Friday, 31 May 2013

Pretty Inspired : Beautiful Hampi

We’ve visited so many beautiful places in India, but Hampi has to be one of my favourites, it’s such a peaceful and beautiful place and it’s not too far from Bangalore.  Well, I say it’s not too far, but back in the UK we wouldn’t even consider going this distance for one night, over here however, everything is so far away that you kinda get used to travelling long distances.

The trains in India are great, they’re super cheap are rarely delayed and they pretty much go anywhere.  One of my favourite things to do (and yes, I’m aware of how unsafe this is) is to stand in the train doorway, which is often left wide open, and watch India pass by – it’s beautiful.

The train to Hampi is perfect - you can leave on a Friday night after work, sleep overnight and arrive first thing Saturday morning.  The train back is the same time Sunday evening, giving you two whole days to explore, relax and take in the breathtaking surroundings that consist of boulder-strewn hills with hundreds of ruined temples scattered amongst them.

I think it’s the peacefulness and the stunning landscape that I find so inspiring; I can just switch off from everything and drift away to somewhere tranquil – it puts me in such a creative space!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Build Your Own Capsule Wardrobe

My recent post about changing our shopping habits has struck a chord with a lot of you, it seems I'm not alone in thinking the time has come to change how we see our wardrobes and how we shop.  

Brilliantly, quite a few of you got in touch asking for advice and suggestions, and even gave some of your own – it's great to hear from you and to hear your thoughts; I love writing this blog but when you take the time to get in touch and join in, it’s even better so thank you!  The most popular question asked was how you create a capsule turns out that a capsule wardrobe is like the holy grail of styling!

So, what is a capsule wardrobe and why is it worth investing time and money in one? A capsule wardrobe is a hard working collection of clothes consisting of timeless staple pieces that fit beautifully and mix and match to create outfits for any occasion.  These pieces cannot be high trend items that will date quickly as they need to form the foundations of your wardrobe for years to come.

Get it right and you will be able to build and develop your style effortlessly and will find yourself spending less money on fewer items, yet will have many more outfits to wear - sounds good, right?

It all started back in the 1970's, when Susie Faux (the founder of Wardrobe) came up with the concept of a capsule wardrobe.  The idea was then championed by Donna Karan in the eighties when she launched her 7 Easy Pieces collection which consisted of staple pieces that could be layered over black body suits and opaque tights to create outfits for a variety of occasions.  It was pretty radical at the time and a rather more conservative approach to styling and shopping than had been seen previously. 

Today I feel the idea of a capsule wardrobe has been lost slightly.  There is so much cheap clothing available on the high street and so much choice that a capsule wardrobe containing only a few key pieces is so far from many people’s minds.  Why would you only buy one pair of trousers when you could afford to buy three cheaper pairs?

The reality is that while you might think that having a wardrobe bulging with clothes will give you more options, it won't.  If you keep adding pieces to your wardrobe without much thought or because you don't have anything to wear, you're not solving the problem, you’re only making it worse.

How many of you have a wardrobe full of clothes but have found yourselves saying 'I've got nothing to wear'?  See, it's not the quantity of clothes in your wardrobe that matters; it's the quality and versatility. 

So, where do you start?  I don't really like to give too many rules or constraints when advising my clients on their wardrobe and style, but I think that as I’m discussing how to pull together a capsule wardrobe, it is probably beneficial to have some kind of guidelines to go by. After all, the concept has been covered by many of the top stylists out there - so it is well thought out.
  1. Spend more, on less.  I'm not encouraging you to spend above and beyond your budget; I'm just suggesting that you should invest in the best quality that your budget will allow, rather than spending it on lots of cheaper, poorer quality items that won't last and will need to be replaced often. 

  2.  Invest some time in finding the right items. We're often so busy that buying clothes becomes something that we have to do quickly. This combined with such affordable prices probably means you make the decision to buy with little thought – does it matter if it’s not quite right when it’s so cheap?  Doing this will mean you’re compromising on an excellent piece for your wardrobe that WILL be right and will last longer.  Putting the time aside now to find the right pieces will save you time in the future.

  3. Think about your lifestyle and how you split your time.  For example, do you work full time or are you a full time Mum? Maybe you're a combination of both? Now ask yourself if your wardrobe is proportioned accordingly?  When you're building your capsule wardrobe it's important to make sure you're building a collection of clothes that suit you and your lifestyle - there's no point in having is a wardrobe full of clothes waiting for an event that may never happen. 

  4. Choose only the items that fit beautifully otherwise you will have spent money on items that you'll rarely wear and will end up needing to replace. We're all guilty of purchasing an item because it looks nice on the hanger, is a gorgeous colour or (probably the most popular reason) because we saw a friend wearing it and loved it.  But even if you love the item, if it doesn't look quite right on you...put it back.   

