Style Advice & Blog

Cyndy and Jan’s SoSensational Style Tips

If you don’t suit monochrome…
If you don't suit monochrome...
One way is to wear your favourite bright and just add a very bold monochrome bag, such as a two-tone tote. The other way is to buy something gorgeous in monochrome – maybe a dress, duster coat or top – and add a very bright scarf in your best and most flattering bright. Monochrome mixes very well with most brights, including, fuchsia, hot pink, red, purple, orange, bright green and bright yellow. It also works with mid-tone pastels such as candy pink, sky blue, and peppermint.
Get your purchases delivered to you
By having your purchases delivered to home, you will be able to make sure that each new buy works with at least 3 other garments in your wardrobe. You will benefit from more outfits AND spend less overall. Happy days!
What print works for you…
Ever wondered why some floral prints work on you, and some don't? Well, here's how to find the perfect floral print for you; by matching the pattern to your facial features... If your features are wide apart, choose a print with spaces between the flowers/clusters. If your features are close together, choose more of an all-over pattern, and probably a smaller pattern...
Ever wondered why some floral prints work on you, and some don’t? Well, here’s how to find the perfect floral print for you; by matching the pattern to your facial features… If your features are wide apart, choose a print with spaces between the flowers/clusters. If your features are close together, choose more of an all-over pattern, and probably a smaller pattern…
Tricks of the trade..
An old trick of stylists and image consultants is to wear the collar of your trench coat up, and to roll up the sleeves (most easily done before you put the coat on). If you already own a trench coat in classic beige or putty, and the colour does nothing for you, add a scarf in a colour that is fabulous on you – and give your trench coat a whole new lease of life.
An old trick of stylists and image consultants is to wear the collar of your trench coat up, and to roll up the sleeves (most easily done before you put the coat on). If you already own a trench coat in classic beige or putty, and the colour does nothing for you, add a scarf in a colour that is fabulous on you – and give your trench coat a whole new lease of life.
How to wear your biker jacket..
To look taller and slimmer, match the colour of your long-line layering knit to the colour of your biker jacket. If your biker jacket is in a dark colour (i.e black, navy or chocolate), and you can wear jeans in the same colour, too, you will add to the illusion of height and slimness. If you choose a biker jacket in one of the season's sizzling shades, like orange, fuchsia, emerald or cobalt, it's probably best not to match your jeans to your jacket. Another trick to make you look taller in your biker jacket, or at least to make your legs look longer, is to pull up your sleeves to three-quarter length. This is sometimes easier, if you roll up the sleeves of the jacket before putting it on...
To look taller and slimmer, match the colour of your long-line layering knit to the colour of your biker jacket. If your biker jacket is in a dark colour (i.e black, navy or chocolate), and you can wear jeans in the same colour, too, you will add to the illusion of height and slimness. If you choose a biker jacket in one of the season’s sizzling shades, like orange, fuchsia, emerald or cobalt, it’s probably best not to match your jeans to your jacket. Another trick to make you look taller in your biker jacket, or at least to make your legs look longer, is to pull up your sleeves to three-quarter length. This is sometimes easier, if you roll up the sleeves of the jacket before putting it on…
Shoulder pads are a must!
shoulder pads, jumper,
Always tuck a pair of shoulder pads under a jumper to create the illusion of narrower hips. Not ones on an Alexis Carrington, ear-tickling scale, but a neat little pair that makes you appear to have naturally broad shoulders.
Be stylish even in your nightwear!
Nightwear, day, night
Buy your nightwear in the same colour tones as you buy your clothes. Why wouldn’t you want to look as gorgeous at night, as you do during the day?
Get shopping!
Boots, sale,
Boots and shoes are a great online sale buy. You can try them on in the comfort of your own home, without your feet being swollen and painful from hours spent trawling the high street! You’ll be able to gauge the fit properly, and check the look with your clothes. Easy!
jacket, sleeves,
Having sleeves too long is such a no-no

If your Trophy Jacket has long sleeves, do make sure that the sleeves aren’t overhanging your hands. If they are, shortening them will make all the difference between the jacket looking right for you, or looking like it belongs to someone else! Having sleeves too long is such an image no-no. If they are, reach for the sewing kit – now!

washing, cleansing, make-up
With all the Christmas events and late nights, don’t forget to take off all your make-up properly before bed. A good cleanser can take off everything, including eye make-up, all in one good sudsing, although stubborn mascara can be tricky. If you know in advance that it’ll be a late night, try No7 Stay Perfect Long-Lasting Volume Mascara, £12.95, which comes off like a dream with water and light pressure, yet stays put through everything else. It’s brilliant.
Adding that little extra
scarf, print, alternative
Wear a print scarf as an alternative to jewellery to add interest to a plain sweater or dress. It’ll look gorgeous and keep your neck warm on chilly days!
Keep your hosiery looking perfect
tights, hosiery, gloves
To avoid snagging your tights or hold-ups when putting them on, wear a pair of plain, close fitting white gloves to keep your hose looking perfect.
How to dress your jumpsuit.
Jumpsuit, belt, jacket
Use self-coloured belts and open jackets to create a slimming look. Let the width of the trousers denote the length of your jacket and whether you go for a short or long jacket, ensure that the hem doesn’t finish at the widest point on your hips.
Big bottomed?
Big, bum, jeans
Keep away from horizontal lines at the rear. Pockets should taper downwards and any emblem detail should take the eye up and down – the Wizard Jeans “W” does this perfectly!
