Styling Tips – The Balancing Act

 

We come in all fabulous shapes and sizes.  Thank goodness, wouldn’t it be boring otherwise.  Some days I’m happy with my body and others not so much, which can be said for lots of the clients I work with.  Sometimes they’re good to go in whatever they wear, other days getting dressed can leave them not feeling their best.  Which is commonly the reason why they book an appointment with me.  They want to understand why they’re feeling this way, get past any issues, and feel more confident.

 

I believe that if you have clothing that doesn’t make you feel great and isn’t being worn its for one of three reasons – it isn’t the best colour or pattern for you, it doesn’t fit or flatter your body shape, or it doesn’t suit your lifestyle.  Today, I want to tackle the fit.

Styling Can Be A Balancing Act

If you don’t know (and where have you been) there are five basic body shapes – round, inverted triangle, rectangle, triangle and hourglass.  You’ll be one of these, or a mix – our bodies change and can fluctuate in shape during our lifetime.  If you’re a triangle or inverted triangle, you’ll be  wearing different sized clothing top and bottom.  For example someone who is a triangle (pear) shape is wider on the lower half of their body and is narrower in the shoulder.  Someone who is an inverted triangle is the opposite and will have wider shoulders than hips.  Both body types will need to wear differing top and bottom to accommodate this and sometimes it can leave the wearer feeling a little out of balance

 

Here, if you want to re-dress the balance, I’m going to share some ideas of tops to wear, with examples of what’s currently available in stores. Let’s kick off with ideas for pear body shapes.  The idea is to add more width to the upper half, without losing the waist definition, or, alternatively, drawing the eye up away from an area you might not be comfortable with lots of attention.

 

So, for example, we’ve got an off the shoulder top from All Saints to add more width; a cold shoulder jumper which highlights and brings more attention to the shoulders.  There’s tops here with more embroidery and pattern on around the shoulders to draw the eye up, puff sleeves, and of course, stripes, which pear shape can wear with ease.  Just make sure you tuck in the tops, to keep your waist on show.

Styling Tips

Triangle (Pear) Body Shapes

 

If you think about the opposite requirement for inverted triangles (strawberry) body shapes, then the detailing is on the bottom and there’s a desire to tone down the more stronger shoulder line and wider top half.

 

Simple shirts are a great start, with as little detail as possible on the shoulder.  Button down shirts automatically offer a v neck which is also nice for elongating the neck and breaking up the shoulder line. Scoop neck tops are also good for the same reason and I really like the top from All Saints with the detailing around the neck as it draws the eye in and the top from H&M which does a similar task.

Inverted Triangle (Strawberry) Body Shapes

 

Just the tip of the tricks that I could teach you.  To find out more consider booking my Personal Style Development and Colour Consultation appointment and become more armoured so that you feel great too.

 

Gail x

Nine Pieces I’m Loving In Marks and Spencer

This week I asked my Style With Gail Facebook group which brand they would like me to take a deep dive into to see what its currently selling.  They chose British high street stalwart, M&S.  So here, without further ado, are the nine pieces I’m loving in Marks & Spencer.

Side Stripe Wide Leg Trousers, £39.50

I’m currently kicking myself as I spotted these trousers the other week and didn’t pick them up when I had the chance.  What a great burst of colour to add to an autumn/winter wardrobe. These will look great with trainers and boots and are a fantastic statement piece to lift a day-time wardrobe.  They’re comfy too, with an elasticated waist.  I also like that these trousers don’t come with a drawstring belt, which I think can look bunchy and distract from an otherwise clean line. Wide leg trousers are everywhere and for good reason, they’re super flattering for all.  I think you could wear a loose white shirt with this pair, as well as team it with a slim-fitting turtle neck (the latter is great for strawberry body types).  Match with a similar colour top that’s tucked in if you’re hourglass and grab a biker jacket if you’re a pear, as the texture and zips will draw the eye up and give you a more balanced silhouette.

 

Denim Midi Shirt Dress, £45.00

If you’ve followed this blog and my Instagram for a while, you’ll know that I believe a denim dress is a modern day must-have for women.  It’s a super versatile piece that you can wear casually, to work, or for an evening out.  It’s all about the accessories – trainers, knee high boots, jewellery.  Adapt these to suit what you’re doing when you’re wearing the dress.  This dress is cute.  The puff sleeves are great for pear shape as it widens the shoulders to balance with the lower half and the belt and fuller skirt is good for anyone who wants to add more definition to their waist.

Black and White Belted Midi Shirt Dress, £39.50

I saw this dress and think it’s a great piece for the modern woman.  Really efficient for those working in an office, but also has a contemporary feel to it, so if you want to sass it up some knee high boots and a pair of hoop ear-rings and grab a drink after work, you can.  I really like the neckline too.  The V shape offered by a shirt dress helps to elongate the neck  and can make your overall appearance taller.  One for the petites too.

