Claire is an Image consultant from Norfolk and is quite probably the owner of the best shoes I have ever seen. (look at them!!) In fact that whole outfit is rather incredible... In case you didn't know (I didn't), Claire has a Dramatic Classic style personality; more on that later!
You all may remember Claire from a few blog posts ago, where she taught us all to say 'pre-loved' (I love a good bit of eco-fash lingo, folks!) and showed us her top tips on sourcing and wearing pre-loved clothing.
Well now, on a drizzly, rainy Saturday, Claire was ready to take her proverbial currency and align it with whence her speech comes. You know, she's talked the talk, now she's got to walk the walk. Step up to the mark. Put her best foot forward. (Yes, I am obsessed with her shoes...) Foot-related idioms apart, Claire was ready to show us her skills...
I had set Claire the challenge to style the lovely Juli in an outfit put together purely from clothing and accessories found in the Age UK Norwich shop on London Street. We all know the drill by now. At least, I thought I did. But that was BC- Before Claire.
When I arrived, Claire and Juli were already there, Juli half in, half out of a pair of amazing flared jeans, Claire zipping between the fitting room and the shop floor, scouring the rails purposefully in search of such things as 'brooch!' 'longer necklace!' 'camisole!'
I was definitely working with a professional.
The challenge was to create an outfit. Claire had clearly been reading our blog and seen that a previous Guest Stylist had taken the challenge up a notch and styled two outfits. But why style just two outfits when you can style... three...?!
That's right, Juli had a lot of dressing up to do. I'm going to hazard a guest that Claire is not the sort of person to do things by halves...
Here's the first outfit Claire put together for Juli:
Doesn't she look amazing...?
As Claire's job is to show people how to look and feel amazing in their clothes, there was a whole lot of theory going on behind the scenes, beyond just putting things together. She explained to me:
"As you can see Juli has an amazing figure, but even though she is very slim, some shapes flatter her more than others. Juli has a straight silhouette, which means she has very slender legs and hips, so this is the area we drew great attention to. A straight silhouette has a larger waist so I created vertical emphasis with the cord jacket and shirt, drawing the eye up and down the body. Vertical emphasis slims as well as elongates.
A person with a straight silhouette usually has a full bust, so a lower neckline is more flattering than a high neck line"
I was ready to applaud and go home, but seemingly there was no time to waste; after we snapped these shots Juli was whisked back into the fitting room and emerged in outfit number two...
Just... wow! I loved shooting Juli in this outfit! You could tell that she felt amazing in what she was wearing and it just shone through in her confident posture and that incredible smile...! Well done, Claire!
I also loved the colours of this striped poncho on Juli, which apparently were not chosen by accident. Claire says:
"When I style my clients, it is vital to understand not just what suits their colouring and body shape, but their personality too. That way someone can be truly comfortable in the clothes they wear.
Juli has a 'Dramatic Natural' style personality, which means she likes a relaxed look that also stands out. Anything frilly, sparkly or overly lacy just isn't her.
Juli has a warm skin tone, hence me choosing all these lovely rich colours for her which really make her look so amazing. Also as she is fair, I avoided anything too dark near her face."
With this said, I think I ought to show you what Juli was wearing before her styling session with Claire...
The same gorgeous smile, but lots of black... While Juli still looks great here (and I'm always a fan of black, ever chic - and monochrome makes for an effortless capsule wardrobe...), it was great to see how wearing different colours could light up Juli's face and skin tone.
Now I know you are on tenterhooks waiting for outfit number three, so I will keep you waiting no longer.
Here's Juli in her final outfit styled by Claire:
Those of you who have been following us may recognise this particular dress as featuring in The Challenge; it's had a bit of a facelift since Juli wore it here, but we think she'd rock it either way. Beautifully accessorised, too.
So it seems I am converted to the power of the image consultant. Three looks, thirty minutes, one happy model!
Thank you Claire and Juli, you make a fantastic Charity Shop Styling team...
If you think you could take on the Norwich Fashion Jam Charity Shop Style Challenge, get in touch with us on email@example.com - we'd love to see what you come up with!
Just a quick note to draw your attention to the show that aired on Mustard TV on Thursday showing the highlights of Norwich Fashion Week 2016.
It's a great film to get a feel for the week as a whole; if you didn't get to any shows, you'll feel like you were there!
Have a look at some unseen footage from the Norwich Fashion Jam and see how the project fit into the whole week.
