the 25 minute wardrobe detox

the 25 minute wardrobe detox

The new year is the perfect time to embark on a wardrobe edit but for most of my clients the thought of organising messy shelves and tackling overstuffed rails is totally overwhelming. So here are five small things you can do that will get you started on your perfected 2018 wardrobe.

1. Swap out your hangers

Remove wire hangers that mis-shapen your clothes and invest in velvet covers hangers. They are inexpensive, keep your clothes from slipping and look uniform in your wardrobe. 

2. Remove killer shoes

If you do one thing this year it should be investing in your feet. The amount of clients that have had to have surgery on their feet because of years of wearing ill fitting shoes when they could have invested that money more wisely in a beautiful and practical (yes, they do exist) shoe wardrobe. Remove all the shoes from your wardrobe that for whatever reason, you can’t walk in. If they are in good enough condition sell them and reinvest that money shopping for a heel style that’s most comfortable. 

3. Organise your underwear

We are all guilty of this - owning underwear that has seen better days and a sock draw full of mismatched socks. Take 5 minutes to clean out your sock draw, matching the pairs and organising them by function (work, weekend, workout). Remove those items of underwear that are ill-fitting and worn out and the organise by type and function. My female clients should then book themselves in for a fitting and discover how the right bra can transform that silk blouse.  

4. Ditch ill fitting denim

Consolidate your denim collection and remove jeans that don’t fit you properly or are no longer flattering you like they used too. With wear and washing the elasticity in denim, especially highstreet denim, will give so give them up. If you have the liberty of wearing jeans to work then it is well worth investing in the best quality you can. 

5. Storage Solutions

It’s time to make a list - look at your existing space and see how it could be improved by using cleaver storage solutions. Separate jewellery with divided boxes, buy clear boxes to keep your knitwear in order, store shoes in boxes to keep odours away from your clothes and making them easier to store and find. 

Parting with items on a regular basis will keep your wardrobe organised and allow you to see what you really love to wear on repeat. When everything is properly stored, it makes getting dressed a joy and sets you up for the day with a clear head and enables you to concentrate on the important jobs at hand. 

If you are dealing with an overstuffed wardrobe and need to create space and clarity then please get in touch

5 building blocks for 365 days of great style

5 building blocks for 365 days of great style

Defining your style and building a strong personal image is all about discovering what YOU love to wear. There is no prescriptive one-size-fits-all solution. 

Think about what you wore for the last five days of a typical week
- What five things did you rely on? 
- What are those items that are the building blocks of your outfits and pull your looks together?

Here are my 5 dependable essentials that I rely on not matter what the season.

Jacket - I love jackets, they allow me to be lazy. All you need is a T shirt and a pair of jeans and the jacket will instantly add interest to your look. Whether your staple is a leather jacket or something more tailored, a jacket is a dependable piece that is worth investing in. 

Accessories - Over the past few seasons I have embraced the clip-on earrings and it has improved the functionality of my wardrobe spectacularly. It is the easiest way for me to go from shopping all day to an evening event and look pulled together. Statement earrings are the best talking point too so perfect for those events where you don’t know anyone. Elevate your casual looks and get more wear out of your essentials by adding your favourite accessory. 

Jeans - Choose a style to suit your shape and buy the best you can afford. This year I’m focusing on straight leg in vintage finishes but whatever your inclination, denim will always be a perennial you depend upon. 

Bag - Whether you prefer under the radar brands or over the top icons, choose a shape and functionality to suit your lifestyle. I love hand-held styles by the likes of Simon Miller but the reality is I need to be hands free so it’s cross body every time. 

Coat - Your coat shouldn’t be the last piece of your outfit puzzle but the pièce de résistance. If you live in the northern hemisphere you will be wearing a coat for 8 months of the year so you will need a variety of styles that work for different situations - a coat for work, something practical for the weekends, an evening show-stopper and something to see you through the Spring. I’m eternally on the hunt for the perfect trench coat and with the iconic look featuring in most collections this coming Spring Summer season, I’m sure to find THE one. 

