Guest blog by fashion writer Elly Morris
Going from winter to warmer weather is the perfect time to change up your style. Instead of covering up with layers of warm clothing, you can experiment with different outfits and new ways of wearing the clothes you had forgotten about over the winter. So whether you’re on the beach or gazing at the sun out of your office window, here are some tips to help your summer wardrobe go the extra mile.
- Charity shops
If you’re fed up of everything on the high street, why not go to your local charity shop? If you’re not sure where to start, you can check out where your nearest shops are here: https://www.charityretail.org.uk/find-a-charity-shop/.
Some charity shops organise items by size, and others by colour. Whichever type you go to, make sure you search through everything they have on offer as there can be hidden gems in amongst what may look like racks of uninteresting clothes.
Keep an open mind as you search through the racks, and make sure you wear clothes that are easy to change as you try things on. A top tip is to pick up at least one ‘risky’ item every time you take clothes to try on – you never know what you might find.
The simplest of outfits can be changed with a well-placed accessory, but it can be difficult to know what to pair with which outfit. For the beginner accessoriser, a brooch or badge is a good starting point. Pin it onto a top you don’t mind getting holes in, and wait for the compliments to come in.
Ready for the next level? Try going for some jewellery. A chunky necklace, ear cuff or long pendant can be perfect for any gender.
Once you’re confident in your accessorising skills, there are no limits. Cinch in an old dress with a new belt, use a colourful bag to set off your monochrome outfit, or add a straw hat to make your outfit season-appropriate.
- Pare down your collection
One of the best things you can do to transform your style is to reduce the amount of clothes you have. If you’re searching in an overfull wardrobe, you’ll never be able to see what you’ve actually got in there.
A great way to declutter is to use the KonMari method: take everything out, then hold each item individually and ask yourself if it sparks joy in you. If it does, it gets put away. If it doesn’t, give it away or sell it. You can read more about this method here: http://makinglemonadeblog.com/10-steps-decluttering-your-closet-clothing-konmari-method/
Once you’ve decluttered, you will be able to easily see the gaps where you might need to pick up a new item of clothing, or a combination you had never even considered before.
- Do a style swap with a friend
Pic Tom-boi Clothing
A great way to discover an outfit you would never have thought of is to get someone else to think of it. Have a friend come over and pick you out an outfit (including accessories) from your own wardrobe. You’ll be surprised what they come up with!
Then, turn the tables and help your friend discover an outfit they never knew they had lurking in their wardrobe.
- Clothes swap party
These are becoming more and more popular. Whether you attend a commercial one or organise your own, clothes swaps are a great way to not only find new items for your wardrobe, but also to allow your old clothes to find new homes.
If you want to organise your own, all you need is a space where the clothes can be laid out: a dining table, clothes rails, or a large sofa. Provide a screen for people to change behind and you’re set! It’s up to you if you want to make it free to attend or have people pay a cost per item, which is a great way to raise some money for a charity close to your heart as well as rejuvenating your wardrobe.
- Introduce a new colour or pattern
Especially in the summer, a new colour will inject new life into your outfits. You can start small with this if it scares you; try some brightly-coloured socks, a red scarf, or a new pair of purple-framed sunglasses. Once you feel confident in these, you can move up to the bigger items such as skirts or shirts.
A great place to find colourful shirts is GFW Clothing – there are all manner of vibrant prints from kiwis to strawberries. It’s easy to pair these with what you already have in your wardrobe – a pair of black trousers and a smart jacket to dress it up, or casual denim to dress it down.
The important thing to remember is that this doesn’t just have to be in your clothes. Sure, a coral hat or some bright green trousers will turn heads, but so will a blue lipstick or a pink streak in your hair. Style isn’t all about clothes, and makeup, hair and jewellery are great ways to add colour into your life.
- People watch
Try sitting next to the window in a coffee shop and looking at people as they pass by. If you see an outfit you like the look of, take a quick note of it and use that to inform your next shop.
This works even better if you focus on people who have the same body shape as you. At GFW, shirts come designed for all body types, but if you’re looking on the high street or in charity shops you may not be so lucky. Look at how people wear different items of clothing – for example a shirt doesn’t have to button up, it can be tied at the waist or worn as a coverup over a sleeveless tee.
- Invest in some ‘housewear’
How long does it normally take you to change into more comfortable clothes when you arrive at home? If you’re anything like me, it’s anything from 10 to 15 seconds, but the problem is that often our comfortable clothes don’t make us feel very stylish.
Being comfortable in the clothes you wear is so important, and if you can find an outfit you feel relaxed and trendy in, you’ve hit the jackpot. Have a search for some loose-fitting clothes that you could walk to the shops in as well as lounging in front of the TV and you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes, especially if you have unexpected visitors.
- Dress from the inside out
What you wear on the outside is what people see when they look at you, but you won’t feel comfortable in it if you don’t have well-fitting underwear. For those with breasts, this means a well-fitted bra. Surveys suggest that 80% of bra-wearing people are wearing the wrong size. Check out this video for a comprehensive explanation of how to fit yourself for a bra and what to look for in a good fit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Jk55ep4XUQ
And as for the bottom half, make sure that whatever you wear, it is comfortable and breathable. Something that can be very freeing and rejuvenating is to throw away all your underwear and start again. If you can afford to do so, I highly recommend at least throwing out the uncomfortable or broken pairs of underwear and getting some good quality items to replace them.
- Don’t focus on sizes
Here’s a secret: those numbers sewn into your clothes? They don’t mean anything about the kind of person you are. It is possible to fit into a children’s jumper and some size 18 jeans in the same shop – believe me, I’ve done it. All that matters is how those clothes feel on you. And that's why GFW Clothing made their own unique sizing, once you know your GFW size every shirt will also fit exactly the same.
Alternatively, just add glitter. Glitter fixes everything.