Emily (Lotus Photography UK): I adore fashion, but my wardrobe is an overstuffed disaster zone, I spend hours staring at the mess only to grab the same jeans and top I always resort to.
Last week I visited the the London Fashion Week Festival 2018 (LFWF) and I was in awe of the street style. On a freezing February morning there were some of the most amazing stylish people I had ever seen, and not a single one of them worked in fashion! Students, mothers, businesswoman, they had unlocked the secret to looking effortlessly stylish. I want to know that secret!
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So I turned to Luisa, to help me.
HELP! I'm clueless! Where is a good place to start with becoming more chic?
Luisa (Online Personal Stylist): Well Emily, first of all – don’t panic! Don’t rush into buying what you think you should be wearing in order to appear stylishly chic! When you look at these images (above) either individually or collectively, you will see that they all share one common trait: each individual is working with what they already have. The key to mastering your own personal style and dressing better is to identify your best features and focus on ways to highlight them. Ideally, your wardrobe should contain 80% of fashion items that suit your personal physical characteristics (i.e. skin tone, colouring, height, body shape) perfectly and the remaining 20% are the items that you love so much that you wear it incredibly well, no matter whether it suits you perfectly or not. The 80% of garments and accessories mentioned above will provide you with confidence and will create the illusion of pure luxury because they have been chosen especially for you. Then by incorporating the 20% of randomly selected items that you adore, you will be on your way to curating your own unique personal style that makes you look and feel your ultimate best!
As you see in these pictures from London Fashion Week, each person photographed is playing with their natural features rather than against them. Although their overall appearance is well turned out and appears very chic, none of these London Fashion Week Festival attendees have gone overboard and played up every single aspect of their look. If they’ve paid huge attention to their hair and make-up then they’ve played down their outfit and chosen a neutral colour palette. Those who have opted for daring garments have chosen a more natural style for their hair and make-up.
The wonderful Coco Chanel had a famous saying: “Before leaving the house, a lady should look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” What the legendary designer meant by this was that you should remove or tone down the most obvious part of your outfit. So if you look into the mirror and notice how one aspect of your look (make-up, clothing, accessories) is a terrible distraction, it is best to remove that piece. This doesn’t mean that you should remove any outfit segments that are bright and bold. The idea is that this should be a good guide for determining the balance between highly chic and OTT (over the top)! For e.g. big brows are fantastic, but if they’ve not been drawn on properly then this might be an element that you’d choose to remove because badly, overly-drawn-on brows can be a huge distraction.
Emily (Lotus Photography UK): Outside LFWF I noticed a lot of pops of colours and as I adore red, what are some of the best ways to incorporate it into my outfits?
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Luisa (Online Personal Stylist): Incorporating pops of colour into your outfits should be a subtle and gradual process if you’re not used to wearing lots of bright tones. I’d recommend choosing a bright colour that suits your skin tone. Trying to wear a colour or a specific shade that doesn’t compliment your natural skin tone and features is a bad move from the very start! You will most probably never feel completely comfortable wearing an ill-matched colour tone and will therefore put off wearing the garment.
Start by choosing a colour that you like and that suits your personal skin tone type – this can be quite complex as there are several different types of skin tone types. After you’ve chosen colours that are made to suit you, choose fashion items and accessories in your chosen shades. If colour is completely new to you then start off by accessorising your outfits with: jewellery, a bag, a scarf, gloves, a lipstick or nail polish shade in a pop of colour. But be practical when choosing accessories and outfit pieces. Select colours that you love and then find a particular shade that suits your own personal skin tone which doesn't draw attention to any unflattering red, yellow, blue or grey undertones in your skin each time you wear it. Be sensible when choosing accessories and garments in new colours. If you hate wearing lipstick or jeans for e.g. then wearing them in a bold, unfamiliar new colour will only make you feel more uncomfortable and awkward from the off. On the other hand, if you’re looking to switch up your everyday plain black handbag in exchange for a stylish bag in a statement colour then you know that this is an accessory with which you can have a lot of fun!
For those who are used to wearing bright patterns, prints and colours, try alternating your look by wearing colours and prints that suit your body shape and skin tone, and swap the colours you usually wear for this season’s on-trend tones – or at least a similar shade that flatters your natural colouring.
The mistake that many make when experimenting with bright pops of colour is jumping straight in and swapping their usual all-black-attire for multicoloured garments from head to toe. Starting small and incorporating new colour into your daily look gradually will help you to develop a good relationship with colour, rather than if you were to rush into wearing lots of colour, disliking what you’ve chosen and then never wearing it again.
When I work with clients, I put together a personalised colour palette, full of colours that perfectly suit each individual. Not only does this make it easier when choosing which shades will look good on you – saving you money and time, but it also makes colour coordination much simpler too. Due to the fact that all of the shades on a personalised colour palette will possess the same colour fibres and undertones, mixing and matching any shade from that palette will guarantee successful colour coordination every time!
