2018 – What A Year

2018 is not at a close quite yet, but pretty soon we are all going to be unwinding for the Christmas break, and reflecting on the year that was.

I love a new year – it’s a chance to make great intentions and as long as you make them realistic, they are easier to stick to than you may think!

2018 has been a fabulous year at Styled By Susie, for both myself and Sarah. We have had the busiest year yet, and we are excited to go into 2019!

I thought it would be fun to look back on 2018, and pick out my favourite events and trends from the year.

The Clothes :

Spring/Summer 2018 was my favourite season yet. The options to choose from, were endless…. vast, exciting, colourful and there seemed to be something for everyone!

My personal highlight from the season, was the Barbican range at Warehouse. The prints were absolutely beautiful, and it seemed that the colours suited so many of our clients, not to mention the beautiful cuts.

There should also be a special mention for a certain pair of shorts! The Next “Boy” shorts were an absolute game changer for you all.

We recommended them because they suit all clients, particularly those who have very curvy hips and thighs. They had a 99.9% success rate amongst clients and our thousands of members in the Styled By Susie Facebook Community.

The Boy Shorts were a real highlight of the summer and it made so many women happy, knowing they could finally wear shorts without feeling self conscious.

Next

If I say the words, “pineapple jumpsuit”, you will know exactly what I am talking about! This beautiful jumpsuit from Sainsbury’s, was a HUGE hit with clients this summer. It suited every shape and was a real hit!

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Accessories wise, it was all about big earrings this year. We started the year with big, colourful tassel earrings, and have finished the year, seeing more geometric, resin styles, and hoops galore.

Autumn/Winter 2018 has been a little more challenging. Spring/Summer spoilt us with skater dresses, prints, unusual colours, cuts and options. When it came to Autumn/Winter, the casual dresses disappeared, and there was an overwhelming amount of animal print that hit the shops…..and not much else!

We had snake print and leopard print in all kinds of colours and shades, but elsewhere, there were no identifiable trends to get particularly excited about. Luckily, 90% of clients (and myself and Sarah included), LOVE animal print! So we could have lots of fun experimenting with different shades of leopard print and pattern clashes galore.

Animal print is going to continue well into next year, but more on that to come in our first blog of 2019.

The word of Autumn/Winter 2018 for Styled By Susie, has been “Basics”. In fact, two words – “Basic Bitches”!

We created an essential PDF guide for clients, which forms the groundwork for any capsule wardrobe. With the high street offering such sparse choices this season, we heavily focused on key basics, and showing clients how to create different looks by mixing and matching items.

Fortunately, this season we have been spoilt for choice by amazing knitwear and basics, particularly from H&M who seem to have sorted out their sizing too!

hmgoepprod

The Community :

The Facebook Community has grown so much this year, and it continues to be a place of support, kindness and humility amongst members. We have approx 5,500 members, and we are so proud of the way our clients and followers have interacted with each other this year, offering support, compliments and advice when it’s needed. Thank you to the members of the community who have made it a safe, supportive and welcoming place.

The Award :

In February, I won the best stylist award at the SO Magazine, Lifestyle Awards in Tunbridge Wells. This was one of the best moments of my life, and I would like to thank each and every one of you, that voted for me to win.

It was a competitive category, and at that point my social media numbers were quite low, so I was not expecting to win. Hearing my name called out, and going on stage to collect my award, in front of my family and friends, is a moment I will never forget.

The award sits proudly at home, and every time I look at it, I feel a sense of pride and happiness. I’m truly grateful to those who took the time to vote for me.

The Organised Mum :

In the latter part of 2018, Styled By Susie hit new levels on social media, when my path crossed with Gemma Bray, also known as The Organised Mum.

Gem had posted in September, about wanting to create a capsule wardrobe, and a few of my lovely Instagram followers tagged me into her post. Gem booked me for a style session, and the rest is history!

I went from 6,000 members on Instagram, to over 11,000 and a whole new army of ladies have discovered Styled By Susie as a result.

I am very grateful to Gem for spreading the word to her 100,000 followers and I am excited to grow my relationship with her, and watch her growing success continue.

Sometimes you just need someone to believe in you enough to put your name out there, to enable you to reach so many more people.

The Business :

This year, we have been incredibly busy with all of our services, but the Online Styling Sessions in particular, have been hugely popular. This service has enabled clients to be styled by us, no matter where they live. This year we have styled clients remotely, in Australia, Dubai, Barbados, California, Italy, France, South Africa and New Zealand!

The Future :

I have never made future goals or plans for Styled By Susie, as I am a firm believer in fate and that everything so far, has happened at exactly the right time.

I am asked frequently if I would employ another stylist, but the answer is no. Sarah and I will continue to work as we are working now, and that is both in person and online, and helping as many of you as possible, within the time frame we set, for a good family/work balance.

6 Years Of Business :

I am very proud of how far the business has come, since I created Styled By Susie in 2012.

At that time, the only personal styling services available, were high end, and since Styled By Susie, I have seen many high street stylists appear, who have copied my business model, services, logo and wording, at times!

When I qualified, I had no idea how to even price a styling session because such a thing didn’t exist. So everything you see at Styled By Susie has been created from bare bones and sheer hard work.

So the future is to just keep creating, keep helping and providing not only styling advice, but wellbeing advice too, through podcasts, blogs and posts.

Feeling stylish is so much more than putting on a nice outfit. It goes much deeper than that, and taking care of your wellbeing is going to put you on a better road to body confidence and acceptance.

So I will be taking my own advice and putting my wellbeing high on my priority list for 2019, because in order to help others, you have to apply your own life jacket first, right?

