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© Wardrobe Secrets Revealed, , Imogen Lamport 2009. All rights reserved

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Imogen Lamport, AICI CIP is a certified image professional and one of
only 8 image consultants who have reached this standard in Australia.
Her mission is to teach people how to bring out their best, to understand
what works for them, and to make clothing choices an easy and positive
experience. What she wants for you is to make it easy to get dressed
every day, look in the mirror and know you look your best, and enable you
to walk out the door and forget about your clothes so that you can
concentrate on living.

As a Past President of the AICI (Association of Image Consultants

International) Australian Chapter Imogen is proactive in the image
industry and was instrumental in bringing certification exams to Australia to
ensure that clients feel comfortable knowing that their AICI member
image consultant is well trained.

With over 15 years experience in the business world before becoming a

consultant, she has worked in micro, small, medium and global
companies and so has experienced a variety of working environments
and understands what each of these require. Her background is in
marketing and publicity for one of the world’s leading publishers, Penguin
Books. She has also worked for a global IT company in a variety of roles
including business development, internal communications, transition
management and is an experienced workshop facilitator. Imogen has
also spent some time working in retail sales, printing and sports

Imogen’s advice has helped transform many people, empowering them

to feel new confidence and increased self-esteem and open up new
possibilities in their lives, both personally and professionally. She also
volunteers for the Look Good Feel Better program for cancer patients
undergoing treatment.

With many figure challenges herself, Imogen understands how

difficult it can be buying clothes that fit and flatter, without
breaking the bank. She has spent years devising and refining
her understanding what shapes and cuts fit different figures,
alongside her comprehensive colour analysis skills, she can help
you build a wardrobe that suits you perfectly, makes you feel
good, and garners you many compliments, and importantly that

Other resources written by Imogen Lamport

Travelling Light – Learn the art of packing – Ebook

Your Essential Style Guide – 151+ secrets of an image consultant - Ebook

You can purchase my ebooks and find lots of articles on image at


Imogen’s Blog is full of style tips

If you’re interested in training as an image consultant go to

Shoe Vamp - what is is and why does it matter?

I'm always going on about low vamp shoes to my clients, and most
people have no idea about what a shoe vamp is until I explain to them
what it is.

So I thought, if my clients have no idea, then there are probably lots of

people out there who also have no idea.

The vamp of the shoe is where it cuts across your foot at the front. Thus
low vamp shoes cut across the front of the foot near the toes, and high
vamp shoes come up the foot and possibly up to the ankle. Straps and
other details affect the shoe vamp.
So with what and when do you wear low or high vamp shoes?

Skirts that are knee length or longer generally look best with a low vamp
shoe. It elongates the legs and makes you look taller. So if you're already
really tall, you don't need to worry about this rule.

Skirts that are shorter than the knee can work with both low and high
vamp shoes as there is enough leg showing that the few inches that are
cut off by the high vamp doesn't matter so much.

Trousers work well with both low and high vamp shoes, as the leg is
already cut off by the trouser hem and the extra horizontals on high vamp
shoes are irrelevant. Because the trouser is a long garment this helps to
elongate your legs anyway.

Cropped trousers REALLY need low vamp shoes to work, they are
notoriously bad at making legs look shorter, and teaming them with a high
vamp shoe cuts about 6 inches off the length of your legs.

If you know that your legs are on the shorter side, try and stick with low
vamp shoes for everything bar short skirts and trousers. This is why the
ballet flat is such a great all purpose flat shoes, it's usually pretty flattering
and leg lengthening for a flat shoe (heels help to lengthen legs).

So the reason why you see all those gladiator heels on the sale rack is that
they shorten your legs and are not flattering for many women.

How about boots you may ask? Knee high boots are low vamp, as the
leg appears to start at the toe - so we LOVE them for their flattery. Ankle
boots are best worn with trousers or mini-skirts (next time you see a pair in
a magazine editorial or advertisement, notice how they're always teamed
with very short skirts or shorts, never knee or calf length skirts).
One of the most common issues many women face is that as they get
older they worry about dressing inappropriately for their age - the old
"mutton dressed as lamb" issue.

Interestingly, what I've discovered with my clients, is that if that thought

ever crosses their mind, it's NOT GOING TO HAPPEN and they can put the
thought out of their mind. The women I meet who are dressed to follow
Mary, don't even consider that what they are wearing might be a 'bit too
young' for them now.

