About Katie Bowen

Katie Bowen is a Personal Stylist to predominantly business women, through her company Styko, based in Cambridge. She works with individuals and companies ensuring that they maximise their image potential in alignment with the overall companies branding. This is customised to each clients individuals own fashion personality, body shape and colouring and relationship history with clothes. She is a lifelong lover of fashion and had previously worked for the luxury designer brand ‘Joseph’, with private clients of more than 7 years. To book a consultation or for more information please contact Katie at www.styko-stylist.co.uk or on 07855 754487

Time for a Wardrobe Audit?

A clear wardrobe equals a clear mind. A messy wardrobe makes you lose visibility of what you actually own, causing you to buy more of what you have and reaching for favourite items that are on high rotation. And then getting stuck in a style rut!

When looking at a wardrobe, gaining clarity is everything. An effective wardrobe should reflect who you are currently – not you five or ten years ago. So many wardrobes I see contain items which are: shapeless, dated or just simply unflattering. And the fact that we only wear 20% of our wardrobe means we as a nation who are holding ourselves back massively from getting a wardrobe we do actually wear and even more importantly LOVE to wear!

Here are some startling facts to consider:-

– British women hoard clothes worth £285 that they will never wear but refuse to throw out the equivalent of 22 outfits each, according to research

– More than half, 54 per cent said guilt over wasting money made them keep the clothes while 41 per cent were planning to lose weight. And Impulse buys are being blamed by 45 per cent of shoppers for their bulging wardrobe.

– Jeans are a significant problem, with 88 percent owning at least one pair they would never wear, while 22 per cent hoard up to six pairs of shoes and 95 per cent of tops will never be worn.

– Men hoard 19 items worth on average £248, according to the poll of 1,200 adults for the shopping channel QVC.

Getting a wardrobe that works for you is just amazing and gives you a new lease of life. If you feel you could do with getting the wardrobe you have always wanted but didn’t think you could get. And want to know where the key gaps are in your wardrobe and where you should be investing your money wisely, then contact Personal Stylist, Katie Bowen via: www.styko-stylist.co.uk or mobile: 07855 754487.

Tips on Dressing to Look Younger

It seems that we all seem to want to appear youthful these days. Particularly, as when you approach certain milestones it is easy to lose your way and still dress like a student when you have a fully fledged career. And for some reason your style just hasn’t quite caught up.

Generally there is a tendency for clients to dress old for their age. And often their current wardrobe doesn’t match their status, personality or even really reflect who they really are today. Effectively being caught in a time warp! So dressing younger often helps you look and feel better too. It can be liberating and mentally you feel like you have moved on the next chapter in your life. Effectively having a wardrobe you love and all in all, a hugely liberating experience.

So if you want to inject some youthful vigour, into your current style that is done in a tasteful/age appropriate way. Then here are some of my tips:

Always pick the right bra as clothes to mould to your shape. A tighter band and fuller cup appears more youthful.

Play to your strengths by picking one area and choosing garments with features that draw attention to it.

Avoid washed out drab colours all over your body and instead make a colour statement.

Choose classic garments that are shaped with gentle tailoring to give a youthful silhouette, with vertical seaming giving a streamlining effect.

Have fun with accessories. Bags and statement jewellery are a great way to bring an up to the minute trend into your wardrobe and re-invigorate your look.

Avoid retro styles worn the old-fashioned way: below the knee skirts, bow blouses, pears – never worn together. These classics can be refreshed when you style them differently.

Avoid boring belts. Dark jeans work well with a thin belt in a contrasting colour. Wide belts are good for cinching in dresses, jackets and cardigans. Belts in brown leather, animal prints or a shimmery metallic help make someone appear current and youthful!

Avoid silk-scarf mistakes. Be careful as scarves can be very aging. A scarf in soft colours, lightweight and can be tied in different ways are the best multi-purpose ones.

Update your bag. Bags should be rotated and used for different occasions. A tatty worn out bag will just make you feel exactly like that. So treat yourself to a lovely bag that is wearable across a range of outfits.

Ditch dowdy shoes. Some shoes just look plain safe and boring. Some well chosen colourful/fun shoes can add that much needed zest to finishing off an outfit.

Cardigans can be very aging, literally adding years onto people. When choosing one, go for one with a little sparkle or with unusual detailing. This way, you will avoid the Great Aunt Maud look.

