Anna Mabin is a personal stylist to clients in Brisbane, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast and regional Queensland, creating for each customer a wardrobe that is bespoke to their personality and allows them to feel their best.
We spend most of the year trying to stay cool, so we don’t tend to devote a lot of our wardrobe space to keeping warm. If you’re looking for a winter wardrobe update, here are my recommendations for five styles that are easy to wear, versatile and can typically be worn through to Spring, so they’ll earn their keep.
1. Raffia shoes – These are the best alternative to a winter boot. They solve for the in-between problem of something dressier than a trainer and less dressy than a boot. If you know me, you will know I rock an animal print shoe almost every day. Until now, it’s been my go-to for adding texture to my outfits in an effortless way. This was until I discovered raffia. I’m pretty sure this is going to be my next trans-seasonal investment.
2. Long-sleeve midi dresses - Being pale, I personally love this look because regardless of how pale my legs are, the midi dress only shows a tiny amount of skin so your white pins won’t blind anyone. What a win! Super stylish, breezy and (**warning- cliche line coming up) can go from desk to date, no worries!
3. Coloured denim jeans (take or leave the rips) - you can fall into the trap of wearing all black in winter or just sticking to the classic winter colours like indigo blue or light blue for denim jeans. How about trying a different colour on the bottom to what you’re used to? Perhaps a light grey jean? Light grey with a tan leather shoe/raffia brogue for a simple look during the day or perhaps you could try a different cut like a cropped straight leg with a fringed hemline.
4. Sleeveless vests: The-best-layering-piece-you-will-ever-invest-in. Layer with a long sleeve blouse in Winter or wear with a simple sleeveless knit during warmer Spring/Autumn evenings. If you think of three as the magic number for items of clothing in an outfit, then the sleeveless vest is the third item and easily dresses up jeans and a top. If you’re short, choose a vest length that’s no longer than mid thigh.
I’m personally loving this one (and may just make a purchase while writing this blog post…) Hurry - on sale now! But there are a few other Sass and Bide sleeveless vests on sale so if you miss this one, there are two others I spotted.
5. Felt hats (or even a beret) - because you still have to be sun smart in winter in Australia. And it’s the only time you can get away with felt without your head exploding from heat.
I work in the business of personal styling, so it almost goes without saying that I think self-care is very important. It's one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves time and again. Yet somehow I was still not totally on board with the concept of a life coach. I help people identify what they would like to improve and teach them tools and tricks to do it. But I wasn't sure what a life coach actually offered and why it would be useful.
Enter Jess Heading, London-based life coach. After being introduced through friends, I quickly realised this was someone I needed on my side. A few years into running my own business, I had figured out I wanted someone who could help me take things to the next level, but I didn't know quite how to find them. That's exactly what I got, plus some! Turns out, where I use colours and draping to help people feel like an amazing version of themselves, she offered real tools so I could better understand my goals, identify limitations and come up with a plan for how to get there.
Turns out there was far more crossover between life coaching and styling than I could've realised. I've found it so useful, Jess and I have teamed up and created a special package for A|M clients to get the benefit of life coaching, just like I got from Jess. It's called the Style + Soul Package and you can read all about it here: CONFIDENCE IGNITER: Style + Soul Package.
But first, you are probably wondering some of the things I wondered, like what on earth a life coach actually does and how it can benefit people like you and me. For that, it's probably best to let Jess explain. Here's an interview I did with Jess on all things life coaching.
What is life coaching?
Coaching is a process of unlocking and maximising potential. It helps you look at where you are now, where you’d like to be, and what's holding you back. Your coach's role is to help you to overcome fear and self-doubt and connect to your inner brilliance to get clear on what you want and go for it! It's motivational, inspiring and action driven. Coaching can help you to take a fresh approach to old issues, to work out what matters most, to defuse limiting beliefs and habits, and to create fulfilling and lasting change.
How is life coaching different to counselling, therapy or executive coaching?
In counselling or therapy, the primary focus is on exploring the historical roots of your challenges in order to heal psychological or emotional wounds.