I see way too many women looking frumpy and dowdy because they
dress too old, to make sure they they're not dressing too young. Please, I
implore you, don't do this either as it ages you. It also makes you appear
like you can't deal with change and are not keeping up with the modern

So to ensure you don't look like a spring lamb, avoid showing too much
flesh, if there is a little cleavage (to around the top of your cleavage, not
plunging down, unless you're a lovely young thing), make sure skirts and
dresses reach to the top of the knee or longer.
Skirts past the bottom of your knees can often appear frumpy, unless you
have very long legs, and are best worn with heels. If you prefer to wear
flat shoes, keep your skirts no longer than the bottom of the knees.

Following on from my article on How Not to Look Like Mutton Dressed as

Lamb, some interesting thoughts were put forward.

I was asked that I do something on Jeans for the woman who is neither
mutton nor lamb, who is of a certain age, so I've created this little
polyvore to share with you.

There are two no's and two yes's (those are the ones in the middle). If
you're past your 20s then slogan and cartoon t-shirts are too young for
you, and ultra skinny jeans are likely not to be flattering, especially those
with 'interesting' washes. This look just says 'trying too hard to look young'
on a more mature woman. Go for a higher quality look with a dressier top
and shoes, still casual and easy to run around in, but way more stylish.
* ! + 2 -! ) ,# !

I also spend a lot of time throwing out floral garments that are very dated
- florals will always be 'in' but the look and feel of the floral changes over
time. And then of course there is the jean, a straight leg or boot cut with
a medium rise is flattering for many women. High rise/waist jeans with
pleats and tapered legs are usually not, yet I see so many women still
wearing these jeans, and usually they're a couple of inches too short too,
so we can see the colour of your socks.

You all asked for a flat shoe version too - so there are no heels here, just
comfortable shoes you can run around in all day - but still look stylish.


One of the tips in Brenda Kinsel's latest book Fashion Makeover she talks
about creating colour groupings of accessories, so you can dress up a
neutral outfit with a range of accessories so that you appear to be
wearing something different each day. I've done up a quick polyvore to
give you the idea. Brenda recommends going through your wardrobe
and taking photos of your different colour groupings and sticking them
inside a style folder, or even inside your wardrobe so that you can quickly
remember which accessories work together.
# $ %
What are your essential wardrobe staples?

My list would be dependent on your climate but might include:

• Great jeans
• Great pair of dark neutral dress pants in a classic cut
• Coat (weight dependent on climate) in a colour that suits you
(could be red, could be winter white, could be black, could be
brown or olive)
• Jacket that can be dressed up or down to suit
• Denim jacket (or denim style casual jacket) to dress down skirts,
trousers and dresses
• Day dress in a flattering fit for your body
• Skirt in a flattering cut
• Merino or Cashmere (if cold climate) knits
• Cardigan in great neutral to work over t-shirts
• T-shirts with flattering necklines in a selection of great colours for you
(and decent quality)Knee-high bootsStrappy sandals (both flat and
with heel)
• Ballet flats
• Great handbag
• Assortment of necklaces/earrings/bracelets/rings to change your
look and create interest and originality.
• Sunglasses

I've created a little collage as you can see - but you would need a few
long and short sleeved t-shirts for it to really work - but as you can see I've
stuck to a colour scheme here and this could so easily mix and match to
create multiple outfits.

You can also use this capsule concept to create a great travel wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe is a set of garments (around 10 -12) that can be worn
with each other to create a variety of combinations. Each top works with
each bottom, each cardigan and jacket works with each top and

Items that can be used to create a capsule wardrobe include:

• Jacket
• Trousers
• Skirt
• Jeans
• Dress
• Camisole -or short sleeve t-shirt
• T-shirt long sleeve
• Blouse or Shirt
• Vest
• Cardigan

• Sandals
• Ballet Flats/comfortable
• Boots

Choose 2 neutrals and 2 colours that all can be mixed and matched.

Every garment needs to work with the others, the colours must
complement each other, otherwise this is not a capsule wardrobe.

This capsule could create easily over 39 different outfits.

When you add new items to your capsule, they need to work with all
other garments already in the capsule. You can add in a 3rd colour or
neutral to further extend your ability to mix and match outfits. Think about
growing a capsule, rather than shopping for single garments or single

For example, with the simple addition of a lemon t-shirt you could add at
least 12 more outfit options to this capsule.

Another skirt that worked with each top would add at least another 16+
outfit options, exponentially creating a more varied collection of
One of the garments I think that is really essential in a wardrobe is a jacket
that you can wear with everything from jeans to floral skirts - dress it up or

A denim jacket is a great option, but it doesn't really work with denim
jeans (the denim suit is not my favourite look). But a denim style jacket in a
different fabric can work in its place. Picking a light neutral like a stone or
grey or beige can make it work with so many other outfits and colours.

