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!

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.

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!

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.


What to Wear to the Office Christmas Party

The festive season is fun, lots of parties and time to let your hair down.  But the biggest tip to remember is, that when it’s a work function (whether it’s yours or your partner’s) it’s still work, and so the rules of the office still apply if you don’t want to damage your career or opportunities for advancement.    You will be seeing your boss, and their boss and they will make assumptions about you from your clothing and behavior at these functions.  You don’t want that novelty tie or dress with too much cleavage to change their opinion of you for the worse.

What to Wear to a Work Christmas Function


  • Wear a cocktail dress if the dress code is formal, it should end around the knee
  • Not too much cleavage or leg or see-through fabrics without an opaque layer underneath.
  • Classy not trashy
  • Don’t forget to accessorize – a clutch not your laptop bag!
  • Avoid Christmas themed jewellery – unless you work with kids.
  • If the party is at the office or in a casual environment you still need to dress appropriately.
  • Do dress up a bit, don’t just wear your regular clothes – it’s a party – make an effort!
Casual or in office Christmas Party


  • Keep the cartoon ties and joke accessories at home, nope, they’re not funny once you’ve left primary school.
  • If the invitation says formal, this doesn’t mean your best pair of jeans.  It means a dark suit and tie at a minimum
  • Leather shoes are a must, whatever the dress code.  Leave your sneakers for exercise.
  • Black tie means just that – a dinner suit and bow tie.


What to Wear to the Spring Racing Carnival



Spring Racing Carnival Dress Codes

There are traditions and dress codes to be adhered to around what to wear to the races.  Remember:

  1. It’s daytime, so wear a day dress, rather than an evening dress.
  2. Don’t go crazy with the fake tan.  Pale can be elegant.
  3. The weather is variable, think about wearing a jacket or shrug if the weather turns cool.
  4. Dresses should come to the knee, decorum is classy.
  5. Head wear is usually made to sit on the right side of your head, so if you part your hair on the left, when attaching a fascinator, part it to the right so the volume of your hair balances your hat.


Derby Day – Black and White

If your colouring is cool, this colour combination works for you, particularly if you have dark hair and pale skin.  But if you’re a cool blonde why not try a mostly white outfit with just a hint of black, such as a patent black belt with patent black shoes and a black clutch.

If your colouring is warm, rather than go stark black and white, choose an off white, buff or beige to go with your black.

You can add a touch of colour with a belt, bag or shoes, but don’t go overboard.

Melbourne Cup Day – Dress to Impress

Melbourne Cup Day is your day to go all out.  Wear colour and don’t forget your hat.


Crown Oaks Day – Ladies Day

Today the men will be wearing a pink rose, so why not think about this as the day to bring out your more feminine side, lace, florals and a feminine shape are appropriate.


Emirates Stakes Day – Family Day

The most relaxed day of the Spring Racing Carnival, but never go under dressed – there are still race day dress code standards to uphold.  Think about having fun with your outfit, a solid colour with alternate colour shoes and clutch is a great option.




melbourne cup dress code men

There are four days of racing at Flemington during Cup Week, and each raceday during the Spring Carnival has an official flower: for Derby Day is it a Corn Flower, Melbourne Cup Day is a Yellow Rose, Crown Oaks Day is a Pink Rose, and on Emirates Stakes Day is it traditional to wear a Red Rose.

Dress codes are strict, so always wear a suit, shirt and tie with leather shoes.  Match your shoe colour or go darker than your suit for the most dapper look.

Unlike the suit you may wear to work, racing attire is more flamboyant, but you still want to look classy and refined.  You don’t need to buy a new suit, but think about putting it together in a more creative way.  Don’t forget to get your buttonhole flower, and think about tying in the colour of the flower to your shirt or tie colour to create a harmonious and cohesive look.

This year the pocket square is back in a big way.  The rule is to NEVER match it exactly to your tie – it could be one colour from your tie, or a pattern in the same colours as your shirt and tie, but not exactly the same.

Have fun mixing prints.  A pinstripe suit, with a fine check shirt, a spotted tie and paisley pocket square.   The trick to mixing prints is to relate the colours, but keep the patterns different.

Don’t forget a hat.  You’re most likely outside for most of the day.  A hat is not only stylish, but will also keep the sun off your face.


Top Tips to Wear Capris and Cropped Trousers

Capris and cropped pants are one of the hardest garments to get right in your wardrobe. Yet they are everywhere in stores at present and one of the current big fashion trends.   So easily they become frumpy and make you look lumpy and stumpy.  A short pant can make your legs look shorter, yet so many women love to wear them, particularly in the warmer months.  So how can you wear capris and look long, lean and stylish?


