Making A Statement

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There are some items that, once you’ve seen them, you just know they’re coming home with you. This coat was one of those items.

I’d gone into Attic Womenswear for an entirely different reason, not knowing at the time that my wardrobe was missing an electric blue cocoon coat, but oh my it was!

The gorgeous vibrant blue colour winked out at me from the rails and I tried it on ‘just to see’, and…it was love at first site. I adore everything about this coat – the colour, the shape and the warmth it offers. It’s the perfect piece of outerwear to take me into Spring, but because it’s so cosy, with lots of room for layers, I can happily wear it now.

I have to admit, once I got it home I faltered slightly because it is bright and as someone who typically doesn’t like to stand out too much from the crowd, it was out of  my comfort zone. Having said that, it still felt very much in-keeping with my personal style and fitted with my style mantra* so even though I felt a little self-conscious the first time I wore it, I went for it, and I’m so glad I did. It really elevates my everyday wear; throwing it over a striped top, jeans and boots instantly makes me feel more dressed ‘up’ and polished. In the past I’ve always been one to opt for neutral outerwear that I then add pops to with accessories but I think I may be expanding my statement coat collection soon, I’m a convert!

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Make A Statement

My top tip if you fancy taking the plunge with a bright coat or jacket it to make sure it is in a colour from your palette as this will guarantee it’ll look good next to your skin. Make sure its one of your favourite shades so you don’t fall out of love with it a few months down the line (lots of people love to opt for a shade of red, which is a very powerful, passionate colour and one I’m liking for my next statement coat purchase).

The shape of my coat isn’t designed to show off or flatter my figure, the cocoon shape is what I call a ‘current classic’ – the shape is very popular at the moment but will never go out of style completely, so its a safe bet to make an investment in. Before I decided to purchase I considered what I could wear this with and on what occasions it would be appropriate to wear it – always do your fashion maths (cost per wear) before taking the plunge as you don’t want something sitting in your wardrobe that never gets worn.

Finally, how does it make you feel? This coat puts a smile on my face when I wear it, I stand taller and feel fab in it. All your clothes should elicit positive feelings from you when you wear them. Accept nothing less!

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* a style mantra is a phrase or set of words that I give my clients to express their personal style (how they want to look and feel when they dress), it comes out of understanding what suits, flatters and fits you best and knowing what type of image you want to present to the world. To discover your own style mantra book in for a full image makeover or style consultation over at www.imagebyannaelizabeth.com

I’m wearing…

Coat – Samsone & Samsoe

Top – Great Plains

Jeans – Waven

Boots – Mint Velvet

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As Seen on TV!

Anna & Nicola

Last night I made my TV debut!

I helped the lovely Nicola declutter her wardrobe and style some new outfits as part of itv Tonight’s show ‘Keep, Chuck or Clean?’ which looked at people who hoard things and how simple changes can cut clutter, keep us healthy and save (or sometimes even earn) us some cash.

It was a wonderful experience to get involved with the project as its something I’m really passionate about. I genuinely don’t think you need a lot of clothes to look and feel your best each day.

You can take a look at the episode here  Keep, Chuck or Clean – itv Tonight

If you’d like to book a similar service to the one featured on the show take a look at my business website here for more details or simply drop me an email to anna@byannaelizabeth.com.

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New School Style Rules

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Style inspiration for the season ahead (image sourced from Pinterest, for link see below).

It would seem that I’ve taken an unintentional blogging break over the Summer. I felt so inspired when I wrote my last post back in June and got such great feedback from you all (thank you!) that I felt the need to take a step back and really think about the focus of the blog; in particular what I want to talk about and share with you all.

With it being the first week of September I felt it timely to start posting again. I always feel like Autumn is a time for reinvention and new beginnings, even more so this year as my eldest has started school this week [sob]. I’ve been very emotional about it (tell me I’m not the only one!) so I’m keeping myself busy whilst he’s embarking on his first foray into life as a school boy!

Seeing my little guy in his school uniform this week (which, might I add, is in one of his colours, of course!) got me thinking about my own ‘uniform’ for the school run. I don’t have much time to think about my outfit first thing in the morning, which means I have to plan ahead (but rarely do), so I’ve decided to look at some style rules and outfit inspiration for the coming school term that should (hopefully) ensure I look and feel put together at the school gates, without too much time or effort expended each morning.

