By Jo Smallbones
I love this time of year! I know the nights are drawing in, the temperature is dropping, the leaves are changing, and my flower baskets are dying, not to mention my holiday is a wonderful distant memory. Yet, I can’t help but feel a sense of enthusiasm, possibility and a heightened positive attitude. I’m sure it’s to do with the new school year depicting new beginnings which is why I enjoy a refreshing “new pencil case” feeling.
In response, I’ve unleashed my positivity and in a whirlwind of clothes, scarves and storage boxes, swopped over my summer wardrobe (not all, I’m living in hope of us enjoying an Indian summer) for my Autumn items. Take note, coats and chunky knitwear still remain hidden – don’t want to bring on the carol singers just yet!!
The turn of the seasons is a great time to indulge in some fresh- thinking around what we have so setting aside time to go through my wardrobe, I find, is therapeutic. It gives me the opportunity to charity any items that no longer serve me and rediscover items I’ve forgotten about – even more fun than retail therapy!
When I swop over my wardrobe I always run through these questions;
- do I feel great when I wear this?
- is it really me?
- does it suit, flatter and compliment my best assets?
Only the ones where I answer “yes” to all three win the accolade of returning to my wardrobe for another season.
For me it’s about taking control, getting organized and taking a fresh new look at what I wear. I don’t even venture a shopping trip until I have a focused idea on what I need. “Where’s the fun in that?” – the fun is in finding an item that fits me and my lifestyle perfectly so it works hard for every penny I’ve spent on it. I’ve fallen into the impulse buying trap of spending money on “that’ll do” items, it only ever resulted in an empty purse and a wardrobe full of clothes that didn’t go together. Smart shopping is my mantra now and it serves me well!
Of course every wardrobe needs “tran seasonal” pieces that can work across the seasons. I call them my “hero” pieces and they’re usually items I can layer up or down to keep up with varying temperatures. I always invest in a couple of these in the Autumn and Spring. A longline waistcoat, is my go to hero garment for this season. I wear mine with a long sleeved t-shirt and jeans and can also throw it over a sleeveless tee and shorts, finishing it with an arm full of bangles for a bo-ho look. It’s one of my recommended items for my Autumn Style Challenge capsule wardrobe. It’s on trend, flatters, is smart enough for workwear and is a very versatile layering piece.
A wardrobe switchover inevitably means I’ll rediscover items, I had put away and forgotten about. This is more fun than shopping as there’s no expense! I also enjoy working through some new outfit ideas using some of the latest trends. A pair of metallic flats, brogues or converses is one trend I’m looking to incorporate – they’ll add an edge to my boyfriend jeans and the tapered cigarette trousers I wore all last year. I’m also liking the asymmetric hems and will look to wear in a skirt or a top as they’re so flattering. Sleeves seem to be playing an all important role this season, especially fluted. Short fluted or long they look fabulously elegant and they’re the perfect match for wearing under my “hero item” the longline waistcoat. I’m pleased to say that practical style is rearing its head as rucksacks are making a comeback for the autumn, one trend I’ll definitely be implementing!
I hope this has helped to inspire you to tackle your wardrobes. If you’re not quite there yet then take the Confident Style Creators Autumn 2016 Style Challenge – a 25 piece capsule wardrobe guide, shopping links to recommended items and 21 daily outfit suggestions, will make building a wardrobe full of flattering clothes you feel confident wearing, a doddle.
Go ahead, embrace the new beginnings and positivity the Autumn and new school year brings. Refresh, revitalize and revamp and put the fun back into what you wear.
Jo has always had a passion for fashion which stems from spending many hours with her stylish grandmother who taught her how to sew. Her Barbie dolls were some of the best dressed in the area!
When she left school, she went to art college to study fashion design and after graduating embarked on an analytical left brain 13 year career in business and finance – long story!! On the plus side – she got to do one of her other passions, travel, and was privileged enough to work and live all over the world.
Now a Devon, England-based personal stylist and life coach, she’s been fortunate enough to work with an array of wonderful clients; male, female, young, old and some in the public eye. The ones she enjoys working with the most are the ones who are ready and open to making changes and she’s passionate about helping them achieve total style confidence so they can maximize their full potential in all areas of their lives.
She mainly work with mid-life and mid-size women who no longer feel comfortable and confident with their clothing choices. She’s been on the hamster wheel of low self-esteem, little self-belief and completely overwhelmed when it came to shopping for clothes, so she can easily relate.
Jo believes that mid-life is a time for women to celebrate their unique style and to accept and embrace any body shape changes, welcoming them as part of their life story. Whatever your size, shape or age, learning how to style an outfit to compliment your best assets is the most confidence boosting experience any woman can enjoy.
She sees her role as a teacher to educate, a mentor to inspire and a guide to empower and unleash inner confidence. She is passionate about helping others to step forward and say “this is me – and I love me!”