8 Wardrobe Tips on how to Dress Well.

As a personal stylist, getting the basics right is at the core to having a successful wardrobe and is the first area I tackle with new clients. Many of the issues women struggle with are the ones I come across time and again. I have highlighted the most common ones and offer simple guidelines on what to focus on and what to avoid.

1. Bras that don’t fit.

The absolute foundation to any woman’s wardrobe begins with the right underwear, namely the bra. It’s key to how clothes hang. If you’re spilling out of your cup (or not filling it enough), the straps are digging into your shoulders, or the bra doesn’t support you, then it’s time for an update. Our bra size can change year to year, even month to month, so it’s essential to get regularly measured, particularly if you have recently lost or gained weight. 

For your basics, stick to shades of black and nude and look for a smooth T-shirt style so that it doesn’t draw any attention under your clothes; a white bra, for example, will show under a white top. A nude won’t. If your bra fits correctly, your clothes will hang better over your frame, you’ll look slimmer and feel more confident too. 

2. Know your body shape and proportions

The second most important aspect to successful dressing is understanding your shape. Over time it has probably changed. Childbirth, weight fluctuations, illness, menopause will see to that. You have to dress your shape as it is now, not what it used to be. Proportions also need to be factored in. This is your vertical line. It’s where your waist sits in conjunction with your groin and bust. If it’s high, then you’re short-waisted (short body, long legs). If it’s low, you’re long bodied and short legged. And if it sits in the middle then you are balanced.

Knowing all this makes shopping for clothes so much easier because you can head straight for the styles that suit your shape and avoid the rest. If, on the other hand, you can’t tell your inverted from your hourglass, you’re always going to be guessing and more likely to follow trends for guidance. And that I wouldn’t advise.

3. Boxy clothes

Wearing something shapeless or too big is often a way to conceal something we don’t like about our bodies. However, it will not make you look slimmer. You’ll just lose your shape. It’s all about balance. Highlight the areas you most like about your body with a little bit of tailoring. Show off those great legs by wearing slim trousers or a skirt with a loose blouse. If you have a neat torso, wear a fitted top with wide legged trousers. Exploit your waist by belting in a loose maxi dress or wear a nipped-in cuff with a balloon sleeve. These are details that will draw attention to where you want it.

4. Avoid over-complicating an outfit

Some are able to mix several colours and shapes together very successfully. However, it takes time to learn this skill so tread carefully if you’re not sure. An outfit with too many things going on will confuse the eye. Less, in my book, is generally more.

5. Wear what suits you not what’s on trend

It’s very hard to avoid trends. Our in-boxes are saturated with new ones frantically waving for attention on a daily basis. If we aren’t rushing out to buy the latest fashion nugget, it can make us feel like we’re missing out. But it also means wardrobes end up cluttered with clothes we never wear or that don’t really suit us.

Stick to what you know works for you and turn the trend alerts off.

6. Invest in the timeless pieces.

No matter what your style, investing your money in great quality staples is the bench mark of any good wardrobe. These are the ones that surpass fashion trends and should include T-shirts, blazers, jeans, footwear, belts. They are both functional and versatile and should all relate to one another. 

7. Know your colour palette.

Working out what colours suit you can be a minefield. Some colours will make you glow while others cast shadows and leave you looking drained.  A good starting point is to test white versus cream. With her wonderful red hair and pale freckly complexion, Julianne Moore is a classic example of someone warm-toned and will suit ivory or cream. Judy Dench’s overall look is cool and looks amazing in white. 

8. Be comfortable

Make sure you dress for comfort as well as for effect. If you spend much of the day fiddling and adjusting your clothes or cursing your pretty shoes that don’t fit properly, you’ll just feel self-conscious and won’t enjoy yourself. And where’s the pleasure in that? 

3 thoughts on “8 Wardrobe Tips on how to Dress Well.”

  1. I’ve come on leaps and bounds since me third wardrobe edit two weeks ago. The first one took place three years ago after downsizing from a six bedroom house to a tiny basement flat. It was a necessity and I welcomed it though was reluctant to go the whole hog.
    The trigger for the next phase was the lock down period and losing a stone in weight. It marked a turning point between me and my wardrobe. Also, as I approach the age of 60 feeling as young and ageless as ever I’d finally had enough of clinging to my age old eclectic pieces which were squeezed like sardines into a closet rendering it unusable. Time to move on I thought, walk your talk, accept what no longer serves, let go and move on.
    So, finally a further full 75% of my wardrobe has gone, leaving me feeling surprisingly empowered rather than bereft as I move forward into this après Covid new world. I’m wearing my clothes rather than letting them wear me and keeping colours, cuts and neck lines simple. It’s amazing how allowing this shift has really paved the way for a much more positive pathway forward. Watch this space. Anything could happen.
    I loving this new change and embrace it as an adventure. I’m so grateful to Emma for approaching this transformation with such optimism, energy and ease. Love you Emma, I’m now glued to your blogs, the layering tips are so user friendly, the five friends styling the same piece in their own way was an inspiration. A documentary in the making I feel.

  2. Just had a re-read of this, Emma. A reminder not to over-complicate and not to worry about trends. Thank you. xx


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