 Short- waisted?
short, waisted, below the waist
Make sure the top of your jeans sits below the waist to elongate the line. This will also avoid a muffin top.
If you’re curvy..?
curvy, stretch, jeans
Always choose jeans with stretch in the fabric. It will avoid the mass of fabric at the back of the waist that sits away from your body.
Rescue remedy for your tootsies!
shoes, flats, feets
Keep your foldable ballet flats handy to change into when your feet have had enough!
Boost your confidence this season!
shapewear, silhouette
Shapewear will smooth out your silhouette and boost your confidence.
Tan up this winter!
fake tan,
If you don’t want to wear tights or hold ups with your party frock, just add fake tan to your legs – but do moisturise first. It’ll be much easier to apply.
 Want narrower looking feet?
shoes, width,
Want to make your feet look narrower? Just ensure that the stitching or detail goes from the back to the front of the vamp (upper front part of the shoe). Need to make your feet look wider? Then look for shoes where the stitching or detail goes horizontally across the vamp.
What jewellery colour suits you?
gold, silver, jewellery

If you’re not sure whether gold or silver jewellery would best suit you, take a look at your skin tone. If your skin tone is bluish and cool, then buy silver jewellery. If your skin tone is golden and warm, then gold jewellery will look wonderful. Not sure about your skintone? Stand without make-up in front of a well-lit mirror and hold up something silver underneath your chin (silver foil is good). Close your eyes for a moment and then open them. Which do you see, you or the colour? Do the same test with something gold or yellow. The right one for you will be the one where you see YOU first, rather than the colour. You may have to look at the alternatives a few times before it becomes apparent that either silver or gold enhances your look more than the other. Voila, now you know and can make your jewellery buys with confidence!

Emergency aid for your roots!
hair, roots,
Emergency aid for overdue colour – use mascara for root cover-up, or Coluor Wow in your shade. You’ll be good to go!
Wedding Hat Tip!
hat, accessorising, wedding
Buying a hat for a wedding? Go for an upward tilting brim, rather than downward to avoid your photographs being spoilt by shadows appearing over your face!
Accessorising your bag!
bag, scarf, accessorising,
Do you remember the trend of tying a scarf to the handles of your bag? Well, it’s back! So personalise your tote with your favourite scarf tied elegantly to a handle and bump up your style cred. Very Audrey Hepburn!
Colour Code Your Accessories
blue, bag, bangle, faux fur, leather
Grouping accessories in colours will speed up your getting ready to-go-out-time and is so easy to do. Wear with a neutral coat or jacket for instant impact.
Customise your coat
winter,coat, buttons, customise
Customise your coat- Change the buttons on a coat – big, bold buttons, perhaps jewelled, can transform a coat, while metallic ones give it a very current military looks.
 How to wear wide-leg trousers
wide leg trousers
If your shape is curvy, best to avoid wide-leg trousers with a drawstring waist which can make you look wider. Go for a defined waistband, like the Lauren trousers shown.
 Avoid washing out your complexion
cream, ivory shirt
If you have red hair and a warm, freckly complexion, wearing white next to your face can make you look ‘washed out’. Go for Ivory or Cream instead of white to keep you looking your best.
Enhance your pout naturally
peppermint oil
Add peppermint oil to lip gloss to enhance your pout.
Longer lasting nail varnish
nail varnish
Keep your favourite nail varnish in the fridge to give a better consistency and painting power – the nail varnish will last longer on the nail too. Always use a base coat and a top coat, and massage almond oil onto the cuticles to keep them soft.
 How to get fragrant hair
fragrant hair
To get your hair smelling fabulously as you do, spray your favourite perfume onto your hairbrush.
Vaseline smooths frizzy hair
smooth frizzy hair
Vaseline is useful to smooth out frizzy hair. Warm a small amount, the size of a pound coin, in the palms of your hands, then smooth it in the hair. This is very useful for smoothing the sides of your hair when you want to wear your hair up or in a pony tail.
Honey facial
honey facial
For a stunning and inexpensive facial, use honey on your face as a face-mask. Slightly warm the honey and apply to your face with a spatula or back of a spoon, being very careful that the honey is not hot and avoiding the complete area of the eye. Sit back for 10-15 minutes with cold cucumber slices over the eye area for a superb, quick and effective facial. Wash off with warm water, once again avoiding the eye area and pat the skin with a dry tissue. To complete the facial, make up a bowl of hot water to which fresh herbs have been added and allow the steam to envelope your skin with eyes tight shut.
Toothpaste banishes insect bites
no bits or spots
Put a little toothpaste on insect bites and any spots that may appear on your skin, and leave overnight. When you wash it off in the morning, the insect bite or spot will have vanished!
High boots slim legs
slim legs
Make legs look longer and slimmer in skinny jeans or leggings by wearing high boots. Slip on a pair or high boots with your skinny jeans or leggings and your legs look instantly longer and slimmer. It works best if you keep the boots and jeans all one colour…
Jumpers need shoulder pads
tyle tip, shoulder pads, how to wear it
Unless you have naturally broad shoulders, wear a pair of shoulder pads when you are rocking one of the season’s “It” Jumpers. Shoulder pads (small, natural looking ones, as sold by John Lewis), subtly broaden your shoulders in a way that balances your torso and makes your hips look narrower.
