Are You Holding onto the Past Through Your Wardrobe?

why are you holding onto dated clothes

Are you wearing outfits that represent the you from another time in your life? A time where you were younger or happier than now? Are your clothes telling the world about your psychological state?  The answer may be yes!  The reality is, you are never going to get younger, and so far, as far as I’m aware, time travel hasn’t been invented yet so we can’t actually go back in time!

If you have a bunch of old and dated clothes still hanging in your wardrobe, and you may or may not be wearing them still, I’d like to ask you why?

So often I meet women who tell me that they have a wardrobe stuffed full of clothes but still nothing to wear.  Holding onto the old stuff can be one of the reasons and it’s really not helping them in their current life.

Very often, in my experience of doing many wardrobe therapy sessions, is that these clothes speak about a time in our life, maybe it was a happier time?  Maybe we were younger, slimmer or we felt that the style of those clothes, at that time, suited us really well, and we find it hard now to find clothes in the current fashion that we feel as comfortable in. Maybe we’ve been brought up to never throw anything out that ‘still has good wear left in it’.  There are so many reasons that you may come up with for hanging onto the past.

If you are holding onto clothes that are dated, particularly if you’re not wearing them, think about the reason they are still in your wardrobe.   Do they bring back good memories?  Well you know you can release the item (and make some space in your wardrobe) without losing or forgetting the memory.

Does it remind you of a time when you were slimmer?  Maybe your plan is to get back there?  Problem with keeping the garment is that it’s out of fashion (and remember clothes are like milk, they go off over time), so it’s a good idea to get rid of the garment because having reminders of weight gained often has a negative psychological effect and doesn’t help you lose that weight.  Plus if you gain back that figure, you’ll want to celebrate with some new duds!

Is it something that made you feel young and free?    Is it still age appropriate? And please don’t age yourself forward for fear of looking ‘try hard’ or ‘too young’ either.   If it is something that shows lots of skin, maybe it’s time to let it go.  Or if it’s a style that is worn by younger girls (kind of like the dress in the picture above), then I’d say it’s time to relinquish the garment.

Have you no idea about fashion and can’t even tell if it’s still fashionable or not?  Then why not take a stroll round your local mall and pop into a major department store, or some of the not really young stores (you know the ones where you’re assaulted by the music, they are probably not for you), but also not the ‘old lady stores’ and see if you can see items similar in fabric, pattern and style to what you already have.  If you can’t buy anything like it anymore, it’s probably dated.

Maybe you’re not wearing it anymore.  Maybe it’s no longer your style but was once a favourite.  That’s OK, we all change and grow and our styles evolve over time.  Or you bought it and it was expensive, so you feel you shouldn’t get rid of it as it feels like you’re throwing away lots of money.  Honestly, space in your wardrobe is expensive and for most people there is never enough space, so keeping all those pieces that no longer work for you will free up some very valuable space.

Why should you care about wearing dated clothes?  Well in general it dates you and can make you look much less youthful than you are.  Sadly these days there is a real passion for youth, and many companies when they are making retrenchments, will choose to let go of the people they feel have little ability to change (and yes we can get a bit stuck in our ways as we age), so looking current helps them to see that you may have years on your side, but you also move with the times and can deal with change in a positive way.

What are the 5 Top Fashion Faux Pas to Avoid?

Antique metal hanger isolated on white background.

  • Do you not wear a certain colour before or after a certain date each year?
  • Do you think that when you hit a certain age you should cut your hair short?
  • Should you match your shoes and handbag?
  • What are the modern style rules, the dos and don’ts?

There are few style rules these days. You can wear white all year round if you want to.  You don’t need to cut off your hair if it’s in good condition and the style suits you and it looks modern and relevant.  Shoes and handbags?  Mix if you like, you only need to match, if you want to.  But there are some fashion faux pas that women of all ages can fall into the trap of wearing.

