Sunday, 27 November 2011

Warmth, Style and Sensitive skin.

I’ve been meaning to write this for some time now.  It was suggested to me by one of my lovely clients who suffers from psoriases. when I met her a few months back, she was finding it so difficult to find outfits that not only gave her the coverage she wanted, but that also made her look and feel fabulous.  It was really starting to get her down.   I suffer from Eczema in the winter months, I get red flaky patches on my face, arms and legs and cannot wear ANYTHING with wool in it as this just makes everything worse.  If you've got sensitive skin it can be almost impossible to keep warm and look stylish.  But not completely.  I’ve picked up a few tips over the years and have learnt a lot through shopping for my clients. 

Layering is crucial. Invest in a good selection of cotton tops in a variety of sleeve lengths and necklines.  These will act as a barrier between you and the irritating fabrics that are in abundance over winter.  I find a lot of clients struggle with layering, and to be honest it can be hard to master.  The proportions need to be right, colours need to work together and it needs to flatter your shape.  My advice is keep the ‘base layer’ fairly simple, and if possible, a similar colour palette. For example, if you're wearing black jeans then team these with a black camisole and then start to layer on top. This avoids the different layers looking a mess, creates a column (so can be slimming) and will tie your outfit together. H&M, Hanro, American Apparel and Whistles are all great places to source your layers.
Layering top, Whistles

Invest in a good blouse.  They’re everywhere this season and despite what you might think, there is a style to suit every shape.  It might just be one of the most versatile items you invest in this season.  It can be dressed up for night, dressed down for day, and is perfect for work. Silk is lovely against the skin, it’s soft, loose and so comfortable which is the most important thing if you’ve got sensitive skin.  One of my favourite outfits at the moment, is a feminine silk blouse teamed with a really chunky knit cardigan, it enables me to wear wool without it irritating me.  For work, team a pretty blouse with a pair of wide leg trousers.  And for night try a sheer number over skinnies and towering heels.

Dressed up.  Blouse from Apricot. Image courtesy of PR Shots
Dressed up. Tuxedo shirt from Warehouse.
Everyday. Blouse from Mint Velvet. Image courtesy of PR Shots.
Perfect for work.  Blouse from Warehouse.
Try to avoid wearing red or pink.  If your skin is red and angry wearing red will only enhance this.  Instead, opt for blues, greens or purples.

Invest in cashmere, it’s much softer than wool and doesn’t irritate as much.  Trust me, this isn’t just an excuse to indulge, it really doesn’t irritate as much.  Cashmere doesn’t cost the earth anymore either, try H&M and Topshop for  a less expensive selection.   Some cashmere is even suitable for machine washing!

Wrap up in scarves.  When you can’t wear wool it can be so hard to keep warm, so it's worth having a great selection of scarves to wrap up in.  If you're struggling to find non-wool ones then try doubling up some of your cotton scarves to make them warmer.

Star scarf Oasis, Pasley scarf, TK Maxx

Skull scarf Miss Selfridge, Floral scarf H&M

This huge blanket scarf from Urban Outfitters was such a great buy; it’s so cosy and can be worn umpteen different ways. I bought this last year, but there are some great ones in again this season, see here

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Christmas Pop-up Party at Cabot Circus

I know this isn’t fashion related, but I’m all for supporting local talent and just have to share this with you.  If you haven’t sorted your Christmas presents or cards yet (let’s be honest, who has!?) then you need to get yourself down to Cabot Circus tonight.   

This year, the run up to Christmas has seen over 100 local artists come together as part of ‘Pop-Up Bristol’ - a new initiative from Made in Bristol that has showcased a diverse range of independent galleries and creative talent on the high street for the first time, adding a new dimension to Christmas shopping at Cabot Circus this year. The pop-ups offer the opportunity to purchase quality gifts and one-off pieces by up-and-coming artists.

Tonight, Pop-Up Bristol will be hosting a party to celebrate the one-month countdown to Christmas at 6pm across their three temporary festive galleries at Cabot Circus - Drawn in Bristol, Pop-Upfest  and Smithson Gallery & Gifts. 