Dont’ do double leather
leather skirts, ralph lauren, biker jacket
Never wear double leather. It’s a worse style crime than double denim (which not even Ralph Lauren managed to make a good look). If you are wearing a leather skirt, pair it with a cloth, tweed or knit jacket; if you are wearing a leather (or suede) jacket, team it with a bottom half that isn’t any variety of skin. And don’t wear high leather boots with a leather skirt – it’s a step too close to porn princess. Add ankle boots, courts or loafers, depending on the occasion
Nude cami for lace modesty
control vest, camisole, sheer, lace
If you are planning to work the lace or “sheer” trend for the upcoming party season, wear a camisole, lightweight, plain vest or even a control “shaping” camisole in nude underneath. It hides undies and skin while creating the illusion that you have nothing underneath.
 Wear SPF all year round
Ahava, sun-prep, anti-ageing
Wear SPF 30 or higher on your face, even in winter. While we all need the pro-Vitamin D in sunlight for good health, UVB rays are damaging to skin, so wear sun-prep under your foundation or on bare skin all year round. The Ahava Anti-Ageing Moisturiser, SPF 50 is perfect for winter-sun protection.
Just 1 piece of animal print
animal print, james lakeland
Wear just one piece of animal print at a time. It could be a skirt (like the James Lakeland, far left) or a shirt (also James Lakeland, left), or a dress. Or if a whole garment feels too much, try a scarf, shoes or a bag. But just one piece…
Wear sunnies all year round
anna wintour, designer sunglasses, tom ford,
Copy Anna Wintour and wear sunnies all year round. As it gets cooler, it is tempting to leave off sunglasses, but the low autumn sun makes you squint (not good for those lines round the eyes), so it’s as important to wear sunglasses at this time of the year as it is in summer. And it looks so glamorous…The ones (left) by Tom Ford are from The Gift Atelier on the SoSensational Directory
A wardrobe audit ensures great buys
james lakeland, dresses with sleeves, style tricks
As you think about new A/W buys, do a wardrobe audit and see what you can take from last autumn to restyle for this season with different accessories or top or bottom halves. Remember to think about suits as two pieces that you can style separately. If you have really fallen out of love with something, or you haven’t worn it for two years, give it to a charity shop.
Don’t do double white
white stilettos, white bag, style tips
If you were tempted by our last newsletter to buy a bag in the season’s hottest colour, white, don’t style it out with white shoes. It’s like doing double denim or double animal print! Wear one or the other, not both. Instead, tan, gold or (newer this season) silver, all work well with white. Or team white with a bright pop of colour, like orange, fuchsia, turquoise, green or red.
How to wear pink
style tip, how to wear
Head-to-toe pink is never a good idea. One major piece in pink is enough, so if you are wearing a pink dress, wear accessories in another colour. With pale pink, add pale neutrals like nude, gold or coffee. Team bright pinks with very-on-trend white, black or clashing brights – lime, orange or turquoise are all fabulous. If you like pink but don’t want a dress, add a hot pink bag as a pop of colour with neutral clothes, like the Lulu Guiness clutch (left)…
 Wear heels to the pool!
Slimming tricks
Wear wedges or heels round the pool or at the beach to give yourself extra height and make legs look longer. We know they are not as comfy as a nice pair of flat flip-flops, but if you want to look as fabulous as possible in your swimwear, forget comfort and add heels or wedges, like those, left.
Find your pefect strapless bra
strapless bra, chantelle, fantasie, panache, wonderbra
Always wear a strapless bra in the right place: the underwiring should be resting against the chest wall, not on your breast or half-way to your waist. If you only want to buy one strapless bra, buy it in nude, as nude will work under all your clothes, including black like the one (left) from our lingerie pages. A strapless bra needs to fit well – tight enough to stay up but not so tight it hurts. Order several styles in two or three sizes and return the ones that don’t fit
Slim your legs instantly
style tips, court shoes, slimmer legs
When accessorising dresses or skirts, keep in mind that a low-cut court, preferably with pointed or almond toe, will make legs look longer and leaner. If you want to elongate your legs, avoid straps of any kind, especially ankle straps
Find your perfect maxi
maxi dress, day-dressIf you are long waisted, wear a wide belt at the waist of your maxi or choose one with contrast bodice, as this creates the illusion of longer legs thus balancing your proportions. If, on the other hand, you are short waisted choose a maxi that’s in one colour or print, and wear it unbelted, or with a narrow, matching belt, that doesn’t create horizontal lines. A high waisted maxi, with fitted bodice is great for camouflaging a bit of weight around the tummy.
Find the perfect top for skinny jeans
style tips, skinny jeans, print trousers, how-to tips
To find the perfect length top or jacket to wear with your print trousers or skinny jeans, wear the jeans/trousers and stand in front of a full-length mirror. Hold a large piece of fabric or a towel in front of you, with the hem just above your knees. Slowly roll up the fabric until the hem is in the place where your legs look their longest and slimmest. Measure from that spot to your shoulder; that is the ideal length to aim for when buying jackets, sweaters and tops (like this one from Art on Fashion) to wear with skinny jeans.
