An award-winning fashion stylist has revealed the most common wardrobe fails – and how to avoid them.
Susie Hasler, 36, from East Grinstead, West Sussex, runs Styled By Susie, specialising in women whose body shapes have changed due to having a baby, the menopause or because they’ve gained or lost weight.
‘Over the past seven years, I have had an insight into thousands of ladies’ wardrobes, and have seen the same mistakes being made time and again,’ she said.
‘These mistakes lead to clothes not being worn and encourages women to keep buying and buying in the hope of completing the perfect wardrobe. This leads to wasteful shopping.’
As Styled By Susie celebrates reaching 20,000 fans on Instagram and opens appointments for new bookings in September, Susie has compiled her top 11 wardrobe mistakes.
She also offered tips on the best high street shops to choose for your body shape.
1. Buying sales clothes just because they are cheap
Stylist Susie Hasler, 36, pictured, from West Sussex, has revealed the top wardrobe mistakes that everyone makes
Do not be tempted by bargains that catch your eye in the end of summer sales!
Many stores buy in clothing just to sell it cheaply – it’s not genuine stock from the previous season that’s simply left over.
Also, there is usually a really good reason why something hasn’t sold. If I’ve tried the same item on numerous clients and it hasn’t worked on any of them, I can guarantee I will see it in the sale a few months later.
If an item is good, it sells out quickly and doesn’t come back again. Sale mistakes are the outfit that will sit in your wardrobe and will never be worn.
2. Owning too much black
It’s something most women are guilty of – owning too much black. We tend to favour it because it’s a slimming colour.
However, most body shapes would look better in a print or pattern instead. Black can be a colour that women tend to hide away in, as they feel a bolder colour or print will make them stand out. But, this isn’t the case.
A print acts like a filter and is much more flattering for skimming over curves.
But don’t rule out black altogether. It’s a handy neutral for most wardrobes – but it’s important to add splashes of colour too.
Susie said she often sees the same mistakes ‘time and time again’ and suggests they lead to wasteful shopping – but says a sustainable wardrobe would give ‘longevity, joy and confidence’
3. Keeping clothes in a smaller size
This is a big no-no. Don’t do it! Seeing clothes in your wardrobe that no longer fit you like they once did will end up making you feel deflated.
Realistically, your size won’t change that drastically, even if you do lose a couple of pounds.
4. Not enough basics
This is the reason behind the saying, ‘I have too many clothes but nothing to wear.’
When you buy clothes sporadically throughout the year, you’re less likely to be able to form a capsule wardrobe.
You may opt for a pretty printed skirt, but when you get it home you realise you have nothing to wear with it.
Basics are the so-called ‘boring’ items that you’re likely walk past in the shops – they are the T-shirts, vests, cardigans and knitwear.
These act as the glue to pull so many more outfits together. A basic white T-shirt, for example, can be worn with jeans, with a co-ord suit, tucked into a pleated skirt or under a pair of dungarees.
Just that one T-shirt will give you at least 4 different outfits! You don’t have to spend much money on basics, and sometimes the best ones are the cheap ones.
Keep an eye on your white T-shirts in particular, and if they start to ‘yellow’ around the armpits, it’s time to replace them.
All the outfits you have in your wardrobe should fit you at the size you are now – not when you’ve reached your ideal weight goal.
This way, when you open your wardrobe doors, you have the choice of everything in there.
However, if you do fluctuate between sizes, perhaps due to health reasons, keep the other sizes vacuum-packed in the loft or at the back of the wardrobe.
5. Not having enough shoes to go with your outfits
I always advise my clients to dress from the feet up. Look for shoes in neutral colours, that way, you’ll be able to match them with more clothes.
A red pair of trainers may seem like a fun, spontaneous buy, but you will have fewer outfits to wear with them.
Whereas a pair of white or metallic trainers is more likely to go with many outfits, including patterned dresses, trousers, jeans and jumpsuits.
If you plan what you’re going to wear from the feet up, you’ll find it easier to piece together an outfit.
This doesn’t mean you need to own 20 pairs of shoes, simply fewer pairs that go with more clothes.
6. Wearing baggy clothes
Yes, you may be more comfortable wearing baggy clothes, but they’re also going to make you look bigger and completely hide your silhouette.
I have met clients who wear clothes two or even three sizes larger than their actual size. The outfits drown their figures. Stick to wearing your size and wearing it well.
Women tend to dislike the feeling of tighter clothes, so a looser fit is going to make them feel more comfortable.
If this sounds familiar, you can still add a looser layer to your fitted outfit. For example, skinny jeans and a vest will be fitted enough, but a beautifully printed kimono will add that ‘safe layer’ so that you don’t feel too exposed.
You will still look stylish but will show more of your lovely silhouette.
The stylist – who specialises in ‘real women’ and their style – suggested women often rely too heavily on wearing black
Where to shop on the high street for YOUR body shape
● Next: They will work well for your curvy hips as their jeans will fit well on the waist too. They are also great for smart trousers and summer shorts.