1. Ill fitting underwear.  Something like 70% of women wear the wrong size bra.  Your underwear is your foundation, and we know, when building a house, we need good foundations, same for putting an outfit together.  Ensure that your bra fits correctly, and your underwear lines are smooth.  Often I find going up a size in knickers will help to remove cutting and binding of smaller sizes.  Once the elastic starts to go, throw them out!  Wear the underwear that works for the outfit you’re wearing, underwear is for under your clothing, not a feature of your outfit, so we don’t want to see it.    If you’re wearing a racer back top, then wear a bra with a racer back! Don’t forget to wear underwear colours that don’t show under what you’re wearing.  Nude is great under light coloured clothes.  You may love your coral coloured spotty undies (as we call them in Australia), but if I can see them through your trousers or skirt, then they are not the right choice.  Read all about my bra fitting tips here.

2. Consider your personal scale.  If you’re petite, avoid large patterns and lots of fabric in clothing that will overwhelm you.  If you’re tall then an itty, bitty pattern will seem insignificant on you.  Whether it’s jewellery or pattern, details such as collars or buttons, the scale needs to relate to you. Read up more about scale here.

3. Trousers that are too short. One of my top bug-bears!  The length of your trousers needs to relate to the shoe you’re wearing, so some are made for heels and are longer, but will drag on the ground with flats, not good.  And some are the right length for flats, but will look incorrectly proportioned when worn with a heel.  You may need two pairs hemmed differently for each style of shoe you wear.  If you’re gained weight, your trousers will become shorter, lost it, and they will get longer.  Take a moment to check the mirror and see that your trousers end at the heel of your shoe, not your ankle, unless they are supposed to!  Cropped pants should end just below the knee, not halfway down the calf (unless you have long legs and super slim calves). Find out more about pants length and fit here.

4. Shoes that are the wrong level of refinement.  Walking or running shoes with your work clothes (unless you walk for a living).  Comfort shoes that are too chunky bring your whole outfit down.  There are shoes and boots that are comfortable, without compromising your style. Read up about them here.

5. Clothes that don’t fit – too tight or too loose.  Muffin top, need I say more?  Shirts that gape at the bust?  Pinstripe trousers so tight the pinstripes curve around the thighs.  Pants with horizontal pulling at the crotch because the cut is not correct for your shape.  These are all fit issues that I see frequently, and they are undermining your credibility.  Then there are the too large clothes that many women buy.  They are swathed in so much fabric they look lost.  Trousers look like jodpurs when you don’t have the more generous thighs they were meant to encase.  Tops that have no shaping that mean you lose your shape.  If you’ve lost weight and are still wearing your old clothes, it may be time to get some new ones, even if you’re not at your goal size (and I have heaps of tips for you specifically here in Svelte in Style).

Fashions may change, but these faux pas live on season after season, year after year.

7 Secrets to Shopping Like a Stylist

shop like a stylist

Even though I’m an advocate of shopping your wardrobe before shopping the stores, we all need to shop at times, and some of us haven’t shopped for a long time, or resist shopping because we find it so difficult to do.  So when you do go shopping, how can you make it the most effective experience possible?  Read my 7 top tips to make your next shopping trip successful:
1. Have a list, before you go, know what you need so you can focus yourself and not be distracted by pieces that are not relevant to your lifestyle or needs.  You also won’t buy multiples of the same garment (which many people do when they shop without a list).  Stick to your list too!

2. Do some online research first.  Have a look at the websites of your local clothing stores and see who is doing the colours and styles that you like before you go.  That will help you narrow down your focus.

3. Understand your colouring and what suits.  Colour is the first thing I look at when choosing a garment.  If the colour doesn’t make your skin glow, it doesn’t matter how great the garment is style wise, it’s never going to look as good as it could.

4. Pick up and try on way more than you think.  You are likely to have tunnel vision and only pick up the same old kinds of things you always wear.  Go with an open mind and try on lots of clothes.  Sure the sign says you can only take in 6 things, but often sales assistants will let you take more, or you can take them and swap them easily without having to leave the changeroom area.  That way you will have a better chance of finding something great.