Smooth out your bumps, painlessly
shapewear, shaper slip, M&S, slim
If you have bought a dress that is close fitting, and you want to smooth out any lumps and bumps, put a shaper slip underneath for a smoother silhouette. And if you buy it in nude, it will work under all your dresses. We love this M&S one at £27.50, but you can browse lots more on our Lingerie Pages…
Don’t match – get the right tone
stylish accessories, leather handbags, designer handbags, style tips
When you are choosing accessories for an outfit, don’t match your shoes and bag to it, choose the right tone instead. You can tell if you have the right tone when you look in the mirror. Your eye should not go straight to your feet, or to your bag. If it does, the bag or shoe is too pale or – much more likely – too dark or too bright for the outfit. This rule doesn’t apply if you are wearing neutral and want to add a pop of colour via a bag OR shoes (not both, please, too matchy-matchy)…
Beware nude jeans…
jeans for women, style tips
Much as we love nude, we would caution against nude as a colour for jeans or leggings. There is a real risk that – from a distance – you may look as though you forgot to get dressed. Far better to wear a mid-tone, a pastel or print for your jeans or leggings. Keep nude for the top or shirt or for a dress, or – of course – for accessories …
If you find brilliant basics, buy two
tops for women, HotSquash
When you find a really great basic like a top, tee, cami, sweater or trousers, that fits you really well and is flattering, buy two. You may want to buy it in different colours (like the button back HotSquash top, left) or if you think you’ll wear it a lot in your favourite neutral buy two the same
Shoulder pads make hips look slimmer
style tips, styling tricks, ladies cashmere sweaters
Buy a natural looking pair of shoulder pads that you can tuck into cardigans, tops, dresses, jackets and jumpers (like this green sweater by Equipment, £280 at My-Wardrobe). You will find that a slightly broader shoulder line is a clever trick for making your hips look slimmer.
Buy your tote to suit your shape
ladies leather bags, designer handbags
As well as choosing your bag in the right proportions for you, allow your bag to reflect your body shape. If you are curvy, choose a bag with curves; if you are a “straight”, choose one with angles; and if you are semi-straight, choose something that is between those or mixes up the angles and curves. The three left are by Sophie Hulme and Michael Michael Kors (at My-Wardrobe) and Jerome Dreyfuss (at Matches Fashion).
…And buy your tote in proportion
leather bags, designer leather bags
Buy your tote in proportion – if you are tall or plus-size, you can wear your statement tote almost suitcase size, but if you are more petite, make sure your tote doesn’t dwarf you. Clever Sophie Hulme makes the two identical totes (left, from My-Wardrobe) available in medium and large so there’s one to suit everyone.
Save time shopping online
style tip, boutique clothing, online shopping
Keep a note of your ideal dress length, skirt length, shoulder-to-waist measurement and other personal statistics on a “Sticky Note” note on your PC or laptop desktop. It will save time and mistakes when ordering clothing online. Have them in inches and centimeters, as websites vary. And if you are fed up with websites that don’t offer enough sizing info, respond to our Lengthwise Survey.
How to make your trench coat work
womens trench coats, womens coats
If you already own a trench coat and you’re not in love with it, there are several ways to return it to fabulousness. If it is too long, get it professionally shortened to match the length of your favourite pencil skirts and dresses. If it’s too short, have it taken up some more and make it a jacket. If you dislike the colour, always wrap a scarf in a really great colour round your neck so the coat colour isn’t next to your face. And if it feels drab, wear it with the collar up and pull the sleeves up to just below the elbow for a chic Paris twist.
Disguise that tummy
dresses with sleeves, disguising tummy
If you have a bit of tummy you want to conceal, a dress with some gentle draping across the front, or a soft belt (like the tiger print baby, by Michael Michael Kors, from My-Wardrobe) is perfect for hiding bumps.
How to tie your sarong right…
designer swimwear, designer beachwear
When tying your sarong, it is much more flattering if you tie it just off-centre (midway between belly button and hip) like the picture, far left (M&S £16). That way, the knot or bow is not sitting on your hip, which can add inches. Alternatively, tie a knot and tuck the ends neatly inside the sarong, dispensing with a visible knot entirely.
Make wide feet look slimmer
wide feet, style advice, stylish shoes
If you have wide feet, create the illusion of narrower feet by choosing shoes or boots with detail or trim that goes toe to heel (or heel to toe), rather than horizontally across the shoe. The ankle boots shown here, both from M&S, show what slims and what doesn’t…
Be wary of handbag dust covers
leather handbags, designer handbags
Don’t keep handbags in dust covers – you will forget what you have which makes it more likely you will buy a bag you don’t need… You may break that rule if you have a photo of each bag which you attach, very visibly, to the dust cover. You certainly would not want to forget about this gorgeous calfskin bag from Ella Valentine
Store your scarves so you can see them easily
style advice, advice for grown up women
Drape your pashminas and scarves over the rungs of a multiple trouser hanger, rather than have them folded in a drawer or on a shelf. You can see the colours you have, they take up less space and they crease less. We love this scarf by Mint Velvet in pale grey, £39 at John Lewis who also stock a great trouser hanger.
Create the illusion of being taller and slimmer
dresses with sleeves, style advice
Make legs look longer and your overall silhouette appear longer and slimmer by wearing opaques in the same colour to your skirt or dress, or the closest colour to it. If you are adding ankle boots, the closer you can get those to the colour of your tights, the more it will add to the illusion of longer, slimmer legs. We love the muted colours by Falke at John Lewis, as well as the Bodysensor tights at M&S.
How to ensure best results when colouring hair
style tip, hair colour advice
If your hair colour fades too quickly or your hair seems to be resisting the colour in places, try washing your hair BEFORE going to the hairdresser, or before applying the hair colour. This washes out the product you have used during the week, which may sometimes have an impact on how colour takes. Dry it thoroughly and then apply hair colour as normal. Image courtesy of Pantene
Discover the perfect belt buckle shape for you
Accessories, leopard print belt, square buckle belt, round buckle belt,
Belts are big for autumn, so it helps to know how to pick the one that works best for you. If your body shape is ‘straight’, with little or no waist shaping, wear a square buckle; if you are curvy, wear a round buckle to complement your curves, and if you are in-between, choose an oval shape. We have found examples of square and round here. Both from M&S, the leopard print one is £25 and the black one with the round buckle is £19.50.