Here is an example of how 1 jacket could work with 4 very different outfits.
So many people ask me how to wear accessories. For some reason or
other, many women are scared of them, so avoid them completely
(apart from the shoes and a wedding ring), instead of taking full
advantage of their power.
Now as you can see from the picture below, you can take one simple
outfit, of a top and trousers, and change the formality and occasion of it
just by good use of accessories.

So what is an accessory?
• Shoes
• Bags
• Jewellery
• Watches
• Scarves
• Belts
• Ties
• Hair clips/combs
• Sunglasses
• Hats
• Belts

As you can see, the list is pretty comprehensive, and each of these items
can have its own personality, from creative to classic, relaxed to romantic.
So how do you combine them?

1. Consider the occasion - if it’s a formal occasion you need more

formal accessories, so this is the time for sheen and sparkle. If it’s
casual, think practical but with style, look for cottons, straw, leather
and simple jewellery.

2. Consider the colours - you can create a great outfit using coloured
accessories and neutral clothing, add a red shoe, belt, bag and
earrings and you play dot-to-dot from toe to head, drawing
attention to your face (your communication centre). You can also
tone the colours in your accessories to the colours of your clothes to
harmonise. When adding an accent colour, repeat this colour in at
least 2 pieces to create cohesion.

3. Consider the scale - if you’re a petite person, look for smaller scale
accessories, if you’re larger, go for bigger ones. Don’t over or
underwhelm your frame with the wrong sized accessories. For
instance, if you’re a medium person (average height/weight), then
a tiny diamond necklace on a fine chain is too small for you and
won’t work well as an accessory as we will barely notice its
existence. Alternatively, if you’re petite and you wear the current
style of wide strap sandals, these will make you look unbalanced
(remember the Spice Girls and their clumpy shoes?).

4. Consider your personality - if you’re not a fussy person, go for simple

accessories, such as simple hoop earrings, ballet flats, and a
structured handbag, but simple doesn’t have to be boring,
remember to use colour to add a dash of excitement. If you’d
describe yourself as feminine, think about sparkle and small details
used together to create a larger piece, such as beaded necklaces,
chandelier earrings, and sandals with sparkle detail to pull your look

A great wardrobe of accessories can jazz up any plain outfit, whether it’s
a t-shirt and jeans, or a business suit. Add new accessories each season to
bring in new colours and fashions to update your look without breaking
the bank.

The best thing about accessories is that - you don’t usually grow out of
them (weight is not an issue), they last much longer than clothes, and
when you’re sick of them, put them away for a while, and bring them out
again in 5 years time to reinvigorate your wardrobe.

The key when buying accessories is to go for quality for handbags and
shoes as they can last many years. Jewellery doesn’t have to be
expensive, keep your eyes out at markets for interesting pieces that will
change your look without breaking the bank.

Most of all, have fun with it - the wrong accessory won’t kill you, so have a
go and play dress ups - let your kids help choose which necklace you’re
going to wear today. A more beautiful you makes for a more beautiful

& & *
When I take a client shopping, it's worthwhile suggesting an outfit, as we
want to make it as easy as possible to get changed repeatedly.

Earrings/Jewellery: Wear jewellery that won't snag or come off when

you're trying on clothes and pulling them over your head.
Neutral colours: wear clothes and shoes in more neutral colours, so that
you can try on coloured clothes with them and they won't clash.

White tank: wear a white or cream tank so that you can try other clothes
over the top if necessary, such as tops with lower necklines that you would
layer over a tank.

Avoid buttons and difficult to fasten clothes: make it easy to take your
clothes on and off, so that you aren't tempted not to try on clothes before
you buy.

A skirt can be a great option as they're often more easy than trousers to
get on and off.

Ballet flats or easy to take off sandals are the best kinds of shoes to wear.
Make sure you can walk in the shoes - flats are often more comfortable.

A watch is essential - make sure you don't overstay your parking limit. No
point in getting a parking ticket - that won't make your day.

Make sure your handbag is easy to carry - a messenger style that can be
slung across your body so your hands are free for rifling through racks of

Carry a bottle of water so you don't dehydrated, and remember to eat

before you go, and stop for a snack to revive when necessary.

% %
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In keeping with my list making posts of the past week, one more... these
tips you may agree or disagree with, but they are a guide for the woman
who is passed the age of 30.

1. Style Revivals - If you've worn it before, and it's a fad, don't wear it
again unless it's a style that really flatters you.

