The Difference Between Clothes and Fashion

As a personal stylist I spend many hours reviewing wardrobes. Given the fact that we only wear a shocking 20% of what we buy, frankly most of my clients waste money. The buzz of buying translates into the unworn, there is nothing remotely glamorous about this. I have improved since I learned the difference between “clothes” and “fashion” and now wear most of my wardrobe until it wears out.

“Fashion” is last season’s sleeveless jacket. Hugely expensive, but did you ever see anyone wearing this?? This is a non garment too cold to be a jacket, too edgy to be worn often by most in public. “Fashion” is also the here today, gone tomorrow looks that reinvigorate your wardrobe. Shoes are a fantastic “fashion” statement and so are bags. Fashion should be fun!

We all need regular “fashion” hits but we should not pay too much for them. Remember the 80:20 rule, and do not pay over the odds for something you will wear only for a season or not at all. Buy the diffusion ranges or the better high street brands and look to wear for 2 seasons only.

Sometimes we are all hit with a “I will die if I don’t have that” and these instincts should be followed for the sheer fun occasionally but if you let them dominate your wardrobe you will have nothing to wear.

“Clothes” are what you actually wear 90% of the time so spend money on them, buy the best you can afford and look to keep them. A great beautiful coat in your style and colours will last 10 years so buy a more expensive one. The “fashionable” coat will last 4 months so don’t pay too much have fun with it buy a great colour and look to replace it.

“Clothes” are your signature style. Last summer when smocks were in most of my clients bought them, these are now part of the vast unworn in your wardrobe, along with the sleeveless jacket etc. “Clothes” should be items that you love deeply that you will wear for ever. Jackets, jewellery, coats, cashmere should not be dull but beautiful in rich colours. Fit is everything, buy for how you are now, not I might lose some weight or I am fat so I will buy a bigger size this does not work. Buy beautifully cut garments that flatter whatever shape or size you are.

If grey is in and it does not suit you don’t buy it. In short, learn what suits your body, learn what style you are and buy clothes that fit you. Baggy clothes generally don’t flatter and make you look fatter than you are. Go spend your money on fantastic must-have shoes instead or a great piece of jewellery and when things are in the shops that you love, that make your heart sing, that really really suit you, buy them. These will form a great wardrobe for many seasons to come. Aim to be beautiful and fabulous and you will be!

Top 3 Value-For-Money Places to Shop in the World

We all love to travel and tell yarns of our adventurous escapades in exciting destinations but one of the best ways to hold onto those memories is to shop. Decorate your home with tales of antiquity picked up for a song at the Roman market or simply exhibit the foreign treasures collected in Bangkok or the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town and the chronicles of your journey will remain foremost in your mind for many years to come.

There are a host of sublime shopping destinations world-wide for the intrepid traveller. Some are rather more expensive than others but we have earmarked a handful that are really worth the effort.

Viale Trastevere in Rome

The Eternal City of Rome is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and is literally jam-packed with ancient yet wondrous architecture, statues, cobbled streets and vigorous plazas. Once you tire of the magnificence of St Peter’s Basilica, the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain, make for the Viale Trastevere on the West bank of the Tiber. Each Sunday a flea market is held in this cultural and artistic centre and anything from antiques to leather goods to clothing can be found at a relative steal.

Chatuchak Market in Bangkok

Bangkok has long been the astute shopper’s paradise and it is not unusual for travellers to head to Thailand with empty baggage. Traditional Thai clothing, funky silver jewellery, local crafts and finely hewn furniture are but a sample of the treasures up for grabs. Affordable markets stand cheek to jowl with trendy boutiques, but for the real winners check out the rambling Chatuchak Market held every week-end and you will be able to pick up all sorts of booty from vintage Thai apparel to hand-made jewellery and even spices.

The V&A Waterfront in Cape Town

For affordable clothing, accessories and crafts for Africa, head for Cape Town in South Africa. There is literally everything available under the sun and with the local currency under the proverbial dollar cosh, prices are really competitive. The V&A Waterfront abutting the CBD is the complete shopping experience, offering chic boutiques, in-door craft markets and a wide range of curio stores. The winning produce of the Cape, however, is its fabulous wines and visitors are encouraged to pop in at nearby wine estates for classic Cape fare. Our advice to you is forget about excess baggage constraints and fill up with some of the best sauvignon blancs, merlots and cabernets the world has to offer.

The good news for the consumer on the move is that excess luggage worries no longer have to be factored into your international shopping spree. There are fortunately dedicated companies that will arrange for your entire treasure trove to be safely transferred to your home and it doesn’t have to break the bank. The simple rule of thumb is you pay according to weight, so go mad and fill up those bags.

Shopping in London

Shopping is one of the main reasons people flock to London in their hoards all year round. With over 40,000 shops from huge department stores to fabulous fashion shops, London is the heart for fashion, style and music. A wide variety of shops are all over London, from high priced exclusive clothing and goods, (some severely over priced I might add) to some amazing deals. For lovers of clothes and shoe shopping and more shoe shopping ladies, London has all the designs and the wackiest looks. But before you start, ring your bank, up your credit card limit, its time to start spending!

