how to wear a belt

How To Wear A Belt To Create A Stunning Look

When I ask my clients how they feel about belts, the answer I receive is often ‘not sure’. Or perhaps they will say that they don’t have the figure to wear a belt.

It’s frankly an urban myth that you need to be tall and lean or have a perfect hourglass figure.

Worn the right way a belt can add definition and enhance your body shape. A belt can also provide the focal point for an outfit.  .

We can all wear a belt. But as with most items in our wardrobes, it’s about making the right choices. Hopefully my tips will inspire you to wear a belt other than to hold your jeans up!

wear a belt with a jumpsuit

Wear A Belt To Flatter Your Shape

The elements of your body that you need to consider to determine what shape of belt to go for are:

  1. Are you short waisted?
  2. Are you long waisted?
  3. Do you have a defined waist?
  4. Do you have a full bust?
  5. Are your hips full?
  6. Do you have a thick waist?
  7. Are you petite?

 

If You Are Short Waistedkaren-millen-chain-belt

This means that your natural waist is closer to your bust than your hips. This may also be referred to as high waisted. So to wear a belt you should chose the following looks:

  1. A narrow belt
  2. Wear a belt across your hips
  3. Wear a belt the same colour as your top and in contrast to your bottom
  4. Select a belt that is the same colour as your outfit

 If You Are Long Waisted

This means that your torso is long and your natural waist sits quite low.   Consider the following to wear a belt

  1. A wide belt
  2. Wear a belt just above your natural waist. Do not allow it to sit on your hips, as this will emphasize your long torso.

Women who have a long waist will have shorter legs so you want to use styling tips to create longer legs.

Do You Have A Defined Waist?Desigual Statement Belt

If you have an hourglass figure or a pear shaped body with a defined waist, embrace it!   Wear a belt that shows off your waist and emphasizes your curves, giving definition to your shape. It doesn’t need to be a statement belt,  it can blend in to your outfit.

Conversely if you do not have a defined waist, but have slender hips wear a belt to create a waist.

 If You Have A Full Bust

Wear a belt that to show off your curves.

If you have a large bust you may find yourself having to buy a dress that fits your bust but may be too big elsewhere. Avoid a shapeless look, which will be really unflattering. Wear a belt to define your bust and flatter your voluptuous curves.

A full bust can create the illusion of a short waist, so consider a medium width belt.

 Are Your Hips Full?

If your hips are broader than your shoulders then you have a pear shaped body. But before you start despairing about your hips and thighs, embrace the fact that you have a defined waist.

Go out there and show off your waist. Wear a belt on your waist but be careful not to wear a belt too low, especially if you are wearing a cropped jacket. This will simply make your hips look bigger.

Do You Have A Thick Waist?

Women who have a thick waist often feel that they should not wear a belt. They are concerned that this will draw attention to their tummy. But for women who have a thick waist a belt can emphasize your lovely bust and show off your curves.   Wear a belt slightly higher than your natural waistline. Choose a belt that blends with your outfit in a stretch fabric and see the results.

Are you petite?

If you are petite then be careful if you decide to wear a wide belt.

A wide belt in a contrasting colour to your outfit will simply cut you in half. It will create a horizontal line, which will have the effect of making you look shorter.

You can wear a belt with a tie that sits low on your waist and hangs down. This will create vertical lines and help you to look taller.

how to wear a belt

How To Style A Belt?

Having determined what you should look for to suit your body shape, now it’s on to the fun part of how to wear a belt with style!

This probably sounds very obvious but a belt should be a reflection of your personality and your style.   The following are just a few ideas of how you can have fun with belts!

Enhance Your Body Shape

Show off the parts of your body you love!

If you are wearing a loose fitting top and tight trousers add a belt to enhance your silhouette.

An oversized top or dress will look finished with a belt slung around your hips.

A tight fitting top and baggy trousers will look good with a belt to complete the look and give some structure to your silhouette.

Dramatic Effect

Wear a metallic belt with a monochrome dress or jumpsuit for an occasion.

Look at belts with a statement buckle to create a real attention grabbing look.

A wide belt will make a bold statement.

Make this the focal point of your outfit. You can contrast your belt with shoes and handbag for a real impact.

Alternatively a slightly more classic dramatic look would be to wear a statement belt that matched your bag and shoes.

Be creative and have fun!

Wear a bright patterned scarf as a belt. This can look great with jeans – blue or white denim for a fun summer look.

If you have a coat, such as a trench coat, that has a detachable belt swap this for a patterned scarf for a quirky look.

Finally …

Do you wear a belt?  If so how do you wear belts, please share in the comments below.

If you are not confident about how to wear a belt or how to complete an outfit with accessories, why not join us for The Finishing Touch Workshop?

Shopping Details

Make a statement with a wide belt

Biba Belt Wallis Jumpsuit Carvela Shoes Carvela Bag

Subtle Style With A Wide Belt

Hobbs Belt Tunic Top White Stuff Biba Scarf Phase Eight Bag Phase Eight Boots

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Finishing Touch Workshop Choosing A Handbag

Alongside Every Successful Woman Is An Amazing Handbag

We haven’t even got as far as talking about handbags! Announced one of my clients recently as our session drew to a close.   I knew that to start discussing choosing a handbag at this late stage would be overload!

My styling sessions are extremely informative and I don’t expect clients to take any notes. as I will send them the details. But even so there’s a limit to how much information anyone can absorb.

finishing touch choosing a handbag

I will blog about handbags, I promised as I collected my things. Then we can discuss what’s right for you. Her next client had arrived, so it was a perfect solution.

So what do you need to think about when you are choosing a handbag? There are a few points to consider.   But let’s first dispel the myth that you need a bag to match your shoes.

I think I’ve only ever subscribed to that theory once, about 12 years ago. However the shoes I’d bought were so uncomfortable that they were abandoned under my chair as soon as we sat down to dinner!   I’m still using the handbag though!

So what do you need to consider when choosing a handbag?

What Do You Want It For

This might sound blindingly obvious but I’ll admit to having been seduced by the colour or detailing when choosing a handbag.

