5 Dresses to Have Now

5 Dresses to Have Now

What do you do when you are in a rush and have no time to put together an outfit? Or when you’re going on a trip with only a carry-on and want to have a multitude of looks for day and night? Go for dresses! I am such a fan of dresses. They make me feel feminine, powerful, playful, pulled-together, strong, breezy but most of all, they enable easy and hassle-free dressing. Here are my top 5 dress picks…


My All Time Favourite Dress Style – I’m Wrapped

My top pick is absolutely, 100 per cent, hands down the wrap dress. It can go anywhere – school run, office, lunch with the girls, night out, weekend coffee, romantic mini-break, jet setting vacay… You can get long sleeved wrap dresses for winter (just add coat and boots) and short-sleeved or sleeveless for summer (just add sandals). Dress down the wrap dress with sneakers or ballet flats, denim jacket optional. Dress it up with a pump heel for the office (blazer optional), or a stiletto or wedge heel for a night out (be sure to add a pop of colour on your lip and a statement earring or necklace).

What’s more, wrap dresses work for most body shapes (pear, apple, banana, carrot, hourglass, rectangle, oval, triangle, inverted triangle – they’ve got you covered). They and come in an array of different fabrics and prints. The queen of wrap dresses is of course, Diane von Furstenberg.  She basically invented them and offers prints and styles for everyone.

Here’s a few of my DVF favourites available at Net-a-Porter:

You don’t need to spend that much to get a wrap dress you’re wrapped in. Here are some budget friendly options available in-store now:


Alannah Hill

Forever New

While I love wrap dresses and they are a great choice for every body type, I want to talk about some of my other favourites.


Coat Dresses With a Touch of Royalty

A lot of women I work with tend to gravitate towards the classic style and one of the classic style icons is Kate Middleton. She has a number of tried and tested looks that she either re-wears, or comes up with new iterations. One of them is the coat dress.

It’s a great piece to try out, especially as we are moving into colder seasons. At first glance it’s exactly what the name suggests, but it has a more fitted and feminine silhouette than its outerwear counterpart. The Duchess of Cambridge has stepped out in a range of coat dresses and generally prefers hers to be knee-length. This one pictured is from Shein, proving that coat dresses can look regal without breaking the bank.

Coat dresses generally accentuate the waist, which works for a lot of body shapes (especially hourglass, inverted triangle, rectangle, carrot and banana shapes). Coat dresses can also be a great way to cleverly disguise a larger derriere – perfect for triangles and pears.

Styles without collars and lapels would be great for inverted triangles and carrots and those with collars and less flouncy skirts would be suited for triangles and hourglass shapes. If you are not sure what your shape is, take the free style consult in That Style Chick app.

You can also try the coat dress’s close cousins – the blazer dress and the tuxedo dress. Those two might work for the elegant or the alluring styles.

David Jones

Misha Collection

Pretty Little Thing

Shift or Sheath?

I bet even those who have never seen Breakfast at Tiffany’s will immediately have a mental image of Audrey Hepburn in that gorgeous shift dress. Hubert de Givenchy teamed up with the actress to create the piece for the film (and in 2006 one of the 3 dresses that were made for the film was sold for upwards of $900,000![1]).

The close cousin to the shift dress is the sheath dress. What is the difference between the two? Generally, a shift dress hangs down from the shoulders and has clean, simple lines. Most shift dresses are sleeveless, although you might find variations, such as the red Goat Library shift dress below which has 3/4 sleeves. A shift dress is loose and straight. Sheath dresses tend to hug the body more and are form-fitting (a pencil dress is a sheath dress). They follow your curves and accentuate them.

Shift dresses are great if you have an oval, apple, rectangle or banana shape but are not necessarily the best pick for hourglass, inverted triangle, carrot or pear, unless they’re cinched in with a belt. Sheath dresses are perfect for the hourglass and can also work well on inverted triangles and carrots, especially if they have a v-neckline.

