Fashion forum

Please let me know what you think of Confidence Tricks and what you’d like me to cover in the future by leaving a comment below.








28 Responses to “Fashion forum”

  • Susie

    I read your “dressing for the next job up” tip.

    I’m going for a job interview with the BBC. I do want to look smart – in the past I’ve always ‘overdressed’ for interviews and, as you say, it has made me feel confident and I’m sure that has rubbed off on the interviewers.

    But the thing is, most people I’ve met at the BBC tell me they don’t worry too much about what they’re wearing, and I’m concerned that looking too ‘continental’ might come across as flashy or threatening – or just a bit vain.

    Any tips?

    Thanks in advance


  • I am mid 40s and I sit on the board of a lot of companies. I have a background in Central Government. It’s hard enough being the only woman around the table and I always struggled with clothes (until I found Wardrobe). However, now I’m pregnant. When I was last pregnant 3 years ago there was a good shop called Formes that did business wear. Now they are out of business. Does Susie have any tips on companies or styles for pregnancy? I currently alternate wearing Mothercare maternity (fine for the beach, not the boardroom) or pre-pregnancy clothes (can’t breathe).

  • Thanks for the holiday wardrobe and packing tips, Susie. Now what about the actual journey.At airports I think you can spot British people because they are so badly dressed. I know comfort is important but surely it is possible to look good too.Long-haul flights probably need a different approach, but I’m mainly flying to European countries.Also suggestions for travelling long distances by car.

  • Could you discuss a capsule wardrobe for:

    a weekend away in a country house hotel?

    in London doing the sights, shows and shopping and dining ?

    a long weekend in a luxury hotel in a warm (not hot) hotel abroad?

    Thank you

  • I need to start thinking of what I require to update my winter wardrobe. what key pieces do you suggest?

  • Hi Susie
    I spend a lot of my day time sitting down (at a desk/computer, in transit between meetings) and as a result, my trousers suffer from crotch-crease and my skirts are always creased marked across my lap at the end of the day. Do you have any tips for the kinds of fabrics or cuts that will help me avoid looking crushed and crumpled?
    thank you!

  • Hi A

    That’s a great question. The answer lies in good fabrics. I’ll put more information in a post on this next week.

    Warmest regards


  • Hi Susie

    I feel like I’ve lost the knack of choosing what suits, and putting outfits together – especially the dreaded smart casual and weekend outfits! I can manage work clothes (suit/top/shoes) but am conscious I’m getting overly conservative and don’t want to end up looking old before my time. I’m very lucky – I’m 37, slim, long legged, 5’8 and a size 10 so it seems ridiculous not to be able to look great all the time. What sort of budget would I need to make it worthwhile coming to Wardrobe?



  • Hi M

    Your situation is what most people come to Wardrobe for – a combination of advice on how to put together a personal style, and clothes with classic styling and an edgy twist. Can I suggest though that budget is not the best place to start?

    If your budget is low, we’d concentrate on a single piece and advise on how to economise on the rest of your capsule wardrobe. If you’ve more room in your budget, we can help you put together the whole look.

    Either way, the advice you’ll get will help you to avoid expensive mistakes and help you to put together a look that works for work and play.

    The first thing to do is to pop in and see if you like our style. While our clothes are at the high quality end of the market, we’ve never not been able to help someone for budget reasons.

    I hope we’ll see you soon

    Warmest regards


  • Hi Susie

    In Part 1 of “Re-introducing the capsule wardrobe” you said that you would be dealing with “how to have a wardrobe clear out”.

    I “discovered” Wardrobe earlier this year and I am adopting the capsule wardrobe approach.

    I do need to review my existing wardrobe so that I can plan my purchases carefully. I have been waiting for your post – will it be coming soon?

    Many Thanks

  • Hi Evelyn

    Sorry for the delayed response.

    Good to hear that you’re adopting the capsule wardrobe. I hope you’re finding it useful. I’m planning to cover the clear-out in the next Capsule Wardrobe post, which I hope will be in the next month or so.

    Warmest regards


  • Dear Susie
    Many thanks for your Confidence Tips. I find them very encouraging. I am 56 and keen to know how to keep up with trends without looking like a poor version of my 20 and 17 year old daughters. I’m writing to you after reading about the Piazza Sempione jeans you suggest for over 50s. Any more tips with my age group in mind would be great. I find most advice for older women refers to those with middle age spread and large busts but some of us have kept slimish. I am still a size 10 with a small bust ruling out designs for cleavage! Fashion advisers seem to think if you are slim you don’t need help, not true in my case.
    Looking forward to your next tips.