Make lips look fuller
beauty advice for mature women
If you have thin lips, you can make your pout more generous without having to have surgery. Using a lip-pencil or lip-liner (the same colour as your lipstick or lip-gloss, naturally), outline the outer edge of your lips (i.e, just outside rather inside your natural lip line), Then carefully fill in with lip colour. A blob of gloss on the fullest part of your lips also creates the illusion of fullness. Feel Unique has lots of lip-liners and brushes, including this one, right, £4.35
Don’t wear your bra straps too loose
bra, style tip, style advice
If you can raise your bra straps more than an inch from your shoulders, you need to tighten them to the correct position. A higher bustline is always more flattering whatever you are wearing on top. And if your bra straps slip or loosen in the wash, sew them to the length they should be. The bra (left) is by Fantasie and costs £29.
Keep W7 Buddies in your bag for emergencies
style tips, W7 buddies
Keep a few W7 Buddies (ready-cut, double-sided fix-it tapes) in your bag to deal instantly with clothing emergencies like gaping necklines, unravelling hems, slipping straps or to prevent a wrap skirt flying open to reveal too much leg. Buy a pack of 24 on Amazon for £2.75.
Give your wardrobe a workout
wardrobe organization
Give your wardrobe a regular workout. If you haven’t worn something for two years – unless it’s a couture piece or an heirloom for your children, grandchildren or god-child – get rid of it. Stuffing up your wardrobe with things that “might come in useful” or don’t fit you any more is a nightmare every time you open the door.
Cross-over is best for curves
stylish swimwear, plus-size swimsuits
Curvier girls, above a D-cup bra, should choose one of the season’s gorgeous wrapover swimsuits. The crossover front is the most flattering shape because it gives great support and definition to your bust. Swimsuit at John Lewis £55
When to choose a halterneck swimsuit
stylish swimwear, halterneck swimwear, swimwear for older women
If you have broad shoulders, a halterneck swimsuit or bikini is the perfect style for you. If, on the other hand, you tend towards being pear shaped – i.e. small at the top, bigger on the hips – think twice before choosing a halterneck swimsuit as it will emphasise shape issues. Swimsuit by M&S, now £26 from £32.50
Rescue a wardrobe orphan with a statement necklace
stylish necklaces, stylish accessories
The shape and depth of a neckline is absolutely crucial to how fabulous a garment looks on you because it frames your face. If a neckline feels wrong (too high, too low; boat when it should be scoop; V when it should be U), don’t make the garment a wardrobe orphan. Instead, add a statement necklace, like this one by Rosantica (£394, Far Fetch, on our Jewellery pages) or a scarf in fabulous colours. Most important, always think of it as part of the garment, not an accessory.
Keep a tape measure nearby when ordering online
dresses with sleeves, DVF £345, Selfridges
This isn’t exactly a style tip, but it’s certainly a way to avoid style meltdowns: keep a tape measure near your PC so that when you are ordering online, you don’t have to guess whether the length of tops and dresses, size of trims, depth of cuffs and collars, etc, will work for you – you can check there and then… It’s particularly important when you remember that clothing is often (but not always, so you can’t assume) photographed on very tall models as in the picture (left), of the Diane von Furstenberg Alois dress, £245 at Selfridges…
Make sure you can move in a garment before you buy!
style tips, stylish jackets,
When you are trying a garment on, sit down in the fitting room to see if it creases, rides up and feels comfortable across the hips. Also, check that you can move easily in it by lifting your arms up. If it is too constricting, rides up or stops you moving, put it back on the rack. You’ll never be happy wearing it! We love the fit of this Vivienne Westwood pin-stripe jacket from My-Wardrobe, now £227 in the sale.
Don’t go shopping bare-faced
Wear make-up when you go shopping. The lighting can often be unflattering, and if you look drawn and pale you will not feel like making a fabulous purchase, which means you may miss out on something you would love. Alternatively you could make the wrong purchase. A good blusher may suffice, like the Lancome Blush Subtil palette (left), £27 from John Lewis
How to avoid freezing at Ascot or a summer wedding
style tips
If you are heading to Royal Ascot this month, or to a wedding at any time this summer, we assume you are planning to wear a lightwight outfit, regardless of the weather. The way to keep a smile on your face and not to turn blue with cold, is a cashmere cami or thermal vest under your summer outfit, and possibly also a pashmina. We love this pale cashmere vest from Pure Collection £59
How to make palazzo trousers work
trousers for women, style advice,
If you are planning to rock a pair of palazzos, which are a strong look for summer, the way NOT to look wide in them is to keep your top half lean and fitted so you have a visible waistline. If you can also keep lines on your top vertical, including a V-neck, a deep U-shape or a shirt open at the neck, you create the illusion of being taller and slimmer.
How to be hat-tastic for Ascot or the Epsom Derby
ascot hats, wedding hats,
If you are heading to Ascot or the Epsom Derby ensure your hat looks fabulous: tuck your hair behind your ears – if necessary use hairspray or hair-grips to hold it (but make sure grips are hidden), and if your hat brim sits low on your forehead, sweep any fringe out of the way. If you are wearing a fascinator, or a hat that sits back on your head, you can keep your fringe!
