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4 Ways to Refresh Your Wardrobe on a Budget

 Feeling like you’re stuck in a style rut? Don’t have the spare cash to get out of it?

Luckily, you don’t actually have to spend money to refresh your look: here are four easy ways to do it, without spending a single penny…

how to refresh your style without spending a penny

01. Let someone else dress you 

We’re not talking literally here: we’re sure you’re perfectly capable of putting your own clothes on, after all. But if you feel like you’re stuck in a style rut, handing the reigns to someone else for a while can give you a whole new outlook on your wardrobe on your style. Invite a friend round (ideally one whose style you admire!), pour a couple of glasses of wine, and let her loose in your closet: chances are, she’ll pick out items you’d long since forgotten about, and style them in ways you might not have considered. You don’t have to commit to actually wearing what she chooses for you if you really don’t like it,but seeing your closet from whole new perspective can be an easy way to refresh your style.

(Of course, this can also go horribly wrong: see what happened when our editor let her husband choose her outfit, for instance…)

Oh, and speaking of friends…

02. Do a clothes swap

When you reach that stage when you’re just sick to death of everything you own, it’s time to bag up a few items you don’t think you’ll want to wear again, take them to a friend’s house, and do a swap. You’re probably not the only one who’s feeling a little uninspired, and as we’re fond of saying, one woman’s crime of fashion is another woman’s most wanted item. You can even make a night of it, and invite as many people as you like – the more choice you have, the better!

03. Photograph your outfits for a week

This is another tip that might sound a bit pointless at first, but it’s really easy to lose objectivity when you’re wearing the same clothes all the time: we get used to throwing on the same things, in the same combinations, and we rarely shake things up, because if it works, why fix it? The problem is working out when it’s NOT working any more, so, as an experiment, try photographing what you wear for a week, then look back at the photos. For some reason, the camera can often help to highlight things you don’t see when you look in the mirror (strange but true), and when you know you’re going to have to look at the photos, it’ll also help inspire you to up your game.

04. Join a style challenge

You know all of those fashion blogger challenges you’re always coming across on the internet? The ones where you have to remix a particular item, or wear a certain colour on a certain day? You don’t actually have to be a fashion blogger to join in with those, and while you might feel a bit silly at first, it can be a lot of fun – and will also help inspire you to come up with outfits you might not have thought of. What do you have to lose, after all?

How to...

How to Apply the Capsule Wardrobe Philosophy to your Non-Capsule Wardrobe

Capsule wardrobes are big news right now.

capsule wardrobe for people who hate capsule wardrobes

Everywhere we look, people seem to be embracing minimalism, clearing out their closets and decided to create a simple capsule wardrobe instead. Entire blogs have been built on the capsule wardrobe principle, and you only have to look at Pinterest to see tons of images of perfect, colour-coordinated capsules, for every possible scenario.

While it’s not difficult to understand the appeal of the capsule wardrobe, however (Seriously, who hasn’t looked at those images of perfectly-organised closets, and thought how much easier life would be if you didn’t have to work out what to wear every morning?), it’s also true to say that they’re not for everyone.

How a capsule wardrobe works

Capsule wardrobes work by limiting choice, and thus limiting the amount of decisions you have to make every day: let’s be honest, though, they also limit the amount of fun you get to have with your wardrobe. You can remix to your heart’s content, but how long do you think it’ll take to get sick to death of wearing the same old stuff day after day? How will you feel, faced with an amazing dress, which you feel absolutely fantastic in – but which you’re not “allowed” to buy, because it won’t work with your capsule wardrobe?

Some people, of course, won’t be even remotely troubled by these objections. These are people like Matilda Kahl, who made headlines earlier this year by wearing exactly the same outfit to work every single day, without exception, in a bid to simply her life. What Kahl has is more of a uniform than a traditional capsule wardrobe, but the theory is the same: you have fewer options, which makes getting dressed a whole lot easier.

What if you’re not like Kahl, though? What if you love the idea of a capsule wardrobe, but you ALSO love the idea of still being able to buy the clothes you love – even if they won’t work with your capsule? What if collecting clothes is your hobby, or you just like to switch up your style on a regular basis?

if you love collecting clothes, or switching up your style, a capsule wardrobe probably isn’t for you

The bad news is that a capsule wardrobe just won’t work for you in that case. The good news, however, is that you CAN apply the capsule wardrobe principles to your NON-capsule wardrobe, and get all the benefits of a capsule (saving time, making it easier to get dressed in the morning, always having something appropriate to wear, whatever you’re doing), without any of the restrictions of one. How? By creating a capsule WITHIN your wardrobe.

What’s a Capsule-Within-Your Wardrobe?

It’s exactly what it sounds like. You get to keep all of your existing items of clothing, so you still have just as much choice as you have before – and you can keep ADDING to your existing wardrobe too, if you want to. But you also create a capsule.

The capsule you create isn’t a traditional capsule wardrobe: instead, it’s a section of your wardrobe (ideally a LITERAL section of your wardrobe, in that you keep these items separate from everything else you own) in which you create your own capsule of basics. You can think of this as a capsule wardrobe, but you can also simply think of it as your CORE wardrobe: the essentials you need to get through your day to day life. These are the basics which form the backbone of your wardrobe: the building blocks which form the basis of your personal style, and which you can then build upon, by adding in whatever else you like.

the capsule-within-your-wardrobe is your core wardrobe: the building blocks which form the basis of your personal style

Developing your non-capsule wardrobe

So, what do you put in this capsule wardrobe that isn’t actually a capsule wardrobe, then? Good question. The capsule-within-your-wardrobe should contain your closet essentials. These will be different for everyone, so rather than providing you with a list of ’30 things every woman should own’, or whatever, what we’d suggest you do is this:

01. Make a list of the the things you find yourself doing most often: so, work, hobbies, social activities etc.

02. Write down your ideal outfit for each of those occasions.

03. Go to your closet, and see if you can pull together all of the outfits you’ve come up with, using clothing you already own.

capsule wardrobes limit choice, but they also limit fun…

04. Transfer the items you’ve used to a separate section of your wardrobe if you possibly can: if space is limited, try just grouping them together on the rail – maybe tie a ribbon around your clothes rail to mark off that section, or use a different colour of hanger for the clothes in your “capsule wardrobe”.

05. Make a list of any items you felt you needed, but didn’t have.

06. If you can, go shopping for those items: if you can’t, keep the list in your purse or on your phone so that when you ARE out shopping, or have some spare cash, you can start filling these closet holes.

07. In the case of activities like work, which you need more than one outfit, make sure you have enough of these basics to put together as many combinations as you’ll need.

And you’re done: now you get to enjoy all of the benefits of a capsule wardrobe, without having to restrict yourself to always wearing the same things!


Your new “capsule wardrobe” is NOT a traditional capsule wardrobe, and it’s not supposed to be in any way restrictive. So, just because you’ve pulled together a selection of outfits that are suitable for wearing to work, say, it doesn’t mean you can ONLY wear those outfits to work – not at all.

your new “capsule wardrobe” is non-restrictive – you can still wear everything else in your closet, too

What it means is that you can still wear whatever you like to work, because you still have access to your entire wardrobe, and you’re not placing yourself under any kind of shopping ban: heaven forbid. But on those days when you’re running late, feeling un-inspired, or simply having those “I have 500 dresses and nothing to wear!” moments, you have a capsule of basics which you can turn to, knowing that in the space of just a few minutes, you’ll be able to pull together something that works.

What it ALSO means – and this is the REALLY good part – is that now that you’ve got all of the basics in stock, you can really start to have fun with everything else. No more feeling guilty that you’re buying another impractical dress when you don’t have anything to wear to work: that dress is now just the cherry on top of a perfectly put-together closet!

[See my own capsule wardrobe here!]

The Ultimate Collection of Capsule Wardrobes and Style Essentials

How to...

How To Help Your Man Pick Stylish Accessories

[This is a contributed post]

When it comes to helping your man look more stylish, it can sometimes be tricky to know what to suggest for him.

You might be a fashion pro when it comes to dressing yourself, but when it comes to helping out your partner, you may not have any idea where to start.

That’s okay, even as a fashionable woman, you aren’t expected to know all the best tips for men’s fashion, as that is where we come in. Most men have wardrobes that are fairly stylish, but what they lack is accessories. The key to helping your man look more stylish and well put together is helping him to accessorize.

helping your man look more stylish


To help you, help your man pick out the most stylish accessories, here are a few tips that you might find useful.  

Start with footwear

When it comes to helping your man improve his style, the first thing you should start off with is his footwear. Shoes are a standard part of any outfit, but by choosing the wrong pair of shoes, your man can destroy the style of an outfit.

That’s why helping your man to choose the right type of footwear is so important. Many men make the mistake of thinking that black shoes go with everything when they don’t. There is no need to buy shoes in every colour, but to look stylish and well put together, your man should have at least a brown and black pair of shoes.

To look stylish, your partner should have dress shoes, as well as two or three pairs of less formal shoes. Toms, trainers, and Converse are ideal, as these each work well with different outfits and looks.  

A watch is a must

A fantastic way that your man can add extra style to his look is by adding a stylish wrist watch. Today there are many awesome watch designs for men, so no matter what style your man likes, you should be able to help him find something suitable.

There are lots of designs to choose from, so make sure to take your time when helping your man to find the perfect watch. If you go online, you can find lots men watches online, so have a look and have a browse to help your partner find the perfect one.

Help your partner choose stylish belts

When it comes to adding a little extra something to your partner’s look, a stylish belt is the ideal way to do that. The mistake that many men make with belts is believing that one belt works well with every outfit when that is not the case.

To ensure that your man’s belt works well with his look, he needs to ensure that he matches it to his shoes. If he’s wearing black shoes and a brown belt, he’s going to end up clashing, which is never a good look. The best way to help your man avoid this issue is by helping him to choose a few belts in different colours and designs. So no matter what he’s wearing, he has a suitable belt to pair with it.