Carla Zampatti Sheath Dress

Forever New Shift Dress

Goat Library from The Outnet Shift Dress

A Timeless Classic – The Shirt Dress

In 1916 Coco Chanel turned a shirt into a dress, which was truly rebellious in the time of corsets and crinolines. In the 1950’s Dior added a leather belt to it and a full skirt, and in the 80’s Yves Saint Laurent changed the look yet again with a narrower waistline and broader shoulders.

The shirt dress is yet another universal style. You can wear it as is if you’re a rectangle or banana, accentuate your waist with a belt if you’re triangle, inverted triangle, hourglass, pear or carrot, or wear it with a scarf draped long for ovals and apples. This is a dress that could work for casual looks as well as office dressing. Just make sure you pick the dress in the appropriate fabric and print.

Shirt dresses can also double as an outer layer – unbutton it all the way down and wear over a t-shirt dress or over jeans and a t-shirt. Such a great outfit for those with boho style.


David Jones

Viktoria & Woods

Fit & Flare if You Dare

In 1947 Dior broke new ground by introducing the “fit a flare” style of dress, although it wasn’t until the 50’s that it really gained popularity. Synonymous with vintage 50’s style, the fit and flare style is still popular today and for good reason; it is beautifully feminine and can make almost any body shape look perfectly in proportion. Different necklines work on different body shapes but hourglass, rectangle, triangle, inverted triangle, banana, pear and carrot types will all be flattered in a fit and flare style dress, regardless of clothing size.

Here are a couple that I love:


Ted Baker

Leona Edmiston

When choosing a dress remember to consider what colouring you have (If you’re unsure take the free style consult in That Style Chick app to find out). Whilst the LBD is timeless, it’s not the best option for warm or light colouring and there are plenty of colour options to choose from. As I write this, blue, rust, jewel-tones and gelato hues are popular.  If warm colours work for you, pick a ‘little dress’ in one of your primary colours instead of black. Add the right shoes and a couple of statement accessories to complete the look and help you feel ready for anything the day throws at you!



Business Casual – What the @#$&?

Business Casual – What the @#$&?

“Ambiguously defined” is what Wikipedia states about business casual, stating that, “it’s ‘more casual wear than informal wear but less casual than smart casual”.  Well that makes things about as clear as… mud!!! 

Gimme some tips, gimme some rules –  ‘ambiguously defined’ is the last thing I want to hear when I need to understand something fast and I’m sure you’re the same. Read on for business casual outfit ideas a plenty.

Do Not Despair

Thankfully Wikipedia is not the only source of business fashion information! As a personal stylist with a few years of corporate experience under my belt, I am going to do my best to demystify the beast that is business casual dressing (a.k.a ‘biz cas’ pronounced ‘biz cazh’).


One Size Does Not Fit All

When it comes to business casual (or any style in general), the most important thing is that you find the clothing styles that feels right on you – not strictly following what I tell you just because I am a qualified personal stylist. I’m here to help, but you’re the one who has to feel authentic in what you wear.

Secondly, what is deemed appropriate depends on your industry, your company culture and your position. For example, if you’re a leader in your organisation you’ll likely place greater emphasis on a professional personal brand when choosing your outfits and may not feel comfortable wearing denim to work, even for occasions deemed ‘business casual’. However, you may be happy for your junior staff members to wear denim. If your company is progressive and innovative there is likely to be greater acceptance of more fashion-forward outfits. A more conservative organisation may call for a more traditional style of work dressing. A rule of thumb – in the first week in a new job be sure to cover up your shoulders, opt for formal trousers or knee length skirts and observe. You will get an idea of how relaxed or strict the dress code is and you can adjust your outfits accordingly.

In addition to industry, think about what is on for the day. While power dressing today is no longer about emulating your male colleagues’ looks, women still feel that different types of outfits get different results.

A friend of mine Steph, a senior specialist in the HR department of a major telecom company says, “If I’m in technical meetings, I tend to wear pants because I feel I get taken more seriously when I dress less girly. If I have meetings with executives I’ll try and emulate their style a bit because I’m usually meeting them to convince them on something, and the more they like me, the easier it is”.