Leather Look Straight Leg Trouser, £39.50

These are such a good find (and price).  If you want to wear trousers, but wish to step up your game from denim, then leather or leather look trousers are a great way to do it.  I like the way these have a jean style design so easily wearable with a shirt, T. shirt, more feminine blouse or casual sweatshirt.  Team with a blazer and stiletto heel ankle boot for date night.

Satin Collared Long Sleeve Shirt, £29.50

Satin shirts are a fantastic way to glam up your outfit.  Its a super feminine texture as well, which helps to soften what can be a masculine shirt shape. These are good for strawberry body types as it can soften the shoulder line, but is also good for apple body types, who will wear it well loose with a pair of velvet palazzo trousers.  Eye-catching colours will help draw the eye up for pear shapes too.  Wear tucked into jeans or leather look trousers and keep waist defined with a belt.

Recycled Blend Cable Knit, £27.50

I shy away from vests.  They are too square for my upper half.  But I can totally see the appeal.  Knitted vests are especially good for you if you’re wider on the lower half and want to re-balance your top half.  You can always add more texture to your tops if you’re a pear.  The other great thing about vests is the warmth and getting more wear out of blouses and dresses as the weather gets colder.  I chose this particular version, because its longer.  I think it could be great for apple body types, as it will skim the body nicely and look great with some boot cut trousers or jeans, or worn with a belt for those who are hourglass.

Magic Shaping High Waisted Slim Flare Jeans, £45.00

I chose and styled these for a client recently and I really rate them.  They are especially good for those who are finding it hard to let go of their skinny jeans.  Thigh-skimming down to the knee and then flaring out at the bottom, they’re a lot like a boot leg jean.  The less tapered ankle is more contemporary, and flattering.  The flare offers a more balanced silhouette, whether its softening a shoulder line or width around the hip and bottom.

Merino Wool Collared Mini Cardigan, £69

Not for everybody I know, but if you have a rectangle body shape then this could be for you.  When straight up and down it’s nice to add more texture and design and the front patch pockets are great at doing that.  I like the neatness of this design too.  It could be a piece you wear for years.

Cotton Striped Long Sleeve Top, £9.50

Stripes across the body, “you got to be kidding”, I hear you cry, but a classic Breton top offers a stylish addition to your wardrobe.  And it can be worn by those who are worried about horizontal lines making them look thick on the top half.  Take it from someone who is a strawberry body shape, a well-designed blazer worn with it, in a darker colour, helps to diminish the width, while allowing you to wear a piece that can make an outfit super chic.  Opt for a blazer that has a defined waist and soft shoulder pads to give you shape and confidence. This top is also a great price, at less then a tenner!

Five Ways to Wear Colour

 

My last post covered why wearing the right colours helps you look your best.  This month I’m showing how to get more colour in your life, with five ways to wear colour.

 

If you’re stuck in neutrals or finding the idea of introducing colour into your wardrobe overwhelming, this post is for you.  I have a bunch of tried and trusted ways to move forward in a more colourful way.  From dipping a toe in to the colour pool to making a bold splash, here’s a few suggestions:

1. Add an accent colour

Adding an accent of colour means adding a little bit of colour to your outfit.  It is ideal for those who are intimidated by colour but want to add a pop of it to an otherwise neutral base, e.g., red handbag to an all- black outfit, or pink neon shoes with a beige dress. It works well if you know which colours suit you and want to add it to your top half.

2. Sandwich dressing

This is a super easy formula to follow when dressing. You simply match what you wear on the top half of your body with the colour being worn on your feet. It’s effortless and can be very chic.

3. Monotone dressing

Dressing in monotone is another easy option as it simply involves wearing one colour from head to toe. It can create a very dramatic look and also works well if you’re petite, as it give the illusion of lengthening the body.  So if you want to appear taller, give it a go.

4. Colour blocking

Colour blocking is another look that can make a powerful statement. It involves wearing strong colours that are opposite each other in the colour wheel. Three at a time max, or you’ll look like a rainbow. You can buy wheels online. For a softer approach you could opt for wearing different shades of the same colour.

5. Eclectic styling

Adopting an eclectic style means wearing lots of colour and mixing up prints. It might sound easy, mixing separates in an anything goes fashion, but pulling it off in a stylish way takes a little practice. Yes, unconventional can be cool, just remember to have at least one colour that appears in both separates to make it work. Choose the same background colour for ease.

 

Why not set aside some time to play dress up in your wardrobe and see how you can introduce more colour into your outfits.  Of course, if you would like more help do take a look at my services here and drop me a line info@notgivinin.com.

 

Gail x

 

A version of this content first appeared in the Downend Voice, for which I write I monthly style column.

Wearing The Right Colours Helps You Look Your Best

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

 

The idea that knowing ‘your colours’ will affect your life can have some people rolling their eyes. However, if I told you which colours looked great on you and it made you feel happier every time you dressed, you might be more interested.  Am I right?

