’s one thing that I think every wardrobe needs it’s a great assortment of neutrals. They’re ideal for mixing and matching and are ultra versatile, but because of this, they might be considered a little flat or boring. But I think they’re anything but. In fact I think they’re the ultimate workhorses of any wardrobe because not only can they be treated as a blank canvas but they can also be quite impactful by employing accessories or various textures into the mix.
The benefit of working with neutrals is that it provides the perfect base to start with and allows you to elevate them easily with a few simple style tricks. Here’s how to elevate neutrals with ease.
A great way to bring neutrals to life is to mix textures. By bringing a tactile element into your look whether it’s mixing a soft cashmere with a luxe linen in a neutral shade, you can instantly add a little depth to your look. Also incorporating things like denim and leather into your outfit can easily amp up any neutral tones.
As always accessories are key. Given that neutrals tend to be quite pared back, they can easily be lifted by adding strong accoutrements like jewellery, shoes or bags. This will also allow you to incorporate a few contrasting colours and textures into the mix making for a more impactful outfit.
Adding touches of colour
The beauty of neutral tones is that it acts like a blank canvas and you can easily incorporate touches of colour into it. Choosing strong shades like punchy pinks or deep blues act as the perfect complementary hues, instantly lifting a palette featuring beiges, creams, tans or whites.
Block and ombre styling
Playing with a neutral colour palette and its various shades makes for an eye catching look. You could try working similar neutral shades together for a colour blocking effect — something that was quite prominent at this year’s Fashion Week. Another alternative is working with one neutral colour and incorporating varying shades of it for an ombre effect.
How do you elevate the neutral tones in your wardrobe?
A few weeks ago a lovely reader named Melissa messaged me on Facebook asking me for tips on how to dress when you’re petite. She found that often clothes would be too baggy and would look like they were overwhelming her frame. I can definitely relate! Finding things for your shape when you’re diminutive in size and stature can often involve a few extra steps to ensure the right and most flattering fit. If you’re in the same boat then rest assured because there are some easy ways to have a great wardrobe that works for you. Here are my tips on how to dress when you’re petite,
Get everything tailored
This is my number one tip to anyone, especially when you’re petite. Find yourself a great tailor that you like and start getting your clothes altered to fit perfectly. Often buying off the rack can mean that clothes can be a little too loose, too long or just not sitting perfectly and it pays to take the time to get everything tailored to fit. This is especially true of pants and jeans which can often be miles too long. The added benefit of getting clothing tailored is that you’ll always look polished. Win-Win.
Go for cropped lengths
I tend to favour anything cropped, especially when it comes to pants and jeans. I’ll usually make sure that my pants hit at the ankle or slightly above as I’ve found this can help elongate the frame. If you’ve got a pool of fabric gathering at your feet it can look messy and also end up making you look even shorter.
Always keep proportions in mind
If something has too much volume it’s going to really swamp you so always pay attention to the proportions you’re working with. Try to go for pieces with structure as opposed to anything too floaty as this will help define your shape. Anything high waisted is great as it draws the eye upwards and ends up giving you a longer looking frame. Also if sleeves are too long try rolling them or pushing them up so you don’t look like you’re walking around in oversized clothing.
Avoid clunky shoes
I avoid anything with too much bulk and gravitate towards a streamlined aesthetic. Most of my heels tend to have a stiletto heel as I’ve found this helps elongate my figure and looks more in proportion. As for flats, I don’t really do flatforms or styles of that nature as I’ve found they just look too bulky. I go for sleek flats, sandals and slides that are quite minimalist in nature and don’t have too much extra ‘padding’ to them. Even my boots these days tend to be of the sock boot variety as I like the tighter fit compared to regular ankle boots.
Incorporate a fitted silhouette
I steer clear of anything too voluminous these days as I’ve found a fitted silhouette is far more flattering. I’m not saying you need to live in bodycon dresses 24/7 but you do need to be mindful that what you’re wearing is cut close to the body in some way. At a minimum, I like to keep one aspect of my look streamlined. Whether it be a pencil style skirt, a fitted top or a dress with either a tight top or bottom or a close fitting pant, there’s always got to be one element of my look that’s a little more figure hugging. This avoids the issue of looking like your clothes are wearing you and not the other way around.