Business Casual Defined – Denim Included

The business casual dress code typically means you can be more relaxed than traditional corporate suiting, but you still need to look smart and work-appropriate. For men this is relatively simple – jeans or pants with an open-neck shirt or polo and an optional blazer or sports-jacket. For women, business casual outfits is more of a grey area, so let me try to help.

Unless your company policy clearly states otherwise, business casual for women usually includes denim – with skirts, jeans, jackets given the green light. As a general rule, your denim should be free of rips, tears and significant distressing. Darker denim washes are best – either indigo or black denim are ideal.

Of course, you don’t need to opt for denim. Pants, dresses, skirts and tops are all great business casual options. Footwear can be flat or heeled, depending on your preference.


Business Casual No No’s

The main consideration is whether your outfit is ‘work appropriate’. Typically this means:

  • Not too short or sexy – no micro-minis, hot pants, crop tops, deep plunging necklines, bodycon lycra dresses or thigh high splits!!
  • Not too ripped, distressed or worn
  • Not too ‘undone’ – you need to look neat, tidy and pulled together – not sloppy – so take care to tuck yourself in and pick up an iron if need be (or if you’re like me and hate ironing, opt for crinkle-free fabrics!)
  • Not active wear – tracksuits included (unless cleverly styled with blazer & heels but even then you might be entering the grey zone)
  • No sneakers unless they’re a super-stylish leather pair (or unless your workplace has a super cas. vibe).

IDEAS FROM A PERSONAL STYLIST for Business Casual Dressing

For us gals, some business casual outfit combos might include:

  • A blazer, a t-shirt or cami tucked in to dark denim jeans or a denim skirt (not too short) with a block heel pump or point-toe ballet flat.
  • A flowy dress worn under a leather or denim jacket, paired with ballet flats or a heeled pump or sandal.
  • Wide-legged pants, a t-shirt, blouse or button-down tucked in and a point-toe heel or flat.

Of course, you need to ensure whatever business casual outfit you choose works for your body shape. If you’re unsure of your shape That Style Chick style app can help you work it out.

Image: fashionssories.com

Build a Capsule Business Casual Wardrobe

Chances are you already have pieces in your wardrobe that work well for business casual dressing – blazers, dark wash denim jeans, classic jumpers and cardigans, a button-down shirt or blouse with short or long sleeves, a pair of solid coloured slacks… chances are you only need to get an additional piece or two to complete your business casual capsule wardrobe. It’s really about creating a repertoire of ‘go-to’ outfits that you can build with these pieces, to make your life easier.

I suggest starting a business casual capsule wardrobe with the following:

6 Tops (4 in solid colours and 2 with a print)

You can wear formal or casual shirts, polos and sweaters. Avoid sheer fabrics and busy details.

You can select from a variety of colours and even go for a print. Be mindful of what your office is like – in some an animal print would be acceptable, while in others it wouldn’t match the environment.

Images: Net-a-Porter

4 Bottoms

Choose trousers and skirts that are not too form-fitting. Opt for knee-length skirts. Avoid any super-loud prints, like extra-bright florals which can be polarising. If your office allows jeans, select a pair in a darker wash, with no rips or distressing.

Images: Net-a-Porter

2 Dresses

I’m a big fan of dresses because it makes choosing an outfit so much easier! Midi length dresses with sleeves are best. My top pick is a wrap dress. Sundresses, or spaghetti-strap dresses are not as appropriate for the workplace.

Images: Net-a-Porter

2 BLAZERS/Jackets

While you should stick to classic and formal design, the fabric itself can be informal and you can play with interesting colours. My main tip here is to stay away from fashion fads – cropped, bomber, or kimono jackets are best left for other occasions, unless you work in a very progressive company. A great blazer (see My All-time Style Hero post) and a quality leather jacket are my recommendations.

Images: Net-a-Porter

2 Pairs of Shoes

Find a good pair of pointed-toe kitten heels or block heels and a pair of ballet flats in neutral tones that work with all your work outfits.

