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POPULAR, Style Basics

5 Items of Clothing Worth Investing In

At the start of a new year (or a new month, or a new school season…) a lot of people resolve to start spending less on disposable fashion, and more on the so-called “investment” pieces. But what kind of clothing is actually worth investing in? 

The answer to this will obviously depend on your lifestyle, and what you actually wear day-to-day, but here are some things we think are worth spending a little more on – although that’s not to say you shouldn’t ever try to grab a bargain if you can find one!

five items of clothing you won't regret investing in

01. Underwear

We touched on this in yesterday’s post, but a lot of people have the idea that if unless it’s on show, it’s not worth investing in in. We personally believe dressing well (even when no one but you will see it) is a great way to give yourself a confidence boost, but it’s particularly important with underwear, because it can completely change the appearance of your clothes. As much as we love pretty PJs, for instance, it doesn’t REALLY matter what you wear to sleep in: an ill-fitting bra, however, or underwear that creates lumps and bumps where you don’t actually have any, can ruin the line of your clothes, and also change your figure. We’re going to keep on re-itterating in this post that you don’t necessarily HAVE to spend a lot of money in order to find supportive undies that fit perfectly – but if you can’t find them on a budget, they’re definitely worth investing it.

02. Sportswear

As with the point above, it’s easy to convince yourself that an old t-shirt and pair of saggy leggings are OK to work out in, given that you’re just going to get them sweaty anyway. Appearance aside, though, you can actually end up spending more money this way, because if you’re constantly wearing and washing that old t-shirt, you’re going to have to replace it much sooner than something made specifically for the job. Not only is “proper” sportswear designed to be washed frequently without losing its shape or colour, it’ll also keep you cooler during your workout, thanks to the sweat-wicking fabric most modern sportswear is made from. Oh, and it goes without saying that a supportive sports bra and pair of sneakers are well worth the investment!

03.  Outerwear


We get it: coats and other outerwear are expensive enough as it is – and now we’re telling you to spend even more on them? Well, no, not necessarily: if you’ve found a source of low-cost coats that last for years AND keep you warm, then we want to know your secret, is all. Too often, though, you’ll find that cheap coats might look the part, but they won’t last as well or feel as warm as something that might cost a little bit more. And when you wear something every day for months on end, you’re definitely going to get your money’s worth out of it!

04. Shoes 

Be honest: what did you think when you saw the shoes in our image? Did you love them – or did you think they looked just a little bit… well, cheap? The problem with cheap shoes, you see, is that it’s much harder to make them look more expensive, so while you could put a cheap t-shirt, say, next to a more expensive one, and barely be able to tell the difference, with shoes you can almost always tell. It can be hard to resist the lure of the inexpensive ballet flat or party shoe, but when it comes to shoes you’ll be wearing to work, or which you expect to be able to wear for a long time, plastic uppers and thin soles are not the way to go!

05. Jeans

Now, we know not everyone actually wears jeans, so feel free to skip this one if it’s not relevant, but if you DO wear jeans on the regular, you probably know how hard it is to find the right fit and wash, right? For that reason alone, when you DO find the perfect pair of jeans, it’s worth paying whatever they cost – trust us on this. If you’re lucky, your perfect jeans might not cost too much (We love Topshop denim, for instance…), but if you’re NOT lucky, and your perfect jeans cost a little – or a lot – more, then we’re sorry, but you’re just going to have to suck it up: we promise you won’t regret it.

[For more fashion advice, check out our sister site, Forever Amber!]

POPULAR, Style Basics

6 Wardrobe Staples to Start Your Closet from Scratch

6 closet staples to build your wardrobe from scratch

trench / dress /  jeans  / sweater / cami shoes

Anyone else starting the new year with a renewed determination to clear out their closet and start again from scratch? 

Sometimes a good old closet clear-out isn’t enough. Sometimes a complete change of style is what’s needed, and if you’re still trying to work out exactly what YOUR style is (there’s some advice on how to do that here), a good place to start is by building up a solid foundation of basics: the so-called ‘wardrobe essentials’ that allow you to get dressed every morning without having to think too hard about what to wear.

Now, we’re not saying these items will be wardrobe staples for EVERYONE – far from it. It goes without saying that everyone has different taste and different requirements, but if you’re a fan of classic style (and as you’ve probably worked out by now, we ARE fans of classic style), you can’t go too far wrong with these six pieces, all of which can be worn in lots of different ways, and form the building blocks for a wardrobe that will work for you for many years to come.

They are:

The classic trench:

The mainstay of many an “items all women should own” list: we DON’T believe that ALL women should own a classic trenchcoat, but we don’t deny that it’s a handy item to have in your closet anyway.

The simple dress:

It doesn’t have to be black, but a plain dress, that fits perfectly, and can be dressed up or down as required, will see you through many an occasion.

The perfect pair of jeans:

What counts as the “perfect” jeans will be different for everyone: some people love boyfriend jeans, while others stick to skinnies, and still more people swear by the good ol’ bootcut or flare. Whatever your perfect pair, making sure you own at least one version of them will allow you to solve many a wardrobe dilemma, with just one item.

The Breton stripe:

It might be just a causal sweater, but it will add instant style to anything you wear with it.