Choosing a handbag

An ‘interesting’ drama when I had to take my leather jacket off to save my personal belongings! A heavy and unexpected shower meant my stuff would have been soaked just because I HAD to have that gorgeous crushed velvet bag!

Consider the practical elements when choosing a handbag:

  1. Are you a mum and so does choosing a handbag mean finding a really practical one to carry around all those essentials?
  2. Do you want it for going to work? Does it need to be able to hold a tablet, your lunch or perhaps your laptop?
  3. When choosing a handbag you may be tempted by fabric or suede but if you’re outside in all weathers with your bag, this might not be practical

If you’re choosing a handbag for social occasions you probably want to consider a much smaller bag. This helps to avoid the temptation of taking too much stuff with you whenever you’re going out socially!

choosing a handbag for an evening out

Think About Your Body

When you are choosing a handbag think about your own body your shape and scale.  Remember your bag becomes an extension of you and part of your outfit.

A petite woman carrying a very large handbag will make you look smaller. This also works in reverse a larger woman with a small bag will look bigger.

choosing a handbag consider your scale

If you have a large bust be wary when choosing a handbag you want to wear on your shoulder. Avoid short straps that mean your bag will fall in line with your bust.

But equally if you have a pear shaped body with a small bust and larger hips, a good choice would be a bag that sits on your shoulder and falls in line with your bust. But avoid a longer strap that means the bag sits in line with your hips.

If you have a large bust cross body bags might be practical but will not be the best look for you.

 

Straps And Handles When Choosing A Handbagchoosing a handbag for an evening out

Now is time to think about the one of the design features you want when choosing a handbag.

. If you are standing around with drinks and possibly canapés or shaking hands you will run out of hands!! How much easier is it to pop your bag on your shoulder?

Adjustable straps are really useful. This will enable you to fix the length of the strap so that it flatters your bodyline.

Handles. A lot of bags have a grab handle as well as straps. This can be a really useful feature when choosing a handbag, particularly if you are using it for work and going to lots of meetings. It can be much simpler to just simply pick up your bag while you’re finishing a conversation, rather than scrabbling about putting it on your shoulder.

 

Other Design Details

Shapechoosing a handbag to complement your bodily

If you are a curvy bodyline, then a handbag with soft edges and curves will look good. If you have an angular bodyline a more boxy shape bag with squarer edges will work for you.

Security

Think about the clasp or closure when choosing a handbag.   Not only do you want to prevent your belongings from falling out, sadly you need to protect them against thieves.

That said I’ve had two handbags stolen. On both occasions the thieves made off with the entire bag!

Weight

This didn’t’ even occur to me when I was feeding my Guess Bag addiction on EBay last year! Consequently my latest acquisition only gets an outing when I don’t have to hold it on my shoulder for long! It weighs 750g before I put anything in it!

 

Pockets And Compartmentschoosing a handbag number of pockets and compartments

When choosing your handbag, think about what you will be carrying and convenience.

Do you want easily accessible pockets to put items like keys and phone? If you commute do you want an outside pocket for your season ticket or oyster card?

 

Personality and Style

Your handbag should be an extension of your personality and style.

If you want to make a statement, then your handbag is a great way to do this. I’ve definitely bought handbags not just because I loved them, but they made a bold statement! For those readers who know me, I’m sure that will be a big surprise!!

If you have a more elegant style you will be attracted to bags that offer a more classic design.

For someone who loves a feminine look you will probably be attracted to bags with lots of details, colours and a fun look.choosing a handbag to suit your personality

In terms of colour while I am adamant that you do not need to match your shoes and your handbag, you may want to consider your colours if you have had your colours analyzed. Just because your bags will co-ordinate more easily with your outfits!

Has That Given You Bags Of Ideas?

Sorry I couldn’t resist that one!! But I do hope this post has given you some ideas of points to consider when choosing a handbag?

Do you find yourself sticking to one bag at a time for everyday use? It prevents the risk of forgetting anything when you change bags? Or do you prefer to swap your bags around and look for different bags to work with different outfits? If you are worried about swapping bags and forgetting things, you could consider a bag liner.

If you would like to learn more about choosing a handbag and how to accessorise I will be running a workshop in May check out the details here.

 

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Black Dress

What Fun Can You Have With One Black Dress?

I was inspired to write this after reading a friend’s Facebook post last week where she stated her intention not to buy any new clothes in 2017.  My ears were wiggling and my nose twitching with excitement!! I love nothing more than the challenge of mixing and matching items to create new looks.

woman wearing black dress

Working with a client this week were looking at some lovely dresses in her wardrobe. The dresses were perfect for her in terms of colour and shape. I asked about how often she wore them, she admitted not very often.

We explored this and it transpired she felt she needed an occasion to wear a dress.  Her current lifestyle was more relaxed and so wearing a dress felt uncomfortable.   She felt over-dressed and that’s not going to help any woman feel fabulous!

A career spent in uniform and early parental influence to ‘keep it for best’ had reinforced to her subconscious mind that dresses were for special occasions.

We were now beyond the nose twitching and ears wiggling stage, my pupils were dilating too!

So this week’s post is to show you how you can create a range of casual looks from one black dress.

First Take Your Dress

I am going to keep this one simple and use a black dress as an example. I have picked out a number of classic and simple styles that will suit different body shapes. I’ve also selected soft fabrics opting for jersey or viscose mix.  I’ve chosen black simply because it can feel quite formal, but this is not relevant to the looks and suggestions.

If you’re not sure what dress shape suits you, take a look at my body shape guide.

I’ve selected a ¾ length sleeve, as this the most universally flattering sleeve length. This length adds height and doesn’t end in line with your bust.

If you have a large bust you do not want sleeves to end level with your bust as this makes you look broader.   However, most of the looks I’m describing will also look great with a sleeveless or short-sleeved black dress.

Black Dress

Black Dress Selection From Debenhams

You can make a simple black dress, effectively into the backdrop for outfit by pairing with the right items to create some fabulous looks.

