Fashion is a strange beast… difficult to fathom, gentle at times and savage at others. Fashion begs the question… who is taming who?… Fashion sense or dress sense doesn’t come naturally to us all… wearing what we love, what suits us and what is à la mode is a skill, that in most cases is learned not intuitive.
I have always adored fashion and all that it entails… just one of those things… not because of any parental influence or circumstance… I was just a young girl with a love of pretty clothes. I spent all my pocket money, my teenage pennies and my first salary on fashion… Looking back it was probably not so prudent, but that was how it was. After I completed university I opened my own business… a fashion shop… at the time a dream come true… I was working and playing in my most favourite world… and that was my life until my three children demanded more of my attention than the frocks… I really enjoyed the rapport and the trust that I built up with my clients. Dressing, putting together outfits and their wardrobes was what I loved to do… I knew my clients, their personalities and their lifestyles… that is what made my business so rewarding… it was personal… personal for me and personal for them.
Today the shopping experience is different… In most major cities the boutique is few and far between and the sales assistants are far more interested in commission earning than individual service. For those who dress for practicality, rather than passion, it is a hard scene to navigate. Online shopping has now taken the world by storm… I like it and use the opportunity frequently… but the process can be daunting and unfamiliar. It will never replace lunch and a shop with a girlfriend, or a day out with your daughters… but it can sort your wardrobe out easily… once you get the hang of it.
I think of online shopping in the same way that I approach the department store. Different floors… different categories… I choose what I want and try it on in the dressing room… I select the items for consideration and place them in my basket… Once I have finished ‘shopping’, I edit just as I would in a dressing room. To be a successful online shopper, it is necessary to know sizes… to know the fit of the designers that you prefer … Returning, whether it is free or not, takes time… Getting the right size is imperative and generally, once a brand is familiar, the size will be true to form. Online shopping sites are easier to navigate now… those clunky manoeuvres and checkouts have become much more slick. The returns policies are very generous and besides, nothing beats trying on at home with your own accessories. Online sites are now sharing ‘look books’ and ‘style icons’ which means that we can see how to wear it, what goes with what… and in general we can get a feel for the season’s trends.
Putting ‘the look’ together is the tough part. Knowing what is available out there is only the half of it. Slim lining the options is the other. All the great fashionistas are brilliant editors…. for themselves and for others. The rejecting is far more gruelling than the buying. Superfluous choice is overwhelming and can leave you empty handed and despondent… How often have you left a boutique, a store or a website because the options are just too multitudinous? Then there is the ‘age’ consideration… interpreting the fashion mood, in a way that suits a stage in life, is a talent. I don’t wear what my daughters wear… yet I very much want to be fashionable.
It all comes down to ‘the edit’… like photography, it is having ‘the eye’… spotting that piece that is ‘you’, that will bring you up to date and make you feel fabulous not foolish…The editing is my favourite part of all… long practise and habit from my shop days… I might not be able to wear what I once could but that doesn’t mean I can’t look… Seeing what is fresh, what’s new… what I can recycle… and what I can’t live without.. that is the game… Once I have narrowed it down… then the fun begins.
Edit or editor? how do you ‘put it together’… xv
THE J.CREW EDIT
Double Cloth Symphony Coat… great in khaki or black… wear everywhere, anywhere and with everything… here
French stripes… with anything… here
The Biennial Hobo Handbag… I mentioned this before… Great value and so stylish… here
The best Turtleneck… black and camel… with jeans, with pants… or a skirt.. here
For the Weekend… I love a Duffle… here
To view the whole collection click here…