  • I am a size 18 top half/20 bottom half with an hourglass figure: I seem to spend most of my time focussing on what to disguise and spend more on accessories than clothes these days because it’s hard to find chic workwear for my financial services job. Any tips or brand recommendations? I’d love to buy now rather than promise myself some fabulous workwear after losing weight..

    Thank you!

    • Hi Gail

      You’re doing exactly the right thing buying now rather than trying to lose weight first. For most people, if they buy clothes that make them feel good about themselves as they are, the weight is more likely to come off afterwards.

      As you’ve discovered, finding the right clothes is not easy. The quality of the fabric and the cut needs to be excellent and this can’t be done cheaply. But the investment will pay off in the long term: good quality clothes can be adapted as you lose weight. And also in the short term: good clothes, that have been well altered to fit you, will immediately make you look thinner – that’s a guarantee.

      However, rather than seeking out brands, you need to find a shop that knows how to put together a look that will flatter and camouflage – and with an excellent tailor on hand to alter it to fit you. Professional advice and service from experts in their field will make you look good in yours.

      It’s hard to recommend brands because, as a buyer looking for exactly what you’re after (and we do have a lot of larger sized women among our customers), I’ve not been able to find it lately.

      We were effectively forced into designing and manufacturing our own collection – Sfera – just to be able to continue to solve queries such as yours (the current series of posts on the main blog page explains this in more detail).

      If you’re in London or can get to London why not come in and see us. We’d be delighted to show you – on you – the difference that the right clothes, with the right advice can make. Mid February is ideal to get the widest choice. We can put together a look for you that will last for many seasons and get you looking and feeling great immediately.

      Warmest regards


  • Hello Susie,
    First I am thanking the stars above for letting me find your site-in my mid 40s ( but everyone says I look early 30s). Knew exactly how I wanted to look wardrobe wise (and utilizing the capsule wardrobe approach) but couldn’t quite achieve it. I am absloutely in love with the items you show as well on your website for your shop in London and strange as it sounds the model that you have wearing your 2009 fall/winter pieces is exactly my physical build( and yes I am lucky in that fact but unfortunately was not lucky enough to be taught how to make the most of it which is why I am so gald to again to find your site here & your shop site).
    Now my question ( if one can call it that) is I am not able to come to London ( at least at this point in time- I live in Canada)for a consultation at your shop ( although I am planning at some point). Because of this are you able to recommend other clothing brands who are similar to the beautiful items that your Sfera line has/and or alternately clothing lines similar to those you show in the other catagories listed on your site ( ie: the Casual, the Business, Acessories,etc) that could be more readily obtained say for example in Canada or the US or even the UK if they ship internationally ( I keep always keep my measurements beside me on a piece of paper when internet shopping and am so very lucky to have a wonderful tailor close by who does amazing work – she can even alter cashmere sweaters!!).

    Please conitnue your wonderful knowledgable articles and to show the stunning items from your shop as examples. You are teaching me so much!
    Warm regards

    • Kim

      Thank you for your kind comments.

      You asked if I could recommend similar brands to Sfera. This is difficult because the reason I had to start production with my own designer was that I couldn’t find what I needed for Wardrobe’s customers.

      We do stock other designers who make some wonderful pieces within their collections, but I’d hesitate to recommend them in a blanket way because what you’d find in a shop would depend on the local buyer’s taste.

      The problem is that, at the moment, everything is geared to either the very young or the very matronly, neither of which is my right for my clients.

      We have many satisfied and glamourous clients living across the Atlantic, who come over once a year and take on our capsule wardrobe philosophy, claim back their VAT and return 12 months later.

      I hope we can look forward to seeing you at some point.

      Warmest regards


  • Hi Susie

    I love what you’re doing with confidence tricks. This might be a bit cheeky, but are there other blogs out there that cover the same sort of thing that you do? By which I mean the kind of edgy style that works for those of us who aren’t able to wear catwalk clothes with a straight face.

    I promise not to stop reading, but I’d love to find other sources too.

    Thanks in advance


    • Hi Jen

      Thank you for your kind comments.

      To be honest, the main reason I started Confidence Tricks was because there seemed to me to be a total lack of advice to help people create their own confident style. The press have for far too long been focused too much on clothes that make good pictures but, because most women couldn’t wear them in most situations, actually reduces their confidence.

      I had a look for good blogs last year because I wanted to show them what we were doing with Sfera, but I didn’t find anything suitable. So, just as I started Sfera to fill a gap in the market for the kind of edgy tailoring my clients wanted, I startedConfidence Tricks to fill the advice gap.

