Classics with a Twist

As the seasons roll round ever-faster we want the contents of our closet to endure the test of time. Clothes, accessories and make-up that will pay back the time, effort and money we have invested. Stuff that works for real life, our life, not just one hit wonders. Confidence comes from making great choices that will be there for the duration. This is especially so as you get older, but you’re never too young to develop good practices. So as the autumn winter collections arrive on the high street, I thought I would share some new takes on old favourites. You might call them classics with a twist.

winter collections

Black crepe is a wardrobe perennial. Instantly smart, yet contemporary. It can be relied upon to create a great silhouette or be the perfect foil for more standout companions. Goat Fashion is the home of wool crepe and great design. This season their cropped Cooper trouser (£360) is an instant wardrobe updater. The deep cuff manages to look contemporary; go with everything and not foreshorten the leg. Find them on London’s Conduit Street, or online at

twist front dress

Another new take on a perennial black favourite is this twist front dress by Jigsaw (£129). It’s selling out fast so be quick. This is one of those styles you hear talked of in the fashion press that can be dressed up, or down. It’s equally at home with flat boots, killer heels and everything in between.


This season it’s all about the statement ankle boot. Here I give you Yolanda by LK Bennett (£350). These boots will perfectly step from 1970’s bohemian floaty midi–length chiffon to the more formal military trend. Stand by your beds.

Handbags have been multifunctioning for a while now and this one from Zara zips from monochrome Chanel-style chic to cartoon ka-pow in a moment, all for £35.99.

single breasted coat

The fabulous auburn colour gives this relaxed single-breasted coat from Toast (£295) an autumnal twist on the normal grey and navy colourways. Expect to see lots of spice and chestnut tones this season.
A cashmere knit is a wardrobe staple. Chinti and Parker can always be relied upon for new twists on classic cashmere. This season, look out for their collaboration with cult cartoon bunny Miffy, who will leave you wondering which one to choose. Orange knit with chalk Miffy (£295).

Whistles has delved into the 70’s archive for this vintage-style diamond print blouse (£145). A retro retake on the traditional white work blouse, just swap your black pencil skirt for a black leather mini to go from desk to dinner.

vintage style

Red lipstick and nails is a recognised make-up classic. However, make-up maverick Lucia Pica has turned make-up on its head this season at Chanel by announcing ‘Let Red Rule’. Red toned eyeliners, eyeshadows and blushers that, at first glance, look all completely wrong are cleverly creating modern looks that are also incredibly flattering. Multi-effects Quadra eyeshadow palette (£40). Rouge Allure velvet lipstick (£26)



Jaeger has struck gold for Autumn Winter 2016/17

I am a fan of Jaeger. They can always be relied upon to produce luxurious classic coats and in particular, great trousers. However, some of their more recent collections have felt a little flat and lost some of the sparkle and innovation synonymous with the brand’s archive.

Watching brands, as I do, you see them ebb and flow. Often the duller times are indicative of what’s going on at the top of the organisation. Jaeger has turned a corner is most definitely on an upward trajectory. I haven’t been this excited about one of their collections since 2008 when they hit London Fashion Week catwalk.

jaeger clothing

Their Creative director, Sheila McKain-Ward now has a couple of Jaeger collections under her belt, having previously designed for iconic brand Oscar De La Renta and it’s really starting to show through.


The Jaeger brand is now relevant to a younger audience again, without alienating it’s older devotees. No mean feat. Sheila McCain-Ward says of the new Autumn Winter collection, “We have focussed on engineering and modern technologies to transform our offering. From sumptuous coating in lofty weightless wools, to bonded seams, the Autumn Winter womenswear collection is a study in innovation. The balance of the season’s colours are earth tones, from burnt amber to slate grey and carnelian red. The silhouettes range from effortless fluidity to dramatic sculptural pieces. The collection is rich in texture from modern mohairs to chunky knitwear and air-spun felted wools.