By following the simple tips above, you can help your man to look even more stylish.

How to...

How to find cheap bridesmaid dresses on the UK high street – without making your friends hate you

how to find cheap bridesmaid dresses on the the UK high street without making your friends hate you

“Why are bridesmaid dresses so ugly?” – said every bridesmaid ever.


“Why are bridesmaid dresses so EXPENSIVE?” – said pretty much every bride ever. (Or whoever is responsible for purchasing the bridesmaid dresses. Here in the UK, they’re most often paid for by the bride, but in some other countries bridesmaids are expected to foot the bill for their own bridesmaid dress, making the search for cheap bridesmaid dresses even more important…)

Herein lies the problem: traditional bridesmaid dresses tend to be both ugly AND expensive. No one wants to wear one, and no one really wants to BUY one either. But cheap bridesmaid dresses sound… well, cheap, really. And probably nasty, too. Is there a way to find cheap bridesmaid dresses without making your friends hate you for forcing them to wear them? Yes, there is. First, though, here are a couple of things you need to know about bridesmaid dresses – cheap or otherwise…

Two things you need to know about cheap bridesmaid dresses

01. You don’t have to buy your bridesmaid dresses in a bridal store

These days there are tons of cheap bridesmaid dresses out there which have the benefit of NOT actually being “bridesmaid” dresses. They’re just regular dresses, which can be used as bridesmaid dresses – and then worn again afterwards. This is one way to make sure your friends don’t hate you: by getting them cheap bridesmaid dresses they’ll want to wear AGAIN. They do exist, we promise.

02. They don’t all have to be identical

The tradition of a row of bridesmaids, all in identical dresses, is a little bit old-fashioned these days, and it’s perfectly OK to have bridesmaid dresses that are different lengths and styles. Actually, it could be a really good solution – not only will it give you a better chance of finding cheap bridesmaid dresses when you don’t have to make sure they’re all exactly the same, you’ll also be able to take account of your bridesmaids different body shapes and tastes. Bridesmaids don’t all look the same, so why should bridesmaid dresses all look the same? To create a cohesive look for your bridal party, all you really have to do is make sure the dresses are all the same colour. If you’ve got that down, the kindest thing to do is to allow your bridesmaids to choose the style of dress they feel most comfortable in. Because happy bridesmaids = beautiful bridesmaids, no matter what they’re wearing.

With that said, there are tons of options for cheap bridesmaid dresses right here on the UK high street. Here are a few of our favourites…

Cheap bridesmaid dresses on the UK high street

cheao bridesmaid dresses from ASOS

ASOS Salon bridesmaid dress

cheap bridesmaid dress from ASOS

ASOS Wedding

roundup of cheap bridesmaid dresses on the UK high street


ASOS is a great source of cheap bridesmaid dresses. The ASOS Salon and ASOS Wedding collections predictably contain some of the more traditional (and also more pricey) dresses, but you’ll also find some cheap bridesmaid dresses in the main line collection: the pink dress above, for instance, is just £45, and could easily be worn again after the wedding.

Coast bridesmaid dresses

Coast is pretty synonymous with weddings, and Coast bridesmaid dresses can be spotted at weddings around the country. For this reason, a lot of wedding guests prefer to avoid Coast for their wedding guest attire (they’re scared of turning up wearing the same dress as the bridesmaids!), so if you’re choosing a Coast bridesmaid dress, it might be an idea to make that known to your female guests! These aren’t the cheapest bridesmaid dresses you’ll find, but they are some of the nicest:

Coast Sandrina dress

Coast Sandrina dress

Retro-inspired bridesmaid dresses

For the bride who loves the retro look, some of the retro-reproduction lines can be an excellent source of cheap bridesmaids dresses: these dresses aren’t designed for bridesmaids, but the full skirts and nipped-in bodices that are so characteristic of the 1950s style can also be appropriate for a wedding. The dress below, for instance, is by Lindybop, and is just £27.99 – you’d be hard pressed to find a cheaper bridesmaid dress than that!

Lindybop bridesmaid dress

Finding cheap bridesmaid dresses at the supermarket. (Yes, really...)

The supermarket is probably the last place you’d expect to pick up cheap wedding dresses, but supermarket brands like F&F, George and Tu at Sainsbury’s have really picked up their game in recent year, and yes, you can find cheap bridesmaid dresses nestled amongst the bread and milk. Well, OK, maybe not quite – they’ll be in the clothing section, obviously, but check out this £50 dress from F&F:

finding cheap bridesmaid dresses at the supermarket

There are, of course, plenty of other places to find cheap bridesmaid dresses in the UK, and a quick Google search will throw up tons of sites dedicated to selling cheap dresses for bridesmaids. Before you go buying a bridesmaid dress that your friends will probably hate, and never want to wear again, though, our advice is to first of all take a look at the non-bridal stores you usually shop from: places like Oasis, Warehouse, Debenhams etc, as well as the ones listed above. You might be surprised by what you find there…

First image © Creatista | Dreamstime.comWoman With Shocking Gift Photo

Ask the Fashion Police, How to..., Skirts

How to Wear a Full Skirt

The current trend for full skirts has The Fashion Police jumping for joy: with their dramatic silhouette and retro-inspired feel, this is one trend we can definitely get behind. Although full skirts have been around for a long time,  however, they can be tricky to wear without feeling like you just stepped out of a 1950s costume drama. Here are our tips on how to wear a full skirt…


How to Wear a Full Skirt

Full skirt: ASOS

How to Wear a Full Skirt | Choosing your skirt


Many of the full skirts we’re seeing in stores right now are midi length, for that full-on, retro effect. This can be a great look, if you get it right, but that much fabric,and that much length, can totally swamp some figures. If you’re petite, or just wondering how to wear a full skirt without feeling too over-dressed, consider choosing a skirt that hits right on the knee, rather than under it (or having one hemmed, if you can’t find the right length), for a more proportional, and easier-to-wear silhouette.

Structured or floaty?

Skirts like the one in the image at the top of the page use stiff fabric and/or box pleats to create built-in structure, i,e. the skirt will stick out from the body and look very full, without the need for a petticoat or other underlayer. Again, this can be a fabulous look, but it can also be a little too much for some tastes. If you’re looking for something a little less dressy, choose a floatier fabric (chiffon or jersey, say) with a softer drape to it, like the one below:

how to wear a full skirt

Skirt: ASOS

What to wear with your full skirt

Once you’ve picked out your skirt, the next question is what to wear with it. This will, of course, largely depend on your own personal taste, but as a general guide, we’d advise:

A fitted top

Full skirts are all about emphasising the waist, and for this to work, you’ll need something fitted on top, whether it be a sweater, shirt, or other top that’s reasonably form-fitting. At the moment we’re seeing a lot of people wearing oversized or loose sweaters with full skirts: this makes for a very “fashiony” kind of look, and definitely makes the look more modern, but it’s also incredibly hard to pull off as the saggy top half and full bottom half will swamp most figures, and can very easily turn your body into a large rectangle. If you can pull it off, go for it, but an easier, and more classic way to wear a full skirt is to choose something that emphasises the waist and doesn’t create extra volume on the top half of the body: let the skirt provide the focal point of the outfit.

Non-chunky shoes

If your skirt is adding a lot of volume to your body, it’s a good idea to make it the ONLY thing that adds volume, so as well as choosing a fitted top, you might want to choose shoes that aren’t too chunky. Pointed courts are the classic option, but peep toes or sandals also work well, whereas clumpy flatforms or slouchy ankle boots can make the skirt look frumpy or sloppy. On the subject of frumpiness: if your skirt is midi length, consider wearing heels if possible, although pointed flats can be a chic alternative – there are some more tips on how to wear midi skirts/dresses in this article.

full skirts at Topshop

Full skirts at Topshop

Styling a full skirt

How to wear a full skirt without looking overdressed or “costumey” is a question that comes up a lot in relation to this style, and the answer lies in how you style it. Keeping the rest of your outfit contemporary will go a long way towards making a full skirt more wearable, so try wearing something fairly casual, like a t-shirt or casual sweater and  keep hair and makeup simple: very rigid or elaborate hairstyles will add to the retro skirt of the look, which is great if that’s the look you’re going for, but a little harder to pull off if you’re looking for something less formal looking.

Some other tips on how to wear a full skirt:

  •  Crop tops are a great way to update the look of a full skirt, and add extra emphasis to the waist.
  • Want more waist definition? Add a wide waist belt.
  • Stripey sweaters are classic and casual, and work perfectly with a block-colour skirt.
  • Leather (or leather-look) skirts are a good option for those wondering how to wear a full skirt in a modern, slightly edgier fashion.
  • Slogan sweaters or tees also give a contemporary, slightly cheeky feel, to a classic look.

Got any suggestions on how to wear a full skirt? We’d love to hear them!

How to..., Outerwear

How to dress up your winter coat

winter coats

Winter coats: Collectif

Remember Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf, and her amazing selection of outerwear? At this time of year, we often wonder why more people don’t take a leaf out of Blair’s book and turn their trusty winter coats into outfits all on their own, as opposed to simply the warm covering you use to HIDE the outfit underneath. We’re not suggestion you go all-out like Blair, of course, but when you spend so much time in a particular item of clothing, a few small touches can go a long way to making that drab winter coat look a little more glamorous. We’re talking about little things like…

Switching out the buttons

Many coats come with perfectly serviceable, but not particularly interesting, buttons. Switching them for something more stylish is one of those little details that can make a big difference, and it’s also quick and easy to do by yourself. You can find unusual buttons in haberdashery sections of stores, or try a search of your local thrift store: you may well find a cheap cardigan or jacket with some fantastic buttons which you can cut off and use. (Don’t forget to check the clothes that are already in your closet too, particularly any ones you’re thinking of getting rid of!)