Coaching is future-focused with the aim of moving forward towards what you want. In coaching, YOU are the expert. The role of a coach is to ask the right questions and offer effective tools to empower you to connect to your inner wisdom and move forward in a way that feels right for you.
Life coaching is similar in style and approach to executive coaching; what tends to differ are the topic areas and purpose. Executive coaching is generally focused on becoming a more powerful and effective leader; life coaching focuses on personal development related to building self confidence, trusting yourself and going for what you want.
Who can benefit from life coaching?
Anyone! Seriously. You don't even need to be a 'believer' - I've worked with many sceptics who aren't exactly sure what they've signed up for and have ended up loving it!
What should I expect from a spark session (the style + soul Package session with jess)?
We'll explore what holds you back from feeling confident and going for what you want; and were confidence really comes from (it's not what you think!) We’ll delve into your vision and dreams, fears and blocks. You’ll get super clear on what’s important to you – your values and priorities – and we’ll craft next steps to help get you where you want to be. Through our exploration together, we'll clear out worry, doubt and stuckness and uncover your inner wisdom, joy and freedom.
How does it work? What is the session length and format?
Our spark session will consist of a two hour session held via Skype or WhatsApp audio call at a time that works for you. If you'd prefer to split our time into 2 x one hour sessions we can do that too.
What should I do to prepare?
You'll receive a welcome pack from me which I'll ask you to complete before our session so we can make the most of our time together. It contains a series of questions designed to get you thinking about what you want from the session. Other than that - you need only bring your lovely self!
Do you have personal experience of battling with self-confidence?
Hell YES! Confidence was something I struggled with for close to 30 years, which is one of the reasons why I'm so passionate about the work that I do. My lack of confidence and harsh inner critic held me back from enjoying time with friends (because I was constantly worried they secretly hated me), doing my favourite things like swimming in the ocean (because I was so self-conscious about my body), pursuing opportunities (because I didn't feel I was good enough) - the list goes on. I know firsthand what it's like to be plagued with self-doubt and feel like it will always be a 'thing'; and then to come out the other side with a sense of peace and self-love. That's not to say I don't still have some insecure thoughts; but they don't torture me or hold me back like they used to. And that for me is freedom.
Image via Pinterest. Designer: Dennis Basso NYC, Resort 2018
There are no rules when it comes to creating your own personal style, but there are definitely a few when it comes to being noticed trackside by a fashions of the field judge. Creating a look that is unique, aspirational and complementary to your personal style will catch the eye of the judges. To help you get it right, here are a few key points to keep in mind.
1. Dress appropriately for the season Typically, heavy fabrics and felt headpieces should be left to winter carnivals. Embrace the beautiful spring weather by adding pops of bright colour, head pieces made of lighter fabrics and an open-toe or strappy heel.
2. Legs or cleavage, best not bothThere’s nothing worse than being self-conscious in what you’re wearing and also having to hitch your dress down every 5 steps you take. An appropriate trackside length of dress or skirt is on the knee or below if you’re showing cleavage. If your neckline is more modest, you can get away with having a slightly higher hemline. The best question to ask yourself, if you’re wondering whether your outfit is appropriate for FOTF is, ‘would I wear this to a wedding?’.
4. Wear a headpiece (a must if you want to place)There are no rules when it comes to hat vs. headpiece. Don’t be afraid to be creative with whichever you choose, and use it as an opportunity to showcase your individuality. Your hat or headpiece should make a statement and ideally complement your shoes and purse. Team a large drop earring with a headband for the ultimate chic look. A|M is currently crushing on the following Brisbane labels: Enpointe Collective,By Jimena Alejandra for bold accessories. If you're in the market for a hat or headpiece, Millinery Market have great options to rent or buy.
5. Attention to detailIt’s the little things like remembering to polish your nails as well as flawless hair and make-up that should not be forgotten. If you’re planning to wear sunglasses on the day (remove if you're planning to enter in to Fashions on the Field) have fun with this and buy a pair that match your outfit instead of the ones you wear daily. This will make you feel a little more special and tie the outfit together nicely. 6. Colours of the season Remember those delicious pastel coloured candy necklaces when you were growing up? (Oh boy, I loved them!) This is the perfect visual to sum up the colour palette for Spring racing 2017. Pastel blues, delicate pinks and pale yellows are the stand outs. If these aren't your colours, or you're afraid of wearing such pale colours, try subtly working them in to your headwear for the on-trend nod of approval. Finally, the best thing you can do is to have fun with it and enjoy being trackside!
