Features

Wanstead’s style

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As we emerge from our woolly jumpers into the warmer days of spring, we need look no further than our High Street to grab everything we need for a seasonal wardrobe refresh, says local stylist Catherine Grout

I’m a personal stylist living locally and I regularly find some wonderful clothing and accessories for myself and my clients right here on our doorstep. My job is not about helping fabulous people to look even more fabulous in high-end fashion. It’s actually about helping everyday Wansteadians to look, and more importantly, to feel their best, and that can definitely mean starting with our local fashion gems.

So, where in Wanstead can we find stylish options that won’t break the bank? Well, of course, there are our three charity shops. I find some great things – and donate – there regularly. However, there is an art to finding a bargain you will love, so don’t be tempted to buy something just because it’s cheap if it doesn’t fit or flatter you. Keep an eye out for outerwear, footwear, bags and belts, as these items tend to show fewer signs of wear, so are often better bargains than trousers or knitwear, for example. And try to opt for neutral colours (like navy, camel or ivory) and simple patterns (like polka dots and stripes), which will give your wardrobe longevity.

If you are looking to refresh your wardrobe, you need look no further than Azzurra (119B High Street) with its rainbow of stylish clothing and accessories. I rarely leave Azzurra empty-handed! And The Art Shop (117C High Street) has some great jewellery, scarves and bags. I must also give a shout-out to Wright Jewellery. Sometimes featuring as a pop-up on the High Street or at our monthly market, Carin Wright has some wonderful pieces.

Whether you shop online, on the High Street or second-hand, there is an awful lot of choice out there. So, it’s not surprising if you feel overwhelmed and end up buying something very similar to what you already own. Or if you do strike out in a new direction, you may end up with those items that just sit in your wardrobe while you question whether they suit you or decide what to wear them with. Perhaps that’s why most people wear less than 20% of their wardrobes. It can also be very challenging to break out of your comfort zone, particularly as life presents us with new challenges. 

Many of my clients are stuck in a style rut or are going through a life transition that means their current wardrobe is not right for them anymore. All of this changes not just how we feel on the inside but how we want to look on the outside.

There is also an important ethical element to our fashion choices, and if you are thinking about a wardrobe refresh this spring, then definitely consider going local first. You will be helping our community thrive. And shopping in the charity sector enables us all to donate direct to good causes whilst supporting the move to more sustainable clothing choices.


Catherine Grout is a personal stylist, colour analyst and fashion blogger. For more information, visit whatiamwearing.com