Changing or adding a belt

Many coats come with their own belt, often in the same colour and fabric of the coat itself. There’s nothing wrong with those belts, but if you want to give your coat a different, or dressier, look, try ditching the belt it came with and adding one of your own instead, perhaps in a contrasting colour or fabric. This can be a really easy way to keep updating your look, and as a belt is a relatively small (and inexpensive) detail, you can afford to be a little more adventurous with it than you would with the coat itself.

Accessorizing with statement jewellery

We think nothing of adding brooches and necklaces to our regular outfits to make them a little more “fancy”, but very few people seem to take the time to accessorize their outerwear. Wearing a necklace over your coat might be a bit TOO “Blair Waldorf” for some, but if you can pull it off it, it will add instant glamour. Failing that, brooches or corsages are easy and effective ways to add interest to outerwear without looking too try-hard.

Updating your scarf collection

It’s almost too obvious to mention, but scarves don’t JUST keep you warm in winter – they also look good, too. Experiment with different ways to tie your scarf and use it as an accessory, as well as something warm. An oversized bow or creative braid can look much more stylish than simply stuffing your scarf under your coat. Lost for inspiration? Pinterest is your friend…

Got any tips on how to accessorize a coat? We’d love to hear them!


Ask the Fashion Police, How to...

What to Wear When You Work From Home

With an ever-increasing number of people choosing to work from home, whether by running their own businesses/freelancing or by telecommuting for their existing employer, today we answer the all-important question: what to wear when when you work from home?

what to wear when you work from home

What to wear when you work from home?

Before we try to help you work out what to wear when you work from home, however, there’s another question we should really address first, namely:

Why does it matter?

Why should you care what you look like when you’re at home?

These are both reasonable questions. For many people, one of the biggest benefits of working from home is having the freedom to do what you like, and that includes the freedom to WEAR what you like, too. No more stuffy shirts and suits! No more spending money on endlessly dry-cleaning office attire which you already spent way more than you really wanted to in order to buy in the first place. Instead, if you want to spend the entire day in your PJs, you can: there’s no dress code, after all, so it’s totally up to you. Who wouldn’t love that?

This is all well and good, of course: some people are more than happy to spend the entire day working away in their dressing gown/sweat pants/whatever, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. (If you’re one of those people, you can feel free to skip this one: you already KNOW what to wear when you work from home…) Other home workers, however, say they feel less productive when they’re dressed “sloppily”, and want to be comfortable, but still look somewhat pulled-together. This is especially important for home workers who occasionally have to meet clients, or otherwise interact with people other than the cat and the postman.

The challenge for people in this position, then, is to find that balance between getting “dressed” for work, but not feeling too dressed up for home. Most of us probably don’t want to put on a suit and stilettos if we’re going to be at home all day (Although if that’s what works for you, go for it), so what DO you wear when you work from home?

Having worked from home for many years now, The Fashion Police have these suggestions:

what to wear when you work from home

What to wear when you work from home: our suggestions

Ponte pants

All the comfort of sweatpants, all the style of dress pants. We’re not sure how we ever lived without these: they’re smart enough to meet clients or head out to a meeting, but they’re comfortable and stretchy enough to let you lounge on the sofa in them at the end of the day, too: a work-from-home essential, we’d say.

Jersey blazers or cute cardis

We described jersey blazers as closet heroes a while back, and they’re particularly useful for those wondering what to wear when you work from home. As with the ponte pants, these are smart, but also super-comfortable: the soft, unstructured fabric makes them as easy to wear as a sweater, but they look a whole lot smarter. If a blazer of any kind feels too much for a day at home, a cute, fitted cardigan makes a great alternative: it’s less “formal”, but still looks polished.

Knit dresses

If you prefer dresses over pants, a knit dress or tunic can be worn with leggings or tights for a casual but chic look, which is also very comfortable. Add a pretty scarf or necklace to dress it up a little if you’re going out.

Dark wash jeans

These are the answer to many a sartorial dilemma, and are one of those classic “dress up or down as required” items. Wear them casually with a t-shirt or sweater, then throw on some heels and a smarter top if you need/want to be a little dressier.

Of course, what to wear when you work from home will vary depending on the type of work you do, the climate and your own personal taste, so while these items are the ones we swear by, they may not work for everyone. Which is why we want to know: do you work from home? If so, what do you wear: do you dress up, dress down, or fall somewhere in between?

[Image © Ron Chapple |]
Ask the Fashion Police, How to...

Stuck in a Style Rut? Here’s three quick ways to climb out…

Stuck in a style rut? Sick of opening up your closet every morning, seeing the same, tired old items staring back at you, and not wanting to wear ANY of them? Got tons of clothes but absolutely nothing to wear? Here are three quick ways to climb out of that style rut and find your way back to the land of the stylish…

how to break out of a style rut

How to break out of a style rut

Before we get into our three quick tips, here’s one thing to remember when you’re stuck in a style rut:

Don’t go shopping.

It’s easy to see new clothes as the obvious answer to this particular dilemma, but if everything you own seems tired and stale, a huge shopping spree isn’t necessarily the answer: you’re much more likely to buy things on impulse, or end up simply acquiring more of the same things that aren’t quite working for you. Try these quick tricks instead:

1. Cut your hair

Now, we’re not suggesting you need to do anything drastic here (although there’s obviously nothing stopping you, if that’s what you feel like), so step away from those scissors, sister. Sometimes even a small change to your hair style, however, can make you look at your wardrobe in a whole new way. What worked with your old style might look totally different with a new one, and a new ‘do can help inspire you to try clothing combinations and style you might otherwise not have considered.

2. Change your make-up

Again, you don’t need to overhaul everything here, but if you’re the kind of girl who goes for the same makeup look every day (or doesn’t wear anything at all), it could be time to switch things up again. As with the hair, even something as simple as a different lip colour can create a subtle change that’s just enough to let you break out of your style rut and start experimenting with new combinations to suit the new “you”.

3.  Try everything on.

OK, so NOW it’s time to go shopping. Window shopping, that is. Before you take the plunge and actually buy anything, take the time to have a good look around the shops, and try things on. And when we say “try things on”, we mean “try EVERYTHING on”. Pick up items you wouldn’t consider wearing in a million years: clothes that are totally different from your usual style, or which you can’t imagine ever having the opportunity to wear. Now take them to the changing room and give them a go. You may well conclude that your instincts were correct and they’re totally not for you, but you might also be surprised by how much you like something you wouldn’t have previously considered wearing. You never know until you give it a try, do you?

What are your tips for breaking free of a style rut?

[Main image © Mariia Sniegirova | |Cover image: Bettie Page ‘Alika’ dress]

Ask the Fashion Police, How to...

How to stay stylish in a heatwave

If you live in the UK – or any of the other parts of the world currently enjoying soaring temperatures – we’re going to take a wild guess that your biggest style dilemma right now isn’t how to look “cool” in the style sense: it’s just how to look – and FEEL – cool, period.

Summer, as we’ve noted, can be a wonderfully fun time for fashion, but it can also be a challenging time, too. When it’s so hot and humid that all you want to do is throw yourself into the nearest fountain, it can be hard to even think about looking stylish, so here are some quick tips to help you stay stylish in a heatwave…

how to stay stylish in a heatwave

1. Keep it simple

When it’s very hot out, the last thing you need is lots of layers and accessories to worry about: we get warm just thinking about it. Summer is a great time to embrace simple style, clean lines and uncluttered silhouettes. Floral prints are always popular, but a simply cut shift dress in a bold colour will make a statement without having to be worn with anything more than a pair of shoes, so there’s less for you to have to think about when you’re getting dressed, and less for you to have to carry around, too. Dresses are particularly easy in hot weather because the one-piece nature of them means there’s nothing to come un-tucked or require adjusting: just throw them on, and be on your way.

2. Minimal makeup

It’s not just your clothing which needs to be kept simple during a heatwave: your makeup routine (if you have one) might benefit from some paring-down too. Not only will heavy makeup clog your pores and make you feel even warmer than you were to start with, it can also look overdone on a very hot day – or start sliding off your face mid-morning, when the temperature starts to rise. Of course, we’re not saying you have to go totally bare-faced if you don’t want to, but fresh, dewy looks lend themselves to hot summer days, and don’t require too much effort, either. There’s always sunglasses if you feel the need for more coverage.

3. Breathable fabrics

Choose fabrics like cotton or linen, which will allow your skin to breathe, rather than man-made fibers which can do the complete opposite.

4. Loose clothing and comfortable shoes

Clothes that are too tight aren’t a good look at any time, but tight, restrictive clothing is particularly uncomfortable when it’s hot out, so go for looser, more “flowy” fits that won’t chafe. Remember, bodies and feet can swell a little when it’s very warm out, so consider sizing up if you need to, and choose comfortable shoes with lot of wiggle room. It goes without saying that open toes and sandals will be cooler and kinder to the feet, but if you prefer to keep your toes under cover, bear point 3 in mind and look for something like a cute pair of canvas flats, which will allow your feet to breathe.

5. Cover up

It might sound counter-intuitive, but while it’s tempting to think that the answer to “what to wear in a heatwave” is “as little as possible!”, that’s not necessarily the case. If the fabric is natural, and the fit is right (See points 3 and 4), covering up can be more comfortable than stripping off – and depending on the setting, it might just look better, too.

6. Buy an umbrella

Not just for rain, a cute umbrella can be a chic way to stay in the shade wherever you are.

7.  Take care of your hair and scalp

If you have long hair, it’s probably going to feel uncomfortable around your neck in a heatwave, so now is the time to break out the messy up-do (perfect for summer days). Remember, your scalp will burn in direct sunglight, just as the rest of your skin will, so if you don’t want to spray sunscreen on your hair, invest in a shady sunhat to keep you cool and safe from the sun.