Online styling services for special occasion / racewear with Anna are priced at $65 / hour (minimum 3 hours)
In order to make informed decisions about where you shop, you need reliable information on each brand's practices. For this, I used the app Good On You. It's very simple to use and rates stores across three areas: Labour (fair wages and working conditions), Environmental Impact and Animal Welfare. I did find some brands haven't been rated in the app yet, however the most common chain stores are almost all included. Below are some of the brands we shopped at during our session as they not only fit my client's style and wardrobe needs, but also got the tick of approval from 'Good On You'. Brands such as Witchery, Country Road, Trenery and Levis scored the highest when it came to stores for male and female everyday casual wear. Cue and Veronika Maine scored highest for corporate wear. On a side note, both brands still manufacture much of their product in Australia. During my research I found other brands that impressed me and, while they did not suit my client's style, I will be sourcing looks from them in future.For women: Bracewell + Lounge - http://www.shopbracewell.com/productsThe M|N|M|L - https://www.themnml.com.au The Great Beyond - http://the-great-beyond.comFor men:No Nasties - https://www.nonasties.in/collections/mensBrave GentleMan - https://www.bravegentleman.com/index.php/ People Tree - http://www.peopletree.co.uk And don't forget Witcheryman, Levis and Country Road. When I asked my client what started this journey for her, she mentioned the documentary, The True Cost. If you haven't seen it already, I recommend it. After watching it, some people want to throw away everything in their wardrobe and start again, shopping ethically. It's not an approach I would recommend - a decision to shop ethically in future doesn't mean you need to throw away clothes that don't conform to your new ideals. Discarding them before their time is wasteful.On the topic of unethically-produced fashion, a friend of mine recently asked me if I felt stylists exacerbate the problem by encouraging mindless consumerism. In fact, I believe a stylist does the opposite. A good stylist should help their client be mindful when shopping, guiding them to garments that are well considered and reducing the likelihood of impulse and wasteful purchases. Hopefully this article has left you curious to question what small changes you could make to your shopping behaviour. We can all make an impact.
Feeling unmotivated by the clothes in your wardrobe? Missing clothes that you've blamed your sibling or friend for losing when in fact, they're actually scrunched in a ball at the back of your wardrobe? Sometimes, the best thing to do to be inspired by your own wardrobe is to have a clean out and get rid of the pieces that are limiting you from feeling good in what you wear everyday. And it doesn't have to take forever to do it!Here's my top three style tips that will make your clean out constructive and leave you feeling organised. Before you start Do yourself a favour and purchase matching coat hangers. Wooden coat hangers are my recommendation, as they don't leave marks on delicate garments like the metal ones do. A cheaper alternative are the black flocked (velvet look) coat hangers. These can be purchased from Kmart. Another tip before you start is to lay all items of clothing on your bed so you can see what you're working with. This will force you to finish the clean out in one day and get the items you're keeping back in to your wardrobe so you can actually go to bed that evening.1. Try everything on before you let it go back in to your wardrobe Only let things back into your wardrobe if they fit into the following:
appears to be in good condition
makes you feel good
suits your body shape (and accentuates your assets)
fits you (ditch anything that's either two sizes too big or two sizes too small)
you've worn it in the last two years.
Everyone has items of clothing that they can't part with because of the memories attached to them. It's fine to keep these, however, store these in a section of your wardrobe that you don't look at every day. This will make it easier in the morning not having to sift through these and also, it will be like looking at a whole new wardrobe come the change in seasons!2. Identify the wardrobe gaps You don't need a wardrobe filled exclusively with on-trend pieces. You need the basics to make those statement or trend pieces work.In order to have a wardrobe that's practical, ensure you have classic pieces that suit your body shape and are of good quality. An example of these would be a well cut pair of jeans, fresh white tee and a little black dress (LBD). Identify your gaps and write a list of what's missing so you can slowly fill those gaps.3. Organise your wardrobe according to the seasonOnly have the garments relevant to the season you're currently in. That way you can actually wear what's directly in front of you when you look in your wardrobe. There's no point keeping your summer dresses front and centre in the middle of winter. At the start of each season, pack away the things you won't be wearing for a while. This saves you time each morning because everything you're looking at is what you're likely to actually wear. It also makes you feel like you have a new wardrobe when you do the seasonal changeover.