5. Understand that clothing manufacturers don’t have you and  your unique body in mind.  We are all different shapes and sizes, so when a piece of clothing doesn’t look good, don’t beat yourself up over it.  Just say to yourself “this garment is not made to suit me” and put it on the rack!

6. Manage your expectations.  You can only find and buy the clothing that is currently in the stores.  If it doesn’t exist you can’t buy it.  But just because you haven’t found that great garment this shopping trip and you are going home empty handed, doesn’t mean that in 3 weeks, or months that great piece won’t be available then.  Fashion changes frequently, stores get new stock weekly.  Today may not be your day, but tomorrow might be.

6. Have a list of style words and take them shopping.  Run all pieces by your style words.  If they don’t correlate, don’t waste your money on the piece as it won’t make you happy or feel great.

7. If you’re not sure about a piece, walk away for at least 15 minutes, if not longer.  Distance and time will tell you how much you really love it, or if it isn’t something that is pulling you back and calling your name.

If you work with these tips you will find that you have a more successful experience.  And success can mean coming home empty handed, when you understand that buying for the sake of buying and bringing something home is not the right thing to do.  Only buy a garment because you

  1. love it
  2. makes you feel great
  3. makes you look great
  4. suits your current lifestyle
  5. fills a wardrobe hole

And if you’re one of those people who just find shopping for clothes too hard, that’s OK, people like me are happy to shop with you and give you assistance.  We don’t all have the shopping gene!

Halos and Horns – Why Being Attractive Opens Doors

Jeremy MeeksHow often do you see the details of an American criminal circulated everywhere in the Australian media?  Not too often, but in the case of ‘hot felon’ Jeremy Meeks, his face is plastered over social media as well as traditional media.   Why?  Because of that incredible bone structure and brooding eyes.

Researchers have found an effect which they have labelled Halos and Horns, which boils down to humans giving a person who has one attractive trait, many others, and an unattractive person is assumed to have many other negative personality traits.  So convicted felon Jeremy Meeks’ bone structure is giving him an unfair advantage and is likely in his sentence being small as compared to a less attractive criminal.  Already it has resulted in him being offered a modelling contract for when he leaves the penal system.

That Jeremy Meeks lawyer wants his client to wear a suit rather than prison garb to court so that his chances of a ‘fair trial’ are enhanced, is actually his lawyer trying to reduce his sentence, as he knows from research that when we dress a criminal in a conservative manner and when you have the good looks of Meeks, his chances of a greatly reduced sentence are the greatest when the jury isn’t reminded of his criminal past.  When he turns up in court in a designer suit and tie, his tattoos covered, he will look like a movie star and is most likely to be treated much more leniently.

Given this knowledge, if you want to get ahead in the workplace and have more doors opened to you, ideally think about how you are presenting yourself, and how you can maximise what nature has given you to allow for the best impression to be left with others.

Sure we don’t all have the bone structure or body of a model, but we can all dress to flatter our body, get a haircut that suits us and do some fast and easy grooming to maximise our attractiveness.   Research has shown that taking care with your dress and grooming tells the world that you value yourself and therefore you will take care and pay attention to the details of the work you’re given.  It says that you’re mentally stable and are in control of your life, definite positive traits for any employer (or date!).

Good looks open doors and attractiveness can give you a pay bonus of as much as 25% extra in your pay packet.  The question to ask yourself is how are you presenting yourself and is it helping or hindering your opportunities?

7 Secrets to a Stylish Wardrobe

7 Secrets to a Stylish Wardrobe

Do you have a wardrobe full of clothes but struggle to figure out what to wear and how to wear it?  Today I’m sharing with you 7 secrets that I’ve picked up from my 10 years as a personal stylist, working with lots of lovely clients in their wardrobes.
1. Discover What You Love
Pinterest is the best tool to help you amass pictures of styles of clothes, outfits and accessories that you love and find pleasing.  You don’t have to stop at clothes though, also consider interiors and objects that delight you.  When you’ve pinned 50+ pictures and you start assessing what it is that you love about each, what the trends are that you start noticing in your pictures.  Not sure?  Well why not write a few descriptive adjectives down about each picture, the feel, the look and see if the same words keep popping up for you.  This will help you nail down your style statement which you can use when putting together your outfits and when you go shopping.

