Mar 11

Key Spring Pieces to Buy Now

helpful resources If you’re at all like me you are getting pretty desperate to get out of your winter clothes. No matter how much you love them in September, those knee-high boots, chunky knits, cosy hats, wool skirts, and funky scarves are starting to wear a little thin. If you’re anything like me you’re dying for colour and fewer layers and you’re really looking forward to sandals. You can’t wait to shop but, despite a really quite nice day yesterday (it reached like 4 degrees out there!) and a reasonable forecast for the next week or so, it’s still pretty cold out there, it’s wet and there’s still tons of snow. It’s really early to put away all those winter clothes and shop in earnest – especially since stashing away your winter coat pretty much guarantees it’ll snow again! So what’s a girl to do???

http://corollafireandrescue.com/calendar/action~oneday/exact_date~1380513600/cat_ids~9/ Well, here’s a list of things you can buy now to wear now AND later when spring has really sprung. This is it, girlfriends – no-guilt shopping even though it’s too early to shop! 🙂

1. printed knit sweater – Choose a lightweight cotton or cashmere in fun colours. Pair it now with cropped pants and booties, short skirts and tights, or with your favourite faded jeans for a seasonally appropriate but brighter, lighter look. Later, mix it with long shorts, a chiffon skirt, a mini and flats or throw it casually over your shoulder for cooler evenings out.

2. shrunken boyfriend blazer – This is a style that should look like you borrowed it from your little brother. Make sure that it fits well through the shoulders but is snug through the body and lands just around the middle of your hips. For added style points pick one with a contrasting lining. Wear it now over a button-down, with jeans, and flats and later over little dresses, minis, flared faded denim or shorts.

3. denim – You have a lot of options here. Denim is hot for spring but wears well year round and is easy to incorporate into your winter wardrobe. For the newest feel, choose trouser jeans in dark denim, faded flares, a dress, a jumpsuit or an A-line skirt. Pencil skirts are also good but will be less comfortable to wear when the weather really heats up. Come on.. Dare to be the first to wear one of the new shapes.

4. suede skirt – Not only for winter anymore, leather and now suede have made the transition to spring. Choose a dress, short sleeve T, or an A-line skirt for the most up to the moment look. Pair them now with sweaters and jackets and wear them on their own in a few months. There’s a range of colours out there but they’ll look most spring-like in a pastel. I’m tempted by lavender or baby blue personally.

5. bucket bag – The new “It” shape for the season it’s a total no-brainer now.

6. boho white blouse – White blouses are the perfect complement to so many outfits and you probably own at least a few already. The newest ones are a little romantic, a little boho, and a whole lot soft and fluid. Look for lace detailing, soft fabric, and feminine accents and then pair it with classic pieces for a subtle take on boho. Later on, combine one with a maxi skirt and sandals for the perfect summer outfit.

7. cool sneakers – The athletic vibe is still going strong. Add a kick of colour to your end of season wardrobe with a funky pair of sneakers. Choose a pair that’s slightly retro and don’t be afraid to go for bold colours (or personalize your own online for a truly original pair). Wear them now with menswear inspired pieces for a cool take on the suit, or with a full skirt and a sweatshirt on the weekend. Later, combine them with short skirts, tennis inspired dresses, shorts, and cropped fitted pants. Do not, however, wear them with sweatpants or yoga pants – unless, of course, you’re actually going to the gym.

8. culottes – I told you last fall these would stick around and I wasn’t lying. They’ve actually grown on me over the last few months and I’m ready to give them a whirl. You should too – particularly if you’re fairly tall or are lucky enough to have long legs. Choose a pair that is fluid and has movement; avoid overly thick fabric which will, unavoidably, make you look heavier. Avoid prints as well, make sure that the pants fit well at the hips, are cut to the bottom of your calf muscle and be sure to show off your waist when you wear them to avoid becoming swallowed by your clothes. Then be sure to add heels. Right now, wear them with high heeled fitted boots, a fitted jacket and a blouse for a new suit look. Later, replace the boots with pointy-toed pumps or high heeled lace-up sandals and replace the jacket and blouse with a crop top, a fitted tank or tee, or a soft blouse.

