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3 step guide to buying the perfect trousers

3 step guide to buying the perfect trousers

It is often thought that a great pair of black trousers is the essential wardrobe back-up, perfect for some many occasions from work to a dinner party. Yet so many of my clients come to me because they really struggle to find that illusive pair of perfectly fit trousers. Now that the weather is cold, the trouser becomes more indispensable than ever so to help you through the coming months of sartorial challenges, I've compiled this 3 step guide on how to find the perfect trousers. 

1. LENGTH | Consider your proportions and your height. 

Tall - Look for brands that offer longer lengths, like J Crew or who cut for a longer leg like Joseph. A cropped trouser on someone who is tall can look ill-proportioned if the crop sits too high above the ankle bone. Consider what shoes you will be wearing to get the length just right. 

Petite - Can petites wear cropped? Yes! Just match or tone the shoe colour with the trouser. Cropped trousers look great on shorter women who can carry the smaller proportions successfully. There are brands that offer petite ranges or better still have trousers altered. The London Workrooms (link) should be on your speed dial. 

Long legs - You choose! Cropped with a statement shoe, wide and long for extra drama… just make sure you consider the material and cut as below. 

Shorter legs - look for a centre crease that make you look long and lean. High waisted styles and a slightly longer leg with heels will also give the illusion of length. 

2. FABRIC | Consider if your body is curvy or straight

Curvy - Look for fabrics that are drapey, flowey or that have stretch to complement your curvy body. Avoid fabrics with texture like tweed that add bulk and stiff fabrics that will look ill-fitting and give you drag lines across your crotch.   And importantly consider the pockets - side pockets that pull can make your hips look wider, flap pockets on the back will add bulk to the bottom. 

Straight - You have greater choice in fabrics whether they have drape or are stiffer but consider the length and cut. 

3. CUT | welcome to the world of something-for-everyone...wide, tapered, pencil, straight, skinny... so much choice!

Wide - Good for tall, curvy and those with short or long legs. 

Straight - Good for everyone. Consider wearing with a heel to lengthen the leg and balance the hips. 

Tapered - Good for everyone. This is my favourite cut as it gives shape to straighter bodies but complements the curvy body. 

Skinny/Slim - Good for tall or petite, longer or shorter leg. Those who are curvier need a fabric with stretch and a bulkier shoe to balance the hips. 

The key is to experiment and try different styles. By doing this you can make comparisons to really find the style that is right for you. When you find a pair of trousers that suit you down to the ground, buy them in every colour and in triplicate!

Trouser muses - Catherine Hepburn, Jenna Lyons, Greta Garbo, Vogue’s Sarah Harris, Emmanuelle Alt 

Favourite brands - J Crew, Max Mara (curvy), Helmut lang (very slim legs), COS, Joseph and Vince

Thanks for reading, 

Penny x 

snow-conquering boots that are stylish

snow-conquering boots that are stylish

Perfect for braving unpredictable climates in the city and for looking stylish on the slopes, the snow boot should be a winter season essential in your wardrobe. Look for non slip rubber soles, cosy fleece lining and for those that like a bit of leg lengthening, a wedged heel. Once you have slipped your feet into these beauties you will never look back! Wear with skinny jeans or leather leggings and your favourite cashmere sweater. My favourites are from Isabel Marant, Ganni, Penelope Chivers, See By Chloe,  Sorel and Rag and Bone

Best T Shirts on the highstreet

Best T Shirts on the highstreet

A client once asked me "what is the point of t shirt"? I understood her argument, as a stand alone item they are not particularly interesting or inspiring. But that is the beauty of them. T shirts have this incredible ability to look elegant paired with a statement skirt, look crisp paired with high waisted denim, look cool with a pair of leather culottes or make a tweed jacket look modern… Not to mention that the are preposterously comfortable and affordable! I’m constantly on the search for the holy grail of t shirts and find myself time and again heading to this one highstreet store for an update…COS! The key to finding a great t shirt is the fabric. I prefer my t shirts to have drape as they are more flattering so I opt for a fine cotton or silk and I always size up. Here is a selection I have bought for my clients this season…

Women: silk, oversized, v neck

Men: cottonround neck, oversized

Top 5 tips for a curated closet

Top 5 tips for a curated closet

1. Choose a colour palette

Understanding your personal colouring makes it easier for you to build a capsule wardrobe of items that mix and match. All the colours work together no matter what the combination and importantly flatter your skin tone. It is even more important in winter when you need to be able to layer like a pro. Here are my favourite palettes to suit all skin tones;

light & warm… camel, light grey, navy, brown, cream

light & cool… navy, light grey, dark grey, white, burgundy

deep & warm…camel, chocolate, navy, dark grey, forest green

deep & cool….black, grey, navy, white, red

2. Get in the mood

As part of my consultations I ask my clients to produce a mood board of images that make their heart sing. When all the images are collated you can easily see consistencies and common themes such as colours, silhouettes, styles or individual items you love. Make a list and use this list to review your existing wardrobe, for example; muted colours, romantic styles, anything in leather, relaxed silhouettes. You will easily be able to see if there are items that don’t work for you anymore, remove these items and start to see a more consistent style coming through. Pin this list inside your wardrobe to keep you focused. 

3. Build a wardrobe that fits your REAL life

Your wardrobe should proportionally represent your lifestyle and how you spend your time. If you once worked in Finance but are now a stay at home mum, your wardrobe should reflect how you spend most of your time now. You will need comfortable and practical but stylish clothes and flat shoes or low heeled boots. When once a cashmere coat would have been a good investment, now a fur lined hooded parka should be top of your list!

4. Edit, edit, edit

You should edit your wardrobe between seasons and ideally have a mini edit in the middle of the seasons. I edit my wardrobe at least once a month; what do I love wearing at the moment, how can I get more wear out of pieces, Does that item still fit in with my personal style or lifestyle? By continually asking yourself these questions you will maintain a streamlined wardrobe of items you love and most importantly, wear! It will also stop you from making impulse purchases that don’t fit in with your wardrobe and help your shopping to be more targeted which brings me to tip number 5…

5. Shop Smarter and more selectively

Never go shopping without a targeted list and a clear idea of what you need to pull outfits together. Whether your budget is Prada or Primark the principles are the same, don’t stray from the list and take your time. I rarely buy a piece on the same day I try it on. I think about where I can wear it, what it will work with in my wardrobe and whether it complements my style. It’s better to have a gap in the wardrobe than a guilt-ridden gap in your bank account!