Vicki and I were chatting t’other day about a new clothing brand we are looking at stocking (more on that another time) and I said something along the lines of ’tis not very fashionable.’  She whipped her head around like something out of the exorcist and spluttered ‘we don’t sell fashion!’

She was (terrifyingly!) right – That’s not what we set out to do when we chose our initial brands; the brief we gave ourselves was to find well-made pieces that would make great wardrobe staples. It took Vicki doing her best Linda Blair impression to remind me of that! It got me thinking about the nature of fashion versus style and how do we go about finding our personal style when we are bombarded with ‘must-have’ looks each season.

So how do we do ‘do us’ with just the right nod to what’s in fashion and be stylish and original rather than a slave or clone or just plain foolish? Indeed can we even do both? Well yes, we believe that everyone can and should! The secret is finding your own personal style and you do this by using what’s in fashion to add accents and colour to your base look.

What is your ‘base look’ you may wonder? Well, this is tried and tested shapes and colours. A good friend of Vicki’s once said her base look was either stripes (a la Breton) or completely neutral creams and navy – often plain round neck tops teamed with denim or blue troo’s – to which she added scarves in an attempt to get a more ‘Bohemian’ look. Vicki nearly wet herself laughing but when she thought about it – twas true – It’s what her friend had always worn! (And still does & looks TERRIFIC by the way!)

Desigual Macarena T’shirt (£39)

My signature is shoes, so I’ll often dress from the feet up – the shoes I want to wear will dictate the rest of my outfit. Vicki’s is colour: Her mood will dictate the colour she wants to wear and then it’s a case of rummaging through the wardrobe and putting together the right pieces.(Not always successfully, she’ll admit but cares not.)  She often has phases of colour & is currently on green…& varieties thereof.

Boom Shankar Nessi Skirt (£69)

Maybe you like a base of black and add flashes of colour with scarves and jewellery. Or perhaps, like my mum, you like a well-cut jacket?

One thing is for sure – We all opt for preferred shapes and colours whether we realise it or not. Some will opt for full A-line skirts and wide leg trousers which nip in the waistline and even us out and others will always opt for a straighter, slimmer fit. You’ll probably hear us  in t’shop calling it the ‘in n’ out’ or ‘straight up and down.’

As we get older it can seem more difficult as we perhaps like our legs less and there are bumpy bits where there didn’t used to be – but be brave and fear ye not!  We don’t actually change our body shapes fundamentally – even with a few too many pies on board or not enough padding in the right places due to weight loss!

Our top tips to get you started and to help you re discover your Base Look are…

  • Look at yourself in the mirror at home in privacy, probably more often than you do – remind yourself of your gorgeous body. When you do this, changing rooms are MUCH LESS SCARY & so MUCH MORE FUN.
  • Be independent, do look around and see what everyone else is doing but only pull out the bits you like. I recall an interview with Kate Moss back when she launched her range for Top Shop- she said “I just looked in my wardrobe and thought I like this, but would like it more if…” You can add the ‘IF’ to your own clothes.
  • We all feel like we’ve lost our way some days and lack inspiration –  have a dig around and look at your clothes – More often than not you’ll come across a piece which lifts your mood, makes you feel good . You bought it for that very reason. It looks and feels good – that’s today’s clothing sorted then 🙂
  • Go for bright colours if the sun’s out and you’re feeling bright and cheery. If you are feeling girly and frivolous, dig out the ribbon and lace!
  • Feeling and looking good is all about freeing your mind and stop worrying what others will think. Free it and if you still feel good – wear it!
  • Do mix and match your seasons (easy with our erratic weather!) team floaty dresses with boots and so on.
  • We all have a gazillion scarves/pashminas – dig ’em out where you can see them like Vicki’s friend to add a splash of ‘Bohemian’ :)))

Boom Shankar Reversible Billy Scarf (£55)

  • Visit shops/stores that you’ve never been in before, particularly if you tend to think that they’ll be too old/young. Chances are your peers will too, so you’ll get your hands on something they won’t have seen.
  • Ask yourself ‘will I want to wear this next year, five years and so on’ If the answer is ‘no’, then it should only be used as an accent. Think Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s – that black shift dress has become a style icon.
  • So, Style v Fashion?I Our base look is our style – our preferred colours and shapes & ones we’ve chosen for a while. And, fashion, well that’s how we update, adapt and play with our style– possibly the most fun bit of dressing but not the most important, which is why we hope to stock pieces that will work for you, year in year out, to to which you can add your IF. Of course – we love the fun bits too – hence all our gorgeous accessories & jewellery :)))
  • Most of all don’t worry so much – particularly about whether or not you’re ‘in fashion’ or OTT or plain boring & frumpy. It sounds obvious but we all get so hung up on what others will think. Clothes are one of our easiest and best ways to express ourselves (Jonny Cash – The Man in Black) and our uniqueness.

As we age you’d think we’d find it easier to be more stylish & less fashion conscious but it doesn’t always seem to work out that way and we all have wardrobe boo boos! Clothes should be enjoyable so re-discover your style and wear what makes YOU smile and the chances are you’ll get some smiles back.


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