Fast fashion brands have turned four seasons into 52, and designs go out of style as fast as they arrive, and while reducing consumption is a part of the solution, it is not enough to eliminate the fashion industry’s impact. The most sustainable thing we can all do when it comes to our fashion consumption is to shop our own wardrobes. Patagonia’s Chief Product Officer Lisa Williams, said to Mpora, “The most environmentally, sustainable jacket is the one that’s already in your closet…”. 

The consumption of clothes will most likely never cease to exist, but if we make thoughtful and informed choices when shopping we have at least done something. Shopping your own wardrobe is a good way of minimising your consumption. Try and style your garments in a way you usually don’t wear them, be experimental when mixing prints and colours, layer your summer items with your autumn and winter clothes, and the list goes on.

Before we dive into the advice of three expert stylists, we should first talk about why we should consider hiring a personal stylist. Style consultant agency The Style Doctors explain that the role of a personal stylist is not only about having someone tell you how you should dress. A stylist also knows which colours compliment complexion and hair colour, which garments help enhance body shapes and they know how to make an individual aware of the theory behind achieving a style that best suits them. Personal styling is about building self-confidence, creating an image that you wish to portray to the world, and they will help you identify your individual style personality.

We spoke to three stylists’ about their top tips when shopping our own wardrobes.

Roberta Lee

"Try to recreate looks using Pinterest as inspiration and see how close you can get to the look. It’s easy to get tempted to go out and buy new things but there are endless possibilities hanging in our wardrobes. A white shirt for example, can be worn in multiple ways. A jumper can be worn back to front, dresses and tops too. It’s all about clever styling hacks."

Roberta Lee, the self-titled Sustainable Stylist, uses sustainable styling principles and a values-driven approach to achieve her clients’ style goals. “Good quality basics and timeless pieces that don’t date or go out of style are essential for a long-lasting wardrobe,” Lee says when asked about what everyone should have in a well-rounded wardrobe. “Clothes that fit your body shape are much easier to elevate through simple styling tweaks, and learning how to dress for your body shape can help you elevate your look.” Lee goes on to say that blazers are the ultimate add-on for making an outfit look polished and put together, “and ironing your clothes makes all the difference.”

Lee’s key wardrobe items include good basic tops and knits, and 3/4 length sleeve turtlenecks, “They are great for layering in winter but also good for spring when it’s still a bit chilly.” A pair of good-fitting jeans, a blazer, a midi-dress and skirt, a white button-up, neutral or colourful accessories, and good quality footwear. What makes Lee’s styling services stand out is that her main goal is to look at what you already have in your wardrobe, and how you can make it work. For example, a pair of trousers that are not as flattering anymore can be tailored with companies such as The Seam.

Olivia Kali Ayres

“Don’t be afraid to mix and match, and pair complete opposites. Look for inspiration from people in the street or online, even the most basic of pieces can be styled into something new, that’s why it’s important to build a wardrobe of key everyday items.”

Olivia Kali Ayres is a London-based stylist and has worked for companies such as Net-A-Porter, Stella McCartney and Burberry. “A pair of pointy flats can elevate any outfit, I love pairing mine with jeans to make my look a little chicer,” Kali Ayres says. “If you want to go the extra mile, add an oversized blazer too – yes it’s been done a million times, but it always does the trick.” If you don’t already own an oversized blazer, they’re an easy find in any charity shops men’s section.

Her key wardrobe items are a white t-shirt and a pair of comfortable trainers, “I’m not a trainer girl at all, but what I’ve come to realise by living in London is that they are a must. I particularly love my Adidas Gazelles.” 

Daisy Cole – Virtually Styled By

“Invest in your basics, then adding accessories and jewellery is a sure way of always looking polished, and never having the panic of not knowing what to wear. If I have an item in my wardrobe that I notice I haven’t reached for in a while, I will try it on and try to create some new outfits with it. I’ll take pictures of these outfits so I can review them and save them for a rainy day.”

Daisy Cole works as a stylist for Virtually Styled By, a virtual styling service founded by UK influencer Olivia Rose. “Invest in your basics,” Cole says. “If you have a wardrobe of staple pieces that all go together, that you love and fit you well, it will be a dream getting ready in the morning.” Investing in neutral basics of good quality ensures you have a well-rounded wardrobe, where everything can be mixed and matched.

Cole’s key wardrobe pieces are high-quality basics, “I know I have already mentioned it several times, but having good basics in shapes you love and that suit you, will make dressing every day super easy,” Cole says. “Plus, if you have the basics, it’s then so easy to add personality into them with accessories and jewellery or pops of colour.” When looking for accessories and jewellery to add to your collection, vintage shops and re-sell sites often offer high-quality items at an affordable price. But make sure to look for jewellery made out of solid metals such as solid gold, titanium, platinum, non-plated stainless steel and non-plated sterling silver, so that they don’t tarnish or fade with wear.

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