And Finally :

Have a happy Christmas, a relaxing time with your friends, families and loved ones.

Thank you for supporting Styled By Susie and we can’t wait for another year of fun.

Love Susie xxx

 

Boots

Susie here!

Due to popular demand, I’m blogging all about boots today. I’m in huge denial about boots weather. I am such a summer girl, and even though I feel more comfortable in Autumn/Winter clothing, I do feel sad when the summer leaves us and we all get colds and look sallow!

But on a positive note, with the new season, comes NEW fashion. I was in Bluewater yesterday and all of the sales assistants were super excited too, and there’s a real buzz in the air when the new lines hit the shops. The sales have left us at long last, and we can start planning the months ahead.

I would always suggest shopping as early into a season as you can, even when the weather doesn’t match what the shops are selling. How many of you struggled to find the infamous Next Boy shorts in July? That’s because you should have bought them in April/May! Crazy I know, but it’s always good to get ahead with your shopping.

We have two major trends that have emerged when it comes to winter boots.

Cowboy Boots.

These ARE a trend and are likely to look dated in a year, but if you want to be ahead of the fashion pack, pick up a pair of cowboy boots and say “whip crack away”, Calamity Jane style. These leather cowboy boots below are from Topshop.

Animal Print

As predicted, leopard, snake and zebra prints are dominating the high street this season. Adding a flash of animal print on your boots is a great way to liven up any outfit. These beauties are from New Look and come in wide fit too.

I’m not going to focus too much on trends, as I will leave that to the fashion expert bloggers out there. My job, is to tell you how you can look your best in a pair of boots. I have even covered skinny ankles and chunky legs as they are questions that crop up A LOT on the Styled By Susie Facebook Community.

So let’s start….

Chunky Legs

If you have chunky legs (can I just say that this is a term I would NEVER use about a client, but this is a popular term you guys use in the Community so I thought it was easier for you this way!)

The chunkier the leg, the chunkier the boot should be. This is not a time for kitten heels, pointy boots or anything that is going to cling onto the leg too much. We need to see a slight gap between the leg and the boot, and this is why I sway clients away from knee high boots!

Slouchy ankle boots work well, or if you can’t find slouchy, then Chelsea boots work well, biker boots or Dr Martens. Ideally you should be able to fit your finger between the boot and your leg, because this will make your leg look slimmer.

Black Slouch Ankle BootsLeather Chelsea BootsAnkle Zip BootsBiker Ankle BootsImage result for dr martensBlack Snake Print Chunky Buckle Boots

L-R: Next, Next, Next, Next, Dr Martens & New Look.

Skinny Ankles

If you have skinny ankles, ankle boots can be problematic and it’s likely that a Dr Marten boot will make your leg look like a golf club! Stay away from the chunky, biker style boots and go for a boot that is going to be tighter around the lower leg.

You can safely go for sock boots, western boots, pixie boots, mid calf boots, or high top style trainer boots. If you really do love a biker boot, then go for one that comes a little higher up the leg. Alternatively, go for something completely different, like an over the knee boot.

Pointed toes will be better for you than round toes, and detail on the boot works particularly well because it minimises the size of the shoe. A Chelsea boot is too plain and bulky for a skinny ankle.

Black Suede Western BootsVans Black Sk8-Hi Marvel Black Panther Womens TrainersPimkie Studded Buckle Ankle BootsPublic Desire Black Flat Tie Back Over The Knee Boot

L-R: New Look, New Look, Office, VANS, ASOS.com, ASOS.com

“Neither Chunky or Skinny” Legs

For those inbetweeners, you can get away with anything. My general advice is to err on the side of chunky footwear if you’re on the curvy side.

And remember….style shouldn’t be serious. It shouldn’t make you cry, it shouldn’t make you anxious and it should be fun. So have fun with it and don’t get too worried! If you’ve got skinny legs but you love your Dr Martens, well go for it. There’s no law or siren that’ll go off when you wear them!

I’m here to advise and to reassure, and my main goal is to ensure you feel comfortable, stylish and happy in your clothes.

Happy shopping!

xxxx

Guest Blog – Holiday Make Up

I’m delighted to welcome, our guest blogger, makeup artist, Nicola Downey. She has put together her recommendations for your essential holiday makeup. Nicola specialises in a natural look when it comes to makeup, so you are in safe hands!

Over to you, Nicola…

My Top 6 Holiday Make-up Basics
We’ve all been there. The excitement of the long-awaited holiday being overshadowed by the dread of packing the suitcase. So much to take and so little space! Well let me help you free up valuable room for all those wonderful clothes and accessories Styled by Susie has no doubt tempted you with, by just taking the make-up basics.

1. Tinted Moisturiser / BB  & CC Creams

The summer is finally here so you can pack away those foundations! It’s the perfect time of year to embrace your naturally beautiful skin with the lighter coverage of a tinted moisturiser, which is also less likely to slide off your face in hot weather. Choose one with an added SPF and you won’t need to add a layer of sun protection first. Bonus.

 

TOP PICKS

  • Dermalogica Sheer Tint SPF 20 £41 – Fenwicks / John Lewis / Feel Unique (highly recommended for mature skin)
  • Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser SPF 20 £34 – Fenwicks / John Lewis / Feel Unique
  • Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser SPF 30 £30 – Space NK / Fenwicks / John Lewis
  • La Roche-Posey Rosaliac Anti-Redness CC Cream SPF 30 £20 – Boots   (great for skin prone to acne and rosacea break outs)
  • Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream SPF 30 £7.99 – Amazon / Feel Unique
  • e.l.f BB Cream  SPF 20 £7.50 – Superdrug (vegan)

 

2. Concealer

If you feel you need extra coverage, particularly under the eyes, take a lightweight concealer with you. Waterproof concealers are really useful for holidays.

