With a growing movement towards approaching fashion in a more conscious way, never has it been more important to build a functional, versatile wardrobe. Ensuring women have the building blocks to create myriad looks that they feel confident in is something Kristin Todd, a stylist for over 10 years, has worked hard to do in her personal styling sessions and workshops.
Now Kristin has penned Style Sessions: Perfecting the Art of Dressing, a book that aims to change the way women dress by arming them with the knowledge and advice to help them feel great in what they wear, and also to make the sometimes intimidating world of fashion a whole lot more accessible. Here she shares her valuable advice on the key items every woman should have in her closet, to the secrets of being stylish and why we shouldn’t be a slave to trends.
What are the key pieces every woman should have in her wardrobe?
Every women, no matter her taste, should have a CORE wardrobe—her “perfect fit in every category”. It is the backbone of a wardrobe. Some people like to call these the classics or the basics.
These pieces are:
- Tailored Dress
- Tailored Skirt
- Tailored Pant
- Tailored Blazer
- Tailored Shirt
The colours to look out for when building your Core Wardrobe are neutral, black or white. They should be without detail, print or pattern. They have no real identity or genre in their appearance, so that they can take on any identity. Once you have a Core wardrobe in place, you will always be able to create an outfit. Add in your Taste pieces after the Core has been established.
What’s the secret to good style?
The secret to good style is marching to the beat of your own drum! Allowing your individual flavour shine through brightly. Knowing what works for you as an individual is important, every woman has very different boxes to tick. Tick your boxes in the way your outfit fits you, and represents your taste. Understanding what are your best parts and using your outfit to bring them to the surface…now that is style.
What’s the key to a functional, wearable wardrobe?
You may have a hundred pair of stiletto heels sitting neatly on your shoe shelves, but if you are a PE teacher, those investments are really just ornaments!
The key to a functional wardrobe is equipping yourself with items you need for what you are doing with your time. Before you head out to the shops, break your life into categories. The biggest category should represent the largest part of your wardrobe. If it doesn’t you need more items in that category to fill those gaps. There is no need to fill your wardrobe with cocktail dresses if lounge bars aren’t a part of your weekly lifestyle. Take the time to think about your lifestyle needs, then stock up on your needs first, before your wants.
I also find it helpful to invest in items that can do a lot for your wardrobe, like jeans, they are trans-seasonal, can move from casual to smart casual, hardwearing, day and night, comfortable, practical and the cut I wear, makes me feel comfortable and stylish. They tick a lot of boxes in my lifestyle.
What are the common mistakes you often see women making when it comes to fashion?
Many women are so focussed on trend they may lose sight of whether or not that particular trend is working for them. Style and trend are two different things. A stylish women knows what works for her, and builds her wardrobe based on careful selection. A women who is focussed on trend will wear an outfit just to fit into a trend, regardless of how the trend may take shape on her shape. I see this mistake a lot, especially with teenagers.
What’s something you wish more women would do when it comes to styling themselves?
I often see looks that are almost there! I say, if you’re going to go for it with a look, then really go for it!
Putting together a look is a head to toe concept. All the pieces of the puzzle come together to make a picture or to communicate a single message. Consider how your nails, lip colour, hairstyle and your accessories fit into your look…not just the clothing items. Complete your whole look ladies!
For women who feel a little intimidated by fashion, how can they become more comfortable with it and make it a part of their lives?
Every women needs to get dressed every day. Dressing is a necessary part of life. Instead of looking at dressing as “fashion”, use dressing as vessel to promote your personal wellbeing, if you feel good about the way you present yourself, you’ll set a positive tone for the day ahead. Don’t get caught up in fashion and trend. Wearing things you love will immediately get your good endorphins going. Focus on dressing in colours you love, prints and patterns that make you feel good. The garment shapes in those colours, prints and patterns will need to be right for your body, but the market has never been bigger or more accessible, you will be able to find your best fits in your favourite fabrics, enjoy hunting for them.
I also find it is helpful to align yourself with a few boutiques, brands or labels who get you! They get your size, your style, and your lifestyle. Every brand comes with its unique attributes, and your best brands/labels will be your first go-to when you are looking for a new outfit. This will save you from wandering aimlessly from shop to shop. Good stores also have the right accessories for their collections, the complete look is already done for you to save the thinking.
What are some things you think women need to retire from their wardrobes?
I am hesitant to advise the removal of a single fashion item from the wardrobe, as fashion moves so quickly, I may end up eating my words and that item may be happening again very soon. There are always a handful of women, who can absolutely use their creativity in ways which can make even the most hideous statements appear attractive. With that in mind, I won’t comment on a single item.
I do have some tips for clothing removal on a broader scale which I like to stick to…
The bane of my existence is pilling! If you garment begins to pill and it cannot be saved, it requires a quick exit from the wardrobe. That garment is done! To counteract the pilling, always invest in the best quality you can afford and care for your items properly.
Aside from the pilling garments treat your wardrobe as valuable real estate! Anything that is not relevent for the style that represents you best right now, is clutter, and a cluttered creative space won’t allow you to reach your outfitting potential. Take out the items which are no longer relevant! It’s not necessary to completely part with those items, they may be required again one day, just keep them away from your wardrobe for now.
What are your tips for dealing with an “I have nothing to wear” moment?
Get the Core wardrobe sorted, with the CORE in place, you’ll always be able to make at least three outfits with any ‘taste’ item you bring into your creative space.
What’s the most rewarding thing about being a stylist?
Without hesitation, it’s helping women enjoy the reflection they see in the mirror. It’s not important for women to change who or what they are to be stylish. What is important is to find a style that fits who or what they are perfectly.
Instead of focussing on the things you don’t have, draw your attention to the things that are truly great about you and help those parts along with a great outfit that celebrates all of your best parts. Clothes cover, that’s what they do; cut and detail will showcase. Dress in outfits that are working for you not against you.
What are some fashion rules you live by?
Goodness, there are a few..
Quality over quantity.
Invest in the real.
Belts, sunglasses and bags are important!
Good style is being an individual.
You only get a single opportunity to make a first impression. Make it a good one.
If you could only wear one outfit forever, what would it entail?
Relaxed tailoring head to toe, drawn in at the waist with a belt!
I love the casual/elegant look! Comfortable yet chic ticks my boxes, for my body, my lifestyle and my taste.