Here are my new school style rules…

DETOX

Autumn is the perfect time to take stock of what you have in your wardrobe. My Autumn/Winter clothes are currently in storage but I will be getting them out next week and carefully evaluating each item before it goes back into circulation. Here’s an overview of how I decide what should stay and what goes…

1. Is it in my colour (s) – if it isn’t (but I love it), can I wear something with it to make it work?

2. Does it flatter my shape? This time last year I was heavily pregnant and my shape has changed since having bambino number 2 so its an important question to ask.

3. Do I LOVE it? Do I feel AMAZING in it? The final and most important question. To me, it actually doesn’t matter if your favourite item of clothing isn’t in your ideal colour or style – if you feel fabulous in it, then that is ALL that matters!

DECLUTTER

On the advice of my friend, Kate, I recently purchased these velvet hangers for my clothes. They save space (meaning room for more clothes, winner!), look good and everything stays where it should! I feel so happy every time I open my wardrobe doors and everything is so easy to see!

Image via Mija by Mirjam. For link, see below.

Image via Mija by Mirjam. For link, see below.

INSPIRE

I’m pinning away here, creating a mood board of looks I want to recreate, or use as inspiration for the new season so that once I’ve detoxed I can draw up a list of items I need and then hit the shops.

SHOP

Once I know what I need I will be hitting the shops to get the key items that will allow me to create a multitude of looks for the coming months. For me, its about quality not quantity. The aim is to have a capsule collection of versatile pieces that can be worn in lots of different ways.

PREPARE

My new mantra for the season is ‘plan ahead’. I intend to decide on what I’m wearing each evening and have it ready to go, so come the morning all I need to grab is my keys and a strong coffee before hitting the school run.

We’ll see how I get on in the coming weeks! You can follow along for daily updates over on my Instagram account, or pop over to say hi on Facebook!

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Confessions of a Personal Stylist

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Whilst I was standing at the train station in Leeds this morning, waiting for my Starbucks and daydreaming about how little sleep I’d had last night (thanks 8 month old) a woman came up to me and said ‘I just had to tell you, you look amazing. I love your outfit, not many people can wear something like that, you look great.’

Honestly, I felt like giving her the biggest hug, because she can’t have known how much I needed to hear that, and I really did.

You may think that as someone who advises people on what they should wear to make them look and (more importantly) FEEL great, I would be pretty confident in the choices I make for myself when getting dressed each day. However lately this has not been the case.

After having my second child almost 8 months ago I have struggled to shift the baby weight. My tummy is now wobbly when it was once taut and flat, my hips and thighs have spread and, whilst I can squeeze into a good portion of my pre-pregnancy clothes, most of them are tight and uncomfortable. The result? Most days I don’t feel particularly happy with how I look.

So last week, when faced with a night out to celebrate the birthday of a dear friend I was forced to face the fact that I’d completely neglected my own image and sense of style. I had nothing to wear. Literally, not one thing that (a) fit properly and (b) was appropriate for the occasion.

It made me take a step back and I realised that since having my two children I had taken no time to review and refine my own style profile. I used the fact that I’m carrying a little extra weight as an excuse not to really bother too much with my clothes and image. As anyone with littles will know, its a HUGE lifestyle change so inevitably your style changes to fit the ‘new you’.

Now don’t get me wrong, I haven’t been slobbing about in hoodies and joggers with baby sick on my shoulder! But I have been feeling a bit down on myself and that’s largely because I haven’t been wearing clothes that reflect my personality. It actually doesn’t matter that I’m not at my ‘ideal’ weight, its about feeling good as I am now, accepting that I’m a work in progress and that I deserve to look and feel my best.

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So last week I conducted a style consultation on myself. I created Pinterest boards, I chose my ‘style mantra’ and put together a list of items I needed so I could conduct a personal shopping trip on myself. Just going through the process of clarifying who I am now and the image I want to present to the world made me feel more confident and comfortable.

I took myself to get measured for a properly fitting bra (always start with the foundations, more on that in another post) and I shopped till I dropped. I didn’t get much, but what I got fit me beautifully (wobbly bits and all), fit with my style mantra and made me feel great. One of the items was an American Vintage jumpsuit from a boutique in Ilkley called Attic. I wore it out for my friend’s birthday and am wearing it today for work meetings in London. I love it. Its been a long time since I’ve had an item of clothing that I have worn and loved.

I feel comfortable, I feel confident and I’m finally starting to feel like ‘me’ again. There’s still a way to go until my whole wardrobe fits with my new lifestyle, but its a process I’m excited about and glad that I’ve started. Sometimes you have to invest a little in yourself in order to add value to others. As a Mummy to young people it can sometimes feel hard to carve out time to do that, but its so important that we do.