Denim Jacket

You can make a black dress look effortlessly chic and casual by adding a denim jacket. Denim jackets don’t need to be the bulky style of bomber jacket that look great on a handful of women (small bust, slim with a need to create curves).

Denim jackets can be more blazer style or like this example from Olsen a more structured classic look.

Denim jacket with black dress

Olsen Denim Jacket – House of Fraser

 

BTW It’s at this point I wish I hadn’t started researching this as I’ve just found the most amazing jacket from Desigual.

 

Denim Jacket with Black Dress

Denim Jacket From Desigual

 

Sleeveless Coat

The great advantage of gilets (aka furry ones) is that they add warmth. You can create a fun and funky look but when they get too warm, simply shed them!

 

Faux fur gilet with black dress

Joanna Hope Gilet

Or why not add a sleeveless coat (or a long waistcoat or sleeveless jacket). The fashion industry seems uncertain about what to call them!    These can make a dress look really striking.

 

Longline Sleeveless Jacket with Black Dress

Mint Velvet Longline Sleeveless Jacket

 

 

Add a Blouse

Wearing a blouse over a simple black dress is an effective way to change the look. You can either wear the blouse open to create a casual look or knot at the waist.

Your choice of fabric will have a major impact on how dressed up or dressed down the look becomes. A silk shirt styled over a jersey dress can take a look from day to night. Whereas a cotton or linen blouse will look more casual.

Shoes or Boots

Your choice of shoes will make a big difference to whether you have a dress up or dress down look for your jersey dress.

If you carry on the theme of the denim jacket then why not add boots? Take a look at my post on choosing boots for your body shape

winter boots

You could also pair with sneakers but it’s not a look that I’ve ever felt comfortable with personally.

 

In the spring when it’s warm enough to start bearing your toes but you may still want a jacket for cooler moments, look for low sandals or flip flops.

 

Shrug It Off

Shrugs can come in all types of fabrics from sparkly numbers to cardigan style or more formal bolero jackets and everything in between.

 

They may be best suited to sleeveless dresses, simply because the sleeves will hang better. But depending on the shape of the sleeve they can work for dresses with sleeves.

 

But if you have a small bust they are great for adding curves and volume to your top half. Pear shaped women in particular who have a small bust and defined waist will look great in shrugs and boleros.

 

Shrug over a black dress

Havren Bella Shrug

 Hosiery And Leggings

If you wear opaque tights or leggings with a jersey dress this will create a more casual look. Add boots and you’ve got a great dress down winter outfit.

If you are anything like me you have a love/hate relationship with tights and stockings. I hate wearing them and I think it’s because it makes a dress look more formal.

Adding nude or tan tights or stockings to an outfit the style is automatically elevated to a more classic look.   Equally if you wear a low denier (or more sheer) style of hosiery this gives a more elegant finish.

 

Scarves

Anyone who knows me will appreciate that I have a passion for scarves and am rarely found without one, unless it’s just too hot!

Scarves can transform an outfit completely.   If you want to create a less formal look, particularly with a monochrome dress then think about the:

 

  1. Shape
  2. Fabric
  3. Texture
  4. Colour
  5. Pattern

 

I will be doing a post about scarves in the next few weeks. But for the moment think about cotton/wool mix pattern scarves, possibly with tassels as a brilliant way to create a casual look.

So there’s some ideas and inspiration for you to try. If you do find yourself migrating to jeans, trousers or leggings as you struggle to put outfits together based on a dress, give some of these a try and let me know how you get on!
If you have any other ‘go to’ pieces that you like to use to create wearable looks with dresses, then please add to the comments below.

 

 

 

 

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large bust styling tips

How To Embrace And Love Your Large Bust

This week’s post looks at how to embrace your large bust and how to dress to love your curves!

large bust wardrobe malfunction

A large bust can create a number of problems. Not least of all a desire to hide it away. Women with a large bust often suffer from;

  1. Unwanted attention, from men who are fascinated by a large bust;
  2. Not being taken seriously by others – particularly in the workplace
  3. The potential for wardrobe malfunctions
  4. Many women with a large bust suffer from back pain
  5. Women with a large bust sometimes find it difficult to lie on their back.

So how do you get comfortable with a large bust, not just physically but also in terms of styling it up?

large bust styling tips

A Good Fitting Bra

It goes without saying (or at least I hope it does) with a large bust you must wear a well-fitted bra.
It’s very important that you renew your bras regularly. Don’t just keep hanging on to a bra because it’s comfortable. Chances are that the more comfortable it feels the less support it’s providing.

This does not just apply to women with a large bust but I always recommend getting your bra fitting checked every time you buy a new one. Different styles, brands and your body all change. That’s a lot of variables to consider in terms of the fit.

For example I took a bra back recently that I’d only bought two weeks ago

I might have felt awkward had I not known that you can fluctuate bra sizes. This can be due to the a number of factors from the stage of your menstrual cycle to the temperature in the changing room

Large Bust Style Tips

Now that’s where the general advice for women with a large bust stops! Why? A large bust is not the only thing that defines your clothing choices. While it may seem like it at times! You need to primarily consider your body shape, scale and proportion. With these factors in mind you then need to consider your large bust.

I will share with you some key styling tips for women with a large bust. But I will point out, where applicable, the differences for body shape and height. If you are not sure which body shape you are check out my guide to determining your shape.

dress for a large bust marisota-jd-williams

Marisota – wrap over dress with V-neck

Dresses

If you have a large bust, you probably struggle to find a dress that fits? When you do find one to fit your bust, it’s likely to be too big everywhere else.

But hopefully I can show you that it’s not all gloom and doom. The first thing to consider is that you want to show off your lovely curves and so you do not want to hide in a big voluminous shapeless tent.

You want to consider stretchy fabrics that will flatter your figure and enhance your shape.

If you are an apple body shape and carry weight around your tummy then look for A line styles that fall from the bust line but have shape.

An hourglass body shape look for styles that will flatter and show off your curves. If you are an inverted triangle body shape, you want to create curves. For both body shapes a wrap dress is perfect.

With a V-neck and an asymmetric style this will show off your large bust and perfectly enhance your curves. You can also add a belt to emphasize your waist.

