• Clothes Tips and Suggestions

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Clothes Tips and Suggestions

The best rule is to find your own personal style and don't be too obsessed with what's in fashion at one given moment. Only wear things that suit you and flatter your shape: just because you see an outfit that looks amazing on someone else it doesn't mean it will suit you as well!

Coats & Jackets

No matter what you're wearing underneath, your coat or jacket is the first thing people see: surely it makes sense to get it right.

Whilst the high street offers a massive range of different styles, practicality has to be the first thing you consider: is it going to keep you warm and dry? Can you wear bulky knits under it? Does it go with a lot? Will it wear well, or crease like mad? These are the questions you should be asking yourself when shopping for outerwear. Classic styles tend to look the best - there's a reason they're "timeless" after all.

When buying a coat

  • Check the lining - too baggy will begin to show at the hem, too tight will tear at points of strain.
  • Pay extra if you can afford to - quality fabric is essential, no matter where you get it from.
  • Remember you will often be wearing heavier clothing, so a roomy fit is essential.

For everyone, a traditional waterproof style is great - look for trench coats and macs, as they'll never date. Parkas look fantastic with jeans and boots, and a good quality one will keep you nice and warm. Be sure to never wear wool coats in the rain, as not only can it damage the fabric, but the damp can leave unpleasant odours. Remember, you can get most other fabrics waterproofed.

In the summer, lightweight coats and track jackets are a good alternative for rainy spells. Bright colours look particularly fantastic in the sunshine, and the thinner fabric will mean you can fold them away in your bag when you don't need them. Hoodies look cool under jackets and coats as a solution to tricky mid-season dressing.

Military styles always look really quirky - it's best to buy vintage and get the real thing as the high street is often very gimmicky. Band jackets with lots of frogging are eye-catching if you feel confident enough to wear them, but if not, there are loads of other options - long double-breasted coats, naval blazers and even tailcoats are widely available. Girls, look out for RAF jackets: the fit is incredible.

Leather jackets are probably the coolest thing a person can wear - bombers, blazers and biker-style ones are ideal. Try and buy genuine if you can, as it looks and feels so much better, and ages beautifully. Denim jackets phase in and out of popularity, but a mid-wash one will see you right no matter what the fashion pack are into. Just please, please don't wear it with jeans! Preppy blazers, smart suit jackets and tuxedos are always in style, and look best in jewel tones, black, white and grey. All of these will toughen up pretty dresses and skirts for girls, and make boys look pretty irresistible.

Tips for Women

  • Full-skirted coats give your look a dramatic edge.
  • Quirky details make a garment look more expensive.
  • Save white/cream coats for special occasions, or make friends with your dry-cleaner.

Tips for Men

  • A hooded duffle coat will last for years.
  • Layering a hoodie underneath coats not only keeps you warm, but looks great.
  • Flip up your collar for extra cool points.

Where to find the best outerwear

  • Karen Millen, AllSaints, Zara.
  • Gant, Ralph Lauren, Burberry Prorsum, Aquascutum - for preppy classics.
  • Vintage shops and TK Maxx.

Little Black Dresses (LBDs)

Every girl should have one - they're classics and will stand the test of time, plus you can dress them up for going out or pair them with boots and a t-shirt underneath for a more casual look. I'd say invest in one right now! Navy/ink-blue dresses also exude sophistication when paired with cream and grey. Take inspiration from the greats like Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly: they'll never go out of style.

If you like a bit of colour or are going to a party, then team a LBD with bright coloured tights or accessories (i.e. bag, waist belt, bracelets). The dark base will make the colours really pop.

LBDs on the high street
  • Topshop, French Connection, Miss Selfridge and River Island, for fashion-forward styles.
  • New Look, Primark and Matalan for inexpensive options.
  • Zara, Dorothy Perkins, Reiss and H&M for classics.

Hosiery

Tights can be great for adding interest to an outfit - whether a block colour, patterned, or lacy, there will be a pair out there to suit everyone. Ribbed styles look great in jewel tones for winter, and thick tights make short hemlines a lot more appropriate.

Leggings are a great layering piece, though it's widely recommended that they not be worn as trousers, as it's all a bit too revealing even if you have slim legs. Long tops and short dresses are the answer. Bright coloured ones make a statement, but should be paired down with neutral colours to avoid looking garish.

Top hosiery brands and sites
  • Wolford - expensive, but they last for years.
  • Falke
  • Jonathan Aston, for bright colours and great quality at reasonable prices.
  • American Apparel - stocks a great range of leggings to suit a multitude of tastes and budgets
  • Welovecolors.com - an American site with every colour you can think of.
  • Mytights.com
  • Tightsplease.com
  • High street: H&M, Next, Topshop

Jeans

Be you male or female, jeans are probably the most versatile garment you'll have in your wardrobe, as they can be casual or smart. If you don't own any, you definitely should!

Darker, indigo wash and over-dyed black jeans go better with the formal look, and are the most slimming. A flared/bootcut leg is flattering for most body shapes whilst slimmer styles give the look more of an edge. When you buy denim, you pay for the quality: the more you spend, the longer they'll last. Keep that in mind as you buy them. When trying them on, sit down in the fitting room for a few seconds and see how well they fit when you stand back up - that will give you an idea as to how they'll move throughout the day. It's always a good idea to bring a belt with you, and remember you can get denim altered. Any tailor worth their salt will be able to put the original hem back on, so you'd never know they've been done.

Aim to at least have a pair of medium blue and black jeans in your favourite cut. Afterwards, grey is a really nice alternative to black, and white jeans look great in the summer. Paler blue is perfect for casual wear, and a really bleached colour can look good if they're distressed enough. Try to avoid anything too 'gimmicky', as the trick to denim is making it look effortless. Darker blue jeans are said to flatter the fuller figure, however buy the right fit in light blue jeans and any colour can look good on anyone!

Good denim brands and shops
  • Levi's, Wrangler, Lee - the original is always best. Many vintage shops have good selections.
  • Diesel, Hugo Boss, 7 For All Mankind, True Religion, J Brand, All Saints.
  • Topshop/Topman, H&M, Zara, New Look - good quality, stylish denim from as little as £20.

Knitwear

Any British person will agree that knitwear is essential - there's nothing wrong with a bit of granny chic, after all. Hand-knitted is, of course, the best, but if you can't or don't know anyone who can, fear not!

The best wool by far has to be cashmere, but it can be expensive. Combinations of silk, angora and lamb's wool with cashmere are good alternatives, and you can often find these in Zara for insanely cheap prices. All Saints does really modern styles in beautiful fine knits, and any mens' section on the high street will have an array of jumpers and cardigans to choose from, even if you're female. Be sure to go during the sale, as it often goes for buttons.

However, you often find the best pieces in charity shops and secondhand/vintage boutiques, TK Maxx or eBay.

T-Shirts

Not splurging out on an expensive T-Shirt will save you in the long run; often prone to wear and tear, you are bound to get through a few. Bold colours and patterns make a statement and are obviously a lot more interesting than plain colours! You'll find them in any high-street store, or go vintage for a more individual look. You can also find some fantastic ones on eBay.

As basics, everyone should have at least one plain black and white t-shirt in their wardrobe as they are so versatile - try them on their own with jewellery, under cardigans, shirts and dresses, or over long-sleeves. Try Gap, Uniqlo and American Apparel (the latter being the most expensive, generally) for good quality basics.

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