Styling ideas, Tips and Tricks

Savvy Sale Shopping

Sale time. Music to some people’s ears who will be singing all the way to their favourite store OR are you one to avoid the shops like the plague, one of many who simply can’t stand the scrummage and the mess at some retailers during sale season?

And not to mention that as consumers we’ve become very attuned to bargain-hunting and rightly or wrongly have come to expect regular sales throughout the year and not just at traditional sale times. Many retailers have been on sale since mid December and some since Black Friday, and after Christmas shopping and the endless month of January, it’s no wonder we might be feeling a bit jaded by the big red sale signs.

However it can also be a wise move for smart, decisive and shrewd consumers, especially if you’re on the lookout for more expensive items such as coats and leather shoes/boots – now is your time.  So before you go hot-footing it to the retail giants, here are my top tips to Savvy Sale Shopping;

1. Write a list of what you need/want. This helps you remain focussed when out shopping and less likely to come home with items you don’t really need. On my list were black flats with a wide sole, black chunky boots and a striped top – I got all three and nothing else (my 11yo daughter spent more than I did!)

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2. Set yourself a budget. A budget you can manage and feel comfortable with as we all hate that feeling of buyers regret and many retailers only offer exchange on sale goods so you won’t be able to get refunds if you’ve overspent on that green faux-fur jacket you may only wear once. Try and stick within your budget and work out where you are best to allocate that budget ie it’s wise to spend more on longer lasting items like shoes or coats which are essential and hard working parts of our wardrobe.

3. Consider local boutiques. If you’re lucky enough to live in a town where there are independent boutiques I implore you to support them whenever you can. Not only are their collections more unique than the big retailers but they will know their brands and fits intimately which can save you lots of hassle whilst also providing you with a unique service. Often their prices will be extremely competitive during sale season as many boutiques don’t have the luxury of large store rooms to keep unsold stock, so they’ll need to clear the way for new season arrivals. Independent boutiques also often run events, customer loyalty schemes, offer unique fashion and accessories and will know their customers really well. Use them or lose them!

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Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

4. Would pay full-price for it? When out shopping and you’ve found something you want to buy, think about if you’d be willing to pay full-price for it or if you’re only interested because of the reduced price. This will help you decide if you do really like/love it.

5. Plan an outfit. Think of three outfits you’ll wear it with using existing pieces from your wardrobe, is it going to compliment and work hard for you or is it going to be another top that sits at the bottom of your wardrobe gathering dust! Your list from point 1 should also help with this as hopefully you know what you want so you can be really focussed.

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6. Do you love it? If it’s just blah then save your money and the planet for another day. There is no point buying something simply because of the price. Be prepared to walk away.

7. Feel the magic! Sometimes, just sometimes you come across something wonderful that you fall in love with and just know is going to be a Wardrobe Hero for years to come and will give you that special smile every time you wear it. That smug, knowing smile that tells everyone how gorgeous you look and feel. And that is special and should not be ignored. I’m not saying hang all of the above advice, but I am saying allow yourself to have the freedom to fall in love…it might not happen this time and if not no worries there’ll be another day. I bought one of my most treasured items, a checked Joseph swing coat, on sale about eight years ago and it was a stretch for me even on sale but I simply adored it and it’s a classic, beautifully crafted item which I will love forever. Sometimes, just sometimes it’s worth pushing the boat out to feel the magic.

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Hope this has given you some food for thought and helped you to be more focused and buy items you’re going to love and get lots of wear out of, the next time you’re going sale shopping or in fact any shopping trip it will be useful for.  I would love to hear from you if you’ve found any fantastic beauties in the sales recently…

Until next time,

Abbey.

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Styling ideas, Tips and Tricks

Biker jacket vs Blazer!

The Biker jacket and blazer go head to head…

As you probably know by now, I love a biker jacket and often add one to an outfit to dress it down or biker-chic it up depending on what I’m wearing underneath, yet I have also always been a major fan of the trusty blazer and this autumn/winter they are really having a moment with some brilliant tuxedo options around.

