Open your wardrobe and have a good look at whether or not it can answer every lifestyle occasion. Ask “Who am I, where am I going and what do I need?”
Our aim is to create a solution for every challenge.
When you go to the supermarket without a shopping list, you are courting the danger of buying things you did not need and you invariably end up forgetting what you actually needed. Your expertise is compromised. No list equals impulsive and ineffective buying. The same principle applies to shopping for your clothing. Achieving the perfect outcome requires preparation.
What to Look For
I have conducted many surveys at workshops and in my stores, by asking guests to write down the most influential factors in their decision-making. Seven things came up time and time again (usually in the same order).
When you are looking at an item of clothing that tempts you, ask yourself the following questions…
Is it Comfortable?
Not just physically, but also psychologically. The garment must suit who you are and how you perceive yourself. We cannot separate the way we look from our well-being. Confidence and peace of mind will result in empowerment.
Is it Versatile?
In the words of Catherine Palin-Brinkworth, whom I have dressed for 25 years, “If a garment doesn’t do at least three things it does not earn its place in my wardrobe”. Garments should be multifunctional and transeasonal. The best investment is a garment that can do almost everything: summer, winter, dressy, casual, day evening.
Is it Flattering?
This embodies the ‘Dynamics of Disguise’ – the art of dressing thin or minimising an area of concern and maximising the good points. This is ‘F for Fit’. It is all in how the garment is cut and how the fabric falls. It also refers to colour – never underestimate the power of colour. Knowing what suits your skin tone will make you look ten years younger and that is very flattering.
Is it Practical?
Is this garment easy care and long lasting? Busy women don’t want high maintenance clothing. Apartment Therapy’s Assistant Lifestyle Editor Brittney Morgan suggests asking “Is this easy enough to clean for my lifestyle?” – with a reminder to check the care label and “think realistically about your lifestyle and whether or not this new purchase fits in with your routine.”
Is it Appropriate?
Where do you wish to go and will you be respected in that environment? Ask the questions “Will I look like mutton dressed as lamb?” “Will I stick out like a sore thumb?” Unless that is the effect you want, then you require garments that can speak many languages all at once.
Is it ‘Fashionable’?
What does ‘fashionable’ mean in today’s world where ‘anything goes’? There is no doubt that a stylish trend is a critical factor in influencing the critical ‘look you up-and-down’, 30 second grab from others in the room on your arrival. My forte lies in finding the 30 second grab factor and then backing it up with ‘acceptability’ followed by ‘admiration’ as stages of assessment. Life should not be so judgmental, but it is, so we might as well conquer it.
Is it Value for Money?
Every one of us has a different measure of affordability. Whatever your budget, the garment must give you a return on your investment. This generally means knowing how to assess how many wears you can achieve from the items (think “Where will I wear this? and “What will I wear it with?”). Different garments carry different values. Knowing how to calmly look beyond the impulse is a skill.
When it All Comes Together
When all these points come together in the mirror, you know they will change the way you feel – therefore changing your life. How do I know that the right image can change someone’s life? Because many customers have said exactly those words when I have met them. It is about lifting the spirits or solving a problem for a woman lost in the sea of clothing confusion, rushing from shop to shop where nothing fits or is appropriate to the reality of her busy daily life.
This is your starting point for achieving a beautifully coordinated wardrobe which will take you anywhere you want to go.