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How do you dress well

(22 Posts)
roastednut Thu 06-Apr-17 18:16:38

Ok this is a strange one I guess. I'm not a regular on here more a lurker.

Ok here goes... I'm ashamed to admit, that despite being in my early 40s, I don't think I dress very well. Don't get me wrong I've got some nice tops, trousers, dresses etc, and sometimes it works, but I seem to have a knack for getting it a bit wrong in my opinion (not just my opinion my DHs too - he often gives constructive criticism on my outfit choices).

I have tried different shops, more expensive items occasionally, but I still don't get it quite right.

I think for workwear I do fine, I've got a nice selection of dresses and that's ok. It's more weekends really. I just see other women out and about and you all look so bloody great and 'nicely put together' if that makes sense!!

I'm thinking of booking a personal shopper at John Lewis maybe, and getting an outfit or two. I can't afford/ don't want to pay ridiculous money, but happy to get a few quality items. I've started looking at catalogues (like crew, Boden etc) and wondering whether I just need to copy an entire outfit off a model on the page!! Pathetic isn't it but I just don't know what's wrong with me that I'm unable to do it. I don't want to ask friends for advice as I'm embarrassed really.

Any advice or thoughts much appreciated!! Please be gentle blush

Gah81 Thu 06-Apr-17 18:24:41

Heard great things about the JL Personal Shopper service.

I had this realisation a few years ago. What really helped for me was figuring out what look I want to go for. You say you have seen other women out and about looking great - perhaps you could go on Pinterest and collate some images of outfits/looks that you like. Then think about what the common feature is: is it colour, the way the colours go together, the use of accessories, the shape of the outfits etc.

Then maybe think about what your shape is. Pear? Hourglass (this is me)? Square? Muscular? What parts of your body do you love. What is your lifestyle like? Then you can chat with a personal shopper or do some googling to see how best to interpret the looks you like for your body shape.

I did this before Pinterest was around - the old fashioned way! - by cutting out pictures from magazines that I liked. I always knew I was an hourglass and ended up being drawn to proper New Look era, femme fatale-ish clothes - all wasp waists and pencil skirts and a bit of drama. So it's blouse and pencil skirt and nipped in jacket for me at work, with pencil dresses and boots at the weekend. 50s summer dresses on holiday. I am quite smart normally and I love women in camel and cream and denim so there's a lot of that colour scheme going on and quite a bit of formality for even my casual looks.

Gah81 Thu 06-Apr-17 18:27:04

I have also done a House of Colour consultation to see what colours I suit, which was a revelation. I know they also do a personality style session which I hear is excellent.

Btw, I also think that even if it doesn't suit your body shape but you love it, that you should go for it and buy it anyway. Am aware that my post above might have sounded a bit dress-only-for-your-shape fascist!

fourteenlittleducks Thu 06-Apr-17 19:29:32

Dress for your shape, in colours and styles that suit you. Enhance the parts of your body you like best. Match colours eg shoes and belt. Avoid clashing patterns together. Ignore fashion trends that state otherwise!

Get hair and nails done regularly.

roastednut Thu 06-Apr-17 19:41:03

Thanks so much Gah for taking the time to reply. I'm also an hourglass shape. I'll start putting a Pinterest page together I think, and also look into the jl and house of colour consultations.

roastednut Thu 06-Apr-17 19:42:25

Thanks ducks, when it comes to beauty, hair and nails I don't really have an issue (I'd just come back from a mani when I wrote the post actually!). It's more clothes and shoes I seem to struggle with confused

Judydreamsofhorses Thu 06-Apr-17 20:18:29

I read a lot of magazines, and blogs, then think about how I could wear the things I like. So, for example, I knew I liked the idea of cropped wide-leg trousers and slightly flared cropped jeans for round about now. I then go through a boring cycle of buying/trying/returning until I find the right item/s. Based on the trousers and jeans, I probably had about 20 pairs all in. I think it also helps to know which shops are good for you in terms of fit/size for different things - I buy from ASOS quite often and they do a fit predictor based on what you've bought and returned, and their premier delivery service (about £10 for a year's next day delivery) makes it all quite painless.

Mimilondon39 Thu 06-Apr-17 22:36:26

Gah81 where do you buy most of your clothes? I'm an hourglass too but like the more casual look - I'm a writer and work from home so I can get away with it at the moment. I've heard that the JL and House of Fraser personal shoppers are fab...

Gah81 Fri 07-Apr-17 07:25:25

Hello Mimi smile I like my true vintage stuff (1950s suits, 40s draped dresses, 50s summer dresses) because I don't have to get it taken in at the waist - unlike every single skirt I have ever owned.

Vivien of Holloway also do great pencil skirts, swing trousers and casual tops and I like The Fold for blouses and Baukjen for jersey dresses (quite figure-hugging but the ruching at the hips and draping at the neck is very flattering). The Baukjen tops looks great but anything in white always looks a bit thin after a while, I think.