The event will offer guests a fantastic opportunity to see and purchase all the brilliant artworks the shops have on offer and will also feature live drawing and music. There will also be a chance to meet all of the diverse and talented artists involved in the project along with some exciting special guests.

I can’t think of a better way to shop for my Christmas gifts this year...see you there!

See for more details.

The Pop-up Shops will be open as follows:
• POP-UPfest: Open now – 24th December (Level 1, Glass Walk)
• Drawn in Bristol: Open now – 3rd December (Quakers Friars)
• Smithson Gallery and Gifts; Open now – 24th December (Level 1, Glass Walk)
• Bristol Creatives: Open now – 24th December 24th December (Quakers Friars)

P.S, I did have a lovley picture to upload BUT BLOGGER STILL ISN'T LETTING ME UPLOAD IMAGES!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Bath Vintage and Flea Market

It's taken me nearly a week to upload the photo to this post, I nearly gave up but thought I'd give it one more's worked!  So almost a week late, here's another outfit post.

I’ve missed too many vintage fairs in Bath this year, so on Sunday I made sure I was around for the Bath Vintage and Flea Market. I braced the chilly wind in my super warm fur coat and spent a few hours scouring the stalls for the perfect Christmas presents. It was such a good fair that I might just pop down to the Bristol one next weekend.
Fur coat - Warehouse
Star blouse - Zara
Jeans - Topshop
Boots - Carvela
Belt - second hand

Monday, 7 November 2011

How to look good (nearly) naked - Part three- What’s the best style of underwear for your shape?

Well, this is the final instalment of a three part feature that I pulled together for Andrew Jackson and his Viva Boudoir photography package. In the other two posts I talked about the importance of wearing the right underwear, and about how understanding your body shape and its proportions will help you make informed decisions about which underwear is going to be best for you.

Now I want to take this a step further and arm you with the information to go out there and choose underwear that will not only give you the support you need, but be flattering too.

For this you not only need to take into consideration your body shape, but also your bust shape. Everyone’s breasts are different in shape; some are closer together and some are fuller, so it’s really important that you choose the right shape bra to give you the best support and shape.

Bust shape

Full or heavy breasts that are full above and below the nipple.
Opt for a full cup, plunge or soft cup.  The key is to avoid styles that dig into the breasts and creating bulging.

Long/shallow breasts that are shallower on the top and fuller from the nipple down.
A full cup or firm balcony style will prevent wrinkling at the top of the cup due to it not being filled.

Body shape

Neat column shape with a small bust
Opt for styles that will add curves and softness to your shape.
Bra set Floozie by Frost French at Debenhams 
Curvaceous hourglass shape with good sized bust
Opt for styles that enhance your fabulous curves and highlight your waist.
Ann Summers Ava bra and high-waisted brief
Broad apple shape with fab legs and good bust
Choose styles that enhance your waist and broaden your hips.
John Lewis Phoebe Lingerie
Pear shape with a tiny waist and small bust
Choose styles that highlight your waist and make your hips look narrower.
 Presence longline bra Marks and Spencer

Accessories and enhancers

Don’t forget, there are plenty of bra accessories and breast enhancers that will help you to create the perfect fit and shape.
Accessories from Marks and spencer

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Go wild for print

Oh Leopard print, leopard print how I do love thee! Yes, my favourite kind of print is indeed the animal kind, but I know I’ve got my work cut out if I’m to persuade the rest of you to give it a go.
Despite what you might think, animal prints are actually quite versatile.  A pair of leopard print shoes can add some edge to a girly floral dress and a snakeskin bag will bring your LBD stampeding into this season.  But if you’re going to make this trend work for you, then you’ll need to consider your own style.  If you’re a classically chic dresser, then a simple belt will be the perfect way to introduce the print to your outfits.  If you prefer a quirkier style, then mix things up a little, why not clash animal with stripes?