What is your can't-live-without item?

I would love to help you curate a capsule wardrobe that defines who you are and what you stand for. Please get in touch for personalised advice. 

The Best of 2017

The Best of 2017

In reflecting upon 2017, I cannot thank you enough for making it my best year yet. You, my clients inspire, challenge and motivate me. I’m humbled that you place your trust in me and let me into your wardrobes and your lives. I love communicating with you monthly via the newsletter and I make it my mission to deliver content that will be practical, simple and inspiring.  I get a real thrill from seeing what you like reading about most and it’s no surprise that these three blogs were the most read of 2017. Because the one thing that all my clients have a problem with is how to put outfits together and make the most of what they have.

My client journey starts with me really getting to know them and delving deep into their existing wardrobe and editing and finely tuning it. But the real joy and eye opening experience comes when I outfit new combinations and bring a fresh perspective to old favourites. So without further ado the most read blog of 2017 was… how to layer like a pro

The other big challenge my clients face is shoes… where to buy them and how to wear them.  So, unsurprisingly, you loved my blogs on how to wear winter boots and summer shoe solutions

So here is my first blog of 2018! You have likely made a resolution of some kind but I want to focus on New year solutions - ways of making your everyday life easier, more successful and ultimately more enjoyable. On my blog you will find quick, easy and achievable ways to update your style which will not only keep you motivated to stay on track but inspire you to achieve more. 

If you have been putting your style on hold until now make 2018 the year you do something about it! Working with me will change more than just your wardrobe.  Get in touch to find out more and book in for a chat. 

Happy New Year! 

The Ultimate Gift Solutions

The Ultimate Gift Solutions

I love a wish list as much as the next person. It is your insurance policy to avoiding disappointment and waste. But what if you could give them a gift they never expected but that they love and enjoy? Let’s bring back the element of surprise to gift receiving this year with these love forever beauties. 

Personal Styling Gift Voucher - because you will wish you did it years ago.

A Tote for work - beautiful. practical. economical. 

Earphone and cable organisers - you will never have to dig around your bag again.

Alphabet Charm - perfect for the women who doesn’t wear jewellery. 

Sunglasses - when the sun does shine, he will be ready.

Flat shoes - Slippers you can actually wear outside. 

Striped Sweater - because you can never have too many. For Him. For Her

Incense Burner - she'll be expecting a candle but this is so much better. 

For more personalised solutions, please get in touch. 

Merry Christmas!! 

Penny x 

Penny Bennett is a Personal Stylist, Personal Shopper and Image Consultant covering London and the UK that will change how you feel about your wardrobe forever. 

5 of the best sweater dresses

5 of the best sweater dresses

A sweater dress is my one piece winter wonder. They look great with boots and equally good with tights and trainers and take you easily from day to night. The high street is full of beautiful versions in wool and the softest cashmere. Wondering what to wear on Christmas day? The jumper dress is the perfect solution - comfortable and stylish too. Here is my high street edit of  the 5 best sweater dresses. 

1. I love wearing white in winter and this one ticks all the boxes with the polo neck and relaxed shape. Belt it for a dressier look. 

2. Another one from Massimo Dutti but I couldn’t resist the flattering shape and lovely cashmere. 

3. Whistles does sweater dresses every year and most of my clients have a version in their wardrobes. Easy shapes for casual comfort. 

4. Layer this versatile dress from J crew with polo neck for extra warmth 

5. I’d wear this J Crew off the shoulder version to host Christmas lunch with some backless velvet slippers

For a more personalised selection, please get in touch

Penny Bennett is a Personal Stylist, Personal Shopper and Image Consultant covering London and the UK that will change how you feel about your wardrobe forever. 

 

5 of the best weekend sweaters for men

5 of the best weekend sweaters for men

Shirts and fine knit V necks are the perfect winter work solution but the weekend calls for a different mood. Cable knit, Mohair or Shawl collar -  there are plenty of great sweater options that will add interest to your weekend looks. Here are 5 of my downtime favourites. Keeping the chill out never looked this good. 