Look instantly taller and slimmer
helen mirren, fringe, parting,
If you want to do something different with your hair, but don’t want anything too drastic, change your parting to the other side. If you’ve been parting it on the same side forever, you’ll get more of a ‘lift’ too. You can also experiment with where your parting should go – closer to the top of the head narrows your face, further away can open up your face.
How to get the right fringe for your face shape
petite clothes, petite clothing, style tips
If you are channeling Alexa Chung (or lulu, left) and are planning to have a fringe cut, ensure it is the right fringe for your face. Chung has a deep Cleopatra-style fringe, which works for most face shapes, except round, as it cuts the face in half. If your face is long and narrow, ensure your fringe is cut wide enough to open out your face. If your face is long, ensure your fringe is deep enough to balance out the lower half of your face
Why bomber jackets are brilliant for “straights”
stylish jackets, smart jackets
The bomber jacket, one of the key jacket shapes for spring and summer, is an especially good shape for those with “straight” body shapes, as it reflects the line of your silhouette. There are lots in the shops, including low-key ones in summery tweeds, bright floral and scarf print ones for making a fashion statement, and this elegant one by MaxMara (on our jackets pages).
How to choose your bag shape
stylish bags, ella valentine
Have you ever wondered why certain handbags look great and others don’t? Like a dress or a piece of jewellery, the shape needs to suit you. So if you are a “straight”, wear bags with angles and straight edges; if you are curvy, choose a bag with curves; if you are semi-straight, choose one that is not too rounded but not too angular, either, like the Ella Valentine Lola, pictured here (£185), which is perfect for semi-straights. Before buying any bag, always hold it and check your reflection in a full-length mirror to see if the shape works for you.
Make pleats work for you
over-50 fashion, elegant clothing, how to wear pleats
Pleats are a hot trend for this season. Straight figure shapes can wear any kind of pleats, but if you are curvy, look for a skirt with a wide, flat band over top hip so that the bulk from pleats does not add inches. Curvy girls should also look for pleats which swing out towards the hem, as in the Sonia Rykiel skirt here, £464
Some gentle shaping to improve the hang of clothing
elegant clothing, clever style tips, over-50 fashion
If you want a little bit of shaping under your clothing, but don’t want to take the whole Spanx route, try some of the shaper tights that just hold in tummy area and gently streamline hips and thighs. Charnos “Killer Figure Hourglass control tights work wonders… We have them on our lingerie and hosiery pages.
Look instantly taller and slimmer
elegant clothing, style advice for grown-up women
Look instantly taller and slimmer by creating vertical lines with your clothing. For instance, wear a longish jacket, cardi or even a shirt open, showing a different colour top or blouse, that’s the same length or longer, underneath. You could also add a long scarf, hanging like this one.
How to wear pussybow blouses
Elegant clothing, fashion advice for over-50 women
With pussybow blouses remaining one of the strong trends for this season, this is how to find the best way to wear them. To make your neck look longer, choose a neckline that is slightly scooped, so the bow isn’t right up under your chin. And if you have a long face and/or short neck, this is a trend to ignore…
How to wear a statement necklace
Elegant clothing, stylish accessories, fashion advice for over-50 women
If you like chunky necklaces at your throat (rather than long beads or pearls), wear it so its sits just on your collar bone rather than tightly around your neck. That way, you create the illusion of a longer neck, rather than making your neck look short.
Use print to help disguise figure flaws
Elegant clothing, fashion advice for women
The summer’s print trend can be a big help if you want to do a clever bit of disguising of figure flaws. Overall prints, or even placement prints if they are in the right place, can cover up a bit of midriff bulge or a bump far better than plain fabric.
Make your spring base layer nude
Flashdance Forming String Body £119 from Wolford
With spring just around the corner and all the spring collections arriving on SoSensational, we are thinking about the base layers which we all need with the cobwebby knits, lace and sheer fabrics that are such key trends. So it’s worth investing now in a smooth T-shirt bra and also a “body” or plain cami in skin-tone that you can wear under all the tops, knits and dresses that are slightly see-through. Flashdance Forming String Body £119 from Wolford
Look slimmer by wearing a longer jacket or cardigan
Look slimmer by wearing a longer jacket or cardigan
If you want to create the illusion of looking thinner and taller, choose a jacket or cardigan that reaches at least to the top of the thigh. Anything shorter will create a horizontal line at a point where it cuts your silhouette in two, thus making you look wider.
Create the illusion of longer arms
Create the illusion of longer arms
This week’s style tip is for those who love bracelets, bangles and cuffs but don’t have especially long arms. If you want to make your arms look longer – or rather, don’t want to make them look shorter – choose a cuff or bangle in a colour very close to your skin tone. That way, you don’t break up the line of your arm, creating the illusion of longer, leaner limbs
Make your legs look longer…
Make your legs look longer...
Do wear straight leg or boot cut trousers, or if you are following the trend for shorter trousers this season, wear the same colour shoes as your trousers. Do wear knee high boots that either touch the hem of your skirt, or wear co-ordinating opaque tights to give the illusion of higher boots. Do wear pointed toe shoes which lengthen the leg. Do wear jackets or tops that finish just below your rear, or higher if you can. Do wear belts that co-ordinate with your trousers or skirt, rather than your top. Don’t wear t-bar shoes which just shorten your leg, as demonstrated with the left foot, here. Don’t wear trousers with turn-ups; they also shorten the leg.
