When styling a client I always begin with the same fundamental style tips before getting more in depth - there are certain 'style rules' which apply to everyone which are the foundation for building an entire 'look'. Dressing well all comes down to balance, shape, visual harmony, colour theory and confidence. I thought I would share my top 5 essential style tips which are universal and apply to everyone....
Balance It Out
When dressing any shape the goal is to create balance which basically means to create clean lines through shape manipulation. The idea is very simple but until you have a trained eye for style it can be difficult to establish whether or not your balancing things out well. If you have a tighter skirt or slim pant balance the shape with a loser fit on top, or add volume with a coat, oversized jacket or billowy shirt. If you are wearing a flowy dress, balance the shape with a slightly cropped fitted jacket. If you have a shorter dress, playsuit or shorts, a longer coat or boyfriend blazer hits at the right point on the thigh to balance the look. A cropped jacket with short styles below looks distorted.
The balance method applies to shoes and bags too, if you are in a tighter outfit a slightly chunkier shoe or boot balances the look whereas a flowy outfit requires a minimal, simple shoe to pull the look back. An oversized bag with a lose, billowy outfit looks disproportionate and messy whereas a small bag can draw the look together. Imagine a ruler or line when styling a look, every piece must work together to stay straight and long without any exaggeration. Having said this, it doesn't mean steer clear of volume or interesting silhouettes - quite the opposite, embrace these pieces by utilising the theory of balance with a simple element. When it comes to style, balance is everything!
Silver vs Gold
Everyone fits into either the silver or gold category. Some cross over both but as a general guide, discovering which works for you opens up the world of colour theory. Those who suit silver will in turn suit all cool colouring - white, grey, navy, blue. Those who suit gold will look best in beige, camel, burgundy, brown, khaki etc. Warm and cool are the first steps in colour analysis and while it gets much more in depth from here, this is the starting point. It is absolutely fine to switch back and forth between silver and gold, it is a very personal choice but when it comes to understanding colours and style, the silver vs gold question can be incredibly helpful. If your not sure which suits you try holding up a swatch of fabric close to your face in silver or gold and look in the mirror, one should jump out at you instantly. If your still unsure check your skin tone, is it olive, peachy or warm, or is it pale, translucent and pinkish or blue under toned?
Show Some Skin
Whatever the outfit, never under estimate the benefit of showing some skin, in the form of an ankle or wrist. Opt for an ankle grazer pant or roll the cuff on a jean. Roll sleeves over once or twice, while statement sleeves make this difficult right now and not all jeans can be slightly cropped, you can embrace the idea with a low cut shoe. Showing the ankle or wrist streamlines the entire shape, freshens an outfit and offers femininity without the frou frou.
Know Your Necklines
The single most important factor in personal styling is establishing the neckline that works on your body type. The right neckline creates a flattering shape, opens you up and allows your face to shine - the rest falls into place. We see this with the current off shoulder trend which, for many shapes, creates a longer neck and flattering display of the shoulders and upper arms, giving all attention to the face. A crew neck works to slim the shape and suits a lot of different body types but can accentuate a larger bust while a v-neck is flattering on almost all shapes. A boat neck can distort a larger bust and wide arms whereas and a t-back can help slim the shape, slimming the shoulders and arms. Square necklines are good for looking tailored and classic, suiting slightly larger bust shapes and taking attention away from the arms. Strapless styles suit a more petite shape while halters can add bulk to the shoulders.
Find Your 'you piece'
Everyone has a signature piece, whether they know it or not - the one item that fills their cart, wardrobe and their heart. It could be a leather jacket, a statement bag, layers of jewellery, a floaty dress or a white shirt. Discover what yours is by scrolling Pinterest and see what jumps out at you, browse your wardrobe and look for a repeating item or daydream your ideal outfit and take a closer look at what you imagine. Find it. Wear it. Own it. Trends evolve and constantly change but your 'your piece' will forever be part of your style and will guarantee confidence no matter the occasion. Go nuts on the purchase front, if you love denim cut-offs it is fine to have a dozen in different cuts and washes. If you love sneakers, collect them in every possible style. The point of a 'you piece' is celebrating what you love and who you are. This is the whole point of fashion.
Images via Pinterest
With the basics down pat. styling becomes a more enjoyable and free process. Establishing what suits you opens the doors to enjoying what you love and when the two come together, fashion becomes a whole lot more fun. The most important rule is there are no rules, there is no such thing as getting it wrong. Fashion is a journey - style is about telling a story in which you are the leading character and every day you have the opportunity to be anyone you want x