It’s a fantastic feeling to find unique fashion pieces that everybody wants but nobody else has, and one of the best ways to do this is by shopping for vintage.That doesn’t have to mean a wardrobe of outfits blaring straight from the sixties (unless that’s the look you’re going for, in which case more power to you). If you get it right, vintage shopping can result in one-off pieces that help you create stand-out outfits which in turn produce a wardrobe that friends and strangers alike will envy.Start by only buying things you truly love and avoid being sucked in by ‘bargains’. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and persuade yourself to buy a piece because it’s cheap and unique, but take a moment to be sure everything you bring back to your wardrobe is a true reflection of your personal style and will add value to your outfits.Keep an open-mind or you can overlook the best finds. And also remind yourself that it’s okay to come home with nothing at all – sometimes the fun of vintage shopping is in the browsing.A quick online search will bring up vintage shops near you. Antique centres are a great place to start because they house treasures sourced by many sellers, who will likely specialise in different eras and styles.And when you’ve found where you intend to shop, here are six simple questions to ask yourself when hunting for vintage fashion.1. What condition is the piece in? Items that are faded and look tired, losing their stretch, missing buttons or embellishments are sometimes more hassle than they’re worth. Make sure you check the garment thoroughly for imperfections.2. Will I wear this? Take a quick photo of your existing wardrobe before you go shopping. It makes it much easier to decide whether what you’re trying on will go with anything back in your wardrobe.If you have a bad habit of buying things that don’t go with what you already own, try limiting yourself to vintage accessories. Take a photo of a few outfits you wear often and have them in mind when looking at accessories. Leather belts are an easy place to start. This is also a good approach if you find yourself overwhelmed by choice in a vintage store.3. Do I already have something similar? We are constantly drawn to familiarity. Do you bring items home only to discover you’ve already got something extremely similar? Again, take a photo of your existing wardrobe – it will help you decrease the chances of bringing home doppelgangers.4. Will this need tailoring? If you’re going to buy something that doesn’t fit perfectly, don’t let it sit in your wardrobe taking up space – get it tailored immediately. Also keep in mind that tailoring isn’t a cheap exercise so if you’re going to the trouble, make sure it’s for a piece you really love. When taking an item to get tailored, be very specific about what you want. For example, never assume the tailor knows you want stitching in a certain colour or the sleeves to be a certain length.5. Is the price right? Ask if the marked price is the best they can do. As New York fashion collector Iris Apfel says, if you don’t ask you may be doing the seller a disservice – if you don’t haggle, they’ll think they’ve priced it too cheap.6. Is this a legitimate piece or am I buying counterfeit? If you’re buying fashion by well known and high-end brands, do your research to make sure the piece is legitimate. A quick google on how to distinguish fakes of a particular brand is a good place to start.At first glance you may be able to tell an item is a fake by poor workmanship and cheap materials like dodgy zippers or the substandard look and feel of synthetic leather, but sometimes it takes a closer inspection.For example, if you wanted a Chanel classic flap bag, the hardware should never bend or tarnish - that includes zippers, buckles and chains. If the bag has quilted stitching, the stitching on the flap of the bag should align with the stitching on the body of the bag when it’s closed. That level of detail is beyond most replica bags.Let the treasure hunt begin! X
The key to mastering trackside style if you’re a male is to take notice of the finer details. If you’re planning to wear a suit and tie, be careful that your look is not too corporate - ask yourself if you look like you’ve just come from the office. If you want to be in the running for fashions on the field, follow these three simple steps to perfect your outfit.1. Wear spring coloursCelebrate the warmer weather by leaving your black suit in the wardrobe and opt for a lighter colour instead. This doesn't mean turning up to the track in a bright pink safari suit though. Think navy, grey and blue suits and perhaps add a pocket square or flower pin to your outfit for point of difference.2. Accessorise These days it takes more than just a well-cut suit (although this is definitely a good start), to make the ladies’ heads turn. It’s details like a dress watch, cufflinks, a classy pair of sunglasses or even a tie pin that can make a gentleman stand out. Your belt and shoes should be in good condition and compliment each other. You can't go wrong with classic styles (woven belts get two thumbs up this season) in black or brown leather. Just make sure they’re polished.3. Don’t neglect your sock choiceNothing ruins a sharp suit like white socks that show when you’re sitting down. The socks you wear to the gym are not welcome trackside. Wear socks that tie in with your outfit. If in doubt, just go dark. Novelty has no place here but argyle and intricate patterns can work if paired carefully.Most importantly have fun with your own style and make your look original.
