Retro Dressing, Now

I know how the saying goes – if you’re old enough to remember that decade the first time around, you really shouldn’t be wearing it now….

Few of us can have failed to notice the 70’s and 80’s influence in current fashion trends.

Culottes, jumpsuits, flares, blue denim (and even puffball skirts at YSL at Paris Fashion Week if I’m not mistaken?)!

I know how the saying goes -‘ if you’re old enough to remember that decade the first time around, you really shouldn’t be wearing it now’… but I do love these clothes. And to be fair, although I remember the 80’s vividly and had a fantastic puffball skirts and some enormous shoulder pads (see below, I have no shame…!) – I was only just born in the 70’s, and that decade is largely pre-‘conscious recollection’?!

For someone who is doing their very best to wear what is already in the wardrobe, rather than buy new stuff, dressing with a slightly retro look can be a sheer joy.  Keeping the look current, however, is more of a challenge.

Yes, I have older clothes and some I have had for a long time – but not originally bought 35 years ago…..

I had a good sort through my wardrobe the other day and came up with the following:-

Knee length camel leather coat (Cos Stores c. 2016)

Denim culottes (MiH jeans)

Denim shirt (H & M boys’ department – a ‘hand me down’ my 12 year old son!)

Gold bomber jacket (Cos stores, last year)

Knee high, square toe, black boots (purchased with what remained of my Erasmus grant when I first arrived in London, September 1996)

Leopard print dress (70’s,80’s, 90’s, 00’s…. for ever!) (Moschino Cheap n Chic)

Camel suede jacket ( holiday purchase in 1997 – see below)

White denim flares (Jil Sander – gifted to me by a dear friend, from her late mother in law’s wardrobe)

Leopard print velvet biker jacket with fur collar (Shrimps)

And I also have a Brora silk blouse, paisley print, in greens, orange and brown.  My youngest son wore it on World Book Day last year as part of his Gangsta Gran outfit (David Walliams) – which somewhat gave the blouse the kiss-of-death, but I’m thinking with the right outfit – it could still be a go-er?!

I’d like to tell you a little bit about the longest-hanging item in my wardrobe – the camel, suede jacket purchased in June 1997.  I bought it from an artisan vendor in Menorca on my very first holiday with my now ex-husband. I loved it and wore it continuously for the first twelve months.  Inevitably, it was replaced over time, but I never got rid of it.  It has been on various holidays with me, and seen me through every season.  I rediscovered it more recently, and in the pocket I found a couple of receipts. Not unusual, I know, but these are in fact ticket stubs from a trip to the top of the World Trade Centre in April 2000. I’ve put them away safely, but I feel as though they have given the jacket added significance and I’m excited to wear it again this season.

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Continuing with the 70’s theme, I watched ‘American Gangster’ (Ridley Scott 2007) the other night with my middle son. Great film, and the 70’s styling is brilliant. The parties Frank Lucas throws are a perfect showcase for that era’s glamour – deep v necks, glitter, sequins, satin. Exciting and inspirational.

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In deciding what to wear this season, a lot has to do with colour. Whilst I do still revert to black from time to time, it doesn’t feel quite right at the moment. Spring is finally here (I’m being optimistic – just ignore last weekend’s weather travesty!) which makes me want to dress more brightly.  There seems to be a definite shift towards softer colours, and a move towards browns, greens and orange – (those colours that ten years ago I may well have written off as rather aging?!) And, my current favourite – pink, in every shade and hue.

I wore the denim culottes last week with the knee high black boots, and a short jacket.   The culottes will work just as well with bare legs and sandals when the weather picks up.

I’ve worn the leather coat recently, too, with jeans and a polo neck – (and several layers in between!).

As for accessories – this is the way to keep your look as current as possible.  Try to avoid head to toe retro dressing, unless you want to look like a) you’re stuck in a time warp or b) you too are heading to a fancy dress event.

A pair of 70’s shades would update things for now.  Or mix a slogan white tshirt with your denim skirt.

Footwear can sometimes be an issue. My personal favourite right now is trainers by Brazilian company Veja. They ethically produce great looking trainers, using raw materials from organic farming. See their website and Project information at www.project.veja-store.com.

Clogs are cool – try Swedish Hasbeens (the fashionistas amongst you can pair with socks for now). And flatform sandals (give the weather a couple of weeks ladies!) look great with flares.

Happy Dressing… x

Advent Sparkle!

….I am going to wear at least one item of ‘bling’ from my wardrobe every day until Christmas!

Not long now?! Advent starts in two days, and then it’s here – the ‘Christmas Build Up’!  From the 1st December onwards I intend to listen to all my favourite Christmas music (‘Now’ Christmas Album, of course – few things can top singing along to Maria Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas,’ whilst prepping dinner?); eat mince pies at every possible opportunity (I have already had several, but don’t tell anyone); and fill my house with as many fairy lights as is humanly possible!

In addition, this year, I intend to ‘self-sparkle’! Yes, that is a made-up term.  I don’t mean metaphorically, (although it has to be said, I can be quite good company) but I mean quite literally.  I have fished out of my wardrobe everything that is vaguely or fabulously sparkly, sequinned or has a silver sheen and I am going to wear at least one item of ‘bling’ every day until Christmas. A gold skirt, a spangly jumper, glittery socks or a completely over the top necklace.  I’m getting it on, it’s Christmas after all!

Continue reading “Advent Sparkle!”

Do you really need a new dress?!

Buy less, shop wisely and love the clothes you have!