The silk cami:

So much classier than a tank top or t-shirt, the silk cami is an easy shortcut to grown-up style.

The black patent pumps:

Don’t like heels? A classic ballet flat will work just as well!


Fashion Trends, POPULAR

5 Terrible Fashion Trends We’d Like to Leave in 2015

It’s a new year, which means we can expect a whole new set of fashion trends: some of which we’ll love, some of which we’ll hate so much we’ll instantly want to throw them into fashion jail. 

Before that happens, though, and in the spirit of a new start, here are some of the fashion trends of 2015 which we’re hoping will stay there, rather than following us into 2016…

I woke up like this

01. ‘I Woke Up Like This’ on everything 

It wasn’t particularly clever the first time we saw it, and it definitely wasn’t making us laugh by the 67,556th time, either.

the 70s look

02. The 70s look

Although the retail world beat the 70s look to death this year, we actually didn’t see too much uptake of it on the streets, which makes us wonder if this one was really as popular as the fashion magazines and clothing stores would’ve liked us to believe. We’re not saying the 70s look can’t work if it’s done right (the problem is that it rarely IS done right, unfortunately…), but we’ve had it thrust upon us for almost two years now, so we reckon it’s time for a change. Anything would be better, really…

goat hair slippers

03. Furry shoes

This is another one that was all over the fashion press, and the shoe sections of Neiman Marcus, Net-a-Porter et all, but we’d be really interested to know how many pairs of these shoes were actually sold: and who to. Let’s all just agree to leave these in 2015, and never speak of them again. Deal?

bad denim by Cheap Monday

04. Ridiculous denim

We’re not sure how 2015-specific this one is, but denim has been getting out of control for a while now, and we think it’s time to get it back under control. Denim, you’re on your last warning: if we have to speak to you about this again, you’re going straight to Fashion Jail, you hear?

05. Awful overalls


We realise we’re fighting a losing battle here (and also that the example we’ve used here possibly owes more to the 70s trend than the overalls one), but as long as retailers keep making clothes that look like this, we’ll keep fighting the good fight. Don’t worry, Fashion Force: we won’t abandon you to Overall Overlords…

POPULAR, Style Basics

Style Lessons We Learned from Audrey Hepburn

It might seem like a total cliché to name Audrey Hepburn as your number one style icon, but the star’s classic style remains popular for a reason…

style lessons we learned from Audrey Hepburn

[This is not Audrey Hepburn. But you get the idea.]

Here are some of the style lessons we’ve learned from Audrey Hepburn…

Simple is almost always best 

When you look back at Audrey Hepburn’s outfits – and particularly at more candid shots featuring her “off duty” style – the main thing you’ll notice is the sheer simplicity of the looks. Hepburn favoured mostly black or neutral colour palettes, and while she wasn’t afraid to throw in a printed dress or colourful skirt, the pieces themselves were always simply cut, with minimal styling. While some would call this “boring”, that simplicity is what helps makes the looks so memorable – and so iconic.

Perfect fit is essential

In saying that simple is best, it’s important to remember that not all clothing items are created equal, and “simple” doesn’t necessarily equal “stylish”. If you’re going to stick to the basics, then, you have to make sure you have the RIGHT basics, and that the fit is impeccable. Many celebrities have their clothing tailored in order to achieve this (yes, even basics like t-shirts and jeans), and the perfect fit can be the difference between a stylish outfit, and one which is simply OK.

“I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.” – Audrey Hepburn

It’s OK to have a uniform

We’ve talked about this before, but have you ever noticed how the women most frequently cited as “style icons” all have styles which are instantly identifiable? It’s possible to look at a particular dress or top and say, “That’s SO Audrey Hepburn”, and that’s because one of the style secrets Audrey knew well was that once you’ve found a style you love, and that works for you, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with sticking to it. In today’s world, uniform dressing tends to be slated as uncreative – we praise the people who are capable of constantly changing, and criticize those who know what they like and wear it, even if it’s not “in fashion”. But whose style do you think will be remembered years from now? Exactly.

Choose a signature item to stand out and be remembered

The oversized black sunglasses Audrey Hepburn wears in Breakfast at Tiffany’s are one of her “trademark” looks, and she was often photographed wearing oversized glasses off-screen, too. You don’t have to wear bug-eyed glasses if you don’t want to, of course, but a signature piece is an easy way to give your style a personal stamp, and create something that’s very YOU. You could go for red lipstick, say, interesting jewellery or a colour you wear often –

Happy girls are the prettiest girls…

…and the most stylish, too. Perhaps the most important style lesson we can learn from Audrey Hepburn comes from the quote above: whatever you wear, it should make you feel happy, confident, and ready to take on the world. Clothes that make you feel uncomfortable or self-conscious, on the other hand, will NEVER look stylish, no matter how beautiful they look on the hanger, or how “bang on trend” they are. You know those times when you find yourself twisting and turning in front of the mirror, thinking, “Should I wear this?” The answer to that question is always NO: because the fact that you even have to ASK it shows that you’re not going to be comfortable if you do talk yourself into wearing it. That doesn’t mean you’ll look bad in it, necessarily – but it does mean that you’ll probably FEEL bad, and that will come across in your body language, and the way you keep tugging at your skirt or wobbling on shoes you weren’t sure you should wear. Remember that happy girls are the prettiest girls, so wear what makes you happy, and you’ll look a whole lot better as a result.