The Biker Jacket

My biker jackets are all trusted friends of old and have been around the block a few times and still stood the test of time. One of my favourites is a 15 year old real leather tan biker my parents bought me and one of my recent acquisition is a pre-loved Betty Jackson animal print version I bought last year. This proves how useful they’ve been and showing you how cyclical fashion is – things usually have a habit of coming back round – look at the 90’s vibe going on right now!

There is pretty much no end to how you can wear a biker jacket – just try it with different outfits as a well-fitted biker can create a waist where there is none, interest to an otherwise every day look and sass to a formal outfit – why not wear over a cocktail dress and add ankle boots. Try it with elegant wide-leg trousers to balance out the proportions and dress-down a work-look – instantly taking you to the cocktail bar! A biker jacket also enables you to wear seasonal pieces out of season – think summer dress, autumn jumpsuit, an outfit you bought for a friend’s wedding – add a biker jacket to dress them down and sass them up and wear all year round. I am still wearing my summer white maxi skirt with a black biker jacket and a roll-neck to ‘winterize’ the look. Definitely getting the use out of that skirt!

Style is much more long-lasting and carries it’s own story so you can rest assured it’s worth the investment if you want to go down the leather route. There are brilliant PU and Vegan Lather options around as well, so there really is a jacket for your budget, your style and your story.

Here are a few of my current High Street favourites;

The Blazer

Blazers are so ‘in’ right now although in my opinion they never really went out. They’ve had a style upgrade and with the popularity of two-pieces there are some great options out there – you don’t just need to stick to black. You can add checks, stripes, prints or go for paler neutral colours to lighten up your look.

I own two black blazers, one more fitted and a looser longer version which always looks chic with skinnies and heels on a night out when I can’t decide what to wear! I picked up a navy Calvin Klein beauty from a charity shop, which is a stunning fit and really elegant and this year I bought and wore to Royal Ascot a white blazer from Mint Velvet which has had tons of use and I’m still wearing it now. This colourway has been a revelation and as a slightly longer style I’ve been able to wear it with maxi skirts and wide-leg trousers creating an elegant and feminine look.

Adding a blazer to a simple jeans and Breton striped top has become something of a staple look and why not – the addition of a blazer quickly upgrades this outfit to every day to chic but don’t forget about adding a blazer over a maxi skirt or a dress for a feminine and chic silhouette. A blazer also elevates a sports luxe trouser – getting you more use and comfort from your wardrobe and creating a style-forward look for work.

Play around with lengths and sizes – sometimes going up a size will mean you get more use out of it as you can layer up underneath as the winter gets colder. Over-sized doesn’t have to mean it makes you look ‘bigger’ or wider as long as the cut is flattering wearing it sized up can actually look elegant and effortless especially if you balance the proportions by wearing skinnies or fitted items underneath or adding a belt to create a contrast.

Here are a few of my current High Street favourites;

I’ve also created a style guide showing a few outfits of me wearing the same outfit except for the finishing touch of either a blazer or a biker jacket – see for yourself the difference each item makes and how you can upgrade or dress down many outfits ensuring your clothes work harder for you.

I am currently writing a Blog featuring these two iconic styles as part of my ‘Six Style Pieces Every Woman Should Own’ piece – so if you’d like to know more about how and why I think these are Wardrobe Essentials along with other essentials, follow me on social media and keep a look out for it coming soon. Or have a read of some of my previous blogs for Style Inspiration

See how many different looks you can create just by adding one of the above and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve created any new outfits…

Until next time – look and feel the best version of you!

Abbey xx

StoriesWithClothes

Would love to hear from you if you’d like to create a bespoke Shopping Experience to find the perfect Biker Jacket or Blazer, or if you’d like to Refresh and Revitalise your style have a look at my Services Page and get in touch. Look and feel the best version of you, everyday.

 

Styling ideas, Tips and Tricks

Get the party started…

Get the party started…

I’ve put together ten alternative going-out/party/Christmas/Boxing day looks showing how to incorporate sparkle in to a stylish, unique outfit which is really wearable and will you give you separates you can use again and again. I love a dress as much as the next person but seasonal purchases can end up being expensive one-offs that you don’t get much wear out of despite their loveliness! These outfits are ideal if you’re going somewhere lovely straight from work and/or want to make a nod to the festive spirit without going all out spangly jumpsuit.