Once you’ve found ways in which to ensure that your clothes fit perfectly, dressing when you’re petite doesn’t seem so much of a drama. In fact, you’ll probably learn to appreciate even more that good things really do come in small packages.
Do you have a fashion question you’re dying for advice on? Leave me a message below and I’ll answer it in a future blog post.
It’s officially spring so it’s the perfect excuse to do some spring cleaning! I like to do a closet swap around this time and pull out my winter things and swap them for my spring/summer pieces, but it’s also the time when I schedule a wardrobe overhaul.
I like to go through my wardrobe every few months just to go through everything and cull pieces that I may no longer need. It also allows me to re-organise and make sure that I’ve got a tight edit of clothing and looks for the new season ahead. So, are you ready to do some cleaning? Here’s my plan of how to do it.
Mood board your wardrobe
Before you dive into a closet culling session it’s important to hone in on your look. You can easily do this by saving images of outfits you like on Instagram or Pinterest, or you could go old school and flick through magazines and collage it up. The most important thing is having a clear vision of what you want your style to entail which then makes it easier to identify the pieces in your wardrobe that will and won’t work.
Do a closet Q&A
Ask yourself key lifestyle questions like “Where do I spend most of my time?” or “What do I during the week?” By doing this you can look at the kind of wardrobe you actually need. There’s no point hanging onto a closet of dressy pieces if you spend most of your time in playgrounds with the kids or you’re now working from home indefinitely. Your wardrobe is there to fit the kind of life you lead and the clothes in it should reflect that.
Block out a good amount of time
A thorough cleaning session won’t be a quick endeavour so make sure you set aside a few hours to do it. You could even diarise the event so you know you’ve committed to it. Being able to focus on the task properly also means you’re able to do it more efficiently, and hopefully, get through it in a steady manner as opposed to stopping and starting due to distractions.
Take everything out
Pull out every single article of clothing you own. From coats to t-shirts and shoes, take out everything in your closet and pop it on the bed or floor where you can go through everything one by one, trying on pieces if you need to to assess their fit. (Yes, you need to go through it all piece by piece!)
Look at everything with a critical eye and be brutal in your assessment of it. A word of warning: this will get a little tiresome at some point, but persevere. If you do this properly you won’t have to do it again for awhile and you will end up with a more functional, wearable wardrobe. Look at your mood board of your closet goals and ask yourself whether an item of clothing fits into that vision. If it doesn’t, relegate it to either a ‘to fix’, ‘to donate’ or ‘to bin’ pile.
Pile it up
Everything you have set aside needs to be dealt with individually. If there are items that are broken but are still in great shape then block out some time in your diary to take them to a tailor. The same goes for things that perhaps can be functional once again with the right kind of tweaks. If you’ve got a big pile of clothes to donate to charity, firstly make sure they’re still in good, wearable condition. Once you’ve done that, bag them up and pop the bag(s) in the car to take to a charity bin immediately. This removes the temptation to dig through the bags and pull things out again, essentially leaving you back where you started! The same goes for anything that needs to go in the bin. Assess the items and see if you can give them a second life such as turning them into rags that can be used for cleaning. If you really can’t repurpose them, then pop them in the bin straight away so you can clear your space and get onto organising what’s left of your closet.
If you’ve done this process in an honest and systematic way then you should be left with clothes that you love, are flattering and work for your lifestyle. This will leave you with a tighter edit of clothes, making for an easier time to get dressed every day. The added benefit of this is that you’re also able to see the gaps in your closet and see what needs replacing.
Put everything away—but make it organised
I’ve found one of the key things that can minimise wardrobe dramas is having an organised wardrobe. What does this entail? You should be able to see what you have at a glance, and also everything should be categorised making it easier to find things. Invest in baskets, hangers and drawer dividers to make sure that everything has a place and that you can easily see what you own. I’ve found categorising similar items together means I know where to look when I’m after a pair of workout leggings or when I need a jumper. It’s not just one big jumbled mess. You can then take it one step further and organise according to colour within each category but that’s personal preference.