Images: Net-a-Porter

A Structured Bag

A structured bag will give the impression of someone who is pulled together and organised. It’s also great for transporting your laptop. Choose neutral or deep colours that work well with the palette of your wardrobe.

Images: Net-a-Porter

Casual Fridays

A lot of offices have the tradition of casual Fridays. It might be tempting to get really creative and fun with your outfits after a week of strict rules, but think of this day as a slightly dressed down business casual. Denim is acceptable, but don’t pair it with crop tops or t shirts with controversial slogans. While we are on the subject, why not build an outfit around a denim skirt? You can use any of the tops you have selected for your capsule wardrobe, or pair the skirt with a plain solid coloured tee and a jacket.

Images: Net-a-Porter

While there are some general rules about business casual dressing, you also have to consider your body shape and your colouring. Need some help tailoring the rules to yourself?  Download That Style Chick app and get a free style consult!

Make Your Style Your Superpower

Make Your Style Your Superpower

Ever heard the saying, “Never underestimate the power of a good outfit on a bad day”? Think about it… You’re having one of those days, the kids are feral, everything that can go wrong is…

You can always turn things around

If there’s one thing you can take charge of it’s how you look. Even a lick of your favourite lipstick colour can pep you up. We may not want the kids in front of the iPad for hours, but that little device is a blessing when it comes to carving out 20 minutes to shower and dress in peace.

Looking good and feeling like a boss lady needn’t take too much time, stress or money when you know your style rules…. By knowing what works for you and having a handful of “go-to” looks, you can empower yourself to feel fab every day, no matter what it throws at you.


Here are 6 steps to making style your superpower:

1. Know your body shape & the styles that suit your body

There are pieces that are almost universally flattering (hello wrap dresses!), and then there are things that only work for certain body types. One of the misconceptions I encounter most frequently as a stylist has to do with confidence issues around the midsection area. You may have a surgery scar or carry some extra weight there – what you need to consider is for a lot of women their waist is still their narrowest part. Wearing something loose and shapeless might seem like a good idea but in reality it might make you look bigger.

I’m a big proponent of accentuating your waist, and I know a lot of creative ways of doing it. Not sure about what body type you are? Click here to find out how That Style Chick App can help you figure it out

2. Get clear on your signature style & stay true to it

Most of us might have several styles in rotation. I, for one, dress in the classic style some days, and gravitate toward feminine or elegant on others. Yet one style is always dominant (elegant for me!). Working out the style that feels right for you and makes you feel your best means shopping and dressing will be much easier. Who will say no to having less stress in their life?! One good way to figure out your style is to look at celebrities whose style you like (a.k.a. celebrity style icons) and take inspiration from them.

3. Understand the colours that work best for your skin tone or stick to universal colours that suit everyone

Do you find that gold or silver jewellery suits you better? That is generally a good starting point for figuring out your skin undertone. Generally, if you find you look best with silver accessories, you should probably go for cooler tones in your clothing. If it’s gold, then warm tones should rule your closet. This is a great starting point for working out your colour combinations for clothes, a complex matter I’ll be sure to come back to. If you’re confused about your colours That Style Chick In-App Style Consult can help you work it out.

Or you can stick to universal colours, ie those colours that suit eveyone – navy, teal, turquoise, periwinkle, soft white, true red & stone.

4. Donate everything in your wardrobe that you don’t feel 100% fabulous in

I’m sure at this point, everyone has seen the magic of Marie Kondo decluttering on the new Netflix Series. I am a big fan of things ‘sparking joy’, and your closet should not be an exception. Evaluate every piece in your closet: how long has it been since you wore it last? Do you feel good when you put it on? If the answer is no, upcycle or donate it. You can read more on sustainable wardrobe in my previous article

5. Invest in a handful of timeless wardrobe staples

Previously I gushed on the hero that is the navy blazer

Other staples you should have in your closet (and each deserve a post) are things that can really work for you and easily go from day to night and work to play.