Check it out quickly, though; the link will only be live for the next 10 days. Check it out here.
The Norwich Fashion Jam team met Vicky months ago showcasing her exciting upcycled wares at The Forum and encouraging people to throw away less and reuse more.
Naturally, we knew Vicky was a prime candidate to take part in the Norwich Fashion Jam challenge, so we were very excited when she signed up! Vicky runs an amazing blog all about her exciting adventures in upcycling and sustainable living, aptly named 'Vicky Myers Creations', which you can check out here.
Vicky loves rummaging in charity shops to find things to upcycle and she's going to share some of her secrets with you all! Over to you, Vicky...
Hi – do you love the treasure in charity shops as I much as I do?? They are full of the most amazing clothes, made of fantastic fabric. I have a bit of passion for converting former clothes into bags, small, large, clutch, messenger style... Using former clothes means you can have fun playing with designs and ideas with it out it costing the earth.
A skirt is full of fabric just waiting to utilised. Especially former pleated tweed skirts – keep the pleats to give a hint of its former life.
Or unpick the pleats and felt the wool fabric in your washing machine (just wash on your machine's maximum temperature any hand-wash wool item and it should felt). You will be amazed at how much fabric you will gain.
Have fun playing with different types of fabrics.
Or what about a man's jacket?? These make great messenger bags – save the hardware from a bag (from the charity shop) reuse for your straps, and pair up with a shirt for the lining. Messenger bags are simple to make, you can follow an existing bag for size.
Create a simple case for your tablet with a former pair of jeans – make your mark and stand out.
Are you inspired yet to have a play? Not quite sure where to start? There are lots of tutorials on line or over on my blog so head to your local charity shop, find some scissors and a sewing machine and have a go!
Laura is an English Literature graduate from the UEA, works in digital marketing and is also, in my experience, a pretty cool kid. If there's some sort of creative, artsy, cultural project going on in the Fine City of Norwich, she's almost definitely involved somewhere...
Those amongst you with a discerning palette may also recognise this adorable face as the other half of Mr Chihuahua Burritos, currently popping up in Bridewell Alley. That slightly knowing, contented look of hers? Guacamole on tap will do that for you.
To add to her list of accolades, Laura apparently also walks her dog past my house every day... (it's not a Chihuahua though, sorry folks)
I challenged Laura to style an outfit that she would personally wear, purely from clothing and accessories found in the Age UK Norwich shop on London Street. Oh, and all in 30 minutes... Here she is, pretending to look casual as I pop out and pap her from behind a handbag...
You all know the drill by now- after Laura had decided on her final outfit and emerged from the changing room like a butterfly from a chrysalis (to be honest that's a rather harsh simile, she looked pretty awesome in the outfit she arrived in- but I'm writing for dramatic effect here, peoples), we popped outside for a little photo shoot. I know you can't wait to see the results! Thankfully, you don't have to...
What do you think? We think Laura nailed this challenge- she looks amazing! Charity Shop Style skillz!
Do you have what it takes to put together a look purely from charity shop clothing...? Get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or, if you think you could take this one stage further and create a catwalk-ready collection by upcycling charity shop clothing- register now for The Challenge! Go on, we dare you ;-)
How to... Make an Upcycled Bag.
Would you know that this bag was made from an old tea-towel and the strap from an unused holdall?
Well it is! Elaine is one of our Norwich Fashion Jam Experts, who will be on hand during The Challenge (still time to enter, folks!) to offer you her technical know-how; which she has a lot of! Elaine is a primary school teacher in her day job, but she loves getting involved in creative projects- like making upcycled bags out of tea towels!
She has put together this handy how-to for all of you budding upcyclers- enjoy!
How to make your bag:
You will need:
One tea towel, one piece of scrap fabric and a used holdall strap (If the NFJ team could interject here, guys, you could also use a belt or anything similar)
1) Take a tea towel. Fold it in half. Then fold it so it measures 32cm by 36cm.
2) Cut to size. You can use any spare fabric for trim on another bag.
3) Place tea towel fabric on top of your lining fabric - this could be an old remnant, piece of blouse or skirt fabric etc
4) Take the lining first. Place the good sides together and stitch along the bottom and one side (the fold is the other side) and...
5. ...It’s a bag! Just turn over 2cm around top and stitch in place.
6) Leave the lining inside-out, as it's going to go inside your bag.
