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The art of the self style makeover

24th January 2011 Print
Ketan Jethwa, creative director of Tailoring UK

With 2011 well underway, many may be thinking that a fresh new wardrobe is in order. But, when exactly is the best time to buy and, with budgets still tight, can a tailored, professional new look really be achieved at a limited cost?

Here, Ketan Jethwa, creative director of the sixth generation bespoke tailoring business, Tailoring UK, shares his advice to ensure you look your very best in the months ahead.

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, a style makeover is often riding high on many people’s list. However, in my experience, January really isn’t the best time to put this plan into action.

With January sales being a permanent fixture in the retail calendar, you can often find yourself buying garments from two or three seasons ago. It’s the perfect opportunity for retailer’s to clear out the old and make way for the new, consequently leaving the consumer with a wardrobe full of outdated pieces!

Couple this with the fact that sales often lead to impulse purchases, heightened by the lure of the price reduction, and it’s safe to conclude that it’s really not the ideal opportunity to set about creating the ‘new you’. In fact, it’s those who have waited until now to set the wheels in motion that have the best approach.

By now, Christmas and its excesses should seem like a distant memory and you should have had chance to take stock of what the next 12 months have in store, both socially and professionally. This means that you’re in a much stronger position to plan your 2011 wardrobe.

You only have to look at the television schedules to support this theory. The cookery programmes promoting healthy eating that dominated in January have been replaced by makeover and consumer focused shows, such as Mary Portas: Secret Shopper and Gok’s Clothes Roadshow. The simple reason behind this is that producers know that this is the time of year when people start thinking about their personal style more seriously.

So, we’ve established that now is the right time to make a change, but how should you go about doing it, especially if you want to go for a more tailored, professional look?

For many, refreshing their business wardrobe will take priority, especially given the talk of the further testing economical times to come. At a time when performing to the best of your ability is vital, looking your best will also play a critical part.

It’s an age-old saying, but first impressions really do count. There’s nothing worse than being seen regularly in the same suit, shirt and tie by colleagues, clients and potential new business contacts. If your job requires a smart look, I would suggest having a good selection of well fitting business suits, say about four or five, with around two different shirts that can be worn with each. For men, it’s also a good idea to have a suitable tie to pair with each shirt too. This kind of capsule business wardrobe should certainly see you through 2011 and well into 2012.

If you want to be right on trend, opt for a sharper fit to suits and shirts, going for navy or shades of grey with a subtle detail or stripe.

It may seem like a pricey option, but if you take time to stand back and look at the bigger picture, it can seem like a very cost effective approach. Your capsule business wardrobe can come in very handy when it comes to weddings, christenings and, dare I mention, the next round of Christmas parties! By having these items already in place, it will help to save on the added expense of buying a new outfit for such occasions, with the reality being that most of these ‘occasion’ outfits are purchased and only normally worn once.

It’s also worth remembering that elements of your business wardrobe can be broken down for more informal occasions. A blazer, for instance, can easily be dressed down with a pair of jeans for both men and women, creating a more relaxed, yet still tailored and on-trend look.

If you’re working to a very limited budget, then only a couple of key purchases may be achievable. However, that is not to say that your dreams of a new image should be discarded. Take a look at some of the older items in your wardrobe and seek the advice of a tailor. They may be able to suggest changes that can be easily made to the look and cut that will instantly update them!

The most important thing is to be selective with purchases. When considering colours, designs and cuts, think ahead to the summer months and make sure you have a few items that will work during warmer weather too. When buying a garment, ask yourself “do I need this and will I wear it?”. They may seem like obvious questions to ask, but taking a couple of seconds to reflect can help to avoid impulse, and often unnecessary, purchases.

For further advice from Ketan, visit:

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Ketan Jethwa, creative director of Tailoring UK