See if you already own one of these: a great pair of jeans; a classic white shirt; a little black or navy dress; a black, white, grey or navy t-shirt; a skirt that can be dressed up or down; a great pair of flat shoes; a black, brown or nude belt.

6. Invest a small amount of time to play around with your wardrobe pieces

Most importantly, developing your personal style should be fun and exciting. Set some time aside and have a play around: mix and match pieces you never thought to put together. You might discover exciting new combinations that would make you feel like becoming a style blogger ;). Take photos of outfits you like (posting on Instagram is optional) and use these as inspiration when dressing in a rush.

5 Essential Power Dressing Pieces

5 Essential Power Dressing Pieces

With these essential wardrobe pieces you’ll feel pumped to conquer your day no matter what it throws at you!

So what is empowered dressing? The 70s brought with it many bold and bright fashion items. Flares, corduroy, and paisley prints were in, while tie-dye and other remnants of 60s fashion were slowly fading as flower power met its natural demise.

With the more savvy, worldly and confident 70s youth also came a heightened focus on women’s rights. And the women of this bold decade were embracing this new wave of empowerment, using fashion to express their intention.

What followed was shoulder pads, boxy tailoring and women’s suits, which represented women’s determination to reclaim their power and take their rightful place in equality with men.

Modern Day Feminism

With all the strides that have been made towards equality; women can now wear pieces that empower them in a more feminine way, rather than needing to demonstrate that they are one of the boys.

I asked a few of my girlfriends which items make them feel empowered.  The answer I got was unexpected: ‘shoulder pads’.

I was initially surprised by this answer as shoulder pads have definitely had some rocky moments over the years. Fashion historian Oleg Mindiak gives a great overview of the history of shoulder pads in an article on his blog, starting from 1930’s and Elsa Schiaparelli’s designs to the feature’s strong presence in current collections. Bustle and CR Fashion Book highlight the shoulder pad as a symbol of the feminist movement that reappears during significant moments in women’s history.

Go-To Empowerment Pieces

While shoulder pads might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I believe everyone has that piece that makes them feel strong and powerful. A couple of recurring favourites from my girlfriends in a Facebook poll on the topic of empowering wardrobe pieces included:

  • A well-tailored blazer
  • Killer heels
  • Luxury fabrics such as cashmere or silk.

My Favourites for Feeling Fierce

For me, I feel empowered wearing pieces that make me feel confident yet comfortable. Things that allow me to navigate a busy day without pinching or restriction, while still looking effortlessly classy.

Here are a few that work for me:

1. A leather jacket.

Find one that works for your body type (it doesn’t have to be black, there are so many options!) and it will last you for years. With time your jacket will gain more character. This is an item that can add a bit of toughness to a feminine frock (I love the juxtaposition of masculine and feminine!) or be worn with jeans and a t-shirt when you’re running about town.

2. A white button-down or a white t-shirt:

I always feel crisp, pulled together and ready to take on the day whenever I wear one. One of my favourites is this clean-cut classic from Uniqlo. At $39.95 it’s a steal but it works so hard in my closet.

3. Colourful accessories

It’s a great idea to build a wardrobe that sticks to a palette of a few neutrals, but I suggest always adding some colour options that work with your neutrals. If I’m having an average day or feeling under the weather, a pop of colour – be it a lick of lipstick, a scarf, or a top – can instantly energize and lift me up. For me, a red lip is super empowering and my go-to colour is MAC So Chaud (this orange-red is great for warm skin tones, opt for a blue-based or burgundy red if you’re cooler).

4. A great pair of flats:

As much as I adore heels, it’s unrealistic for my lifestyle to wear them all the time. A pair of elegant, pointed-toe flats can dress up a pair of jeans, complete a look for a business meeting and see me doing a kinder pick-up. They’re great for when I need to spend a full day on my feet and help ensure I don’t suffer the all-consuming fatigue that can accompany aching feet.

I love these Valentino’s (you can get some great Valentino bargains on Ozsale!), but if you’re not up for spending that much you’re not alone. You can find similar styles at a more accessible price, such as this pair from Shein.

