Life With Style

If you saw my recent post about The Cost of Fashion, you’ll know, that when I talk about fashion, I am trying to break from fast fashion, while still shopping the high street. I have shopped less over the last two years, but now it has got to the point where not many of my clothes fit me so I do need to buy some new things. I plan to only buy pieces that I need, that I love and that will work hard in my wardrobe rather than shopping trend pieces that will be worn once or twice and never see the light of day again. Obviously there are some slight exceptions – evening dresses/jumpsuits that aren’t worn every day, but for the most part, I will be trying to invest in some every day essentials.

So… to help me out in this process, I decided to treat myself to a Personal Shopping experience with the lovely Leigh from Life With Style. The advantage of booking an appointment with Leigh is that we’ve been friends for 5 years (we met through Stella & Dot), but recently Leigh has launched her business as a style consultant so I was keen to glean all the insight I could from her. We’d booked the last Saturday in October a few months ago because I wanted to lose a few more pounds and also it gave me time to do a proper wardrobe edit (some clothes are still waiting to be sold or donated to charity, but at least they have been separated from the clothes I wear every day or for special occasions).

Prior to meeting, Leigh asked me to fill in a detailed questionnaire to get to know my style, shape, key items to focus on, where I like to shop etc. We kept up a regular dialogue and sent each other pictures of potential items so she was able to advise why she thought they might or might not be a good option for me.

On Saturday, we met at the café in John Lewis for coffee and to begin with a catch up and consultation. Leigh started with a colour analysis… I had my colours done years ago… despite being extremely pale, because of my freckles, blue-green eyes and natural red tones through my hair, I fall into the warm Spring/Autumn category of colours. When I had previously had them done, I fell into the same category but the colour palette I was given was pretty limited and there was a whole lot of them I didn’t actually like, but this time round, I’ve found a whole lot of colours/shades that I do like.

There’s a few colours that aren’t ideal or should be worn with caution…

Black – most people assume black is a universally flattering colour on everyone and is slimming, but it isn’t my best colour as it washes me out… I did learn that before, I can wear it, just not in a polo neck (which is fine, they make me itchy anyways), I do still love black depending what it’s paired with… if I do go for a black top, it’s better with an open neck line, or worn with a statement necklace or coloured scarf to brighten things up. Navy or charcoal grey tend to be better neutrals for me.

White – I’ve never liked it on me and now I know it’s because it’s too harsh and I should be wearing off white or cream but it’s often pretty hard to find cream or off white tops. I’ll keep looking as having some lighter neutral tops is useful.

We talked about shape and how the traditional descriptions (apple, pear etc.) aren’t helpful and can often be fairly negative as we all have good things that we should accentuate and things that maybe we would rather hide. For me, Leigh pointed out that my best areas are my long legs (which I’ve always liked)… and I guess like a lot of women, I would rather hide my tummy area, so we talked about styles of clothes that would fit and flatter. E.g. skinny jeans paired with longer line tops and blazers, dresses with an empire line to define the waist etc.

Then we talked about the key pieces I wanted to add to my wardrobe:

  • Blazer
  • Boots
  • Jumpers
  • Tops (not jersey basics)
  • Blouse/Shirt
  • Shirt Dress
  • Tunic Dress
  • Jumper Dress

We also talked about a wrap dress as it was a style of dress that I hadn’t tried before and wasn’t sure if it would suit my shape and also a biker jacket. I ideally would like to invest in a leather biker jacket when I am at my goal weight but Leigh advised that there are so many great faux leather alternatives that I would be able to get one sooner if I wanted to.

Then it was time to shop…

Since we were in John Lewis, that was a good place to start as there are so many different brands… Leigh had done a pre-shop during the week and had seen a few things that she thought I might like. We looked at Hush, John Lewis & Partners and Mint Velvet.

There was a gorgeous navy shirt dress from Hush with a gold metallic print, but when I tried it on, it was too oversized. Even in a smaller size it wouldn’t have been a flattering fit. I love that it’s navy, the print and a shirt dress but sadly this one wasn’t to be.

Hush Bloomsbury Dress – Navy/Gold £75

Next I tried a cobalt blue top from John Lewis & Partners which was a great colour but not a good fit.

John Lewis & Partners Cowl Neck Top – Cobalt Blue £35

Mint Velvet, to my surprise had two lovely pieces… a black v-neck blouse with gold metallic print, it was the perfect length but the fit at the back wasn’t quite right. Leigh pointed out that gold metallic works well for my colouring.

Mint Velvet Metallic Detail Sheer Blouse – Black/Gold £69

Then, there was the Leopard Shirt Dress of dreams… I love it… it’s an empire line and an asymmetric hem. I would style it with tights and black Chelsea boots or black flats (although Leigh is trying to persuade me to go for trainers/sneakers and dresses/skirts… I will branch out in the future, trainers have been added to my list… we saw a gorgeous pair in Dune) but when on holiday, it would look great with sandals.

Mint Velvet Tessa Print Midi Shirt Dress £129

Just need to save some pennies or sell some more clothes first, but it’s a beauty. A blazer or biker jacket would finish the look.

Next we headed to Oasis, a shop I haven’t ventured into for years, but since losing weight I figured that maybe something will fit. To my surprise, I found one thing on my list – a jumper, and a black coatigan which is a great addition and is great in place of a blazer until I find the perfect one.

Oasis Bethany Bugle Bead Jumper £42

Oasis Vera Coatigan £45

We had a look in Warehouse and Next for Blazers but didn’t find anything, so we decided it was time to mix things up and have a look for boots. As Dune had 20% off, we headed there… I had my eye on a few pairs that I posted about previously here.

I initially had my heart set on the Roaslind Tan Slouch Boots, but then I saw a few pairs of knee high boots so gave them a try too. The knee high boots didn’t fit so well and weren’t as comfortable so I ended up with the Rosalind Slouch boots. They are super comfy… Comfort is key for me, particularly since breaking my ankle last year. these boots will look great with jeans, skirts or dresses.

Dune Rosalindd Ruched Claf Boots

During the week, I had sent Leigh a picture of a blouse I had seen in Topshop (well, I’d seen it on someone on Instagram), so Leigh had managed to have it put aside in my size for me to try on. I could have got one size which fitted, but decided to size up so that it was more oversized.

I’m not sure why I look so serious in this photo, I was having a great day.

Topshop Oversized Spot Shirt £35

It’ll look great styled with jeans, black coatigan, a grey scarf and boots or tucked into my black pleated midi skirt or under one of my pinafore dresses.

After all that shopping, it was time for a coffee and a review of the day… the purchases I’d made and what I still wanted to add to my wardrobe in the future.

Last stop of the day was H&M to have a look for tunic dresses and a blazer but there was no tunic dresses to be found and the blazers were not the right fit for me. I’ll keep looking for the perfect blazer, now that I know it’s a longer length I’m looking for.

I came away from our personal shopping session not only with some great pieces that will work hard in my wardrobe, some key pieces to add to my list and also some great style tips, some key pieces to add to my list and that will help me when I am shopping in the future as I continue to shop well and buy less.

If you’ve lost your spark with your style and would like to have a personal shopping experience, colour analysis or wardrobe edit done, I can highly recommend Leigh at Life With Style she is professional, shares lots of insight and style tips while being sensitive to your own experiences and budget, she will make the day fun and help you get your confidence back in no time at all.

Contact Leigh at Life with Style for more information on her style consultation services.

Hope you have a great weekend.

Gill x


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