Monday, 12 October 2009

10 Steps to Fashion Freedom

I picked up a great book at the library this week, 10 steps to Fashion Freedom by Malcolm Levene and Kate Mayfield.   A few years ago, my friends would tell me that they saw a lovely item and it was 'definitely me' I had a particular style that really seem to reflect who I was.  I have found that getting older has impacted on my sense of style.  This book digs quite deep to help your your style statement.

I copied this synopsis from as it does a pretty job of describing what the book is about.    I am on step 3 and so far my style statement is 'I project a style that is unique and charismatic'.  This takes into account my love of colour, my creativity, my quirky side and my friendly manner. As I go on reading the book I guess this could change.

10 Steps to Fashion Freedom 

How well does your fashion style represent your personality? Are you making the most of your unique assets and special qualities? For whom are you really shopping, anyway? Find out with these steps to fashion freedom!

1. Passionate Beginnings

Identifying your passions can open the door to your personal style. Ask yourself the following: "What do I feel passionately about? Why do I feel passionately about these things? Is there any aspect of my passions that is reflected in my image?"

2. Creating Your Personal Style Statement

It is important to define your goals relating to your image. What do you desire your image to be? Make a goal-oriented statement such as, "I present an image of clarity, confidence, and comfort." If you do nothing else, this step alone will empower you.

3. Healing Your Image Wounds

Everyone has image wounds. Although we wish it weren't so, our self-esteem and the way we feel about ourselves in our clothes is directly related to our body image. How have other people's words affected the way you feel about yourself?

4. Inner Style Inventory

There is outer style and then there is inner style. There are many aspects to your style that are not related to clothing or grooming. Think attitude, behavior, and communication -- our definition of inner style. We all have inner style assets, whether they include a good sense of humor, a pretty smile, or an engaging personality. What are yours?

5. Aesthetic Field Trip

Get out of your house! Go to a place you have never been before; near or far, outside or inside, just go. Go somewhere where your eyes can drink in new sites, new colors, and different people. This step is about tapping into your own personal creativity. Learn about your tastes and aesthetic sensibilities.

6. The Spirit of Clothes

The four most important things to look out for:

Quality: If you raise your level of quality even half a step, that alone will be enough to make a difference in your wardrobe.

Design: Good design has clarity, purity and simplicity of form.

Currency: Being trendy is only about the clothes, while being current enhances and projects your personality.

A great fit: A good fit is always flattering, comfortable, and encourages confidence.

7. Color

Choosing the right colors for your wardrobe is one of the hardest things to do. We suggest you bust color myths such as "The colors I love are the ones I should wear." Wrong. The colors that you should wear are the colors that complement your skin tone, your hair, and your eye color.

You need to do a bit of research to find out which colors are best for you. The next time you go shopping, take someone with you whose eye and taste you trust. Other people sometimes see us more accurately than we see ourselves. Then, ask yourself these questions:

Does the color "wash me out"?

Does the color make me look more alive?

Does the color make me look pale?

Does the color flatter my eye color and skin tone?

Notice how you feel in the color. Do you feel more confident in one color than another? Does another color make you feel inexplicably angry or sad?

Another way to research color is to notice to which colors you are drawn in other areas of your life. Perhaps you are drawn to specific colors in a painting or furnishing fabric. Do you ever think of wearing that color or accessorizing with it?

8. Your Personal Style Profile

By now you will have enough information about yourself to start developing a profile of your individual style preferences. These things will be personal and specific to you. A picture of your own personal style will begin to emerge.

9. Closet Analysis

It's time to get into your closet. This is not just a closet clean-out. Rather, it is a time to analyze and edit your wardrobe while armed with all of the new information you have about yourself. This is a cathartic, uplifting, and liberating experience.

Use your personal style statement as your guide to what stays in -- and what goes out of -- your closet. For example, if you wish to project an elegant impression, it is likely that your leather-fringed bomber jacket is past its prime.

If the clothing item doesn't fit you anymore, it's time to let it go.

Less is more. You don't have to have a closet full of clothes to create a personal style. Be ruthless, especially if you have a tendency to collect clothing items that you no longer wear and to which you have only become emotionally attached.

Make an appointment with yourself. Give yourself the luxury of time to thoroughly complete the task.

Create your own categories for your wardrobe. For example, a change in employment might create a new category for you, or it might delete one. If you have recently lost weight, get rid of your "hiding" clothes category.

When you have completed the closet analysis, it will be easy to see what is missing in your wardrobe. Make a list of all the items that need replacing. Perhaps your trusty pair of black pants that you wear with everything needs replacing with a more current, better-quality, or better-fitting pair. Do you have a lot of tops but no bottoms (or vice versa)? Then, make a list of the items that are missing or items that you need to complete an outfit. Is there an item of clothing that you love a lot? Maybe you'd like to buy two more just like it, or in different colors because you love the style.

