What Not To Wear

style advice Mar 29, 2019

This week I’ve read three different articles about either a ‘must have’, a ‘wardrobe stable’ or an ‘essential’ for every woman.

What single item is dominating so many column inches? A super duper, body-loving, self-laundering, sustainable and ethical item? If only! All this week’s hype seems to be around a midi, long-sleeved floral dress...


If this is truly such an iconic and integral part of a woman’s attire how come I’ve survived fifty years and never had one?

Because it never was, or ever will be in my style DNA. Hype, that traverses magazines, stores and social media feeds can make our poor grey matter loose sight of who we truly are and lure us into making a purchase that then goes unloved and unworn. If everybody else is buying them, then we can feel like we are missing out. But, it is just marketing at it’s best, subtly influencing fashion trends – that certainly doesn’t necessarily equate to style.

There’s another danger lurking in the media every which way we seem to turn currently and that’s the Marie Kondo methods. Don’t get me wrong, I love a tidy and organised wardrobe and I talk about keeping clothes that make your soul sing rather than her term sparks joy but - there’s a but, this is only after you’ve done the work on your signature style or a Kay term, get to know your Style DNA. You also then need to know your body’s sweet spots that these garments should enhance and lastly how to combine items. So there are three key elements that you need to consider before you truly know what sparks joy! Just looking at something and then deciding concerns me that things will be heading out the door in a bin sack that you will regret in due course or find yourself purchasing new and still not knowing your Style DNA or how to wear it, therefore in danger of making the same mistakes again!

It’s great to edit and tidy especially to remove anything negative. Once we know what really works for us, have identified any gaps of things we truly need, temptations like the ‘midi long sleeve floral dress’ or whatever other nemeses, can definitely be ignored!

Just for fun here are other garments I’ve ‘miraculously’ lived without for fifty years. 

Wide-legged culottes – I applaud those who can make these look good. I can’t. I’ve even designed some in my time and I’ve tried on many in changing rooms but gladly always returned them to the rack.

Double breasted long blazer - So unflattering unless you are super tall and super slim. Looks good fastened. Collapses in an unflattering heap when worn undone.

Anything orange – I don’t look like I’ve been tangoed but I do look positively ill! Yellow is a close 2nd but I can wear pale lemon yellow with a tan.

Boilersuits – Ok so I did have one in the early ’80s. A grey one from Clockhouse at C&A. I’m in no hurry to repeat the look that I should be getting grubby fixing a car or working on the farm.

Most things with flowers - I have 5 items in total in my entire wardrobe that have flowers or a flower detail on them. That’s it! Such is my awareness of how it just isn’t me. Those items, which have made the cut have had many other overriding qualities, so I could ignore the presence of flowers.

Anything with an empire line. – Pleats and gathers from just below the bust line are a very bad idea unless belted in at the waist (think Roman goddesses) but other than that, empire lines have the ability to destroy any chance of showing that your waist is actually smaller than your bust.

Knowing which styles to avoid really helps prevent mistake purchases before they even happen. Is there anything you have never missed having in your wardrobe? I’d love to hear about your experiences! Get in touch with me here.

Stylish Wishes 




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