Archive | February, 2012

How Do You Know When You Have Enough Clothes?

23 Feb

1021closet How Do You Know When You Have Enough Clothes?


Here’s a question for you

How do you know when you have too many clothes?

Here’s another

How would you go, if you had to put together an outfit every day using the wardrobe above?   Overwhelmed?  I know I would.

How can you possibly know what clothes and accessories you have and know what you need when your wardrobe looks like this?   Many wardrobes I see during a Wardrobe Review do look like this.  It’s often why people hire me to help them sort through it and help them decide what to keep and what to get rid of.  Getting dressed every day is frustrating and the clutter is stressful and because of these feelings, often women I work with will tell me they just keep wearing the same thing all the time – it’s easier.  Being inspired to experiment and put new looks together is never going to happen.  Once something, clean and available, is pulled out, the door is slammed shut until the process has to be endured the following day.

It’s certainly not for anyone else to tell you, you have too much stuff.  If you’ve got the room and the budget and you’re wearing everything and not feeling drowned in it all, then I say go for it.  I bet nobody ever told Oprah she had too many yellow sweaters or pairs of Louboutinsbut then look how organised her wardrobe is and she has the room and the budget to afford this many clothes.

When it comes to the average person there has to come a point when we have to ask ourselves – do I have too much stuff?   Do I really need to keep buying new things or do I have enough?  Or is it time I cleaned out and removed some of what I have, before I add anything new?

In my humble opinion I think a good way to determine your wardrobe is more than adequately stocked, (quite possibly overstocked) is when you are only wearing a small percentage of what you own and a larger percentage is remaining unworn.   If many things in your wardrobe are waiting for an occasion – then there’s a chance a good edit is in order.

“Yes, I wear those embroidered fringe boots.  I wore them three years ago when we went to Tassie for the weekend” – is not wearing them and rotating them regularly.

Certainly there will be the little black dress saved for weddings, funerals and job interviews;  summer holiday kaftan’s and gowns you only wear to your end of year work ball.  But there is no need to keep the twin set you bought in the UK in 1984 just in case you were invited to tea with Princess Diana, the hot pink beaded mini you picked up in the 2002 sales, in case you had a hot date or the sari you bought while back packing in your twenties, that you’ve saved in case one of your daughters gets married in India.  There is just no need to keep them.  They just add to the confusion and the frustration of getting dressed each day.

Sometimes we need to get our head around the fact that  just because the girl at work has enough clothes she can wear something different each day for a month or your best friend has 25 pairs of jeans, that it doesn’t mean they are any more stylish than you.  In fact, I think it’s very stylish if you are able to work with minimal clothes and make them look interesting and unique when you wear them.

When I help someone with their wardrobe, what I aim to teach them is to work with what they have before contemplating buying anything new.  I will show them how many different ways and different looks you can achieve from one black dress.  I make them realise that one white shirt is all you really need if you can see it’s potential and how it can look different with a sleeve rolled a certain way or buttoned differently.   I encourage my clients to be creative.  Can that beaded caftan you bought in Bali 5 years ago and not worn since, be chopped at the hip and worn with your new moss green jeans? Can that floaty summer dress you wore to your sons christening be paired with some tights and a blazer and worn to work?  Do you really need anything new?  Do you already have what you need?  Is it just that you can’t see it?

Don’t just keep adding and adding and spending money before you take a really good look inside your cupboard.  Be enthusiastic and clever, try wearing things in new and different ways.  I’ve heard several times, “I wear that dress with this top underneath and those shoes”.  Then when I enquire, “Ok, how else do you wear it?” I’m often told, “I just wear it how the lady in the shop told me to wear it”.  When you think that way, it makes you feel like you need to have more things.  More outfits.  When in actual fact, it’s possible you have more than enough in your wardrobe already, you just need to see what’s there, see their potential and learn new ways to wear them.

Only this week I received an email from a client the morning after a wardrobe edit telling me that they feel that although they have half the amount of clothes in their wardrobe now, they have double the amount of outfits.

I know I still have a frock hanging in my wardrobe that I thought I should keep just in case a hunky footballer invited me to be his date at the Brownlow Medal.  It’s been there since my twenties and I’m now in my forties.  (Time it went or at least was reinvented) How about you?  What have you kept just in case?


CONGRATULATIONS to Stacey for winning an Online Personal Style Consultation by telling us that Margaret Fink is the mature woman whose style she admires and why.  Send me an email Stacey and we’ll arrange your consultation.


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Undies – Are You Neglecting Yours?

21 Feb

Undies Undies   Are You Neglecting Yours?

image via here


Are you paying attention to your back view?  Are you taking the time to make sure you’re wearing appropriate undies?

I see a lot of people in the street wearing great outfits, with very bad VPL’s. I’ve come to the conclusion that there are many women who do not check their rear view when they get dressed.  Your underwear should not cut into your flesh and create dints they should sit flat against your skin and disappear under your clothes.

I think often too, people are buying clothes without considering what underwear they’ll be able to wear underneath. There’s no point in buying a hot slinky figure hugging frock, if you’re not going to be able to find a suitable pair of undies that will make the dress look smooth against your body.