 

No-one wants to stand in front of their wardrobe uninspired by its contents, so a smart way to wear clothes that you love and love you back is to learn which colours suit you best.  Once you know them, you’ll not only look good, but you’ll also feel more confident, be happier, get dressed quicker, and shop better. Buy clothes that give you the wow factor, not the blah factor.

 

My Personal Style Development and Colour Consultation is one of my most popular services, because I identify colours that really help you look your best.  This can only be done in a 1-2-1 session with drapes and my expert eye.  If you’re on the fence about whether this can work for you here’s a little insight and ideas to try at home.

 

As a rule of thumb, warm colours work best for warmer complexions and cooler colours work best for paler complexions. Of course, you must take eye colour and hair colour into consideration, so this is a basic rule and for more detailed understanding you would need an analysis, but armed with this knowledge, you can look at picking out warm colours (yellow undertone) and cool colours (blue undertone) to enhance your complexion.

 

Some people say your veins can help determine your skin tone.  Green being warm and blue being cool.  So, look at the underside of your wrist to see if that helps.

 

Next up, hold the garment near to your face.  If your skin shows a natural radiance – a glow – then its working for you.  You should notice that your skin looks a lot smoother, your eye colour pops, and the whites of your eyes stand out.  If a colour doesn’t suit you, your face will look washed out, and the bits you don’t want to show, like dark circles, will be more drawn out.

 

Perhaps start by looking at the shirt or blouse that people always give you compliments for when you wear it.  Chances are, it’s the flattering shade that’s turning heads.

 

Still unsure, drop me a line at info@notgivinin.com to learn more about my services.

 

Gail x

 

A version of this content first appeared in the Downend Voice, for which I write I monthly style column.

What to Pack For a Summer City Break

 

What to pack for a summer city break?  The answer is here.

I love a city break, whether its summer or not, but it does require a little consideration when it comes to packing.  The baggage weight limit and an aim to not spend precious hours in the airport, when I could be sipping cocktails on a rooftop bar, means I’m lean when it comes to packing.

I used to take far too much stuff, taking lots of pieces ‘just in case’. Well, those items never get worn, just lugged around, resulting in a sore shoulder.  Not the lasting memory of a longed-for trip that I wanted. So, less is definitely more.

First things first, to help narrow your holiday wardrobe pick a colour theme.  The one I’ve chosen below focuses on blues with some neutrals thrown in.  This means you’re more likely to be able to mix and match what you take. For example, I can wear the cream wide strap top, jeans and blue blazer effortlessly together, as easily as I can wear the printed dress with the blazer (there’s a little blue in the dress).

When it comes to shoes, I would take trainers for lots of walking in the cooler months, but a pair of flat/sturdy sandals that allow my feet to breathe in the summer are perfect. It goes without say, but don’t take new shoes as I’ve done before, because the chemist is often not as near as you think.  One pair of flats and one pair of heels will suffice.

You might wonder why I’ve included a jumpsuit, and I’ve opted for a short option here as this is definitely a summer wardrobe idea, but I think short or long they’re a good option because you can wear them casually or with lots of jewellery in the evening.  Go for a printed design to add some fun to your holiday options.

The swimsuit has been included for cities with beaches (e.g., Barcelona, Lisbon, Copenhagen) and for those who are staying somewhere with a pool.  Don’t forget, brilliantly, a swimsuit can also be worn as a body.  This design will look just as good under the blazer as it will pool-side.

What else could I have included?  I’ve kept this suitcase lean, but if you’re staying longer than two nights, you can include tailored shorts, a skirt in your choice of length, and a pair of wide leg linen trousers.  I would also suggest packing a white and/or black T-shirt and maybe a blue cotton or linen oversized shirt that can also be worn over the other pieces and tied at the waist if the weather cools.

Lastly, I haven’t added one, but there’s always space for a foldaway raincoat!  Just in case.

Happy holidays.

 

Gail xx

 

 

H&M Straw Bag, £34.99

Mango Cotton Shorts Jumpsuit, £35.99

H&M Single Breasted Blazer, £34.99

Next Stretch Flare Jeans, £42.00

& Other Stories Criss Cross Leather Sandal, £85.00

Warehouse Wide Strap Top, £27.00

Black Asymmetric Swimsuit, £55.00

Gingham Cotton Check Dress, £49.99

Zara Printed Midi Dress, £59.99

Zara Tied Heeled Sandals, £45.99

Mango Striped Knit Top, £22.99

 Marks & Spencer Broderie Long Sleeve Blouse, £29.50

H&M Blue Small Patterned Bag, £17.99

& Other Stories Ball Charm Hoop Earrings, £15

Mango Tassel Bead Necklace, £19.99

John Lewis & Partners Cat’s Eye Sunglasses, £18.00

 

 

If you would like a more personal, bespoke service please check out my services here, which include personal shopping in Bristol or Bath.