2. Use Your Research
Now that you’ve got a better idea of what you love, take some inspiration from the pictures you’ve selected and start trying out new ways of accessorizing or putting together outfits.  Copy some pictures with what you already have existing in your wardrobe, you may discover that you already have loads of pieces but you will find new ways of wearing them.   Try each day creating new outfits based around your research. See how you feel at the end of each day, take photos of your outfits and assess how you look.

3. Clear the Clutter
Now that you’ve got Style Statement (or a bunch of words that relate to your style), then clear out the clutter, the clothes that don’t resonate with that list.  There is no point in keeping the garments that just aren’t you, even if they are in great condition.  Let them go so you have more space for the clothes that are you.

4. Make a List
Once you’ve spent a few weeks working with what you have got in your wardrobe, creating new outfits and trying new combinations, you’ll have started noticing your gaps, your wardrobe holes.  Write these items down, specifically, so that next time you shop you can look for them, rather than buying random items, or replica’s of items you already own.  This will make your wardrobe work way more effectively.

5. Work out What You Wear
Quite often we have no idea what we really do wear in our wardrobe, so you can start keeping tabs on what are the items that get a wearing, and those that don’t.  You can either turn all your hangers around, and when you’ve worn an item, turn the hanger back.  Try the bread tag method, but this requires labeling of your hanger so you put the same garment back on each time.  Every time you wear a garment, add a little plastic bread bag tag (you know, they keep the bread bag closed when you buy bread) to the hanger, and then see over time how many accumulate on each hanger.  Or if you’re in need of new hangers, buy a few boxes of a different kind of hanger (I love the velour ones as your clothes don’t slide off them) and after you’ve worn that item, remove the old hanger and replace it in the wardrobe on a new one.  After a few months you’ll see what you haven’t been wearing that season, and you can assess whether or not the garment should still be in your wardrobe.

6. Buy Great Basics
The pieces you wear all the time, the staples of your wardrobe should be good quality.  If you’re a pant girl, and wear them most days, then spend your money there and buy great quality trousers and have them altered to fit you perfectly.

7. Alter to Fit
We are not clones of each other, our bodies are not all created the same, yet we all expect to walk into a store, pick up a garment in our size and have it fit perfectly.  Clothes that fit just look so much better.  Understand where your fit issues lie, what can and can’t be easily altered, and have your clothes altered so that they flatter your unique body.  Are your sleeve hems too long on your jackets?  Do skirts hit at a dowdy point on your leg?  Do you trousers drag on the ground if you’re not wearing super high heels? Do your tops cut across the widest part of your thighs?  Do your waistbands gape?  These things can all be fixed and will make wearing your clothes such a better experience.

lf you’re still struggling with working out what to wear, you can call me and I can help you go through your wardrobe and work out what is and isn’t working for you, and what you may need to make it work.

How to Make Your Casual Outfits More Stylish

Many of us wear a casual uniform, it’s pretty boring most of the time but does the job.  It’s comfortable and easy, which is why we fall back on it all the time.  For many it’s either jeans and a knit top, others it’s leggings and a tunic top.  Both are great as the basis of your outfit, but if you feel bland and dull, maybe you need to think about adding a little something extra to make it more stylish.


how to make your casual outfit stylish


1. Add a scarf
Add some colour, texture or pattern with a scarf.

2. Add a statement necklace
Not a tiny gold or silver chain, but a necklace or pendant that makes at least a small statement.  Here are some tips on choosing a necklace to work with your neckline.

3. Add a jacket 
A jacket, waistcoat or some kind of 3rd piece with a little interest can cover any lumps or bumps and make your outfit more exciting.

4. Add a fabulous belt
We’re not talking a man’s style trouser belt, but a belt with some detail, and interesting buckle, pattern or texture.

5. Add a fun pair of shoes
They can be comfortable and flat, but a gorgeous patterned or coloured shoe, a knee high boot or ankle boot (rather than a sneaker or a very plain shoe) will add some style to your otherwise more plain outfit.

