This week we caught up with Sam Preston, a personal stylist specialising in capsule wardrobes. Sam is a graduate of the London College of Style and has over 18 years experience in the industry. We asked her how to build our own capsule wardrobes and to give us the low down on dressing for your shape.
How did you get in to Fashion?
Sam - ''I was always making clothes as a teenager, so I knew I wanted a career in fashion. I left school at 16 to work in a factory producing clothing for Jager, where I learnt to sew everything from tailoring to dresses. From there I moved in to buying and have worked with a lot of the high street including Very, River Island and Topshop. Last year after having my little girl River I decided I wanted to build a business for myself and that led me to styling.
My goal as a personal stylist is to help clients create a timeless, modern and stripped back wardrobe to fit their lifestyle, body shape and personality. With sustainability playing an important part in the fashion industry, clients achieve a more wearable wardrobe that they will love year after year, helping save the environment, time and money."
How would you describe your style?
Sam "My style is minimal and classic some may say boring! I was always chasing trends in my 20's, you needed to look ''trendy'' to fit in, especially when i worked for the high street. As I approached my 30's I found this was not sustainable and I decided to only purchase items that I absolutely loved and would wear year after year. Black Jeans, a white T-shirt and a great fitting blazer fast became my go to's."
What is a capsule wardrobe?
Sam "A capsule wardrobe is a wardrobe made up of good quality, versatile pieces that you can wear repeatedly. It is essentially a carefully curated collection of items that do not go out of style, such as trousers, skirts, and blazers, that can be mixed in with seasonal pieces.
What attracted you to building capsule wardrobes for clients in particular?
Sam "I chose to focus on Capsule wardrobes purely because it is what I know and love. I have been practicing a curated wardrobe for 2 years now and I love it. Not only is it sustainable but there's no pressure to keep up with trends, I can just be me.
It’s natural to take inspiration from influencers and online imagery but it’s most important to find your own style and be true to yourself and your lifestyle. Do buy into the trend you love but just take key elements that fit your true style and incorporate them into your own wardrobe."
How do you advise clients on how to wear colour?
Sam "The best way to approach this is to get your colours done professionally. That way you can invest in the colours that suit and disregard colours that don’t. A colour analyst will advise you on the colours that make you look younger, healthy and absolutely influencer your mood. Wearing the wrong colours can highlight dark areas we’d rather hide like wrinkles and dark circles"
What would you say are the must have items for our wardrobes?
Sam "I would defo say a great pair of fitting jeans. A crisp white shirt, a good t-shirt, an easy chuck on dress and tailoring. Tailoring is a huge part of my wardrobe; I cannot live without my blazers. A capsule wardrobe doesn't have to be minimalist though, you just have to make sure the pieces work together in multiple ways."
Sam's capsule pick from our collection
A wardrobe detox is a good place to start with building your capsule. How would you approach this?
Sam "I believe that you should love everything in your wardrobe, and everything should fit. So taking the time to edit your wardrobe can be beneficial.
Take everything out and empty it into a pile. All of it! Alternatively, you could choose to do this one section at a time but I like to see it all together
Sort into 3 piles: Keep, toss, or maybe.
The 'Keep Pile' is for stuff you really love and use — if you have not used it for 6 months, put it in the 'Toss Pile'. With the 'maybes' really consider if you love it on or if it looks good on the hanger. If necessary pop them in a box and if you don't re-visit within 6 months, then let them go."
What are your best tips for dressing your body shape?
"If you have confidence with your style and you dress for you, you will look amazing in whatever you wear. Whether I am dressing a pear, apple, straight, rectangular, or hourglass shape, there are so many options to make you look and feel fabulous."
Sam's advice for a Pear Body Shape:
"Wear items that add to your shoulder and bust area. You want to balance out your bottom half giving the illusion of an Hourglass figure. Wear tops that accentuate your shoulders more, or straight leg pants for a slimmer look."
1. "Wear tops/ jackets that accentuate your shoulders. Puff sleeves and ruffles are fabulous on you.
2. Enhance your waist to bring attention to your narrowest area. Invest in good belts and dresses that naturally pinch in at the waistline, wrap dresses and belted skirts are a must.
3. Skim over your hips. Invest in floaty draped fabrics. Wide leg trousers and A-line skirts help disguise the hip and help give a straighter shape to your bottom half."
"Your shoulders are the same width as your hips so add detail to exaggerate curves. "
1. "Create the illusion of a fuller bust by wearing tops will a lot of detail like ruffles, high neck lines, embroidery which bring the eye upwards
2. Define the waist by wearing high waisted pieces that give the illusion of more shape.
3. Increase your curve by wearing fuller skirts or trousers. A-line, ruffle or tulip shape skirts will create a lovely feminine shape."
"You have a proportionate figure. Your shoulders, waist and hips are balanced. Embrace your curves by wearing tight clothing, enhance your waist by drawing focus to it. Try to avoid boxy styles as these hide your shape."
1. "Highlight your waist with waist belts and high-waisted skirts and trousers.
2. Wear fitted tops that hug your upper body or wrap shapes that will cling to the bust and show off your waist.
3. Avoid boxy styles as these shapes do little for your figure."
Apple Body Shape:
"If you have got a larger bust area and hold weight around your tummy with smaller hips, you are an apple. Ideally you want to wear clothing that directs attention away from your upper body."
1. "Emphasise the bust line buy wearing open V-Neck or scoop necks. This creates a slimming effect around the upper body and brings attention to the busy area and not the tummy.
2. Synch under the bust. This is the smallest part of an apples mid-section. The best shapes to buy are empire lines.
3. Apple shapes generally have amazing shapley legs so go for flat front skirts and slim leg trousers to show them off. Flares can help balance out wider shoulders"
"Your shoulders are the broadest part of your body. Use your outfit to balance your shoulders with exaggerated proportions as your waist, and hips."
1. "Avoid shoulder pads or puffed sleeves as these will have to the opposite effect and make you look more wider up top.
2. Create the illusion of a smaller bust by opening the neckline. Wide neck lines, v necks and wrap tops/dresses are great for this because they draw attention down from your shoulders to your slim waist.
3. Bring volume to the bottom – create the balance with the upper body but wearing A-line skirts, and wide leg trousers."
"Remember that body type guidelines, they are not the be-all and end-all rules to live by when dressing, though they can make a huge difference to how you look and feel. I always say you must wear what you love and just be you!"
You can contact sam about her services including wardrobe edits, personal shopping and colour analysis at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Instagram @sam.preston_