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Personal Stylist: Spring/Summer Fashion Trends 2018 – First Impressions From A Novice …

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Going to a fashion trends presentation by an accomplished stylist at the beginning of the season is the best thing I’ve done in a while!

Anita, who is genuinely friendly, looks gorgeous and epitomises effortless style, stands beside a rail of clothes and a row of shoes from the new season’s collections. She begins with a welcome and asks if anyone has any burning style questions. One lady asks where she can buy good quality white t-shirts, another where to get really good jeans. Anita gives store recommendations (White Company, Pure Collection and J Crew for t-shirts; Selfridges’ denim studio for jeans), advising not to overstock and emphasising the importance of getting the right shade of white and the right shape for your body type.

Then begins the analysis of what is on offer this season, the best buys and how to wear them. We begin with shoes. “If you don’t wear the right shoes, it can kill your look”, she states and asks how many pairs of shoes we all have – which provokes knowing laughter in the room; most of us have around 40 pairs, far too many in her book. She instructs us to be ruthless, to get rid of the ones we never wear and to work on creating a capsule collection which should include one pair of smart flats, a flat pump, a flat sandal, a heeled sandal, a smart work heel, a going-out shoe and an ankle boot. Later, when she goes through the clothing, she selects shoes that work for each outfit.

We turn to the clothes. Anita covers key themes for the season, including pastels, Liberty prints, rainbow brights, fringes, texture and appliqué, sheer fabrics, spots, the peasant look … and more. She recommends investing in a good leather jacket and a good blazer and points out that the ‘must buy’ for this season is the gilet.

Some basic style ‘rules’ and a great deal of advice is imparted, but it’s more about knowing what works for you. Anita’s knowledge is bountiful and invaluable and it’s clear that her years of experience as a clothing buyer along with her innate sense of style means she really knows her stuff.

There are questions on how to make a Liberty print look edgier; she shows us by teaming it with dark navy jeans or a modern-cut trouser or leather jacket. She pulls a wonderful pink peasant top from Gap from the rail and matches it with a pair of cropped camel-coloured trousers – yes, those colours can be worn together – who would have thought it? With garments being put together in combinations we might never have considered, we all let out “oohs” in approval and “ohs” in surprise. She demonstrates clashing brights and clashing pattern, but not in a twenty-something, experimental way; what she does looks current but very stylish. Anita doesn’t believe in being a slave to fashion, she’s all about finding your style and updating it with a few choice pieces each season.

As she works through the items on the rail, the shoes and her corresponding PowerPoint slides, I can see my spring/summer wardrobe coming together. By the end of this comprehensive and fun workshop, I have a clear idea of what to wear now. I also feel sheer delight in the knowledge that I don’t have to spend hours on the high street wondering where to start. I understand exactly why Anita has such a band of loyal followers; she has become my style guru too.

By Fiona Wellin