 

 

 

Feb 28

Neat Trick – Save Your Boots

As the snow will soon (I hope!) melt and winter boots will soon (again, I hope) need to be put away for the season here’s a cool trick to store your boots and help preserve them for next year. Once you’ve treated them (my favourite product is Mink Oil which helps clean, hydrate and protect your leather) insert cut up pool noodles from the dollar store into your boots to help maintain their shape. It’d work just as well for your knee high boots, and could totally stay in use year round, but is a really good idea when your boots won’t be worn for a while. Cheap, cheerful and effective!

Feb 07

early look at spring 2015

The more things change the more they stay the same. The early trend reports for spring 2015 are in and, again this season, you won’t be lacking for choice. There are multiple styles and influences to choose from, a range of colours to embrace, and skirt lengths to please one and all. So, what can you expect to see in the stores come March? Here’s a sneak peak:

1. Influences should range from military inspired, Asian influences, boho, and mod or seventies to the continuing sports trend. You can expect lots of earth tones and khakis in utilitarian shapes. Think boxy or military style jackets, lots of pockets and gold hardware + chunky sandals. Marc Jacobs even sent a $1095 clog down the runway – which I think I really want!!! If that doesn’t rock your boat, what about 70’s inspired looks from maxi dresses in wild patterns to patchwork motifs, suede skirts, bell bottoms and fringe? Pair these with this season’s IT bag shape – the bucket bag – and you’ll be ready for a trip back in time. Try these shapes in fanciful prints and earth tone for a modern take on boho – and the 70’s. Fun! Particularly if you didn’t wear it the first time around. Wanta go mod instead? You should be able to pick up a mini and a pair of stacked heel booties or shoes for a nod to the 60’s with a 21st century twist. You’ll also be able to try an Asian zen look with soft draped robe style dresses and tunics along with PJ pants in luxurious fabrics and vibrant prints. Finally, you can choose to embrace gym wear as street wear again this season. Sporty shapes and fabrics are likely to be all over the place. I’m particularly fond of Alexander Wang’s take on this but don’t discount classic brands like Lacoste for cool sportswear – and, of course, don’t forget to check out Stella McCartney for Adidas! There should be no getting bored.

2. Patterns and prints continue to dominate runways. Flower go pop-art this season in super bright colours and super-sized prints. Stripes also go bold. No matter whether they are horizontal, vertical or diagonal, stripes are big and colourful. They are particularly trendy if you pick one that incorporates a pop of accent colour for the new take on colour-blocking. Polk-a-dots are back as well. To stay modern and new wear them on fitted, sophisticated silhouettes like pencil skirts or try contrasting separates for an edgier look. Embroidered tops and tunics will also be hot. Keep the boho feel under control with sophisticated extras. Finally, go all-American with sweet gingham pieces in funky colours.

3. Colour is always in in the spring – and a very welcomed break from the sea of black we live with all winter long. This year, plan on wearing yellow, red, and pink.

4. The IT bag is suppose to be the bucket shape – which is casual and roomy. But you can also expect to see whimsical shapes such as the soccer ball Jean Paul Gaultier sent down the runway, fringe, and fanny packs. Yup.. that’s right – fanny packs. The ultimate hands-free option!

5. As far as shoes are concerned, chunky sandals will still be with us. If you’re into Tevas and Birkenstocks you’ll be in sandal heaven. Think comfy and big but also think colourful. Gladiator sandals will be back again. Sneakers are still cool and lacing will still be big. Platforms will, of course, also be in since it’s hard to embrace the 70’s without a good platform. This should be a comfortable season if nothing else!

So as the snow continues to fall outside, you can start dreaming about new skirts, and dresses, and ugly sandals – cause when spring does come you need to be ready!

