The six most common questions women ask stylists.

Between the sales assistants that tell you how ‘OMG, AMAZING!!!’ you look in everything, and the false-advertising mirrors that make you look extra skinny, shopping is damn hard work.

Being a stylist, I know most women don’t love shopping. They don’t know where to start, what to look for or how to style it once it’s in their wardrobe.

I recently launched my own business, BOSSY. creative, where I write and style (and write about style) and one thing I’ve found is relevant to all women are the answers to the style questions I’m regularly asked.

They’re six little pearls of wisdom that will help you feel more confident when you get dressed, and help you when you’re shopping. (Post continues after gallery.)

Before you get started, just remember these two important disclaimers:

  • Styling tips should only ever be used as a helpful guide – not religion – so if you feel great in something, swipe that credit card!
  • Also, life is short: buy the donut. And the shoes.

Question one: “I’m a bootleg girl. Skinny jeans are only for skinny girls, right?”

Wrong! Skinny jeans are actually more flattering than you think. They’re kind of like that cool girl at school that turned out to be really nice once you got to know her in private.

me n mickey togetha foreva now we in the @cottonon retro squad ! ❤️ #squadspirit

A photo posted by alyce cowell (@alycealyce) on

Although you might feel more at home in bootleg jeans, they often add unnecessary bulk to your bottom half, what with the flared leg and all. And really, who wants unnecessary bulk on their bottom half? (Not me, for those playing along at home).

Try a skinny leg (or straight, if you’re a commitment-phobe) with a loose-fitting blouse or a sharp blazer… You’ll be pleasantly surprised, I promise.

Question two: “How can I appear taller?”

Firstly, your height, whether tall or short, is perfectly wonderful. But it you are keen to try to add length, the key here is to fake it ‘til you make it.


Loop a scarf around your neck and let it hang long; this will draw the eye in, and create length down the middle, helping you to appear taller.

A photo posted by alyce cowell (@alycealyce) on

Same goes for those cheeky long necklaces too.

If accessories aren’t your jam, look for dresses with dark panelled sides.

Poof! MAGIC.

Question three: “What are the best things to wear if I like covering my arms?”

Bell sleeves are everywhere, so go for a summery white or cream style that you can dress down with denim shorts or up with a pencil skirt. Off the shoulder tops are a treat and being summer, loose-fitting kimonos and kaftans work well too!

pretty outfit, badass expression

A photo posted by alyce cowell (@alycealyce) on


Question four: “How do I figure out what body shape I am?”

I’ll be the first to admit it seems unreasonable to pigeon-hole women into four body shapes, but this is definitely one of the biggest questions I get asked. In body shape’s defense, it can be a seriously handy guide (if you keep in mind that it’s just that – a guide).

When asking clients what body shape they think they are, I’ve had every response known to man: “fridge”, “sausage”, “round” and the all-too-common, “Oh, I haven’t had a shape since I was in my 20s!” We share a little chuckle, but deep down I want them all to know they don’t actually look like a sausage.

To figure out your own shape, strip down to your underwear and stand in front of the mirror.

Point out:
Your true shoulder line – where your bra straps sit
Your true waistline – where your waist is most defined
Your true hip line – not your hip bones, but the widest part of your thigh

If you’re an hourglass, your shoulders and hips will be even, with a narrow waist in between. Pears have a smaller top half and curvier bottom half. Inverted triangles have wider shoulders, with narrow hips. Lastly, apples have a wider waistline and slim legs.

The thing to note here? All body types are equally as gorgeous. They’re just a guide to help you figure out what suits you.

Question five: “What are the foolproof pieces I just have to have in my wardrobe?”

Stylists seem to all agree that you should spend a little bit more on the timeless pieces that will never date:

  • a sharp blazer
  • a little black dress
  • a classic white shirt
  • a leather jacket
  • a stripe tee
  • chic loafers… you get the idea.

Then, once you have these building blocks down pat, you can update each season with trend-based items. Don’t spend too much on these, because come next year, you won’t know what you ever saw in them.

@eviltwinthelabel being the bomb

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Question six: “What can I wear to work in summer without being charged with indecent exposure?”

Unfortunately, some boring person once declared sarongs aren’t “office-appropriate” – probably the same person that decided tropical cocktails aren’t allowed at our desk.

Anyway, it can be really tricky dressing for work in summer but there are a few interchangeable, versatile pieces that will be your best friend.

  • Cropped, wide-leg culottes
  • Drop-waist dresses (Side note: especially cute with a pair of loafers)
  • Shell tops
  • Classic shift dresses
  • Full skirts
  • Lightweight fabrics like sheer and linen
  • Summery shades like white, camel and pastel

you gotta risk it to get the biscuit ! .. freezing for @westfieldau

A photo posted by alyce cowell (@alycealyce) on

Oh! And a longline vest. A longline vest makes everything look profesh, while keeping you cool. In fact, you could probably wear one over a bikini and still not get in trouble.

Who wants to try it and report back?