Time for a spring wardrobe refresh? Stylist shares her ULTIMATE guide – from how to test new bras under a white t-shirt to using jewellery to check if you suit ‘warm’ or ‘cool’ tones
It’s finally getting warmer which means for many of us its out with the winter clothes and in with the spring dresses.
But if it’s a wardrobe revamp you’re after then it can be overwhelming to know where to start.
Speaking to FEMAIL, London-based stylist Miranda Holder, 42, shared the tips and tricks she swears by to immediately elevate any wardrobe, from testing new bras underneath a basic white t-shirt to building up an ‘accessories library’ to lift any outfit.
The stylist explained it is important to invest in the foundations of a good wardrobe, like learning your colours and having pieces tailored to suit your shape, because this will mean you look your best no matter what the occasion.
She added that it’s also a good idea to edit and cut back your wardrobe so that you can make the most of what you have.
Here, she shares her tips with FEMAIL…
Check your bras under a white top
Build an outfit from the foundation up: Miranda suggests checking your bras under a white top to ensure there are no unslightly lumps and bumps. Above, the Duchess of Cambridge layered a white t-shirt under a pink blazer for a trip to the Natural History Museum in London last year
A good outfit starts with the foundation and Miranda advises not to overlook how your underwear fits, at it can make or break an outfit.
‘Double check you don’t have a visible panty line and scrutinise your bust line by testing your bras under a plain white tee to see how pert your breasts are,’ she said.
‘A relaxed bralette is great for every day but if you need to pull the stops out, sometimes only an underwire will do.’
However, while some like to muse that beauty is pain, Miranda insists comfort is key to looking good.
‘No matter how wonderful the effects of your control pants, if they are cutting you into pieces where the sun doesn’t shine then you will be fidgeting all day and all sartorial efforts will be immediately lost,’ she added.
Use the jewellery trick to learn your colours and tones
Know your neutrals! Stylist Miranda Holder shared her advice for your wardrobe refresh, including working out if warm or cool neutrals best suit your skin tone. One way to do this is to put gold and silver jewellery against your face. Above, Christine Lampard in a neutral dress
Splash of colour: Viola Davis (left) and Jessica Chastain (right) always know the colours that best suit their complexions. It means they never fail to ‘pop’, even on a crowded red carpet
Play with tonal textures
‘If you love to embrace the neutrals then get playful with texture,’ Miranda advised.
‘Choosing a variety of sumptuous and interesting fabrics, especially if you are head to toe in a single colour can add depth to a look.
‘It can also evoke a sense of luxury, keep an eye out for light reflecting fabrics such as silk, satin, organza and velvet, and pair with something contrasting such as tweed or cashmere for the greatest effect.’
‘”Getting your colours done” may bring back memories of Tupperware parties back in the 80s, but don’t underestimate how valuable knowing your best and worst colours can be when it comes to looking your best,’ Miranda said.
‘The savvy fashionista knows which suits her skin tone and which makes her look like she’s missed a week of sleep.
‘She will also know whether she is better off in warm or cool colours and her wardrobe is themed around this, and will feature her very best shades.’
The same principle applies to neutrals.
‘If neutrals are your thing, learn about warm and cool tones and make sure you are in the right camp,’ Miranda explained.
‘One way to ascertain this is to hold up gold and silver jewellery near to your face, if the gold looks better you are warm, if silver is more complementary you are cool,’ she explained.
‘A minimalist look in tonal neutrals can look extremely chic and elegant.
‘But if you are more adventurous, double check that the colours you favour are your friend.’
Monochrome is also a staple to bet on, at the condition that everything in the outfit is perfectly looked after and of the same hue – for instance, if you dress in all black, make sure it is the same shade of black.
Buy less, wear more
Queen of the rewear: Letizia of Spain, pictured at the Duke of Edinburgh’s service of Thanksgiving, makes her wardrobe work hard and often recycles the same outfits
Struggling to cut down? Tips for editing your wardrobe
‘Many fashion editors operate a strict ‘one in one out’ policy which you could try,’ Miranda said.
Another good idea is to sort out your clothes by the way you hang them.
‘Turn all the hangers around the wrong way on your rail and switch that hanger when you wear the garment that’s on it.
‘Check back several months later and you can clearly see the clothes you haven’t been wearing.’
Miranda said that when it comes to your wardrobe, it should definitely be quality over quantity.
‘Repeat the mantra “buy less, buy better” and curate a capsule wardrobe of separates that help you nail it every time, smug in the knowledge that this is better for the planet too,’ she said.
‘Get super-fussy: does that item deserve a place in your home? How much do you love it? How much will you wear it?’
If your not excited at the idea of wearing the new garment, you need not invest, Miranda said.
‘Classic pieces are your friend and don’t have to be boring, instead they will help to create a timeless elegance,’ she explained.
Balance these with a nice selection of standout ‘hero pieces’ that you can turn to time and time again.
You should invest in those and upgrade your collection from time to time.
She said you should ideally be able to see all of your items of clothing at once so you have an immediate idea of the outfit possibilities.
Create an hourglass (even when you don’t have one)
Legs for days! Bridgerton star Simone Ashley chose an outfit that showed off her legs and balanced her out at the shoulders as she attended a Women In Entertainment Gala
Curves in all the right places! Rebel Wilson is an expert in wearing shapes that flatter her hourglass figure. Miranda said the key is to create the illusion of a nipped in waist
‘Whether you are buxom and curvaceous or straight up and down, dressing in clothes that work for your bone structure will instantly make you look more polished,’ Miranda said.
Remember, it’s all about balance!
Miranda shared a piece of advice she swears by.