How do you stay stylish in a heatwave?

© Martinmark |

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How to Find Your Style

Don’t know what to wear? Sick of opening up your closet every morning and staring at the contents in despair, or trying on outfit after outfit, only to end up settling for that ancient pair of jeans and a sweater, because you just don’t know what you like any more, or what actually suits you? Maybe you’ve had a baby, gained or lost weight, or simply reached a point in your life when you no longer feel your old look is working for you any more, and you need a change. But how do you find your style when there are so many choices out there that you don’t even know where to start…

how to find your style: developing a personal style from scratch

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How to look good at the beach

There’s nothing more fun than a day at the beach, is there? The sun, the sea, the sand, the awkward attempts to look and feel like you’re totally at ease wandering around in public in what amounts to little more than your underwear… Well, OK, maybe not that last bit. And as much fun as the beach can be, it’s not much fun if you’re too embarrassed to come out from behind that towel you’ve got strategically placed over your swimsuit, is it?

Well, we’re not going to give you any “bikini body” tips, because there are plenty of other places to find those if you need/want them, but we DO have some basic tips to help you look good at the beach (and no, they don’t involve doing a million crunches per day)…

how to look good at the beach

How to look good at the beach

First up, a total n0-brainer:

Choose flattering swimwear

We call this a no-brainer, but actually, it may not be. Many people feel like they HAVE to wear a bikini, for instance, because that’s what everyone else does, when actually, a cute one-piece might be way more flattering. Even bikinis come in so many shapes and sizes these days that they’re not all as figure-flashing as you might think: thanks to the recent revival of retro-inspired styles, for instance, we’re now seeing lots more bikinis with what basically amount to control-top “big knickers” as the bottom half – much more forgiving than a pair of string briefs, and you don’t have to worry about them being whipped off by an errant wave, either. The style of suit that will work best for you will obviously depend on your figure and personal taste, so the key here is to try on as many different styles as you can, and don’t be afraid to choose the one that flatters your figure, rather than the one that looks most fashionable.

Don’t wear too much make-up…

We’ve all seen that girl at the beach with make-up that looks like it’s been applied with a bucket and spade: we love makeup as much as the next woman, but very heavy make-up looks out of place and a little bit “try hard” at the beach – and it’ll look even worse after a dip in the ocean.

… but don’t be afraid to wear SOME make-up if it makes you feel better

Lots of people sneer at the idea of wearing ANY make-up at all to the beach. The Fashion Police, however, are not those people. The fact is that some people just don’t feel comfortable, or like “themselves” without at least a little bit of make-up  and if the idea of going completely bare-faced makes you shudder with horror, there’s really no reason to make yourself feel uncomfortable just to be please the ” makeup at the beach is vain and silly” brigade. We’d still advise against very heavy make-up  and obviously waterproof products are an absolute must, but if you’re confident that your make-up will last all day, and survive a swim or two, go for it.

Invest in a fabulous hat

If you’ve ever tried to get that “beachy waves” look, you’ll probably know that it’s only really easy if your hair ALREADY falls into beachy waves. REAL beachy waves basically consist of a head full of sand and salt-water, and while a sleek up-do can go a long way towards preventing that, the last thing you want to do at the beach is worry about whether your hair is in place. The answer? Find a fabulous hat. Not only will it cover your hair, and help turn your swimsuit or cut-offs into an “outfit”, it’ll also stop your scalp from burning and keep the sun out of your eyes. Choose a wide-brimmed, floppy style for a glamorous look, or a straw fedora for a more contemporary feel.

And a great pair of sunglasses

If you’re spending the day in the sun, eye protection is a must. Sunglasses won’t just protect your pupils and stop you getting a headache from the glare, however: they’re also a great way to disguise your lack of makeup/eye bags/windblown complexion, and add a bit of glamour and mystery to your look. We tend to take a “the bigger, the better” approach to sunglasses (In a pinch, a pair of oversized sunglasses and a slick of lipstick are all you need to look like you’ve made an effort), but we know they’re not everyone’s bag, so as with the swimwear, try on lots of different styles until you find the one that best suits your face.

Choose a sunscreen that’s easy to apply

We’re going to skip the lecture about always wearing sunscreen with a high SPF here, and assume you’re all intelligent enough to know you should be wearing sunscreen if you’re planning on spending time in the sun. But WHICH sunscreen should you wear? Obviously the SPF is the most important thing here (and we’d also suggest going for a waterproof formula if you’re going to be swimming), but you might also want to consider how easy your sunscreen is to apply. Thick, gloopy formulas are awkward to apply, can streak your clothes, and will make sand stick to you like glue, which is never a good look. Instead, look for dry sprays, which can be applied one-handed, dry in quickly, and go on clear, so you don’t have to worry about those white streaks.

Pay attention to your pedicure

Your feet are just as much on show as the rest of you is at the beach, so a little extra attention doesn’t go amiss, and a slick of bright polish never goes amiss either.

Go easy on the jewellery and accessories

The best beach looks tend to be the most simple ones. This isn’t the time for an arm party or a ton of other accessories: they’ll just look fussy and over-the-top, and be one more thing to worry about losing. Think simple and streamlined, and leave any expensive pieces at home.

Cover up

Still worried about your figure in that awesome swimsuit? Luckily there’s no shortage of cute cover-ups out there, many of which look just like “regular” clothes, which may help you feel more comfortable. On the subject of “regular clothes”, however, if you don’t want to invest in a cover-up, don’t forget about the clothes you already own. A simple sundress, for instance, or an over-sized shirt, can be totally appropriate for the beach, especially if you’re not planning on swimming. If you are, just make sure that your clothing is easy to get in and out of: no one wants to get stuck in their clothes, after all…

Relax and remember: people are less interested in your appearance than you think they are…

This one might fall into the “easier said than done” category, but as we’re fond of saying, nothing looks less stylish than someone who is uncomfortable in their own skin. Happy, confident people almost always look good (and even if they don’t, they don’t care), and if you’re going to sit huddled under a towel, worrying about your hair and the size of your thighs, you may as well just stay at home. The most important thing to remember is that your flaws are much more apparent to YOU than they are to anyone else, and most people just won’t notice them anyway. (Ever listened to a girlfriend talk about some aspect of her appearance she hates, which you’d never even noticed until she mentioned it – and maybe not even then?) Why? Because they’ll all either too busy worry about what THEY look like – or simply having a good time: which is exactly what you should be doing, too.

Image © Aliaksei Kaponia |

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How to buy clothing on eBay without getting ripped off

Finding clothing on eBay can feel a little bit like winning the lottery: especially if you manage to track down that elusive sold-out item you’ve been after for months… and it’s in your size, brand new with tags, and selling for way less than retail.

Unfortunately, however, that scenario can sometimes feel just as unlikely as the possibility of winning the lottery, too. Ever wondered how some people managed to find amazing eBay bargains, while you always just end up in a bidding war over something you didn’t really want in the first place? Read on for some eBay buying tips…

how to find clothing on ebay

How to find clothing on eBay… without getting ripped off

First things first: before we get onto the tips, we’re going to assume that you already know how the basics of how to use eBay (if you don’t, check out their own buying guide), and are here looking for tips on how to track down a bargain, as opposed to a tutorial on how to actually use the site. With that said, here are our tips on how to find great clothing on eBay…

Know your brands

One of the downsides of buying on eBay, as opposed to a regular store, is that if the item isn’t suitable, you normally can’t return it. There are some exceptions to this, of course, and some sellers do accept returns, but most don’t, so if you don’t like your item, too bad. To minimise the chances of this happening, we’d recommend sticking mostly to brands that you’re familiar with, and which you shop from regularly, so you’ll know more or less what to expect in terms of sizing and quality. It’s not a bargain if you can’t wear it, and you’ll have a much better chance of being happy with your purchase if you’re shopping from brands you have confidence in. It can be tempting to take a gamble on an amazing-looking item from a brand you’ve never heard of, but we’d only recommend doing that as long as you understand that it IS a gamble, and the price is low-enough that you don’t mind losing it if it doesn’t work out.

Never pay more than retail

In recent years, there’s been an ongoing trend of high-street clothing becoming super-popular and selling for WAY more than the item’s original retail price: THOSE Zara dresses spring to mind. Of course, something is only worth whatever people are willing to pay for it, and how much YOU’RE willing to pay for something is totally up to you. Speaking for ourselves, however, we’d never pay more than RRP for an eBay item – and even then, we’d only go pay that if the item was brand new with tags. Bidding significantly more than the ticket price may get you the item, but you’ll probably feel like you’ve been ripped off, so before you get into a bidding war, take a deep breath, be totally honest and ask yourself whether you want the item because you genuinely love it, or because it’s suddenly become the latest “must have” item.

Bid late, and bid your maximum

Have you ever had something on your Watch List, and witnessed the price slowly inch up and up and newbie bidders (and sometimes established ones, too) turn up and keep increasing their bid by another £1, and then another, and then another? Infuriating, huh? This kind of behaviour is how bidding wars start, and while that’s great news for the seller, it’s not great news for the buyer, because it means that whoever wins the auction ends up paying more than they really needed to. It also means that the need to beat the person you’re bidding against sometimes becomes greater than the need to actually buy the item, so you end up paying far more than you intended to: a hollow victory, for sure. The best way to avoid this is to always bid late, and bid your maximum. In other words, decide what you’re willing to pay for the item (don’t forget to factor in the shipping costs) and bid that amount, as late as possible in the auction. If everyone did this, eBay items would sell for lower prices, and even if your bid wasn’t the winning one, at least you’d know you hadn’t been goaded into going over-budget.