If you are comfortable wearing a one-shoulder dress this will look fabulous with a large bust. The asymmetric neckline will flatter your curves. However, you need to be comfortable that you have a strapless bra that will give you the support.

The most flattering sleeve length regardless of your body shape is three quarter length. Avoid sleeves that end in line with your bust as this will simply make you look broader.

Jackets and Coats

coat for large breasts curvissa-coat

Curvissa – single breasted coat

Keep lapels narrow on jackets.

You want to flatter your silhouette and show off your shape, but not add width. Single-breasted jackets are a good option with a deep v. neck.

Perhaps you find that a jacket that fits on your bust may be too big everywhere else? If so, choose styles that can be worn open, but still offer some shape.

For example an edge-to-edge shape jacket will create vertical lines to elongate your shape.

Avoid anything that has no shape, or is a chunky fabric, this will simply make you look much bigger.

In terms of jacket length, this will depend on your body shape.

Jackets should not end on the widest part of your body. Equally you don’t want a jacket that is too cropped and ends just below your bust. It will simply make it look larger!

For coats a similar principle applies. You want shape – cocoon or blanket coats are simply not for you. You want some structure. If you are an apple shape then look for the structure to come from just above the tummy. If you are an hourglass, you want coats with a belt to emphasize your waist. For an inverted triangle look for coats that have a belt to create a waist.

If you are petite then consider coats that end above the knee line.   If you are taller then wearing a coat with a hemline below the knee will elongate your shape.

 Tops

blouse for large breasts bounteousV-Necks are your best friends and will enhance a large bust.  V-necks will elongate your body and draw the eye upwards. A deep curve will also look good.

Figure hugging wrap-over tops are a great option and will flatter your shape if you have a large bust.  If the V-neck is a bit deep try wearing a cami top underneath.

Avoid anything with details around the neckline – ruffles, bows and cowl necks are not great looks for anyone with a large bust. Avoid breast pockets. These all add unnecessary bulk to your large bust.

I would not advise wearing a turtleneck. It simply makes your large bust look even bigger because of the expanse of fabric from your chest to your neckline.

The exception is to wear a turtleneck with a scarf or necklace, One potential danger of wearing a scarf, is that you get too hot with the turtleneck and remove your scarf.

If you have a large bust then blouses in a traditional shirt style are a real challenge and represent a serious danger of a wardrobe malfunction. Gaping or worse still a button coming undone will just mean total embarrassment.

One option is to invest in a handmade shirt, designed for a large bust. These are not a cheap option but if you want a tailored look for special occasions this may be an option.

Alternatively if you have a smaller frame with a large bust, check out my link below to Bounteous, as an option.

Choose fabrics that will show off your curves and avoid those that are too light and will create volume.

 

Accessories

Jewellery

You can also add jewellery to draw the eye upwards to your face, but avoid long pendant necklaces that sit in your cleavage and require fishing out! Also avoid big chunky necklaces, which lie on top of your bust.

You want to choose necklaces that finish above your bust line and add detail.

You don’t want anything that is too delicate. This will simply make your large bust look bigger as the necklace will look smaller. A large pendant from a short chain is a fabulous look.

 

Belts

Depending on your body shape, adding a belt may help to draw attention to your waist and away from your large bust.

If you have an inverted triangle body shape, a belt will help define your curves. Or if you are a curvy hourglass body a belt will help to further define your curves.

But if you are petite (regardless of body shape) avoid a belt in a contrasting colour as this will simply add a horizontal line and make you look shorter.

 

Handbagsbags for large bust zulily-handbag

If you have a large bust then avoid a handbag that sits on your shoulder and ends in line with your bust.

This will simply create width at your widest point. Instead look for will simply create more bulk at your widest point. Instead look for bags that end at your waist.

You will probably find cross body bags uncomfortable, but even if they do work for you they are not going to look great with a large bust.

 

Shopping Guide

Bras

Brands to consider for large busts are: Bravissimo Elomi Royce

Blouses

Handmade tailored blouses Cast

For a petite frame Bounteous

All Items

It’s also worth checking out a site called Zulily.

Zulily caters for all sizes, menswear and children. It is an American site which features up and coming designers.

The stock is heavily discounted (up to 70% off) and is only available for only three days.

Items ship from America, but they handle the import so you just receive items as a UK delivery. If you need to return goods you return to a UK address.

The lead-time is the only drawback, but from my experience the wait has been worth it.

Conclusion

Embrace your gorgeous curves.   You are beautiful and you will draw attention if you have a large bust, so make sure you’re making the most of your beautiful body!  If you have any shopping suggestions then please share them in the comments below.

 

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taller woman

Wouldn’t You Just Love To Be A Taller Woman?

Hands up those of us who are average height or below and have dreamt what it would be like to be a taller woman?

Many of us believe that those added inches would make all our style issues simply evaporate!

Well as we know the grass is always greener isn’t it?

grass greener taller woman

Now put yourself in the shoes of someone who is >5’10” (1.78M), so considered a taller woman. While it might feel great to survey the world from a different perspective; think about the challenges you face and if you’re stepping into those shoes you will probably find that they are too big!

Just for a moment envisage what it might be like to struggle to battle with jeans which appear to have a Mexican stand off with your shoes and sleeves that argue with your wrists!

Add to that a posture with a few legacy challenges; as you struggled not to be taller than your friends during that frenzied teenage growth spurt.

Like most style challenges if you are a taller woman it’s about following a framework. But as I will keep reiterating it’s about how you express yourself in a way that feels right for you.

Like my recent blog about petite fashion, if you are a taller woman you are not a unique body shape. Being tall is another dimension on top of your body shape. You are most likely to be either a slender athletic shape, an inverted triangle or a pear body shape.

I hope that the following tips and advice, along with my suggestions on where you can shop will be useful if you are a taller woman.

1. Jeans and Trousers

If you are a tall slender athletic body shape or an inverted triangle you are going to look great in most styles of trousers and jeans.

You will look fantastic in skinny jeans, but equally as good in flared jeans or trousers, which will add some width to your slender frame.