      Sorry not to be more helpful – please do keep reading though; and do let me know if you find other good blogs.

      Warmest regards


  • Hi Susie

    Thank you so much for “Confidence Tricks”. I have taken many of the tips on board with, I feel, a very positive effect on how I dress and present myself – it is a real boost to my confidence.

    Would it be possible for you to expand on “what to wear when travelling” please? I have a holiday planned which will involve a journey of two/three days travelling by car through France followed by two weeks sightseeing in Italy – not quite a grand tour, but I would like to feel comfortable & well presented throughout!

    Many Thanks


    • Hi E

      Thank you for your comment and question. I thought it would be a good time to update the post I did last year on travelling as an answer to your question. So you’ll find it on the main blog.

      I hope you find it useful.

      Warmest regards


      • Hi Susie

        Many thanks for providing the update and for the link to Total Wardrobe Care – I’m combining your expert advice with their travel packing solutions and hope to remain stylish and well presented throughout the holiday!

        Kind Regards


  • Hi Susie,

    I totally love your capsule wardrobe concept and I am adopting this truely liberating idea. I feel even more confident then before with much less but quality items in my wardrobe.

    I still have some questions though. “How much is too much?” Although capsule wardrobe is all about having maximum usage of the minimum collection(Do I interpret it correctly?), people still have different idea about “minimum”. For me, 8 shoes(2 work shoes, 1 beach thong, 1 dressy shoes, 2 flats, 1 walking thong, 1 runner)is plenty for my lifestyle, but for my friends it is utterly unbelievable. Considering the difference of personal style, do you have a rough figure of how many pieces of clothes a business women normally have each season and able to cover all her needs after your professional consultation? How many items should she update every season? Is it possible to share yours to us? I would like to know how minimum could it be for a efficient wardrobe, and I could use it as a guideline to not over shopping. I am afraid I will end up having a capsule that is too large to swallow, which I believe a lot of women sometimes accidently do so too………. or maybe not so accidently.

    Thank you so very much. Love your works.

  • Hi, Susie ! What do you think about leather garments ? Are they absolutely out of the question for those of ‘un certain age ? Does ‘mutton dressed as …’ come too easily to mind ?I abhor the very idea of leather trousers, but have seen some stylish older women in leather pencil skirts.Biker jackets- I think not. I would love to hear your thoughts. Penelope

    • Hi Penny

      My feeling here is that it’s much more about what you look like and how slim you are rather than your age. I think that leather pencil skirts can look very nice and a simple leather jacket in a soft leather is perfectly acceptable. Keep away from too many zips and accessories on the jacket. In my opinion, leather is better when it is in either black or very dark brown.

      However, there are some seasons where leather garments, particularly skirts look totally out of place, so do be aware of the trend before you purchase.

      And I absolutely agree with you about leather trousers and biker jackets for women of a certain age!

      Warmest regards


  • Hi Susie,
    I am in the US. I am 30 years old, and my coworkers are at least 10 years older than me. My profession requires me to be an authority figure to school boards and school principals. The problem I have is that I live in the tropics and have few resources for light weight quality fabrics and well made garments in the southern US.

    While I would love a return visit to London to visit your business, it’s not fiscaly possible right now. I have found a few companies that make higher end Made to Measure suits for women online (one that seems pretty promising is but it seems you don’t think much of made to measure companies. Are there other resources you could recommend instead?

    Thank you so much,
    Heather Harrell

    • Dear Heather

      Sorry not to have replied before, but this is buying time for next summer and I have been in Italy.

      I really cannot help you as nobody is doing the sort of styling I would recommend, which is why I had to go into manufacturing myself with the help of a designer from Milan. Only last week I was told that many shops have had the same problem trying to find suitable fashion for their career clients, but we are the only shop, they believe, in the world to have its own experienced Italian designer.

      The time and money you would save by a one time buying trip to London, I think, would be worth the investment. So many of my clients from the US tell me this. You would probably be able to make a selection last for a few years.

      Unfortunately all the American designers are now producing in China, Vietnam etc and the quality and styling is just not there. Also it is not long-lasting design so you are paying a lot for something which will date quickly.

      I was very surprised myself when visiting New York, to see how transient everything is.

      I apologise for not being of more help…but I don’t have a solution for you, and as you said I really don’t advise Made to Measure as it can look very frumpy without the eye of a top designer.

      The only thing I can think of is to try to find brands like Max Mara or Piazza Sempione where you might find something suitable.

      With kind regards

      Happy hunting!


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