Maggie McMillan is Director & Founder of MM STYLE Personal Branding, Impact & Wardrobe Consultancy. Her clients range from pop stars to politicians, CEOs to sixth formers, grandparents to godchildren, and everyone in between. We love Maggie's practical and realistic approach to dressing and we're delighted that she put together this guest blog for us - some really simple tips and tricks on how we can adapt our wardrobes as our lifestyle changes.
Whatever our age and situation I firmly believe that feeling good about the way we look builds our positivity and confidence and encourages similar feelings in those we meet. Feeling good, looking good ... Looking good, feeling good - the two are inextricably linked.
Inevitably our lives change (and never more so than recently!) for all kinds of reasons. Jobs or working environments change, we stop or start work again, move house, take on family responsibilities or lose them as children leave home. In these circumstances we may find that our existing wardrobes just don't work for us as they used to, that we're not quite sure what we need, how we need or want to look - and to top it all we may be coping with some physical changes along the way.
Whether budget is an issue or not, most of us hate to spend money on items we will wear only once or rarely, so the first thing I suggest to clients is an honest inventory of what they actually need clothes for - for the life they actually have rather than the one they used to have or think they might have again sometime in the future. This may even mean putting away or selling on all those cocktail dresses taking up valuable space in your wardrobe!
A good trick is to spend some time deciding on three or four adjectives which describe how you consistently like to look and which best fit your personality and lifestyle. Each time you put on an outfit, take a look in the mirror to check that your look actually does reflect those adjectives. If not, why not? Then make any adjustments you need.
As an example, my words would be INTERESTING/ STYLISH/FUN. What would yours be ?
Don't buy anything unless you can think of three items in your wardrobe you can wear with it.
Don't buy anything unless you can think of at least three occasions on which you can wear it.
Only buy items you love - never think "They'll do".
Ensure items fit perfectly and always ignore size labels! If you're in any doubt, always try the bigger or smaller size or you will always wonder.
Perfectly fitting clothes immediately elevate an outfit . A good alterations hand is worth their weight in gold or perhaps now is the time to consider made to measure.
Invest in interesting accessories - they are outfit changers.
Invest in good underwear - another outfit changer (especially important if you have had any change in weight).
I'm often asked by clients which pieces they should really invest in. This obviously depends on lifestyle and budget. There realy is no point in buying expensive formal dresses if you don't have anywhere to wear them! However, there are some essentials which I usually include in the "Buy well, buy less" category.
Good shoes are always an investment. Cheaper shoes can also damage our feet, not to mention end up being uncomfortable in no time at all. Most of us have those painful memories and the aching feet to remind us!
My capsule shoe wardrobe for this season would be a pair of interesting flats, a mid heel and a pair of low heeled ankle boots. If the budget runs to it I would add a pair of knee high boots.
Black or navy trousers
A great fitting pair of black or navy trousers will work whatever your lifestyle. If you find a jacket to match your trousers you suddenly have a trouser suit you can wear with trainers or heels and a jacket you can wear over dresses and jeans.
A great dress
Add a dress of your choice and a neutral sweater you can wear over the dress and with the trousers and you have a whole load more options.
Sometimes less really IS more. My mum's mantra was always "Think before you buy " and you know, she was absolutely right.
Maggie offers a range of services, both virtual and in person (when allowed) including, body mapping, dress for your body shape, style analysis & makeovers, wardrobe detox, shopping, special occasions & style events.
And don't forget that you can follow Distinctively Me over on social. Check out our Pinterest boards for style inspiration, you can find us on Facebook and head over to see what we're up to over on Instagram.