7) Unpick along one side of the tea towel (the opposite side is where you cut the fabric
8) Pin both edges (right sides together). Stitch.
9) Corners next. Turn so a triangle appears (side seam on fold of bottom seam). Measure 3.5cm in. Draw a line. Stitch along line and repeat on other corner.
10) Choose your handles. Old belts, straps off holdalls, curtain tape etc.
11) Measure 2 exact desired lengths. Mine is the unused spare holdall strap. I have left my clips on as a feature.
12) Place and pin strap 7cm in from either side.
13) Sew a cross gate pattern for strength on each of the 4 ends of straps.
14. Place lining inside the bag outer, matching up your seams. Pin along the top edge.
15) Enjoy your finished bag!
You can fold over the top for a different look...
We hope you enjoyed Elaine's tutorial on how to make an upcycled bag!
Do you have an upcycling project you'd like to tell us about? Get in touch at email@example.com !
Claire is an award-winning style coach, Image Consultant and personal shopper who resides in the Norfolk area.
Claire got in touch with the Norwich Fashion Jam team to take up our Charity Shop Style challenge at the Age UK shop on London Street, Norwich. However, it was clear from chatting to Claire that she is a HUGE advocate for sustainable style and wearing what she calls 'pre-loved' clothing. We love this term, folks.
So... we asked her to tell you all a little bit about herself!
If you want to know more about Claire and what she does (which we know you will do immediately after reading her article) you can do that via her website or her Facebook page. Oh, and keep your eyes peeled for her Charity Shop Style Challenge later in the week! But for now, over to you, Claire:
Let me introduce myself to you.
I’m Claire Bunton and have been an Image Consultant and Style Coach for the past 12 years.
Based in North Norfolk, I work with women locally, nationally and internationally.
I am thrilled to be asked by Norwich Fashion Jam to write this article for you.
My job is to help women transform how they look, think and feel about themselves. Because when you look good you feel so much better about yourself, and my aim is to help as many women as possible increase their confidence.
So along with finding best shapes and colours for someone to wear, I spend a lot of time with the client working on the clothes that suit their personality and lifestyle.
Being an Image Consultant is as much, if not more, about discovering the right STYLE for you rather than Fashion for fashion’s sake. That said however, it is important for most of us to look current. I doubt any one would go out of their way to look “old fashioned”.
A misconception about hiring an Image Consultant is that you will have to get rid of all your clothes and start again...
Here are my top 5 Styletastic tips for buying pre-loved clothes:
1. Know what you want: It is easy to get carried away when purchasing pre-loved clothing and accessories as you can often find items at a fraction of the cost of something new. However, something I teach my clients is how to wear all of their clothes rather than just a selection. So identify from your existing wardrobe what you need to make it complete. It could be you need a red belt, a black bag, a blue v neck jumper etc.
Add these to a list, so that when you are in the shop you know exactly what you are looking for.
2. Know your existing wardrobe: I have a simple rule for my clients when shopping. Any new purchase should go with at least 3 other things in your wardrobe. You don’t have to have a whole outfit of pre-loved clothing. Why not look for a fabulous suit jacket that will go with your favourite jeans and create a really elegant smart casual outfit that is individual
3. Be creative: OK you might not find the EXACT item you are looking for, but with a little bit of creativity you can make it so. If, for example a jacket you own is too dark near your face, look for a paler scarf or an item you can adapt to make a lighter coloured collar.
4. Think outside the box: Look for accessories that will completely transform existing outfits. If an item you find doesn’t fit perfectly, what can you do to make it do so? As an example, a baggy cardigan usually makes a woman look larger rather than hiding areas she may not like. So why not create a wrap around cardigan, by finding a gorgeous brooch in a charity shop and securing it in place, making the cardi look stylish, individual and showing off your gorgeous waist at the same time.
5. Do your bit for charity. I know it’s a lot easier for many of us to go online and purchase pre-loved items from the auction sites out there, but nothing beats actually going into a shop, feeling the fabric, trying it on to make sure it fits and knowing that your money is going to a great cause. You will also save on the ever increasing postage prices.
The Norwich Fashion Jam Challenge takes place on 11th and 12th March and you can still enter.
So why not take your creativity to the max and create a catwalk ready collection from Charity Shop Clothing in 24 hours. Put your stamp on the outfit – style a whole outfit from the clothing, deconstruct, reconstruct, print on, paint on, embroider – whatever your creative edge is, put it into practice and I bet you will be amazed at what you come up with.