Cable Knit - I love this version from Ralph Lauren. All the detail but without any bulk. 

Mohair - This fair isle version is not just for Christmas. Great for aprés-ski too. 

Shawl collar - I love the extra detail of the shawl collar on this cardigan

Cashmere - The weekend is the perfect time to stray from your neutral workwear colour palette. 

Hoodie - The hood gives this cashmere a really relaxed and cool look. Layer it under a jacket or gilet. 

If you find smart casual confusing and want to create a cool and contemporary casual wardrobe then I would love to hear from you. 

Penny Bennett is a Personal Stylist, Personal Shopper and Image Consultant covering London and the UK that will change how you feel about your wardrobe forever. 

5 quick tips to avoid impulse sales shopping

5 quick tips to avoid impulse sales shopping

I love this time of year but it can also be overwhelming…all the gifts you need to buy but also all the emails in your inbox tempting you to ignore your Christmas gift list and buy all those items you didn’t know you needed but suddenly are very appealing because they are on sale - but are they REALLY good value? Below is a simple formulae to help you decide if something is actually good value and some quick tips to help you stay focused and avoid impulse purchases and sale guilt. January is hard enough without an empty bank account and a wardrobe full of clothes that you aren’t wearing. 

Good value = wearability + love + need

It’s that simple. Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean it is good value. You will end up with a wardrobe full of clothes that at the time were ‘a bargain’ but at the end of the day they are still a waste of money.  I’m not being a kill joy - I love the satisfaction of a sale purchase as much as the next woman. But I use my experience to navigate the sales and make considered purchases. It’s easy and fun… here’s how. 

TOP TIP 1. 

Value NOT Discount - Something is good value when you know you are going to wear it and it fits with your current wardrobe. Shop with a specific list in mind and don’t stray from that list. If you are looking for a jumper dress for example firstly you should read my blog on jumper dresses but secondly you should not use the discount as the main factor for making a purchase. Check the sale section to see if there is something that fits your specific criteria but don’t sell out. You won’t wear something that is too tight, the wrong colour or the wrong shape even if it is 60% off. 

TOP TIP 2.

Shop Online - some stores even let you add items to your basket before the sale begins for easy checkout. I like this strategy as it allows you to sleep on it and put some time between the raging impulse and the purchase. It also allows you to review it in light of your current wardrobe so you can imagine what you would wear it with. If you still love it the next day then you know it is a good buy. Shopping online also removes you from the competitive-shopper mode that can take hold when you are in-store

TOP TIP 3. 

Build a Wish List - Online boutiques like Net-a-Porter, Matches and Shopbop have brilliant wish-list functionality. Build your wish-list of pieces you love and need throughout the season, NOT just at sale time. This ensures when it is sale time you are buying something that you are have thought about for the whole season and was potentially out of your reach. The purchase is no longer impulse but premeditated and good value. I have some Gianvito Rossi boots, A Burberry trench and a cashmere polo neck from Acne on my wish list that I am planning on purchasing in the sale. They are timeless pieces that I know I will love forever and even more so for the discount! 

TOP TIP 4. 

Check the Returns Policy - If you are caught in the moment and making an uneducated snap decisions please make sure that you can return it and get your money back. 

TOP TIP 5. 

The Only Time it is OK to Buy the Wrong Size - If something is one size too big and the alteration is simple/doable/viable it’s ok to make a purchase. I have been known to do this with expensive items I couldn’t justify but when on sale now meet my budget expectations. I have an amazing tailor at The London Fashion Workrooms who works magic on my clothes. BUT never buy something that is too small for you now, you will never wear something that is uncomfortable. Also buying it in the hope it will give you the motivation to loose weight is not a good strategy, in my experience it only serves to demotivate you. 

Have fun with your sales shopping but be smart and strategic. If you need help then please get in touch. 

Penny Bennett is a Personal Stylist and Image Consultant covering London and the UK that will change how you feel about your wardrobe forever. 