Tips to wearing capris
  1. Keep them slim – wide leg openings make your legs look shorter, so keep them slim for a leg lengthening effect.  Avoid all cropped pants with flared or bootleg openings (or alter them to a slim fit if they’re already in your wardrobe).
  2. Keep the colour close to that of your skin – just like a nude shoe elongates your leg, a cropped trouser in a colour similar to your skin tone – stone, beige, browns and tans, depending on your skin colour, will not make the demarcation line between where the trousers end and your legs begin so obvious.
  3. capris and cropped pants how to wear
  4. A wedge or flat-form sandal or heel will make up for the length lost by the cropping of the pant.    Make that shoe either a low vamp shoe too, or in a nude colour so that you don’t further foreshorten your legs.
  5. Proportional dressing with Capris
  6. Keep proportions between pants and top balanced – We expect legs to look longer than our body, sadly cropped pants shorten legs, so you want to ensure that you don’t further make your body look boxy by wearing a top that is a similar length to your pants.  If you have a slim long waist, tuck your top into your trousers and look for a higher waist.  If you have a shorter body or wider waist, then end your tops either at your hip bone or go for a longer mid-thigh tunic length top with a very slim pant.  If you don’t know your proportions and want to, click this link to discover how to measure your body proportions
  7. Capris need to end at the slimmest part of your calves – if you’re tall, that will be below your calf muscle, if you’re petite this may be just below your knee, above the calf muscle.
  8. Keep them pocket free – or at most a slit pocket or jeans style pocket  at the waist.  Style with slash pockets, cargo pockets or patch pockets will widen your hips and thighs.
  9. Avoid cuffs – cuffs create extra and unnecessary horizontal lines, which will shorten your legs further already.  Particularly if you cuff denim, where you see a very different colour (the inside of the denim being lighter than the outside).
  10. how to wear capris
  11. Know your body shape – capris and cropped pants are much easier to wear if you are slim through the hips and thighs.
  12. The rise matters – if you have shorter legs proportionally already – then you want to wear trousers with a higher rise and avoid those that sit low on your hips.
  13. If you have a curvier bottom half, but shorter legs and worry that a lighter trouser will make it look larger and more obvious, ensure that your top is even lighter or brighter than your capris as this will draw attention up to your face.


Comfort Does Not Mean Ugly or Frumpy

Whether it’s summer or winter many of us like to feel comfortable in our clothes.  But for so many, comfort ends up equating with ugly or frumpy and definitely not stylish!  Yet client after clients tells me that they want to look stylish.  So how do you ensure that you don’t fall into some of the most common frumpy pitfalls?

Don’t end skirts in the frumpy zones


Where to end your skirts


The frumpy zones are the ‘widest’ parts of your legs below your knees.  Particularly if you have proportionally shorter legs (which many women do), this is a really important tip as longer skirts will shorten your legs, and short legs tend to look frumpy.  A 20 year old can get away with the longer midi-skirt trend, but a 40 year old one, unless she has really long legs naturally, and wears them with a heel, will look dumpy.

The Style Zone – for ending skirts – is between just above the knee, and just below the knee (depending on the shape and length of your legs).

Chunky texture = Chunky body


textures fine vs chunky

Then you want to consider the texture of your garments.  Fine fabrics and textures will make you  look slimmer and less bulky than chunky textures and fabrics.

Yes those cable knit cardigans are warm, but they also won’t make you look stylish (unless you’re a 6 foot supermodel).

Want to get warm?  Look for fine wool fabrics, wear fine thermal underwear under your clothes (it really can make a huge difference), and invest in cashmere and layer fine layers.  In winter I’m often wearing 5 layers of clothing (I get really cold really easily) but you wouldn’t know, because those 5 layers are all slim and fitted, rather than chunky and bulky.


Balance and Proportion are Essential


Where to end your tops

Always remember that balance and proportion are essential to style.

Your body should look shorter than your legs.  If you have short legs and then wear a longer skirt or longer top (particularly with cropped trousers), you will throw off that balance.

You want your top and bottom to be unequal in length (one longer than the other).  In the picture above the tops/bottoms on the left are more equal and the tops end in the Frumpy Zone (around the widest part of the hips/thighs), vs the tops on the right which end at the Style Zone- narrower points (waist to hip bone area) which also gives unequal proportions.


Balance the Volume


balance the volumne

Only 1 voluminous garment at a time.  This is particularly important if you are petite as too much fabric will consume your frame very easily.


Don’t forget the shoes!


comfort and style shoes

If you don’t have a full length mirror, you may not realise that your shoes are letting you down and taking you to Frumpy Town!

For those of you who can’t or don’t want to wear heels, there are many flat shoe options to choose from that will still be stylish.

Look for a low vamp when wearing skirts and dresses.

Avoid anything clumpy and too chunky (remember the chunky rule from earlier?).

Also, you will need different shoes for different outfits.  Yes, you do need more than 3 pairs of shoes in your life to look stylish, the same pair just doesn’t go with everything!



10 Worst Shopping Mistakes

1.  Not shopping with a list – do you shop in the supermarket without a list?  Sometimes, but mostly not.  There is no point in buying more of what you already have and forgetting that ingredient that really makes the dish work.  Same principle applies to your wardrobe, you need to figure out what your holes are and then write a list and fill them.