The best colour for you
The best colour for you
Coco Chanel said “The best colour in the whole world is the one that looks good on you”. What a smart woman – in all senses of the word! We would add, it is also the colour in which you FEEL your best. If the colour of a garment doesn’t make you feel good, don’t buy the garment. It will just sit in your wardrobe like a ‘wardrobe orphan’. And if you already have clothes in your wardrobe that don’t make you feel good when you wear them, give them to the charity shop and let someone else enjoy them. If you want to know what your best colours are, find a consultant at the International Federation of Image Consultants
Poolside protection
Poolside protection
A big, glamorous sunhat is the best way to look sensational by the pool or on the beach while, at the same time, protecting your face and hair from the drying and burning effects of the sun. Choose a hat you really love wearing, so you are not reluctant to put it on, and choose a neutral colour so that it doesn’t clash with your swimwear.
Which earrings to choose… avoid extremes 
gold earrings, silver earrings
If your facial features are neither very angular, nor very curvy, then most earring shapes would suit you – just avoid extremes of very geometric or very circular shapes.
Which earrings for rounder face…
silver earrings, gold earrings,
If – like Jan – you have more curves to your face then choose earrings which are rounded or curvy.
Which earrings to choose if you’re angular
Which earrings to choose if you're angular
Ever stood in front of the jewellery counter and been bewildered about which shape earring or necklace to choose? As a general rule, if, like Cyndy, your face shape and features are angular – then go for geometric shapes with angles and avoid rounded shapes.
How to choose the most flattering neckline
How to choose the most flattering neckline
The most flattering necklines are those which reflect your face shape. If you have a very angular face, the most fabulous necklines are sharp V, slash, square or asymmetric, as well as sharp-collared shirts or shirt-dresses. If you have a very curvy face, necklines without angles will look great – choose from round, scoop, oval, cowl or U-necklines, as well as crew and turtle necks. If you are between the two – you can wear most necklines, but try to avoid extreme shapes, such as square or sharp V. Instead, choose a scoop, ballerina, boat, sweetheart or funnel neck.
If it doesn’t fit, alter it!
If it doesn't fit, alter it!
The smallest alteration can make a HUGE difference to how a garment looks on you. When you buy something new, think like a French or Italian woman, and have the waist nipped in, or the shoulders lifted. Don’t settle for something that doesn’t quite fit. You would be amazed how much better clothes look if they truly fit properly. And never wear your sleeves too long – it makes your legs appear shorter.
Don’t be fooled by magic mirrors
Don't be fooled by magic mirrors
Magic mirrors are becoming more common in women’s clothing shops. They are angled and very slightly convex to make you look slimmer in a garment when you look in the mirror to consider whether to make a purchase. Lovely in the shop, but not much fun when you get home and find it wasn’t such a flattering fit after all. There is a simple way to find out if you are being deceived: put a CD or a circle of card in your bag and hold it up in the mirror. If it looks even fractionally “stretched”, ask to look in another mirror and if they refuse, go elsewhere. And, of course, if you buy online, you can try on at home where we assume there are no magic mirrors to fool you!
Does my rear look big in this?
Does my rear look big in this?
Always put a handbag mirror (or make-up mirror, if you can bear the weight) in your handbag when you are shopping for clothing so that you can get a back view of anything you try on. Too few fitting rooms allow you a back view, and you should never, ever buy anything without checking the rear view for a good fit and flattering cut…
Don’t suffer for style
Don't suffer for style
Looking stylish also means looking comfortable. When you are shopping and trying on a dress, jacket, shirt or blouse, lift your arms up to see whether you feel comfortable and can move easily. If your movement is restricted, the garment is a poor fit or a bad cut – put it back on the rack. With a dress, skirt or trousers, sit down to see if the garment creases badly, rides up or feels uncomfortable across the hips. If so, again, put the garment back (or send it back, if you bought it online). If it isn’t comfortable, you will never feel – or look – comfortable wearing it. With a dress, skirt or trousers, sit down to see if the garment creases badly, rides up or feels uncomfortable across the hips. If so, again, put the garment back (or send it back, if you bought it online). If it isn’t comfortable, you will never feel – or look – comfortable wearing it.
Keep your sunglasses up to date
Keep your sunglasses up to date
Sunglasses are one of those accessories we can easily forget to update which is odd, because they can look horribly unfashionable after just a few seasons. We often take them out at the start of summer without considering whether the style is still current. We are in a retro phase right now, with Raybans, aviators, cat’s eye shapes and anything reminiscent of the 50s and 60s totally on trend, though the oversize babies are fighting for their place in the sun. Better to buy a cheaper pair and change them every year, rather than invest in a designer pair and feel guilty at abandoning them.
How to pick the right evening shoes
How to pick the right evening shoes
You may not have to walk the red carpet with the flashbulbs popping when you next wear a posh frock, but you still want to look stunning, which means getting the shoes right. If you have ever wondered why some evening shoes work brilliantly and other don’t, it is all about the balance – and there is a simple rule to follow: if you are wearing a strapless or strappy gown that reveals lots of bare flesh at your shoulders, you need very open evening sandals, and if you have covered shoulders and arms, you need an evening shoe rather than a sandal.
