Clare Edwards Personal Stylist sevendaystyle

January is all about Fresh Starts. The New And Improved You. One can't move for diet books, new exercise regimes, Davina McCall and all manner of clever ways to stop drinking/smoking/etc. Personally I think January is a rather odd time to try to become a new person as it is not the cheeriest of months. Giving up alcohol, sugar or whatever your vice when it is quite miserable outside seems all very depressing to me. And the thought of embarking on a gruelling fitness campaign when it's still dark in the mornings is not my idea of fun. While I am not advocating a life of slovenly, unhealthy living I am all for doing whatever you can to get you through until Spring. My own personal demon is buying stuff. By stuff I mean clothes. And shoes and bags. And skincare and makeup. Don't worry I am not going to suggest anyone gives up buying something as important as stuff. God forbid. I tried it last January and while I did succeed I didn't lose any weight or become fitter or in fact feel any the better for it. Waste of time. What I am going to suggest instead is to start practising good habits when it comes to your wardrobe.

Remove and refresh

No matter how amazing your wardrobe is it can become stale. Even if all you've ever bought you've managed to pass off as a 'classic' - a favourite justification of mine - these too can look staid and slightly dull after a while. On many occasions the reason we shop is to buy something new rather than to buy the actual item. For every new thing you buy get rid of something you already own. This will force you to decide whether you really want the new piece or are just buying it for the sake of it. Not only will it stop your wardrobe filling up to bursting but it will help to justify any new purchase not to mention the good you'll be doing if you take your unwanted items to the charity shop.

Say no if you don't feel the love

Do not buy anything that you don't absolutely love. No ifs, no buts.

Get inspired before you shop

Try to avoid mindless unfocused shopping. It leads to money wasted and a wardrobe full of unworn clothes. My favourite place to look for inspiration is Pinterest or Instagram. Find some stylish people to follow and stalk them. Or just look outside your front door and be inspired by the people around you (stalking is not so acceptable in this instance). Sometimes it's easier to see an outfit on someone else. Please do bear in mind though that not every person looks fabulous in every outfit. Try and adapt an outfit so it fits in with your lifestyle, budget and body shape. There is nothing more disheartening than trying to replicate someone's look only to realise it doesn't quite work on you. Remember this is only for inspiration. You are you and no one else and you are fabulous.

Work with what you've got

Following on from that, learn how to work what you have. Don't fight against it as this will only end in tears. Your tears every morning when you stand in front of your wardrobe. Highlight the parts of your body that you like and camouflage those you don't. The best way to do this is to try, try, try again. The best thing about fashion is that it isn't permanent. It's near impossible to stick your hair back on if you have a frighteningly short and regretful haircut but you can always take a pair of trousers off if they make your thighs look massive.

Only spend what you're willing to lose

Now this is probably my most important piece of advice as it is what stops people from parting with items they no longer wear. Do not spend more on any single item than you are comfortable with. And by comfortable I mean happy to throw away. Do not get swayed by sales assistants telling you you look amazing if it is more than you wish to spend. The reason most people hang onto unwanted items is because they can remember how much they splashed out on it and therefore don't feel they can let it go for 'nothing'. Also there is no need to bankrupt yourself for the sake of your wardrobe. The UK High Street is the best in the world and you can find runway replicas all over the place. Do not buy designer where Zara will do (this does not apply to Gucci - what goes on in Gucci, stays in Gucci) unless you have the budget to do so. You will only regret it later. Every time you make a purchase say to yourself 'Will I be happy donating this to charity when the time comes?' If you manage to get something for it on eBay or from a pre-loved shop/website then that is a bonus.

Try and incorporate these tips into your clothes buying routine and I guarantee you will make less mistakes. Or you can of course hire someone like me to help you - a shameful plug, forgive me. As for the New You I suggest starting at Easter when the daffs are out and the birds are singing. After you've stuffed yourself with all those Easter eggs first, obvs. Davina will understand.