Five easy ways to update your wardrobe for spring

April 6, 2016

Striped top flowered skirt Oasis Boden

Stuck in a post-pregnancy style rut? It’s so easily done, isn’t it? Especially due to the day-to-day constraints of baby and toddler parenting (where anything too impractical or too nice immediately becomes a magnet for sticky hands, sippy cup leaks and colourful craft supplies).

Oasis outfit - flowered top and patterned trousers

So when an invite to a personal stylist session at intu Bromley landed in my inbox it took me about half a second to say yes please. I’m much more of a spring / summer dresser, because I’m *always* cold in autumn and winter – fleece lined tights, ten jumpers and sofa blankets are my ‘go to’ – so anything or anyone that would give me some practical and useful fashion tips for the new season sounded good to me.

intu Bromley – or ‘The Glades’ as everyone who’s lived in Bromley for longer than us calls it – is our local shopping centre and the style consultation was with intu Bromley stylist Juliet. For anyone who’s around south London, seriously, book one in – it’s a completely free service. Juliet can give – excellent – advice on anything from a quick wardrobe refresh, to new jeans and bra fittings and can even help you to pick out perfect presents, and did I mention that it’s all free? You just need to book in advance.

The style service consists of a 30 minute consultation followed by an hour and a half of shopping. To start off I filled out a questionnaire about my shopping habits (mainly ASOS, H&M and Zara, often online, at night) and my least favourite body parts – tops of arms – and favourite parts of my body – erm…not too sure. We talked about my body shape and what I like to wear – slightly nicer version of day-to-day things, if that’s even a thing, and then talked about key fashion trends for this year (from nautical to boho via pink).

And then it was on to shopping.

We went to Oasis, somewhere I’ve not been in years as it reminds me of being in my twenties when I first came to London and I had a teal tweed coat with a fur collar that I thought was the most amazingly Carrie Bradshaw thing ever (I loved that coat!).

But I was amazed at how there were so many things I loved in the current selection. Juliet selected a lot of items that I probably wouldn’t have thought to try, like this soda pink dress, which was the last thing in the shop I’d have picked out myself but I really, really liked it.

Oasis soda pink dress

(You can see a selection of the outfits I tried on over on the intu Bromley Instagram, and also my Instagram if you’re not following me already).

When I tried everything on what I loved was the way Juliet styled things up – from picking out accessories to suggesting different ways to wear a waistband, combinations of things to wear together and so on – loads of things that I wouldn’t have thought of myself.

So here’s the outfits I went for, and five really easy ways to update your wardrobe for spring:

Clashing patterns:  Patterns are an easy way of adding something to an outfit, which probably explains why most mums I know have a massive breton top problem. Sometimes I go really crazy and clash leopard with stripes, but that’s about as far as I go. Juliet suggested mixing matching patterns instead *shocked face emoji* which I loved, especially with this patterned camisole and patterned trousers combo.

Patterned trousers and vest top

Denim alternatives: Like most people I wear a lot of denim, for obvious easy reasons. But Juliet suggested khaki as denim alternative, in this khaki dress with a pleated skirt, which is a really easy day wear (and the patterned trousers and flowery skirt are also easy non-jean ideas)

Oasis khaki dress plus shirt

But using denim to toughen things up: As I spend most of my life wrangling toddlers or working from home, anything too dressy will look ridiculous on the pre-school run or walk to the shop. I also don’t like looking too ‘done’ or pretty – so she suggested wearing a denim shirt or jacket over the top of dresses. This is a time-old trick, but I loved the slightly different shape of the Oasis denim shirt in the photo above (as you can never have too many, right? See also: striped tops).

Colour: Something I’ve traditionally run from, screaming, because when you’re pale and ginger everyone tells you to avoid strong colours –  pink, red, orange, brown, anything along those lines – like the plague. Although I am a bit more daring now I’m older – e.g. with red lipstick – I still try and keep things as neutral as possible. As part of the initial consultation Juliet also analysed what colour season I am and what colours will look best with my skintone and colouring (my mum had this done years ago and still swears by it). I was amazed at the bold tones that actually worked.

When it came to putting this into practise with clothes, I still love the soda pink chiffon dress above but sadly it’s a statement that needs an occasion (and none of my friends are having a fancy wedding this year).

But I went for a hint of colour in the coral camisole, which totally counts, right? Again, not something I’d have even considered myself.

Pick new things you wouldn’t normally wear…mixed with what’s in your wardrobe: What was great about the style session was having Juliet suggest new things, as I find it so easy just to go for what I’m used to. I was surprised by how much I liked the black flowered skirt, as I wouldn’t have picked it out as it seems too dressy – but paired with a top I already had it’s definitely something I’d wear during the day when it’s warmer.

Striped top and flowered skirt

We’d originally said we would go to Zara but ran out of time, so all these clothes are from Oasis, apart from my stripey top which is Boden and shoes that are M&S)  But I’m going to go back and see Juliet when I have a chance as I need some new jeans, and love these items so much and they’re all pretty practical things I can wear during the day (apart from the necklaces…they’re an evening-only purchase! Juliet’s tip – ‘stash them in your handbag!’)

P.S. ‘Outfit’ poses are so tricky! I never know what to do with my hands…

Oasis spring outfit

I was given an intu Bromley shopping voucher for the purposes of this post, but the style service is free. Stuck in a post-baby style rut? Seriously, go along. intu Bromley currently running a fashion event, and you can find out more info on trends, hero pieces, retailers and style tips for S/S 16 on the dedicated online fashion hub.

P.S. There’s still a few days left in the MAD Blog awards nominations – I’d love one for Best Pre-School blog if you’ve not nominated already, thank you! x

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  • Alison

    April 6, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    Love ALL of these outfits! I would never have thought of clashing those two floral prints together, but they go so well together, don’t they?

  • Polly

    April 6, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    you look great in all of those! I’d love a style consultation – stuck in a rut atm and need some help 😉

  • Eleanor

    April 7, 2016 at 6:19 am

    Those trousers with the grey and orange pattern, and the wonderful pink dress, you look so pretty!

    1. gillian

      April 7, 2016 at 10:31 pm

      Thank you, thank you! x

  • Kathryn

    April 9, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    Gillian do you have any idea what a hottie you are? You pull off these outfits effortlessly and I love the pattern play. The colours look great on you too. Plus can I just say you have a beautiful figure! xx

  • Laura

    April 12, 2016 at 1:00 am

    Gillian I literally love all of these looks – I’m feeling in a real style slump at the moment and this has certainly given me some inspiration to pick up a few new pieces for spring summer

    Laura x

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