Emily (Lotus Photography UK): The use of texture was another thing I spotted, how can I style textured clothing to appear well dressed?
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Luisa (Online Personal Stylist): The best thing about working with textured clothing is that they can make other garments appear more casual, more formal, more modern, or tidier. Light, feminine fabrics such as skater dresses look fantastic worn with a (faux) leather jacket because of the contrasting textures. Stiff and formal textures can be made to look less formal and more wearable for everyday wear when you combine these fabrics with softer, lighter fabrics. As you can see in the photos, a (faux) leather jacket is an ideal style companion when experimenting with textures. A leather jacket has the ability to give formal garments a more relaxed, stylish and modern edge. Team a leather jacket with leggings and loungewear and you’ve created the opposite effect – by making the loungewear appear smarter.
How you choose to wear textured clothing depends heavily on your natural body shape. If your shoulders are parallel to the width of your hips, you are lucky that you can wear textured clothing in any garment form. Apple shaped silhouettes (those who are widest on their upper body) should only wear heavily textured fabrics on the lower half of their body. Pear shapes (those who are widest on the lower half of their body) should keep their lower half simple and wear textured fabrics on the upper body. Wearing textured clothing will give the illusion of “bulk”. So simply put, don’t wear textured garments on areas that you don’t want to appear shapelier.
Emily (Lotus Photography UK): I am curvaceous, I want to embrace my curves and feel fabulous. What the best way to style them?
Luisa (Online Personal Stylist): While there are many ways in which you can disguise your least favourite body parts, there are some very important style rules that you need to know first. Quite often when people are trying to hide let’s say a rounder stomach; they cover up this area by wearing a very baggy shirt. This is actually disadvantageous because what you’re actually doing n this case is making all of your upper body appear as wide as the width of the baggy shirt, which could be inches bigger than your real size. First of all you need to know what type of body shape you have and then from there, you will be given personalised styling advice for dressing your own body shape.
As a rule of thumb, the best garment cuts for all body shapes – curvaceous, athletic and petite, are straight styles. Choose clothing styles that “skim” rather than “cling” or “drown” your natural frame. Oversized styles and skinny fits look amazing but only if you a) have the right body shape for them, and b) if you know how to properly style these pieces. With the wrong clothing fits anybody of any size, height or weight is able to dress in a very unflattering way.
When dressing a curvaceous figure, you should take note of where you are curviest. Is it your upper body (apple shape), lower body (pear shape), or do you have any hourglass figure? Avoid wearing patterns, heavy textures and intricate detail on the areas you want to disguise. Long lapels work wonders for apple shapes. Pretty tops and jackets look fabulous with plain bottoms on pear shapes. Straight, slim figures have a greater choice when choosing clothing styles, but if you want to create the illusion of curves, layering and adding textured garments will give you full control over positively transforming your figure.
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Emily (Lotus Photography UK): My wardrobe needs a little TLC, how would you go about thinning through the chaos?
Luisa (Online Personal Stylist): Have you heard of the Capsule Wardrobe concept? This is a technique that I would highly recommend! A capsule wardrobe is a neat and concise wardrobe, full of garments and accessories that suit one another, that can be thrown together with ease to create perfect outfits and also, it must contain items that you will wear regularly. In other words, a capsule wardrobe is a wardrobe full of style staples. Check out my guide to building your own capsule wardrobe consisting of just 26 items!
Emily (Lotus Photography UK): When working out your style, what are your top tips?
Luisa (Online Personal Stylist): First and foremost, work with what you have. Once you learn how to properly style your own personal body shape, customise catwalk trend to suit your shape, and discover how to choose hair/make-up/clothing colours that flatter your skin tone even without make-up, you will feel much happier with the way you are! No more wishing you had longer legs, no more frustration over disguising problem areas, no more attempting to dress for the body you want rather than dressing for the one you have!
The reason many people give up and fall into an unflattering style rut is because they work against all of their natural physical features, as well as their everyday lifestyle habits.
To find your true, best personal style, think of colours and clothing trends that you like and adapt them to suit you. You’ll find that many elements of fashion can be customised and tailor made to suit your physical traits and everyday needs.
Working with a stylist is another option if you want expert styling advice and a shortcut, which will help you to save money in the long run. Check out my convenient professional online styling services here.
Emily (Lotus Photography UK): And finally, what is the must have accessory?
Luisa (Online Personal Stylist): That’s a very difficult question! Personally, I am a huge accessory fan. I think adding one accessory to your outfit each day can really elevate your style.
If I had to choose just one accessory I would choose handbags! Seeing as the majority of women out there wear handbags on a regular basis, they are the go-to style staple on which most of us depend. A handbag really does contain your life – your keys, mobile, purse, sentimental possessions, make-up, etc. Selecting the right bag is also important in ensuring that you maintain great posture and hold yourself well.
Emily ‘Emmy’ Johns is a photographer based in Bournemouth, England. You can read about her adventures on her website www.LotusPhotographyUK.com and follow her on her Facebook and Instagram.