The dos and dont's of wearing your winter boots

The dos and dont's of wearing your winter boots

I shouldn’t use the word rules, especially when it comes to fashion where rules are made to be broken. But I do have a lot of clients who like me to give them ‘rules’ as this simplifies the outfit building process and takes the stressful decision making process out of their day. So I thought it would be helpful to share with you my do’s and don’t when it comes to styling your boots because the wrong shoes can completely destroy the effort you put into choosing an outfit. 

WOMEN

Ankle boots... 

DO wear them with mini skirts and dresses, maxi skirts and dresses, cropped and flared jeans or under tailored trousers. 

DON’T wear with with midi skirts if you have shorter legs as your legs will look even shorter. And don’t wear them with full length skinny jeans as the jean will bunch around the ankle and shorten your legs and widen your calves. 

Knee high boots...

DO wear them with midi skirts and dresses, knee length skirts and dresses, under wide trousers or cropped culottes

DON’t wear them with mini skirts if you are tall (fine if you are petite). The jury is out whether it is acceptable in 2017 to wear boots over your jeans…. I would say proceed with caution. Though I did see Pernille Teisbaek wear incredible zip Celine boots over jeans with aplomb so rules are made…

Over the knee boots...

DO wear over your skinny jeans, with tights and aline mini skirts and dresses, under knee length dresses and skirts or maxi dresses and skirts and you negate the need for tights. 

DON’T wear with very tight fitted dresses or skirts as you are too easily veering into Pretty Woman territory. 

MEN

Lace-up leather ankle boots - Refined enough to wear well with both tailored and casual trousers. 

Desert Boots - I love Red Wings for a cool casual look with denim. 

Chukka boots (Possibly named after ‘chukka’ a period of play in polo)  - The suede versions or those with a crepe rubber soles are great with casual trousers and jeans. Leather versions work well with tailored trousers or casual trousers. 

Chelsea boots (though the elasticated design was patented in 1851, the name ‘Chelsea' was attached to the boot due to its popularisation in the 60s with groups such as The Beatles and their association with King’s Road in Chelsea) - There are many iterations of this versatile boot with its laid back elegance. A suede pair will work well with jeans and casual trousers and a leather pair with tailoring or jeans. 

I hope this will takes some of the guess work out of your shoe choice but if you need more personalised advice, please get in touch

Penny Bennett is a Personal Stylist and Personal Shopper and Image Consultant who works with successful men and women from London and the south east who love to look confident but lack the time and inclination to shop for themselves.

My favourite winter styling trick

My favourite winter styling trick

Layering. Even the word fills a lot of my clients with dread. Layering is not only essential for warmth but it allows you to create fresh looks out of pieces that are already in your wardrobe. Plus, should a bit of overheating occur, you can always peel off the garments throughout the day to keep cool and comfortable indoors whilst still looking pulled together. It’s time to master the art of layering so here are my favourite tricks for men and women.

For women

Topping off a dress with an oversized sweater is my favourite layering trick. Mixing different fabric textures is the key to creating interest in your winter looks and I love the lightness of the dress contrasted with the knitted top, finished off with a coat and grounded with boots. It is also a great way to utilise your summer dresses (printed silk dresses work really well) and gives them a new lease of life in the cooler months. The key is to choose a restricted colour palette and use the texture to add the interest - I love burgundy, navy or neutrals but choose a colour to suit your skin tone. To take the guess work out the equation follow this simple arithmetic...

Red Printed dress + polo neck jumper + coat + suede boots

Neutral printed dress + cashmere jumper + textured coat + ankle boots

For Men

Swap the ubiquitous v neck jumper for a zip through sweater. Whether you choose a zip up cardigan or a half zip sweater, they look great over t-shirts on the weekend or over shirting for work. Layer them under blazers, gilets or coats and they add a touch of interest without taking you out of your comfort zone. They are also perfect for the conundrum that is ‘casual Fridays’. Here are my favourites; 

For work...COS, Paul Smith, Paul Smedley

For the weekend...Ralph Lauren, Officine General, J Lindberg

Penny Bennett is a Personal Stylist and Personal Shopper and Image Consultant who works with successful men and women from London and the south east who love to look confident but lack the time and inclination to shop for themselves.