POPULAR, Tips & Tricks

3 Things Stylish Women Do Every Weekend

3 things stylish women do on the weekend

Well, it’s finally Friday: the weekend is just hours away, and for most of us, that means it’s time to kick back, relax, and not think about anything more taxing that what to watch on Netflix, or what topping to get on that pizza we just ordered.

Not so for stylish women, though.

OK, so stylish women are just people, at the end of the day: they also chill on the sofa, watching Netflix and eating pizza. Or, at least, we hope they do, because a life without Netflix is no life at all. They also, however, use the extra time at their disposal to prepare for the week ahead, and make sure it’s as stylish as they are. Well, most of the time.

Here are three things stylish women do on the weekend


Stylish women know that impeccable style starts with an impeccably tidy closet. They don’t need to do a full-scale closet clearout every weekend (You’ll find our tips on how to clear out your closet here), but they do take the time to put things back on hangers, re-fold items that have been messed up, and generally transform the floordrobe back into a wardrobe. While they’re doing that, here’s something else stylish women do…


As they’re sorting through the clothes they wore or discarded in the week just gone, stylish women will take the time to check them over, looking for any missing buttons, mystery stains, or other little signs of wear that might otherwise get missed. We all know that feeling of pulling out an outfit you’ve planned to wear, only to discover a giant stain, or a missing button, so rather than putting off the mending and the laundry, stylish women try to tackle it right away, so everything is once again ready to be worn. And with the closet AND the clothes inside it clean and mended, it’s time for the final step…


For some stylish women, style is innate – it’s just something they were born with, and which can’t be faked. We hate those women. (We’re kidding.) (Sort of.) For others, however, style has to be worked at and planned, and one way of avoiding last-minute panics and that “I have nothing to wear!” feeling we all go through, is to take the time to plan ahead. Stylish women (or the ones who have to work at it, at least) don’t leave outfits to chance, they plan ahead, and always have an option should the weather not co-operate. Do this, and you’ll be able to head into the weekend safe in the knowledge that next week will be stylish, if nothing else…

More tips for stylish women

How to organise your closet

One easy way to clear your closet and switch up your style

Five habits of highly stylish people

How to find your style

How to look good fast

How to be Stylish – on any budget

POPULAR, Style Basics

Spring Capsule Wardrobe

spring capsule wardrobe 2014

Spring Capsule Wardrobe 2014

Spring is in the air – at least, we hope so – which means many of you are probably starting to think about packing away the winter woolies to make way for the lighter, brighter spring collections. So, what will you be wearing in spring 2014? To help you decide, we’ve put together a quick spring capsule wardrobe for 2014 consisting of just 22 mix-n-match items to get you through the season in style.

Before we get on to the items themselves – and the outfits you can create with them – we just want to stress that this isn’t an exhaustive list, and it isn’t a “one style fits all” type of thing, either. We’ve created our spring capsule wardrobe with the classic dresser in mind: these are the type of items you can use to build a selection of smart/casual outfits which are contemporary without being too trendy, and which should (hopefully) stand the test of time and see you well into NEXT spring, and maybe even the one after.

All of our chosen items come from the spring 2014 collections, and, at the time of writing, are available to buy from UK high street stores. We haven’t set a particular budget, but we have done our best to select affordable items in the low to mid-range price points, as opposed to aspirational designer pieces. That said, although we’ve put together this spring capsule wardrobe specifically for spring 2014, should you be reading this a couple of years from now or in a country these brands don’t ship to, you should be able to find similar alternatives without too much difficulty.

The key to this spring capsule wardrobe lies in the colour mix: we’ve stuck to a palette of mostly reds, navys and whites, with a couple of other colours thrown in. By making sure all of the colours in your capsule can be worn with each other, you can create dozens of different outfits from just a few pieces. Here are our 22 items:

Inside our Spring Capsule Wardrobe 2014:

OUTERWEAR & ACCESSORIES: Trench Coat | Jersey Blazer | Scarf | Belt
SWEATERS & TOPS: Breton sweater | White t-shirt |  Stripe shell top| Yellow cardigan | Navy cardigan
TROUSERS & JEANSRed jeans | White trousers | Blue jeans
SHOES: Polka dot slingbacks | Red wedges | Nude peep toes
DRESSES & SKIRTS: Polka dot dress | Flared dress | Full Skirt | Pencil skirt
EXTRAS: Necklace | Bag | Shirt

And here are 22 outfits you can create with them:

Spring Capsule Wardrobe 2014 | 22 outfits from 22 items

What would you include in your spring capsule wardrobe 2014?


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

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

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

How to Wear a Midi Dress

Black and white picture of midi dress

… without looking frumpy

“How to wear a midi dress” and “what shoes to wear with a midi dress” are two of the most frequently asked questions by visitors to the Fashion Police, and it’s not hard to see why. Ever since the midi dress came back into fashion a couple of years ago, they’ve become pretty ubiquitous, with most mass-market retailers stocking at least one midi for all of the legions of mini skirts which are their more usual fare.

