I love mixing and blending garments to make a coordinated palette of colours, prints and weaves. Every day I choose my outfit to suit my mood. It often starts with a feeling for a certain colour and will extend to subtle blends and tones of that colour or a total rainbow of complimentary colours. I may be intoxicated by jewel colours allowing deep pinks, reds and purples in various prints to live harmoniously together. Another occasion might call for various shades and textures in rich creams. There are no rules. Dressing can take more than half an hour. Accessing the right shade or print takes time.
 
Accessories are another time consuming part of this ritual. earrings-dressing-room-2Earrings need to have the right balance in size, colour and shape. Also, are the earrings compatible with either the brooch or necklace? Do they fight each other or overpower the outfit? Do they make my complexion look flat or enhance my colouring?

You might wonder how I acquire the numerous garments and accessories to allow for such indulgences each day. I have spent years collecting garments from firstly jumble sales and charity shops and more often over the years from car boot sales. I do buy some new clothing but the majority are second hand. The same can be said for accessories. I do make some mistakes on fit etc. These mistakes are just recycled to charity shops.

 I search constantly for certain colours that need matching, example a T shirt to wear under a cardigan with similar colour. Colour starts at the inside and builds up to the outer layers. I also love warm fake fur coats and boots. Outerwear is so important to me. I have many unusual jackets, coats, capes and raincoats. I have vintage boots and shoes but wear Clarks’ active air shoes mostly for comfort. Tights and leggings are one of my favourite purchases these should never be underestimated, making or breaking an outfit. I have never counted but have at least 150 pairs. I do not like to waste money on badly made clothes. I would rather save my money for important Items like footwear and coats. Car boot sales have many designer goods. The quality is better than high street fashion chains. Do not get me wrong I do wear a lot of cheaper clothes but they have to help create the total look.

I have had a love of style, fashion and clothing for as long as I can remember. It started as a child. I loved dressing up. I started taking ballet classes when I was seven or eight and loved the costumes that we wore for the many shows. I realised at school that my best subject was Art. Even though I wanted to be a ballerina I decided to choose a back up career in Art. When it became apparent, through illness, as a young adult that a career as a ballerina could not continue I decided to go to college and train as a fashion designer.

 For many years I had filled note books with shoe designs, stage costumes and fashion. I painted my dressing table as a child with psychedelic patterns that completely obscured the lilac paint. I then protected the results with varnish.

I was offered a place at Brighton, to take Fashion and Textiles. I loved the course and have very fond memories of my time there. The course was tough. We had so much to learn. The deadlines for each project were increasingly more intense. On a Friday we would be given a project of, for example, 25 finished fashion plates that needed to be painted not just crayon finished plus numerous pages of rough sketches and garments to finish by Monday morning. During the week fabrics were chosen from the swatches sourced in Brighton shops. Classes were taken in Business studies, photography, life drawing, art history, Pattern cutting, fashion design, machine knitting, printing etc.

 At college I was often approached to model other student’s collections for shows and photo shoots. I loved this aspect of college life and did other modelling for book covers and book plates. For Brighton museum I modelled 1920’s clothes and London fashion houses current collections in the summer holidays.  

 After college I worked for a while as a fashion designer/pattern cutter for women’s wear but did not enjoy the experience so decided to sell my collections to local shops.

Later I started realising that my love for dance would not go away. I retrained as a dance teacher and now run my own Ballet School, The Bertram School of Dance, in Brighton, East Sussex. My pupils constantly comment on my outfits with much enthusiasm. I am approached constantly in the street by strangers who kindly tell me how much they like my outfit, handbag or style.

 My love of style becomes stronger every year. I am very interested in the latest fashions but have always preferred to take small ideas from current designs and twist them to suit me. Very often I have created a look for myself and found one or two seasons on that my ideas have become current. I hope that my style will be of interest to someone and may give a few ideas when stuck for inspiration.        

 I am an introverted extrovert and find it hard to promote myself  but people constantly say that I should keep a record of my daily outfits. So here it is, this will also help me when I get stuck and cannot remember which cardigan goes best with a particular skirt.

Good luck and happy hunting.