For casual, I've found J Brand jeans actually fit both the waist and my hips and I like Oasis for tops which fit both my bust and my waist. My winter casual uniform: Baukjen dress + tights + ankle or OTK boots plus belted coat (Reiss)

In between weather casual: J Brand jeans, white long/short sleeve top from Gap or The Finery, VERY fitted camel/warm green jacket (Joules riding jackets - a beautiful fit for hourglasses, Reiss belted jacket. I also like Fever clothing for this), boots or flats.

Summer casual: fit and flare dress (vintage, or repro from Fever etc.) plus fitted jacket or cardigan depending on weather.

I hope that helps on places I shop - putting it in terms of what I wear casually each season helped me get it clear in my head, I think there are definitely shops I know I'll usually be able to get stuff which fits!

PNGirl Fri 07-Apr-17 07:58:43

I think there are a few things that can ruin an outfit - particularly a weekend one. The main things for me include a boxy smart black handbag with a very casual coat (like a waterproof), trousers or jeans being slightly too short, and someone clearly uncomfortable in too many layers for the weather.

The pinterest idea is a good one. I've discovered through that that my favourite silhouette is skinny jeans with a 3/4 sleeve top or a rolled-sleeve t shirt.

IlonaRN Fri 07-Apr-17 10:21:49

For casual, I wear jersey (mostly ruched) skirts with a short or long-sleeved T-shirt and a cardigan. I also like jersey dresses.
I make sure to stick to Summer colours, and slightly fitted clothes, as that is what suits me.

user1484615313 Fri 07-Apr-17 10:28:24

Firstly work out what figure you are. Then get some fashion magazines and there are lots of ideas what sort of clothes would fit your shape and lifestyle. There is also ideas on high end fashion to high street so you really feel you're up to date with all the fashion but can pick up some real bargains. You only need to this till you feel more confident and comfortable with what you like and don't like. Then you can improvise. Make your own look.

dementedma Fri 07-Apr-17 10:36:46

Money. Whenever I read posts where the OP is looking for recommendations , it is always for high-end stuff which many people (like me) can't afford. If I get lucky I pick up a bargain in a charity shop,but otherwise cheap supermarket clothes contribute to me looking and feeling crap. Decent, well-fitted clothes cost decent amounts of money.

burnishedsilver Fri 07-Apr-17 10:43:17

Are you sure your husbands 'constructive criticism' is helpful? I think you need another opinion. You might not be getting it as wrong as you think you are.

user1484615313 Fri 07-Apr-17 10:43:50

dementedma-Sainsbury's Tu makes great clothes. I buy so much stuff from there. Also charity shops and sale from high street shops. Mix and match. It's all about how you wear it. Dress it up with some accessories.

highinthesky Fri 07-Apr-17 10:46:20

Agreed user, but you need confidence in styling yourself in the first place to benefit from Tu et al. Btw I predict 25% off will start on a Tuesday grin

user1484615313 Fri 07-Apr-17 11:01:45

High- grin You're right on.

HalfStar Fri 07-Apr-17 11:11:51

Well, I've always taken an interest in putting clothes together, there are some days (like today) I feel like generic blah mum, but in general it's something I spend a lot of mental energy doing and I have a bit of a sense of what works for me.

And my two cents is that you could do a lot worse than just copy an outfit that you like - to get you started. Just yesterday I saw a whole outfit and thought yeah, that'd work, I'll do it like that. If an outfit you see on a model on a clothes site really chimes with you, chances are it's because that type of style might suit you anyway? Give it a go with one (cheapish) outfit and see how you feel in yourself.

And I agree about your husband's comments not being helpful.

HalfStar Fri 07-Apr-17 11:13:11

Oh, and weekend casual is HARD to do well. It really is. It's not just you!

TheVeryThing Fri 07-Apr-17 13:10:34

I find casual dressing really hard too, much easier to find suitable work wear.
I think i have reasonable taste but am not great and putting outfits together.
Pinterest is a good idea but I find that a lot of the photos are of very slim women, who look great in the simplest long sleeved t-shirt & jeans.
That just won't work for me but I have picked up a few ideas. Today I am wearing a copy of an outfit i saw on there - nothing special, just a fitted denim shirt, khaki chinos and a soft jersey blazer in navy.
It's perfect for 'casual friday' in work and I feel reasonably put together in it. I had all the items, just would not have thought of putting them together.
If you can afford to buy a few items at once, then a personal shopper is a good idea, and might get you trying stuff you would never have considered.
Blogs are another source of inspiration, and there are a few threads about them on here, if you search.

BagelGoesWalking Fri 07-Apr-17 13:32:08

I've also seen a lot of people recommend the personal shopper. There's no pressure to buy, apparently, and it's good to get another person's perspective. A lot of people say they have tried on things that they never would have chosen for themselves and have found they really work!

I personally wouldn't bother buying fashion magazines. They're so far away from how a normal person dresses, I don't know if they would actually be of any use. Agree with what *TheVery" says about Pinterest. All the pics seem to be of a "clone" slim, youngish woman in rolled up jeans etc but it may spark some ideas.

roastednut Fri 07-Apr-17 14:11:26

Wow thanks for all the replies everyone. Will have a good read through later after work. I have booked a personal shopping session at HoF next week which is something at least.

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