I want to show you two very different ways of wearing animal print while at the same time  push myself out of the orange-brown-leopard-print-rut that I’ve got myself into (I’m always pushing clients outside their comfort zone, so I guess it’s only fair that I do the same to myself). This dress by Biba does just that.  While it’s very much covered in animal print, the colour and style is a little less obvious and dare I say it, sophisticated.

Dress – Biba available at House of Fraser
Shoe boots – Hobbs
Earrings – Vintage
I know this whimsical jumper from Topshop isn’t technically animal print, but it is a print of an animal so I think it I can get away with it.  It’s a refreshing take on the trend but has it got you reaching for the rail?
Jumper – Topshop
Jeans – Topshop
Shoes – Converse from Office
Pick up a copy of the November addition of Folio magazine to see this in print.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

How to look good (nearly) naked. Part 2 - Is the fit right

Image thanks to Ambro. FreeDigital
I’m sure you’ve heard the statistics: “around eighty percent of women are wearing the wrong size bra”, but how important is this?  Well, if you’re wearing the wrong bra you’ll not only get terrible back ache and appalling posture but you’ll not be making the most of your figure either.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lifted a clients bra straps to reveal a waist that’s been hiding for years!  Wearing the right underwear will not only be more comfortable but can make you look slimmer too.

So are you in the right bra?  How can you tell? 

• Do the cups of your bra ride up when you reach up?

• Do your bra straps constantly fall down?

• Does the strap across your back ride up?

• Does your bust bulge out of the cup?

• Does you bust fill the cup properly?

If any of the above sound familiar, then you’re not wearing the right size.  My advice is to get yourself booked into John Lewis or House of Fraser for a bra fit. Once you know what size bra you need you can start to think about which styles will work best for you but I’ll talk more about that in part 3!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

How to look good (nearly) naked, Part 1

As a personal stylist I’m always learning and I love sharing my newly discovered tips and knowledge with my readers.  So when I was approached by fantastic local photographer Andrew Jackson to come up with some styling hints and tips to feature on his blog and help his clients look their best for their Viva Boudoir portrait shoot, I couldn’t say no!

It's essential you wear the right underwear everyday as it ensures your clothes fit correctly, and are the most flattering they can be.  But when you’re being photographed in your underwear it’s even, more important that you look and feel you best!

Here's part one of a three part feature I pulled together for Andrews’s blog, to help his clients find the perfect underwear, best fit and most flattering style for their portrait shoot. 

Part 1

Choosing the right underwear.

Thanks to the likes of Gok and Trinny and Susannah, I’m sure you’ve all heard about dressing to suit your shape, and some of you will know how to do this, but if you’re not wearing the right underwear it all goes to waste.  You’re underwear forms the foundations of your outfit.  If you don’t get it right, your clothes will be ill fitting and unflattering.

Before you can start to address what underwear you should be wearing, you need to undress and take an honest look at your figure.  Don’t use this as an opportunity to point out all the parts of your body that you’re unhappy with, instead (and it’s not as hard as you might think) put on a more positive hat and acknowledge your best bits.  For example, you might have a great waist, or fabulous legs. 

Next, look at your proportions.  Are your shoulders narrower than your hips?  Do you have a long body or long legs?  What do you need to do to balance out your proportions and create the perfect hourglass shape?  Once you’re armed with this information, you can start to make an informed decision about what underwear is not only going to give you the support you need, but be flattering too.

I’ll be discussing what underwear is best suited to which shape in part 3, but for now here are some hints to help you determine your shape

Neat column shapeColumn figures are fairly straight up and down.  Shoulders are in proportion to the hips and they generally have a small bust.

Curvaceous hourglass shape Hourglass figures are curvaceous with a generous sized bust.  Shoulders are in proportion to the hips and they generally have a small waist.

Broad apple shape Apple shapes are broader on the top half than the bottom half.  The waist is less defined and they generally have fabulous legs.

Curvaceous Pear shape Pear shapes are smaller on the top half than the bottom half.  They will have a small bust and a tiny waist.

In Part 2, we’ll take this information and start to talk about the best fit and how to achieve it