Personally I could never be a fashion victim – far too much hassle. I don’t have a bottomless purse to be able to pay for the regular wardrobe changes either. Whilst the charity shops might do well out of this constant revamping – I for one have much more important things to be doing than constantly going through my clothing to decide which items are past their sell by date.
The answer to the conundrum of wanting to consistently look good has always been to a develop a keen understanding of self, personal lifestyle and body shape. Clothes for me have to be designed fit for purpose regardless of whether it is to protect me from the brambles in the garden, keeping me dry or aiding my endeavours to look sexy and gorgeous. It is not about trying to look like I belong to some club or social class.
When it comes posh frocks for special events, again, the clothes have to be fit for purpose. I like an evening outfit to cover up the lumps and bumps that are not so attractive, reveal bits I am most willing to flaunt, and allow me to sit, walk and dance comfortably without having to faff around with things not sitting right. When it comes to dinner parties I may not resemble a trough-scoffing pig but I do at least like to be able to enjoy a decent meal without finding my gut unreasonably restricted. Oh yes, call me old fashioned if you like but I do prefer the rude bits to remain contained within the said garment without fear of anything popping out at inopportune moments. If I find a style that answers all these needs then I will not hesitate to lay claim to it immediately.
The trouble with fashion is that not every season will cater for every woman’s needs. We may as well say that body shapes come in and out of fashion as easily as do clothes. Garments from many high street shops are deceptively cheap as they are not designed to last. So we are still forced into replacing items in our wardrobes every year because things are not as good as they used to be.
In our business, it is not unusual for a customer to bring an outfit they bought some 10, 15 or even 20 years ago wanting us to look at it to see if a new accompanying piece can be made to go with it. It is either that or the years have changed their body shape and they need their outfits altered so that they can continue enjoying them. Our things do not go out of fashion nor do they have a use by date when they self destruct. We have several styles which have stood the test of time being just as popular now as they were 15 or more years ago – as they were then or with variations.
So if I am asked for advice about buying clothes, then I as the great fashion guru that I am (cough!) will always say learn to understand what looks good for your body shape, try different things even if the fabrics are not what you would go for to see how effective they are visually and always go for comfort. Get to know your colouring too. Every once in a while, test out new colour schemes even if you do feel safe in black and always black, try on in a completely different tone – you may be surprised.
Shop in places that you can afford, and if you are on a budget but are an appreciator of the more expensive work of art then get clever about buying less expensive basics and dress them up with extra special accessories, or beautiful one off items that make your whole outfit sing. Put your money into a few select items that will last many years, and can be worn in a variety of ways at various events. Choose well and you will almost certainly get your money’s worth.
The most important bit of advice that I can offer is follow your heart. If you find a piece that is exceptionally special – never to be repeated again and you really really want it, then go for it. Special artists who create unique works of art are not machines – once that piece is gone it has gone forever.