Prints range from bold and graphic to abstract and painterly. It is a unique blend of innovation and organic that has informed the collection.”

Translated to the lady on the street this boils down to contemporary and wearable pieces that we will all want in our wardrobes. The new season will also see a number of capsule collections, including:

Laboratory – 30 select pieces showcasing Jaeger’s most diverse and pioneering designs, focusing on bold silhouettes, contemporary styling and a strong colour palette.

Daisy Cook – a collaboration with the London-based abstract landscape artist. This collection transposes Cook’s painting in flashes, folds, edges and inside linings.

Donna Ida – the denim queen has collaborated with Jaeger to offer a succinct collection of contemporary pieces including denim, leather, silk and cashmere.

A selection of the new collection is available at House of Fraser, Cheltenham and the complete range can be seen at

Jaeger Cheltenham

  • Pattern Clash Dress £175
  • Ponte Fine Stripe Dress £90
  • Denim Jersey Joggers £89, Cotton Linen Cape Sweater £110
  • Boiled Cropped Sweater £110, Grey Leather Wide Legged Trousers £399, Yellow Clutch £150
  • Wool Ribbed Split Hem Knit £110
  • Ruched Neck Column Dress £150
  • Coat £350
  • Resin Cuff £40


Why 1 + 3 = the Perfect Capsule Wardrobe

Having a hard-working capsule wardrobe fills most people with joy. Not having to constantly agonise about what to wear to work; at the weekends; for evenings out and special occasions is a headache we can all do without. I thought I would use this month’s column to remind everyone of why 1 + 3 = the perfect capsule wardrobe.

This is a rule whereby, when you make a new purchase, you visualise three things you already own that you can wear with it. This way you naturally start to create a capsule wardrobe. If you find visualising difficult to do, then match up pieces as soon as you get home and take photos of your newly combined outfits to act as an aide memoire later on.


Here I have taken nine pieces which can all be interlinked with one another. I wanted to show you that things don’t need to be bland to become a hero item. This stunning flamingo pink skirt from Hallhuber at House of Fraser (£79) is a real winner. The lovely tulip-shape means that those with hips can also indulge in a neat pencil-style skirt as it’s less likely to catch on the hips. It is a great length and has pockets (hurrah) enabling it to also be worn casually. All three tops are also from Hallhuber – striped jersey (£29), multi-coloured floral print blouse (£79) and pink print top (£69).


I regularly mention that metallic shoes should be considered a neutral. This exclusive edition silver pair from Whistles at John Lewis (£179) work with each of the bottoms featured here. Shoes inform an outfit. By that I mean it is footwear that sets the tone. So your shoes are a good place to start if you’re ever unsure what to wear. Consider what you will be doing and how comfortable/formal you want to be and take your lead from there. These Converse, exclusive to Office (£49.99) are a great casual option and the grey and coral colour tones work effortlessly to offer a casual edge to this selection.


White cropped jeans (blue jeans would also work in this instance) are from L’Agence at Trilogy Stores (reduced £185 to £95). Whilst the ‘on trend’ black crepe culottes are also on sale (£129 to £65). The cute black, soft as butter, leather cropped sleeve jacket is new for autumn winter. Both black pieces are from Ted Baker.


Take Summer in your Strides

Give your wardrobe an instant summer update with one of the many fabulous new trouser, or jean, shapes around. We’ve all been living in easy, ubiquitous, skinny jeans since Kate Moss first introduced us to them in the mid-noughties. Their decade-long popularity is due to how easy they are to wear, especially with flats and boots. Devotees will still have plenty to choose from as skinnies remain in abundance in every conceivable colour; wash; coating and rip.

womens flares

But now there are some new kegs on the block and the main contender for the hot spot is the cropped kick flare. Like the skinny, this shape is easy to wear and doesn’t need a lot of careful styling. One of my favourite pairs is from Whistles (£95). In an authentic mid-wash blue denim, their high waist is comfortable and flattering, especially for those with curves. They also have a fun raw hem (another key trend) which in this case provides the kick. Sizing is generous, so go down one full size. The fabrication still has a little stretch, unlike some where the fashion for a more ‘traditional’ denim has meant a loss in the comfort we have all been enjoying. One of the best designer versions is the JBrand Selena Crop, which has just landed at Sue Parkinsons.