5. A fabulous handbag:

A good handbag is an investment. Today there are so many brands for every budget that offer practical yet elegant options.  One of my main criteria – it should be comfortable on my shoulder and provide easy access to all the things I might need.

Truth be told, the bag option that makes me feel most empowered right now is the belt bag. Love it or hate it, the belt bag is having a fashion moment. For me it feels so empowering as it frees my hands and arms up completely (important when chasing after the kids!). Added bonus – it can help define the waistline. Many designers, from high-end international luxury labels to local Australian designers, feature belt bags in their current ranges. I love the TDE one in particular as it looks great, is a reasonable price and has the option for monogramming.

It’s important to work out what makes YOU feel confident. Some of my girlfriends feel at their best in fabulous heels or a full-length goddess dress, some love a red dress and excellent tailoring. There were mentions of high-quality pyjamas, because it means self-care time. We are all different, so taking the time to register how different clothes make you feel is important when working on your own style. If you find an outfit that makes you feel great and like you’re ready to smash some glass ceilings, remember it and build more outfits like it.

What makes you feel your best? Let me know below!

My All-Time Style Hero

My All-Time Style Hero

If there’s one piece that’s the hero in my wardrobe it’s the ever-reliable navy blazer. It’s such a staple wardrobe piece. It’s the piece that works hardest (along with its close cousin the black blazer) and can complete a look for the office, the weekend, a romantic date or a girls’ night out.


The navy blazer is the perfect middle ground between classic and modern. Navy works for all skin colour types (unlike black, which isn’t as great for warmer or fairer skin tones), and is a versatile colour in that you can match it with lots of other colours and styles. 


The best part? There are lots of navy blazer options for different body shapes. Whatever your size, the navy blazer has you covered. From double-breasted with wide-lapels (great for triangles, aka pear shape bodies), to lapel-less (great for inverted triangles, aka carrot shape), to cinched-in structuring through the waist (great for hourglass and rectangles, aka banana shape), to ‘boyfriend style’ or duster coats (great for ovals, aka apple shape).


A few years ago Kate Middleton’s sighting in the Smythe navy blazer caused it to repeatedly sell out. While some might say ‘it’s just the Kate effect’, a quick search brings up hundreds of other celebrities rocking a navy blazer.  Even the Wall Street Journal calls it a no-nonsense building block of the wardrobe and ‘a new beacon in the sometimes stormy and hyper-trendy sartorial waters. Now I don’t think I need to convince you any longer. Here are a few of my favourite ones to shop now.


This Theory Gabe stretch wool blazer is a perfect example of this wardrobe staple. It’s very understated and would be on heavy rotation in your office outfits. Wear it with jeans and runners and you’ve got yourself an easy off-duty look.

This ASOS luxe for less number is a lighter shade of blue, which makes it more trans-seasonal. The padded shoulders add volume on top so this blazer is a great option for triangle shapes.

The gold buttons on the Mossman Signature Blazer are a throwback to the blazer’s history, as it was transformed from military uniforms. If you choose to wear it unbuttoned, make sure you accentuate your waist under the blazer.

Finally, my personal favourite; the Camilla & Marc Marguerite Blazer in ink.

With such a variety of cuts and shades of blue, you will be sure to find something that works for your body type and colouring. Comment the link to your favourite blazer below and tell me why you love it!

Main image credit @martinyorkboutique


  1. Navy Blazer from Toronto-Based Label Smythe Gets Repeat Wear by Kate.” 2011.The Canadian Press, Jul 06. https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.lib.rmit.edu.au/docview/878638437?accountid=13552
  2.  “Not Your Ordinary Navy Blazer.” 2015.Details, 10, 77.


How to Fight Fashion Waste

How to Fight Fashion Waste

Building a sustainable wardrobe is one way that you can help make a difference. Added bonus – it can simplify your life AND save money. More on how to do that in a moment, but first let’s take a look at what we’re currently dealing with…

150 billion pieces of clothing end up in landfill each year. A quick search on Google will lead you to believe that the fashion industry is the second highest polluter. While the Pulse of the Fashion Industry report begs to differ it still places it in the top 10 and reveal that only 52% of fashion executives have sustainability and environmental targets.