FACT: 8 out of the 10 women I asked said they hate jeans shopping. This breaks my heart a little bit, because a good pair of jeans should be like an old friend – warm, comfortable and forgiving of your flaws. The hardest part about jeans shopping is finding the elusive perfect fit, a treasure hunt made all the more traumatic by 7-trillion watt light bulbs in the changing rooms and a tendency to leave jeans shopping until we’ve started to develop our dumpling-induced layer of winter insulation.But it doesn’t have to be so hard. Follow these five simple tips to ease the pain. 1. Get the lowdown from the store assistant Snare the first store assistant you can and brief them on what you’re looking for. Help them to help you. Give them as much information as you can. For example, the colour you’re after, whether you like embellishments on the pockets, if you like a particular wash or rips in the knees. You will save yourself a lot of time by letting them guide you to the styles you’re most likely to want.2. The eyes have it When you put a pair of jeans on, pay attention to where your eyes are drawn. If you’re noticing prominent kneecaps or bunching at your crotch, get them off and try again. Beware of thin and stretchy denim as it’s prone to accentuating lumps and bumps. If in doubt, try a thicker denim. 3. Balance and fit is key If you’re heavier up top, choose a cut of jeans that draws the eye straight down like a straight leg or boot cut. If you’re going to try a skinny leg, just make sure the top you pair with your skinny jeans doesn’t end at the widest part of your body if you want to avoid looking top heavy. 4. Don’t be loyal to the size you once were Be completely open-minded about the size of jeans you may leave the store with. You can rely on sizing being unreliable between brands and even styles within the same brand. So make sure you choose a size based only on fit, not on the digits on the tag. This is the one time you’re allowed to buy a garment that’s slightly on the tight side. Denim naturally gives as it’s worn so you want to go that little bit tighter to avoid saggy bum.5. Check in with your existing wardrobe Avoid buying a similar pair of jeans to those already in your wardrobe. It might sound obvious, but we are often subconsciously drawn to familiarity. So peruse your existing wardrobe before you shop to familiarise yourself with the jeans you already have and also to remind yourself of the pieces in your wardrobe you’d like to team with your new jeans. And now for a bonus tip…the most important one. Have you ever thought to approach jeans shopping with a totally different mentality? Instead of saying, “I’m not good enough for these jeans”, switch to “are these jeans good enough for me?” This may not lead you to the perfect pair of jeans any quicker, but it will keep your confidence intact and stop you from making a mediocre purchase.
