Style Counsel – New Year Collection

Cathy Owen reveals her new year collection….

It’s this time of year that many of us fall foul of making grand and drastic new year resolutions. Drink NO alcohol, eat LESS food, save MORE money.  I’m not saying we shouldn’t try to make positive changes, but perhaps smaller more achievable goals would have more longevity…

This year, as well as cutting out just the 11am biscuit binge (I’ll keep the 9pm one!), I’m planning my regular wardrobe cleanse, as it’s so easy to get stuck in a rut.  What percentage of your clothes do you actually wear? How much space do they take up? How inefficient does it make you when getting ready?  I know my wardrobe is currently bulging with things that no longer fit, but by throwing them out I feel l would be giving in to weight gain, in reality the ‘skinny’ clothes simply remind me that I’ve still not managed to lose that stone.

As opposed to being red faced and sweaty on the school run, after going 10 rounds with a pair of skinny jeans that cut off your circulation, would you rather be able to select a comfortable and stylish look in five minutes flat?  Here’s what you do:

Too small/big clothes should be vacuum packed or donated to charity.

Out-of-season pieces stored to rotate.

Anything that doesn’t iron or wear well consider if you’re really going to make the effort.

Has it needed repaired for some time, you’ve done without it for this long? It’s gone!

What’s missing that can pull everything together, offer multiple styling options and provide you with the coveted capsule wardrobe?

The Capsule Wardrobe i.e. The Holy Grail 

A concept often covered in magazines and style guides, it really does work.  Here’s my take on a few essentials and why they work so well:

Jeans A few different cuts and colours to cover all bases e.g. I love slim-cut black jeans worn with ‘mega’ heels and a slinky T-shirt for a night out. For dropping my little man off at school I prefer a more relaxed boyfriend cut, however they work equally as well in the evening juxtaposed with sequins!  Getting the right fit is crucial, not only for the look, but so that you are comfortable. For basic jeans that accommodate your body shape try Levis, they offer a Curve ID range that are cut for different body shapes. So, to flatter my ample bottom (!) I get Demi Curve that don’t gape at the waist and have a little more fabric in the bum.

Coats I have a coat obsession: (I also have a shoe, scarf and bag obsession), but there is a selection of coats that I wear more than others. A wool camel coat, mine is vintage cashmere from my granny, it looks so ‘current’ with jeans and trainers, yet elegant with black trousers and silk blouse. This style from Jaeger is perfect, the timeless cut, quality fabric… I promise you will wear it for years.

A black blazer is a must. It dresses up jeans for an evening out and looks nonchalant with sneakers in the day. I like a longer length style and to be able to push up the sleeves, like this one from Zara.

Animal print. I know it’s not very neutral, but sometimes you need to make a statement and it’s a surprising versatile print. The thing is with animal print you don’t need much else so it’s effortless dressing.

A Parka. For weekend walks and for when you want to look like you haven’t tried too hard. There are lots of styles just now with coloured lining and quirky details, but I’d go for a classic version such as this one from Jigsaw.  And if you buy it from Very Exclusive you can split the cost over three months, guilt free shopping!

Next up, Tops. I love jumpers, probably because they don’t need ironed. I dress them up with statement necklaces or layer them over shirts – I especially like a pussy bow coming out over the top.  I can wear them with a black mini and opaque tights, layered over dresses and of course with jeans and trousers. I always have a black, camel, navy, red and grey version in my wardrobe and Uniqlo is the place to find them.

Shoes, now this is hard. If there’s anything in my wardrobe that’s not capsule… It’s my shoe collection. But again, as with the coats, there are a few go-to styles.

White trainers. I really like wearing these with smarter black trousers. My most recent purchase are these Nike ones and I wear them every week. I also rotate between black patent ankle boots, block heeled suede boots, brogues and classic black heels.  Boden do a great style. But my favourite staple are ‘Drama’ shoes!  They should be suede, velvet or satin and in a pop of colour. Honestly, with shoes like this, you need only wear jeans and a top and still look amazing. Zara are brilliant at doing this style of shoe at affordable prices.

There are of course many other component parts needed in our wardrobes; workwear, workout gear etc.  But when I’m in a hurry, from the aforementioned selection, I can always find something to wear:

Lunch with friends = Boyfriend jeans, cuffed at ankle, with high suede boots, camel cashmere jumper and animal print coat.

Business Meeting = Black mini, opaque tights, brogues, pussy bow blouse under black jumper topped off with camel wool coat.

Night on the town = Black skinny jeans, black blazer with a camisole and blue satin shoes.

Happy New Year x

Cathy Owen is a freelance creative with 15 years’ experience in PR, fashion show production, as a photoshoot producer, art director, model agency manager and casting agent. Her greatest achievement to date is managing to style a shoot with kids, animals and a hot air balloon!

Cathy has one son, Dylan, who is five going on 21. Find Cathy’s blog at
or follow on l @cathyocreative

Why don’t you give your wardrobe a cleanse for 2017 and let me know how you get on? You can also send any style dilemmas or questions for Cathy to cover in a future issue to 

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