Use a sniping tool

That’s all very well, of course, but what if you CAN’T bid late? What if you’re not online when the auction ends, or your internet connection drops out at the crucial moment? What if you just get an attack of the butterfingers, and someone sneaks in and steals your item while you’re still fumbling with your keyboard? These things happen, and, in the world of online auctions, there are few things more frustrating than being pipped at the post purely because of a technical glitch. Trust us on this. There is an easy answer to this, however, and it comes in the form of sniping tools: websites such as Auction Stealer or JustSnipe which automatically place your bid for you, in the last few seconds of the auction. On these sites, you simply register for an account, type in the details of the auction you’re bidding on, plus the maximum amount you’re willing to pay, then sit back and let the site place your bid for you. The advantage of these sites is that you can totally forget about the auction: no more constant refreshing of the page, no more bidding wars, no more frustrated attempts to get in your bid before the auction ends. Sniping, however, can be a controversial subject, and some people feel it’s a very unfair way to win an auction. It’s up to you to decide where you stand on that, obviously: personally our feeling is that as many of the sniping sites are free to use (or have free options), everyone has the same opportunity to use them if they wish. As we say, though, it’s up to you to decide where you stand on that one…

Make sure there are photos of the actual item you’re bidding on

Rather than taking their own photos of the item they’re selling, some sellers will simply use a stock photo from the retailer’s website, or a photo stolen from someone’s blog. Bidding on these auctions MIGHT work out just fine, but to minimise your risk, ask the seller for photos of the ACTUAL item they’re selling, so you know what you’re getting. Sure, that dress might look fantastic on Random Blogger Girl, but her dress isn’t the one you’re bidding on, and nor is the one in the product shot from the Zara website. When you’re buying from an online store, you can generally trust that they’ll send you an item which looks exactly like the one pictured. When you’re buying second hand clothing on eBay, however, you just don’t know what you’ll get: it could be stained, or torn, or have some other defect, and you won’t know until it lands on your doorstep. If all the seller has to offer, then, is stock photography taken from someone else’s website, it could be a good idea to avoid them, and place your bid with someone who’s taken the time to photograph the actual item you’re bidding on.

Ask for further evidence

Buying designer clothing on eBay is a subject that really deserves a post of its own because some designer items are notorious for being  easily and frequently faked. Spotting fakes is a complicated subject, and there are entire websites and articles devoted to helping you do it, so all we’ll say here is that unless you’re very sure the item you’re interested in is genuine, DON’T BID. There are lots of ways to verify the authenticity of an item. Some people spend hours and hours researching the brand they’re interesting in, until they can spot a fake a mile off. Others rely on looking at the seller’s feedback or asking questions to find out where they acquired the item and how they can prove it’s genuine. If you’re considering spending a lot of money (or even a little bit of money) on something, don’t be afraid to ask the seller to give you some proof that’s it’s real. The proof could take the form of a till receipt, a serial number, or something else, but if they have nothing to hide, they shouldn’t be offended you’ve asked, and should be able to give you some idea of the item’s provenance. Any reluctance to do this should be taken as a red flag, and we can’t say this often enough, but if you’re in any doubt at all, DON’T bid. Remember, till receipts and other so-called evidence CAN be faked, sand if you want to be 100% sure your item is genuine, sometimes the only way to get that peace of mind is to buy it from a source you can trust.

Check the seller’s feedback

This one is so obvious that it almost goes without saying, but you all know to check your seller’s feedback before making a bid, right? Right?!

Any eBay addicts out there? Got any other tips for us?

© Zavgsg | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

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How not to look like a tourist

As vacation time rolls around each year, the same question starts to turn up in our search referrers over and over again: how not to look like a tourist. It’s not just the search referrers, either: it seems a lot of you are worried about looking like tourists when you’re off, well, being tourists, basically, and we guess our first question for you has to be WHY?

How not to look like a tourist: style tips for your next trip

How not to look like a tourist

Why are you worried about looking like a tourist?

Maybe it’s just us, but this always strikes us as a bit of a strange thing to stress over. The fact is, when you travel, you ARE a tourist – and there’s nothing wrong with that. Travel broadens the mind, and is one of the best learning experiences you’ll ever have: why spend the time worrying over whether you’re blending in with the locals? In fact, why, for that matter, try to blend in at all? Sure, you should always make the effort to learn about the cultural norms of the place you’re visiting, so that you can avoid inadvertently offending someone by being dressed inappropriately, but trying to adopt the current fashions of your destination seems a tiny bit pointless, unless you genuinely happen to love them. At the end of the day, you’re NOT a local, and it’s unlikely you’ll be fooling anyone anyway, so our golden rule of tourist fashion has always been this:

Dress for the climate, the customs, and the activity, and don’t worry about looking like a “local”.

In general, using clothing to pretend to be something you’re not is often a bad idea, as you’ll only end up feeling uncomfortable, and like you’re wearing a costume. In addition to this, desperately trying to “blend in” and “look like a local” will often backfire, unless you’re very familiar with what the locals ACTUALLY wear. Quite often there’s a huge difference between how you THINK people from a particular country or city will dress, and how they REALLY dress. Get it wrong, and you’ll just become a laughing stock: or, even worse, end up offending people who’ll feel like you’re making fun of them. For instance, most French people don’t walk around in berets, with strings of garlic around their necks. Scottish people wear kilts only for very formal occasions, and will find it hilarious when you rock up bedecked in tartan and believing you’re fitting right in. (We speak from experience on this one…) So don’t try to adopt a costume based on how you THINK people dress. Instead, think about:

1. What kind of weather you can reasonably expect at your destination.

2. What sort of activities you’ll be taking part in.

3. What are the cultural norms: i.e., will you be expected to cover your head or arms in certain places, or are there religious rules of dress which you’ll need to observe.

Once you’ve answered these basic questions, the next one should be relatively simple:

Ask yourself how you’d normally dress in those conditions/situations

Expecting hot weather at your destination? How would you dress for those kind of temperatures at home? Going to be spending a lot of time outdoors, maybe hiking or camping? OK, then how would you dress for a hike in your own country? Planning long days of city sightseeing? You probably have a city close to home (or live in one yourself) which you visit from time to time: what do you wear when you do that? Aside from the obvious religious/cultural sensitivities, your clothing as a tourist doesn’t actually need to be all that different from the kind of clothing you’d wear at home for similar kinds of activities. Why buy a whole new wardrobe, or force yourself to wear clothes that aren’t really “you” just so you can try to hide the fact that you’re on vacation, and trick everyone into believing you’re one of the locals? Just be yourself, don’t worry too much about what you’re wearing, and enjoy the wonder of travel!

stylish tourist sitting on suitcase

[Image: M&Co.]

Still want to know how not to look like a tourist?

Just in case we haven’t managed to convince you not to stress, here are some specific tips to make sure your tourist status remains your own guilty guilty secret:

1. Don’t wear white sneakers or Crocs

Now, we know you’d never DREAM of wearing Crocs anyway – for anything – but if you really don’t want people to know you’re a tourist, leave the blinding white sneakers at home. You’ll still want some comfortable footwear, especially if you’re planning on doing a lot of walking and sightseeing, but trust us: there ARE other options…

2. Avoid bumbags (fanny packs) and huge rucksacks

Yes, they’re convenient. But you may as well hang a sign on your head saying, “Hi, I’m a tourist!” And you don’t want THAT now, do you?

3. Put the camera away

You’re on vacation, so you’re going to want to take some photos. Resist the urge to snap every little thing you see, though, or people will realise you’re a tourist. Either that or a fashion blogger. It’s up to you to decide which is worse.

4. And the map

We don’t want you to get lost, but only tourists try to open up a giant map on a crowded subway. Work out your route in advance or download an app for your phone instead.

5.  Avoid sportswear and baseball caps

Not all countries employ the “sportswear as daywear” rule we have in the UK and US, so dressing like you’re part of your national football team (British men are particularly guilty of this when abroad: that England strip is a dead giveway that you’re not from round here, you know…), or wearing any kind of branded sportswear or baseball cap will mark you out as clearly as that sign for your forehead.

6.Dress a little better than you would at home

We’re not saying you need to dress like you’re attending the Oscars, but very causal (read “slobbish”) clothing MAY make you stand out in some countries just as much as being “all dressed up” can do here in the UK or US. If you’re worried about going too far in the opposite direction and end up sticking out like the proverbial sore thumb, go for a “your usual self, but better” approach, and just smarten things up a notch. Even if you DO still look like a tourist, well, at least you’ll be a well-dressed one…

Got any tips on how not to look like a tourist?

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Style SOS: How to wear pastel shoes

From our question box:

how to wear pastel shoes

selection of pastel shoes

Pastels, as we’re sure we don’t need to tell you, are as ubiquitous in Spring/Summer as florals are, and pastel shoes have been a trend for the past couple of years, with mint, lemon and baby blue footwear particularly in evidence.

While pastel shoes LOOK cute, summery and easy to wear, however, they can actually be rather tricky to style. Those soft pastel shades may look pretty on the screen, but once you put them on your feet those light colours can look much brighter than you might have expected to. They’re colours that draw the eye right to them, which means they can make your feet look larger than they really are, while overwhelming the rest of your look.

So, how do you wear them?

As pastel shoes come in every kind of style and shape imaginable, and exactly what you wear with them will, to a large extent, depend on the shoe itself, here are some general suggestions:

Choose sandals rather than pumps

As mentioned above, pale-coloured shoes draw attention right to your feet, and pastels have a similar kind of effect to bright white in this respect. The easiest way to wear pastel shoes, then, is to do it in small doses, going for a strappy sandal rather than a closed-toe pump or large platform. In the collage above, for instance, the sandals in the centre of the image will probably be the easiest to wear, because the slim straps allow you to have the look of pastel shoes without too many of the drawbacks of them. The pale blue wedges, meanwhile, will create a bold look, despite the delicate colour, because they cover a much larger area, and will make your feet appear correspondingly larger.

