7 Fashion Tips from a Sydney Fashion Stylist

As a Sydney fashion stylist who works with busy, professional women, I’m often asked for simple, quick ways to lift an outfit or to make my clients feel more attractive. Here are my top seven ideas.

sydney fashion stylist, personal style, how to wear

1.  Strategically position your focal point

Every memorable outfit has a focal point that attracts the eye and holds interest.  A focal point can be a design element, a bright colour or interesting texture. Choose whichever element you prefer and place it on an area that you’re happy to accentuate. Be careful of having competing focal points e.g. too many colours or big earrings and a big necklace because it may jar and overpower you.

2.  Showcase your assets

Honour your body and work with the shape you currently have.  I know every woman has at least one part of their body that they love and don’t mind showing off. It may be your décolleté, arms or legs.  Show those areas off by drawing attention to them.  For every part you camouflage, you need to reveal or accentuate another part. This gives your body and your outfit definition.

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What’s your personal fashion style?

I was recently admiring the Archibald Prize entries at the Art Gallery of New South Wales when I overhead two art enthusiasts talk about the portraits. I heard “tautology of choice….dichotomy of subject matter”, but didn’t have a clue what they meant.   I don’t know much about what I like in art, but I recognise what I like when I see it.  I suppose this is similar to how some of my clients feel when I ask them to describe their fashion style.

Every woman has inborn style and an eye for what she likes though she may not have the words to describe her preferences.  Once she develops a small vocabulary about clothes, not only will she be able to describe what she likes, she’ll be able to judge if something suits her or not.

Here are five criteria commonly used to describe clothes. They come in really handy when you’re editing your wardrobe or going shopping.  Once you know how these five words apply to you, you’ll only buy things you love that suit your personality and style.

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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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Become a Savvy Shopper

I did my bit to support the retail economy of Las Vegas, Nevada last week.  The whole family spent a day at the Premium Outlets in the North (a 30 minute bus ride/15 minute taxi ride) from the Strip.  I had loads of fun and I think we got some real bargains for everyone in the family.

My clients who are planning trips to the US often ask me about shopping in the factory outlets.

  • Are the discounts worth the special trip (many are located outside the city metro areas so you need transport)?
  • Is the quality decent?  Is the range current?
  • Are things laid out well?
  • What are the return policies?

I thought I’d share with you our recent experience so you can judge if outlet shopping is for you.   (The nearest American Premium Outlet is in Honolulu.  We’ve also been to the outlets in Hong Kong which are set up a bit differently.  Be prepared to still pay a lot of money for discounted luxury branded goods in Hong Kong!)

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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.