 

TOP PICKS

  • IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Waterproof Concealer £23.50 – Boots
  • Smashbox Studio Skin 24hr Waterproof Concealer £20 – Boots
  • e.l.f HD Lifting Concealer £4.50 – Superdrug (vegan)
  • Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer £4.50 – Boots

 

3. Eyebrows / Eyeshadow / Eyeliner

A compact eyeshadow palette with a good range of both matte and shimmery colours, is perfect for multi-use make-up application. One palette can give you everything you need for eyebrows, eyeshadow and eyeliner, reducing the amount of products you need to take with you.

Choose a palette that contains a matte shade closest to your natural eyebrow colour, a matte cream which is very useful for adding definition to your brow bone for evenings out,  some darker shades for eyeliner and some shimmery shades to add a bit of glam to your evening make-up. Some eyeshadows even work well as a liquid liner if you dip your brush in water first!

 

TOP PICKS

  • Charlotte Tilbury Instant Look In A Palette £49 – Fenwicks / Charlotte Tilbury
  • MAC Eyeshadow x 9 Palettes £26 – Fenwicks / MAC Cosmetics
  • Urban Decay Naked2 Basics Palette £26 – Feel Unique
  • NYX Ultimate Eyeshadow Palette £16 – Boots
  • Maybelline The Nudes £11.99 – Boots / Superdrug
  • MUA Eyeshadow Palettes £4 – Superdrug

 

4. Mascara

Waterproof is essential (just make sure you pack suitable eye make-up remover). Apply it first thing, go for a swim, melt in the sun…and feel confident it won’t move.

 

TOP PICKS

  • Urban Decay Cannonball Waterproof Mascara £16.50 – John Lewis / Feel Unique
  • No. 7 Lash Impact Waterproof Mascara £13.50 – Boots
  • Bourjois Volume Reveal Waterproof Mascara £10.99 – Superdrug
  • Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara £5.99 – Boots / Superdrug

 

5. Blusher / Highlighter / Bronzer

There are some great multi-use cheek and lip products out there. You can even use them on your eyes, which is great for packing light. Choose a shade that will maintain that summery glow and is easy to apply.

 

TOP PICKS

  • Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick £31.95 – John Lewis (blusher, highlighter, bronzer and eyeshadow/liner)
  • Nars The Multiple £29 – John Lewis / Fenwicks / Space NK (blusher, highlighter, lips and eyeshadow)
  • NYX Bright Idea Illuminating Stick £7.50 – Boots (blusher, highlighter, bronzer)

 

6. Lipstick

Lips can become dry in the heat, so keep them moisturised as much as possible. A simple lip balm works a treat, especially if you choose one with a hint of colour. For evenings out, you might prefer a bit more of a statement lip and it’s a very quick and easy way to turn a daytime look into evening.

 

TOP PICKS

  • Dior Addict Gradient Lipstick £26.50 – Fenwicks / Dior
  • Bobbi Brown Art Stick £22 – Fenwick / Bobbi Brown
  • MAC Little Lipstick in Ruby Woo (all-time classic shade which suits most) £10 – Fenwicks / MAC Cosmetics
  • Bourjois Rouge Velvet Lipstick £8.99 – Boots
  • The Body Shop Matte Liquid Lipstick £7 – The Body Shop
  • Dr Paw Paw Tinted Ultimate Red Balm £6.95 – Feel Unique

 

Extras

There are a few extra items you could take with you which aren’t essential but might prove useful.

  • Translucent pressed powder  to take away excess shine – Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish £33 – Fenwicks or Collection Primed & Ready Illuminating Setting Powder £2.99 – Boots
  • Clear mascara to groom and set eyebrows in place – Collection £1.99 Boots
  • Setting spray to keep your make-up in place all day – Urban Decay All Nighter £8 John Lewis or e.l.f. Matte Magic Mist & Setting Spray £5 – Superdrug

 

Top Tips

  • Keep your make-up application light for the daytime and simply add more on top for the evening.
  • Choose a slightly darker shade of tinted moisturiser if you tan easily.
  • Don’t forget to enhance your eyebrows and apply some mascara – very quick and effective ways to open up your eyes!
  • Useful brushes to take with you include a small angled brush for eyebrows and eyeliner, an eyeshadow brush, small blusher brush and lip brush.

 

www.nicoladowney.com

info@nicoladowney.com

 

We need to talk.

I try TRY to keep as much of my content purely style related, but I just need to talk about this subject because it’s gnawing away at me like termites and I need to blog to get it out of my system. I am also trying to speak my truth more, without fear, and I thought this would be a good place to do so.

The recent Kate Spade tragedy touched me so much. I liken it to when Robin Williams committed suicide and the overwhelming feeling of loss, coupled with utter devastation that a man that made me laugh so much, was so deeply unhappy, he felt there was no way out.

Kate Spade, with her beautiful clothing, her stationery I avidly bought every new season, and her quotes that I regularly abide by. Suddenly she is here no more, and when I went to buy my latest diary, I felt like crying when I saw the stationery in John Lewis, when previously it brought me so much joy.

I didn’t know Kate Spade or Robin Williams, but I do know that they touched my heart in a way that made me feel like I knew them. How did they feel so lonely? We will never know.

Today I read that Sophie Gradon from Love Island passed away. It has not been confirmed how she passed, but from everything I have read, she suffered from depression and it seems that she too felt there was no way out. To look at Sophie from the outside, she had it all. Beauty, popularity, love, fame….but what demons was she fighting?