4 steps to moving house in (stress-free) style

4 steps to moving house in (stress-free) style

Packing - it's the most stressful part of preparing for your move. But this shouldn't be a time-consuming or troubling affair; you should just be looking forward to settling into your new home. To help you avoid a complete meltdown, I’m doing that laborious part for you. Here are my 4 steps to a seamless and stylish re-location.

1. It’s all in the preparation

Most of my clients come to me because they feel overwhelmed by having to edit and make decisions about their wardrobes but although it seems tiresome, for a stress-free move you just have to do it. Even though your wardrobe is one of the last things to be packed, you need to start thinking about editing your wardrobe 3 months beforehand. I know this seems excessive but as you get closer to your move date you are going to overwhelmed with other priorities and decisions about your wardrobe need to be removed from this equation. Also it allows you plenty of time to take unwanted items to charity or ebay/sell items for cash that can then be reinvested back into your wardrobe.

Moving house provides the perfect opportunity to start a fresh with your wardrobe in your new home. You don’t want to get close to your move date to find you are packing unwanted items that will then clutter your new wardrobe and take up valuable space. Purchase a portable rail – it is not only an indispensable tool for regularly editing your wardrobe but also when you arrive in your new home if the storage solutions are inadequate, you have somewhere to hang the clothes. Start by removing all the items that you love/wear regularly (this is also important for Step 2).

Now, review the rest and remove any items that are damaged, outdated or no longer resonate with your style. Anything that needs repairing or professionally cleaned can also be removed. If you are moving to the UK  from an alternative climate to what you are used to you, you need to consider what will be appropriate. Don’t take anything with you that you won’t use, conversely you may need to add some items to a shopping wish list that need to be purchased before you move.

Think about your new living arrangement and the space you have available. If you are moving to a home with limited space you will need to consider this when editing. Alternatively if you need the assistance of a joiner to design built-in wardrobes, you can give them a very good idea of how many clothes and shoes you have so they can advise on wardrobe solutions to make the most of every centimetre of space. 

Before you put everything back in your wardrobe, move onto step 2

2. Create a capsule

From the items that you love and wear regularly, create a capsule wardrobe for the move. What I mean by that is a selection of say, 15 items that you can easily mix and match and dress up and down.  Look at your dairy for the next 4 weeks or however long you think you are going to be interrupted by the move and make sure you have an appropriate outfit available. You can’t anticipate how long it is going to take you to get settled (especially if you have young children) and the last thing you need is to be scrambling around trying to find a matching pair of shoes or a pressed blouse.  Having a selection of go to outfits that are packed into a cardboard wardrobe box takes the time and stress out of getting dressed when you move. Which brings me seamlessly to step 3.

 3.   Packing Solutions

Cardboard wardrobe boxes are easiest way of hanging your pressed garments safely while having relocate your clothes. They also make great makeshift wardrobes while you are sorting out your storage solutions in your new home. Put your capsule wardrobe into one box and group styles together in the other boxes so all tops together, bottoms, jackets, coats etc and labelling them clearly will help you to locate items easily.

4.   Storage solutions in the new home

Swap out your metal hangers for thin velvet covered ones; rearrange your wardrobe by category. As you go remove those items that you may have reconsidered post move. Once you have hung all your clothes into the new space take a step back and consider the space. Do the rails need to be moved or new ones added? Do you need clear Perspex storage boxes for keep shelves organised? Make a list of wardrobe accessories and organisational tools taking into account your new living arrangements and what space you have.

It feels great to open your wardrobe and see the clothes you love to wear arranged neatly on matching hangers. Having control of our wardrobes helps us gain control in what is one of life’s most stressful events. Moving is all about good preparation and seamless organisation.

Yes, this takes time. So if you feel overwhelmed by your wardrobe and you want a professional who understands what will work and can give you pragmatic and honest advice, then please get in touch

Penny Bennett is a Personal Stylist and Personal Shopper and Image Consultant who works with successful men and women from London and the south east who feel their wardrobe is letting them down and they need a fresh pair of eyes to fine tune their style. 