If you are a tall pear body shape, you want to look at trousers and jeans with a wide or straight leg but the key is to keep the area around the hips as fuss free as possible!

The real difference though comes around the detailing on trousers and jeans. Tall pear shapes should avoid adding bulk with pockets and pleats as this will add width at the widest part of your body.  But if you are a slender tall woman then you may want to add some detail and width at your hips to create a slightly curvier silhouette.

 

skinny jeans for taller woman

Bell Sleeve Blouse Taller Woman

Lipsy Bell Sleeve Blouse

2. Sleeves

I’m going to lump sleeves into a general pile rather than explore blouses, dresses, jackets and coats as separate elements.

The problem is the same regardless of garment – finding sleeves that are long enough for a taller woman and what to do when the sleeves are not quite right.

Bell sleeves look great on tall slender women. Flaring out from the shoulder and ending anywhere between elbow and wrist. The width of the sleeves will help to make your arms look shorter.

Regardless of your body shape, look for double cuffed blouses that you can create a slight boho chic look by wearing the cuff extended.

Sleeves that are just a bit too short can be pushed up to give a ¾ length appearance (versus finishing just shy of your wrists). Add chunky bracelets and a wide strapped watch to create balance.

 

Black Jersey Maxi Dress3. Hemlines

You will look great in mid-calf length skirts and dresses. This length is really difficult to pull off unless you are a taller woman. This is because it creates a horizontal line just where you don’t need it at the widest part of your calves.

Maxi dresses will look amazing. If you are very tall just check that the length is long enough! A fitted maxi dress with a split for a party will just make your legs look endless!

If the style is quite loose then consider making a waist if you are a slender frame. If you have a tall pear shape body then consider styles that skim your hips and drawn attention to your top half. Strapless or spaghetti straps are great.

You will also look great in skirts that finish just above the knee and for those with slender legs then you can opt for mini skirts.

4. Heels

Do not feel you are consigned to a life in flats if they don’t appeal!taller woman can wear heels

Like most style tips that I give, it’s about your own confidence levels and not about what you ‘should’ do.   If you feel good and want to wear heels then go ahead.

I’m forever giving women tips on how to make their legs look longer. I normally advise avoiding shoes with chunky ankle straps and details. These make the wearer look shorter as they create horizontal lines.   Guess who will look absolutely fantastic in chunky ankle straps?

I would however look at more rounded toes and styles – avoiding pointy toe styles, as these will make your feet look longer. If you have very slender legs beware of footwear that’s too chunky as it will have a ‘Minnie Mouse’ effect.

You will also look fantastic in over the knee boots with those lovely long legs.

5. Accessories

Belts – As a taller woman you will look fantastic in belts.handbag

They will create a horizontal line and add definition to your waist. If you choose contrasting colours this will create even more of a horizontal line.

Remember that every horizontal line will add width and reduce height to the eye.

Bags – large day bags are yours to wear and hold! Just a note of caution that any bag styles that are too chunky may still overwhelm you if you are very slender. So consider this when you are choosing handbags.

Large jewellery will look great on you, but again I will just say that if you are extremely slender be careful that the styles you pick are in proportion.

Choker necklaces look amazing on tall women as you have the height to really show off the look. If you are a pear shaped body then even better as you’re drawing the eye upwards.

Learn to love your height and not feel it’s a hindrance. I can guarantee that most women under 5’ 7” would love to be taller!

 

Shopping Suggestions If You Are A Taller Woman

Long Tall Sally – ‘At Long Tall Sally we don’t just sell clothes for tall women. We champion tall women.’ Since 1976 LTS has been specializing in sourcing clothing and footwear brands for tall women.

Legs For Days – only supplying fashion to long tall girls!

6 Foot Fashion – launched by Kelly Scott as a one stop shop for clothes and accessories for taller women.

Several High Street brands also offer a ‘tall range’ but their ranges are not as wide nor do they cater for the really taller woman as the specialist retailers I have listed.

 

 

 

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Statement Pieces

How To Use Statement Pieces To Create A UFI

What are UFIs?   They are Unique Fashion Identifiers, statement pieces that are eye-catching and say a lot about your personality.  You can have as many statement pieces as you like.

Your UFIs can be clothing or accessories, let’s look at accessories first, as these can be the most versatile and often eye-catching statement pieces.

  1. Jewellery
  2. Scarves
  3. Handbags
  4. Shoes
  5. Glasses

If you are not sure if you have any statement pieces then start with your jewellery box. Try on various items and find out which ones really light you up when you try them on.   It maybe that these pieces:

  1. Make you feel happy
  2. You feel loved when you’re wearing them
  3. Gives you confidence
  4. Reminds you of special moments when you wore them
  5. Have been endorsed by others complements

If you are not really a jewellery person try this exercise with other accessories.   Or if this doesn’t work think about your clothes.

When you are marketing yourself or your business, your statement pieces can also be a great way for others to remember you. Particularly if you starting out in business and are doing a lot of networking.    You may find that because others are keen to build their own business, they find it difficult to remember your name, but will remember something visual.

If you wear something eye-catching this association may act as a trigger! To give you an example, a couple of years ago I started carrying a very distinctive furry handbag. My rationale was that they may not remember my name, but they were unlikely to forget the handbag!

Your UFIs can also be the way you style your hair or the make up you choose. Perhaps you always have your hair in a blonde bob? Maybe you always wear red lipstick.

Audrey Hepburn used her hair and distinctive make up style to create her signature look. Her clothing styles were extremely varied, but she did maintain a gamin chic look throughout her wardrobe.

Your statement pieces all have one important thing in common. They make you feel fantastic and confident every time you wear them.

Style Tips

If you enjoyed this Style Tip about Statement Pieces, why don’t you take a look at Does Your Style Reflect You

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weekend away fly and flop

Weekend Away Avoid Packing Nightmares

This morning found me frantically booking a last minute weekend away.

I’ve known for ages that this weekend is free. What’s more it is the only weekend in July and August we don’t have commitments. But do I get anything organized?