I’m not a psychologist, nor do I claim to be an expert on the issue, but what I do know is that I know multiple friends, family members, and hell even myself that suffer from mental health issues – be it anxiety, OCD, depression, bipolar. Talking about mental health is as normal to me as telling someone I have got a headache. I don’t feel any stigma by telling a close friend that I am having a crap time, for reasons I can’t explain or identify. It’s just “MEH”.

I am lucky to have been raised in a family that was very open about talking about our feelings in a safe place, without fear of judgement or stigma.

But, what truly, truly bothers me, is the new generation coming through. The generation of young adults in their early 20’s (I know a few), who seemingly cannot hold a conversation, make eye contact, make small talk. You know – the general basics of communication.

But give them a phone and they can Snapchat and Instagram story everything about their lives. They might get a “you ok hun?” text from a friend, but they will still feel lonely, isolated and cut off, by the fact they can only communicate their feelings via social media.

Again, I am not speaking for all 20 year olds, but this seems to be something I have noticed and feel concerned about.

I worry that the art of communication and the basic forms of conversation are dying. When did we stop talking to each other? When did it become ok to post shit online about someone, send a crappy message, etc, etc, when the best thing in the world would have been to sit down and chat it through. How quickly would a problem be solved by having a chat on the phone, or a meet up over a cup of coffee?

Years ago when we lost a friend, it would be subtle. Now you can be deleted or blocked and never find out the reason why. This is hard enough to deal with when you’re in your 30’s, but as a young adult with fragile emotions, it’s enough to isolate them and hit them hard.

Then I worry about the Tinder effect. When I was in my 20’s, there was the anticipation and fun of going out on a Friday night, having a few Smirnoff Ices, and wondering if you would  meet a boy that night. You’d have a dance, maybe a snog (sorry Mum) and the next day everyone’s memories would be a bit hazy but fun. Now there’s evidence, there’s screen shots, there’s stories, there’s videos. It’s enough to make young adults paranoid about every single thing they do.

But anyway, now  you don’t have to go out to meet someone. You can sit at home and swipe through photo after photo. You may go on a date with that person. They may be really nice, really pretty, but hey, if I keep swiping there’s plenty more fish in the sea. “Why put all my eggs in one basket when there’s a whole database full of potential hot dates?”

I am a sucker for Love Island, but seeing the way the boys and girls treat each other is like real life Tinder. It’s frightening, and it’s even more frightening seeing girls in their early 20’s getting botox, lip fillers, plastic surgery to keep correcting themselves, when they don’t realise they were effing beautiful to start with.

So basically, I am here to say STOP. Make it STOP.

I want to teach my son communication. I want to teach him how to talk to people his own age, how to engage with adults, people in authority and to have respect for absolutely everyone he meets. That everyone, EVERYONE is fighting a battle that nobody knows about, and everyone deserves your time, attention and respect.

I feel like I want to save the next generation, and I need your help to do it. We can’t ban phones, iPads or TV’s because that is the world they are growing up in. But we can balance it by having actual conversations and teaching them how to talk about their feelings in a way that they will never feel judged. That no matter what shit goes on, on social media, or at school, that they will always, ALWAYS have a safe place.

Build a network for your children, hell build a frigging village, town, city of support. Encourage role models in uncles, aunties, close friends and always give them someone they can turn to when Mum or Dad might not understand.

We can’t stop depression, but we can give it a bloody good fight, we can give the next generation a fighting chance… and the time to act is now.

 

 

 

The Perfect Self Tan

We would love to welcome our resident Beauty expert, Kat Heath. Kat has been a client and loyal member of the community for many years, and flies the flag for colour, confidence and happiness! Kat has worked for Clarins, Decleor and has a BTEC in Beauty Therapy, as well as her own successful beauty therapy business.

Today she is sharing her tips for creating a flawless self tan, with no streaks!

Over to you, Kat…

Finally after what felt like a long and gloomy winter we have now reached the beginning of Summer!

For most of the winter our bodies have been covered up underneath layers of clothing, resulting in dryness and an uneven and lacklustre skin tone.

However, as soon as the sun is out we all want to expose the skin on our bodies by wearing our fabulous summer pieces which have been stored away in the wardrobe for what feels like an eternity.

This is the time when many of us make the mistake of reaching for last years self tan products (that have probably reached their sell by date) without any skin preparation resulting in a streaky and patchy application that can take days to dissappear.

Here are some tips to create the perfect tan to compliment your summer wardrobe without stress and with ease.

1. IT’S ALL IN THE PREP.

Just think when you paint a wall you have to rub it down and smooth out any uneven patches before applying the paint. The same goes for applying your tan.

Think of your skin as a blank canvas. Always give your body a dry skin exfoliation 24 hours before applying your tan.

Apply your exfoliator onto a dry skin in circular movements working towards the heart. This will not only remove dead skin cells but also will promote a circulation boost leaving your skin looking radiant and healthy as well as smooth.

Make sure you rinse thoroughly ideally in the shower rather than the bath to ensure no grains are left on the skin.

If you shave this is the time to do so as the exfoliator would have lifted the hairs giving you a closer shave leaving you hair free for longer.

2. GIVE YOUR SKIN A DRINK.

Once you have given your skin a good exfoliation you may find it slightly dry therefore it is vital to use a good body cream or lotion which will keep your skin smooth and radiant.

Pay particular attention to any dry bits such as the knees or elbows and always apply towards the heart to promote healthy circulation.

I always recommend a rich body cream rather than a lotion to maintain moisture levels throughout the day. Again do this 24 hours before applying your self tan.