Give your workwear a promotion

Give your workwear a promotion

You’ve spent the summer enjoying your holiday wardrobes and weekend looks but now it’s time to focus on updating your working wardrobe for the Autumn with some polished pieces. And let’s be honest, there is nothing like beating the post holiday blues with a few fresh wardrobe additions. Give your workwear a promotion with my top 5 tips. 

1. Swap cotton shirts for silk ones. Not only is silk warm but with a pair of statement earrings, it takes you straight into evening too. 

2. As the weather gets colder and wetter, what to wear on your feet can pose a real dilemma. Ballet flats that worked the warmer months won’t cut it so invest in a good quality flat shoes like a loafer. A shoe boot is the perfect transitional shoe as they look great under trousers but also with opaque tights and pencil skirts. And don’t forget to protect your shoes with a weather proofing product to protect your investment. 

3. It’s time to rethink your suiting. I love the versatility of separates but this season the trouser suit takes centre stage but don’t worry they are far from masculine and boring. The most important thing is fit and finding a style to suit your body shape. If you are petite a cropped trouser and neat jacket work well or if you are tall try autumns trend for a wider trouser. It is essential the jacket fits your perfectly across the shoulder and don’t be afraid to get the arm lengths altered as this can totally change the look. I recommend all my clients to The London Fashion Workrooms.

4. Autumn calls for a more structured day dress so opt for clean architectural lines in a sturdy fabric. I love the focus on reds, berries and burgundy this season and a dress in these tones would be the perfect update. 

5. A midi skirt is perfect for the working wardrobe as you can wear it with bare legs now and opaques into the cooler months. They also work beautifully with boots for a cool casual weekend look. 

 

Transitional tips to ease you into Autumn

Transitional tips to ease you into Autumn

I love the optimism of September, it's a marker for fresh starts and looking ahead. In the spirit of the starting-over mood, now is the time to take your winter clothes out of storage, review each item and return it to your wardrobe. Now take a step back and see how it looks. You might see a collection of random pieces that don’t work together and you need to know how to make your wardrobe work harder or you might see a wardrobe of outdated items that don’t compliment your lifestyle or where you want to be with your personal style. If you are not 100% happy with what you see in your wardrobe then I would love to help you build a wearable wardrobe of items you love and are complimented on. But in the meantime here are my top 5 transitional must haves to ease you back into cool morning and shorter days.

1. Leather jacket - I don’t leave the house at the moment without my leather jacket, it is endlessly versatile - over your favourite printed dress, with a t shirt and jeans or a polo neck and wool trouser. And did I mention they are waterproof! Is leather ageing? No! But consider the style and colour. For a more classic style I love Theory’s leather jackets with clean lines and minimal detailing. On the high street try Massimo Dutti. 

2. Slippers & Mules - the easiest way to update your denim this season is with a backless shoe. If you are on the fence about this look, you might like to know that this style has magical leg lengthening capabilities. Up the anti with this velvet version from Iris and Ink. Great high street versions can be found at & Other Stories

3. Blazer - Loved for all the same reasons as a leather jacket, it is perennially useful. Look for textured styles and push up the sleeves for a more relaxed look. I love Blaze Milano, Isabel Marant and on the high street Zara, Arket and Warehouse have good styles.  

4. Dresses with sleeves - Wear to work, wear to dinner or wear on the weekend. A dress with sleeves and a jacket helps me ease into the cooler months - You still have that carefree summer vibe but with the coverage you need for autumn. Wear with flats until your ankles can’t stand the cold any longer and then swap for boots. The perfect day to night piece. 

5. Cotton knitwear - The knit to wear now. Keeps you warm on the early morning school run and feels comfortable throughout the day. Update your Breton style with a new sleeve shape like this from M&S and add a leather skirt and ankle boots. 

Penny Bennett is a Personal Stylist and Personal Shopper and Image Consultant who works with successful men and women from London and the south east who feel their wardrobe is letting them down and they need a fresh pair of eyes to fine tune their style.