Pair down make-up. Overdoing the amount of make-up applied is often a result of trying to keep youthful looking when in fact this has just the exact reverse effect.

Don’t forget to wear UVA sunscreen everyday: this will help you from getting wrinkles, red and blistered. Sunlight even on cloudy winter’s day, overtime ages skin.

Image reproduced from blog.debenhams.com

Wedding Fashion Tips

With Kate and William’s nuptials looming, wedding fever is definitely upon us.  I am really looking forward to seeing Kate walk down the aisle and marry her prince. I love her sense of style and am really looking forward to seeing all those lovely frocks! A real fashion feast! But as a guest at a wedding, what do you wear to a summer wedding to make sure you get it just right? Well here are my fail-safe wedding tips.

This season
The hot look for this season is for the bride to wear white, ivory or cream and the bridesmaids to wear nude or taupe tones.

Wedding photos last forever, so it’s best to wear a Spanx slip, so this enhances both your figure and the outline of your dress. Also, static electricity often causes problems, so add anti-static spray to your ‘getting ready list’. You will be very thankful for this on the day.

Mother of the Bride
At least 3 months before the wedding date, book an appointment with a specialist shop, which are used to giving high quality service and can advise you through getting the right outfit and accessories that will go with both the style of wedding and the bridal party’s dresses.

If you are going to a garden wedding, then get a pair of Heel Stoppers, as they let you walk easily across the lawn and help you avoid ruining your heels.

Wedding Dress
For the bridal dress, I recommend you:

  1. Hang your gown the night before and steam and fluff out any layers, so it looks lovely and fresh on the day.
  2. Enjoy your dress. It’s best to enjoy your day and not be too precious, as you can get it mended and dry-cleaned afterwards.
  3. Use a specialist wedding dress dry cleaner. Have it boxed (with acid free paper) or hung.

To be a well dressed guest:

White Tie
Opt for a full length evening dress, ideally with some delicate sparkle.

Black Tie
Wear a bold coloured or patterned long evening dress.

Wear a pretty short dress with carefully chosen bold accessories.

Wear a smart pair of trousers, with a fun/elegant top, with a clutch bag.

Garden wedding
Choose a flowing, short or mid length floral dress.

If you are confused as to dress code, call the bride or groom and clarify what’s required so that you dress appropriately. As it’s their party, I am sure they would appreciate you honouring their wishes and dressing correctly for the occasion.

You will need a clutch with a strap, as you may be standing around a bit and need both your hands free for holding a drink in one hand and then nibbles in the other! Other key items you should consider in your bag are: blister plasters, a safety pin, powder set, a lipstick or lip-gloss and a little camera ready for those key photos.

Final Preparations
For a polished look, have your nails French polished. And then, match your hair style with your dress eg. vintage hair to go with a vintage dress. However, if you are planning on wearing a hat or fascinator, I strongly recommend putting your hair back in a pony tail, this looks sleeker and more finished off. I have seen so many ladies wearing their hair down and this makes their overall outfit look unfinished.

And finally, it is often a good idea for a summer wedding in particular to add just a hint of self tanning lotion. If you can, go for ‘St Tropez’ as it gives both a
natural and even tan thus avoiding the tangerine look!

Top image reproduced from Mario Testino / The Telegraph
Bottom image reproduced from healingdream / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A/W ’11 – Wardrobe Pieces To Buy

This season is all about forties glamour, the return to the seventies, tartan, continuing with colour blocking and of course prints!

If you don’t fancy being a slave to fashion but would like some key pieces that are sure to spice-up your current wardrobe for the coming winter, then I recommend the following pieces:

1. A watch
A good watch is a classic fashion statement. As an accessory, they can make a simple but bold style statement. Often over-looked, so many watches I see today are middle of the road and just plain dull. Instead, why not make a style impact by looking at the ladies watch range from Michael Kors. It simply will not disappoint – it’s such a strong range that you are bound to find something to suit your taste.

2. Dress
A lime green belted dress, at £60 from Julien MacDonald at Debenhams adds a touch of 70’s to your look, and is set off by the gold metallic belt. This dress has lovely detail: the bow, the button down shirt and long sleeves with fitted cuffs.

