17 January 2010

Spring Palette

I really love the mix of shades in the photos below.......beige, nude, white, navy, sky blue and grey = perfection. I think it will make a great base for a spring wardrobe.

From here:

Both from here:

Both from here:

16 January 2010

Style Resolutions 2010

This year, for the first time in a long time, I haven't made any new years resolutions. As someone who loves writing lists of any kind, and loves planning and setting myself challenges and goals, this is pretty unusual for me. However with the imminent arrival of our first baby, I think my main resolution this year will echo the war time motto to 'keep calm and carry on'. I don't think this is really the time for learning a new language, changing career, taking a road trip around america (all have featured on previous years lists!). I just want to enjoy my time off work with our new baby as much as possible, and try not to set my expectations too high.

That said, I can't resist an excuse to make a list so I figured I might make some style resolutions for the coming year. These are all in addition to my goals which I've written about before on the blog, to do with creating a minimalist wardrobe. So here are my style resolutions for 2010:
  • Don't overthink things. This will be difficult for me, seeing as I am an overly analytical person by nature, but I want getting dressed to be more effortless this year. I get fixated on the small details sometimes but I want to try and achieve a better balance this year and be more relaxed about what I wear without compromising or settling. I think that once I get to the stage where I love everything in my wardrobe then this will be much easier as I won't have to compromise by wearing things I'm not happy with or comfortable in.
  • Be braver. This is an extension of the above resolution - I want to trust my instincts more and stop second guessing myself. I know what styles I like and what works for me, and I need to stop worrying about what other people think of me. An extension of this is that I want to stop being so critical of myself and be more accepting, I also want to have more confidence in, and stop doubting myself when it comes to style.
  • Don't settle. This is something that I've been guilty of doing in the past although recently I have definetely improved on this. This year I want to become more discerning, and only buy something if I love it. My budget will be restricted this year so I really need to think long and hard about each purchase, there's no room for the 'almosts' or 'maybes', I want perfection.
  • Define/Refine my style. I think that I'm nearly there with this, but I can easily get sidetracked by outside influences and other peoples style and want to adopt it as my own. I realise that personal style doesn't exist in a vacuum and inevitably it will be shaped by external influences, but 'I think for me there is a very fine line between making subtle shifts, tweaking and fine tuning my style, and making additions to my wardrobe which enhance my style versus getting carried away, and feeling the urge to make complete transformation' (repeated from a post last year).
  • Finally, get a pixie cut. I want to go from this (my current, rather boring hairstyle):

To something like this (photo of Carey Mulligan from Google Images):

Update: I can now tick this one off the list as I've just had my hair cut into a similar style as the one above! I think it will take a little time to get used to it, but so far I like it.

8 January 2010

Lessons learnt - what works and what doesn’t

I thought for my first post of the new year, it would be a good idea to list some things I’ve learnt about myself and my style over the last decade.

*I get fixated on small details, white t shirts need to be exactly the right thickness (not see through), sweaters have to sit perfectly on top of jeans (I hate when the outline of a waistband shows through), a v neck has to show exactly the right amount of skin, trousers have to have the right fastening (single button, no flap). I’m in the process of working out what details are important to me through trial and error, and a lot of expensive mistakes.

*I wear a lot of basics, I don’t have much of what would be considered ‘statement pieces’. With basics there’s nothing to detract from the fit, or the quality of the fabric, so its important for the foundations to be right. Jeans and trousers are an area where I typically get this wrong, I need to make some replacements this coming year and hope to find the holy grail - the perfect pair of jeans.

*I have to feel physically comfortable in what I’m wearing. I admire people that can wear heels, but personally I’d take flats any day. I love shirts but don’t wear them that often because I find them quite restricting, I also dislike belts for this reason. Oh and layering too, a cardigan/sweater over a vest/t shirt is fine but anything more than this makes me feel like I’m wearing a strait jacket. Either this or I end up continually fussing with and rearranging my clothes.

*The length of tops is very important. I’ve learnt what length suits me, too long and I look stumpy and dwarf like (I have short legs!) and too short is just all wrong for a variety of reasons. The best length for me is just past hip length.

*I can’t do excessive volume, I love tulip skirts, cocoon coats, and loose tunic dresses but they very rarely work for me. Like everybody, my body shape sometimes restricts what I wear and unfortunately this style really does nothing for my shape. Whilst it is important to continue to try new things, sometimes you just have to accept that certain things will not be flattering.

*I’m not comfortable wearing anything that is overtly sexy, its not an image that I want to project to people. Stylists on tv (gok wan, trinny and susannah etc) always seem to dress people with my body shape in skin tight pencil skirts, with tight satin blouses, waist belts and peep toe high heels, as if the sexy secretary look is the only way to look good. For me sexiness is in the small, subtle details……. a flash of ankle, a delicate silver necklace, subtle makeup, freshly washed hair, layering beautiful scents etc.

*Looking good takes effort, thoughtfulness and planning. I doubt this is the case for everybody, it seems like some people can get away with throwing clothes on and they look quirky and eclectic – I would just look like I got dressed in the dark. I don’t mean effort in the sense of spending hours a day getting ready (I’m pretty low maintenance), but in laying the ground work, finding out what works, searching out the perfect pieces to build and maintain a wardrobe that works for your lifestyle.

*I can’t wear anything even remotely ‘edgy’. A combination of my English rose complexion (pale skin and rosy cheeks) and body shape (petite and curvy) means that I will always look like I’m faking it. I can’t comprehend the amount of times that I’ve been foolish enough to try and replicate looks that I’ve seen on other people, and then wondered why it doesn’t work. I would like to say that I’m completely past making this mistake again, but I find it hard sometimes in knowing when to say no.

*I always seem to come back to the classics, I find that I have to be careful going down this route though as I don’t want to look dated. For example, I like pearls, and I like cardigans, but I never want to enter ‘twinset and pearls’ territory. They have to be worn in a modern way, like a slouchy v neck cardigan and small pearl stud earrings. I love looking at pictures of stylish people from different decades and seeing how much some things still resonate today, Jean Seberg, Audrey Hepburn, Francoise Hardy…their style transcends time.

*The silhouettes that work best for me are quite sleek and pared down; I like clean, simple lines and I dislike too much detail or print. The cut of a piece of clothing is so important, it has to drape right and the balances and proportions have to be perfect.

*Colour and texture are equally important for me, successfully mixing colours and textures can really elevate something beyond the bland and non descript. Cotton, wool, suede, patent and matte silk are all favourites. I love when cotton becomes so worn, that it almost feels like silk against your skin.

*I generally stick to a limited colour palette, I don’t have a natural eye for combining colours so it makes getting dressed easier. My wardrobe consists almost exclusively of items in blue, navy, grey, white or beige. I don’t find it restricting in any way, and it helps keep me focused when I’m shopping. I really dislike ambiguous colours, and I hate the recent trend for naming things ‘mushroom’ and ‘midnight’ it makes online shopping so much harder!