Enjoy your new wardrobe
Doing a wardrobe spring clean can be a cathartic experience as you can purge all the things that you’re no longer using. It also opens up new wardrobe possibilities once you rediscover things you had forgotten about, or reinvent pieces that were not getting used as often as they should. By doing this you can also save your hard earned shopping dollars by not buying multiples of something you already have or purchasing things that may not necessarily work with your lifestyle. The best bit? Less wardrobe dilemmas and more great outfits ahead.
Wardrobe basics are the lynchpin of your look. I find that owning a few key pieces can in turn make everything else you own just that little more wearable as you can start with the below items and then build an outfit around them. Each person obviously has their own unique style so some of the pieces below might require substituting here and there but overall I think they’re the kind of staples that can be worked in so many different ways. Versatility is key when it comes to a look and having the right wardrobe basics in your closet can really ensure that you are able to take your style repertoire in several different directions. I’ve narrowed down a few key things that I think every woman needs…
Jeans are a key part of my off duty wardrobe
It’s imperative to find yourself a pair of jeans that fit you ridiculously well and are ultra flattering. My go-to styles are skinny jeans or straight leg as they work with my body shape but be sure to find the right style for you.
2. Leather leggings
I’m already looking forward to transitioning to my autumn/winter looks and one of my can’t live without staples is a pair of leather leggings. I can wear them dressed up or down and as a bonus they’re so comfortable. When buying a pair be sure to try on a range of different styles from different brands as the fit can vary.
3. Comfortable t-shirt
A plain white t-shirt is the kind of piece that will be in constant rotation. I love a crew neck style and wore one here, however a v-neck tee is equally as good. Start with white, however shades such as black, grey and navy and a good stripe are also a great addition to any wardrobe.
4. Button down shirt
There’s a reason why a classic white shirt is at the top of most wardrobe basics lists — it’s just so wearable and can add a stylish touch to any look. One styling trick I like to employ is opting for a slightly looser fit when it comes to shirts as visually it can make your frame appear smaller.
5. High waisted skirt
A high waisted skirt is a go-to when it comes to office wear but it can also easily transition to your off duty wardrobe. Opt for a simple black or a fun print and pair with a tee or shirt for an easy, out-the-door-fast look.
6. Quality knit
Invest in at least one quality knit in a quality fabric (cashmere is luxe, but oh-so long lasting) and opt for colours such as grey or black as they’re easily paired with multiple items in your wardrobe.
You can wear a blazer to work or out to dinner on a Saturday night and is such a must when it comes to wardrobe basics. Popping one on can easily dress up a look give it a stylish touch.
A scarf is the ideal trans-seasonal piece to add to your wardrobe. I have one that I like to wear when I’m travelling as I can use it as a wrap when the temperatures are slightly chillier.
Tell me—what are some of the wardrobe basics you can’t live without? Have I missed any on my list?
Morning wardrobe dilemmas are a common occurrence for most women. And it can be downright stressful. Anyone who has ever found themselves running late, only to lose the very shirt they wanted to wear will know how it can get your day off to a bad start. So the best way to get around this is to do a bit of forward planning.
You can plan as little or as much as you want but if there’s one thing I know it’s that getting your outfit sorted ahead of time can shave minutes off your getting ready time (more time in bed!). It also avoids that situation where you walk out the door and immediately regret what you’re wearing but you’re cutting it too close to change. If you want to avoid last minute panic tomorrow then take note of the following five things…
Designate Sunday as your ‘get organised’ day
You can pick any day you want but Sunday is great because it’s the start of the week. Look at your diary, pinpoint what you have on and then start pulling your looks together. And once you know the outfits you want to wear it’s a good time to wash everything you’re going to need (don’t add additional stress by doing it the night before!) and iron everything in advance. This way all you have to do in the morning is get dressed and walk out the door.