How to Create Evening Wear Capsules

The festive season has many evening events where some extra glitz and glam may be required.  Rather than have a wardrobe full of evening wear, why not  consider creating evening wear wardrobe capsules so that it’s easy to get dressed for an event, but you have options to change up the look of your outfit.


Evening Wear Capsules


Here you’ll see I’ve created two evening wear capsules, using a few colours that work together so you can easily mix and match.  Each of these capsules will create 10 different evening wear looks.  Add one extra top that goes with all the other elements and you will have an extra 4 outfit options to wear!

My formula for an evening wear capsule:

2 x tops
2 x bottoms (may be a skirt and a pant, or two pants, or two skirts – your preference)
2 x jackets/shrugs/wraps/evening coat
2 x shoes (I haven’t even counted in the shoes in for the 10 outfits – if you take the shoes into consideration double the number of outfits options from 10 to 20).

If you want some personal advice about your wardrobe, book in for a Wardrobe Therapy session to get your wardrobe sorted!

Essential Wardrobe Items

Essential Wardrobe Items


I’m frequently asked what are the essential items every woman should have in her wardrobe.  Sadly, I’m not about to give you a list as there isn’t a one-size-fits all list, just like there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all garments.

What I will tell you is what to consider when you think about putting together your personal essential wardrobe items.

1. What’s your lifestyle – how do you spend your time?  What are your dress requirements?  Do you work in an office that has a corporate dress code?  Do you work somewhere that is casual?  Do you look after young children?  Are you retired?  Your life and what you spend your time doing, is what is important in considering what you need in your wardrobe.   It’s not the same life as anyone else, so therefore, you don’t need exactly the same clothes as anyone else.

Sit down with a pen and paper and write out what your average week looks like.  Then think about the sometimes occasions (and how often they happen).  From your work to hobbies, exercise to cleaning the bathroom.  What is is that you do and what kinds of clothes do you need to assist you in these activities?  This will give you some guidelines as to the types of clothes you may need in a practical sense.

2. What’s your personality?  You need to answer these questions – who are you? How do you want to be perceived by others?  What do you love?  What do you hate?  What makes you feel comfortable or uncomfortable?  Some people love pants others love skirts.  Both cover our lower body.  Some people would never wear a skirt, some rarely wear trousers.  There is no right or wrong, it’s all about what you like and what makes you feel good.

3. What’s the weather?  Where are you?  What’s the season? The weather?  Are you a cold or a hot person (as in feel the cold, or feel the heat)?  These kinds of issues will also dictate some of your clothing requirements.

The reality is that you need something to wear, but what you choose to wear is up to you and all those bits and pieces that you’ve been discovering about your life and style.    One person’s jeans is someone else’s dress, both are practical and serve their function.  But which you choose will come down to what makes you feel good.

So my essentials are:

  • Tops
  • Bottoms
  • Layers – jackets, cardigans, coats
  • Dresses if you enjoy wearing them

It’s all about the garments that make you happy.  If you love dresses but hate jeans, fill your wardrobe with dresses and own no jeans.

Think wardrobe not outfits or individual garments.  Ideally, when you put together your wardrobe you will think about it as a cohesive whole, rather than lots of individual outfits.  Create a plan – there is no point in having a pair of black pants, if you’re just not a trouser person.  Many people don’t like wearing collared, button-down shirts, they find them too uncomfortable, so if they are not your style, just because they are on many ‘essentials lists’ doesn’t mean that you should own any.

The items in your wardrobe should work together, mix-and-match for maximum value and versatility.  Consider creating wardrobe capsules for different elements of your life so that you can quickly and easily dress each day, no matter what the occasion.

If you want some personal advice about your wardrobe, book in for a Wardrobe Therapy session to get your wardrobe sorted!

How to Look Professional in Hot Weather

How to look professional in summer

Many women find that the hotter the weather, the less stylish they appear.  If you find that your personal professional style is worked around layers, then hot weather can be really difficult to negotiate and still look professional in the office.

