Saturday, 27 August 2011

Playsuits you, Sir

Playsuits. Summer staple. But as the rain pours down outside my window, it looks suspiciously as though summer has done a runner. So let's talk playsuit cost per wear: you may have got your monies worth taking your playsuit to the beach/glasto/Ibiza but we live in frugal times. Re-work and re-wear is the way forward. Your playsuit doesn't have to be consigned to the summer charity shop clear-out just yet, there is plenty more life in that playsuit yet. Here are some ideas of how to get that summer playsuit ready for winter:

1. Combine tights, a fierce belt, dark lippy and nails and top if off with a faux fur coat or jacket for a slightly Gothic look.
2. Sling a cable knit jumper over the top so you are left with a cute pair of shorts. Add tights and boots.
3. Wear with a maxi skirt so just the top half of your playsuit is on show. Add a faux fur waistcoat and a belt to create a curvy silhouette so you don't get lost beneath the swathes of fabric covering your legs. Add some cute socks and sandals.
4. Wrap a long cardi over it and belt. Add tights. Playing around with textures in this outfit - the cardi could be cashmere, cable knit, mohair - will add an extra dimension and make you touchable.
5. Add a tailored suit jacket, a fascinator and some sky high heel and you have a perfect winter smart/casual event outfit.

Can you spot a common theme here? Tights. I LOVE tights. Black 70 denier tights (Denier is the linear mass density of fibres so the higher the denier, the thicker the tights.) Get some good quality ones (it won't hurt you going into M&S where at this time of year they will probably have tights at the till so you won't have to search far for them) and they will last you the season giving you even more bang for your buck.

To Playsuits...and beyond....

Monday, 22 August 2011

The Leather Report

Leather. It pops up every A/W season and remains a lust worthy fashion 'staple'. But with many pieces retailing at over £150 it can sometimes be a shade out of the average price range. However, due to the nature of the fashion beast you can bet your bottom dollar that come the main winter sales (not the mid-season affairs that rock around in Sept/October no, no, no but the BIG sales that routinely kick off just before Xmas or on Boxing Day) many of the key leather pieces will be discounted. Why? Because leather doesn't suit everybody: it clings, it makes you hot, it can stick in uncomfortable places. Plus with its fetish overtones, leather just ain't appealing for some.

A leather piece, say a pencil skirt, will last you more than just one season;it's a true investment piece and one that I genuinely advocate purchasing. In black or brown it will invariably team up with lots of pieces already hanging in your wardrobe. You can wear it for work, for a night in a pub (just sit near the door to catch the draft otherwise the leather will turn you into a wilting version of your former self) and they look immense as your Christmas Day outfit with a bit of awesome knitwear (see for some lush animal printed specimens!)

Reduced leather pieces will usually go down to more than half price when January rocks around so if you have your heart set on a leather 'must-have' this season I would just bide your time...
wait...wait a bit more...and enjoy the money you will have saved.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Fashion maths Friday!

What is cost per wear and how do you really use it? Get ready for a fashion maths lesson Wardrobe Angels! (engage your imagination - today the percentage sign is a divided sign!)

Cost per wear = cost of the garment %  number of times you will wear it

Easy in theory but you can never be sure how many times you will wear a garment until you actually start to use it. You just need to use your head. What do you wear a day-to-day? What is always hanging in your wardrobe but never worn? What do you find yourself taking to the charity shop on a regular basis? If a dress cost you £100 and you only wore it once then your cost per wear is £100...and a waste of money! If you paid for it on your credit card and you haven't paid it off yet then your £100 cost per wear is higher because you may be paying interest on it!

Think of your wardrobe as a business and your clothes as employees - you want them to work hard for you so you get your monies worth!

Happy Friday Wardrobe Angels!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Celebrate good clothes, come on!

(You can sing Kool and the gang's A-mayzin choon whilst you read my latest post... happy Monday Wardrobe Angels!)

I believe you should really celebrate what you already own - you spent good money on your clothes and shoes so get the most out of them. There will always come a time when something is so bobbled it needs replacing, or your shoes are so scuffed that another layer of shoe polish simply won't cover it but in the meantime enjoy what is currently in your wardrobe. Think of your clothes as an investment. If you put money into a savings account you expect a little money back as interest. Same goes for your wardrobe; get the right clothes in there and you can expect lots of good things back: positive comments about what you are wearing, thinking 'wow. I have loads of options' instead of 'I have nothing to wear', and hopefully, the clothes will still have a re-sale value when you are ready to part with them. Check out my website for more information...

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Micro Trend Fashion Maths

What's a micro trend?