There are only ten items of clothing, three pairs of shoes and one handbag used in these flatlays, and I’ve styled them in different way to create new outfits in each look, through layering, wearing loose or tucking in and you can up the style-chic by adding accessories such as a great pair of earrings.  All items are from the brand new Debenhams in Watford and I’ve listed and linked all items below to the website…

1. Sparkle skirt, faux-fur jacket and raspberry boots 20181112_120141

This outfit looks both elegant and chic and every piece would be so useful as part of a capsule wardrobe. The Principles knit is a lovely batwing style top (great fitting, see below for fit on me) and would look lovely with great jeans, the faux-fur jacket featured in this look for a weekend outfit or wear with a long camisole underneath with leather look leggings. The raspberry suede boots add colour and texture and again these would be a great addition to your wardrobe.

  • Sparkle pencil skirt Principles 45.00
  • Cream ribbed knit Principles 36.00
  • Faux fur jacket Wallis 69.00 (currently on sale 55.20!)
  • Raspberry boots Faith 49.00
  • Snakeskin Bag Carvela 59.00 (look how well this bag works with all the outfits)

20181112_1158312. Silk effect print top with sparkle trousers, same boots, same bag

This top is stunning with a beautiful blush background and striking print and would work equally well tucked into a leather skirt or worn loose over jeans at the weekend for an off-duty yet chic outfit.

The trousers are a jacquard print in bronze (also available in silver) although with the trends for earthy browns this winter I prefer the bronze. These would be a great work wear item paired with a classic white or cream blouse and great earrings.

  • Top Star by Julian Macdonald 45.00
  • Bronze jacquard sparkle trousers Wallis 38.00 (currently on sale at 33.20)
  • Raspberry boots Faith 49.00
  • Snakeskin Bag Carvela 59.00 (look how well this bag works with all the outfits)

3. Striped sparkle t-shirt, faux-fur jacket and plum jeans 20181112_121329

Sparkly yet casual, the contrast between the stripes and the faux-fur add interest and makes this a more everyday look if you added great ankle boots. I’ve put sparkly kitten heels with this to party it up and this little t-shirt would also look great with a leather skirt or worn casually with blue denim and a biker jacket.

  • Faux fur jacket Wallis 69.00 (currently on sale 55.20!)
  • Ombre sparkle heels Faith 25.00
  • Striped t-shirt Principles 16.00
  • Plum jeans Wallis 32.00

20181112_1212434. Blush pink shell top with sparkle skirt, raspberry heels & snakeskin bag

This look is timeless, chic, elegant and very wearable. Add the faux-fur coat for extra glam or a grey biker jacket to keep the tones together and add a bit of edge to the look. The raspberry suede heels add colour and texture. This top (great fitting, see below for fit on me) would be a great addition to many workwear wardrobes – tuck into a simple pencil skirt or with classic tailored black trousers and a blazer.

 

  • Blush pink shell top Jasper Conran 35.00 (currently on sale at half price 17.50!!)
  • Sparkle pencil skirt Principles 45.00
  • Snakeskin Bag Carvela 59.00 (look how well this bag works with all the outfits)
  • Raspberry heels Faith 35.00

5. Really easy sparkle outfit – perfect for a trip to the pub or Sunday lunch with the in-laws where you feel you’d like to make an effort but want to be comfortable. This is a super easy to wear top (great fitting, see below for fit on me) and will look great worn long or tucked into a leather pencil skirt or leather look leggings.

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  • Sparkle sweater Wallis 38.00
  • Snakeskin Bag Carvela 59.00 (look how well this bag works with all the outfits)
  • Ombre sparkle heels Faith 25.00
  • Plum jeans Wallis 32.00

 

 

 

 

20181112_1210256. This is definite wear to work then straight out look with the shirt/top combo and is an easy way to look the part for a night out. The ombre sparkle heels and snakeskin bag elevate the outfit to effortless chic.

