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Summer is on its way! Hip hip hooray! However, this also brings along the dread of wanting to find and wear new 2020 trends, on a budget. Gone are the days of buying that top you saw on the rack and thought might look great - only to try it on at home and know deep down this is a piece you won’t wear - probably ever - but let’s keep it because you paid for it! Those days are GONE! Why? Let me introduce you to my friend Lenaire Lander. Lenaire owns her own styling business and is an industry pro. She knows feeling confident in your skin (no matter the size or age) is something money can’t buy. What money can buy you, on the other hand, is two hours of Lenaire’s time and personal expertise at Queensgate Shopping Centre to help you find your groove. Well, is it worth it, you ask? Lucky for you, I’ve taken the time to find out.
What does a personal styling session at Queensgate Shopping Centre with Lenaire look like?
I met Lenaire at one of Queensgate’s many stores, Decjuba. This was a store Lenaire thought would suit my style, size, age, and was one she thought we’d be able to find some basics in, as well as some items to push the boat out and get me out of my comfort zone. While I give Lenaire my sizing I can see she’s already eyeing up a few pieces, she nods and says ‘yep got it’ - she doesn’t delve much into my style or wardrobe history because I have it all over my Instagram. To summarise; comfy, classic, and edgy.
The first look Lenaire had me try on was a beautiful mint co-ord skirt and jumper. When I saw it on the hangar I immediately loved it - however when I saw it on I was slightly saddened - I felt very boxy. Lenaire saw the excitement diminish from my eyes and said: “What you can do because you’re used to showing off your waist is a side tuck or a french tuck.” The trick with fashion is using it as a mode to show off your best assets. So for me, this meant not cutting myself off at the widest point and showcasing my waistline. Once we french tucked, it was back to being my favourite co-ord of all time! I think that’s a vital piece of advice; wear and style the clothes how they best suit you, not necessarily how they’re displayed.
FASHION FORECAST: Heading into spring, tone on tone and pastels are going to be upcoming trends for 2021.
For the second look, Lenaire popped me into one of the best fitting pair of jeans I’ve ever tried on, and a top with some drama for that perfect “jeans a nice top” look that I’d been dying to get right. It’s usually hard finding a great pair of jeans, being 5” 9 and preferring to wear jeans higher. Lenaire says: “A lot of people have the exact same problem especially when trying to find affordable items, so it’s my job to find that perfect fit pair of jeans for people.”Lenaire suggested because I’m smaller on top, I should balance my figure out (I’m an ‘in-proportion’ pear shape) by adding volume to the shoulders. The top was fitted with some diva-ish femininity on the sleeves, plus it’s made from t-shirt material so it can be dressed up or down. The best part about this outfit is that it’s the perfect example of day-to-night fashion. Glam on top, casual on the bottom, and for a more casual daytime look, thrown on a blazer and a pair of sneakers.
FASHION FORECAST: You can layer up with a military-inspired blazer - it adds sophistication, as well as femininity through the darts in the sides highlighting wasitlines. Blazers are great for dressing pieces up or down, are a great alternative to a cardigan, and is an excellent transitional piece that’ll take you from spring to winter again easily.
Next up, I was dying to try on the beautiful lilac merch she’d brought into the changing room (Team Purple rep) first up was an over-sized lilac shirt. “Oversized shirts are always a staple, mix it up with a colour for impact, french tuck or even tie the bottom front together for a summery look whilst still being sun-smart” - it doesn’t hurt knowing beautiful soft pastels are always a winner for spring.
"Oversized shirts are now essential for women, you can see designers bringing femininity into the masculine shirt through the elongated cuffs and decorative buttons."Now I’d like to state that as someone who’s sworn off tie-dye since the ripe age of 13, when I saw Lenaire hand me the lilac tie-dye jumper, I thought ‘oh dear’ - BUT - once I tried it on, and once it was tucked enough to make Tan proud (Queer Eye joke there) I absolutely loved it.
If you’re someone like me who wears sweats daily, there’s no reason you can’t make it fashion. Tie-dye is having a comeback, as is all 70's style and with lavender being a hot trend for 2020/2021, there’s no surprise this was a winner. “This tie-dye number would be a great alternative for t-shirts in summer, maybe when you want to stay out of the sun or when you feel like being comfier and covered up, rather than a typical white tee it’s light, breathable and wears like a long sleeve shirt. AND don’t forget - you can always tuck it in. It’s definitely more fresh and stylish than yet another black or grey jumper.”
FASHION FORECAST: Add a glitzy belt and the look instantly levels up - I’ve never been one for sparkles or feminine pieces, but this pearl belt was something else.
Last, and certainly not least, was yet another number I did a double-take on, thinking ‘hmm probably not’ - but of course, being a good client, I humbled Lenaire and tried the denim dress on. And yet again, Lenaire had cracked the code! At this point, I doubt my own clothing shopping skills - and THIS is precisely why you invest in professional help!
I loved the dress Lenaire had chosen, it was an 80s take on a denim dress (with drama in the sleeves to balance my body type out) “reinvented for 2020” - a great, stylish, no-fuss dress. Living in Wellington, almost every other dress by definition needs’ fussing with’ due to the strong gales we so frequently have, so to find a dress that’s A) actually long enough to wear in front of relatives and B) I could just WEAR without fear of indecent exposure - made me SO happy.
FASHION FORECAST: Comfort is always crucial - try to avoid pieces you’re constantly needing to adjust when wearing or you’ll be self-conscious all night. Instead, go for structured dresses from the waist down and keep the excitement and pizazz on top.
To summarise, I had an amazing time this week @queensgateshopping Centre sampling all the new season fashion - with over 140 stores you're bound to find something you love and with summer on its way, there's no better place to shop than under one roof. If you need a bit of extra help you can take advantage of Queensgate’s Personal Stylists. For more information on booking in with a Queensgate Personal Stylist, click here for more info. #QueensgateStyle