Fast-fashion stores are great fun. There’s no reason you can’t find classics as well as on-trend pieces that can really suit you in stores like Zara, H&M and Top Shop. But you have to be careful that the lower prices don’t distract you from what you truly need in your wardrobe.Loud music, sale signs and eye-catching styles that you MUST have, can be overwhelming. Enter this scenario without being mentally prepared and you are your own worst nightmare. With a few tips in mind, you can get a lot out of these stores and dodge the pitfalls.1. Write a list Before you leave home, make a list of the gaps in your wardrobe. This always leads to wiser shopping. 2. Carry water Being parched while trying to reason with your thoughts is just not on, you amateur. 3. Set a timer on your phone If you walk around in a store for too long, you may eventually feel like you have to buy something. I’d recommend 20 minutes and if you’re planning to make a purchase after that time, be careful you haven’t crossed to the dark side where you’re telling yourself you need to buy something even though that ‘something’ may not be worth it. 4. Round it up Prices you can’t buy with exact cash are out to confuse you. If you’re debating whether or not to buy a piece that’s $57.77, round it up to a whole figure darling and ask yourself if that piece is actually worth that price. 5. Only go in the change room once If you’ve picked up 10 garments but they’ll only let you in the change room with 5, force yourself to cull the pieces you chose on impulse and don’t necessarily love. 6. Know the feeling of wardrobe love If you find yourself thinking, ‘it’s only $$$, I’ll just get it’, ask yourself these questions:1. Is the fit flattering me, from the front and behind? Ie. Is it bunching, pulling or drawing colour from my face?2. Will it wash well and suit my laundering habits?3. Does it give me confidence?4. Does the fabric feel nice on my skin?5. Am I buying this ‘just because’? (Oh dear, we still have a long way to go with you, don’t we)? If you don’t like the answer to any of the above questions, put it back, hold your head up high and know that EVERY GIRL does this at some stage.
The trick to having a great wardrobe is being really selective with what goes in there. If you’re mentally aware that everything you bring to your wardrobe has to earn its keep, you’ll find yourself more selective with what you purchase in one of these stores. And lastly, if nothing fits perfectly, that’s okay too. Sizing is so inconsistent these days and sometimes you have to work hard to find pieces that fit and flatter. When you do, it’s worth it. Remember, all bodies are good bodies so love the skin you’re in.Happy Easter xx
In my list of true great loves, wide-leg pants are right up there with friends, family and bacon. If you haven’t been converted yet, or you’re a little undecided, just hear me out. 1. A pair of Elle Macpherson’s legs comes with every purchase. This is true if you get a few things right. Firstly, the length is crucial. You need to make sure they aren’t too short or too long. Ultimately, they need to be just swishing above the ground when you’re walking. If you’re planning on wearing them with heels, I’d recommend taking the heels shopping with you, so you can try them on with the pants. Some stores offer a hemming service for around $10. One of these stores is Cue, which happens to have a wicked range of wide-leg styles at the moment (note: Cue stock sizes 6-14, ranging from 62-82cm waistline). Pants that have pleats ironed down the centre of each leg draw the eye down in long straight lines and make your legs appear thinner than they are. If you’re planning to wear flats, styles that have a pointed toe are another way to make your legs appear longer and these can also be worn with wide-leg pants. Again, the hem should swish just above the ground. Nine West have a good range of points for around $150 and vary from a 7–11cm heel. 2. Wide-leg pants can be part of a cutting edge outfit or a more classic style It’s particularly on-trend at the moment to wear a wide-legged pant with a fitted crop or if you prefer not to show your midriff, a top that sits just below the waistline (but isn’t long enough to tuck in) will also work. For a work environment, match wide-leg pants with a plain, collared, long-sleeved top and either roll the sleeves to ¾ to give a classic smart casual vibe or keep the sleeves long for a slightly more formal and sharp appearance. Jazz it up with a pink/orange lip and statement earrings. A note on versatility: when winter rolls around, wide-leg pants look great with a fitted turtleneck. Clasically. Cutting. Edge. 3. Wide-leg pants adapt to almost any body shape If your shape is heavier around the thighs, bottom and hips and you want to disguise this, try to look for a pair of wide-leg pants made of thicker fabric with no detailing on the front. You also may need to monitor the width of the wide leg and make sure there’s not too much excess fabric at the bottom. Avoid pants with detail such as pleats, heavy belts/sashes or pockets. If you tend to carry weight around your stomach, choose a slightly lower waistline with a wide band around the waist. And for the lean creatures out there, the palazzo-style, floaty, high-waisted, wide-leg is likely to work well on your figure. My two favourite stockists at the moment for a quality wide-leg pant are Cue and Saba. Good luck, be curious and above all remember to love the bod you’re in. If something doesn’t work, it’s because it’s not good enough for you. Keep searching xx