  5. Invest in a good selection of base layers; the items that are essential for layering, such as camisoles, tights and jersey basics.  It's a good idea to have a variety of neutral colours that match your trousers and skirts
  6. Consider sticking to a colour theme.  Choosing neutral colours will give you the most versatility, but if you're more into bold colours and strong prints then choose some staple pieces that are just that.

  7. Consider your style - there is no point in adding items to your wardrobe that you're just not going to wear.  The magazines may be telling you that a pencil skirt is this seasons must have wardrobe staple, but if you've never worn one and aren't too keen then don't touch one.  Choose something that represents your style instead.

  8. Try to avoid items that are very on trend as these will date far too quickly.  The key to getting a capsule collection of clothes that lasts, is to choose items that will stand the test of time, after all, if you're going to be spending a little more on these items then the last thing you want is for them to look out of date any time soon. Once you have a strong foundation of staples you can start to add the trend pieces, quirkier items and jewellery to add even more personality to your outfits and develop your style.

  9. Don't forget about the accessories!  These are one of THE most important parts of any wardrobe and are often an afterthought.  I have a couple of scarves and a collection of necklaces that I will always wear no matter what the trends are...they are my fall backs.
Your capsule collection.   I've mentioned already that you need to pull together a capsule wardrobe that works for you.  My capsule wardrobe is probably going to look very different to yours, and that's okay. It is very much down to the individual but in general it makes sense to have the following items:
  1. Jeans
  2. Smart trousers
  3. Casual trousers
  4. A skirt
  5. Day dress
  6. Something for the evening
  7. A tailored jacket
  8. A winter coat
  9. A lightweight coat or Mac
  10. A blouse
  11. A shirt
  12. A jumper
  13. A cardigan
  14. Camisoles
  15. Shoes –both flat and heels
  16. Tights
  17. Jewellery, 
  18. A belt
  19. A bag
To give you a little inspiration I've pulled together two different wardrobes below. They both contain most of the items listed above, however I think you’ll agree they’re quite different and illustrate that it’s possible to mould a capsule wardrobe to suit you.

Capsule wardrobe

Capsule wardrobe 1

Dress / Gray dress / Cashmere cardigan / Military fashion / French Connection long sleeve top / Cardigan / Reiss / Reiss cami top / NW3 / Pied a Terre / Coat / Vest / AllSaints / Ted Baker blue jeans / Whistles pleated pants / Ted Baker black pants / Jeans / Wolford / Cami / Ballet flat shoes / Carvela shoes / Pumps / Gray handbag / Alexander McQueen skull scarve / John Lewis

Once you have your capsule wardrobe sorted, this will form the foundations of your entire collection.

These pieces will be the items that you can rely on to create any outfit you need and will be able to be built on year after year.  

You'll be able to add the less expensive, on trend pieces to this each season, safe in the knowledge that you will always have something to wear with them.  And, as for it being boring?  Not a chance!  You'll be able to pull together so many different might even be fun ;)

So, how does your wardrobe weight up?  Do you think you can start to figure out what your capsule collection will look like?  Maybe you have some suggestions for us or have found some great items?  Make me smile and join in the discussion by commenting below...

Monday, 20 May 2013

Look Book : How To Style Peg Leg Trousers For Summer

A few weeks back, one of my lovely clients got in touch asking for some advice on how to style a couple of pairs of peg leg trousers for the summer.

"I’m looking through my wardrobe at the moment to get ready for Spring/Summer and I’m not feeling inspired! I have loved all the pieces I bought with you in October but there are two pairs of trousers I haven’t worn yet. I’m planning on wearing the two pairs of cropped Oasis trousers I bought with you now that the weather is going to (hopefully) warm up, but I’m not sure what to put them with as they 
are a new style for me."

Peg leg trousers are a great item to have in the wardrobe, they’re perfect for work, home and evenings out so they really will get a lot of wear.  But while they might be versatile, there are a couple of things to bear in mind when pulling together your outfits.  Firstly, if your trousers have pleats around the hips or waist then make sure you tuck your tops into them.  If you don’t, the pleats will add bulk under the top and will be unflattering.  And secondly, keep an eye on the length of the trousers; cropped trousers rarely come in leg lengths so you may find they need shortening (or lengthening) a little to fit properly.

My favourite look with trousers like this is teamed with brogues and a little blouse, but as you can see there are plenty of great ways to style them up!

How to style peg leg trousers - Gaynor

NW3 / French Connection striped top / Mango slacks pants / Evening shoes / ALDO block heels / Hobbs ballet shoes / Mint Velvet / Raffia handbag / Zara handbag / Triangle jewelry / Square scarve / Metallic belt / Ted Baker / Topshop waist belt / Polyvore Clipper

How to wear peg leg trousers - Gaynor

As usual, if you have anything you'd like me to help you with then email me here, I'd love to hear from you and to feature your question on Hip Shapes!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Is It Time To Change Your Shopping Habits?