Party Season is officially upon us and the joy of dressing up! Dresses, skirts, trouser suits, jumpsuits, sparkles and heels! Black or brightly colored, shiny, silver, sequined, velvet, animal print. Add make-up, hair, jewellery and a glass of bubbles …and you are transformed into that kick-ass princess who could floor Prince Charming with a glance from twenty paces…

But before you hit the shops, whether in a last minute panic for an event that night or with a more leisurely approach (list and budget pre-agreed) – take a good, hard look in your wardrobe.

What clothes do you already have? Which pieces already in your wardrobe make you feel a million dollars? What do you rarely get the chance to wear but absolutely love?

For a basic Party Edit take out all your ‘best’ clothes. I generally advice clients not to keep clothes for best – everything should be worn and loved – but you know those things that are ‘proper’ Party?!

Now, sort through them. Take out anything you don’t particularly like. This is party dressing, after all, and you want to go out looking and feeling great! Try things on if you have time – vague memories of how you think you look just don’t cut it. Put away anything that doesn’t make you look at your reflection and think ‘yes – I am going out!’

Anything that needs cleaning can be put into a separate pile – (you know, the dress you slipped back into the wardrobe that night when you staggered home from a particularly good event, but can’t really remember hanging up?!). These clothes are still there for you – just not yet.

Also, put to one side clothes that no longer fit. I have on occasion followed the mantra ”Pride must Abide’ – but it’s going to be a long, fabulous night and you have to breathe, eat and dance (at the very least?!). If you still love these clothes and can have them altered to wear now, get to the tailor’s. If it’s you that needs a little alteration rather than the clothes, just put them away for the time being and don’t worry about it.

Then take a really good look at what you have. You may take hold of that perfect sparkly dress and know instinctively that’s what you will wear. Otherwise, think about mixing it up a little.

Try putting a favourite top that you usually only wear with black trousers, with something completely different? Mix together as many different colours as you can? If you have an amazing skirt or beautifully cut evening trousers – try wearing them with a simple, fresh white t-shirt. Add jewellery – silver cuffs on bare arms look beautiful, or buy a totally over the top necklace, or fabulous earrings to lift the outfit to ‘party status’. If, for example, you have a dress you love but that feels a little too short ( I alternate these days between thinking ‘what the hell, I like my legs’ to ‘are you sure Andy, you’re not 25 any more’?!) – try wearing it with skinny black trousers. Coated, black, skinny jeans look great.

It sometimes helps to start with one thing that you really want to wear and build the outfit from there. Enlisting the help of friends or a stylist (that’s what we’re here for) can also help you to see your clothes in a completely new light.

You may need to buy one or two things, (depending on the relative abundance of your social agenda) – but remember, where possible, ‘Buy Less, Shop Wisely and Love the Clothes You Have’.

Fashion is Rubbish?…

Have you ever thought where your old or unwanted clothes end up?…

It’s Wednesday, and this morning one of those little charity envelopes, containing a large plastic clothes bag, dropped through the letter box.  Another kick up the backside to get on with my wardrobe edit!  How easy is this method of disposing of unwanted clothing?! All I have to do is put everything I no longer want, need or wear into the bag and take it to the front gate.  Bingo – gone by lunchtime! I don’t really mind which charity takes my clothes, although I have ‘favourites’ like everyone else, based on my own life experience (Meningitis Now or Parkinsons UK, please).  But if we don’t recycle our clothes, where do they actually go to?
According to an article in The Guardian in April, 235m items of unwanted clothing, from the UK alone, were expected to end up in landfill this year, as a result of our annual wardrobe spring clean.  Yes, 235 million… that’s a lot of clothing!

Why don’t we routinely donate our things to charity? Continue reading “Fashion is Rubbish?…”

The Wardrobe Challenge…

Out with the old, but NOT in with the new.. a journey of rediscovery through my own wardrobe….

I LOVE CLOTHES, AND I LOVE SHOPPING FOR CLOTHES! …

But, I have set myself a personal challenge – not to buy any new clothes or shoes for a year!

There are three main reasons behind my decision:-

  1. My wardrobe is overflowing!  I have clothes that I have bought, that have been given to me by stylish friends, and things that I have inherited from my grandmother and my mother.  I have no doubt I have over-shopped in the past, particularly during times of stress or emotional upheaval.  But, I do love my clothes and I hate throwing things away!
  2. I am a qualified solicitor and for several years I practised Environmental Law.  I have a Masters degree in Waste Management (yes, a qualification in rubbish!), and an increasing awareness that fast, throwaway fashion is not sustainable.  I’m thinking about responsible sourcing and ultimately where my clothes are disposed of.
  3. I’m single again. Having spent many years seeing clients through emotional ups and downs, editing their wardrobes and bolstering their self-image,  its time to rediscover Me and my own personal style.

So, ‘I HEREBY PROMISE NOT TO BUY ANY NEW SHOES OR CLOTHES FOR TWELVE MONTHS’.

I believe that everything I need is already hanging in front of me or is tucked away in the darkest recesses of drawers and cupboards.

I’m going to take out all my favourite clothes and actually wear them,

Where necessary, I will have clothing tailored; I reserve the right to buy new underwear(!); and I have my eye on one or two items in my teenage children’s wardrobes that I will call on if and when necessary!

I might not be shopping for myself, but I will always follow fashion, and in my blog I will keep you updated on current trends and fashion news and ideas.  I also intend to compile a Wish List of things I would be buying, if I could!…

The prospect of not shopping for clothes feels surprisingly liberating and exciting.  No more financial guilt;  no more panic-buying for a last minute event.

I hope you will follow me on my journey – and I hope to inspire you to recycle, reuse and revamp the clothes you already have and in doing so, discover your own unique style.