Most of the time, we learn style and how to dress from our closest female role model-our mother.

While I fondly remember my mother having impeccable personal style and taste, she didn’t really teach me the nuts and bolts of truly great style, there’s a lot more to it than putting on nice clothes.

As a personal stylist, I’ve gained invaluable knowledge into how I can better show off my best features and never again feel at sea when going clothes shopping, here’s five style basics that saved my sanity and my wallet that will do the same for you.

1. Ensure Proper Fit

A lot of women buy clothes that they love on the rack, and the number on the tag fits, but other areas don’t, like the hem of a jacket may sit in a awkward spot and cut your body up, arms and lengths may be too baggy or long, etc. If it’s a piece that you really love and you know you’ll wear (or have no idea of what to do with)-get it altered. Find your local seamstress or tailor (not the dry cleaners!) and get your clothes tailored to your body.

2. Know your colouring

Having the knowledge of what colours best suit your skin tone can be a hands down game changer in how you look in your clothes. Finding out whether you look best in cool or warm tones isn’t as complicated as it appears either. Go outside (this must be done in natural light or you may not get as accurate a result as you should) and take a look at the veins under your wrist-if they have a blue tinge, that means that cool shades suit you best-think rich jewel tones like ruby red, emerald green, ocean blues, etc. Do the veins have a green tinge? Then you’re probably warm toned. Think of the colours of a sunset or the earth-burnt, sharp yellows and oranges, crisp greens and blues,

3. Enlist outside help

and I’m not talking about your girlfriends. A personal stylist is the smart girl’s style saviour, and the talents of a good one can save you money and your sanity! Personal stylists have training in what works for what body shape, how and where pieces should sit on your body, what pieces to invest in and which ones to scrimp on, what colours best suit and of course the latest trends and how to make them individual to you. Google personal stylists in your area and you’re bound to find one to suit your needs.

4. Wear the correct underwear for your outfit

You may have the best outfit on for your shape and colouring, but if there’s a stray bra strap hanging out, or that much dreaded visible panty line it will ruin the entire outfit. Make sure that you get a bra fitting at least once a year and don’t be afraid to invest in some shape wear-especially if you’re going to an event, they’ll give you a nice, clean shape under that party frock and hold everything together nicely.

5. Learn to trust your eye and don’t be afraid to break the rules

We all know when we put something on and it just doesn’t look quite right. So take it off and wear what you’re comfortable with, its far more important to be physically and psychologically comfortable in your clothes than to be sitting at a party in four inch heels and a small dress and constantly adjusting bits and pieces all night in shoes that are killing your feet. Same goes with what’s supposedly appropriate for your shape-apparently skinny jeans are a no-no on my 5’0 hourglass frame, but I wear them religiously because they’re the only style that fit properly around my bottom! Wear what you love and what looks right, and there’s half your battle won.

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About The Author

After ending a nine year career in hospitality in 2011, Davina started a new career as a personal stylist and took over running the WITI Agency in December of that year and has developed the agency into other areas such as fashion related workshops and raising funds for various women’s and charities and helping fashion based professionals expand and improve their professional networks. WITI has also supplied models for The Morning Show and for corporate events in Brisbane and Melbourne. Davina has a 7 year old daughter and lives in the South West of Sydney. See more of Davina on and follow her on Facebook