3. APPLICATION

Before you apply any self tan products always make sure there are no traces of moisturiser or oil on the skin as it can act as a barrier to the tanning agents in the products. Therefore always apply self tan after a shower or bath.

If you have any dry patches on elbows or knees apply a generous amount of moisturiser on these areas to prevent the self tan gathering in those area creating an orange patch.

If you are not using a mitt or glove always apply a layer of moisturiser on to your hands to help prevent unsightly staining on the palms and wash throughly with cold water (heat activates tanning) and soap as soon as you have finished applying.

4. MAINTENANCE

Keep hold of your beautifully tanned skin by applying body cream after each shower and bath this will prevent dryness as the tanning agents in self tanning products can dry out the skin. It will also seal the colour for a little bit longer.

And remember always protect your skin with an SPF when outside. Even if your self tanning products have a built in SPF for adequate protection you need to reapply a separate product a few hours later.

Blog written by Kat Heath.

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Steal our Style

Susie: Autumn Pear   Sarah: Spring Rectangle

sarah_susie_changing_room

Sarah here again! Below I’ve built some classic Susie and Sarah outfits that capture elements of our own personal style and lifestyles. Hope you like it! Can you imagine anything harder then style-analysing the actual Styled by Susie!

 

Susie

Work days

Susie loves a bit of camo – its timeless, great for her season and makes her brilliant at hide and seek. The dress is fitted at the waist and kicks out over the hips, which works brilliantly on a curvier figure. The shirt neckline can be worn fully buttoned or undone to create a V – depending on if you want to make the bust looks fuller or smaller.

The cropped style jacket sits on Susie’s little waist.

Accessories are key, The scarf gives a perfect clash against the dress, the necklaces are worn layered and the chunky trainers balance the whole look out.

2 3

4 5 6 7

Camo print dress, Mango, £44.99
Pleated polka dot scarf, Zara, £15.99
Ciara chunky trainers, Topshop, £39.00
Necklaces, to be worn layered, Topshop, £8.99 & £13.99
Denim Betty jacket, Oasis, £44.99

Mummy days

As a mummy to a gorgeous little boy, Suz goes for a outfit that is simple and easy, ripped jeans suit her rock chic style, the Breton, slogan tee is the perfect balancer for the ripped jeans (technically a rule breaker for a pear!). The accessories all have a element of edge to them, with the bold earrings, animal print and statement plimsoles.

susie_collage.png

Jeans, Topshop Jamie, £42.00
T-shirt, Hush, £25.00
Belt, Topshop, £14.00
Shoes, Asos, £149.00
Earrings, Warehouse, £10.00

Date night

The jumpsuit is one of our fav items of clothing, they are super versatile, stylish and the fitted wrap styles are particularly flattering on the waist. The biker adds cool edge to the floral print, and the accessories are understated and tonal.

susie_collage_2.png

Jumpsuit, New Look, £35.00
Biker jacket, Topshop, £55.00
Shoes, Topshop, £32.00
Hex studs, Wolf and Moon, £16.00
Cuff, Wolf and Moon, £32.00
Perfume, L’occitane, Neroli and Orchidee, prices vary

Sarah

Work days

I’m most comfortable in dresses and skirts, as I feel the most ‘me’ in them, The cut of this dress is perfect for my rectangular shape, as it creates a waist and the illusion of shape! (it should also be noted this dress looks fab on hourglasses and pears too). With a strappy dress like this I will either layer under or over. This cardi is perfect for adding some warmth and glam to a variety of outfits. I always prefer a heel too, not totally practical always, but work is my time when I’m not chasing through fields after my toddler so worth the slight discomfort. I love a clash, so these earrings are perfect, and the ring and necklace finish the look.

sarah_collage_1.png

Dress, Warehouse, £52.00
Earrings, Zaar, £15.99
Necklace, Accessorize, £10.00
Initial Ring, Astrid and Miyu, £29.00
Leopard print cards, Zara, £19.99
Wedges, New Look, £25.99

Mummy days

I’m a mum to 2 ‘spirited’ boys and spend a large portion of time having to sprint after the 2 year old. I tend to go for a trouser over a jean, these khaki slacks are ideal, I’ll wear a jumper or tee tucked in, funky plimsoles which for now the boys view as cool, sure that will change soon! I still like to accessorise with pretty earrings and bangles, and carry a variety of snacks and lotions in the backpack.

sarah_collage_2.png

Trousers, H&M, £24.99
Rainbow trainers, Zara, £29.99
Jumper, Warehouse, £35.00
Earrings, Aldo, £25.00
Backpack, Gap, (old, similar styles available @ £25.00)

Date night

I can sneak the heel back in here for going out, and tend to go with a short skirt and get the legs out! The simple tee will always be tucked in to create some definition, and I’ll wear a statement necklace with a pop of colour. Euphoria is my go to scent, I’ve worn it for about 15 years!

sarah_collage_3.png

Skirt, River Island, £35.00
Top, Oasis, £23.00
Necklace, Topshop, £16.50
Perfume, Euphoria, varies
Shoes, Office, £52.00

The Secret To Looking Effortless

When I meet my clients, they tell me that they want to look stylish but not like they have tried too hard. This makes complete sense to me, as the #goal is to look like you have just thrown something on and it’s a part of your style.

This is possible, and I would say I have got to a stage where I feel my look is effortless. I don’t stand in front of my wardrobe staring at different options, or trying loads on and asking my Instagram followers “which one?”. I just put it on, go with it and own it.