Take the list you have made and choose which items are top priority.

10. Shopping

At last! Sometimes it's better to leave the store empty-handed rather than make the same old mistakes. You'll go ready to shop with the list you have created from your closet analysis. Now you can become a seasoned and experienced shopper.

Create a budget and allow for an additional 10 percent.

Go shopping only when you have plenty of time.

Visit a few shops you've never been to before.

Look for items on your priority list first.

Ask yourself before you even try on a garment, "Is this the old me or the new me?"

Ask yourself if the item is congruent with your personal style statement?

Try on the garment and ask yourself if you feel confident, secure, and comfortable.

Ask, "Does the item represent as much quality as I can afford?"

Ask, "Is it an excellent fit?"

Ask, "Does the color flatter you?"

Ask, "Does the style of the garment flatter you?"

Kate Mayfield and Malcolm Levene are the authors of 10 Steps to Fashion Freedom: Discover Your Personal Style From the Inside Out (Crown, 2001). They founded the Image Development Consultancy, which caters to corporate, private and business clients internationally.

Monday, 28 September 2009

GIVe and Mint Velvet affordable luxury fashion

I read an article yesterday about a new womens store - GIVe by George Davies.  New stores open from 1st October and I believe the Regent Street store opens tonight.

The new brand is meant be affordable luxury for women who want to purchase something they really love, the finest fabrics, expert service and George wants us to enjoy shopping again.  Apparently in his stores, there will be one of each garment on display and the sales advisors will bring out your size from discreet wardrobes behind the rails.  There will be shoes of varying heights for you to try so you don't have to imagine what the garment would look like with heels.  A team of tailors will be available to adjust garments to fit and sizing will be in roman numerals, which explains the name of the store.  Apparently the style advisors are going to be style advisors, helpful, knowledgeable and not look down their noses if your face doesn't fit.

It's an interesting concept, the clothes look really nice and are certainly suitable for over 30s without being boring.  It seems really well thought out and I am really looking forward to taking in the experience of the store and seeing if it really does make a difference.

Another new label for over 30s is Mint Velvet.  This brand has been set up by three women who want to give us affordable fashion.  Apparently they are all working mums who were frustrated by the lack of clothes that they could wear for the school run and still look a little dressed up.

This label looks really cool, they are due to launch mid October, in  some House of Fraser stores, boutiques and online.  I am loving this dress, can't wait to see it up close. You can sign up for updates on their website

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Dover charity shops

Charity shops in London are a bit hit and miss.  The best ones know it and re-invent themselves into vintage shops, others lately are always a bit of a disappointment.  I have been banging on about driving out of London and hitting some charity shops for months.  I felt so inspired by Sharon Rose thrifting that I took a trip down to Dover on Friday afternoon.  When I logged on on Saturday morning,  I was thrilled to see that Sharon had given me an award - a circle of friends award.  I promised that I would upload pics of my purchases so here goes.

I started in off in Bromley and popped into Sue Ryder Cancer Shop and managed to pick up the following items.

Black Marabou Feather Jacket from River Island 9.99 still tagged at £44.99.  I had been looking at Net-a-porter and seen a Phillip Lim sequin backed one for £1800 which was sold out!!!  There was also a Vanessa Bruno jacket reduced to £305 which is exactly the same.  I will be putting this one up for sale on ebay

I bought these M&S Limited Collection shoes for £4.00 - nice chunky heel, fit nicely but un-decided if I will keep these or sell them on.

In Dover there were probably around 10 charity shops in the Town Centre, which was really small.   My partner was with me so I felt a little guilty as I was wading through rails whilst he was waiting patiently.

Red dress £1.49 to sell

The black wooden necklace was a previous buy at £1.50
Vintage Gina Bacconi three colour sequin dress - reminded me of a mermaid, £5.00 to sell.

Girls Kenzo dress to sell 25p

Lady Hathaway vintage style shirtdress £2.99 I haven't tried this on but I may keep it if it suits me.

A diamante brooch -  £2.00 which is definitely a keeper.

A pair of vintage white gloves, I bought these for £1.50.  A few weeks ago I went to a 'Rat Pack' party and I ended up buying a really cheap looking pair of white gloves for £6.  I had decided that these can stay in my drawer because you never know when you might need a pair!

I saw this and thought it was really cute and that it would look great hanging in my daughter's room.  It was £1.25

I thought I did pretty well for one outing.

I also popped into Primark this week to pick up some tights and socks for the kids.  Primark are doing 80 denier black tights now which is great.  Last year I was wearing two pairs of 40 denier to get the right effect.  I also bought this studded bangle which I am loving, it is wooden and cost £2.50.  Malene Birger has two on Net-a-porter for £70.  Apart from the fact the Malene has the two, can you really tell the difference.