Feb 01

How to Buy a Great Jacket

A great fitting blazer is a wardrobe staple and can make all your clothes look more professional and grown up. It projects confidence and strength and adds polish to girly or casual pieces.

But how do you find the perfect one? The trick is to shop smart and find one that flatters your shape while staying in budget. The key is in the details so consider your options carefully.

Your jacket should fit you perfectly through the shoulders with the jacket shoulders sitting on yours with no overhang. Other areas of the jacket can probably be altered to fit so go up a size if need be. Consider the amount of padding in the shoulders. If you have narrow shoulders, padding is your friend. Otherwise, look for less padding to avoid looking like a football player.

Your jacket should be lined – particularly if it’s wool. It allows it to slide over your other clothes and helps it hang properly. Chanel even incorporates a small chain in the hem of all their jackets to help them hang even better. Look at your lining. It should be finished almost as beautifully as the outside of the jacket. There should be no fraying on any seams. Many quality jackets will have ribbon covering every seam (note that this will make alterations more expensive). A contrasting lining (in a bright colour or print) is a nice touch. Cotton jackets are rarely lined which makes them much cheaper and easier to clean as well (plus less warm so a great summer option). The cotton should feel nice to the touch though and shouldn’t look shiny (particularly navies and black) as that will make it look cheap. The seams should still be finished nicely on the inside.

The lapels should be proportional to your body size. Wider lapels add volume and can overwhelm petites but can create curves on boyish shapes. Try various styles before you settle.

The position of the buttons is important. If you are busty, you want the buttons to do up quite high to flatter your girls. There should be no pulling at the bust or across the back when the jacket is done up. That said, it should still hang close to your body when worn open. If you’re never going to button it, it’s OK to get one that’s a tad too tight when buttoned up but it shouldn’t be so tight that it looks too small. Even open the jacket should look like it would do up easily.

The length of the sleeves is also important. The standard full length sleeve should hit just where your hand meets your wrist. Too long and your arms will look short, too short and you’ll look like you’ve grown out of it or like you wearing someone else’s jacket. An easy solution to avoid tailoring costs – roll up the sleeves (added bonus: it adds a touch of careless elegance and allows you to show off the lining of the jacket as well). There are, however, other sleeve lengths that you can choose. Bracelet length sleeves end a few inches above the wrist (the idea being that it will show off your bracelets or the cuff of your sleeves). It can be beautiful with a crisp white shirt underneath or with a gorgeous cuff bracelet but it can also look like your sleeve is too short so be sure that it is short enough to look like it was intended rather than a mistake. 3/4 length sleeves (or elbow length) will end just below your elbow. In terms of shorter sleeves, this is my favourite length because it’s easy to layer and always looks intentional. Short sleeves or sleeveless jackets are also available. Sleeveless ones were super trendy this year. Truth be told, though, they are a little hard to wear as you really need the perfect layering piece for them to work so I’d recommend skipping these unless you’re shopping for a summer jacket.

There are a number of styles to choose from when shopping jackets. Knowing what the basic options are will allow you to narrow down your choices more easily. Boxy cut jackets fall straight from the shoulders and are either hip length or shorter. Avoid these if you are curvy as they will hide your waist and make you look heavier than you are. The most universally flattering style is a fitted one-button jacket with medium-width lapels that falls just below the hips. Shorter women should choose shorter jackets. A fitted style that sits just on at hip length will be the most versatile style and will work with jeans as well as over dresses. You can also choose a boyfriend style blazer. These are longer and straighter and look a little like a men’s blazer. Do not, however, buy a men’s one – even in a small size. Women’s versions are more fitted and curvier than men’s. This is the trendiest style right now and can be a very cool layering piece. It is, however, less dressy than a more fitted option. Finally, you could opt for a tuxedo jacket. These can be very short (cropped above the waist), waist-length, hip length or fall to just below your hips. Generally, they will have rounded or sharply defined lapels – often in a contrasting fabric like satin or leather. They can also be longer in the back than in the front (simulating the idea of formal tails). Tuxedo jackets are fun and are easy to dress up. They also play on the menswear trend and tend to be a sexier options.