The same thing happens with jeans and pants.  If your knickers are too tight they will create unattractive lumps and spoil your whole look. It’s important you take the time to spin around in the mirror and check what the view is like from the back, before you leave the house.

Here are some underwear tips to consider

  • If you can’t find a pair of underpants that flatter a particular item of clothing, you might be best to completely ditch them
  • Next time you’re in the underwear section, ask the ladies working there to recommend their favourite undies for smoothing lumps and bumps under clothes
  • If you have a bit of a tummy you’re conscious of, investigate tummy flattening undies
  • Think about whether you might be buying your undies too small. Just because you generally wear size 10 clothes doesn’t mean your undies will be the same.  Perhaps a size 12 would be more flattering
  • If you always wear boy leg style undies, change it up a bit and try wearing a high cut style.  Maybe they’re a better option for your shape
  • Don’t underestimate the benefits of suck-it-all-in shapewear
  • If you do have a dress you need to find undies to wear underneath – take the dress into the store with you and ask for guidance from the staff

Don’t ruin an otherwise great outfit by wearing unsuitable undies

What are your favourite undies?  Have you found a great pair of comfy, lump & bump smoothing undies that you’d like to tell recommend?   Are you a boy leg, high cut or g-string girl?  Let us all know in the comments section below.

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How To Wear Black

16 Feb

 How To Wear Black

image via here


Black is incredibly chic!  Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.  As someone who has a mostly black (with a dash of navy) wardrobe, I’ve had plenty of people comment over the years that I wear too much black or that I’d look lovely in a bit of color and I’ve had a couple of clients tell me they hear the same thing from their family & friends.  My response is always, if you like black and you feel comfortable and confident wearing it – then go for it.

But be aware that wearing head to toe black can look a bit bland and boring, so you need to be conscious of trying to make it look interesting and this is done by mixing different textures and adding unique accessories. The clothes MUST fit and flatter your body shape beautifully and they MUST NOT be faded, stained or pilled.  As soon as something fades (other than jeans) out it must go.  Shoes should be polished and in good condition (no scuffed heels or toes) and you might find you need to add a bit more color than usual to your cheeks and lips.

I adore color, but I always feel the most stylish when I’m wearing black.  Maybe it’s the (imaginary) French in me! How To Wear Black

image via here


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 How To Wear Black

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 How To Wear Black

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The Ageless Personal Style of Costanza Pascolato

13 Feb

22411Constanza 0120Web The Ageless Personal Style of Costanza Pascolato

image via The Sartorialist


One thing I’ve learnt since I started working with women helping them develop their personal style is that some of us like to dress differently every day – one day it’s a structured classic suit and shirt, the next it’s a pair of jeans and a peasant shirt and the next a pretty, fluid pattered skirt and a pair of Birkenstocks.  They may have a combination of style personalities and their look is constantly evolving and changing according to how they feel and what their lifestyle is like.

While others have one very distinct look and it rarely if ever changes.  Their hair never changes, the colors they wear rarely change and their accessories might alter a little bit, but are mostly very similar. And that’s the thing about personal style – it’s personal.  Nobody should tell you how to look.  Your style should be defined by yourself, even if it is with the assistance of a stylist.  Where someone like what I do, does come in handy, is I can give you some guidance and help to pinpoint what your style might be.

When I first work with someone I’ll get them to fill out a questionnaire to help prompt their thinking.  Among others I’ll ask things like:

Given a choice, which would you rather do?

  • Throw on a pair of jeans, t-shirt with funky accessories
  • Step out in a fun floral dress or bright mixed prints
  • Put on a sleek v-neck top and modern-cut pant
  • Grab your favourite jacket with interesting and unusual details to wear with a black pant
  • Get comfortable in cargoes, a collared shirt and your favourite loafers

When you walk into a crowded room, what would you prefer to do?

  • Stand out
  • Blend in
  • Be in control, exude power
  • Seem natural and easygoing
  • Be zany and animated

Which of the following best describes the decor of your home?

  • Minimalist, architectural, and sculptural
  • Comfortable and traditional
  • Fun, kitschy and unorthodox
  • Lots of rugs, earth tone and floral prints
  • Streamlined, tonal, with clean surfaces

When we meet I’ll give you the results of the multiple choice questions and I’ll show you some photos associated with that particular style.  For example, if most of your answers come back suggesting you are a Chic dresser, it’s possible I might show you a photo of Costanza Pascolato,  a Vogue Brazil consultant.  Despite your age, if your style personality erred on the side of Chic you would gain a bunch of inspiration from the way Costanza dresses – often monochromatic, sleek, simple and elegant with a hint of the “now”.   Where Costanza takes her personal style that one step further, is she has a very recognisable signature look , she always wears over-sized sunglasses, her hair in very distinctive, coiffured fashion and she rarely wears skirts or dresses.  (In fact, I could not find one shot of her wearing either.) What I particularly love about Costanza’s style is that at 73, she still discretely shows off and accentuates her figure, she still dresses beautifully and she still wears clothes that are a little bit trendy.  She doesn’t think, like so many sadly do - I’m old now, nobody looks at me.

There is so much to be learnt from stylishly dressed mature women who care about how they dress and look.  It reminds us to never give up on ourselves.

Costanza 1 dia The Ageless Personal Style of Costanza Pascolato
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