Style SOS: Help Me to Wear What I Love

Last Monday I did a talk for a small group of ladies about how to enjoy their wardrobe and feel confident in their clothes.

We explored their own personal style, talked about body shapes and discussed ideas about how to improve their current wardrobes. As part of the session I’d asked them to bring some clothes with them that they loved but didn’t know how to wear. Here are three of the pieces they bought with them:

The Metallic Skirt

A much loved statement silver metallic skirt which had previously been worn dressed up with a camisole tucked in. However, when it was worn, the owner was concerned that the skirt emphasised her stomach too much, which had put her off wearing it again. We explored ideas about ways to wear it without it focusing on her tummy and how it could be dressed down for less formal occasions.

1. Change the Focus

The sheen and pleats of the skirt will naturally highlight your bottom half off, so draw attention away from the area by creating a different focal point with a lighter coloured top, a logo, an embellishment or statement accessories.

On the left the lip t-shirt, glasses, bag and silver shoes stop the focus being purely on the skirt. You don’t need to wear them all at once, but just using a couple of the tips will have the same effect.


2. Leave it Out

Rather than tucking the whole top in the waistband, which will accentuate the tummy area even more, try leaving some of the top out.

On the right, the light light has been half tucked at the front, leaving the sides flowing, creating the effect of a panel to divide up the middle.


3. Dress It down

Something those of you who have read my previous blogs will no doubt be sick of hearing- sorry! Simple t-shirt, trainers and a denim jacket will instantly make the skirt daytime appropriate.

On the left, simple Converse, a distressed denim jacket and simple white t-shirt dress the skirt down. Pair pack hair and make-up add to the effect. I am concerned that the contents of her handbag is about to fall out though!

The Velvet Dress

A glamorous, sophisticated piece that fit like a glove, but had only been worn once as the owner was struggling to know what shoes to pair it with to flatter her petite frame. The nature and style of the dress meant that it was a definite occasion dress rather than something that could be dressed down for daytime.

1. Nude Appeal

A timeless pair of nude courts, whether they be pointed, almond or round toes; mid or stiletto height will always be one of the most versatile pairs of shoes in your wardrobe. They will go with any colour or pattern of outfit. Unlike a plain black or navy pair which can jar against paler skins, they will extend and elongate your legline.


2. Strappy

For a very dressed up look and to make the dress more summery, add some strappy or metallic sandals. It will balance out the weight of the heavy velvet and sleeves and give it a lighter, airy feel.

Pair with a light or bright coloured clutch bag to further lift the look, a classic black or navy one will simply make it feel more wintery.


3. Alter It

As a bit of an out there idea, but I suggested that to change the entire look of the dress and to reduce the heaviness of the velvet and sleeves so it didn’t feel to ‘Christmassy’, that the sleeves be shortened or removed.

Along with shortening the hem of a full length evening dress, changing the sleeves is a relatively easy job that can change the entire look of the piece to create a different dress.

The Block Coloured Skirt

The final item I was asked about was a colour block skirt purchased from Next in the January sales which still had it’s tag on as the owner was unsure what to wear with it. Sales are one of the most common reasons in which an unworn item has been purchased ‘because it was a bargain!’ Hopefully these ideas will mean that it will now become a well worn bargain!

1. Add Contrast

The image on the left is the actual skirt owned. Looking at the way in which the retailer has styled the item can often be a good source of inspiration, although you obviously want to inject your own spin on it too so you don’t look like the catalogue! Using a contrasting coloured top from those that appear in the skirt is a great way to create a fresh look.

To find colours that would work, either do a Pinterest search, for example ‘cobalt blue colour scheme’. Mustard, Coral or Jade Green would contrast well with the skirt.


2. Use Patterns

Pick up the colours of the skirt in a print or pattern, it can often be easier than finding a block colour that will work with it. On the right a simple breton stripe top in navy and white pairs brilliantly with the navy stripe in the skirt and would just as well with the block pattern in the skirt above.

A plain t-shirt with a slogan with blue in it would work just as well.


3. Go Tonal

A slightly more tricky combination which takes a bit of planning. Pair the same colours or depth of colours together. On the left, the soft muted tones of the blocks in the skirt work beautifully with the dusky pink of the top. The blue necklace and shoes perfectly match the colours in the skirt, tying the whole outfit together.

With the navy colour block skirt, a light icy blue,denim or aqua blue would work perfectly.


I hope that has given you some ideas about how you can re-wear some pieces in your own wardrobe, do let me know what you try. If you have a piece that you love, fits and just don’t know how to wear it, send me a message and I’ll help you with some ideas.