Allison Bornstein Shares Her Fashion Dos & Don’ts

There are few people better placed to share their fashion rules than New York-based stylist Allison Bornstein. Having helped a number of A-list women – including actress Katie Holmes – find what works for them, it’s fair to say she knows the dos and don’ts. Here, she shares her best advice…
ALL IMAGES COURTESY OF ALLISON BORNSTEIN
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Do… play with new combinations 

“Remember when you were younger and spent hours in front of the mirror trying on all your clothes? While you don’t need to spend hours on it, this is actually a really helpful exercise. Too often in our busy lives we don’t think clothes are worth spending that much time on. But try to give yourself the opportunity to play around in your closet and try new combinations. Everyone wants that ‘effortless’ look but – spoiler alert – even the effortless looks actually take some effort! The more time you spend playing and planning, the easier it will be to get dressed in the morning.” 

Do… analyse your inspiration 

“Whether it’s on Instagram, Pinterest or a magazine, save down the looks you like into a folder, then try to figure out what it is you are drawn to the most. Are there any patterns connecting each of the looks? For example, do lots of them include chunky knitwear? Or perhaps you like a neutral colour palette? This is worth doing, as it will guide you when it comes to shopping for new pieces, and result in outfits you’ll actually wear.” 

Do… shop your wardrobe 

“Even fashion girls fall into the habit of wearing their clothes only one way – this top looks great with these trousers, so why mess with that – right? Wrong. There are so many possibilities within your closet, so spend a bit of time trying pieces out in different combinations. If you don’t feel confident doing this alone, it might be worth booking a styling session, which can even be done virtually – I offer FaceTime styling sessions which can be set up on my website. Sometimes it takes another eye to spark some new ideas. But once you start to wear your existing items in different ways, you’ll feel like your closet has expanded, without the need to buy anything new.”

Do… take photos of your favourite outfits 

“Use yourself as your own inspiration by taking pictures of the outfits you feel good in, then save them in one place on your phone to refer to when you’re stuck for ideas. Even if it isn’t your favourite ever outfit, having the image might spark another idea or give you a hint on what you could do next time. For example, you might look back and think “I didn’t like that top tucked into the jeans, but maybe I could try it untucked next time.”

Do… know what to size up and down in

“Outerwear nearly always looks better sized up, and it’ll also give you more freedom to layer a blazer or chunky knit underneath it if you want to. If you’re in between sizes with denim, size down as they will loosen and mould to your body shape. Buying jeans is like dating – you have to try a lot before you find the perfect pair, so order multiple sizes to try on. There’s no need to size up with pieces which have deliberately been cut to an oversized shape, unless you want a particularly exaggerated look, so go for your usual size.”

Don’t… be afraid to try new things 

“With so many of us working from home right now, you’ve got nothing to lose when it comes to trying something different. Use this time to try out those quirkier combinations – the worst-case scenario is deciding you don’t like it and changing into something else. Trying new things helps us evolve when it comes to style, so don’t be afraid to experiment.” 

Don’t… use inspiration as an exact template

“Inspiration is a useful tool we can use to spark ideas, but don’t confuse that with replicating a look head to toe. Try to choose individual pieces you like and incorporate them into your wardrobe as, that way, your outfits will always feel true to your own style instead of mimicking someone else’s.”

Don’t… buy in multiples

“You might think finding something that really suits you is a sign to purchase it over and over, but buying multiples can get you stuck in a rut. If you wear black loafers on repeat, maybe try another pair of black loafers with a different detail instead of buying the same pair again. Or perhaps if you really like a particular pair of jeans. Rather than buying them in every colour, try to branch out and give yourself time to get used to how different shapes look on your body. This way, you’ll maintain a consistent style without getting bored of it.” 

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