Last Wednesday was a very wet and miserable one, but far from letting the weather get me down I managed to do something that kept me warm and lifted my spirits… I handed myself over to the mercy of Candice Ilic from With-Style who helped me to do something long overdue… together we set aside a few hours to tackle my wardrobe and give it the sort out and spring clean it was so desperately in need of!
I have met Candice a few times at some of the informative talks she gives on wardrobe planning and buying for your body (not the exact topics, but you get the idea) She is a seriously talented lady with a amazing eye for style that her years as an international model and boutique shoe store owner have honed to perfection. I have always really enjoyed listening to her hints and tips on dressing “with style” and managed to walk away with some new ideas each time but I knew what I really needed was for her to come in to my space and give me the honest truth about my fashion choices…. where I was doing well and where I was failing dismally.
When it comes to shopping I have a bit of a hit and miss approach. For instance, at the start of this winter I knew I needed warm jerseys so I hit the shops and within a few minutes found 4 I liked at Woolies and went home with 3 cowl neck, charcoal jerseys in slightly different textures, and one blue one! I tend to do blitzes so I’ll buy 3 pairs of shoes or tops at the same time in the same style and then I get home and I can’t quite seem to work out how to pair these new items into a decent outfit – let alone a few options which is one of the basic rules of wardrobe planning!
I will be honest and say that one of the things that delayed me setting up a date for this “wardrobe intervention” was the embarrassment of having to expose my fashion failures and “dirty laundry” to someone with far more style than I… but I knew if I was going to make any progression on the road to fashion success it would mean revealing these scary secrets, admitting defeat in this area and handing over the reins to someone more experience than I.
Before she arrived I decided that I would trust Candice completely with my style makeover and give her control over which clothes could stay and which could go… And I’m so glad I did. I don’t think that this type of exercise can work as well if you are still hanging onto the things that should be tossed out or unwilling to let her have her say!
Systematically we went through each section of my cupboard – pants, skirts, dresses, shirts, tops, jerseys, formal dresses, shoes, even jewellery and accessories such as scarves. Fortunately I had done a bit of a purge myself only a few months back which made things slightly easier but I was still amazed at the donation pile we made! I tried on almost every item for Candice to give me her honest opinion on and it was so helpful. Not only did she tell me exactly what items needed to go, she also helped me to know which ones I could alter slightly to better suit my body eg. shorten skirts and sleeves or add darts and adjust shoulders. I ended up with a pile of clothes I love but that don’t quite suit me which I will now take to her tailor for alterations giving me a host of new ways to wear my own clothes!
Once we had gone through every item in my wardrobe (yes, even pyjamas!) and packed the remaining items back into the cupboards in colour sequence, she set about giving me a comprehensive list of what items I need to look out for when next in the shops…. these suggestions included a new pair of skinny jeans (we tossed out 3 pairs that were too big! WOOHOO), a few pairs of chino style pants, a denim shirt, some coloured vests and motif t-shirts, more geometric/ printed scarves, and a few “investments” buys of a structured black leather bag and a small leather jacket in blonde. I’m now more aware of where the holes are in my wardrobe which will make future shopping excursions more focused and far less stressful!
After this step it was time to work with what was still left… Candice very skilfully selected the key items in my cupboard – mostly jackets as it’s winter – and then worked a few new outfit options for each item by interchanging different tops and pants and always using accessories to finish off the look. I made sure to photograph each new combination to be able to quickly remind myself of these new-to-me looks next time I’m in a rush to get ready for the day. What was so helpful was seeing the process she went through to identify new outfit combinations and I definitely feel more confident that I could possibly do something similar in the future!
Some of the top tips I came away with….
Less is more – having too many clothes can stunt your creativity as you’re not forced to think of new combination
You can never have enough scarves – I have LOADS but Candice still added them to my shopping list!
Identify your body shape/ frame and complexion as these elements will influence what suits you more than the scale – for example I have strong shoulders… who knew… so need to avoid too much shoulder detail
Wearing belts with jeans is NB as it helps them to keep their shape (eg. no sagging knees)
Tailoring items to your body can give them a whole new look, and this is an inexpensive way to update your wardrobe
My style is pretty classic but that doesn’t mean I must avoid pattern, colour and bling – I definitely need more “interesting” things in my wardrobe such as t-shirts, vests, pumps, blouses, cardigans and scarves!
Sometimes you just need to “let go” – be that old bridesmaids dresses, the outfit you met your husband in or jewellery you got as a teenager!
I had such an amazing time and even though the process was quite long I really enjoyed myself and felt refreshed and inspired at the end of the time with Candice. Now that I can see “the wood for the trees” and only have items in my wardrobe that I know look good on me I feel far more excited about getting dressed in the mornings and using my clothes to express my creativity. I’m so looking forward to building onto this great foundation and hitting the shops soon! Thank you Candice for your patience and guidance in helping me to discover my style and pointing me in the right direction on the road to fashion fabulosity!
I highly recommend Candice, a mom of 3 herself, to give you guidance to discover YOUR personal style! First impressions count, so make a positive statement and be remembered. With-Style is passionate about helping you to discover your ‘best you’ by helping you to organize your wardrobe and draw up a shopping plan that will boost your confidence and add value to your wardrobe, all within your budget. Your wardrobe will no longer be clogged up with items you never wear, but will become a fully functioning wardrobe that you can continue to build on each season!
Disclaimer: My wardrobe consultation with Candice from With Style was complementary in exchange for this blog post!
Images: Kathryn Rossiter