Although midi dresses are now easy to find, though, they’re not necessarily easy to wear. In fact, this can be one of the most troublesome lengths of all: it’s very easy to look frumpy in a dress that hits at mid-calf , and while we’re on the subject of calves, who REALLY wants to emphasise that particular part of the leg? We’re going to guess not many of you have your hands raised right now.

Worn right, however, the midi dress can actually have a whole lot of WOW-factor, and be pretty flattering. Here are some tips on how to wear a midi dress…

How to wear a Midi dress: Midi dresses available at

Bear in mind that not all midi dresses are created equally

If you’re wondering how to wear a midi dress, it might be helpful to first of all define what a midi dress actually IS. Technically, a “midi” is a term used to refer to any dress or skirt with a hem which hits a mid-calf – halfway between the knee and ankle. Going by this definition, however, you can instantly see that very few of the dresses currently being sold as “midis” are ACTUALLY mid-length. The one shown at the top of the page certainly isn’t – or not on this model, anyway – because it hits a couple of inches under the model’s knee, not in the middle of the calf. This is the case with the vast majority of “midi dresses” currently being sold on the high street: they’re not actually “midi” at all.

There’s a good reason for this, though: TRUE midi dresses just aren’t all that flattering. That’s not a universal truth, of course, and there are plenty of people who can look fantastic in this particular length of hem. For many of us, however, the just-below-the-knee length is much flattering, and much easier to wear, so our first tip is not to be a stickler for the correct terminology and insist that your midi dress be a TRUE mid-calf length. The type of length shown above, for instance, gives exactly the same impression as a “real” midi dress – but it’ll be a whole lot easier to wear.

Black and white polka dot midi dress

How to wear a midi dress: all midis are not created equally

How to wear a midi dress: Proportion is all

We mentioned the height of the model in the point above: this is really important, because that model, the ASOS website informs us, is 5″9. If you’re NOT 5″9, the same dress will obviously look different on you, and if you’re significantly shorter than that, it will come closer to being a true midi – or even longer. (Your Chief of Police, for instance, is just under 5″4, and has purchased so-called “midi” dresses which have almost reached her ankles.) What’s a petite girl to do? Well, shopping from the Petite section is one solution, of course, but given that it’s not always possible to find exactly what you’re looking for there, another option could be to look for dresses which are designed to be knee-length on an “average” sized person: they’ll be below-the-knee on you, and will therefore allow you to create the look of a midi dress. If you’re much taller than the model, on the other hand, you’ll probably find that most “midi length” dresses will work for you: no alterations required! Speaking of which…

Be prepared to have your dress altered

This is a tip you’ve probably heard us give before, and it really applies to ALL clothes, not just to midi dresses. When you’re considering how to wear a midi dress, though, the perfect fit is even more important than it is for many other garments, so be prepared to have some basic alterations done, or to do them yourself.

woman in black midi dress dress in slingback heels

How to wear a midi dress: time to break out the heels…

What shoes to wear with a midi dress?

For many people, footwear is the biggest stumbling block of all when it comes to working out how to wear a midi dress. You’re probably not going to like this, but our advice here is to consider the maxim, “The higher the hem, the lower the heel”. This works in reverse, too, and we’d suggest that when you’re wearing a hem which is longer than knee-length (but shorter than a maxi), it’s a good excuse to break out the heels. Midi dresses, by their very nature, will have a tendency to make you look shorter and stumpier: they cut across the leg at its widest part, and this is the reason so many people find them very unflattering. To combat this, you’re going to need to do what you can to elongate the leg, and that means heels.








If you’re a stiletto lover, this is good news: midi dresses provide you with an excellent excuse to wear your highest, most ridiculous heels – the ones you don’t really dare to wear with shorter hems. It’s pretty hard to make a midi dress look tacky (It can be done, though, fashion criminals…), so enjoy those skyscrapers while you can. If you hate heels, meanwhile, well, we’re not saying you MUST wear them, but consider even a small heel to combat the possible frump-factor of the midi. Flats, and particularly flatforms aren’t a good look with midi dresses, but then again, flatforms aren’t a good look with ANYTHING, are they? Shoes with ankle straps can also be tricky to style with this hem length: you don’t want to “divide up” the leg any more than you can help by drawing lines across the ankle AND the calf.

What type of coat to wear with a midi dress?

Outerwear is another question which often comes up in relation to the subject of how to wear a midi dress. Opinions seem to be pretty split on whether coats should be longer than dresses, or vice versa, but if you’re wearing a midi dress, especially one with a voluminous skirt, we’d advise avoiding coats which are just slightly shorter than the dress: the different hem lengths, especially ones that are below-the knee, can end up looking sloppy, so consider either a full length coat, or a shorter one which ends at the hips or waist.

Lady in skin tight black midi dress

How to wear a midi dress

What style of midi dress to go for?

