Wardrobe Essentials - Five Common Wardrobe Dilemmas


Working as a personal stylist, I get to meet a huge range of people from very different backgrounds in lots of different professions. When it comes to dressing, it's a pretty level playing field and the issues are mostly the same. Apparently we are judged by others 80% on what we wear and only 20% on what we say!!  Dressing well influences others but above all dressing well makes you feel great and can have a hugely positive impact on your self-esteem.

To kick-start your year and jerk you into having a fresh look at your wardrobe, I've written a list of five of the most common wardrobe dilemmas and some ways around them:

1) Buying the same style of clothing over and over again.

Have a look in your wardrobe, do you buy the same style of top or perhaps dress over and over again or just buy tops and no dresses? This has the be the most common one of all.  It's almost as if your style peripheral vision gets blocked and you instinctively zone in on a small selection of styles.  Broaden your horizons!  Fashion is about being a bit brave and trying new things, you may not always get it right but you might be missing the best styles out there for you by not trying.

To highlight this point  and give a good example of fashion bravery, look at this pic of Alexa Chung.  Now she's a girl who constantly gets to the top of the best dressed list because she is creative with the way she puts things together and tries out lots of different styles. This combination of outfit is not something most people would think of putting together, patterned dress then animal print boots?  The mix is unusual but looks great!

Alexa Chung Style

2) Hoarding

Human beings are natural hoarders and some women are particularly bad at hanging on to old clothes "in case they come back in to fashion".  Why would you want to trawl through a ton of clothes every morning that you haven't worn in a year?  It's true that fashion trends are cyclical but the old trends that come back are usually updated.  There are some exceptions which are your investment pieces (e.g. coats, macs, tailored suits, bags) or vintage items (that cool 70's suede coat, not a year old vintage-style top from Oasis!)

Top tips for Hoarders

  1. If you haven't worn it in a year, move it out of the way, bag it, bin it or charity shop it
  2. If you don't love it, you probably never will

3) Dressing from your prime (formally know as mutton dressed as lamb - ouch!)

And this rule applies to men too - in fact, maybe even more so because in my experience some  men don't embrace change and also, there isn't as much choice out there for men.  'Dressing from your prime' is a very similar dilemma to being in a rut and buying the same item(s) over and over again but expands to your whole look.  Ladies, ask yourself, are you still wearing the skinny jeans and sparkly tops with heels from your mid-twenties at 40?   There's nothing up with that per-se but it's pretty boring no?  Have you got great legs you should be showing off?  Ever experimented with dresses?  What about adding a tailored jacket to your jeans or a beautiful billowing sleeved silk blouse to add interest?

Men, were you into hip hop as a teen and loved rocking the baggy jeans, trainers and tee shirt combo?  Are you now almost 40 and still wearing things that are 20 years old or are in the exact same style as in your youth?  Again, nothing wrong here as such but maybe you need a little shake by the shoulders and a light slap across the face to wake you out of this dressing rut and open your mind to some alternative wardrobe essentials.

However, approach with some caution,  if someone suddenly and drastically changed their look at this life stage then it could be seen as a 'mid-life crisis', (albeit a tad early).  What I'm saying is you've probably found your signature style, know what you like and don't like so just update it a bit.  Get some really good quality jeans, swap tee shirts for the odd smart shirt, swap the trainers for brogues - (ooh now there's a scary thought!).  Do it gradually and your new look will creep up on your friends, garner a few positive comments and sit comfortably with you.

In my opinion, Daniel Craig always looks sharp (and hot obviously).  He's wearing a really simple jumper and jeans in the picture but the brogues take it to whole new grown-up level.

Daniel Craig Style

4) Lifestyle Change

You used to be a PR hotshot working in the West End. Out for drinks most nights, entertaining clients and  enjoying glamourous cocktail bars and holiday destinations in your spare time.  Now you're a stay at home mum/have gained weight/have started a home based business, I could go on...  Almost your entire wardrobe can become defunct in next to no time at all.  This is a great time for a wardrobe declutter and re-vamp.  Look at what doesn't work for you anymore - will you really be wearing that low-cut DVF wrap dress any time soon?  What about those sky scraper stilettos? Take them out and bag them, bin them or charity shop them.  Look at what could still work for you now.  Could you buy one or two pieces that would bring some outfits together and refresh the wardrobe?  Maybe all you need are a few new basics like some plain tops from GAP to set off patterned skirts or wear underneath low-cut wrap dresses.  A stylist can help you to transform what you have now and make your wardrobe work better for your new lifestyle without spending a fortune.

5) Introducing colour

The fifth most common wardrobe dilemma is being in a colour rut. An awful lot of clients I see are always wearing black or do wear colour but not necessarily the right ones.  Once you know what colours suit you, you can open your mind to more exciting options - neon is going to big next season, could that be a colour choice for you? Even if all you do is add a few coloured scarves or accessories into the mix, you will be taking you and your wardrobe in an exciting new direction.

SO, now you have some ideas about sorting out your wardrobe dilemmas.  Stop procrastinating and start being braver with your style - life is short and fashion is definitely an area where you can have some of the most fun and express yourself in the best possible way.


Lisa xx