How to choose the print that works for you
 How to choose the print that works for you
This is one from the image experts, and odd as it may sound, it works: the distance between your facial features is the key to the prints that will look most fabulous on you. If you have a lot of distance between your features, you need a print with a lot of space between areas of pattern. If you have small, close-together features, you need smaller patterns (ditsy florals, for instance). If you have medium space between features, you need medium space between pattern repeat. You also need to bear in mind the scale of the print: very big patterns suit tall women but overpower petite ones. Bold prints suit dramatic types; delicate prints suit those with a low-key look. Try it for yourself by holding different prints against you and seeing what works for you.
Fight the Frizz
Fight the Frizz
If you have hair that frizzes or bends slightly in humidity or light rain, you need the best secret weapon in the fight against frizz – L’Oreal’s Tecni-Art Fix Anti-Frizz. I use the “Force 4” version, and it keeps my hair sleek and straight between blow-dries like no other spray I have ever used – and it doesn’t make your hair feel “lacquered” (not as long as you don’t load it on too heavily).
Watch your back pocket….
Watch your back pocket....
It has suddenly become received wisdom that back pockets on jeans are flattering and minimise your rear. Noooo, they’re not and they don’t! Pockets draw attention to your bottom, the more stitching, buttons and bling across your backside, the more the eye goes to your bottom. Fine if it is slender and shapely, but not so fine if it isn’t as slim as you’d like (and whose is?). The most flattering jeans have no pockets at all; next most flattering are pockets with unobtrusive stitching in the same shade as the denim; the very least flattering have flaps and buttons and crystal… AVOID!
How to be a clever-clogs with your wardrobe
How to organise your wardrobe, your wardrobe organizer
We all do it – we go to the shop with the best of intensions, and buy virtual duplicates of what we already own, like another black jacket, or yet another pair of black trousers. You can avoid it, by using our clever Closet Confidential PDF to ensure you buy just what you need for your wardrobe. By completing the sections, you have an inventory of your existing wardrobe, which helps you see what you need to buy for the new season, and where there are gaps, so you can see exactly what will make existing pieces work harder.
Want longer, leaner legs? Here’s how, part 2
Want longer, leaner legs? Here's how, part 2
Pushing up the sleeves on your jacket, knitwear or shirt gives the illusion of longer legs. Which we all love, don’t we…
Want longer, leaner legs? Here’s how, part 1
Want longer, leaner legs? Here's how, part 1
If you want your legs to look longer and leaner when you are wearing trousers, make sure they have a nice sharp crease down the front. The vertical line gives the illusion of a longer leg – and longer legs look leaner. This clever trick works with any straight or wide-leg trousers, and is well worth keeping in mind with the current love-affair with the 70s.
If you want to disguise the tops of your arms…
If you want to disguise the tops of your arms...
If the tops of your arms are fuller than you would like, you can make them look instantly slimmer (and without spending hours at the gym) by making sure the lower part of the sleeve doesn’t narrow. If you ensure the sleeves of your dress or shirt don’t suddenly get narrower at the hem (or, if you are a shirt wearer, by folding back the cuffs) that will create balance with your upper arms which is very slimming.
If you tend towards being a bit pear-shaped…
If you tend towards being a bit pear-shaped...
Use small shoulder pads to broaden your shoulder line (while still keeping it natural – we’re not talking Dynasty power shoulders, here), helps balance your hips and keep you in proportion. Buy them at John Lewis or any good haberdashery department.
 Choosing your shoulder straps
Choosing your shoulder straps
It is important to get the width of straps right for your shoulder line. If you have wide shoulders, choose wider straps for your swimwear, dress or top – they are more in proportion and will balance your shape far better. Narrow shoulders look better with narrow or skinny spaghetti straps. Dress by Bernshaw at Gray & Osbourn
Take a 2nd look when you buy your sunnies…
 Take a 2nd look when you buy your sunnies...
If you have an angular face and wear your sunnies on your head, we have a fabulous style tip for you. Of course you know that the frames need to suit you. But, in addition, the shape that the pair of glasses form when they sit on your head, head-band style, needs to work with your face-shape, too. So, if you have an angular face, the glasses should not be the curvy, wraparound kind, but should form a right-angle at the sides.
How to work out the perfect “knee-length” for you…
How to work out the perfect
Stand in front of a long mirror wearing tights (or bare legs) and a top. Take a long piece of fabric (or a towel, if you don’t have fabric) and hold it in front of you like an ankle-length skirt, keeping one end firmly at your waist. As you gradually roll the fabric up, you will see which length is the most flattering for your legs – just on, just above or just below the knee. If you can get a friend to help, they should measure the length from waist to “hem”; that is your best skirt length. If you wear skirts longer, as a general rule, a hem that hits the widest part of the calf will be the least flattering. Either go longer – midi and maxi are both big trends this season – or wear “your” best knee length, which has become a style classic.
Sleeve advice, part 2: Get the right sleeve length
How to choose the right length short sleeve
When wearing short sleeves, ensure that the hem of the sleeve is (a) not in line with the crown of your bustline (as this will look like one continuous and widening line across the body – not a good look) and (b) does not end at the widest part of your arm, as this would make your arms look wider. And who needs that?
Sleeve advice, part 1: Raglan versus set-in sleeves
How to wear raglan sleeves, when not to wear raglan sleeves
Raglan sleeves should be avoided if you have a big bust or very narrow shoulders. If you are busty, they will make your top half look as if you are even more generously endowed and they will make narrow shoulders look even narrower. Look for set-in sleeves instead. But if you have broad shoulders, especially if they are wider than your hips, then go for raglan. Image courtesy of Aston & Hayes

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