Lately I’ve been thinking more about how we shop for our clothes. 

I can’t deny that the recent events in Bangladesh have been the catalyst for this…how about you?  Did it make you stop and think?  Did you make a connection between what happened and the clothes you have in your wardrobe?  Maybe it was a combination of living in India and my profession that created the link for me?

I like to think that I’m a careful shopper who makes considered purchases, and in my role as a personal stylist I encourage my client’s to think about their purchases too.  Not only do I build my clients confidence but I also make it my mission to change their shopping habits as it saves them money in the long run and enables them to pull together a strong collection of clothes that lasts.

I have always championed a smaller, more concise (and no, that doesn’t mean boring) wardrobe, that’s a healthy mix of long lasting investment pieces and cheaper high street pieces (as well as second hand and vintage pieces - after all, these are the perfect way to showcase your individuality!).  I have never been and never will be someone who’s into fast, disposable fashion – it’s a false economy.  People end up with far more clothes than they know what to do with and to top it off, the clothes that do get worn barely last one wash.  I’m not against purchasing cheap clothing; I actually think we’re lucky to be able to have so much choice with such limited budgets, but what I am against is buying SO much of it, wearing it once and binning it.  This disposable luxury is coming at such a high cost.  People are working in indescribably awful conditions, many recently lost their lives, all so we can afford to have wardrobes bursting with clothes, half of which we don’t need and probably won’t wear.

Hip Shapes and Bristol Fashion has been running for a few years now, and I have always wanted it to be a source of inspiration to encourage you to make the most of the clothes you already have and to make informed decisions when making new purchases…and I hope that’s what I’m managing to do. While I insist on educating my clients about changing their shopping habits, I wonder whether I do enough on here to encourage my readers to follow suit?

Over the next few weeks I’m going to do a series on the blog that I hope will inspire you to think differently about your wardrobe and the way you shop.  I want to prove to you that a hard working capsule wardrobe, built on a foundation of great fitting staple pieces doesn’t automatically mean it’ll be boring or expensive.  I want to encourage you to pull out an item from your wardrobe that you’re not wearing and challenge you to make it work.  I’m also going to illustrate how spending more money on fewer items won’t leave you with less outfits to wear, and will potentially cost you less in the long run?!

We need to see an end to this culture of disposable fashion but to do this; our shopping habits have to change.   So, what do you think?  Are you with me?? 

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

In With The Old

I love flowers (I’m a textile designer so I guess it’s to be expected) but while I love photographing and drawing flowers, they don’t often feature in my outfits - I tend to stick to graphic prints or the animal variety instead.  But when the sun is shining and I’m surrounded by beautiful (and exotic!) flowers, I do find myself being more and more drawn towards florals.

I know that the high-street is bursting with clothes and accessories covered in gorgeous florals so it would have been really easy to go out and buy something new to fill the floral gap in my wardrobe, but I always like to remind myself what I have before hitting the shops and it’s just as well...

This top (well, actually it’s a dress that I’m wearing as a top) is about five or six years old and I haven’t really worn it much in the last couple of years.  It’s been stored out of sight along with some other clothes that I didn’t want to get rid of, but knew I wasn’t going to wear again for a while.

Sometimes I wear something so much in the first year or so of its life, that I find I get bored of it.   It still fits and I still like it but I just get tired of wearing it; in instances like this I just store them and re-visit them later.  I carry this mantra through to my job too.  I’m not the kind of personal stylist who says you must get rid of everything you’ve not worn for a year.  If something doesn’t fit anymore, or is way past repairing, then fair enough.  But throwing out perfectly good clothing that you enjoyed wearing?  No chance.
Dress - Warehouse. Maxi skirt - Whistles. Belt - Topshop. Jacket - Topshop. shoes - office. Ring - Republic Of Chic (Bangalore)

It was actually kinda cool to re-discover this old favourite and re-styling it with a new skirt has definitely earned a spot back in my wardrobe.

What about you?  Do you religiously sort out your wardrobe each season, binning things you’re no longer wearing?  Or do you prefer to hang onto them just in case?

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Pretty Inspired : Tranquility

A couple of months back a friend introduced me to The Yoga House in Indiranagar, housed in one of Bangalore’s (sadly depleting) bungalows (more on that another time).

Yoga is a new thing for me, it’s something I wanted to get into when we moved here, but other than a few classes here and there I haven’t really got round to doing it much yet.  Despite this being the perfect spot to try it, I’m so head over heels with the setting that instesd of going inside to do yoga, I'd rather stay outside...I think I've just found my new favourite place to blog!

I hope I can re-create a little of this tranquillity when we return to the UK!!