I'd say, in my approach to both interiors and clothing, I'm a maximalist. With minimalist edges, perhaps. When it comes to dressing up, I love a dramatic silouhette, with minimal accessorising. Other times, I feel more like keeping my get-up simple - a casual t-shirt and some snug-fitting denim. But those times I’ll let the add-ons bring the drama; a statement shoe in animal print or some super-bold colour. Disclaimer time - I'm no style expert, nor guru, and I don't claim to be. What I do have, however, at the ripe old age of thirty-eight, is a sense of my own personal style. I'm not the kind of girl who's always immaculately turned out - au contraire, I like my clothing lines to be a little blurred, imperfect and rough around the edges. My choices aren’t always fashion-focussed; instead I aim for a more intuitive approach, knowing what works for me, what makes me feel good and applying those rules to my wardrobe purchases. And then, pour moi, it comes down to the detail. What is it that makes an outfit pop? And having thought about my approach to styling an outfit, I decided to compile a list, for your eyes only (lucky old you, eh?!), of the five things I go to, to do just that. By seeking out these outfit quirks, that funky little feature becomes the focal point, whilst the top that you've worn the last five times you crossed the door becomes the background palette. Et voilà...
Shoes by Moda in Pelle for House of Fraser
The heel height matters little. In my humble opinion, a shoe easily adds the ultimate dash of personality to an outfit. And as we ladies know only too well, regardless of the kind of day you’re having body-wise, shoes never let you down. They never make your bum look big, don’t show all your lumps and bumps and, on a particularly good day, they have the power to stretch us another five inches so that everything feels that wee bit more in proportion. Don’t be afraid to impulse buy a pair of electric blue stilettos or a pair of animal print pumps that you don’t have an outfit in mind for, for these very shoes will be the saviour when you stand in front of the mirror thinking “this ensemble just needs something else”. And they’ll always be there to bring the pizazz - they never ‘don’t fit anymore’ - that’s why they’re always an investment.
Controversial, perhaps? Agreed; this one’s not for all of us. And I realise that I sound like a real tart with a heart with it, but gals, this is a thing. I love the simplicity of a white t-shirt, a white vest in summertime. But I also need my twist on it, my little personalisation, si tu veux. A nice undergarment can do that. Pick your favourite colour - a neon pink strap, a flash of blue or just plain black with a sexy hint of lace (I am not recommending all-out bedroom calibre here.) We see a little, we don't need to see a lot. But there's personality there; playful and fun. We like that in our wardrobe.
This might be a fabulously dangly, spangly pair of earrings. It might be a cool pair of sunnies (more often worn on your head in Northern Ireland) that are very ‘you’. It might even be a signature ring that you wear, day into night, with every outfit. Adding a statement accessory that adds intrigue or captures attention, instantly makes an outfit more interesting. So you can mix it up and experiment with different high street ‘trend pieces’, or alternatively, find your own statement. Perhaps that means a well-made, stylish piece that’s your signature go-to item - something that identifies your taste and is synonymous with you. There’s something about having that kind of ownership of your style too - like saying “This is me; I know what I like.”
Go to town on this one. Like the shoes, it never lets you down. Go all-out with colour, texture, for this really has a lot of outfit pulling power. And for real flair, make it a contrast, in as many ways as you can, to your other outfit bits and bobs. Note - we all have our own way, but personally, I’m not into a matchy-matchy approach to dressing. I think, if anything, a good clash brings more to a look than trying to match your lip to your shoes. So don’t be afraid to clash things a little - it’s interesting.
Most of us enjoy the transformative effect of make-up. But for me personally, finding time to experiment with eye make-up is a luxury I just don’t have these days. I love to see a well made-up eye but I know I won’t be able, on most occasions, to replicate it. What I can always find time for though, is throwing on a lip. I revel in the possibilities too; so many options, pretty much fool-proof in terms of skill level required, and with the ability to instantly glamourise. No. Brainer.
The true joy in this list is that there's no major outlay. Buying a new lippy and a pair of earrings to transform an outfit you already own won't see the Visa burst into flames as you try to insert it into the card reader (well, unless you plan on doing it every day). But these magical little updates WILL transform “the outfit I wore last time I saw her” into the “I am loving your look today” outfit. Promise.