1.  Look for structured garments in lightweight fabrics.  Clothes with no structure will take away from your professional look.  Knits are great under a jacket, but when it’s too hot to layer, look for a short sleeve shirt with a collar instead (collars always make you look more professional).

2. Skirts and dresses always look more formal than trousers.  These are great in hot weather as they are much cooler to wear than trousers.  A-Lines and dresses with flare are cooler than straight shapes during hot months.

3. Closed shoes.  Open shoes are casual, closed shoes will up your professional quotient.  A ballet flat or pump are ideal for summer, not too closed up, but cover your feet appropriately.

4. Fabric matters – synthetics don’t breathe.  Look for 100% cotton, yes you may have to iron a little more, but you will feel much more comfortable.

5. Colour counts – go a little lighter in your colours, leave the dark navy and black for winter and lighten up a little.

6. Wear your hair up if it’s long, a sleek chignon is professional and cool.  If you have shorter hair why not have it cut so that it ends at the top of your neck.

7. Long Shorts – if you office environment is Casual Business you can get away with wearing a long ‘suit’ short that ends just above your knees.  They have to be made from a light suiting fabric, not cotton or denim!

8. Small dense patterns can easily hide sweat stains.

Here are some more tips on choosing jewellery for the season.

7 Easy Ways to Update Your Wardrobe On a Budget

It’s sale time and if your wardrobe is looking tired, your clothes are getting pilled, old, saggy or just worn out, it’s a great time to go shopping, save a few pennies, and  get an updated wardrobe.  But, before you shop you need a plan, you need to know what it is that you should buy.  A bargain isn’t a bargain if you don’t need it.

1. Shop with a list – look through your most worn items, if they are looking tired, it’s time to replace them.  Write down these commonly worn garments on your list.

2. Think about what it is that you’re missing from your wardrobe, the things that when you’re getting dressed you say to yourself “oh I wish I had a ….”.  This is obviously a garment that you need.

3. Take the time to go shopping, don’t try to do it in a rush.  Sales shopping can be frustrating as there may not be the size you want in the store you’re in.  It will take a little longer, but the savings made will be worth that little extra time.   Don’t forget to ask the sales assistant if what you want is not in your size if they have one out the back, or if another local store has one that you could go and try on.

4. Consider the colour.  Sometimes pieces that are in the latest fashion colour will be left on the sales rack.  Only purchase it if it’s a great colour for you.  It’s easy to end up with a wardrobe full of orphans that don’t go together if you buy colours in a random fashion.  Having a colour consultation can really help you nail down the colours that suit and will help you create a versatile, mix and match wardrobe as the colours work easily together.

5. Don’t forget the accessories.  Sale time is a great time to stock up on accessories, from jewellery to belts and shoes, they are all really useful items that will make your existing basics into fabulous outfits.   Many of us forget to put on accessories to add that essential focal point to our outfit, and sometimes great quality accessories can be expensive, so if you find something that you love it’s a great time to buy.  One of the joys of accessories is that they can be worn in so many ways, with so many outfits over many years.

update your wardrobe


6. Buy great quality basics. Jeans, jackets, trousers, tops.  The clothes you wear and wear that are the foundation of your wardrobe.  If you purchase good quality items that you will wear many times over you will be getting excellent cost-per-wear.

7. Fashion Fun.  So you’ve noticed a fashion trend around and have thought about trying it?  Sale time is the time to buy, particularly if it’s something that won’t be a long lasting trend, such as patterned pants.  This is the time to buy it cheap on sale and enjoy it while the trend lasts, then you can pass it on when it’s no longer in style.

So if you’ve got the time and inclination, enjoy shopping the sales.  Just remember to take your list and not buy anything that doesn’t:

  • fit well (or can easily be altered to fit, and you’ll get around to doing it)
  • feel good on
  • fill a wardrobe hole
  • feel like you
  • fit into your lifestyle

If you hate shopping or are unsure of what to buy, feel free to give me a call to arrange a shopping expedition.