Another winner from Whistles is this retro print high-waisted ankle length fluid wide leg trouser (£95). Keep the top half simple and cropped to focus on the waist-line. Marella has just released this slim-fit slightly flared crepe de chine pair as part of their newly launched mini-capsule collection (£140). The deep hem of this design makes a very stylish statement. What I love about both of these is that they have a side-zip. I wish more women’s trousers had a side fastening, as they are far more flattering as they don’t add bulk on the tummy.


Hobbs has come up trumps with this dramatic black front-wrap detail (£119). These are a real wow and should be worn simply for best effect. Bardot-style tops like this reveal the shoulder providing a foil for the extra fabric in the trousers.

Zara is always great for trousers, from good basics like these khaki green cropped jeans (£29) to more full-on fashion looks like this statement bubble-gum pink pair (£25.99) – perfect for popping in your packing.


I’m always asked, what shoes should be worn with different trouser types. A full length skinny jean or a cropped kick flare, both work well with flats, kitten, block or high heels. I particularly like cropped jeans with a sling-back as the bare heel adds a lightness to the look. The current footwear selection from Cara, who now has nine stores including Cheltenham, Oxford and Bristol (outlet) is very impressive. See the full range on-line . From left to right:   Grey suede with gold trim (£70); Platinum flat-form sneaker (£90) and pointed scalloped edge flat (£70). All styles shown are also available in other colourways.


Cool Hunting

Staying contemporary requires us to constantly evolve, refresh and reimagine our style – especially as we get older. Finding those hero pieces that will become the corner stones of our wardrobe is what we all seek. Grazia fashion writer, Polly Vernon has said ““What keeps you going with fashion is you never know when you will get the thing that changes the entire game for you”.

When I recently discovered ‘Walpole Brands of Tomorrow’, I felt that I had wondered into style utopia. Founded in 2007, Walpole’s Brands of Tomorrow ( initiative has helped develop and nurture over 75 emerging British luxury brands, and proudly watched them become leaders in their respective fields. This awards and mentoring programme has a highly-tuned antennae for picking up the very best in UK Luxury retail. Previous recipients have included Emilia Wickstead and Bionda Castana. This year’s list includes The Fold, Cubitts and Milli Millu. All of whom are producing beautifully designed top quality pieces.

The Fold has one of the most exciting websites I’ve seen in a while . It presents a clean, minimalist, but captivating edit including their Marais Capsule wardrobe. A true ‘go to’ for the savvy business woman. White top £165, navy top £115 and blue shirt £125.


Cubitts concept of modestly priced, handmade spectacles and sunglasses in classic British styles saw The Guardian name them as their Start-up of the Year They offer a variety of different styles in an array of finishes. Ampton sunglasses £125.

Milli Millu is a handbag brand which has captivated top-ranking business women, global fashion editors and celebrities alike These handbags are top drawer, without being crazy – despite their Buckingham Palace Road, London address. This mighty fine yellow Midi Zurich bag is beautifully finished at £475.


Finery has also got all the fashion editors talking. Some, like Poly Vernon, have even been asked to design their own ‘Forever Piece’ for the current collection. This leather jacket gets my vote (£294) What’s more it’s very dark navy, far more flattering than ubiquitous black

This High-waisted A-line folded skirt (£65) also from Finery is in the season’s favourite hue and just the thing for the current climate. It is both substantial and structured and teams perfectly with this understated grey top.