‘If you are wearing something wider on one half of your body, say a wide leg pant, you want to keep things tighter on the other half – say a fitted Tee – to keep the balance.’
‘Great style is absolutely not exclusive to rake-thin models, and a base knowledge about the best shapes to suit your figure can be utterly invaluable.’
The expert added it is worth hiring a personal stylist in order to get that professional expertise.
‘It will absolutely be worth it and make shopping so much easier, as you drastically narrow down what you are looking for, garments will drape better over your figure, and you will be more comfortable and at ease with what you are wearing,’ she said.
She said stylists will try to achieve that Marylin Monroe ‘hourglass’ figure in order to flatter the body.
‘It’s all about highlighting that waist (or creating one if you are athletic like me) and creating the optical illusion of your hips and shoulders being approximately ten inches larger to create that gorgeous feminine curve,’ she said.
‘It’s also about highlighting your best bits, whether they are great legs or slender arms and skimming the eye over your least favourite parts.
‘Getting all these things right will naturally help you look more pulled together and achieve a more flawless look,’ she said.
Don’t forget to accessorize!
Attention to detail: Vogue Williams transformed this outfit, worn in London last year, by adding a bag, earrings and sunglasses that were full of personality and brought the dress to life
But a tarnished belt is enough to ruin a look
‘Worn leather or tarnished hardware on belts, shoes and handbags detract from the finished look, so find a friendly restorer, or for handbags consider a rental service to keep things looking fresh,’ Miranda said.
‘Storage is also key, hanging cashmere is a no no, for example, as the weight of it will eventually stretch the knit out of shape.’
The key to a polished look is paying attention to the little things as it’s often the smallest details that make the biggest impact.
Miranda said: ‘Consider accessories. A well chosen clutch bag, pair of slingbacks and statement earrings can transform a daytime look and make it glam enough for an evening out.
‘It’s worth building up a library of these over the years to get the most out of your wardrobe, no matter how small it is.’
But when it comes to accessories, pulling off the ‘more-is-more’ look can be tricky and it might be best to stick to the age old ‘less is more’ maxim.
‘Nevertheless a well-chosen brooch or an artfully tied silk scarf can add the finishing touch which transports the look from the banal to the breathtaking,’ Miranda said.
On top of accessories, relying on a wide range of fabric can keep your wardrobe interesting without taking too much risk.
Tailor trousers with your shoes in mind
Tailored to perfection: Zendaya always wears trousers that are just the right length
Putting her best foot forward: Lily Collins’ suit was tailored to perfection for a New York outing
Don’t wash your clothes too often, it’ll make them last longer
‘Be diligent about maintaining any mending that is required but fight the urge to wash garments too often, as they will quickly become tired,’ Miranda said.
‘Instead, go back to old-fashioned spot-cleaning for stains and air your clothes regularly to ward off bacteria.’
Miranda also gave a great hack in order to ‘clean’ denim and knitwear without resorting to the washer.
‘Just pop them into a bag and freeze overnight – the sub-zero temperatures will kill any bugs and they will feel like new again without damaging any of the precious fibres.’
In order to look your best, you need to consider the fit of the garment.
Miranda said: ‘Fit is everything! If the most expensive outfit is ill-fitting, it will look cheap and scruffy. Make it your mission to find a friendly tailor or local seamstress, and be meticulous about the finish of your garments.
‘The devil is always in the detail, and a few tweaks to suit your body can turn an average off the peg suit into something any bespoke Savile Row tailor would be proud of.
‘No detail is too small, from the cuffs of a jacket to the hem of a pair of trousers.
‘For instance, consider if you want them cut so as to be wearable with heels or flats, then make sure you opt for one or the other as going all in to suit your footwear is a sure-fire way to look more put together.
‘Somewhere in-between is just noncommittal and wishy washy.’
Pay attention to the shape of your body and make small changes to keep your features in proportion.
‘If you have sloping shoulders, a pair of shoulder pads positioned under the bra strap can work absolute wonders,’ she said.
‘Don’t be afraid of channelling the 80’s, they will simply balance out the proportions of your upper body.
‘If you are busty, get darts added to everything and avoid button-gape with a few artfully placed press studs or some fashion tape.’
Invest in a ‘formula’ that works for you
Tried-and-tested: Holly Willoughby often opts for the same shapes and styles of dresses, which makes it a breeze to pull together her wardrobe
Confidence is key!
‘With all this being said, if you aren’t feeling your best then you won’t do any justice to even the most impeccable of outfits,’ Miranda said.
‘A lot of the magnetism that exudes from the best dressed people comes from within.
‘How you feel about yourself can affect everything from the way you walk to your posture to how broadly you smile, so don’t forget to work on the inside too or all the external fashion choices will fall short – just remember that you are worth it.’
‘Putting in the groundwork prevents that last minute rush in which you grab the same old tired favourite from the wardrobe, only to find out it’s sporting a stain you hadn’t previously noticed later in the day,’ Miranda said.
Either take a few minutes at night before bed and make it part of your evening routine, or prepare all your week’s outfits in one go every Sunday.
‘You will not only end up using more of your wardrobe as you actually have the time to play with some of the separates and create new looks,’ Miranda said.
‘You will feel better throughout the day as having dressed mindfully for what you are doing, your outfit aligns better with how you want to feel…
‘This is feel-good fashion in action and will prevent any wardrobe faux-pas.’
If fashion is not your thing, you can limit the effort by picking your ‘style uniform’.
‘Find a formula that suits you and your lifestyle – say wide leg trousers and a relaxed blouse – and then invest in different versions of it, that way you will always get it right without feeling repetitive.’