But rather than beat myself up (seriously what is the point?) why not celebrate? I did succeed in booking a weekend away despite the tall order.   A nice hotel near the Norfolk coast for 2 adults and 2 dogs in August with three days’ notice!

I’m sure that part of my supine approach is that I’m now distinctly chilled when I travel. It used to take weeks of planning and panic about what to pack, but now it’s just a walk in the park.

Talking to friends recently they were telling me about their recent trip to Paris. Their weekend away was great but they were blaming Eurostar for their generous baggage allowance. It had meant that they had ended up lugging around large suitcases of ‘just in case’ shoes and unworn dresses!

weekend away city break

Their experience and mine led me to write this post and give you my top tips for packing for a weekend away.

Naturally what you take will depend on what you are doing, where you are going and the weather. So I’ve split my tips into the three most popular types of weekend based on three days and two nights.

 

Weekend Away In The Country UK

The bad news is that you need to prepare yourself for all weathers.   The good news is that you are likely to be driving. This means you have space in the car.

weekend away in country

It’s not cheating to say let’s put the all weather gear directly in the car!

First you need to consider any activities and the type of accommodation you will be staying in, but the principles are the same:

Colour – base your outfits on colours that work together. This maximizes the number of outfits you can make from the minimum number of items. This should include all items.

Keep it casual – unless you’re attending a specific event or occasion. Otherwise pack

  1. One-two pairs of jeans
  2. Two camisoles or T shirts
  3. One smart top
  4. One jumper or additional layer
  5. Two-Three scarves + jewellery
  6. One pair of flats
  7. One pair of heels
  8. One dress for evening

Use your jewellery and scarves to create additional outfits.  Take photos if that helps to remind you of the combinations.

For evenings wear smart top, jeans and heels one night, dress and heels the second night. Wear smart top with jeans and flats for one day.

If you are staying in a hotel with a spa, don’t forget your swimming costume!

Weekend Away Fly and Flop

A short break to a sunny destination with a beach and or a pool is the easiest break to pack for.   This is a fabulous chance to unwind and recharge your batteries.

weekend away beach

The most stressful part for me is deciding what book to take. I panic at the thought of running out of reading material. The good news is that with this capsule wardrobe you’ll have room to add a second book.

For a fly and flop weekend away all you will need is:

  1. Two bikinis (they don’t take up room!)
  2. One beach cover up (Kaftan, Sundress or Sarong)
  3. One pair of shorts
  4. Two T shirts – to wear to breakfast with your shorts and travel home
  5. Two Dresses – can be worn for evenings or exploring
  6. One pair of flats
  7. One pair of heels
  8. One shrug or large scarf
  9. Two Scarves and Jewellery
  10. Beach bag – unless you’re simply flopping beside the hotel pool.

Once again it is key that you either chose one colour or a minimal colour palette.   This is the biggest tip I’ll be able to give you.

If you do sneak an extra top or pair of shorts into your luggage, as you don’t believe you will have enough clothes, then at least ensure these are in the same pallet.

 

Weekend Away European City Break

The key to this being a successful weekend away is comfort.

A city break implies you will be on the move.

It’s an opportunity to explore all that your destination has to offer. Feet will get tired through lots of pavement pounding and deserve to be treated with respect!

If your return trip means a late flight or train journey, check what arrangements your hotel has for luggage. Most hotels are accommodating, but what bigger incentive to travel light if you do have to take your luggage with you on your last day!

Check the weather forecast for your destination before you go. This should help to finally determine what you pack.

  1. One pair of jeans or shorts
  2. Two camisoles or T-shirts
  3. Two dresses for evenings
  4. One jumper or additional layer
  5. Two-Three scarves + jewellery
  6. One pair of heels
  7. One pair of flats – fun flats you can wear in the evening if your feet are two tired for heels

Wear ‘I can walk all day in these shoes’ for travel. Make sure the jacket you wear to travel is versatile and you’ll be happy to wear for day/evening wear during your trip.

weekend away munich

Space Saver Tips For Packing

My number one tip for packing, to use the minimum space and keep clothes looking good, is to roll not fold.

This is a lifesaver for clothes that may crease such as T-shirts. It is also good for clothes such as knitwear, which can be bulky.

However I always lay jeans and shorts flat, as I find they take up less room this way.

Use ziplock bags for jewellery to avoid catching jewellery on clothing and other items.

weekend away space saver tip

Still Not Sure What To Take?

Start with your favourite item such as a dress. Take my suggestions and see if you can then build your full list of items around your favourite item.

If this doesn’t work then start to lay out possible options and combinations on your bed. But remember sneaking extra items in will mean you’ll be taking more than you need, so edit it back down to the basic list!

Do you have any packing tips for a weekend away that you can share with us?  Please leave comments below.

If you are looking for tips on how to avoid taking a bigger suitcase on a longer holiday, see my blog covering Holiday Essentials

 

 

 

 

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Sunglasses style

Sunglasses Style It Up!

Last week Suzie, a friend of mine, rang me in floods of tears.  Through her hiccups I could just about make out that she wanted to know what sunglasses style she should buy!

sunglasses style

While Suzie was packing her case for a much-needed girlie break, her puppy had leapt on to the bed and grabbed her sunglasses. By the time Suzie retrieved them they’d been thoroughly chewed!

With only a few hours before leaving she wanted help and asked what sunglasses style she should buy? Her plan was to replace them before she left.

Believing the advice she would get would be a quick run down of which shops to go to and maybe what was ‘in fashion’, she got more than she bargained for!

I explained to Suzie that she would need to consider her face shape, think about the recent colour analysis I had done for her and her personality before she could consider her sunglasses style!

Not convinced that I’d won a popularity contest by the end of the conversation, but I didn’t want Suzie to waste her money!

The story had a happy ending! Her husband managed to fix the puppy-chewed version, which alleviated the panic. This meant she could consider the answers I’d given her and think about her sunglasses style when she returned refreshed and relaxed from her break!

Sunglasses Style What Is Important?

1. Face Shape

This is probably the most important aspect and one of the most confusing, as we struggle to identify our own face shapes.