In terms of colour, black is a no-brainer and will go with almost anything. But don’t overlook the practicality of navy, charcoal, or red. If you want a more fashionista look, choose one with a print or go for leather.

A good jacket really can be worth the investment so be picky and consider spending a bit more to get the perfect one.

Happy shopping!

Jan 23

Cool Trick

Who doesn’t hate a sweater full of pills? Yuk! Here’s an easy trick to get rid of them cheaply and easily. Use a disposable razor and shave those unsightly pills right off. I swear it works. I was desperate last week cause my favourite grey chunky knit looked ratty and the pill remover device I was convinced to buy sometime last year just doesn’t work. But you know what it’s like when you have an outfit in mind… So desperation ensued. I gave in and tried the razor. Totally works!!! Takes a little time but it’s super effective. My sweater looks brand new. The outfit was saved. no money was spent. And for a little while, all was well with the world! Amen.

Jan 07

New Year’s Resolutions

Hi there,

I’ve been a bad girl. I let life, commitment for my “day job”, the holidays and maybe a touch of the winter blues (yup! already! I’m in for a really tough season I think.) get to me and keep me from writing. I’m sorry!

But I’m back and I thought I’d share my resolutions – cause that’s the thing to do this time of year isn’t it? So here goes:

1. wear skirts even though it’s bloody cold (I have really cool new booties that deserve to shine!)

2. embrace the fact that Spanx are my new best friends (I hate A LOT over the holidays!) and maybe buy a few more pieces to complete my undergarment collection

3. wear colour – and hats! (I got a really cute tuque from Roots for Christmas that I wore like crazy on the ski hill but have yet to wear in the city.)

4. try not to go stir crazy before spring

Now I have to go layer up and brave the walk to the mall because I have lost my black gloves somewhere and it’s very definitely glove weather. Urgh! Wish me luck!

Oh! and happy new year.

Dec 09

The Pieces You Should Absolutely Own.

Some pieces flatter everyone. They are no-brainers because they will work for multiple situations and with all body types. Read on!

A button-down shirt. Choose one that is tailored for a sleek fit and easier layering. Look for a bit of Lycra for added comfort. Be sure it closes over your chest. If you’ve got a bigger chest stock up on clothing tape (Shopper’s carries it) to stop gaps from forming when you move. Alternatively, go up a size and make friends with a tailor who can custom fit your shirt for you. White is a classic choice and can be use to make funkier pieces office appropriate but you can also go with coloured ones to add a more feminine touch to classic business pieces. The ones from the Dresshirt by Marieclaire St John line (www.dresshirt.com) come with three inter-changeable collars that button on to your shirt. You can also shop for extra collars. They’re not cheap but it’s a really cool concept! You can also score some great ones in the men’s department – particularly if you’re going for a slightly over-sized look. I love that as a beach cover-up or with cut-off denim shorts or bermudas (for those of you heading south for the holidays).

High heel pumps are another classic that every woman should own. Obviously, black ones are a must. A thin heel makes the shoe sexier while a low vamp (part of the shoe on the top of your foot)  elongates the leg. A slightly rounded toe will up the comfort factor while pointy toes will make your legs look longer. In nude, they go with everything and make your legs look like they go on for miles. If choosing nude heels, match your skin colour as closely as possible for the most flattering look. If your wardrobe is classic and pretty conservative, consider indulging in a colourful or embellished pair to add drama to your existing outfits.

A fitted, hip length, V-neck cardigan flatters everyone and is a great layering piece. Choose one in a neutral colour to wear with everything or select a vibrant colour that will complement your existing wardrobe and use it to add a punch of colour to all your outfits. Wear it belted to define your waist, buttoned up for a classic look or open for more casual flair. Cashmere is my favourite because it looks and feels so luxurious but there are awesome options in cotton (which can work year round!) and wool blends that are gorgeous as well.