Make pastel shoes the focal point of the outfit

We’re not fond of fashion rules, as we’ve said before, but we do tend to think that one “statement” piece per outfit is enough. Even a very simple pair of pastel shoes will make something of a statement, so it can be a good idea to let them do the talking, rather than drowning them out with too many prints or accessories which will compete with them.

Go neutral

With any very usual or brightly-coloured shoes, one of the easiest ways to wear them is to pair them with neutral shades like white or black. Black will work with any pastel you can think of, but will make the colour look brighter in comparison. White, meanwhile, is a great choice with pastels, because it allows them to stand out, but in a slightly more muted way.

Pastel shoes with pastel clothes

pastel shoes and jeans

Styling: J Crew

One of the great things about pastels is that they work with, well, most other pastels. While the colour blocking trend of 2011/12 focuses mainly on mixing bold, jewel tones, it’s just as effective – and a little easier to pull off – with pastel shades. Sure, you might run the risk of looking like a candy store exploded on you, but mixing pastels can look great if done right, and it’s a little more interesting than sticking to neutrals. If you’re not into colour blocking, a really effective trick is to match the colour of the shoes to the bottom half of your outfit (or to your dress, if you’re wearing one). In the image above, for instance, the mint shoes are worn with mint jeans, which creates a pulled-together look, and prevents the eye from going straight to the shoes and stopping there. In this example, J Crew have avoided the “candy” effect by using two neutral colours on the top half of the outfit, so the overall effect isn’t too “busy”.

These are some very general suggestions on how to wear pastel shoes, but of course, they’re far from the ONLY ways, so we’d love to hear some suggestions from our readers, here. Do you own any pastel shoes? What do you tend to wear them with, if so?

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How to wear the nautical look… without dressing like a sailor

It’s no secret that The Fashion Police are fans of the nautical look, which is more of a spring/summer classic than it is a fashion trend. But how do you wear it without looking like you’re en-route to a sailor-themed costume party? This is the question we were asked by Fashion Police reader Claudia, who writes:

“This spring the shops seem to be full of “nautical” stuff: Breton shirts, blue-red-white belts-bags-shoes-whatever, sailor’s pants, scarves with anchors printed on them, big golden anchors on rope-like cords to wear as a necklace and so on. Some years it’s safari or military, some years it’s Carmen, here in southern Germany it’s often “Alpine” stuff, and so on.

 I often wonder, as I love the nautical color scheme: How much of the stuff can you put on before you start to look like an extra on the “Flying Dutchman”? How much of themed clothes or accessories is too much? I often feel too much is rather soon – if I put on blue, red and white, than one single nautical icon starts to look theatrical. On fashion pages, on the other hand, you often see a more or less complete look. Is this just the difference between photography and reality or does it depend on who wears it?”

pin-up girl in nautical look

To answer the last question first: it doesn’t so much depend on WHO’S wearing it, as it does on HOW they’re wearing it. This applies to almost any outfit: attitude is everything, and “apologetic dressing”, in which a person is clearly uncomfortable with what they’re wearing, will always be a crime of fashion, regardless of what the outfit looks like. In order to be stylish, you have to comfortable in your skin and in your clothes. If you are, then you can probably get away with most things. If you’re not, however, you’ll run the risk of looking like you’re wearing a costume, even in the simplest of outfits.

With that said, it’s true that the nautical look is an easy one to go overboard with (sorry). As Claudia notes, fashion brands tend to go a little crazy at this time of year, with the anchors and the stripes and the rope details and the red, the white and the blue. If you like the look, it can be tempting to start with a Breton top, say, which is a very classic, understated kind of look by itself, and then, before you know it you’ve paired it with some rope-soled shoes and anchor-print pants, and you’re wondering if a sailor hat would REALLY be too much. (And yes, it would be, by the way. A sailor hat is pretty much ALWAYS too much…)

So, how do you know where to stop? How much is too much when it comes to the nautical look?

Here are a few tips to allow you to give a nod to nautical without looking like you’re in costume:

Tip# 1: Trust your gut

In general, if it feels like it’s too much, it probably IS too much. And if that sounds just a little too easy (What if your gut is wrong, after all?), allow us to refer you to what we said above, about the necessity of feeling comfortable with what you’re wearing. Honestly, it doesn’t actually matter whether your outfit is objectively “too much” or not: if YOU think it is, then your feeling of discomfort is likely to show through. You won’t look your best and you certainly won’t feel your best, so no matter how great your outfit, you won’t get any pleasure out of wearing it.

nautical look skirt and top


Tip # 2: Less is more

The nautical look is traditionally based around the colours red, white and blue, and/or anything containing a stripe print (ideally a Breton stripe, but others will work too). Basically ANY combination of these outfits will create a vaguely nautical feel, regardless of the individual items, or the style of clothes you go for. With that in mind, you can easily get a nautical look without going near an anchor-accessory or rope-print: all you need is two or more of these colours, and you’re all set. The ASOS outfit above, for instance, is completely unaccessorized, which may seem boring to some, but the fact is, it doesn’t actually NEED anything else to create a nautical vibe. This is one style of dress where less is most definitely more, and while nautical accessories can be lots of fun, and we’re not saying you can never wear them with a similarly nautically-themed outfit, you might want to either use them sparingly, or save them for a less obvious style of clothes instead. If you want to play it even safer, choose two of the three colours and leave out the last one: red and white, blue and white, or red and blue will all still look “nautical” but will be one step further away from “sailor costume” than a combination of all three.

Tip # 3: Look for less-obvious colours

If you’re worried that red, white and blue will be too much, try switching one or more of them for another colour. Like the colours alone, stripes will instantly add a nautical feel, whatever you wear them with, so try a Breton top, say, with green or yellow pants instead of red ones, or seek out stripe tops in colours other than red, white and blue: there are lots of them around right now, and while still classic, they’re a little more contemporary, and a little less costumey, than their more traditional counterparts.

nautical fashion from Boden


Ultimately, though, the fact is that there is no magic formula to abide by here: we can’t tell you that two “nautical” accessories will work, but three will always be too much, because it depends on the outfit, the accessories in question, and the person wearing them. In some cases, even one thing might be “too much”, in others you might be able to get away with three or more. There is no exact science to fashion, which is why our first, and most important tip, is based around gut instinct.

We’d love to get some input from our fellow officers on this one, so tell us:

What are your tips on wearing the nautical look without looking “costumey”?

Image: © Raynald Bélanger |

Ask the Fashion Police, How to...

How to Wear a Playsuit

Playsuits have never been particularly high on The Fashion Police’s list of Looks We Love (Yes, there is an actual list…). While they can look great on the hanger, this is a look that can be rather infantilising on a grown woman, and for those of us no longer in our teens, number of situations in which the super-short look is appropriate seems to grow shorter with each passing year. Then, of course, there’s the fact that you have to get totally undressed every time you want to use the bathroom: ain’t nobody got time for that.

That said, every so often a new crop of playsuits comes along which makes us think, “You know, we don’t totally HATE those…” And that thought naturally leads to the question, “But how on earth would we WEAR them without looking like a toddler, or flashing way too much flesh?”

Here are some quick tips on how to wear a playsuit….

green polka dot playsuit | How to wear a playsuit

River Island green polka dot playsuit, £25

Choose a playsuit that looks like a dress

Looking more like an (albeit short) vintage-style tea dress than a toddler-esque playsuit, the loose-cut legs on this green polka dot playsuit from River Island will make it flattering to the thighs, and relatively easy to style. We’d go for red lips and victory rolls with this one, but of course we WOULD say that.

Topshop metallic origami playsuit

Topshop metallic origami playsuit, £55

Look for tailored styles

This origami number from Topshop is shorter and less forgiving than the first style we showed you, but the tailored shape keeps it looking “grown up”. You won’t get away with it at the office, of course, but for an evening out, it could make an interesting alternative to a dress for those of you who consider your legs to be your greatest asset: the high neckline makes up for the shortness of the, well, shorts.

Go for a loose style and flowing fabrics

No matter how great your figure is, the super-short, super-tight playsuits which turn up in stores every now and then look more like swimwear or lingerie than they do regular clothes, which is a good enough reason to avoid them. This, for instance…

short denim playsuit

New Look denim playsuit, £24.99

…reminds us of one of Britney’s stage costumes, circa 2003. This one, meanwhile…

pink chiffon playsuit

Pink playsuit, Rare London

…is a really pretty negligée, so we’ve no idea why the model is wearing those clumpy boots with it.

Choose something just a little bit looser, longer and less see-through instead, and don’t be afraid to size up, especially if you have a long  torso: there are few things more uncomfortable than a too-small playsuit. Er, not that we’d know, obviously.

Wear tights

Worried about the large expanse of leg that most playsuits leave on show? If the weather (and the playsuit) allows it, opaque tights will make a short hem seem longer, and more modest.

black and white polka dot playsuit

polka dot playsuit, £18, House of Fraser

Remember: context is everything

As a final note, remember that context is everything, i.e WHERE you’re wearing your playsuit is of the utmost importance. Even the nicer styles probably won’t be appropriate for very formal settings, for instance, but if you’re on holiday at the beach, say, a playsuit might look much more appropriate.

Are you convinced? Would you wear a playsuit, or do you think these are a huge no-no for anyone over a certain age?

Crimes of Fashion, Featured Posts, How to...

How to look like a fashion criminal … even when you’re not one

Let’s face it: no one actually WANTS to look like a fashion criminal. And yet, sometimes even the most stylish people out there can make a good outfit turn bad, just by making one simple mistake.

