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