Saturday, May 5, 2012

Style Dilemma ... Help. This City Is My Style Opposite!

Zurich, Bahnofstrasse
A street that boasts standalone stores for
Tods, Chanel, Dior, Jimmy Choo, Cartier, Bulgari,
Louis Vuitton -  to name just a few.
When I first moved to Switzerland I couldn't help but notice how different my own sense of style was from what I perceived to be the 'majority' of women in Zurich.  It's taken me a long time to be able to articulate what that difference is exactly, but it came to me recently that Swiss Women tend to be very understated in their style but very expensive in their taste, while I on the other hand am well, the complete opposite.  

As a personal stylist I understand that we each dress according to one of  6 key style personalities (though you may not realise it).  

Zurich, where Trams are real & run (sorry Edinburgh) but
the shopping is at the Luxe end of my budget
Natural, City Chic, Classic, Romantic, Dramatic and Creative.
In the UK, in an average mix of women you would probably find one of each those key personalities in the group but here in Zurich I would say you'll find mostly Naturals or City Chics in any given group.  As a dramatic I have had to contend with much staring on the trams, while sporting my bright yellow coat with it's diamante buttons worn rather charmingly I think, with my red love heart shoes.  And yet for the first time in a long time I feel just a little 'overstated'. 
Me in said yellow coat.  On my way home
(hence the less than pefect pic) from a
lovely evening with my super stylish friend, Sarah
And so you see this gives me something of a problem.  It raises the  'where do real people shop here in Zurich? question.  That is of course without having to be married to an uber rich Swiss banker, which Mr M B sadly is not.
A friend who has lived here for many years confided that that's just the thing; there is no equivalent of the UK High Street here; a high street which I realise I have both taken for granted and now long for.  Nope, it would seem that women here buy into luxury or boutique brands, spending a lot of money on individual items (through probably fewer than us Brits), or they shop at the high-fashion end of the market.  'There isn't really an in-between' like home, my friend concluded.
So that got me to thinking about how I would sustain my clothes & shoe habit living here and how I would set about advising my clients. And then I stumbled across a great blog from Colour Me Beautiful HQ inspired by an article in The Times, UK that just sort of made sense, giving me a bit of perspective,  It doesn't need to be  one or the other;

these days, it’s not how much you spend on your clothes, but what you buy and how you mix it up that really counts”. Claudia Croft The Times, UK
Mixing it up in Zurich by Night.
  Me in my Ebay Faux Fur Coat
worn with Coop (CH) Beret, DKNY Bag &
Debenhams (UK) leather gloves...
oh and Mr M B (who's priceless)
Well I completely subscribe to that.  In the UK in recent years, mixing lower end price tags with quality pieces has pretty much become a trend in itself and is largely a result of leaner times. Fashion can dictate trends but it also responds to moods. Economic belt-tightening (pardon the style related pun) means people have to be more resourceful. I think this is actually more fun, and more importantly, it forces us to take a step back and think more carefully about the clothing we buy: do we really need it, does it really suit us and will we get much wear out of it? One of the things I loved about the poverty of my student days was that it forced me into being very creative with my wardrobe - a skill I think I have lost a little in these later years.  Fear not though,  I am fast rediscovering it here in Zurich!
This ladies is a TOP TIP in shopping for our clothes because not only does it save us money, it helps us create a successful wardrobe and a successful wardrobe is one that works for YOU. 

Your wardrobe ‘portfolio’ should have styles and fabrics that work with your body shape, colours that flatter you and the overall looks should reflect your personality; natural or dramatic. 
Speaking of Quirky Pieces - I'm going splash out on these Chie Mihara
shoes but will wear them with my Next (UK) slim flare jeans, layered
with a short red summer dress (M&S sale) worn and my tan Zara bag. 
You should be able to combine pieces easily and enjoy wearing each piece you have in your wardrobe. Of course, you might have one or two quirky items or unique pieces that won’t go with everything (especially if you are creative or dramatic type like me) but you shouldn’t have lots of pieces that only go with one other thing. 

What a wardrobe shouldn’t be is bursting at the seams with all the latest fashions and great designer labels which you find yourself gazing at endlessly wondering what to wear, or worse feeling that despite the choice you just have nothing in there to wear at all.
As a personal stylist I have learnt that for many ladies clothes shopping and dressing well, whether on a daily basis or for an occasion, can be either scary or a chore simply because they don’t know what suits them or how to pull an outfit together.  Clients tend to oversize or under accessorise, play safe with colour or get too caught up with 'fashion'.  Other clients stick with a look that suited them when the last felt 'attractive' often giving rise to a very dated approach.  They may have a few pieces they enjoy wearing and feel good in, but because they don’t understand why they look good in those pieces, they can’t easily replicate it. 
You have to understand what styles work for your figure and for your personality (as well as your budget and lifestyle of course) and do some research to find out the best places to shop for them. 
In her article in The Times, Claudia Croft summed up it up completely:
 “Now it’s about savvy spending, insider knowledge of the best shops and brands, and knowing how to style yourself”.  
I've realised that here in Zurich this is exactly what the local ladies do, it's just that they do it in a very discrete and understated way.  
Yours, signing off to do some more research in Zurich - aka, window shopping. 
Lady Mirror Ball x


Sue McK said...

great post Cat :)

Lady Mirror Ball said...

Sue - aw thanks lovely lady. Hope you are good and that Zurich is treating you well. x