Ultimately, of course, the question of how to wear a midi dress will depend on the type of dress you’re wearing, and the type of dress you should go for will depend on a lot of different factors including your body shape, personal style and where you’re planning to wear it. While we can’t tell you exactly which dress to go for, however, and everyone’s preference will be different here, we would suggest that fitted styles can be more flattering than loose ones. You don’t have to go for a bodycon dress, as in the first photo (although, as with heels, it’s far easier to get away with something skin-tight when you’re wearing a longer hem), but look for tailored shapes and fitted waistlines, if your dress has a full skirt. Large swathes of fabric on a longer-length dress can completely drown the wearer, and end up looking sack-like, and trust us: a sack-dress is even HARDER to wear than a midi dress…

What are your tips on how to wear a midi dress?

All dresses available at | Cover Image: Bettie Page

P.S. These are simply OUR tips on how to wear a midi dress. Because everyone’s style and body shape is different, there are no universal “rules”, so please bear in mind that we’re not saying you CAN’T do any of the things we’ve advised against here: these are suggestions only!


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

How to Be Stylish… on any budget

How to be stylish on any budget

Dress: A|Wear

How to be stylish.

It’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? We may all define “style” in different ways, but most of us would (secretly or not-so-secretly) love to be stylish. It’s probably the reason you’re reading this article.

Here’s the bad news:

You can’t learn how to be stylish simply by buying the “right” clothes.

Style isn’t about what you buy, or what it costs. You can’t buy style in a store, or copy it from the catwalk, and it doesn’t matter how many dresses you own, or which designer name is stamped on your shoes. It just doesn’t work that way. That’s not, however, to say that style is impossible to come by: quite the opposite, in fact. Anyone can learn how to be stylish: here are some easy ways to do it – on any budget.

Don’t follow fashion

Yves Saint Laurent once said that fashions fade, but style is eternal. He was right: which is probably why this sentiment has been echoed so often, in so many different ways, by everyone from fashion designers and celebrities to …well, the rest of us. We’d like to echo it too, by saying that while fashion can be a whole lot of fun, and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t experiment with it as much as you want to, ultimately it’s more important to develop your own style by working out what suits you, and what you like to wear. Think about it: the most stylish people in the world don’t tend to be slaves to the latest trends. They know that not all fashions suit all people, so rather than changing their look every season and always trying to keep up with the latest trends, they figure out what works for them, and then they pretty much stick to it, using fashion trends as a way to tweak or update their look, rather than dictate it. Develop your own style, don’t just copy someone else’s: that’s how to be stylish.

Man custom fitting dress on woman How to be stylish: don’t follow fashion

Know your figure

Are you an apple or a pear? A rectangle or a square? Sure, it sounds like one of those silly magazine quizzes, but a large part of knowing how to be stylish is knowing what your body looks like, and then figuring out how to dress it. As noted above, not all styles look good on all figures, so if you want to know how to be stylish, you’ll first of all have to know what you REALLY look like: not what you’d LIKE to look like. We don’t have the time or space in this article to list all of the different body types and how to dress them, but you’ll find plenty of advice online that will help you dress for your body shape.

Buy clothes that fit: or have them altered

This tip sounds so obvious is barely worth stating, but how often have you seen people crammed into clothes that are clearly too small, or drowning in the excess fabric of a dress that’s just too big? Ill-fitting clothing is one of the fastest ways to look sloppy and unstylish, and even the most expensive clothes in the world will look bad if the fit is off. Finding the perfect fit is the holy grail of how to be stylish, and as we’re sure you already know, it can be easier said than done. if you’re struggling, however:

      • heartTry on different sizes
      • Don’t just assume you know your size: clothing sizes differ from brand to brand, and even from item to item, so take a range of sizes into the fitting room, and try them all on.
      • heartDon’t be ashamed to size up if necessary
      • Dress size is simply a number – and given the inconsistencies in sizing these days, not to mention the vanity-sizing that’s rife throughout the fashion industry, it’s a pretty meaningless number at that. Don’t be ashamed to size up: the only person who’ll know – or care – is you.
      • heartStill struggling to find the right fit? Learn to sew, or pay someone else to do it for you
      • Sometimes it really doesn’t matter how many items you try on: none of them will fit. When that happens, you need to consider one of two options: either alter the item yourself, or pay someone to do it for you. Now, given that this article promises to show you how to be stylish on any budget, we’re reluctant to suggest that having items custom-made is the only solution for those of us who can’t find the right fit off the peg, but actually, you might be surprised how cost-effective it can be to have a garment altered or even made from scratch. (And even if the cost is the same as buying it ready-made, at least you end up with something that fits like it was made for you: because it WAS…) If all else fails, simple alterations such as taking up a hem or changing the length of sleeves aren’t difficult to master, and will be well worth learning in the long run.

Two stylish woman walking down catwalk spraying perfume

Keep your clothes clean, ironed and well-mended

We hate to sound like your mother here, but all this “Oh, I don’t own an iron!” business? Enough with that, already. If you want to know how to be stylish, you’re going to have to get over your aversion to ironing, and you might also want to learn how to replace the odd button, too (see above). It also goes without saying that clean clothes are a style essential: you could be wearing Dior Couture, hand-made to fit you perfectly, but if that dress is dirty, creased and in need of repair, it may as well be from Primark. Keep your clothes in a good state of repair, and when they get BEYOND repair, get rid of them: you don’t need a closet full of brand new clothes to look stylish, but if your outfits look like they could walk to the bin by themselves, it might be better to just let them.