Partners Tim Rockins and Jess Morris began by making scarves as gifts for friends – including supermodel Kate Moss – before launching this ultra-cool label. Inspired by the vintage styles worn by ‘60s rock stars. This silk crepe de chine silk biased-cut ivory print scarf with fringing (£165) is available from Trilogy Stores ( It would look perfect teamed with the Vernon Forever jacket.


La Ligne

The collaborative brainchild of two former Vogue Editors and the former head of business development at denim brand Rag and Bone. La Ligne, celebrates the stripe in all its glory. Including this stylish cream and black top available from (£105).


Where will you find your forever pieces this season?

One for the Boys

I really enjoy shopping for men as well as women. Small changes can make a big difference to a man’s wardrobe and instantly elevate a look from ordinary to stylish. The Great British High Street has more choice than ever for the male shopper. The opportunity to push style boundaries has never been better.

So what trends can you expect to see on the rails this spring summer 2016? The blouson jacket is a key shape for the season. This navy linen version from Zara is wallet-friendly at £39.99 and works perfectly with jeans and a stripy tee. There is also a great choice of suede jackets – another strong trend.


In terms of print trends, eastern designs will add an exotic flair to those who fully embrace fashion. Or for a more subtle look opt for classic but on-trend stripes, or checks.

The Harrington jacket is a timeless menswear staple. Subtle tweaks have been made to the original silhouette by Whistles (£225) to ensure that this checked version remains authentic yet contemporary. Fabricated from robust cotton, it features contrast melton under the collar for a touch of luxury. This is a great forever piece.

There are some lovely soft warm colours to glow in the sunshine such as oranges, golds and khakis – all of which work well with denim and light coloured chinos. This orange t-shirt is from Whistles (£30), who already have a fabulous selection of great quality tees in store.

mens clothing trends

Reiss has been developing their denim range across both their women’s and men’s ranges. This mid-wash slim-fit style is a great colour for spring (£95). Jigsaw’s menswear collection continues to be strong. I particularly love their knitwear, like this blue button-through cotton linen long-sleeved top (£79).

Accessories make all the difference in pulling a look together. Penny loafers, like these in khaki from Reiss (£105), are a great summer option. Wear with bare feet and ankles with shorts, rolled-up jeans, or chinos.

mens clothing

For those who prefer a sneaker, the colour and textures of this pair work well, managing to both smart and casual (£165). A good belt is always a good investment – Russell & Bromley (£85). Another way to add polish is with some cool shades. These are the ultimate pair. Designed exclusively for Mr Porter by Cutler and Cross to celebrate their fifth birthday (£360), the tortoiseshell frames and blue lenses just reflect style.

Say it with flowers, stripes and the seventies this season

It’s time to come out of hibernation and take a look at what’s new. As a personal shopper I encourage people to add a few key pieces each season that will breathe new life into their existing pieces and help them to stay looking contemporary. The secret is in understanding which fashions will work for you and those to avoid. Here’s a peak at what trends you can expect to see in store in the coming months….

 Earn your stripes...

Always a perennial spring trend, stripes are big news again this season. If they are your thing, it’s time to ‘do like the French girls do’ and stock up on Breton style tops. Striped tops are a great way for a ‘pear shape’ to add balance to her silhouette, since stripes visually add curve to the top half of the body.

I love this twist on a navy and white classic striped knit from Jigsaw featuring a khaki trim (£89. This folded tunic dress from Ted Baker (£149), incorporates fabulously retro colours. If you just want to nod to the stripy trend instead, accessories instantly make a fresh statement. Lanvin striped shoulder bag, Matches Fashion (£720).

seventies fashion

Flower Power...

Florals are blooming early in store this season with small sprigs to flagrant flower heads growing over everything from handbags at Stella McCartney to sweat tops at Whistles.  For best in show, team with block colours and simple accessories.

If you’re a full on fashionista, now’s your chance to mix stripes and florals in the same outfit. A striped top can look surprisingly fresh with a floral print skirt, or trousers. Floral print cigarette pants from Top Shop (£39). Some are also wearing striped bottoms with floral print tops, but for me, this rarely works as well.