Here are a few little tips that have helped me get to a point where style can be effortless. There’s nothing worse than looking like you have tried too hard, or you look totally uncomfortable in your outfit.

TIP 1 – Plan from the shoes up.

This tip has revolutionised my clients’ way of thinking, and it’s the easiest way to plan your outfit. So many women put together their outfit, and then get to the shoes and think “argh”, which ones?! They then realise their shoes don’t go with their outfit, so the clothes are taken off angrily and the stress begins of planning the next outfit…and they were already running late anyway.

I look at what the weather is doing, and what I am doing that day. If I am having a Mum day at the weekend, where we are possibly going to get a bit muddy, I will think “Dr Marten boots”. From there, I decide what comes next, whether I want to go for skinny jeans, or tights and a dress. Once the shoes are decided, the rest is easy.

Or if I am personal shopping, I will choose a trainer. If I go for a chunky white trainer, it means I can afford to go for something a bit funky on my bottom half as my shoes will balance out my bum and hips.

Planning your outfit from the feet up will be a real game changer, and will make your mornings so much easier.

TIP 2 – Comfort.

As much as I would love to rock a pair of heels, like my colleague, Sarah Lilly – I just can’t wear them for long! As a tall girl, I am quite heavy, so carrying weight around on a heel is very hard work! This is why I live in shoes that feel comfortable. Sarah feels herself in a pair of heels, and they work for her because she can still fly around like Carrie Bradshaw, feeling comfortable.

If you are feeling comfortable then you will look comfortable. This doesn’t just go for shoes. Are you wearing a short skirt that you will spend all day pulling down? A new necklace that you can’t stop fiddling with? Go for style that feels comfortable. I always say to clients that you shouldn’t be aware of what you are wearing. Your clothes should feel like your second skin and you shouldn’t have to tug at them all day through feeling self conscious.

Feeling comfortable in your clothing means that you forget you are wearing a bright pattern or necklace, until someone compliments you. Quite often someone will say they like my earrings, and I will have forgotten which ones they are! If your outfit feels like your second skin and you can run, laugh and wave in it, then you will look happy, carefree and confident…not to mention, effortless.

TIP 3 – Own it.

It’s the big day. You have decided to wear those patterned trousers on the school run. Your heart beats faster as you approach the playground, and you start tucking your hair nervously behind your ear. STOP!!!! Own it! Pretend you have been wearing these trousers for 5 centuries and it’s totes normal!!!

You will draw attention to yourself with your nervous shuffling and hair tucking, so just strut through that playground, and when your friend says “ooh nice trousers”, you say “oh these?” and smile coquettishly like Marilyn Monroe.

TIP 4 – Dress like you.

Just because your friend looks great in a headband and statement earrings, doesn’t mean to say that style will work for you. It’s good not to clone anyone and to be you all the way!

One of my friends is a real girlie girl and looks awesome in pastel colours, floral pretty prints and feminine styles. If I tried to recreate that, I would look like Dame Judi Dench, and therefore, feel uncomfortable. The same as, if she wore Dr Marten boots, fishnets and camo trousers, she would look completely unrecognisable (in a bad way).

So find what works for you. Are you a girlie girl who looks great in Oasis style prints and patterns? Or do you prefer a classic Parisian look with bretons, blazers and white jeans? Dress like you and you will look like you…not a poor imitation. There’s nothing better than individuality, creativity and personality. Work it girlfriend.

TIP 5 – Break the seal.

The first time you wear something new and scary (for me it was dungarees and my camo trousers), make sure you are seeing someone supportive and loving.

So when I wore my trousers, I was seeing my Mum and sister at Hever Castle for lunch. I arrived feeling like every single woman, man, duck, swan and Tudor were looking at my trousers, but I soon got over it and realised no one gives a shit about what anyone else is wearing!!! I had an amazing day, and it meant when I wore them yesterday, I forgot I was even wearing them.

If I had worn them somewhere I was likely to get a negative comment, then I may never have worn them again. So break the seal with appropriate people, and the second time you wear it, you will look so effortless, stylish and carefree.

Swimwear

Don’t you HATE that first time you put on swimwear? It’s like your winter clothes had previously been holding all that wiggle and jiggle in place, and it feels like your thighs and bottom have a mind of their own, as you awkwardly walk towards the pool/sea/jacuzzi full of middle aged men on their golf weekend spa break….don’t…make….eye…contact.

I also have the unfortunate disadvantage of being tall, so most of the time, your average swimsuit is too short for me, and is eaten by my hungry pear shaped bottom!

I don’t think many women feel confident in a swimsuit, so it’s important that you feel supported in a flattering piece for your body shape.

Don’t automatically reach for the tankini. These can be very unflattering as the boxy shapes do nothing for the female form. In fact, my old tankini was referred to as my “wrestling suit” by my lovely husband…So to avoid looking like Hulk Hogan, you may be better choosing a swimsuit, or a high waisted bikini.

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I will try to cover as many bases as possible with this blog, but I have just had a set of acrylic nails applied, so my typing is slow and I need to get to Sainsburys before school pick up, so let’s see how we go….

CURVY LADIES

I’m talking to hourglasses, strawberries and apples here, so pears and rectangles, you can go and make a cuppa at this point.

The first rule of swimsuit club is that we don’t talk about swimsuit club. Oh no, wait, that’s Fight Club. So the first rule of swimsuits for curvy ladies, is PATTERN. It’s flattering, it’s chic and stylish. The bigger the pattern, the better. A small polka dot will be lost on your curves, so we need some big old florals to make your sexy bod look hot in your swimwear.