A sheath or faux wrap dress works on every body type. There is nothing easier than throwing on a dress when you need to look professional, confident and pulled together. Black is a classic but navy or charcoal are just as practical and more interesting – and easier to wear for most skin tones. A fit and flare dress is also universally flattering – and works well alone, layered with a blazer or sweater, or over a button down. Choose a knee-length style; it’s flattering on everyone (short enough to show off your leg but long enough to be classic), is the most versatile and is always appropriate.

While skinny jeans can be really sexy and boyfriends are totally comfy and funky, boot-cut jeans in a dark rinse are universally flattering and can go anywhere. These are the ones that are easy to dress up for the office and take out to meet his parents. Choose a pair that fits well through the hips and thighs with a high enough rise to stay put when you sit down. The wider the flare, the more you need height to pull it off – and the more they’ll reference the 70’s. To appear modern and make your legs look a mile long, go for a slight flare only and hem your jeans so they just skim the floor once you’re wearing shoes. If you wear both heels and flats with your jeans, consider buying two pairs to accommodate both lengths.

A blazer is the best way to make any outfit look pulled together and professional. A one-button style with medium width lapels will be flattering on most people. A boyfriend style that hits just past the hips will work on everyone. A fitted, hip length one will be the most versatile style. Pay attention to how it fits when it’s buttoned up. It should be snug but not tight and it should not pull across the chest or shoulders. Worn open it should still fit closely to your body and not hang awkwardly in the back. Sleeves should come down to just past your wrist. If they’re too long get them shortened or wear them rolled up. Pay attention to the placement of buttons and pockets as well as the width of lapels. These can emphasize or play down curves so try on a few styles to find the perfect one – even if you have to pay a little more to find a winner. It’s an investment piece that’s sure to be worth it.

If you’re missing some of these basics you can totally justify a shopping trip. Yeah you!

Dec 01

Finding a Flattering Winter Coat

Winter coats are expensive items and, generally, you can expect to live with your purchase for quite a while so it’s important to find one that is flattering as well as stylish and warm. Here are a few helpful tips.

There are three basic kind of dress coats you can choose from – single breasted (no overlap in the front), double breasted (front of the coat overlaps and there are generally two rows of buttons) and wrap (no button). Any of these can work on you – just look for the right details to flatter your body shape.

Wrap coats are totally trendy right now. Last season they were over-sized and often shown in pastels. This season, they’re less bulky. This is a comfy style but can overwhelm smaller physiques if it doesn’t fit well. If you’re petite, make sure the coat fits at the shoulder and isn’t too long. If you’re pear shaped, choose wider lapels to draw the eye up and balance your lower half. Choosing pockets that are slightly diagonal or have pocket flaps can help slim or define hips to camouflage or create curves. If your shoulders are wider, look for smaller lapels to visually narrow your upper half and if you’re curvy, then look for a coat with a sleek shape that fits close to the body to make the most of your body type.

Double-breasted coats are classic – particularly in navy, caramel or black. These can be a-lined, straight cut, or flared. An a-line shape will float away from the hips and flatter pear shapes. Straight cuts are most flattering if they’re hip length while flares can help create curves – particularly if the waist is defined. The placement and size of the buttons can help draw the eye upward and the shape and size of the collar and lapels can help visually lengthen the torso and broaden or narrow the shoulders. A high collar will draw the eye up; wider lapels draw attention to the upper body while narrow ones make your shoulders look narrower.

Single-breasted coats are also very classic. Again, use the placement of pockets, and details such as belts or seaming, to create or enhance curves. These coats are visually less bulky than the other two as the fabric doesn’t overlap and may be more flattering to women with bigger busts.