In some cases, designers have combined stripes and florals in one print, such as with this versatile shift dress (£595 with black and white striped belt (£95) both by Caroline Charles.

flowers 2016

Others designers have included both effects in one item, such as this beautiful ‘oil on canvass’ effect skirt with striped waistband from master of print, Ted Baker (£139). Make a piece like this more versatile by dressing it down with a plain grey tee shirt and pointed flats.

This bohemian floral print chiffon dress from Zara (£39.99) is softly seventies and a great transitional piece to wear now with boots as shown here and wedges later in the season. Also from Zara is this floral tunic (£39.99). Consider switching the belt to add more structure and bring it up a notch. Something like this patchwork suede belt from LK Bennett (£125) another key trend borrowed from the seventies. Rock on…

summer trends

Shift into Neutral to Transition Between Seasons

Gently slip into the new season by introducing some subtle neutrals to your closet. These soft hues will help you to segue effortlessly from winter to spring. One such useful neutral is khaki and there is plenty to choose from this season. The perfect companion to black as you you ease yourself from winter, khaki also works well with colours including white, ivory, turquoise, warm red, orange and yellow once spring kicks in.

From Whistles Limited Edition this khaki leather bomber is a fashion forward piece (£425). There are also matching leather culottes, but avoid double leather just as you would double denim. This is also goes for shoes, I always think that suede footwear works better when you are wearing leather. M&S has some great neutrals in store. The suede jacket from Autograph (£199) is a useful addition, as are these sand classic trousers (£35).


I really like the unexpected styling of this lace pencil skirt (£59) teamed with a casual jumper (£35), bag (£89) and trainers (£45). All from M&S. The gentle pallette is made all the more interesting with the mixture of textures and smart casual pieces.

Stripes are a perennial spring trend and this year is no exception. This navy and white knit with khaki trim at the hem (£89) from Jigsaw is an interesting update on the bretton classic.


A great transitional dress that can be worn with boots now, whilst it is still chilly, and then a nude leg, court or sandal, once the weather warms up is a wardrobe staple. Silk print dress Jaeger (£199). However, don’t feel that you have to live with the self-fabric belts that often come with a dress. It is a rare that such a dress doesn’t benefit from switching up to an alternative belt, such as this olive green one from Jigsaw (£39).


Ankle boots come into their own between seasons and this pair by LK Bennett (£250) also perfectly stride the smart casual spectrum. Another firm favourite is animal print and, as I’ve said before, can be surprisingly neutral. These ballet pumps from Hobbs (£89) are a great classic option that will make a simple outfit purr.


Texture is a great way of adding interest to a neutral outfit and jewellery provides us with many easy options. This simple, but luxe, friendship bracelet from (£85) comes in multiple colourways and to individualise your look even further, can be engraved with a special message. Could this be the perfect gift for Valentine’s Day?….

Get in Shape this New Year…


new year clothing

One of the first things I do when working with a new female client is to talk to her about underwear. Great underwear can make the world of difference to how our clothes look and feel. Our bust size and shape can change throughout our lives. It’s important to get regularly fitted for the right fitting bra, not just once, but regularly throughout our lives. As well as bras, there is also a huge array of knickers, vests, slips and control wear waiting to nestle into our undies drawers and help us out of any clothing crisis. The right underpinnings can provide the perfect foundation to looking and feeling good.


Triumph (pictured) offers great everyday styles that are both functional and pretty. The black sheer knickers (pictured separately) are perfect under trousers for ensuring no VPL from (£21).

For the fuller bust, Freya, Bravissimo and Prima Donna are all good brands to try. This nude lace bra is by Prima Donna (£96.95). At the premium end of the market, Prima Donna combines 150 years of experience into designing expertly constructed and award-winning bras.