So theres my confession! Please don’t judge me too harshly 😉 its always so much easier to advise others than it is to take your own advice I find!

And to the lady at Leeds train station this morning – you made my day/week/month. Thank you for your kindness, I will certainly make sure I pay it forward!

xo Anna

You can read more about my style evolution since having children here.

To find out how I can help you rediscover your style vibe take a look at my website here.

 

 

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Smart Sales Shopping

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The January sales are already in full swing, with most stores announcing their commencement on Boxing Day. I’m all for grabbing a bargain, but it can be easy to impulse buy when something is reduced in price, only to get the item home and realise it doesn’t work perfectly with your colouring, body shape and/or style personality.

It’s so easy to be lured by the word ‘SALE’ and we convince ourselves we’re saving money as we’re not paying full price for something and therefore it’s fine if it isn’t perfect. I don’t believe in settling when it comes to the clothes we wear, even if they are ‘a bargain’ so to help you avoid the pitfalls of sales shopping I’ve listed below the simple steps I follow to ensure I get the most out of sales shopping…

PLAN AHEAD

As with any other shopping trip, draw up a list of items you need, and stick to it. This will reduce the chance of you buying something on a whim, just because it’s reduced.

Also, be sure to take a little time to go through your wardrobe before you hit the shops and do a bit of an audit (so you don’t end up buying yet another stripey top when you already have five hanging in the wardrobe).

SET A BUDGET

Lots of small purchases can soon add up and before you know it you’ve spent more than you intended. Have in mind the total amount you have to spend as well as a maximum amount for certain ‘big ticket’ items  (for example a Winter coat or new bag).

REMEMBER YOUR STYLE MANTRA!

When conducting style consultations with my clients I often ask them to choose three words or a ‘style mantra’ to describe their personal style and the image they want to project. This really helps to ensure that every outfit and every item you buy projects the image you feel is authentic to who you are. When you’re considering a purchase take a moment to consider if it fits with your mantra so that you don’t end up taking items home that you later regret buying.

CONSIDER COLOUR

I trained as an image consultant over five years ago and see clients for colour consultations weekly, yet I still carry my own swatch wallet around with me. It’s so easy to fall into wearing the same handful of colours day-in, day-out, that I find it’s always good to have a handy reminder of the plethora of shades I have at my disposal. Having my swatch wallet with me also ensures I don’t purchase anything that doesn’t work with my natural colouring.

IF YOU LOVE IT, BUY IT!

At the end of the day, clothes and fashion should be fun! If you see something you absolutely adore then go for it! As long as it makes you feel fabulous nothing else matters.

Happy shopping!

Anna x

Top image source.

 

A Look Ahead – Autumn/Winter Colours

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I have a little secret to tell you – navy is going to be big news this Autumn/Winter.

The great news about navy being THE colour for Autumn/Winter? It’s a universal shade, meaning, no matter which dominant colour palette you fall into, there will be a shade of navy that works for you. Hurrah!

I don’t know about you, but my fashion thoughts have already turned to Autumn (could be something to do with the torrential downpours we’ve been having here today) and whilst I’m hoping Summer isn’t over just yet, I’m looking forward and getting inspired for Autumn/Winter. It also helps that I’ll be back in ‘normal’ clothes by then (does big leap of joy!)

I see many clients for whom navy is already a staple – and many who live in black and have never even considered it. If you are indeed an all-black kind of woman then navy is a great way of dipping your toe into colour without going to far off the beaten track. If, like me, you love to wear a mix of colours then navy is a fabulous neutral – it goes with everything and lifts shades where black can deaden them.

To help you start to navigate your new-season style, I’ll be posting a series of blogs on navy, this week is some general navy inspiration.

For work, for play, weddings and weekends, there is a navy look to suit every occasion…

For weekends… laid back and easy-to-wear ensembles that are both comfortable and stylish.

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The perfect outfit for those days when you’re playing hide & seek with the sun (just make sure there’s a brolly in your fabulous bag!)

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If you fall into the Soft colour category this blend of different navy tones will work beautifully for you.

Lunch with the girls? Done!

Lunch with the girls? Done!

For work… inject a little life into the office with deep navy tones and complimentary accessories.

Blue suede shoes - don't step on 'em ;)

Blue suede shoes – don’t step on ’em 😉

Deep red tones give a simple shift dress a sophisticated edge.

Deep red tones give a simple shift dress a sophisticated edge.

Look out for next week’s post on the key items to have in your navy wardrobe and another post featuring perfect colour combinations for this fabulous shade!

Images sourced via Pinterest.