How to avoid feeling like an alien


Let me set the scene, you are shopping for a special occasion with a family member or close friend. You emerge from the change room to gasps and applause but you’re not feeling it. The fit is great, the colour perfect but you feel like an alien. You buy it anyway, and every time you pull it out of your wardrobe and try it on it never makes it out the door. The dress languishes guiltily in your wardrobe, reminding you of the money that you wasted on it.

It’s happened to me and I’m sure there are alien purchases hiding in your wardrobe too (perhaps even with tags on!). Forgive yourself, understand why it isn’t right for you and let it go.

So why do we get it wrong? There are three main traps that we fall into:

  • Taking advice from people who don’t recognise or understand your style personality especially if you are not sure about it either.
  • Imitating someone else’s style. An outfit may look great on your sister, friend or colleague but it doesn’t mean it’s right for you. After all you need to own the look.
  • Being a slave to fashion. It’s all well and good staying on trend but if that means you flit from one fad to the next, not only will your bank balance take a hit but your wardrobe will not be cohesive or meet your needs.

So how do you get it right?

1. Define your style

It is often the first stumbling block that I come across with my clients and the most important to resolve. Understanding your style personality is the first step to creating a fun and functional wardrobe. I suggest buying 2 to 3 magazines (preferably fashion or lifestyle) and tear out pictures that appeal to you. The pictures don’t necessarily have to be clothing – hair, make-up or accessories all help with defining your style. Look at the pictures that you have chosen and identify a theme. Are you drawn to classic shapes and colours? Or, perhaps you prefer feminine styles with soft fabrics and floral patterns. It’s ok if you are drawn to a number of styles, as we are usually a combination of two to three style depending on our lifestyle.

Now that you have this information you can spot a potential ‘alien’ purchase and avoid it before it becomes another useless wardrobe filler. It is useful to do this exercise every few years as style personality can change over time with changes in lifestyle, work and budget.

2. Choose the right colours.

Do you find wearing certain colours lift your mood and make your eyes sparkle? You probably find that when you wear colours that really suit you receive lots of compliments. It’s what I like to call the ‘foundation effect’, the right colours give you a healthy glow, make you appear more youthful and reduce the appearance of blemishes and lines. A simple way to determine if a colour is right for you is to hold it up to your face and see what it does for your skin tone. Does it reduce redness, dark circles or blemishes? If so, you are on the right track.

3. Understand the shapes and styles that flatter your body type.

This is not about size, the aim is to create great proportions. Many of us focus on horizontal proportions but vertical proportions, face shape and scale are just as important when it comes to choosing the best styles to flatter you. Understanding the best lengths, silhouettes and scale of accessories will not only give you the confidence to try new things but also ensure that you always look fantastic. To get started I suggest that you try on those items that don’t quite fit or don’t work and determine what’s not right. For some items a slight alteration will fix the issue. For the rest….. it’s time to say goodbye.



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