Be well-groomed

No one is suggesting that you need a ton of makeup and a professional blow-out every day in order to look stylish, but keeping your hair clean and trimmed (if not necessarily styled to perfection), your nails neat (you don’t need a professional manicure, just get rid of hangnails and rough edges, and keep them clean) and your makeup carefully applied (if you wear it) will go a long way. If you do wear makeup, a “less is more” approach is a good starting point when it comes to looking stylish. If you have the skill to create more elaborate looks – and you know they suit you – then by all means, go for it, but too much heavy makeup, especially if it’s badly applied is another easy way to ruin your look.

Keep it simple

You may be rolling your eyes here and muttering the word “boooooring!” under your breath, but simple doesn’t have to be boring, and there are good reasons why some of the most stylish looks are also the simplest: think of Audrey Hepburn in a pair of black capri pants and a sweater, or Marilyn’s famous white dress. These kind of back-to-basics outfits may not set your heart racing (and don’t worry, we’re not suggesting you wear them ALL the time: you still get to have some fun), but they’re easy to wear, and hard to get wrong: accessories are a great way to update an outfit or add interest to something plain, but generally speaking, the more elaborate your look, the easier it’ll be for it to start to look messy and incoherent – the opposite of “stylish”, in other words.

Woman dressing classically in a blue dress

How to be stylish: keep it simple

Know your comfort level

Fashion magazines and those who live by them are always telling us to stray outside our comfort zone: to take risks, be edgy and experiment fearlessly with fashion. That’s all well and good, and worth trying from time to time (you want to be stylish, after all, not stuck in  a style rut), but this article is about how to be stylish, not how to be an edgy fashionista, and one easy way to be stylish is to know what you’re comfortable wearing: and, more importantly, what you’re NOT comfortable wearing. Apologetic dressing NEVER looks stylish, i.e. if YOU don’t like what you’re wearing, it’s unlikely anyone else will, either. When you’re thinking about how to be stylish, one of the most important things you can be is comfortable. By that we don’t mean you should be wearing Uggs and sweatpants (Perish the thought), but simply that you should feel fantastic, regardless of what you’re wearing. Everyone’s comfort level is different: if you feel at your best in avant-garde fashion, then great: wear it with pride. If you don’t, however, don’t try to force yourself to wear something you’re not totally sure about: it’s impossible to look stylish if you’re constantly tugging down your hem, pulling up your top, or worrying about whether your dress is too tight.

Dress appropriately

It would be wonderful if we could all just wear whatever we wanted to, wherever we wanted to, but all clothing has a context, and it’s important to make sure YOUR clothing matches the context you’re wearing it in. That doesn’t have to mean rigidly adhering to some imagined dress code or set of rules: it means not wearing sweatpants to someone’s wedding, high heels for a walk in the countryside, a ball-gown to your nephew’s first birthday party, or a flimsy sundress in the snow. All of these outfits would be inappropriate for the occasion, and that means that regardless of how “nice” they look in themselves, they will not seem stylish. You want to know how to be stylish under any circumstances? Make sure you’re dressed appropriately for the occasion, and neither trying too hard, or not hard enough. It’s as simple (or as difficult) as that.

 Finally, if you really want to know how to be stylish…

… don’t listen to The Fashion Police.

We know: it’s rich coming from us, huh? We’re serious, though: while we all enjoy discussing fashion trends, and poking gentle fun at the  more outlandish items out there, there really is no right or wrong when it comes to style. As cheesy as it sounds (and boy, does it sound cheesy!) the easiest way to look effortlessly stylish is to be yourself, and have confidence in what you’re wearing.

POPULAR, What To Wear

How to dress down an outfit: advice for the always-overdressed

Woman in london wearing a white dress

 [Image: Warehouse]

So, you like to get dressed-up every now and then. Or maybe even a LOT.

That’s great: join the club. We’re big fans of the fine art of overdressing, and wish more people would indulge in it – it would certainly make life easier for those of us who like nothing more than to get all dolled up in our dresses and heels, and who’d sooner go out naked than in a pair of sweatpants.*

(*Not really.)

The problem is, though, most people DON’T love to dress-up, so those of us who do tend to face a daily barrage of questions about WHY we’re “all fancy”, whether we have a job interview, and how on EARTH we found the time to throw on that simple little dress. If you’re a fellow over-dresser we’re sure you know what we’re talking about here.

It would be wonderful if we all simply had the confidence to just not care about these comments, and to go on our over-dressed way regardless of what people say to us. But it’s not always quite that simple. Perhaps you have a working environment in which your style of dressing might be considered unprofessional, or cause people to take you less seriously. Perhaps you’re just starting to dress  up, and you’re not quite ready to unleash your new look on the world. Or maybe you’re just tired of all the comments, and want people to concentrate on your work or personality, rather than focusing on your shoes.

