Credit crunch chic

WELL, here’s a thing – the credit crunch is good for style!

WELL, here’s a thing – the credit crunch is good for style! We have all seen photographs of before-and-after looks, and price comparisons of different outfits.

Look at the outfits here. Can you tell the difference between designer and high street?

It isn’t about buy, buy, buy. It’s about know, know, know. Fashion is about being a size zero, wearing designer labels, how much money you spend – and perfection.

Style is about knowing what your style personality is, understanding how colour works for you and accepting your body shape. Quite simply, style is in your hands not in your pockets!

Look at those around you and you can see that “Fashion fades and style is forever”. Thank you for that, Coco Chanel.

Look at Victoria Beckham and Michelle Obama, remember Imelda Marcos and Audrey Hepburn. You don’t have to look far to see those that buy and those that know.

With less money in our pockets we, all of us, have the opportunity to go out there and create our own inimitable style.

A style that works for us. A style that, when we wake up in the morning and put our clothes on – we can look in the mirror and think, “Yep! – that’s it. I look good. Bring on the day.”

We have found a way of presenting ourselves that says quite clearly who we are and where we want to be. Quite simply, successful people dress for success – whether it is that all- important interview, finding the partner of your dreams, in the pub with mates or walking the dog.

How? Well, some people know naturally what suits them. They know their style personality, their colours, their body and face shape and they use that knowledge to their advantage.

These are the people who “look good in anything” and are “dressed just right” for each occasion. Watch them. They don’t look good in everything, they wear what suits them.

If it is fashionable, they wear it if it suits them, if it is unfashionable and it suits them, they know how to accessorise to bring it up to now.

The rest of us need help.

Did you know that the average woman in Britain wastes, not spends, over £500 a year on clothes that she won’t wear. In my experience, men, you aren’t far behind!

These clothes clutter up our wardrobes and drawers. They greet us every morning – and we feel guilty about not wearing them. We try them on and decide to keep them for another time.

Our wardrobes become repositories for the useless and discarded. So, how does that make us feel? And you know what. If we didn’t waste £500 a year on clothes that would give us £5,000 in 10 years for a great holiday, or whatever.

It would also give us a trouble-free wardrobe filled only with clothes to look fantastic in. Not on one occasion – but all. So, what holds us back? We can’t do it on our own. Short-term thinking is the problem here.

If I said to you that I had a bill for £5,000 to cover the amount of wine and beer that you would be drinking over the next 10 years you might think twice. But spend that amount of money in dribs and drabs each week at your local hostelry and who’s to know? Same with clothes.

You know how much you waste because you can see it in your wardrobe but you don’t need to know how much you spend in those dribs and drabs because you aren’t faced with a huge bill just a drip, drip pocket leakage.

What do the wise do? They accept that they aren’t getting it right. They accept that how they look does matter. They accept that thinking carefully about how they present themselves is not the hobby of the empty- headed and supercilious.

Having accepted that they aren’t getting it right they go and seek help.

Whatever your budget, whatever your age – style is for you, style is affordable, and great style is the stuff of success stories. Credit crunch be damned!

Jennie Bersin runs Jenny B Style and Image Consultancy and The Style Room. For more information contact (01661) 844190 or visit


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