Do a wardrobe clean up
Nothing will stand in the way of you and a drama-free week of outfit planning than a closet that’s overflowing. A little wardrobe organisation goes a long way as it takes away the stress of having to locate clothing in a pile of unidentifiable shirts. My foolproof way to organise my clothes is to take everything out and do a cull to start with. Once I’ve done an edit leaving me with only the clothes I’m loving and using, I will organise them into categories. So jeans go in one spot, activewear in another, blazers, coats and so forth. This means I can see everything and instantly know what I have to work with.
A designated rail is a great way to keep your outfits organised
Put everything in a designated area
If you’ve gone to all the effort of planning your outfits there’s no point putting them all back in your cupboard only to have to find them again throughout the week. If you’ve got room in your home, I really like the idea of having a designated rail to hang all your looks for the week. This can include everything from clothes to shoes and accessories. If you’re a bit tight on space, try hanging your outfits together on one side of your closet so you can easily find them.
Set yourself a challenge
It can become quite tedious to just wear the same things over and over again so why not set yourself a style challenge each week. I have one here that you could try or simply come up with your own. It can be anything from wear one animal print item or wear an all-white outfit. The key is to get your creative juices flowing and think beyond your usual fashion repertoire.
Rethink an old favourite
I’ve got a few old faves in my closet which I wear to death. I usually know off the top of my head what they will go with and end up in the same looks. And whilst this is great for those days when I just can’t be bothered thinking of what to wear, it can sometimes get boring. So, to get around this I’m trying to take the old faithfuls in my wardrobe and wear them in different ways. Whether it’s pairing it with a different colour or a skirt as opposed to jeans, I’m making the effort to rejig the classics I own to keep them fresh.
What are some things you do to make getting dressed throughout the week easier?
It’s something that happens to most of us at one time or another. Staring into your closet and feeling less than enthused at what’s in there can be annoying, but if it’s happening with great regularity then it’s high time to look into employing a few style strategies to avoid a wardrobe dilemma.
When you feel you have nothing to wear, it kickstarts your day into a more stressful state than it has to be. Given we would all generally have enough items in our closet to work a multitude of different outfits, it’s not the amount you have but how you work it that’s important.
Here are a few tips and tricks to try the next time you encounter “I have nothing to wear” syndrome.
Have a bank of go-to outfits
When you’re having a good style day consider banking that outfit on your phone somewhere so you have a record of a look that you love and you know that works. Aim for at least 10 different looks so that you have an emergency stash of outfits to rely on when you’re encountering a wardrobe dilemma.
Do a closet tidy
Being able to visually clock every single thing you own can free up a little mental space to help get those styling juices flowing. If you’re staring at a pile of clothes it can be really hard to think of how to put them all together. If you’re unable to fit everything in, it’s probably a sign that you need to look at what you own and what you actually need — doing so can help free up valuable closet real estate.
Sometimes it helps to narrow down your options. Even something as simple as giving yourself a particular colour to wear or narrowing things down to a denim look can help you hone in on certain pieces and in turn make it easier on yourself to work them together.
Have a reliable staples
Having a few key pieces that can be worked in a few different ways is a great thing to have in case you’re unsure about what to wear. A great pair of pants, flattering jeans, a dress and a skirt are great failsafe pieces to have. You can always fall back on them on the days where you’re really struggling to pull a look together.
Start small then think big
Often just starting with a single piece can help everything fall into place. So start with a small decision such as for example deciding whether it’s a skirt or pants day. Once you’ve done that, then you can hone in on the pants in your closet, as opposed to having to look at absolutely everything. Limiting your choices once again can make it a little easier to tie a look together.
What are some strategies you use when you’re having an “I have nothing to wear” day?
Over the years I’ve done my fair share of shopping expeditions and as a result I’ve also walked away with buyer’s remorse a time or two (or ten). And as I hated the feeling so much it was something that I wanted to work on curbing. It’s a waste of money and I really hate the idea of something going unused because I just wasn’t 100 per cent sure about it. I need to ensure that I always make a good purchase whenever I shop.