You can find out more about Claire Bunton – The Image Consultant at www.clairebunton.co.uk
I have met Abi on a few occasions now, and I must say, this image pretty much sums her up. Ballgown. Pink Louboutins. Not your typical office look, perhaps, but believe me, if anyone could style that out, it would be this girl.
Norwich's own answer to Carrie Bradshaw, Abi is, in her own words, a 'Fashion lover, Stylist and Blogger' who can style anything from 'bridal to boudoir and boho to Gothic'. Having seen her in action, I know this to be true! Abi manages a successful styling career alongside her youthwork job and being a full-time mum to the gorgeous Immy (who is becoming something of a style icon in her own right while still at primary school)- and she does all this in super-amazing shoes. I mean, If she wasn't so lovely, I would actually hate her. (Phillip Treacy) hats off to you, Ms Gray!
I gave Abi the challenge to dress the gorgeous Kate in an outfit sourced completely from garments and accessories found in the Age UK Norwich shop on London Street. Oh, and there was a time limit, of course. Abi had 30 minutes, and she managed to style not one, but TWO outfits in that time. This girl got skillz.
So outfit number one was ready to go. But not before Abi could try on the shoes herself. Sadly, not quite the right fit, but we were both loving the leopard print/pink and black skirt combination...
These are very high shoes, which Abi carried off with grace and poise. Kate, on the other hand, was rather more like Bambi on ice...
I did briefly fear that we might have a Naomi Campbell circa 1993 situation on our hands, but after acclimatising to the lack of oxygen at such a great height, Kate managed to successfully strut her stuff for the camera.
I know you're all dying to see, aren't you...?
You might remember that I mentioned two outfits... well that would be correct. Abi's first question to me when she arrived was: 'Can I do more than one...?' To which my response was rather enthusiastically in the affirmative.
One thing I have noted about Abi, is her attention to details. I am not very good at accessories myself, I tend to wear the same necklace and rings every day without going through the terribly involved process of actually having to take them off or put them back on again. Perish the thought! And taking stuff out of my bag to put it in a different bag that complements my outfit, I mean, who has time for that, right? Ahem.
Abi, like SJP, knows the power of accessorising well. Here she is, adjusting an appropriate necklace. You can see the stacked bangles in complementary colours on Kate's wrist. In a moment, Abi will add a hot pink bag. I think I need to up my accessory game, folks.
Here's outfit number two:
Our verdict is...? Nailed it. Thanks Abi! Kate certainly appreciated her Charity Shop Makeover, as she went ahead and bought this dress. We think it looks fab on her!
If you like what Abi has done here, you can see more of her work at her website, and read about her exploits in life and style on her blog. You're welcome!
Stylist and model, pose together. Handbag game is strong, yo.
If you think you're up to styling an outfit purely from charity shop clothing, get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org or even enter our 24 hour challenge at the Forum! Go on, we dare you ;-)
Or as she is known to most of the Norwich Fash Pack, the Fabulous Miss K.
Karen is, in her own words, a 'Vintage Fashion Stylist and Lifestyle Consultant, Events Manager, blogger and vintage veteran'. She also writes, among other subjects, on 'living well for less' and 'how to make the most of your wardrobe' and how 'vintage is for everyone'- which are all topics that are completely in line with the Norwich Fashion Jam ethos.
Armed only with coffee, her incredible eye for style and the occasional pair of brightly-coloured tights, this woman can whip up a catwalk-worthy sustainable-style masterpiece quicker than you can say 'Gucci Cruise 2016', with one hand tied behind her back. Actually, both hands. The point is, she's good, peoples. I mean, just look at that winter-white fur/vintage skirt combo. Accessorised perfectly with the universal Street Style essential- the takeaway coffee. Yes, today's Charity Shop Style Challenge was in safe hands...
Karen's job today was to dress the lovely Lauren from an outfit purely made up of garments and accessories from the Age UK store on London Street. Lauren is an office manager who moonlights as a fashion model in her spare time and who spent her formative years with me, in the 90s, watching Clueless on repeat and then attempting to emulate Alicia Silverstone by wearing crocheted knee-high socks to middle school. No one got it but us, and we didn't care. Lauren is also polite and generous enough not to get offended when halfway through a conversation I spot a leopard print skirt and promptly cut her off mid-sentence by squealing, disappearing then reappearing with it in my hand.