However, the fashion world IS making a shift towards sustainability. The Ethical Fashion Guide allows you to check whether a brand does enough to protect their workers. There are articles about new materials (there is a fabric made from orange peel!) and businesses like Glam Corner. Sustainable fashion has been embraced by an increasing number of people who seek a guilt-free conscience, good feelings, and the knowledge that they are supporting communities...

The dark side of sustainable fashion

In 2014  Vogue was called out by a writer for appropriating the sustainable fashion conversation and presenting sustainable options as simply one of many, rather than educating their audience on the benefits. More recent research on luxury brands’ sustainability efforts questions whether the consumers are ready to pay more because they support sustainability efforts or whether it is just another ‘means of flamboyancy’.

Fortunately, it’s not all doom and gloom

At the same time, many publications and bloggers are coming out with great ways to make the way we go about dressing more sustainable, while also still being fun and empowering.

Francesca Willow, the creator of the blog Ethical Unicorn features articles on all things ethical and sustainable covering things from social justice to body positivity. She has featured pieces on a sustainable fashion brand endorsed by the UN and sustainable underwear that supports self care.

So, how can we create a sustainable wardrobe that still turns heads?

Building a sustainable wardrobe could be approached in many ways, and this is a subject I will no doubt keep coming back to. A great way to  do this is to focus on your personal style, rather than fashion. Fashion comes and goes, style lasts forever.

Not sure what your personal style is? Click here to potentially win your own personal stylist for a day!

Aim to focus on building a wardrobe you can wear and wear again, which is always in style and specific to you and your lifestyle. This is the mindset for sustainability.

Functionality and minimalism are essential to a sustainable wardrobe. There are countless guides on how to achieve that, some even telling you a magic number of hangers you should aim for. However, I believe that everyone has their own number that would allow for a sense of wellbeing and harmony.

Try these ideas on for size…

The main thing is that every single item you own should bring you joy and get as much wear as possible. If you have items that have been sitting in a box on your top shelf or in the depths of your drawer, it’s time to do a revision.

The goal is to minimise the cost per wear of each and every single garment you own. Wearing something once or twice certainly doesn’t achieve this.

A sustainable wardrobe is a functional wardrobe

Do you frequently think ‘I have nothing to wear’? Or maybe you buy lots of items on sale without any idea of what to do with them later? Or perhaps you have garments that get no wear because they don’t match anything else you own?

If those things are true for your life, your wardrobe is probably not very functional. (It’s probably pretty expensive, too!)

A functional wardrobe:

  • Contains pieces that allow you to effortlessly build multiple looks.
  • Matches your lifestyle – a CEO and student would have completely different wardrobes.
  • Contains pieces that suit your body type.
  • Follows one main style.

10 steps to achieving a practical and sustainable wardrobe

1 – Assess Your Lifestyle

What roles do you perform (e.g. Mum, business professional, socialiser, fitness buff, couch potato etc)? How influential are these different roles when investing in your wardrobe?

Come up with the ideal number of outfits for each role. This is very individualised – some people are happy to wear the same outfit or two on rotation and others prefer multiple looks.


2 – Know Your Body

What is your body shape? Look at the proportions of your shoulders, hips and waist to determine your shape and learn the style rules for your shape. For example, if you have a narrow waist you don’t want a wardrobe full of unstructured tops and dresses.


3 – Define Your Style

What is your natural style? Are you classic, or are you more feminine for example? If you are unsure, who in the influencer/celebrity world has a style that resonates with you? Look to them to hone your own style. A classic style is timeless, very practical and sustainable.


4 – Declutter

Once you get clear on your lifestyle, body shape and signature style, do a review of your wardrobe. Eliminate any pieces that don’t work for you, or that you simply don’t like or wear and also those pieces that are tired (fabric is balling/pilling/fading, stains that you can’t get out – you get my drift), If you haven’t worn it in a year, it might be time to give it away.