Think of it as the short spin on your washing machine - blink and you'll miss it. They are usually around for 6-8 weeks (but can last longer) and have worked their way down to the high street via fashion magazines whose fashion editors have picked them up whilst watching the most recent fashion shows with very beady eyes. They can also act like boomerangs - they just keep coming back. Like wearing socks with sandals. The "socks and sandals" micro trend has been around for two years but came into its own over S/S 11 when it crossed over from micro trend to an established summer trend. I immediately thought of Brits abroad - not the drunken, sun burnt masses we know and love (hint of sarcasm? I think so) -  but namely the older gents preserving their foot dignity by wearing socks with their Jesus sandals. How wrong was I? Alexa Chung had this trend down pat.

But the thing with micro trends is that by slavishly following them you are ultimately spending money on things you don't need, won't wear and will regret buying. Plus you will never fully establish your own 'look'. Say you spent £10 on those black rimmed geek glasses, another £5 on some crackling nail varnish and then £10 on a boho tassel trimmed waistcoat (even though your style is sleek and modern) that's £25 which would have been put to better use in an ISA or a pension. It's a waste of money - YOUR MONEY. So before you part with your hard earned cash just give it another moments thought. And do your fashion maths.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Something gorgeous to brighten your day

Hi Wardrobe Angels

No, the 'gorgeous' isn't the sight of those anti-social looter criminals in prison (although with the Greater Manchester Police in charge we should take it as a given that will happen) it is some beautiful prints which have been designed by Modern Love. Think Ossie Clarke for our modern era. Feast your fashion eyes.

Stay Safe x

Monday, 8 August 2011


Trends come and go. It's how fashion works. With  New York, London, Milan , and Paris in the fashion spin cycle all those designers needs something new to showcase. But are the trends really new? If you look closely,very closely, year on year there are certain trends that keep popping up. So to stop this fast fashion consume consume mentality just a few items in your wardrobe can keep you up to date without you having to spend a penny:

1. Nautical - Usually reserved for Spring the red, white and blue trend has been seeping into Summer of late. As soon as you've finished singing Auld Langs Syne when the clock strikes midnight on New Years Eve you just dig out that blue/white or blue/cream striped top and pair it with skinny jeans. If you happen to have a pair of ballet pumps then sling them on as well. Unless it's knee deep snow outside and you are very brave.

2. Winter - Velvet. Every winter the shops are awash with velvet - dresses, coats, jackets, skirts, tops. Sometimes in deep red, green (steer clear) and burgundy (I'm pulling a face whilst writing this) but mostly in black (phew. Black. Stick to black.) Velvet is a Christmas staple. So either wait for the pre-Christmas sales or get cosy with some velvet when it hits the shops - usually around October. Bingo.
The same goes for sequins.

3. Winter - Rock. At some point in the fashion calendar there will be a rock trend and Kate Moss is usually the poster girl for it. So here the key pieces are: skinny jeans, black leather (or pleather) biker jacket and a logo t-shirt. It may come around as festival season hits or you may find it splashed over the pages of fashion mags in the September issue of fashion mags. Whenever it arrives, believe me: it will arrive.

4. Androgyny - Tailored black suit jacket? Check. White shirt? Check. Manly brogues? Check. And we are done with androgyny.

Before you hit the shops desperate for the "new" trends go your own wardrobe! You'll be surprised what you already own that will do you proud and save you some cash.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Making short shrift out of palazzo pants

Hands up who bought a pair of palazzo pants this summer? The high street and everyone on it has indulged in the floaty fabric of the must-have wide-leg of the season. But as I like to talk about getting more bang from your buck I began to think how you can get another season out of your trusty trousers...shorten them! If your palazzo pants are patterned, floral or plain Jane's they will all work with your winter wardrobe because shorts look great in winter: thick black tights, shuboots and a jumper all wrapped up with a cable knit scarf. Throw a leather biker jacket over the top and you are winter ready. I asked my friend Laura ( how easy it would be to turn your summer staples into your winter warmers,

"A pair of trousers can easily be turned into shorts but a turn-up only works with certain fabrics. For example a soft, floaty pair of palazzo pants would be better shortened with a normal hem, whereas a heavier fabric will hold the shape of a turn-up to give a much neater finish."

Bingo. It's a great way of getting more wear out of your wardrobe rather than just forgetting about your trousers after the sun has set, or worse, throwing them away. And the cost*?

  "I charge £9 to shorten trousers with a normal finish and £11 with a turn-up and it makes no difference if I am taking them up 1 inch or 20 inches!"

*Prices are Manchester specific