I do most of my shopping online so I know how easy it can be to make an impulse purchase when you’re sitting at home, enjoying a glass of wine and trawling through your fave clothing site. When you’re looking at something in real life it’s easier to gauge whether it’s definitely something you’ll wear or if it’s just an of the moment item that will end up just spending its days gathering dust in the back of your wardrobe. When you’re shopping on screen it can be a little trickier as everything looks great when professionally photographed. This is why it’s often a good idea to research a potential purchase quite thoroughly before buying it as you’re often taking a slight leap of faith when you’re relying purely on what you’re seeing on a website.
Regret-free shopping is all about asking yourself the right questions
I often get asked my tips for shopping, particularly online shopping and without a doubt the biggest one is that I will leave something I am thinking of buying in my cart for 24 hours. For online shopping, the action of adding it to cart is enough to satisfy my shopping whim but by not buying it immediately I give myself enough time to think about whether I really want it or not. I apply a similar principal to shopping in real life which works just as well. Usually I’ll see something when I’m out shopping with the girls and I won’t try it on right away (mostly because have you ever tried to try something on with two kids in tow?) but instead I’ll leave it a day or two. If I’m still thinking about it I’ll go back on my own and try it on. However this gives me a bit of time to consider whether I really want it or it was just a fleeting interest.
My general rule is that if I’m still thinking about something the next day then it’s something I really want as opposed to just getting caught up in the moment. By delaying buying it it gives me time to research the item further. I suggest Googling what you’re thinking of purchasing and seeing what it looks like on other sites as sometimes the colour or texture can look really different. It also allows me to consider how it’s going to work with the rest of my wardrobe and ask myself the key questions I’ve told myself I need to ask before any purchase. If all the boxes are ticked then I know I’m making a good purchase.
Tell me—What are some of your favourite shopping tricks?
A great pair of jeans is an essential in my wardrobe as they’re often a go-to for me whether I’m after a casual look for the weekend or a dressy outfit for work. I’m often on the hunt for new additions to my denim collection and I’m one to spend a lot of time looking around and trying on different styles to find the perfect pair. When it comes to denim these are my rules for ensuring I always end up with the most flattering fit.
Get them tailored
It’s important that jeans are always the right length for a polished finish—don’t just let them pool at the bottom near your ankles. I always make sure to get them taken up professionally. If you’re petite and hate losing the original hem of your jeans you can pay a little bit extra when you have them altered and often the tailor can reattach it for you.
The right fit
There are so many different styles out there when it comes to denim so it’s important to try as many as you can to find the right pair for you. Just keep these things in mind…
If you’re going for a skinny leg that they are tight all the way down and fitted at the leg and not loose around the ankle. A cropped or ankle length is the most flattering length when it comes to skinny jeans.
Boyfriend jeans are designed to be baggy but ensure that they don’t look to overwhelming—they should be slightly loose around the thighs but still taper down to the ankle.
If you’re going to wear a boot leg or wide leg they should definitely be cropped to suit the shoes you’ll wear with them most. If you need to get them taken up bring your heels in with you to the tailor to make sure it’s cut to the right length and the hem isnt dragging on the floor.
Go for the most snug fit
I find denim always tends to “give” a little when you wear it repeatedly so to avoid my jeans getting too baggy I always make sure I get the most snug fit I can. By snug, obviously go for a size that you can still comfortably button up as you don’t want to cut yourself off at the waist and end up with a muffin top. It should feel firm but not overly tight.
My denim go-tos
Skinny leg jeans are my number one pick when it comes to denim. I always go for a lighter wash for casual wear and darker for a dressier look. I will do a ripped effect during the day and non-ripped at night.
Who’s your style icon? I have a number of women whose style I admire and whilst they may make it look effortless, I’ve found that often the thing with looking stylish is it doesn’t have to be difficult—as long as you have a few key things in place. If you get into the habit of doing a few things regularly then you can instantly make walking out the door looking polished and pulled together a whole lot easier.