Colour is always a key factor when choosing a coat. When deciding on a colour for your investment coat, think about your winter boots, the purses you tend to use, and your winter wardrobe (especially the bottoms). Your coat should blend in and complement your clothes while flattering your colouring. Black is the default colour and is easy for a number of reasons. One, it won’t show dirt or stains nearly as quickly and, two, it’s slimming. For most people, it’s also hard to wear without the benefit of a summer tan. Easier to pull off is charcoal which is just as practical but more flattering. Navy and caramel are two other classic colour choices; they have the advantage of not being black while remaining practical and easy to accessorize. This year, bright colours and pastels are both trending and are a great way to add visual interest to your winter looks. Also, what better way to cheer up a cold and dreary winter’s day? If going with colour, choose one that works with your wardrobe and that you will be happy wearing for years to come. Reds, blues, and greens are all easy to wear and classic enough never to go out of style. Pink is very flattering and plays well off greys, browns and blacks. Orange is punchy and warm.

Once you’ve decided on the coat, you can choose your scarf, gloves, and hat to complement it. Don’t think matchy matchy. Rather think about colours and textures that work together. If your coat is wool, consider leather gloves. On the other hand, accessorize leather with wool to add some texture and interest. A chunky knit scarf , colourful gloves, a tuque or combat boots can all help funk up a classic coat, while a beautiful textured scarf or lay-like gloves can dress up more casual outerwear.

Once you’ve pulled the whole thing together you can look forward to heading out the door in the morning knowing that you are going to be warm and comfie and yet still look like the fashionista that you are. Happy coat season!

Oct 20

Making Your Bra Work For You

Bras, underwear and shape-wear are called foundation garments for a reason. The right ones can make you look and feel great. The wrong ones won’t do anything for your shape. As we get older, we often need more help from our foundation garments than we use to; might as well embrace them and make them your friend. The most common mistake women make is to wear the wrong bra size; in fact, some industry specialists claim most women do.

To know if you’re one of them, you simply need to look for these simple clues. If your bra straps often slip off your shoulder, or the band rises up in the back, or the bra doesn’t sit flat on your breast bone, or your boobs overflow the cups in front or on the side, then your bra doesn’t fit you right. And just because you got sized years ago, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it again. According to bra fitters, your size changes as you age even if your weight stays the same. And, not to worry you needlessly, but the shape of your breast changes as well. That’s gravity for you. Luckily there is help!

You can get a bra fitting at most lingerie stores. I got fitted for a strapless bra at La Senza the last time and I was actually quite impressed by how knowledgeable and helpful the salesgirl was. And the bra fits great! But you can also do it yourself. To figure out your size, measure around your rib cage, right under your boobs. Be sure the tape fits snugly and lies flat and straight across your back. This number will be the band size. The band does most of the work in giving you boost and supporting your breasts so it needs to be snug without digging in. When you buy a new bra you should be hooking it up on the last set of hooks because it will stretch as it ages. To figure out the cup size you need to measure across the fullest part of your boobs. Some specialists recommend doing that while bending forward as it’s the easiest way to make sure you’re measuring at the right spot.  Either way, once you have that number you need to compare it with the band size measurement you’ve just taken. A 1″ difference means you’re an A cup, 2″ a B, 3″ a C and so on. Because sizing changes between companies you are well advised to try on a size above and below to guarantee the best fit. And, FYI, going up a band size means that you can generally go down a cup size and vice versa. So, for example, a 36C and a 34D are basically the same thing.

Once you’ve figured out what size you wear, you need to figure out which bras you actually need in your foundation wardrobe. A basic T-shirt bra in nude is a must. These are especially designed to be invisible under tight fitting garments so they’re handy to have. And nude means you can wear it under white shirts and it won’t show. You also should own a racer back style for tanks or sleeveless blouses and dresses. There are different styles to choose from depending on what catches your fancy. A bralette, which is designed to poke out from under your clothes, is a nice add-on for low cut tanks or button-downs you like to leave open at the neck. They usually are cut high enough to be decent and are pretty enough to show off. Every woman should own a push up bra for when you want to blow his mind with your decolletage as well as a good strapless bra. Note that you might need to go down a size in a strapless to make sure it stays put comfortably.