Wallis shirt/top combo 30.00

Snakeskin Bag Carvela 59.00

Plum jeans Wallis 32.00

Ombre sparkle heels Faith 25.00

7. Biker chic

This is just a great outfit for going out anywhere whether it’s for meal out or a party and the jacquard sparkle trousers make this extra special (they are gorgeous in the flesh). A biker jacket is an essential part of any woman’s wardrobe and grey makes a great change to black and helps this outfit be a little softer. The pink shell top is lovely fabric and looks good on (great fitting, see below for fit on me).

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  • Blush pink shell top Jasper Conran 35.00 (currently on sale at half price 17.50!!)
  • Grey biker jacket (petite range) Wallis 59.00
  • Bronze jacquard sparkle trousers Wallis 38.00 (currently on sale at 33.20)
  • Raspberry boots Faith 49.00
  • Snakeskin Bag Carvela 59.00 (look how well this bag works with all the outfits)

 

 

20181112_1202408. Print blouse and sparkle skirt

This is such a chic look and I would complete this outfit by adding the faux-fur jacket for extra va-vav-voom. This blouse has such beautiful colours – look at that vivid green – wear with skinny black jeans for a date night or tuck into a sleek pencil skirt and add a grey blazer for an elegant office look.

 

 

9. Faux-fur and sparkle trousers  20181112_115433

This outfit is really refined and elegant, the bronze jacquard print trousers add a chic edge and would work equally well as a work look combined with a simple  cream shirt.

  • Cream ribbed knit Principles 36.00
  • Faux fur jacket Wallis 69.00 (currently on sale 55.20!)
  • Raspberry boots Faith 49.00
  • Bronze jacquard sparkle trousers Wallis 38.00 (currently on sale at 33.20)
  • Snakeskin Bag Carvela 59.00 (look how well this bag works with all the outfits)
  • 20181112_12083310. This is one of my favourite outfits as it looks effortlessly chic yet would be great for a night out with the girls or a perfect Boxing Day look. This would be a really useful knit for snuggly days with the plum jeans already used in earlier looks – just add the faux-fur jacket for winter chic.
  • Wallis knit 36.00
  • Sparkle pencil skirt Principles 45.00
  • Snakeskin Bag Carvela 59.00 (look how well this bag works with all the outfits)
  • Raspberry boots Faith 49.00

 

Hope you’ve enjoyed this feature on wearable sparkly looks; the outfits are still elegant yet you can incorporate each item with other pieces in your wardrobe to create new looks for work wear, nights out to weekend chic.

Let me know which outfit is your favourite?

Until next time,

Abbey.

Would love to hear from you if you’d like to create these looks just for you or if you just need a hand sorting out your wardrobe – a Wardrobe Revitalisation is one of the favourite services I offer as a personal stylist. Not only will I help cleanse your wardrobe, I will also create outfit ideas and highlight what new pieces would be a good addition to style up your look to help you look and feel the best version of you, everyday.

Here are the fits of three of the tops I’ve used in this blog…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Educatement, Styling ideas, Tips and Tricks

Getting the max out of a maxi skirt…

Maxi skirt’s are traditionally thought of as a summer essential but after the rise of the midi-skirt into a fashion bloggers favourite over the last few years the maxi skirt is the natural successor to this new wardrobe hero and with a huge array of fabrics, styles, prints and colours there is a style to suit every taste and budget. As winter beckons I’m going to show you how to incorporate a maxi and/or midi-skirt into your daily, and nightly outfits to achieve maximum style points with chic casual looks to striking occasion looks. Where possible I’ve added links and put in the stock/product codes to make shopping really simple.

  1. The perfect day to night skirt  You can wear sparkle during the day – it’s not just for Christmas! If you want to dress this down for a chic day look just add a chunky knit in a neutral tone like cream, white or black and either add trainers or boots. To make this a day-to-night piece add a silk camisole or lace top in gold or black, add heels or in this case gold pointed ankle boots, a classic biker jacket or go all out glam with a faux-fur jacket and add a sparkly clutch bag to complete the look – perfect for drinking cocktails with the girls! This skirt is by a beautiful boutique Danish brand called Culture which I stocked for many years in my boutique, they use great quality fabrics which was well and even better this skirt has an elasticated waistband and is true to size. If you are petite this waist-band folds neatly to shorten the length of the skirt.

