A magnet on my fridge makes me smile every time I see it. A woman wearing a headscarf is holding the back of her hand to her brow in a gesture of despair. ‘I feel like such a failure!’ she cries. ‘I’ve been shopping for twenty years and still don’t have anything to wear!’
If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel exactly the same on a regular basis. Why is it so darned tough to know how to dress sometimes? And how can it be that a wardrobe crammed so full that you can hardly rifle through it can simultaneously hold so little of interest? You and your clothes have lost that loving feeling and dresses which used to make you all giggly and excited are now lying crumpled in a mess at the bottom of the wardrobe, probably tangled up with your shoes.
That’s exactly what happened to me this afternoon, Skint pals, as I pulled everything out of the wardrobe trying to find something for a night with some rarely-seen pals tonight. (By rarely seen, I mean that I don’t get to see them much, not that they’re usually invisible . . .)
Anyway, my trouble with clothes might be that I like them just a tiny bit too much. Many books about how to dress will tell you to hone one signature look and stick to it. They’ll urge you to work out your ‘style type’ – classic, preppy, grungy etc – then streamline your wardrobe to follow that code. I can’t. I find clothes too fascinating and varied ever to ever settle on just one style. From mini kilts to trilbies to vintage scarves to seventies flares I love clothes in all their incarnations. Sometimes however, it feels as if I’m drowning in them.
Indeed as Baby Skint napped this afternoon I found myself getting increasingly narked at my wardrobe. You know what it’s like – with no time left to go shopping, and no cash to do it anyway, I started flicking through my whole wardrobe and pulling stuff from drawers, rejecting everything I saw. I could glimpse the future and it wasn’t looking pretty: I knew that, come 7pm tonight, I’d be a mess, the bedroom would be a mess and the taxi’s horn would be getting louder by the second. In desperation I’d reach for a black dress and hop towards the door with one shoe on, destined to paint my nails in the back of the cab.
That’s when I had to take a breather for a moment and remind myself, once again, of the sartorial advice that’s often saved my bacon; the best tip I ever learnt for solving these nightmare moments.
The Greatest Style Tip for Solving Those ‘How to Dress’ Crises
Here it is, skint pals: When trying to decide what to wear, don’t obsess about what you’ve got in your wardrobe; focus on the image you want to create and let that be your guide.
It makes perfect sense really. What’s the point of flicking through your clothes and getting progressively harassed about what to wear when you haven’t even decided how you want to look? Of course everything will look unsuitable if you haven’t settled on the impression you want to make. So, next time you’re going somewhere special, try a different approach. Don’t start mentally cataloguing your wardrobe. Instead, take a couple of minutes to think about the image you want to portray. Stylish but cool? Fashion-forward? Competent and in control? By settling that simple question you’ll be two thirds of the way to deciding what to wear, because you’ll be mentally filtering down to a few key looks. Following this tip puts paid to many of those
wobbles about whether to wear the jumpsuit or the ballgown. It really works a treat. When I can actually remember to follow it, that is.
And for tonight? Well, I’ve settled on this blouse on the right. Some of you might remember it from the little wardrobe challenge I set myself way back. Turns out, this blouse (the spots are gold),was spared from the chop and has recently been given a new lease of life paired with a January sales bargain grey felt pencil skirt.
Have you got plans for tonight and if so, have you got your outfit sorted already? If so, take a bow and all of our congratulations, clever ones. And if you’re still deciding what to wear tonight, whether you’re going out or staying at home, Stay Away from the Onesie!! Now I know that, if you’re a Skint girl, you’d never contemplate a onesie in the first place, but it’s a worrying trend. Even if you’re just spending the night watching Take Me Out, remember that – unless you’re actually a baby – onesies are never, ever cool.
If you are staying in tonight, I wanted to share a couple of sites I’ve found that I really like for style inspiration. The Style Crone, Garance Dore, and Idiosyncratic Fashionistas are all floating my boat right now.
And if you’re contemplating a spot of shopping tomorrow, here’s a link to discount vouchers for the likes of Kurt Geiger, Austin Reed and Dorothy Perkins, courtesy of the mighty Martin Lewis.
Hope you’re all doing something nice tonight. Do you have any style tips that help you to get ready in a hurry? What’s your never-fail outfit that you pull out when the taxi’s waiting outside your door?
PS: In case you missed it, the £300 cash giveaway competition is still running here. Best of luck. x