2. Buying because it’s a bargain.  A bargain is not a bargain if it’s not you, doesn’t fit properly, you don’t love it, or it doesn’t fill a wardrobe hole.  Spending money on a $20 top that you either never wear or wear once is a complete waste of that $20.  Only buy a bargain when it’s something that is on you list (see point 1).

3. Not checking the care label before you buy.  If it’s a fabric that needs special care, yet you’re a wash and wear kind of person, then you won’t wear it, knowing that it means a trip to the dry cleaners or having to do some hand washing.  It will sit in your wardrobe because you know that garment takes too much effort for you.

4. Buying fabrics that crush if you hate ironing.  Linen is a gorgeous fabric, but if you hate looking crushed, or hate ironing, steer well clear of it as it won’t make you look or feel great.

5. Being talked into the garment by the sales person.  Their job is to sell, they have to make targets, they want you to spend some money today in their shop.  They are likely to tell you it looks great when it look atrocious and is not a garment that’s made for your body, colouring or personality style.    If you’re unsure, take it off and walk away.  If you can’t stop thinking about the garment after a couple of days, then go back and purchase it.

6. Buying multiples of the same garment.   You may think it’s practical – and it can occasionally work, for things like t-shirts in a great style in a few flattering colours, but for most garments 1 is enough.  If you’re bored with your wardrobe, and you have lots of multiples of the same garment – this is why – you’ve got no choice. Usually too, one of the colours will be way more flattering and you’ll only wear one of them, you don’t need it in every colour.

7. Going shopping when you’re feeling down.  Looking for a pick-me-up or a shopping high is a sure way to credit card debt and financial woes (which won’t make you happier).   Buying for the sake of buying is not a good move.  If you’re feeling low call up a friends and have a chat, go for a long walk in the fresh air, hit the gym, curl up on the couch with a movie or a book, but stay away from the stores!

8. Coyping a someone elses style.  We often look at friends and think – wow – they look great.  Then, we go and copy their clothing style, only to discover that it doesn’t work on us.  The reason it looks so great on our friend is that it suits their personality, body shape, and colouring, not ours.  Spend some times discovering your unique style before you hit the shops.  Then you’ll know what really is you and what is not.

9.  Buying different, for the sake of different.  Quite often we get stuck in a style rut.  So we hit the shops and to shake off that rut we buy something that is completely different from anything else we own.  And then we get it home and it sits in our wardrobe, we try it on occassionally, but take it off because it’s just not right.   What we’ve done is buy someone elses style, often the opposite of ours, but it doesn’t work because it makes us feel uncomfortable.

10.  Shopping with a friend.  What?  How can that be a shopping mistake?   Unless your friend is trained as an image consultant (or has a really fabulous eye for style and understanding what does and doesn’t work) when they tell us what works on us they are only telling us what they personally like, or if they had our body, what they’d dress it in, not necessarily what is really a true and genuine reflection of who we are.  The only time I suggest friends shop together, is whey they’ve done a style and colour consultation together and they truely understand what does and doesn’t work for each other and then can be a great advisor.  Until then, shop alone or with an image consultant.

BONUS Tip. Wearing the wrong clothes when you go shopping. You want to be comfortable and have an easy time getting dressed and undressed when shopping.  Any clothes and shoes you have to struggle to get into and out of will mean that you try on less, and are less likely to find the right garment, instead settling for almost rather than perfect.

And remember If you don’t love it, leave it on the rack!

Not sure what to shop for?  Maybe it’s time you booked a wardrobe and shopping session with me to really get your style and wardrobe sorted.


One Night Stands vs Keepers

Even if you’ve never had a one night stand (not making any judgements here), you are most likely to know of the concept.  Most of us are looking for the keepers in life, rather than the one night stand and before you rush out to the sales in December and January, I want you to think first, and figure out if that bargain that you just have to have is a one night stand, or a keeper!

How do you differentiate between the two?  Well follow my 3 simple rules to make sure you buy wisely this sales season.

One Night Stands vs Keepers


1. Does it make you look fabulous and show off your body in a way that makes you happy?  It’s a keeper.    If it’s something that’s right – on trend – but doesn’t work for you, then it’s a one night stand.  If you have to have it – buy cheap!

2. Does the pattern or print speak of an era?  Yes, florals are always in, but they change over time.  The current Navajo trend, fun this season, but will be gone the next – one night stand territory.   Classic stripes or animal print?  It will be around for seasons to come – it’s a keeper.

3. Is the shape of the garment right now?  Is it the latest ‘new black’?  These are the one-night stands of fashion.  Particularly if the colours don’t really flatter your complexion.    Is it a great neutral that will last for years or a colour that makes you look alive, vibrant and radiant?  Then it’s a keeper.

So before you grab that bargain, consciously think about whether you will be wearing this garment in years to come or if it’s just because you want a bit of new,  and then decide accordingly whether or not it will earn its valuable spot in your wardrobe.

Not sure what to shop for?  Maybe it’s time you booked a wardrobe and shopping session with me to really get your style and wardrobe sorted.