I’m betting if you’ve ever really loved someone’s look it’s because everything works and there’s cohesion. The shoes work with the outfit, the bag is in keeping with the colour palette… it all just works. And to do this isn’t hard, it just requires putting in the effort of doing a little outfit planning. If you stop and put together a few outfits ahead of time, whether it’s the night before or you do a weekly styling session, you take that hurried mad dash for clothing out of the equation, which is when outfits tend to go awry.
Doing a tight edit
I think an outfit always has to have an individual element but also a considered edit that allows everything to work together. So always think about striking a balance and ensure that no elements are competing with each other but are instead complementing one another.
Adding one special piece
Aim to incorporate one standout piece when styling an outfit. It could be a great pair of earrings, a beautiful bag or a striking top, but whatever it is, ensure that it’s the kind of thing that can elevate a look.
Ensuring everything is in good condition
One of the things that can let an outfit down is if anything looks a little worn or shabby. Get into the habit of checking you clothes for damage so that you can get onto repairs straight away or replace it if need be. Also little things like pilling, discolouration, fading and even tiny stains are all things that can compromise the stylish feel of an outfit so be sure to either attend to the issue or phase it out of your wardrobe.
Wearing the right undergarments
The right underwear is so important to the overall finish of a look. A rogue bra strap under a cami, or underwear that’s the wrong colour under what you’re wearing are all things that can make you look less than pulled together. Invest in quality undergarments from bras to slips and underwear (including Spanx if you want a smooth finish under certain clothes) and you’re already ticking all the style boxes.
Aim for the right fit
Bid adieu to clothes that don’t fit perfectly. If it can be repaired then get them altered straight away. If not, then it’s time to donate them to charity so someone else can enjoy them. Also those “someday” clothes you’re saving? It’s time to farewell those too and instead focus on clothes that work for you now. You deserve to look nothing less than stylish after all.
Classic, timeless style is one thing I always aspire to. I like to keep my looks on trend but with an overarching sense of polish and generally don’t venture too far from what I know and love. One of the main reasons I do this is because it ensures the longevity of my wardrobe. If I stick to pieces that I believe will last the test of time I won’t have to update them as often and I can guarantee my favourites will have plenty of outings ahead. Having adopted this as my approach to shopping and how I dress for many years, and also observing the stylish women in my life whose ensembles just don’t seem to ever date, here’s what I consider to be the building blocks of having a look that will endure the years to come.
Scrimp on trend buys
I love purchasing trendy items as much as the next person but I keep them to a minimum. If I like the look of the signature silhouette or colour of the season I will buy a select few pieces and work them back with what’s already in my closet. I avoid wearing one trend from head to toe and like to give it my own spin.
Embrace timeless fabrics and prints
There are certain prints and fabrications that won’t date. Polka dots, stripes and plaid have remained in the mix most seasons and will add a fun touch to any outfit that won’t look dated. Long-lasting fabrics such as tweed, silk, wool and cashmere are worth adding to your wardrobe as they really stand up well to the wear and tear of constant use.
A classic black bag is definitely worth the splurge
Invest in classic pieces
Think of the pieces that have been around for ages and have remained a constant and they’re likely to be things like a black blazer, a white button down shirt, denim jeans and the little black dress and a simple black bag. These are the wardrobe buys that are worth investing in as they’re not going away any time soon.
Tailor your clothes
Ill-fitting clothes will make you look unkempt so it’s best to invest in tailoring pieces so they perfectly fit. Find a good tailor and have things taken in or up or out, depending on your needs, to ensure that whatever you’re wearing fits you like a glove. A perfectly tailored outfit just screams timeless style.
Know what suits your body shape
Learn to pinpoint the styles and silhouettes that work with your shape. Go on a shopping expedition and try on a few different silhouettes in key staples such as pants, tops, skirts and dresses and see what works. Be brutally honest. If what you see doesn’t put a smile on your face then keep searching until you find something that does. Once you’ve pinpointed what works for you then you’ll have a handful of go-to styles that you can always come back to time and time again.