There are a couple of websites and apps* which will analyze your face shape from a photograph, which are useful as a guide but I found they gave me different results!  Personally I would use one of these but also take your measurements and use this in conjunction with my tips below for what sunglasses should I buy.

what sunglasses should I buy for my face shape

2. Colour Analysis

Knowing what seasonal colour palette you are should play a part in the frames you select.

You want your frames to go with your clothes but more importantly as they are on your face, you may find yourself not looking as tanned and healthy as you would like if you select the wrong colour frames!

There is no substitute for having your colours done, but if like Suzie you’re in a rush then at least do the gold and silver test to work out if you’re a cool or warm palette.

3. Personality

In a sense this will partly be determined by the shape and colour of the frame, but it’s worth considering that your sunglasses should reflect the image you are projecting.

If you favour a feminine and romantic style then going for a strong bright decorated pair of frames will look out of place.

If your look is more classic and elegant then crystal or other embellished styles are probably not going to be your first choice! You will probably be drawn to more discreet styles.

What Sunglasses Style Works For My Face Shape?

Sunglasses Style - Rectangular

Oakley – Rectangular

1. Oval

The oval face shape is considered the ideal. This is because it is balanced and in proportion with the length of the face slightly longer than the width.

Most frames will suit an oval face. If this sound like too much choice, look for frames that are slightly wider than the widest part of your face.

Round

If you have a round face then your cheekbones are your widest point and your face will be quite short with a wide forehead.

To balance this shape, look for angular frames or rectangular frames. You should avoid round or oval shapes, which will make your face look rounder and wider.

Square

Sunglasses Style Round

Dolce & Gabbana – Round

The width and length of your face is in proportion. You have a strong jaw and a broad forehead.

Look for rounded frames, which will soften your features. Frames with more width than depth will soften your jawline and lengthen your nose.

Avoid wearing angular or rectangular frames, as this will emphasize your features.

Inverted Triangle

You have a broad forehead and narrow rounded chin.   To create a balanced look you want to minimize the width of your forehead.

You can achieve this with rimless frames, smaller frames or styles that are wider at the bottom than the top.   Using lighter materials and colours will also create a more balanced look.

Diamond

A narrow forehead and chin with wide (dramatic) cheekbones characterize this shape.

This shape will be narrower at the eye line and jawline. To balance this shape you need to add volume and depth at the eye line.

Dramatic oversized frames look amazing! Alternatively look for detailing on the brow line or oval shapes.

Sunglasses Style Cat Eye

Coach – Cat Eye

Triangle

A narrow forehead, which widens towards the cheeks and chin.

You want to create more width at the eye line. Widen and add emphasis to the eyes.

The options for doing this are to select frames with detailing on the top. Cats Eye shape frames will also help to create this balance.

Rectangular

You will have a deeper forehead, strong jawline and longer nose.

The best styles will be either square or angular styles with detail on the brow line. Decorative or contrasting temples will look good.

These features have the effect of shortening the face.   A low bridge will shorten the appearance of a longer nose.

Heart

A heart shape face is very similar to the inverted triangle, but has a more elongated shape.

You want to reduce the width of your eye line and so oval or rectangular shape frames will help to do this.

Avoid aviator or rimless frames, which will simply emphasize your broad eye line and cheekbones.

Oblong

Sunglasses Style - Aviator

Kurt Geiger – Aviator

Your face will be longer than it is wide. You will have a long straight cheekbone.

You want to create more width rather than lengthen your face. You can do this with aviator frames or look for frames that have more depth than width.

Avoid narrow rectangular frames, which will make your face look longer.

 

In this post I’ve aimed to answer the question what sunglasses should I buy in terms of style and shape. However, do not forget that sunglasses are not simply a fashion accessory, but offer protection against harmful UV rays.   Always check before you buy a pair that the manufacturer states they block 100% UVA and UVB rays.

Stating the obvious but buy from a reputable retailer and check the small print! No fashion accessory is worth damaging your eyes for!

If you enjoyed this post please leave a comment below and share on social media.

 

* Check your face shapes at the following sites and apps:

Sephora – Mobile only

UK Hairdressers – PC or mobile

 

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woman carrying mobile phone

Dress for Success at Interview

woman carrying mobile phone

Applying for a job can be a daunting prospect, particularly if it’s been a while since you looked for new role.  Congratulations if your job application has resulted in an invitation to interview!

Once you have finished dancing round the room holding the confirmation wait for it! Along comes the self-doubt monkey who gleefully reasserts himself on your shoulder!

excited woman got an interview

Of course it is only natural that you are nervous. Any interview can be intimidating, especially if it has been some time since you

There are some great tips for dealing with this in Elizabeth Lowman’s article 5 Ways to Look Confident*.  I would recommend reading this and practicing her techniques in advance of your interview date.

If on top of this you are worried about your appearance, you are really adding to your anxiety levels.

Regardless of your skills and experience you are giving yourself a huge mountain to climb at interview.

Let me reassure you that with some preparation and planning you will look fantastic.  Your confidence will undergo a massive boost if you know that you look amazing.

I’d like to share my 5 top tips for being the best ever version of you at interview!

 

Preparation is Everything

By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail – Benjamin Franklin

Ever winged an important meeting or not really thought through how you would handle a certain situation?

You may get a feeling of relief afterwards if it comes off but why add to your existing anxieties.

Preparation has already started in the sense that you applied for a role with a particular organization.

Now it’s time to dig a bit deeper. Find out as much as possible about the company and the culture.   Research online is always good.   If you are using a recruitment agency then talk to the consultant about the company and their style.

Why is this important? It will help to give you some inspiration about the way you should dress for the interview. This probably sounds very obvious but:

  • For an interview at a City Bank you would lose credibility if you were not ‘suited and booted’ in a somber and professional style.
  • However, if you are applying for a job with a creative agency a smart suit may make you feel awkward.   You will stand out a mile for the wrong reasons!

The bottom line is that if you are not sure and cannot find anything out, common sense says you should err on the side of caution. It is better to look over-dressed, as anyone who is conducting the interview will respect the fact that you are formal for the occasion.