Chic day look

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Necklace Accessorize 15.00 (5828418100)

Cream knit with button details Mint Velvet 89.00 (001014412)

Skirt Culture 59.00 – available in boutiques or online 

Bag Topshop 29.00 (24S44PGRY)

White & gold trainers Topshop 28.00 (42C19NWHT)

2) Night-owl outfit

Look 1 Maxi skirts

Earrings H&M  8.99  (0292453028)

Camisole in black Topshop 24.00  (13R26PBLK)

Skirt Culture 59.00 – available in boutiques or online 

Faux fur animal print jacket Warehouse 89.00  (32559)

Gold leather boots  Sosandar 95.00  (SS18FW07MC0017 )

3) Weekend day to night 

This outfit initially looks ‘dressy’ because of the jacquard print skirt which is stunning and could be a show-stopping occasion piece, but by adding similar tones and contrasting textures we can dress it down yet still look really stylish and glamorous. I think this would be a perfect look for an afternoon shopping with the girls and heading straight out for dinner and cocktails! You could wear this piece for a winter wedding by adding bronze heels and a cream fitted silk top with either a cropped jacket or a long tuxedo style blazer for added style points. Then wear it again for a family lunch out with a big fluffy cream knit and trainers – this way you’ll use it more and you’re able to create completely different looks with the same skirt.

 

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Earrings semi-precious H&M 17.99 (0677964001)

Cowl neck black camisole Lipsy via Next 20.00 L92-458

Jacquard print skirt Coast 179.00 (2092380)

Faux fur jacket H&M 69.99

Animal print trainers Mint Velvet 99.00 (14605)

4) Work outfit

A maxi skirt creates interest and impact as a work look, you just need the right accessories to compliment and enhance the look. I’ve chosen a gorgeous blue skirt from Next which has been specially designed to keep you at an even temperature, is machine washable, has pockets and is crease resistant making it a great travel piece. I’ve added a Next pussy bow blouse in white which can be tucked in to accentuate the waist and add definition and interest, and a classic Gucci handbag – a girl can dream! The earrings add a feminine touch and are from Accessorize. To keep it on-trend I’ve put an animal print boot in the mix although you could replace this with a simple nude heel if you work somewhere more traditional. Six favourite things (2).png

Earrings Accessorize 15.00

Boots Office 89.00

Skirt & Top Next 75.00

Handbag Gucci 1340.00

5) Weekend look

By contrasting the colours this creates a fun, casual look with pieces that can be used again, yet this outfit still looks chic and pulled together.

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Top Can’t remember where this little number came from but Next have a good range of pink knits and if I come across it I will let you know!

Bag New Look 25.99

Skirt Next 75.00

Earrings Topshop 16.50

Trainers Puma from Office 69.99

6. Colourful casual

Add colour and texture with this amazing Anthropologie skirt – all you need to complete the look is simple, neutral accessories to let the skirt have the limelight. This outfit will have you swooshing all day long and feeling ultra feminine, add a biker jacket if you don’t want to do too much girliness!

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Skirt Anthropologie 130.00

Cream knit with button details Mint Velvet 89.00 (001014412)

Trainers also Mint Velvet 89.00

7) Bright work look

Just by adding the tuxedo style blazer and boots this smartens up the look immediately.

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Tuxedo Blazer Sosandar 89.00

Boots Marks & Spencer’s 69.00

Skirt Anthropologie 130.00

You can see how versatile a maxi skirt is and if you find the full-length too much, if you’re petite for example, there are hundreds of great midi skirts to choose from to create new and stylish looks. Just remember with a maxi skirt it’s all to do with proportion so play around with tucking in sweaters/knitwear if you feel you have too much fabric. I love a maxi skirt as it’s great alternative to jeans as a weekend casual look and very easy to wear if you’re not feeling the skinny-jean mojo that day. I am still wearing my white maxi summer skirt and having fun with different layers and looks with trainers, boots and adding chunky knits as the weather gets colder.

Let me know which is your favourite look from the outfits above and whether you might dip your toe in and try a winter maxi skirt. And if you come across a great skirt give me a shout here or over on my social media pages…

Until next time,

Abbey.