Whatever your reason, there are times when you might want to try and dress down your look slightly, without compromising too much of your personal style. Here are some easy ways to do it:

How to Dress Down an Outfit | Cover-up with a cardigan

Woman in purple cardigan - How to dress down an outfit

[Outfit: La Redoute]

Cardigans (and other knitwear or semi-structured jackets) won’t just keep you warm, they’ll also make a dress or fancy top look a whole  lot more casual. While bare arms can, in themselves, be a very casual kind of look, sleeveless or strapless dresses tend to look “dressier” than ones with sleeves: add a cute cardigan and you’ll still be able to see your dress, but you’ll feel a little less 2dressed-up” in it.

How to Dress Down an Outfit | Think carefully about footwear

We love heels and wear them almost everywhere. Heels have the ability to make even the most casual outfit look dressy, however, so if you’re going for the opposite effect, replace them with flats or boots for a more laid-back look.

How to Dress Down an Outfit | Add a pair of tights

How to dress down an outfit with black tights

[Image: Heatons]

As with the bare arms discussed above, bare legs can either make you look like you’re going to the beach… or like you’re going to a party. Opaque tights in a dark colour like black or navy will dress your look down, and will also help make a short dress look more “modest”. On the other hand, lace, sheer or patterned tights can have the opposite effect, so choose your hosiery with care. If you don’t want to wear tights, leggings can make a good alternative, especially in summer, if you want to wear a dress with sandals.

How to Dress Down an Outfit | Keep makeup and hair natural

We’re not saying you should neglect them altogether, but elaborate updos and/or lots of makeup will obviously create a “dressed up” effect, so if you want to downplay your outfit, you might want to consider going for a slightly more natural, unfussy look, to give your overall look a more casual feel.

Or you could just ignore all of this and dress to the nines every day. Life’s short, after all.

Are you an over-dresser? What do you do to keep your look “appropriate” for more casual occasions – or do you just dress up anyway and enjoy it?

Ask the Fashion Police, POPULAR, What To Wear

What to wear to a christening (And what NOT to wear…)

What to wear to a Christening or baptism is one of the most frequently asked question here at The Fashion Police, so let’s jump right in and talk christening attire…

What to Wear to a Christening

What to Wear to a Christening

What to Wear to a christening: the basics

Like weddings, christenings are formal events, which means that a certain formality of dress is expected of those in attendance. Unlike weddings, however, the good news is that  there aren’t many strange superstitions or colour-based clothing rules attached to them, so you’re much less likely to offend someone by turning up in the wrong thing. They’re also slightly less “dressy” than weddings, so unless you’re a Godparent, or, well, the baby, you’re probably not going to have to rush out and buy a whole new outfit which you’ll never wear again, and should be able to pull something together from your existing wardrobe: phew!

(We’re going to assume for the purposes of this article that you’re NOT involved in the ceremony itself, and are simply a guest. If you’re the baby, meanwhile, you don’t need to read this at all: you’ll look cute whatever you wear…)

So what DO you wear to a christening?

Most christenings take place in a church, or other religious building, and the advice most often given about their dress codes is that you should wear more or less what you’d wear to church.

“That’s all well and good, Fashion Police,” we hear you say, “But what about those of us who don’t attend church on a regular basis? We still have no idea what to wear to a christening!”

OK, here’s another little rule of thumb for you: think less formal than a wedding, but more formal than a casual barbecue, say. The kind of thing you’d wear for a smart lunch, say, should be perfectly fine.

Still confused? Your exact outfit will depend on many things (the weather and season being two that instantly spring to mind), but here are some suggestions…

What to Wear to a Christening

[All outfits: Coast]

What to wear to a christening: some suggestions…

  • A dress (make sure it’s not too short or otherwise revealing)
  • Tailored trousers with a blouse or other smart-ish top
  • A skirt and jacket/blouse (again, think “smart” rather than “sexy” when it comes to skirt length and shape)
  • A trouser or skirt suit
  • A pretty cardigan, shrug or other wrap: churches can be cold, whatever the time of year
  • Almost any colour or pattern: it’s a happy occasion, so bright colours are good, but not essential.
  • A statement necklace or other accessory to add a touch of interest to plainer outfits
What to Wear to a Christening
[All outfits: Reiss]

And, more importantly….

What NOT to wear to a christening?

what to wear to a christening

  • Jeans
  • Sweatpants
  • Flip-flops
  • Ugg boots
  • Sneakers
  • Uggs
  • Anything that looks like it belongs in a nightclub – leave the micro-minis, stripper shoes and sheer tops at home
  • A floor length gown or anything too “eveningy”: most christenings take place during the day – you don’t need to break out the ballgown for them.
  • Anything that will make YOU, more than the baby and its parents/Godparents the centre of attention: as with weddings, it’s not your day, so it’s not the time for dramatic fashion statements or outlandish attire.

Can you wear black to a christening? 

Yes, you can: while christenings are joyful occasions, and you’re there to celebrate, black is so ubiquitous these days that it can be appropriate for just about anything. The key to wearing it is to make sure that you don’t look like you’re in mourning, so nothing too severe or funereal: think about adding some bright accents or accessories to your outfit rather than going with unrelieved head-to-toe black.

What to wear to a christening

Can you wear jeans to a christening? 