All together, not a bad week.  Overall, I thought the shops in Dover were great and definitely worth a visit.  I am going to try and take in Folkestone and Canterbury sometime soon.  Anyway, have a great Sunday evening, mummy duties call, I am off to iron school uniforms.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Lemon and White Chocolate Tart

So much for my sewing plans.  Yesterday evening I ironed something like 12 shirts, two pairs of school trousers, a school skirt, jumper, PE kit.  I then darned a hole in a pair of suit trousers, sorted my clothes for work had a shower flopped down to eat some dessert.  My partner and I watched a little catch up TV on Saturday and watched 'Britain's Best Dish'.  He decided to make the Lemon and White Chocolate Tart.  Twas a beautiful thing. 

He served it with a strawberry coulis and strawberries on the side.  I sprinkled it with a little coconut and tucked in.  It was so good, I did it twice.  After that I was finished for evening.  The recipe is here

I need to roll over the sewing until next week and I must stop eating desserts!  I have resisted eating the last piece this evening, despite the fact that my nephew is sitting on the sofa with me, discussing how good the pastry case tastes.

I read an interesting article recently about Jay Hunt's gastric bypass surgery.  She lost five stone in a year.  Jay is a fashion stylist and tv presenter.

Jay Hunt

It's a really interesting article.  I used to run a slimming class for a well known organisation and am always impressed  with a great weight loss.  I have recently noticed a couple of women at work who have lost a significant amount of weight over a relatively short period.  When I have asked how they lost the weight, both said they had just stopped eating crap and joined the gym.  One had lost three stone the other four stone over nine months.   

Even in my slimming class days, my members that achieved anything close to that type of weight loss worked really hard. Given the weight loss Jay Hunt achieved with such extreme surgery  - is it easy to lose this amount of weight by just eating healthily and attending the gym regularly?  Or do we women collude in making out losing weight is easy.  I would be interested to hear your views 

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Spent a good portion of Friday reading other blogs and came away feeling inspired. Decided I would achieve something creative this weekend. Dusted off my sewing machine and starting digging into my fabric bags. I buy so much fabric and dress patterns it is ridiculous. I get this great feeling in my fave fabric shop, it is always justified for the following reasons:

a I am being creative
b It costs less than buying it from a shop ready made
c It will be unique and tailormade to fit me perfectly

I then take my purchases home and put them in the corner of my wardrobe, planning to make the said garment very very soon.

Hey, sometimes I even cut them out. Then I put them back in the wardrobe for stage two.

So this weekend, I took out a dress that I had cut out early summer and decided bite the bullet and commit myself. My daughter and partner didn't like the fabric, (to be honest, I didn't even like the fabric anymore) but I had made the commitment and didn't want to lose my momentum.

Three hours later, when I tried (ahem, perhaps squeezed) into the dress I looked into the mirror and hated it. I hated the colour, hated the style on me, hated the time I had wasted on it. I expected to have acheived a new garment to add to my wardrobe but it was not to be.

This morning, I have sorted out more fabric and I have a plan. I am about to eat dinner and promised myself I will make a quick top later this evening. If it comes out good I will post a pic tomorrow.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

4" all day

Yay, today I suffered for style and managed to wear my 4" heels all-day-long. Today looked quite grey, winter is coming so I am feeling excited. New styles to think about, winter clothes to take down from the loft. Today is the first day that I have worn tights for ages and I felt compelled to wear high heels. One of my colleagues asked me if I had done modelling before as I walked like a model. I think she was referring to my 'horse walk' as I struggled to correct my posture. Nevertheless, I will be positive and take the compliment!

I hear that heels are out this season and flats are making a comeback. Personally, I can't see it taking on. I still think there are outfits when only heels will do

Monday, 31 August 2009

Lying on my sofa surfing the net today looking at fashion. I know I am not the only one tired of trying to find clothes suitable for everyday grown up wear. I don't want to look like a 25 year old (well I do, but that's not the point). I want to look like a 42 year old who wears great clothes that suit her. Why don't the fashion industry cotton on to this?

Anyhoo, this blog is going to be dedicated to fabulous grown up chicks, who shop on the high street and love fashion. Women who live a regular life that platform shoes don't agree with.

Today I have been looking at I have my eye on a couple of pairs of shoe boots. I don't want them too high because I will end up moaning about my feet and they will sit in the wardrobe category of 'shoes that look great but feel awful'.

ASOS TRANSFIX Suede Circle Striped Shoe Boot

£55 from

I am really loving these but I have a feeling that I wouldn't enjoy wearing them that much
$99 from

We shall see.