Tips and Tricks

Planning a great outfit everyday

Most nights you will find me browsing through my wardrobe to create and plan my outfit for the following day. I usually select two to three outfits perhaps using the same base colours (normally black & white as this is my favourite combination!) which could be mixed and matched depending on how I feel and what I’m doing the following day.

I find doing this eliminates decision making in the mornings when time is at a premium and I have two small people and various furry pets to feed and get ready for the day as well as getting myself ready for work – all the usual myriad essentials that most households go through everyday!

Having a few outfits laid out and pre-planned right down to shoes, accessories and coat/jacket really helps as I’m able to get dressed, feel great and get on with my day . Another advantage to what has become an evening ritual is that I have more time, so when I look through my wardrobe I often find things I haven’t worn for ages and can add them to the mix to create a whole new look. It’s like getting new clothes without going shopping. Bonus!

When you plan ahead you also have the opportunity to eliminate potential problems in the morning…ie no clean tights when you wanted to wear that fantastic leather skirt, as the saying goes ‘Plan to succeed’. I tend to pick out pieces from my wardrobe, lay them on the bed in an artful mess then hang them on the back of my door so I can see it at eye level. You may have seen some of these images on my Instagram stories. It’s up to you how you create the looks and you may need to play around with how you prefer to do this…but persevere as it’s really worth it. Here’s a few looks I created a few weeks ago using the same pair of trousers as a base, let me know which is your favourite look?

I plan looks depending on how I feel, what the weather is doing as I hate being cold, where I’m going, who I’m seeing and importantly how far I have to walk (how on earth did I walk so far and so fast in huge heels in my 20’s??!) and of course what story I’m creating. Every outfits tells a story whether we like it or not and if you want to be in control of the narrative, then get planning.

Another advantage to pre-planning and getting to really know what’s in your wardrobe is learning where your style weaknesses are…ie if every time you put together an outfit you’re saying to yourself ‘This would look great if I had a biker jacket’ then add a biker jacket to your shopping list. Actually a great biker jacket is a #wardrobehero and every girl should own at least one…but that’s another blog entirely

See this as an investment in you – we all lead busy lives and often put ourselves at the bottom of a long ‘to do’ list and just shove on what’s close to hand or stick to our ‘safe’ outfits. Sometimes having a sort through our wardrobes is a great way to start this process and evaluate truly what works and what doesn’t and just getting rid of things you no longer wear or that don’t fit can be really liberating and also makes space for new items.

I’m not saying wearing stylish clothes/outfits will make you invincible or cure world poverty (if only) but a great outfit really helps to lift our mood, create a sense of empowerment and ownership of our own success and that can only be a good thing. So tell your style story and be the best and most beautiful version of you – you are totally worth it after all.

My top tips for planning outfits;

1) Think about what story you want to tell and what you will be doing the following day ie. Are you going to an interview, taking the kids out for the day, meeting friends for lunch – will you be sitting/standing/doing lots of walking etc? A bit of pre-planning can eliminate a lot of stress in the mornings.

2) Select two or three outfits to give you a choice according to the above – it helps to use similar colours as a base. Owning a few great quality basics will help – these will depend on your lifestyle/career and if you need help with working our what your key basics are drop me a line storieswithclothes@gmail.com or check out my services page…

3) Select accessories and shoes for both outfits inc jewellery, bag, jacket, hat, shoes and scarf (all are obviously not essential – just don’t forget them as accessories can elevate a simple outfit really easily) Make sure these also work in relation to point 1.

4) Enjoy the process and have fun with it – you will most likely find clothes you didn’t realise you had which you can incorporate into new outfits without spending any money. Win win!

Good luck and let me know how you get on with planning your outfits and what gems you unearth when you really look through your wardrobe.

Until next time,

Abbey xx

Get in touch with me if you’d like a hand sorting out your wardrobe – a Wardrobe Revitalisation is one of the favourite services I offer as a personal stylist – not only will I help cleanse your wardrobe, I will also create outfit ideas and highlight what new pieces would be a good addition to style up your look to help you look and feel the best version of you – storieswithclothes@gmail.com