We get asked this all the time. Seriously, aaaalll the time. And the answer? NO. Please don’t wear jeans to a christening – or to any other formal event. Jeans are casual wear: they’re not appropriate for a christening any more than they are for a wedding, and it won’t kill you to wear something else for just a few short hours, to show your hosts that you’ve made at least a little bit of effort.

Do you have to wear a hat to a christening? 

Nope: you can if you want to, of course, but most christenings are less formal than that, so you won’t look out of place by turning up bare-headed.

A final disclaimer:

As with all events of this kind, all christenings are different. We’ve based the advice above on the “average” kind of ceremony, but you will, of course, come across christenings with different levels of formality, from the very dressy, wedding-like ones to the completely casual. As always, if you’re at all in doubt, check with your hosts to find out whether there’s a dress code, and what they feel would be appropriate. And have fun!


Ask the Fashion Police, POPULAR

Can you wear tights / stockings with open toed shoes?

Can you wear tights with open toed shoes?

Can you wear tights with open toed shoes

Socks with sandals at Bertie

Donna writes…

Hi There-

Is it ever acceptable to wear hose with opened toed shoes? Thanks


We get this question a lot, and it comes in many different forms:

Can you wear hose with sandals?

Can you wear socks with peep toes?

Is it OK to wear tights with strappy sandals?

Can I wear stockings with open shoes?

and so on and so forth. It seems a lot of you are worrying about whether or not it’s permissible to wear your sandals, peep toes and other open shoes with anything other than bare feet. So: IS IT?

The short answer: It totally depends on the type of socks/tights/hose. And also on the type of shoes.

The long answer (because the short one wasn’t really all that helpful, we can see that):

If you’d asked us this a few years ago, we’d probably have had no hesitation in saying that no, hose with open-toed shoes is NEVER OK.

Then again, if you’d asked us a few years before THAT, we’d have been all, “Sure, why not?”

Our point: things change. Fashions change. There was a time when bare legs would have been considered horribly unsophisticated, therefore women would always be expected to wear some kind of hose, regardless of the style of their shoes. These days, that notion is considered outdated by many (Although there are still plenty of people who still subscribe to it), and bare legs have become much more the norm, especially in the summer. In fact, until the Duchess of Cambridge started to popularise the wearing of nude hose again, sheer tights were considered frumpy, and unstylish.  Nowadays, they’re still not exactly the height of fashion (despite the Duchess’s efforts), but opaque tights, on the other hand, are still very popular, and it’s far from uncommon to see them worn with peep toes or sandals.

In other words, we don’t think there IS a right answer to the burning issue of whether or not you can wear tights with open toed shoes, as it depends so much on the factors above. If you want to know our personal opinion, however (And bear in mind this is just an opinion!), we’d say YES to opaque tights with open toes, NO to sheer ones. We’d love to know what you think, however, so please feel free to join the conversation below!

What do you think: can you wear tights with open toed shoes? 

Adult Onesie, Crimes of Fashion, Lingerie, POPULAR

Adult Onesies: the Dress Like a Toddler Trend claims further victims

Females in cute adult oneseie pyjamas
We don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this one, so we think we’re going to settle for “crying with laughter”. Because seriously, readers. Seriously. These onesies would look super-cute on babies or toddlers, but here’s the thing: they’re not for babies or toddlers. No, they’re for us. Adults. Yes, the ‘Dress Like a Toddler’ trend has struck again. Is there no stopping its reign of terror?
Now, we can’t deny that these will keep you nice and cosy on a cold winter’s night, and will be super-comfortable when you’re lounging around the house. The cosy comfort will be achieved at the expense of your dignity, however, and unless you sleep alone – or want to – you may want to reconsider your choice of an adult onesie complete with pwetty little yellow duckies on the front. That could be really off-putting for your partner, you know?

What say you to these, readers? Do you seek style and comfort, even in your pyjamas, or do these seem like a good idea to you? If so, you can buy them here. And if the pictures above amused you, wait until you see the men’s versions:

Red onesie romper suit
(Admit it: you want him…)

Here are some more examples of the adult onesies in action:

Yeah, we know you love Where the Wild Things Are. You don’t have to dress like Max to prove it, though: remember, you’re a big girl (or boy) now, you can leave onesies far behind you. It’s not cute to see an adult in a romper suit: in fact, if you want to know the truth, it’s a little bit creepy. Backing away slowly from the dude in the romper suit… trying not to make any sudden movements…

Look at these cool cats! Because nothing says “street style” like a Snuggie with legs, does it? You’ll be the envy of all your friends: well, the ones who don’t get out much, anyway.

Strippy adult onesie without feet

“Mommy, wow! I’m a big boy now!”
The Funzee

It’s not a “onesie”, it’s a “Funzee”. Do you see what they did there? “Why should babies get all the fun?” asks the website selling these. We think a better question would be, “Why on earth would you want to dress like a baby? No, seriously, WHY? That admission’s not going to get you a girlfriend, you know?” Also, this just in: you can buy NORMAL pyjamas and dressing gowns that are warm and comfortable too. Who knew?

Of course, although our name is The Fashion Police, we should point out that we do speak (mostly) in jest here. So if you want to dress like a toddler in the comfort of your own home, who are we to stop you? Go for it. After all, why should babies get all the, er, fun?