2. Knee High Socks - the schoolgirl look is for schoolgirls, unless you're
going to a fancy dress party, forget about it. Oh, and this includes
knee-high stockings - never, ever wear them under skirts - pants only

3. Dressing Old - no need to get into old lady clothes before your time.
Keep current with the trends without going overboard with the fads.
Don't keep hanging onto items you wore 5, 10 or 20 years ago, let
them go.

4. Dressing for Your Body Shape - you need to know what fits and
flatters your shape so you can best adapt current trends to suit you.

5. Update your accessories yearly - an easy way to keep up with

fashion and look current, without breaking the
bank. Glasses, shoes, jewellery and handbags
can really add some pizazz to your outfit, so
make them work for you.

6. Update in Small Doses - don't wear fashion

trends such as boho or military head to toe,
take an element, one piece and work it back
with your basics to look up to date but not
fashion victim.

7. Wear What Suits You - be aware of your

personality and how it affects the clothes you wear - your clothes
should say something about you, rather than trying to copy
someone else’s' style.
8. Get a New Hairstyle - when was the last time you changed your
style? Update and look younger with a current cut and style.

9. Want to look classy? Your best neutral colours will do it for you.
Bright or fashion colours come and go, but neutrals will keep you
looking good.

10. Get Your Clothes Altered so they Fit - if your clothes fit you well,
they'll look more expensive and you'll look great - add in the cost of
alterations to all your purchases, you'll also enjoy wearing your
clothes more because they'll be more comfortable.

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Ok you think I’ve gone mad – you can watch TV and look better? How is
this so? Here are my top ten tips:

1. De-pil jumpers – while you’re sitting in front of the TV, get out all your
jumpers and de-pil them. If you don’t have one of those little combs or
shavers, put it on your shopping list – it’s as essential as a clothes brush for
a groomed look.

2. Clean shoes – get all your shoes out, some newspaper and polish and
buff away.

3. Mend your clothes – sew on any missing buttons, fix any hems that may
be coming down, – do all those little niggly sewing jobs.

4. Remove loose threads – get a pair of nails scissors and any items you’ve
noticed have threads hanging off them and remove them all.

5. Iron – do the ironing – pressed clothing looks so much better and more

6. Sit ups – this will make you feel good on both the outside and the inside,
and while you’re at it – why not try to make it a habit to do some pelvic
floor exercises every time there is an add break – you barely have to
move to do this – studies have shown that around 65% of older women
and 42% of men are incontinent – do you want to be part of this statistic?

7. Manicure – a good buff and clear polish (if you’re not a

colour person), and lots of lovely hand cream. While
you’re at it, why not include a pedicure – Get a tub of
warm water and soak your feet before you begin – you
won’t believe how good it feels. Finish off with a foot

8. Clean out your handbag or briefcase – how professional

do you think you look when rooting
around inside a bag that’s fit to burst and you can’t find what you’re
looking for?

9. Sharpen makeup pencils – it’s one of those things that often gets
overlooked – sharpen all your makeup pencils (put them in the freezer first
for a few minutes if it’s a hot day to make it easier).

10. Plan your wardrobe and check for stains – decide what you’re going
to wear tomorrow, during an ad break or between programs, get the
clothes, out, check there aren’t any stains, nothing needs repair and that
everything is ironed, then hang on the cupboard door – this will save you
precious minutes tomorrow when you get up, and ensure you’re looking

Now you see I’m not crazy, and I bet you feel much less guilty about
watching TV.

pic from

1 23 ! 1 24 ! 1 2
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I was reading the other day that sewing machine sales have skyrocketed
with the current economic downturn (that I want to hear nothing about).
Anyway, I was thinking - are people actually going to start making their
clothes again? Or is it more about revamping and altering what they
currently own?

As an image consultant, I spend a lot of time in people's wardrobes. They

often think I'm going to throw a garment out, when in fact all it needs is
just needs a small alteration to make it totally wearable and a great
working item in their wardrobe, so I often spend a lot of time kneeling at
my client's feet pinning up hems of skirts, tops and sleeves. Interestingly
one of my clients commented to me as I did this "I always thought there
was something wrong with me that all tops looked terrible on me, when in
fact they're just too long for my body".

Another way to revamp your clothes is to dye them. Quite often people
have white shirts that are no longer that white, or white doesn't really suit
them, so rather then throw them out, I suggest they go and get a pot of
dye and give that a whirl. They are often surprised how well this works and
how they can turn something they never wore into something great. I
even used this to turn a white silk shirt which I'd managed to get a black
stain (ink?) on that wouldn't come out, I dyed it navy and love it so much
more now!