3. Polka Dot
A shirt in polka dot is such a snazzy look. It’s both classic and very up to date. I like the Polka Dot shirt from Zara at £39.99. You can easily wear this shirt under a gilet or boyfriend blazer jacket. Alternatively, opt for a simple black and white polka dot tshirt, with black dots. Such a strong look for this season and can be worn off-duty and on – how you wear is up to you!

4. Blouse
Mint Velvet has some lovely blouses that are good for updating a wardrobe, making you feel very feminine. These are so soft to wear but also have the added benefit of covering your arms, whilst being see-through. This is a grown-up sexy look that a lot of my clients absolutely love!

5. Shoes
Kurt Geiger has the ultimate shoe selection for when you can’t find anything. I adore these Sooty boots, £190. They are good for elongating your legs with jeans, dresses or skirts.

6. Colour Blocking
Wallis do a lovely violet tier tunic that is on sale currently for a bargain price of £20. This is lovely item to wear with a purple bolero, as this colour combination is very striking! Worn with a pair of skinny jeans and pumps and you will have perfected the effortless day-time chic look.

7. Pencil Skirt
Lastly, invest in a classic black bandage skirt, from Mint Velvet at £79. The pencil skirt is the epitome of 40’s glamour. It is not only beautiful to wear but is hugely complementary on almost anyone. My clients love wearing this skirt and it really is the best pencil skirt I have seen in a few years! If you go for this, you won’t regret it, as it’s a good investment piece too.

Enjoy getting key pieces to update your Autumn Winter wardrobe? Buying less and getting it right is essential for getting a wardrobe that works for you. For any style questions or queries regarding getting a wardrobe that works around your current life then contact Cambridge-based personal stylist, Katie Bowen at www.styko-stylist.co.uk or on 07855 754487.

Images reproduced from debenhams.com, zara.com and wallis.co.uk

Fashion at the Races

Katie Bowen – fashion writer and Cambridge-based personal stylist – offers fashion advice for the racing season and gives style guidelines on perfect Ladies Day outfits.

Going to the races is not just about the horses of course, it is also about getting dresses up and having a glass of champagne or two. Ladies Days at Cheltenham, Aintree, Epsom, Ascot and Goodwood are all big dates in the British racing calendar. If you are lucky enough to be attending you will want a stylish Ladies Day outfit to wear.

Etiquette and Dress Codes

There will be different dress codes and etiquette for each event, race course and type of ticket that you have. When picking an outfit, ignore trends and go with what suits you. If you are going to go for a particular trend in terms of your outfit, it needs to be worn in a classic way.

Generally Ladies Day Outfits and dress codes for bigger events call for a more formal style of dress. Some tickets allow for a casual dress although you definitely won’t look out of place if you want to get dressed up. To be sure, you should check the race course website well in advance of the day, therefore giving you plenty of time to plan your outfit. Some race courses don’t allow bare legs, anything above the knee or uncovered shoulders. So do look into what the dress code is.

Race Day Dresses

This beautiful necklace halter neck dress from Warehouse highlights a slim waist, with wrap effect at the bottom adding a touch of glamour.

The dress is made from lightweight yellow silk and the floaty hem sits just above the knee. Accessorize with matching heels and a clutch bag.

For a simple and bold statement, this neutral bravo dress from Coast is a perfect choice but is not for the shy and retiring.

The a-line ivory spot dress is a stylish 1950’s inspired piece. Beautiful silk taffeta is cinched in at the waist to create a flattering silhouette. Fully lined and with a concealed side zip detail, the dress is 50% silk 50% polyester.

If you would prefer to wear more than one colour then a maxi dress is a good choice, whilst keeping your accessories simple. For inspiration, see below for the maxi dress that Coleen Rooney wore to the races in 2009. She teamed her colourful maxi dress with matching gold accessories.

Hat or Fascinator?

Generally for a more formal racing event, a hat is required but a fascinator is also acceptable. Structured fascinators are increasing in popularity. For a timeless look opt for a classic wide brimmed dress hat.

Race Day Accessories

Generally speaking a ladies day outfit will not require very much in the way of accessories as you will already have one statement accessory with your hat or fascinator. Usually it is best to keep with simple with perhaps just a necklace.

Finally, a good deal of walking is done on any racecourse, so you maybe it’s best to avoid the new popular trend of wearing sky high heels. After all, no-one looks good when they are unable to walk properly!

Images reproduced from myfashionlife.com, dressesfortheraces.com, look.co.uk and lovetheraces.com