We figure if you know what those mistakes are, you’ll also know how to avoid them, so here are some quick ways to look like a fashion criminal – avoid them at all costs!

fashion criminal with red lipstick and revolver

Wear shoes you can’t walk in

Look, we love heels as much as the next woman: they’re part of the Fashion Police uniform, in fact. If you’re going to wear heels, though – or any shoes, really – you have to be able to walk in them. There’s no easier way to ruin an amazing look than by wearing shoes you can’t walk in. We’ve all seen them: girls dressed to the nines, who’ve obviously put a huge amount of effort into their appearance, hobbling along on a pair of stilettos that are clearly causing them pain. Trust us: pain is never in fashion, and rendering yourself unable to walk because of your footwear isn’t impressing anyone. We’re not saying you can never wear heels (And actually, painful shoes come in ALL shapes and sizes…): just make sure you can actually walk in them if you do. (If you can’t, ShoeperWoman has some tips on how to walk in heels here.)

Wear too much makeup or fake tan

Again, we’re not saying you should never wear makeup or hit the (fake tan) bottle every now and then: God knows, we never leave the station without a full face of slap. When it comes to makeup, though, less is often more, in the sense that if it looks like you’ve applied it with a trowel, or fallen face-first into the MAC counter, you’ll completely destroy any appearance-enhancing properties it had in the first place. Fake tan, meanwhile, should never be orange. Go for a shade that looks natural, or go straight to the Fashion Police jail.

Wear the wrong underwear for your outfit

The Fashion Police are big fans of fancy, frilly lingerie. Unfortunately, that type of under-pinning (as we like to think of it) doesn’t always look great under you clothes. Underwear should serve as the foundation of your outfit (Hence the reason it used to be referred to as “foundation garments”), and should serve to make whatever’s on top of it look better. It should also look invisible, which is why bumpy lace and neon shades should be used with care: they might be undetectable under a thick, dark fabric, but if you’re wearing something light, or form-fitting, you’ll be able to see the outline of your undies, the colour of your bra… or both. Seam-free knickers and “nude” bras may not be the sexiest lingerie out there, but they can often be the best choice for your outfit. You can always save the prettier stuff for those times someone will actually get to see it…

Wear clothes that are inappropriate for the weather or activity

We get it: winter has gone on forever this year, and you’re desperate to break out the spring clothes. Us too. Prancing around in a sundress and sandals in the snow, however, won’t make you look stylish: it’ll just make people ask you if you’re feeling quite well, or if you’ve lost your marbles. Now, obviously we all have different levels of tolerance for things like cold or heat, so if you’re genuinely comfortable like that, then rock on. If you’re doing it just to look good good, though, and you’re secretly shivering like the rest of us, do yourself a favour and wear something more appropriate: pale blue flesh and goosebumps won’t do that sundress any favours. Similarly, it’s important to keep your outfit appropriate for whatever activity you’re wearing it for. If you’re trying to climb a mountain, say, in a mini-dress and heels, you won’t look super-stylish – you’ll just look like you’re trying WAY too hard. (You’ll also run the risk of seriously injuring yourself, and as much as we love fashion, it’s really NOT worth dying for…)

Wear something that doesn’t suit your body shape or general look

We’d like to think that everyone can wear everything, and all look equally good in it. The fact is, though, that no matter how hard you try, some trends or items just aren’t meant to be, and won’t work for everyone. It can be hard to admit that a particular look doesn’t work for you if it’s something you really love, but there’s no point wearing something that doesn’t suit you, just because you like the way it looks on someone else. Take comfort in the fact that there’s something out there that looks fabulous on YOU: you just have to work out what it is…

© Konstantin32 | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Ask the Fashion Police, How to..., Style Basics

How to Look Good Fast

Do you ever look at those perfectly coiffed and made-up women you see on the morning commute and wonder how on EARTH they do it?

How do THEY find the time to apply a full face of makeup and create an elaborate hairdo every morning when YOU’RE still stumbling around wiping the sleep out of your eyes and wondering if there’s enough coffee in the world to wake you up? How come their clothes are never creased and their accessories are always perfectly chosen? What’s their secret, and how do you get in on it? Or, to put it more realistically: what’s their secret and how do you hack it? You’d much rather spend extra time in bed than get up at daybreak to perfect your appearance, after all, so what you really want to know is how to look good fast – but still look like you took your sweet time over it.

Here are some ways to do it…

how to look good in a hurry

How to Look Good Fast: the lazy girl’s guide to effortless style

The first thing you need to know about the pursuit of effortless style is that there is no easy way to achieve it. Because there really IS no such thing as “effortless” style – for most of us, at least. Oh, there’ll always be those lucky creatures who can roll out of bed, throw on the first thing thing they find on the bedroom floor and STILL look fantastic, but those people are few and far between, and if you’re not one of them, you’re going to have to lay some groundwork first.

The bad news, then is that if you want to look good fast, and be effortlessly stylish… you’re going to have to put in some effort. The good news, however, is that you’ll only have to put in that effort once (or very occasionally), and pretty soon you’ll have a streamlined, failsafe routine which will allow you to look good fast. Most of the time. Here’s what you’ll need to do:

Be ruthless with your wardrobe

You might have noticed that a lot of our advice articles begin with the idea that you should clear out your closet (not in the Eminem sense, we hasten to add. There’s a very good reason for that, though: we’re big fans of the closet clearout, not because it keeps you in control of your clothes, and lets you see what you have, but because it can be really hard to look good fast when you’re drowning in a mountain of clothes and have to embark upon a house-wide search every morning just to find something suitable to wear. (And then, when you DO find it, you inevitably have to iron it, or remove some kind of stain from it, because its been lying balled up in the corner of the wardrobe for days, and it looks it.) Have a clear out, and be ruthless with it: make sure everything your left with is something you look and feel great in, so you’ll never have to waste precious minutes wondering if something suits you, because you know everything you own DOES.

Try to keep your clothes accessible

We’re not suggesting you turn your bedroom into a walk-in closet (although if it helps…), or hang your clothes on the walls like paintings: we can’t all have the closet space of Mariah Carey, after all. If it’s at all possible, though, try to make sure everything you wear is in easy reach, and is somewhere you can see it. Clothes that are stuck at the back of a drawer, or layered under half-a-dozen other items on a hanger will be hard to find, and easy to forget about. They’ll also be more likely to be creased beyond belief when you finally pull them out, meaning you have to spend precious sleep time on ironing. Our best tip is to try to hang, rather than fold, as many of your clothes as possible, even if it means fitting an extra rail in your wardrobe or investing in a freestanding dress-rail. Hanging clothes are easier to organise, easier to see, and they tend to keep their shape better, meaning all you have to do is put them on: easy.

Repeat points 1 and 2 with your makeup, and any other products that are part of your daily routine

Bulging makeup bag? Bathroom cabinet groaning under the weight of all those products? Take the time to clear it all out: as with your closet, keep only those items you need, and keep them somewhere accessible, so you don’t have to spend time rummaging through every item you own every morning. If you really can’t bear to part with the products you only use occasionally, keep them separate from the ones you use every day by packing a second makeup/toilet bag with ONLY those products that are in constant rotation: you’ll still have the rest for when you have time to experiment, but when it comes to looking good fast, at least you’ll know exactly what to reach for.

Develop a uniform

We’ve written before about our love of signature styles and fashion “uniforms”, and while they’re definitely not for everyone, there’s no denying that developing a “uniform” of sorts will dramatically streamline your routine. Your uniform doesn’t have to mean owning seven identical shirts and seven identical skirts, and wearing exactly the same thing every single day, but rather working out which styles and colours work best for you, and work best with each other, and creating a “capsule” wardrobe based around those items. As with the makeup example, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have to ditch everything that doesn’t fall within the guidelines of the “uniform”. It does help, however, to have a handful of go-to outfits which you know will look good on you, and to always have them at hand, whether that means keeping them in their own corner of the wardrobe, or taking them out of it altogether.

Perfect an easy-to-do hairstyle

Those elaborate hair-dos other women always seem to have aren’t always as complicated as they look. If you don’t want to spend a lot of time washing and styling your hair every morning, find an up-do that suits you, and learn how to do it in a hurry (if you’re stuck, ask your stylist for a quick lesson, or check out hair tutorials on You Tube). It might take a few attempts to get it right, but pretty soon you’ll be able to do it in your sleep – and won’t THAT save you a whole lot of time!

Buy some dry shampoo

No time for a shampoo and blow-dry? Dry shampoo rubs right into the roots and gets rid of grease in seconds. It’s cheap, too.

Get your eyelashes dyed and brows shaped

For those of you who don’t have time for even the pared-down makeup routine suggested above, there are plenty of other ways to look polished without any effort. If you have pale lashes, get them dyed (or learn how to do it yourself). If they’re very thin or short, you could also consider having them permed, or having individual false lashes applied, thus eliminating the need for mascara for a little while at least. Your browns, meanwhile, can completely change the look of your face, and if they’re overgrown and out of control, they will make your entire look less polished: if you don’t trust yourself to shape them yourself, have them done professionally (you can have them tinted too, at the same time) and then forget all about them for a few weeks.

Carry a bold lipstick which you can apply on the go

We’ve talked about this one before, but bold lips create the impression that you’ve made an effort, even when you haven’t. Choose a colour that works with your complexion, and a formula that’s easy to apply in a hurry: no high maintenance lipsticks which require careful outlining and application!

Finally, preparation is everything

You’ve heard this one before, but if you need to look good fast, it really helps if you get prepared first, either by choosing your outfit the night before, or setting aside an hour or so every week to go through your closet, try things on, put together outfits and make any small repairs that are needed. It might sound like a bit of a drag now, but trust us: you’ll be glad you did it tomorrow morning.