Know your Neutrals

If you read my blogs regularly you will know that I am very passionate about colour and the impact colour can have on our appearance.

For an interview it is best to play safe. In each seasonal colour palette there are neutrals that will work for you.

While black is a classic colour and many of us do feel ‘safe’ wearing black, it doesn’t look good on everyone. You need to have a winter colour palette to carry black off.

Therefore for anyone in doubt, stick to the other neutrals: Navy, Grey, Brown or Beige.

If you don’t know your colour palette then you can do the gold/silver test.  Hold something gold or silver up to your chin.  This needs to be quite a yellow gold and not a white or rose gold.

gold or silver test

Do this in daylight and without makeup as both artificial light and make up will give you an inaccurate result.

The right colour will

  • Make your eyes, skin and hair glow
  • Reduce any imperfections eg. dark eye circles,
  • Give you an extra zing! That sounds a bit fluffy but trust me when you see what I mean you will have an aha moment!

So how do gold and silver relate to neutrals?

Gold is a warm colour with a lot of yellow and so you will look best in warm neutrals, such as brown and beige.

Silver is a cool colour and means you are best with neutrals such as blue, grey and black which are all cool coloured neutrals.

Unless you are going for a quite creative or extrovert role then adding  ‘pops of colour’ to your outfit is the safe option.

Style is about Confidence – Diane von Furstenberg

Body Shape

Remember the key point in my blog Women Hate Clothes Shopping ? Dress for your shape and not your size.

You can find out more about body shapes using my how to find your body shape guide. Once you are comfortable about your shape there are hints and tips on my guide about dressing for your body shape.

By understanding your shape this will help you make choices about the styles of clothes to look for.

Scale is Key

I recommend you also look at my recent blog, Women Hate Clothes Shopping as one of my tips covered dressing for your scale.  The basic rule is that if you are a petite person you should choose smaller prints and pattens.   A larger person will look better with larger prints and patterns.  The diagram below illustrates that the circle in the middle either looks larger with the smaller circles surrounding it.  The inner circles are in fact the same colours.

illustration of scale

Optical Illusions

If you would like to make yourself look taller and let’s face it many of us do! Apply the column of colour.

At every colour change in our outfit we create an imaginary horizontal line across our body. This has the effect of reducing our height and making us look wider.

By wearing a more uniform colour or tone of colour we will automatically look taller and slimmer.

 

PicMonkey Collage

There is every possibility that you’ll be on display as soon as you arrive in the car park or outside the entrance.

A friend who is a recruitment consultant told me that one of her clients has his office at the front of the building.

When someone arrives for a meeting or interview he watches the way that they approach the building.

Therefore your coat or jacket is a key part of your interview outfit.

 

The bottom line

Shoes

Last week a friend asked me if she would need to buy a pair of navy shoes as she’d just bought a navy skirt.

The general rule of thumb is that that your shoes should not be lighter than your hemline.

This means that you would be able to wear black shoes with a navy skirt.

Equally a pair of burgundy shoes would look fabulous with navy depending on the other colours you’re wearing.

The style of the shoe and thickness of the heel should reflect and complement your scale. So what do I mean by this? If you are a petite person kitten heels will look great but if you are a larger person kitten heels will have the effect of making you look bigger and you would be better advised to look at a broader heel.

Equally a petite person wearing chunky platforms will look overwhelmed and would be better to wear slender heels.

Follow this principle too with bodyline – if you are a curvy person think about wearing round toe shoes.   An angular person will look fabulous in more pointy styles.

Hosiery

You should always wear tights or stockings if you are wearing a dress or skirt to an interview. This is regardless of the weather.

Select a denier that compliments your outfit. A thicker winter outfit will look better with a denser denier.

What about colour? Wear tights the same or a similar colour to your shoes.

Another tip is to wear nude coloured shoes and tights to create longer leaner legs.

Finally – don’t forget to put a spare pair of tights or stockings in your handbag. It’s the belt and braces approach just in case you snag the pair you’re wearing!

Accessories

A woman makes an outfit her own with accessories – Oscar de la Renta.

I’m sure most of you are nodding as you read this!

I am passionate about handbags that walk into the room before I have a chance to!      I’ll offer you my tips but openly admit to tearing up the manual when it comes to my own look!

Scale applies to handbags as much as clothing.

A petite woman with a very large handbag will be overwhelmed.   A larger scale woman carrying a tiny clutch bag will look larger.

A gorgeous curvy woman will look better with a rounded shaped bag than a style, which is quite angular or square.  Apply this principle to the details on the bag too, buckles and fastenings particularly if these are features.

scale and handbags

Choose the right sized handbag for your scale

Also think about the widest part of your body. Where is it?   Just be careful that any handbag you select does not hang from your shoulder and sit at the widest part of your body.

If you are a pear shape then a bag, which sits quite high when it’s over your shoulder and has a lot of detail, will give you the volume you’re looking to create on your top half.

With regard to colour, I would recommend simply ensuring that your bag goes with your outfit and shoes.

Stating the obvious if you have a larger bag, just ensure that you know where everything is that you might need at the actual interview.

It will do your confidence no favours if you’re scrabbling around in your handbag looking for a pen or because you’ve forgotten to put your mobile on silent.

 

Conclusion

The most important point of all is to prepare. Thorough preparation makes its own luck – Joe Poyer.

This applies both in terms of your outfit and preparing for the interview itself.

If you are prepared this will also help your self-confidence.

Remember at the end of the day, the interview is a two-way process.   When we’re looking for a job it’s all too easy to think that perhaps it’s about people making a judgment about you.

It should also be about you making a decision about the company, the people and the role. Is this going to give you what you are looking for?

If you are still not sure or would like some guidance about your choice of interview outfit, why not book a free 30-minute discovery call?   I’m more than happy to use our call to give you guidance about your style choice for an interview.

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Elizabeth Lowman’s article 5 Ways to Look Confident

https://www.themuse.com/advice/5-ways-to-look-confident-in-an-interview-even-when-youre-freaking-out

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