Camden Market is the place to go if you want cheaper stuff, it’s located next to the Camden Locks; this is London’s most popular market. It gets extremely busy here at weekends with thousands of traders, but watch out for the “buggy brigade” (parents with pushchairs!) your feet will be swollen, but not from the incessant shopping… from having them continuously rolled over and stamped on! Even so, you are sure to find the perfect pair of shoes to match that expensive designer outfit you just spent your whole months wages on. On the other hand, if you are looking for something a little different then Kensington Market might be a good choice, it’s located on Kensington High Street, this market caters for the underground fashions. You can also find an extensive range of outrageous hair colours, punk and gothic clothing and accessories, record stores, the latest in techno, platform shoes, leather goods and jewellery.

Portobello Road Market features antique goods, as well as clothing and music, hundreds of stalls on weekends, and cafes and bars. It is also a “celeb hotspot” with many famous people living and shopping in the area.

Oxford Street & Regent Street are the main areas in which to find many High Street stores. All the main ones are here from Marks and Spencer, Debenhams, John Lewis, Boots, W.H. Smith, Bhs, C&A and of course Hamley’s Toy Shop, which I must add is absolutely breath taking, especially at Christmas, every child and “older child’s” dream come true. You may not find many low priced goods here, but it really is worth a look. So credit cards at the ready!

You will also find Harrods; most people make a visit to this shop just to look at the costly price tags, as well as the wide variety of food on offer. But be sure to dress respectively, no light coloured clothing caked in the muddy tyre marks from the “buggy brigade” in the markets!! There is a dress code to shop here!

And then there is Soho. Soho is the place to go for a variety of boutiques; Janet Fitch for designer jewellery, Metalmorphis for body piercings, and Ann Summers for kinky lingerie. Ambient Soho and Black Market Records stock the best of techno, jungle and dance music. Try the Vintage Magazine Shop for excellent movie & TV memorabilia and posters. Soho is the ideal place if you are looking for something to do “After Dark”; it offers a wide range of erotic videos, sex toys, good cafes and restaurants and strip clubs. Soho is an interesting place to wander around, especially for the men who like to “window shop”!!

Shopping in London can be an exciting experience, whether you want to spend or just browse. It’s a vibrant city – buying something often involves discovering interesting surroundings and exploring new ones. At the seasonal times of year it is probably best to start early, London streets begin to look like an anthill around lunchtime! I myself am a true Londoner… born and bred, everyday there is something new to be found.

Top 5 ‘Must Buy Something In’ Shops In London – (just for the feel good factor, oh, and the carrier bag!)

Hamleys Toy Shop

Wow! That is the only word that came out of our mouths when we walked through the doors of Hamley’s, I lost my two kids and my husband immediately! Unfortunately, they found me again when they wanted money! But if you are looking for a reminder of your childhood or looking for something special for your own kids then this is the shop, and it really isn’t that expensive either, you can pick up a gift for as little as a fiver. It really is magical, 7 floors of it, a definite must. Nearest tubes: Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus. Official website: http://www.hamleys.com

Covent Garden

If you are on a visit to London then try to visit the very trendy Covent Garden, with all the up-to-date designer shops like French Connection, H&M, Calvin Klein and Gap to name but a few. If you are shopaholic like myself then you will love Covent Garden, a fair few celebrities also shop and eat here. The Ivy restaurant is a well-known celebrity hotspot, if you can’t get in to enjoy the tasty food on offer then take a stroll past… 2 or 3 times… spot the celebrity! Nearest tube: Covent Garden

Harrods

A trip to London wouldn’t be complete without a visit to world-famous Harrods. Some just want to check out the expensive price tags, others buy stuff just for the carrier bag. Even so, you will find everything you need here, mind you, the store is huge and it is easy to get lost. And remember; if you need the loo… take some money with you! Nearest tube: Knightsbridge. Official website: http://www.harrods.com

Carnaby Street

Carnaby Street has loads on offer for yourself and a guilt gift for him (well, we have to buy him something don’t we? After all, it’s his credit card!). For him, there are sports shops like Puma, Ben Sherman, G-room and if he’s a budding DJ then there’s Kingly Court, this a great place to buy great vinyls. Oh, and not forgetting a place where he can re-fuel… there’s a few pubs too! And for the ladies, there is a number of fine cosmetics shops, a few boutiques selling vintage mod clothing, designer shoe shops and Liberty’s is just round the corner in Fouberts Place. There are places where we can re-fuel too… coffee shops and sandwich bars. Nearest tube: Oxford Circus

New Bond Street and Old Bond Street

Just off of Oxford Street, is the less crowded but far more expensive New Bond Street and Old Bond Street, for all those that have an endless flow of cash then this is the place to spend all of it! Most of the shops here have “greeters” who will smile, open doors for you, and wish you a nice day! Oh, and keep your eyes open for the odd celebrity here too, London’s Bond streets are well known for bringing out the odd one or two. Nearest tube: Bond Street

It’s a vast, fast and vibrant city; London has it all. Don’t miss it… come and visit!