For smaller cup sizes consider L’Aventure by Marie Jo, as pictured here with the black circle-detail straps (£68.95). Other brands to consider for smaller cup sizes are Stella McCartney, Elle McPherson Intimates and Calvin Klein. Both Prima Donna and L’Aventure brands can be found at Sandra Dee in Cheltenham’s Montpellier district. Also in Montpellier is Square Pillow, stockists of Swiss brand Hanro whose hallmark is simple styles in gorgeous fabrications from the simplest cotton to luxurious cashmere. White Ultra-light spaghetti top (£17.50) and bronze slip (£92). The grey lace slip is by Wahoo at John Lewis (£51).

women's accessories

women's underwear is capable of solving any underwear dilemma. Their Love Triangle bra shown here in fir green is cut low in this elegant plunging style (£85). The nude tulle high-waisted pant provides light control (£80), whilst the nude bra (£115) would fit seamlessly under any clothing. Remember, an everyday bra should be well-constructed rather than dainty. It should lift your bust and create waist definition. Let’s start the year with firm foundations and good resolutions.

everyday bras


• When looking from the side, the back panel should not ride up. The cups should fit well without any bulges.
• Ensure bra straps are adjusted so your bust is positioned in the right place. You need to do this frequently as straps tend to loosen after washing.
• When first purchased the bra should feel snug on the third hook. As the bra gets worn, move up the clasps to maintain a good fit. Once you are on the final hook consider buying a new bra.
• Seamless bras are great for T-shirts, knitwear and close fitting tops. Lacy bras are fine, but wear them beneath tops you cannot see them through, or under loose fitting garments.
• Nude is a must whatever your skin colour. Wearing nude under white will give you a totally natural appearance; you’ll see your shape not your underwear.
• Put your clothes back on when choosing your bra to ensure it gives you the right shape for your clothes.
• Ideally hand-wash bras in a soft detergent

How to look chic and understated this party season

Dressing for the festive season doesn’t need to all be about full-on sparkle. Choose sophisticated pieces that blend effortlessly with your closet and you will find yourself reaching for them all year round.

As with any occasion dressing it’s all about the styling. In this case I have picked a delightful structured clutch by American designer Tory Burch (£425). It’s like a Christmas decoration you can carry. I love the movement the tassel provides, gently swaying and catching the eye for all the right reasons. With a look of time-honoured vintage this could be your plus one at weddings and other special occasions for many years to come. I recognise that this clutch comes with a designer price tag, but high street versions out there will be kinder on the purse. Remember, these are the kind of items that are worth picking up in the sales. You can always place them on a ‘sale alert wish list’ so you are informed when prices drop.

party season

Providing another opportunity to swoosh is this fabulous open back maxi dress by Ted Baker (£299). Its rich berry hues are season-perfect as the light burgundy at the hemline soaks up the dress into a rich plum. Although spot on for Christmas, it is in no way restricted to the festive season. This dress would just as easily take you to a formal summer do; all you need to do is switch lipstick from a deep berry stain to a brighter raspberry pink.

festive season
This seventies-inspired high neck cut-out blouse from Karen Millen (£110) also comes in black. A great desk to dinner option; pop on your heels, twist up your hair add some statement earrings and you’re good to go. Either tuck in a palazzo style trouser, or wear lose over a cigarette leg like this bottle green pair from Gerard Darel (£155), shown here with matching top with striking sleeve detail (£165).


Also featuring eye-catching cut-out detail is this dress by Whistles. A fabulous take on the simple LBD, the flash of skin at the neckline makes it far more flattering than many (£150). At the other end of the colour spectrum is this soft powder pink lace dress by Reiss (£225); just partner with delicate sky-high heels such as these gold open-toe sandals by Steve Madden (£75) at John Lewis and paint toes in a fabulous red. Or maybe, opt for a red sandal like these from Top Shop Unique (£155). When you’re keeping your ‘party’ look chic and simple, small details make a difference so choose a watch that says evening like this one by Skagen (£145) also from John Lewis. Now where’s that invite?

womens watch