Tummy control is always good too, as is a bright colour. A black swimming costume can be a bit depressing on a hot beach, so go for a nice bright colour, with a big pair of sunnies and a bright lipstick. Hell, if you’re really going for it, add statement earrings and a mojito.

Underwired bikini tops work brilliantly for all you busty babes, and you can’t beat illusion style swimsuits for flattering curves. An illusion style, is where the sides of the swimsuit are panelled in black, to narrow the body.

Halternecks are great for fuller busts or broad shoulders as they break up the top half. If you’re narrower on your bottom, likea Strawberry, then look for ruffles on the bum, hips, or even swimdresses.

Simply Be are GREAT for swimwear, particularly if you have a generous cup size.

Top row: Debenhams.

Middle row: Next, Simply Be, Simply Be

Bottom row: Simply Be.

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TALL LADIES:

You don’t even have to be tall, you might just be long in the body. I am both, and it’s a pain in the bum!

Check out Long Tall Sally for their swimwear. It’s beautifully generous in length, and your bottom will never go hungry again.

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PEAR SHAPES:

Ruffles on top, not ruffles on the bum, please ladies! Keep those eyes on the prize (ie, your top half) and try not to go for anything too fussy on the bum. Tankinis are particularly bad for us pears, as they really square off that bottom, creating a lovely muffin and thigh spillage too.

Go for high leg bikini bottoms, swimsuits with plenty of pattern, or anything with detail up top.

Both swimsuits from Debenhams.

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RECTANGLES:

It’s important not to make your shape look boyish, so we need lots of detail here. Pattern, ruffles, interesting straps, fairy lights and bunting! Keep your prints and patterns on the smaller side, and if you want to add bulk to the bust, choose a padded bikini top to add shape.

Both swimsuits from Next.

TO ALL….DON’T FORGET:

Start the preparation now. Look after your body. Don’t crash diet or punish yourself in ANY way. Drink lots of water, get that skin looking amazing for summer, with regular body scrubs, moisturisers, and adding a nice tinted moisturiser (my fave is Dove).

Never underestimate the power of a great cover up, such as a kaftan, beach dress or jumpsuit. Ditch the manky old sarong!

Get yourself some glam sunglasses, bright lippy, a fabulous beach bag and a great manicure/pedicure.

Looking good on the beach has nothing to do with your size, weight or shape. It’s confidence, a smile and a fabulous outfit.

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Maternity Wear

I went shopping with a client yesterday who is 12 weeks pregnant with her third baby. She had booked the shopping trip a while ago, and now her specificiations had changed! She needed an effective capsule wardrobe to get her though pregnancy and beyond. It also had to work for a summer holiday abroad she has in June.

We did really well and came away with SO many items that made her feel and look amazing! Interestingly enough, none of the items were from maternity ranges.

When I was pregnant with my son, I bought a couple of maternity items, but found they didn’t make me feel stylish and they also didn’t last too long. I felt the price was hiked up because they were maternity wear, and I ended up finding some gems elsewhere that worked even better.

FABRICS:

The key is to try and veer towards fabrics that will grow and stretch in pregnancy, and will also feel comfortable in those first few months when baby is here.

Jersey is the best fabric for this reason, and it also makes you feel nicely supported and held in. Pregnancy is the one time in a woman’s life that we don’t mind showing off our tummies, so jersey is great for accentuating a beautiful bump.

Chiffon also works well because it falls and drapes and can be really comfortable when the weather gets warm, and jersey feels too hot against our skin.

DRESSES:

You can’t go wrong with a Dorothy Perkins skater dress. You can usually pick one up for under £20 and they are so comfy and flattering. They come in a variety of fabrics and sleeve lengths, and they work in summer with flip flops or flat white plimsolls, or in winter with black tights and boots.

This is the perfect dress to take you seamlessly from one season into the next, while feeling comfortable, stylish and not breaking the bank either.

BOTTOMS:

Embrace the harem trouser! Harem trousers are so chic, and they are a bit of a man repeller because they automatically assume you’re in your pyjamas! But they work so well when you’re pregnant and beyond.

Harem trousers look great balanced out with a chunky shoe, such as a white plimsoll, and they will grow with your bum and make you feel nicely supported with the elasticated waist.

You can smarten up a harem trouser for work, particularly a navy blue jogger style.

Wear your harem trousers with a vest top or tee, a denim jacket or a biker jacket. Add a long necklace or a layered, multirow necklace for a chic, boho, effortless look.

Primark is a fab shop for harem trousers, either plain or patterned ones. Alternatively, Next are great for harems (all pictured are Next).

Navy Jogger Detail TrousersJersey JoggersGrey Tencel® Joggers (597990) | £36

KIMONOS:

A kimono looks great in summertime, or winter, and is a light cover up, that will make you look elegant, chic and they’re cooler than a cardigan!

Kimonos look great with shorts in summer, or skinny jeans in winter. Don’t be afraid to try long, maxi kimonos. They work on short ladies, as well as tall ladies, and they are so beautifully feminine.

You can pick up a kimono anywhere, from Primark, to Debenhams, to ASOS (below).

ASOS DESIGN KimonoBoohoo Floral Print Kimono

COMFY SHOES:

If there’s one thing we need in pregnancy, it’s a comfy pair of shoes. I don’t know about any of you, but I was SO clumsy when I was pregnant. One time I fell flat on my face in Borough Market when I was walking on the cobbles in a silly pair of ballet flats. This was obviously a long time ago!

One shoe that looks chic with ANY outfit (even a smart pair of black trousers) is a solid white trainer. The thicker the sole, the better. Choose either a white plimsoll, white chunky soled baseball trainer, or invest in some Nikes to really up the style stakes.