Every one should also own a few pretty, colorful or sexy bras because what you wear under your clothes can really change how you feel about yourself. And the winter season, when we spend so much time in sweaters and heavy coats, is a great time to make yourself feel sexy and beautiful by sporting a stunner even if no one but you will see it. Invest in one that makes you smile. You deserve it.

Owning a convertible bra is also a good idea. Many go strapless and others will let you switch the straps to accommodate different necklines. Then there are specialty bras – ones that drop deep in the front to let you sport super low cut tops or dresses or wrap around your waist to let you wear backless numbers. If you wear those clothes you need those bras. Clear straps, while a good idea, are not the answer to difficult necklines. A comfy no wire option is nice for weekends or hanging out at home. And many doctors agree that, as you get older, sleeping with a bra that is comfortable but offers some support helps prevent sagging. If you work out, investing in a good sports bra is a must. No need to go for the uniboob look either. There are beautiful sports bras that will lift, separate and support plus are cool looking enough to let peak out under your tanks.

It doesn’t matter what size you are. There are companies out there who will dress your girls and make them look great. Check out specialty stores for the best selection – in both smaller and larger sizes.

Here’s to making your girls look as good as they can – no matter their size or age! Cheers all.

Oct 15

Getting the Most out of your Shopping Expedition

I saw a great post on Facebook today. It said: “Shopping with your husband is like hunting with the games keeper.” Tons of women had responded to say they agreed. And I have to say, I do too. Men, straight men at least, don’t tend to shop the same way we do. They don’t browse. They like to go straight for what they need, grab it and go. Women, in general, enjoy the looking almost as much as the buying. I certainly do!

But while I don’t think that shopping with your main squeeze is the way to go, I don’t necessarily see shopping with girlfriends as the best way to shop successfully either. The way I see it, there are two types of shopping. First, there’s shopping as a social activity. Secondly there’s shopping with a purpose. Going window shopping with a few friends is really fun but it is not necessarily conducive to the most productive shopping expedition. It’s easy to get distracted, you get drawn into shops that you can’t necessarily afford or that don’t carry the stuff you need to be looking for, and, because it’s a social thing, it’s much too easy to get carried away and buy things you don’t really need – or even want.

I shop best when I shop alone. I begin by going through my closets and making a list of needs and wants before I ever hit a store. Rather than attempting to find all my stuff in one day I schedule multiple shorter shopping trips to all my favourite retailers. As I browse, I not only look for things on my list but also check out displays and how the salesgirls are dressed for inspiration – and in case I see something that is just too good to pass up. I keep an open mind – but I also don’t go into stores I can’t afford or try on things that really aren’t on my list. I don’t shop outfits. Rather, I shop pieces and colours that will complement what I already own. If I cannot return an item for a full refund I never buy unless I’m sure it works on me – and unless I can think of at least three outfits I could wear it with. If I can return it, then I might take home an item I’m not a hundred percent sure about so I can sleep on it. I also don’t buy anything that doesn’t fit me now – unless it can be tailored and I am prepared to take it to a tailor and fork over the cash that that will cost. When you shop on your own, you have to learn to trust your instinct about what works on you. Beware of compliments from shop girls. Generally speaking, they are paid to flatter you – particularly if they work on commission. (Compliments from random strangers in the change room though can be taken at face value – and go ahead and buy that piece. It’s obviously good!) Also beware of change room mirrors that make you look ten pounds lighter than you were this morning. Shopping does not, unfortunately, burn that many calories!

Shopping with one friend (particularly one you trust to tell you the truth) can make the whole experience more fun. However, you both have to be on the same wavelength. Unless she understands what you’re after and what your style is she cannot give you good advice. That being said, she can tell you honestly whether those new jeans you’re considering make your butt look fat – which is nothing to sneeze at! However, the process is the same. Never go out without a plan and then browse purposefully.