● H&M: Great for tops that show off your lovely delicate shoulders and décolletage. Look for ones with detail on the shoulders and pretty prints.
● Oasis: Look for pretty tops or embellished collars and necklines.
● River Island: Their jeans will work well for your shape and they offer a great online Curve range if you’re above a size 18.
● Next: Great for jeans and basics that don’t cling to the tummy.
● Mint Velvet: A higher price point but their clothes flatter curves as well as a fuller bust.
● Topshop: Their jeans work well for your curvaceous shape and will fit well on the hips as well as the waist. You may need to size up as Topshop sizing isn’t too generous!
● Dorothy Perkins: Their dresses work well for hourglasses as they accentuate your waist and skim over the hips.
● Warehouse: They excel in A-line cuts, particularly winter skirts that you can wear with a fine knit tucked into the waistband.
● Zara and H&M work well for jeans and trousers because they are cut a little narrower on the hips.
● H&M are great for rectangle shapes as they are cut well for their silhouette and they usually have a great choice of prints, patterns and fabrics. Try their slacks trousers which will fit well on your hips.
● Mango is great if you like a more simple, chic look and it’s affordable too. Perfect for rectangle shaped ladies.
● New Look: Great for skirts that are cut a little narrower on the hips, therefore showing off your narrowest point.
● Hush: A higher price point but their dresses and tops are cut generously for the strawberry top half.
● River Island: Their jeans will show off those killer legs. Choose light colours and rips.
● Warehouse: Great for tops and blouses that fit well on broader shoulders and a fuller bust. You may have to size up.
Unfortunately the in-store ranges are sparse for plus-sized ladies but there are many options online which work so well for my clients. Most shops have an online “Curve” range. Some of my favourites include:
● Mango Violeta Range, New Look Curve, Very Curve, River Island Plus and Dorothy Perkins Curve
● If you prefer to shop in store, I’m a fan of Yours Clothing for plus-sized ladies. It’s not a visually appealing shop but the clothes are great and so flattering.
● Evans have also become better in recent years and they are brilliant for stylish shoes in a wide fitting size.
7. Saving something for best
Live by the motto: every day is for best! Keeping a pretty dress for the one date night you may get a year is such a waste.
8. Keeping clothing for sentimental reasons
You may want to hang on to an item or an outfit because it reminds you of a special time or a special person who bought it for you.
You probably haven’t worn it for years but you don’t feel as though you can part ways with it due to your emotional attachment to the item.
If you really can’t bear to part with it or pass it on to someone who will wear it, keep it in a box somewhere.
Don’t let it hang in your wardrobe – this should be kept for everyday outfits. Keep the memories in your head instead.
By all means, wear the frock for that romantic night, but then pair it with trainers or ankle boots during the day – you’ll feel a million dollars.
Women tell me that getting stuck in the rut of wearing jeans every day leaves them feeling uninspired and stagnated.
Mix it up by wearing them under that pretty dress. Dresses can be more comfortable and, unless it’s a cocktail gown, don’t save it for best!
9. Buying dainty footwear
Ballet pumps, kitten heels and baseball trainers work for very few body shapes.
A dainty shoe makes the feet look smaller, which will make the hips and tummy look wider.
If you’re a curvy woman, shoes with a chunkier sole would be a better fit.
A more substantial pair is going to balance out a curvier silhouette, and even swapping ballet pumps for loafers will make a huge difference to your workwear.
If you have a rectangle body shape or you are a strawberry with a broader top half, choose dainty footwear that will balance out your shape.
A chunky shoe on these shapes would overwhelm your silhouette.
Sophie said a common mistake she often saw in women’s wardrobes was not having enough ‘basics’ in your wardrobe, such as simple t-shirts which could be worn with anything
10. Buying the wrong jeans for your shape
Jeans don’t need to be difficult to buy, you just have to know which ones suit your shape.
If you are an apple shape and tend to carry most of your weight around your middle, you should opt for jeans that draw the eye towards your legs. Choose lighter colours or jeans with rips on the knee.
If you’re a pear shape, you will be wider on the hips than shoulders, and you will look best in a darker denim, such as indigo or black.
Most women work best with a high-waisted style. Also, make sure the back pockets aren’t too small – larger ones will be more flattering and they’re also a sign of better quality jeans.
Skinny jeans work well on all shapes and for all ages, but if you’re curvaceous it’s important to follow my footwear advice above.
11. Not owning enough costume jewellery
Costume jewellery dates quickly so it’s important to never spend too much money on it, and to regularly update it. It can really add polish, flair and personality to an outfit.
Costume jewellery can make a big difference to your shape – for example, if you have a larger bust, adding a long necklace will narrow your top half.
Earrings suit all women and I call them ‘a bra for your face’ because they give you a natural facelift!
Sophie pointed out how vital it was to buy the correct pair of jeans for your shape, suggesting most women look best with a high-waisted stylre