L-R: Next, Next, Footlocker (Nike Airforce)

White Slip-On Skater Shoes     White Signature Leather Lace-up TrainersNike Air Force 1 07 SE - Women Shoes (AA0287-102)

TOPS:

Choose cotton or chiffon which will grow with your bump, and also allow for warmer summer days and on holidays.

Next have a great collection of v-neck tees this season, which fall and drape beautifully. The v-neck style will work well as your boobs become fuller and your bump grows.

They would look great with the harems, kimonos and trainers above, and be a fab basic to have in your wardrobe in a variety of colours. The v-neck style would also be handy for feeding, if you are fortunate enough to be able to breastfeed when baby comes.

White V-Neck TopPeach Ruched Side TopKhaki V-Neck Top

CONCLUSION:

You don’t have to fork out on maternity clothes, when you can find so many fabulous, stylish options on the high street. Maternity ranges can be so limited and hard to find, so enjoy searching for some new styles, following the rough guidelines above.

When baby comes and you have sick on your skater dress, just sling on a biker jacket (wipe clean!), a pair of tights and boots, and you’ll go from feeling slummy to yummy.

I wish you a beautiful, relaxing pregnancy and a safe, happy delivery xxx

 

Bumbag Moment

Before we get going, I just want to (smugly) say that I was way ahead of the bumbag trend last summer! If you have followed me for a while, you will remember my beautiful sequinned bumbag that I wore all summer.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, standing, shorts and selfieImage may contain: one or more people, people standing, ocean, sky, cloud, beach, shorts, outdoor, nature and water

In fact, from that bumbag, came the term “Bumbag Moment”. This describes a moment when you wear something COMPLETELY out of your comfort zone, even though you love it!

The bumbag received mixed reviews and comments, but overall I loved it. More than anything, it was hugely practical, both during personal shopping trips, and during the summer holidays with my son. Luckily my son is at an age where all I need is a little rucksack for a picnic, wallet and suncream, which meant I could use my bumbag for cash, car keys and my phone.

They are really practical little things, and if you can get past the whole tourist thing, you might enjoy wearing one.

The bumbag is one of the most Marmite items I have ever come across as a stylist. People either like them, or they literally HATE them. So if you are going to wear one, wear with pride and f*ck what anyone else thinks, am I right? 😉

The good news is, that you will be seeing more of them this summer, as they are HUGE news for Summer fashion 2018. So much so that the swanky bloggers are all writing about them, and even Gucci have jumped on the bandwagon. And when Gucci says something is cool, then the fashionistas follow.

So here is my pick of my favourite bumbags.

The “Not A Bumbag” Bumbag:

This little item is great if you’re not ready to fully embrace that fanny pack. You can get away with this looking like a cool little handbag, without declaring your bumbagness for all to see. It’s chic and slick which means it would be a great bag to wear on a nice daytrip to London or out in the evening for summer drinks.

ACCESSORIZE: Sorrento Multiway *ssssh* Bumbag – £22.00

The “I’m a Really Cool Fashionista” Bumbag

This is a little quilted bumbag that you could wear across your body too, if you don’t fancy strapping it round your tum. It’s a nod to Gucci, really chic and fantastic for city breaks (who am I kidding – WHO does a city break?!). I mean…perfect for posh soft play.

ACCESSORIZE: Otto Multiway Bumbag – £22.00

The “I’m Going To A Kids’ Rave And I Want To Look Cool” Bumbag

This bumbag is loud and proud, and PERFECT for summer. Going away with the girls? Going to a festival? Going to CBeebies Land? Wherever you are hot footing it, this bumbag is fun, will look great with some funky sunnies and an e-number filled ice cream of your choice.

ACCESSORIZE: Mirror Tassel Bag – £25.00

The “I Need To Shave My Muff” Bumbag

I wouldn’t advise anyone to go for this bumbag, unless you want to be endlessly mocked, be stared at, and IMAGINE  it after a downpour! Not for the fainthearted.

TOPSHOP: Frizzie Marabou Bumbag – £25.00

The “Pop Of Colour” Bumbag

Aaah back to normality. This is a beauty of a bumbag. A lovely flash of colour that will make the most boring of jeans outfits look hip and funky this summer. Perfect for all occasions and you can wear it across body too.

TOPSHOP: Queenie Quilted Bumbag – £22.00

The “Night Out” Bumbag

Don’t want to dance around your handbag? Fed up of that clutch in your right hand? Well step forward, this bargain bumbag which will allow you to do the YMCA liberally, while keeping your belongings secure. Big enough for your credit card, cash, lipstick and mobile phone.

ASOS Flat Monogram Bum Bag

ASOS: Flat Monogram Bumbag – £10.00

The “Travelling Around Thailand” Bumbag

Going on a yoga retreat? Having a little “finding yourself” trip? If so, I can’t be your friend as I’m too jealous, but step forward YOUR perfect bumbag. Casual, great with shorts, a nice boho print and a colour to match that hand luggage wardrobe. Go Eat, Pray Love, with your beauty of a bumbag.

ACCESSORIZE: Bondi Geo Bumbag – £25.00

The “Gucci” Bumbag

As I said above, when Gucci do it, the fashion world follows. This is a neat little bumbag, a colour that goes with everything, and a price that will make you wince.

GUCCI – “GG Marmont Quilted Belt Bag” – £765.00

The “More Money Than Sense” Bumbag

If you have the cash to splash on fun fashions, then go for it! Or maybe you want to invest in a posh bumbag for when you travel with work and need your hands free for your wheelie suitcase and champagne.

PRADA : Cahier Textured Belt Bag – £1,180.00