You could donate it to an op shop or take it to one of the brands’ recycling initiatives BUT before you do,  play around with it and pair it with other pieces you would never have thought to put it with. You might surprise yourself and find a new way to wear it.


5 – Build Your Go-To Looks

‘Go-to-looks’ are outfit combinations that work for your shape, style & life, which you have on rotation to make life easier for yourself. Make a list of all the situations that require different types of outfits. Now make yourself a cocktail and set aside an hour or two to play around in your wardrobe. Build looks for each life role, lay them out on your bed complete with shoes/accessories and take photos of each outfit.

Switch accessories or swap a single piece and you can create a completely different look. The key is to keep a photographic record of all the different combos and file them so that they are accessible as a quick reference when dressing. 

This skirt is a star of a dressed-up and an off-duty look.

6 – Identify Your Purchase Approach

Figure out what key pieces you are missing and come up with a plan for filling in those gaps. This approach will more likely lead you to great purchases rather than relying on impulse shopping.
Perhaps you prefer to shop seasonally and build a capsule wardrobe for each season? Perhaps you like to vintage shop? Maybe your approach is to invest in a few luxury pieces and really make them work for you.

7 – Be an Informed Shopper

Do your research to find out which brands use sustainable fabrics and have sustainable and ethical sourcing strategies and supply chains. Be mindful of this when choosing where to shop and what to wear. Some examples of sustainable brands that come to mind are The Fashion Advocate and KitX. You might be surprised to learn that even Zara, Witchery & Country Road rank well in the latest Ethical Fashion Guide.

8 – Consciously Invest –

When pulling together different outfits you may identify missing pieces – “if only I had a top to go with these pants & this skirt”. Put these missing items on your shopping list.

Also think about ‘hero pieces’ ie pieces that you can wear time and time again in different outfits & across all parts of your life (casual, business, going out etc.) – a good pair of jeans, a navy or black blazer, a white shirt etc.When shopping, consciously invest in pieces that will round out your wardrobe and that you can wear time and time again. 

9 – Consider Rental

For special events or occasions that call for a specific look which is not practical for your everyday life, consider renting rather than buying. There are loads of amazing rental options now, especially for dresses and designer handbags. One I used recently for designer bags is Style Secret.

10 – Get Creative With Your Unwanted Pieces

Rather than leaving unworn items in your closet or dumping them on the back doorstep of your local op shop, think about other meaningful uses.

Look at how you could repurpose by having a tailor make modifications to make them more functional; hold a clothes swap with your girlfriends; set up a stall at your local market or on eBay; make your old pieces into clothing/toys for your kids (or have someone do this for you); rent out your occasion wear and make some added $$s as a bonus.

Check out Sarah Tyau’s magic in upcycling clothes

Style can be fun and so can creating a functional and sustainable wardrobe. Like anything worthwhile in life, it requires a little bit of time and a systematic approach to set yourself up, but making this investment can be tremendously rewarding for you, the planet and its people


  1.  Fast Fashion: The second largest polluter in the world. Greenmatch, 06 Dec 2018, https://www.greenmatch.co.uk/blog/2016/08/fast-fashion-the-second-largest-polluter-in-the-world
  2. Lundblad, L., and Davies, I. A. (2016) The values and motivations behind sustainable fashion consumption. J. Consumer Behav., 15: 149–162. doi: 10.1002/cb.1559.
  3. Jones, Kathryn Jo Baker. 2014. “Looking at Fashion through Green-Colored Glasses: A Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis of Vogue’s Sustainable Fashion Editorials.” Order No. 10157665, University of Missouri – Columbia. https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.lib.rmit.edu.au/docview/1823660889?accountid=13552.
  4. Ramchandani M., Coste-Maniere I. (2018) Eco-conspicuous Versus Eco-conscious Consumption: Co-creating a New Definition of Luxury and Fashion. In: Muthu S. (eds) Models for Sustainable Framework in Luxury Fashion. Textile Science and Clothing Technology. Springer, Singapore

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