I’ve never worked with a stylist or personal shopper. Having worked in fashion most of my life, I’ve always trusted my own instincts and been comfortable with my own style, although I have often wondered what someone else might ‘do’ with me, style-wise.
In my year of Nothing New I was concerned I might get bored with what I’ve got, so when my friend, the stylist Tamara Fulton, offered to to come and give me and my wardrobe and me a mini style makeover, I jumped at the chance.
Tamara is an excellent stylist, she’s worked on a multitude of brand campaigns (I first met her after admiring one of her Toast shoots) and is currently goods editor for Hole & Corner magazine, but she also really enjoys styling private clients. She is calm, thoughtful and funny, so I knew that submitting to her outfit choices would be easy. Being comfortable with your style and clothes shows in your face, according to Tamara, but understanding what you want is not always easy. She works by gently nudging her clients out of their comfort zones in order to put together a better version of themselves.
We started by me sorting out my wardrobe running rails (I don’t have a posh cupboard) into categories, all the blouses /jeans/jackets together. As you may remember, I have quite a lot of clothes, some of which I don’t wear much. Everyone wants something slightly different from these sessions apparently, but I wanted Tamara to try and make some of my unworn items work harder, by suggesting new ways to wear them, and to help me ditch stuff that just didn’t suit me.
We went through every item, looking at silhouette, colour, fit and identifying clothes I no longer wore that much. Getting rid of problem clothes that don’t suit you can be hard, according to Tamara, there’s a lot of emotion tied up in them and cutting lose from ones you’ve out grown, have fond memories of or just can’t bear to say good bye to is tricky. Tamara suggests moving them out of sight as a first step. Pull out anything you can’t fit into or don’t wear and put it away. After a period of time (perhaps a year) go back to them and deciding their fate will be easier.
Tamara helped me ditch a few things, including a sweater that was too severe at the neckline (we talked a lot about considering necklines) and a gorgeous Miu Miu cocoon jacket that did me no favours at all (too much volume). We also reworked a kimono I bought in Japan but have rarely worn by putting a v neck gold top under it, rather than the navy T shirt I’d mostly opted for. The V neck seemed to control the volume better.
Tamara also played with layering prints and textures, so I had more options to consider .
It can be revolutionary to hear someone else’s view on how you look, we get so used to presenting ourselves in a certain way. When an experienced set of stylish eyes adjusts your view to make you look at how a colour does, or does not lift you face, you wonder why you didn’t see something so obvious before.
I look better in soft tones of camel, green, cornflower and pink, they lift my complexion, I’d never have worn them altogether, but when Tamara styled them into an outfit, they really worked on me.
I have an old Moroccan coat I love but never wear, Tamara suggested turning it inside out to use the softer floral colours and teamed it with a pink polo neck (vintage Jaeger, if it had stuck to making more of this type of thing Jaeger might not have gone bankrupt last week). It instantly felt more me.
Although I’m not buying anything, Tamara pointed out the gaps in my wardrobe and where I had repetition (ahem, probs too many jeans). I am short on pretty camisole tops to layer under shirts and necklines to add softness and simple tops like the Finery one I adore.
We talked through elongating the silhouette by wearing longer tops under short jackets, and using long necklaces to amplify that lengthening. We tried dresses over jeans, dresses as shirts – a winner for me – and talked about swapping accessories and handbags seasonally. I never think of using a lighter handbag in the summer, or just using some necklaces for summer or winter, but it can really change the feel of an outfit.
Finally, Tamara encouraged me to look at my shape differently. I’m not wild about wearing anything too fitted, but we put my beloved Katharine Hamnett vintage denim top with my Maison Martin Margiela jeans (a TKMaxx bargain) and I looked quite presentable.
‘You have a great waist!’, it was almost worth all the tidying up of my bedroom to hear this. Reassurance is half the battle with wearing a new combination, and having someone there to go ‘yep, that’s good’ is a real help.
Much to my surprise, I both enjoyed the experience and learned a huge amount, it completely opened my eyes to new ways to wear what I have. Tamara has a gentle, encouraging manner rather than being Trinny and Susannah-ish and I loved how she made me look at colour and silhouette with new eyes. If you think you might like to talk to Tamara yourself, contact her for a chat on what you might need on [email protected].
Photos from the day were taken by the wonderfully talented Maya Glaser.