The title of Alyson Walsh’s new book, Know Your Style, sums up perfectly the best style advice for everyone, always.
It’s not necessary to adhere to some “code,” or establish a strict uniform, but in order to be even just the slightest bit stylish, you need to know what style is more you, than not.
Before knowing your style though, you’ll want to understand how to find it first, and this is where Walsh can help, in the finding.
“We happily spend time preparing food and perfecting recipes, fine tuning a yoga move or musical performance, but when it comes to clothes and putting outfits together, there is definitely a more devil-may-care tendency to throw things on and hope for the best.”
“A tried-and-tested recipe is something we come back to; once accomplished, confidence allows us to experiment with new ingredients, to jazz things up and add a bit of ourselves. The idea of practising style, of working at what we wear until it’s perfect, is so obvious, yet rarely undertaken.”
It’s just like the answer to the old Carnegie Hall question: practice, practice, practice.
My fear however, is that many of us are going to dismiss the idea of “practising style,” because no matter how much we may want to find our own style, the notion of practising it may seem “frivolous.”
At one time I might have thought tossing around and playing with different bits and pieces of the contents of my closet was a waste of precious time, no longer.
Because I want less, higher quality, versatile garments, I’ll take the time to practice to make them work for me.
But if you feel you might be racked with guilt practising style, you could be practical and do it during that seasonal switch, going from summer to fall for example.
Play, edit, and then store, all at the same time. That way you’ll know not just what you have, but also what you can do with it as well as what you might need to make up a good wardrobe for the season.
Another little bit of advice from Know Your Style, a suggestion I’m more than a bit embarrassed not having known or figured out myself.
“Try to group your clothes into lifestyle sections – work, leisure, weekend and special occasion. This makes it easier to see what you have and to get dressed in a hurry.”
(I’ll spare you the ugly details about how I generally “organize” my closet.) I’m pretty sure Alyson didn’t mean for this little piece of advice to also help you understand what’s missing in your life, but it works well for that too.
If there are no clothes in the leisure time part of your closet, or there’s nothing in the special occasion area, you might have a problem…
At the end of the book, Alyson gives her list of what she calls “faffage,” the faff, the things she would have you throw in the “fashion bin.” I think you’ll find she’s mostly spot on.
Photograph: Graham Turner/the Guardian
I think tights weather is finally here, I hope so. I’ve mentioned Heist Studio and their brilliant tights before, so for now, I’ll just repeat, they’re the best. And let me tell you, I am a tights aficionado.
Unless, as they say, “you’ve been living under a rock,” you know that animal prints, especially leopard, are still big. And despite the fact that I recently bought a vintage, faux leopard coat, I’m a bit tired of leopard print shoes.
But these tigers, form M.Gemi, I could go for. They have a two inch heel, which is just about as high as I’ll go these days.