How to buy clothes that fit you properly

I tried on a black and white jacket last week and emerged from the cubicle to examine the fit.  Even before I had time to register my reflection in the mirror, the sales assistant gushed, “You look great.  The jacket fits you so well.  It’s my favourite this season and I wear mine all the time.”

I know she was trying to be helpful, but what I appreciate when I’m trying on new clothes is a few minutes of quiet so I can react to how something feels and looks.

Here’s my mental checklist to determine if something fits AND flatters me.  I won’t buy anything unless it fulfills both sets of criteria. I know my list looks a bit OCD, but I have saved a lot of money this way by not buying things that don’t measure up.

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Does this go with that?

It’s wonderful to apply high-school knowledge to real life.  I’m glad I stayed awake in my art class when my teacher droned on about colour theory.  (To this day, I still need to think through my tints and shades though.)

Colour theory can be complex to understand.  But here’s my take.  I use electricity even though I don’t understand it. You too can use colour theory to create knock-out clothing combinations to reflect your mood and to inject some zest into your wardrobe.

On your right is a colour wheel – your menu for understanding how colours work together.

I’m not going to cover how some colours may look better on you because of your skin, eye and hair colour.  You can read more on colour analysis here.

Let’s just focus on how you can reach in to your wardrobe, pull out some items to create memorable outfits.

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Let’s go shopping in your wardrobe.

What’s your first reaction when you think you’ve got nothing to wear? Go shopping at lunchtime, fingers crossed that you’ll see the one thing that will solve all your sartorial problems? Only to feel buyers’ remorse by the time you’re back at your desk?

Have you ever considered a more relaxed and potentially awesomely satisfying experience of shopping in your wardrobe?

I love showing ladies how to go through their wardrobes to recognise and use the clothes and accessories they already own.  You can create a whole range of outfits that you’ve never dreamed of before simply by playing in your wardrobe. This is great skill that will save money and teach you to appreciate what you have.  It’s also a delightful way to crank up those creative juices to assemble outfits that are unique to you.

All you need is bit of time, open-mindedess and the willingness to take some risks.

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Is a personal shopper worth the money?

A couple hundred bucks (industry rates range from $75-$150 an hour) is a lot of money for “advice”.  Is it a good investment when you can go shopping with a friend and put the money towards your new purchases?

I get asked this question all the time and thought I’d explain some facts so you can judge whether hiring a personal shopper for a few hours is going to be worthwhile for you.

Technically, personal shoppers fall into two categories – the in-store “personal shopper” and the independent “style consultant”. Each will provide a slightly different service.

In store personal shoppers

In-store personal shoppers will generally have more training than sales people on how to give style advice. They will provide a free service or charge a small fee redeemable against purchases.  They will have good knowledge about the labels they’re affiliated with and be able to save you time by pulling out the items that suit you and your needs. They can also offer advice on how to accessorise or wear your purchase differently.

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Create the impression you want

I’ve worked in Asia and the US and in comparison, the workplace dress code in Australia is relaxed and casual.  Unless you work in a major city in “professional” industries where a suit is still the norm, getting dressed for work each day can be a headache.  How can you create an outfit that is professional, appropriate, comfortable yet injected with your personality?

A good place to start is to understand the impression you want to create on your clients, your colleagues and your boss.  What’s more important to you ? Projecting credibility, authority and generating respect for your expertise?  Or do you prefer to come across as approachable, friendly, collegiate?  To understand how to project your “brand” you need to know what your brand is first.  Clothing, body language and interpersonal skills  are merely tools to communicate what’s inside outside.

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Find your personal fashion style

via simplylulustyle.com

How would you describe your personal fashion style?  Classic, romantic, sporty, bohemian?  Or a cross between one or two of those categories with your unique spin?  In this digital age, there is plenty of  fashion inspiration to help you put together your look.

When I was sixteen, I used to wait impatiently for my monthly edition of Seventeen to arrive (a month out of date by the time I received it by sea-mail).  My friends and I used to drool over the clothes, dog earring the pages to replicate cool outfits.   Fast forward a few years and I’m proud to realise I’ve changed and maybe grown up a bit.  I don’t buy fashion magazines anymore (just when I can write them off as work expenses) because high fashion just doesn’t jive with my practical, busy lifestyle.  I can’t connect with those perfect models who’ve spent hours in makeup and hair only to emerge like plastic mannequins wearing stilettos on the beach.  I can’t connect with them because while they look chic and well put together, their clothes are devoid of any of their personality.

What rocks my fashion boat now is blogs.  I love getting inspired by street fashion photos and by blogs written by women all around the world who love expressing themselves through their clothes.  That’s what I connect with.  Not the idealistic perfection and professional styling, but with the personality, energy, spontaneity and sense of fun that comes through what they wear as they go about their lives.  Even though I work as a professional personal stylist, I remind myself and some of my clients that it’s wonderful to be able to show off your personality and creativity through clothes; at the end of the day however, we’re here to enjoy life not to obsess how to dress for it.

And that’s why I chose this beautiful photo from www.simplylulustyle.com  for this blog. I don’t know LuLu at all, but  came across her photo in pinterest and it struck a cord with me.    She looks so content, relaxed and carefree.  I noticed that in her first, before her outfit (which by the way is simple and amazingly chic).  And that’s what clothes should do for: they communicate and enhance what we have inside, outside.