Alternatively, I've made a boring jacket interesting by adding some

ribbon around the cuffs. It's the little extra touches that can take a
bland item to a beautiful one.

533 4 &
To create a more effective wardrobe, you need to think about what you
already have in your wardrobe, and what other items will make it work
even better. A few well chosen items can create multiple new outfits - so
how do you decide what you might need?

First of all, why not get out all your favourite garments. What is it that you
like about them? Do they work together or do you need basics that make
them work?

When you understand what you like about your favourites, it helps you
find new favourites when you shop. So if you like garments that are
comfortable, make sure you never buy a piece of clothing that you find
uncomfortable. If you like the garment because it makes you look 'smart'
or 'creative' or any other word, look for other clothes that represent these
ideals in your mind.

Then, get out all of your 'it'll do' clothes - do they really work for you? Do
they fit? Are they still in good condition? If there were in a thrift shop,
would you buy them? If the answer is no to any of these questions, why
are they still in your wardrobe? Get rid of what doesn't work.

Start trying on all your clothes, try on combinations that you've never
thought of before - you may be pleasantly surprised. If you find yourself
thinking "if only I had a ..." then write down on your shopping list what it is
that you need to make the outfit work.

Hang everything in your wardrobe by type (tops, skirts, trousers etc), and
colour (like a rainbow) as you may discover you've got lots of one colour,
but if you just had another, neutral, or colour that went with the dominant
colour, then you could suddenly create hundreds more outfits.

Also look at your jewellery and shoes - do they work, or would some new
pieces create a different feel or make the outfits more exciting? Don't
forget to add accessories that you might need to your shopping list.

Each time you have the thought as you dress that you're missing a
particular garment (eg. for me it was a jacket I could dress up or down, for
work or play, but not a classic suit jacket), then every time I went
shopping, this was high on my priority list, and when I found it, I knew it was
exactly what I was needing, and has been worn and worn and loved so
much as it filled a gaping hole in my closet.

Do you have any tips on working out what you need to shop for?

For example if my wardrobe looked something like this:

then by the simple addition of

consider how many more outfits you could create.
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Have you ever thought about where a garment is
making you look? Design details can draw
attention to different parts of your body, the best
garments draw the eyes up to the face and away
from body parts we may not wish to draw attention

For example in this top from Nordstrom, which has a

wide band at the bottom which draws you
attention DOWN the body to the hips - is it

Now this top is an eyes UP garment, with it's detail

around the collar and detail free hem. This is also
from Nordstrom.

Which do you think is more flattering?

The moral to this tale, be aware of where the detail

on a garment is drawing your eye.
& 9 :
80% of your wardrobe should consist of items you
wear on the top half of your body – shirts, t-shirts,
jackets, jumpers, and knitwear.
20% of your wardrobe should consist of items you
wear on the bottom half of your body such as
pants, shorts and jeans.

9 :
One garment per hanger. This way you can see what you actually
Separate suits you will be able to co-ordinate them with other items
in your wardrobe instead of just wearing them together.
Don’t use wire hangers as they ruin the shape of your garments and
cause them to crease and even acquire rust stains. Use wooden or
good quality plastic hangers.
Don’t jam everything you own into your wardrobe. Make sure you
can see all that you have, or at least most of what you own. It
makes it much easier to decide on what to
A full-length mirror is also a wardrobe necessity and some decent
lighting – so you can make sure your outfit is working before you
leave the house.
If you hang knitwear – ensure you do so on foam-padded hangers
otherwise it will stretch out of shape.
If you keep your shoes polished and well organized they’ll last much
longer. Use a shoe rack (but not the sort that goes up into the shoe
as these can misshapen the shoe) or a hanging shoe organizer.
Some people like to keep their shoes in their original boxes with a
photo on the outside but you need lots of storage space to do this –
use the system that works for you. If you polish your shoes just after
you’ve taken them off whilst they are warm, the polish will keep the
leather fresher for longer.
Keep your belts on hooks or on a special belt coat hanger. Do not
roll your belts as the leather will crack over time.
Why not hang jewellery from a cork board – use large push pins and
you can easily hang necklaces and keep them from getting
tangled together.
Make sure you keep your wardrobe free of pests – invest in cedar
blocks or balls and moth deterrents.
$ $
Favourite items that need replacing

Shopping Priorities (refer to table in Section 1)


Accessories to Buy





Shops/Brands to try

Organising Products Required

Improving on the Existing


Shopping List Colour Estimated Cost