People need friends like this in their lives...
Karen's first question to Lauren was 'What shoe size are you?' - I'm loving this woman's priorities, folks!
Having decisively selected a vintage-inspired mini-dress and red go-go-esque calf-length boots then miraculously producing some aubergine-hued hosiery from her handbag (what else does she have in there, I wonder...?) Karen ushered Lauren towards the fitting room. Here she has emerged, and Karen adjusts a sleeve and adds a gorgeous vintage belt. Then we took some arty shots outside, which I know you're dying to see! Here you go, y'all:
Doesn't she look incredible? We think so! And Karen's outfit is now in pride of place in the Age UK Norwich shop window for all to see. Along with a gent's ensemble styled by the Norwich Fashion Jam team. I detect a bit of a vintage vibe going on here...
And here they are, stylist and model, both looking as 'fabulous' as one might expect! Thanks guys, you definitely nailed our Charity Shop Style Challenge!
If you fancy yourself a charity shop stylista and you want to have a go at styling an outfit for our blog, get in touch on email@example.com - we look forward to hearing from you!
So the EDP/Evening News-readers amongst you might recognise this image from the papers this week! The full article can be found here if you didn't manage to catch it. We're really excited that registration for The Challenge is open and people are now signing up to enter! You can do that here, by the way...
The gorgeous model who is working the Westwood-esque tweed ensemble is the very wonderful Chloe, who is one half of the incredible team organising Norwich City Council's One Planet Norwich sustainable living festival, who are hosting The Challenge for us. Check them out at their Facebook page, it's going to be a great weekend and we are very excited to be bringing the sustainable style element to their packed-out programme over the weekend.
After the press photographer had gone, we thought it would be a waste not to do a little photoshoot of our own while we were there... We took a few snaps of Chloe in her 100% charity shop outfit which we know you are dying to see, aren't you...?
Well here you go:
Chloe wears mustard yellow scarf, ex-topshop £1.99 (I know this because I bought the scarf afterwards. Oops!) vintage tweed skirt (just seen) cinched with two unbranded belts, drape fabric jacket and black vest top (for modesty reasons, folks!) Chloe's own. What you can't see in this image are the electric blue metallic shoes by office, but they are epic.
Here are the rest of the snaps we took, for you to view Chloe's outfit in all its glory! We think she looks amazing!
Meet Lauren and Will.
Lauren and Will have been a couple for...
Sorry, this isn't actually an advertising feature for achingly cool French clothing brand The Kooples, although you might be forgiven for thinking so... (I mean look at them!)
Lauren and Will are actually a couple, though, so I was very honoured when they gave up their Valentines Day morning (which they could have spent feeding each other heart-shaped cupcakes and other similar romantic activities) to take up the Norwich Fashion Jam Style Challenge at the Age UK shop on London Street.
Many of you might recognise this particular style-savvy pair...
Will's alter-ego is local guitar act 'Old Feathers'- check him out at a gig venue near you (including the Norwich Fashion Jam show on March 14th!)- and Lauren is the founder of successful local jewellery brand 'Please Stand By' whose quirky illustrated neckwear adorns the collars of all the Norwich Fash Pack. Her designs are currently being sold on ASOS among other places, definitely check them out!
With a Guitarist and a Jewellery Designer on board, we were obviously onto a winner in the style stakes.
Will and Lauren told me that they regularly shop in charity shops and they both obviously have a great eye for putting interesting pieces together.
I set the guys a challenge to put together an outfit in 30 minutes that they would happily wear, all from garments and accessories that they could find in the Age UK London Street shop.
After some quick decision-making, Lauren and Will disappeared into their changing rooms ready to emerge in their head-to-toe charity shop outfits! Here's what they came up with...
Here at the Norwich Fashion Jam office, we think they did a pretty amazing job! Both our models acquired a new purchase- Will couldn't walk away from an Issey Miyake shirt for £7.99, and Lauren was very taken with the blue coat, which ended up going home with her at £6.99, along with three pairs of vintage 80s earrings at 99p a pop- we shouldn't be surprised really, she's got an eye for jewellery!
Here are the rest of the shots showing their outfits in all their glory. We think they look incredible...
If you think you've got the skills to take up the Norwich Fashion Jam Style Challenge and style an outfit for our blog, get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.org !