Image © Andrey Armyagov |

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How to Dress Up…without feeling looked down on

Wondering how to dress up to your heart’s desire, without having to answer endless questions about where you’re going, and whether you have a job interview? Here at The Fashion Police we’ve talked about how dressing up is not a crime of fashion (despite what some people would have you believe), and we’ve also talked about HOW to dress up, if you want/need to. But what about those of you who’d like to smarten up your look, but who are too afraid to ditch the jeans and sweaters because you know you’ll be looked down upon, or even just stared at, by people who consider a simple cotton sun-dress to be the most outrageously over-dressed item in existence? How do you start dressing up without feeling like you’re being looked down on?

how to dress up without feeling like everyone's looking down on you

How to Dress Up… Without feeling looked-down on

In an ideal world, everyone would be able to dress exactly how they want. Those of us who like to wear dresses and heels would do so, and no one would think anything of it. Those of you who like to wear your pyjamas in public, meanwhile, would be free to do that too. There would be no tiresome questions to answer, no smart remarks, no…well, there would be no US, now we come to think of it. Gulp.

This isn’t an ideal world, though, and if you’re someone who loves to dress up, you’ve probably had at least one or two negative reactions to that, whether it be people asking how you can be “bothered” to get “all dressed up” every day (as if pulling on a dress is SO MUCH HARDER than pulling on a pair of jeans…), all the way to comments designed to make you feel silly and vain for making an effort with your appearance.  How do you get past this? How do you stay true to your style without feeling self-conscious every time you step out of the door? Here are our tips on how to dress up, in a world in which jeans are seen as the  ideal outfit for just about everything…

How to dress up when you’re used to dressing casually

If you’ve spent your entire life dressing very casually, suddenly turning up to work wearing a prom dress, complete with petticoat, heels and a full-face of make-up WILL cause a bit of a stir, and you WILL spend the entire day telling people that no, you’re not going “somewhere special” later, and you don’t have a job interview… and then maybe another day or two dealing with the inevitable “But how can you be bothered?” and “I’d NEVER have time to dress like that every day!” comments. There are two possible approaches you can take here, and which one you choose will depend on your personality, and how you feel about being the centre of attention, albeit temporarily.

1. Softly-softly

If you really dread the thought of people making a big deal about your new look, one way to combat this is to introduce the changes gradually. So, rather than the scenario above, where you leave work (or college, or insert-your-situation-here) at night dressed in jeans and a sweater, and arrive the next morning looking like Dita Von Teese, you start off with a few accessories, say. Or a bit of makeup. Or a new hairstyle. (Actually, hair is a good distraction technique, because people will notice that you look different, but will assume it’s all because of the new hair, rather than a whole new look.) Try a skirt with that sweater rather than jeans. Gradually make changes until you arrive at your chosen look: we can’t promise no one will ever notice, but at least it’ll be less of a big deal than making all of the changes at the same time. Our post on how to dress down an outfit will give you some more specific tips on how to take a “dressy” outfit and turn it into something less likely to attract comment.

2. Brazen it out

The fact is that although people will obviously want to comment on and talk about a dramatic change in appearance, they won’t be able to talk about it forever. If you’re able to just steel yourself for a couple of day’s worth of comments and questions (When you’re asked why you’re dressed “like that”, just tell the truth: that you’re trying out a new look), you’ll get it out of the way, and pretty soon people will find something else to talk about. After a while you’ll no longer be an object of interest: you’ll simply be The Girl Who Dresses Up All the Time – and there’s no shame in that.

woman playing dress-up

This probably ISN’T a good example of how to dress up without people looking down on you…

Understand that what other people think of your outfits is none of your business

There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying fashion, or having your own style. We can’t say this often enough, but taking pleasure in a pretty dress or great pair of shoes does not make you shallow or vain, and it doesn’t mean you can’t ALSO take an interest in other things in life. Unfortunately, however, our choice of clothing does tend to define us in a way that other hobbies and interests don’t: no one would assume that people who watch a lot of TV must be vapid, for instance, but they WILL make that assumption about someone whose hobby is associated with their own appearance. Really, the only way to make your peace with this is to understand that your clothing doesn’t define you any more than your favourite TV show does… and also to understand that you may never be able to convince other people of this. They will think what they want, and you will wear what you want: once you’ve accepted that, you can get  on with your life without giving it another thought.

Realise that people care less about your what you’re wearing than you think they do

If you dress differently from “the norm” in ANY way, people will notice. They will stare. They might make some kind of comment, or ask you a question about your chosen look. Once they’ve done this, though, they will move on, and you should too. That person who stared at you so rudely on the morning commute probably forgot all about you once you were out of their line of sight. The co-worker who asked why you were “all dressed up” didn’t spend the entire day obsessing over your outfit. The man in the lift who asked how on earth you can walk in those shoes isn’t still thinking about it, and even if he was – even if ALL of them were – would it really matter? The fact is that people think things about your appearance all the time: you just don’t know about it. Even when you’re dressed casually, people will see you, and they might make some internal observation about the way you’re dressed, sometimes positive, sometimes negative. You probably do it too. The important thing to notice about this is that it really doesn’t matter. Unless people are actively insulting you, which is rare, there is no need to concern yourself with what they MIGHT be thinking. The fact that someone you will never see again MIGHT have spent two seconds thinking you were over-dressed when he passed you on the street is not an excuse to stop wearing what you love.

Not all attention is negative attention

Another point related to the above is the fact that not everyone who stares at you, or makes a comment, is doing it because they’re looking down on you, or thinking something negative. For all you know, they could actually be admiring your outfit – or wishing they had the courage to wear what THEY want every day.

Life is too short not to wear what you want

Ultimately, the most important tip on how to dress up isn’t a “how”, it’s a “why”. Or rather, it’s a “why not?” When you’re lying on your death bed, after all, you’re not going to regret wearing beautiful clothes while you had the chance. You may well regret NOT doing it, though: why take that chance?

© Nejron | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images


Ask the Fashion Police, How to...

How to Survive a Shopping Ban

Shopping rocks: you can trust us when we say that no one knows that better than us. But as much as we love to shop, sometimes there comes a time when shopping for fashion has to take a back seat to some of the other, arguably more important things in life. Whether you’re putting yourself through college, starting a family, or saving up for that house, holiday or pension fund, every now and then there comes a time when a shopping ban starts to seem like a good idea.

But how on earth do you survive one?

How does a fashion-obsessed shopping addict get through a shopping ban without breaking down and hitting the shops hard? Well, we can’t promise you wont ever be tempted, but here are some things to try…

how to survive a shopping ban

Remove temptation

When it comes to surviving a shopping ban, you COULD go for a “look, but don’t touch,” approach. But the fact is, you’ll only end up making yourself feel bad about all those pretty, shiny things you just can’t have, so if it’s at all possible, we’d recommend simply staying out of temptation’s reach. You don’t necessarily have to freeze your credit card inside a giant ice-cube, Becky Bloomwood style, but take a couple of hours to unsubscribe from all of those sales alerts and shopping related emails (20% off at your favourite store? Will you REALLY be able to resist?), stay away from the mall, and avoid reading fashion blogs. (Except this one, obviously. Unsubscribe from this one and sorry, but we WILL have to shoot you, shopping ban or not…)

Clear-out the closet

If you’re anything like us, you probably have more clothes than you really need, and just THINK you have nothing to wear. Just to be sure, pull everything out – and yes, we do mean EVERYTHING – sort through it, and decide what to keep and what donate/bin/whatever. Not only will you discover items you’d forgotten you had (which feels a bit like shopping for free…), paradoxically, less can start to feel like more once you’ve had the chance to organise things properly, and in such a way that you can actually see what you have. Be ruthless, and get organised. Before you head to the charity store or rubbish dump with the clothes you’re getting rid of however…

Organise a clothing swap

Think you’re the only one with lots of clothes you no longer have a use for? You’re not. And one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure, so before you dismiss those old clothes entirely, call some of your friends and organise a swap. Not only will your unwanted clothes go to a loving home, you’ll be essentially shopping without spending: what’s not to love?

Keep your eyes on the prize

Whatever the reason for your shopping ban, it can really help to make it tangible, so it can serve as inspiration. Pin a photo of that new house or fabulous holiday destination somewhere you’ll see it every day, and be motivated by it. If your shopping ban is motivated by the need to pay off debt, or put money into a savings plan, imagine how you’ll reward yourself when you reach your goal (Make sure it isn’t something so huge it’ll land you right back where you started…) and use that as your motivation instead. Every time you feel tempted to make a purchase, go back to your photo and remind yourself of your goal.

Allow yourself small rewards

On the subject of rewards, although it seems sensible to simply go cold turkey and declare that you’ll never shop again, it’s important to be realistic. Denying yourself absolutely EVERYTHING you love can be demotivating enough to make it much easier to quit, so make sure there’s some room in your budget for the occasional small treat, to be doled out once you reach specific targets: a certain amount saved, say, or a number of weeks without shopping. Again, just don’t go crazy, and “reward” yourself with a shopping spree at  Net-a-Porter.

Make yourself accountable

Not everyone wants to share their personal business with everyone they know, and personal finances are exactly that: personal. By declaring your intention to stop shopping for a certain amount of time, though, you’ll make yourself accountable, and be less likely to cheat. You don’t have to take out a billboard in Times Square for this purpose, either: even telling a friend about your shopping ban, or simply writing it down somewhere could be enough to make you feel like you’re answerable to someone (even if that “someone” is yourself…)

Take your mind off it

Still feeling the lure of the mall? Mouse finger itching to feel the click of the “add to basket” button? It’s time to employ some distraction techniques by acquiring a new hobby: ideally a free one, which doesn’t take you anywhere near the mall. Whether it’s taking up running, joining a team or club, either make the time to re-discover an old hobby or start a new one. Then keep on doing it for as long as it takes for the shopping itch to subside…

Anyone survived a shopping ban? What are your survival tips?

Image © Macsuga | Dreamstime Stock Photos &Stock Free Images