Gone are the days when being fashionable meant wearing the same thing as everyone else and blending in with a crowd of fashionistas.
Now, it’s about having style rather than being fashionable and ensuring that your personality is represented by what you wear.
Confidence is key, no matter what you wear – if you wear it with confidence then you will look the best that you can in that outfit.
Over the years I’ve attended every fashion and style event you can think of, I’ve walked the red carpet and I’ve interviewed celebrities on it. Not once did I ever feel I was “fashionable” and that was ok because I am what some might term “alternative”.
But apparently the very idea of being “alternative” can be fashionable…if you wear the right thing.
I gave up long ago trying to get to grips with what makes me “on trend” or “fashionable” or “stylish”. In fact I gave up years ago trying to work out the difference between the three. Now I just celebrate my uniqueness by wearing what I like the look of – and believe me, that doesn’t always end up well.
So…now that we have established I’m probably not the best person to advise I decided to open up my little black book and ask the people who know.
I caught up with 17 of Northern Ireland’s most fashionable celebrities and bloggers.
Here’s their top fashion tips:
Westend star and singer Niamh Perry is known for her quirky but stylish look.
She said: “My fashion tip would be to always dress for your shape.
“It’s so easy to get it right but also so easy to get it wrong. Also, sometimes less is more.
“I love to wear quite casual outfits but spend more time on my hair and make-up.”
Tweet Niamh @NiamhPerry
Model, TV presenter and businesswoman Gemma Garrett has attended her fair share of fashion photoshoots. But when it comes to top tips she says confidence is key.
“It’s important to dress for your shape” said Gemma, adding: “Don’t be blindsided into the latest trend which maybe does not suit your shape. Know your shape well and dress for it and recognise and admit when it changes.”
Tweet Gemma @GemmaGarrett
Singer/songwriter Amanda St John goes for statement pieces coupled with classic shapes that flatter the body.
She said: “Always dress to suit your shape, learn what styles suit your body shape the most and focus on those.
“I love classic pieces like pencil skirts and dresses. I think it’s nice to show your own character and style through your accessories too. I love statement necklaces and vintage style jewellery but there’s nothing like a pair of killer heels to make me feel more elegant and confident.”
Tweet Amanda @amandastjohn_
Belfast fashion expert and owner of CMPR Cathy Martin said it’s time to think practical and use fashion as a tool.
“The first rule of fashion is to look in the mirror and know your shape” explained Cathy.
“Then you have to understand that fashion can be a tool, something to be used to highlight your best bits and/or hide the bits you’re least proud of.
“Once you know your shape and understand some basic tips for your body, it can be easy to shop long term.
“For me, I know I’m curvy, so, for example, I choose a v neck over a round neck to look more flattering on my décolletage.
“I’m also an apple shape with slim limbs so I highlight my legs and forearms when I can.”
Tweet Cathy @CathyMartin
Sweeney Todd and The Life and Adventures of Nick Nickleby actress Jayne Wisener learned by her own mistakes but isn’t afraid of her shape now.
She said: My tip is to be led by your own body type and not by the latest trend.
“For years so many high street clothes made me look like a box because I was trying to wear things that suited people who were more straight up and down and it totally disguised my natural shape.
“It’s only in the last few years I have realised that it isn’t vulgar to have a cleavage.”
Tweet Jayne @jaynewisener
Writer, artist and singer J’aime Rachelle said individuality is the key for her when making fashion choices.
She said: “I think that you should wear whatever you want no matter what size or shape you are.
“The best way to make the most if your clothes is to customise them, adding everything from studs and patches to other fabrics, textures and even badges can give even the simplest of clothing a unique and individual feel.”
Tweet J’aime @unicorn_doot
Singer/songwriter Rebekah Wilson injects her love of music and fashion to create a look that is unique to her.
“I’ve always worn a lot of band merch and I have a big collection of local band shirts so I’m supporting local artists through more than just their music” said Rebekah.
“I team them up with cute jewellery, jeans, shorts, tights and flat shoes to create a sexy, feminine twist on a comfortable and relaxed idea.”
Tweet Rebekah @rebekahwilsonNI
The super quirky alternative DJ Venus was once known for DJ’ing with her rollerskates on, now her unique style is copied by many.
She said: “Be yourself and add textures and colours.
“I love charity shops, it’s always fun to see what treasures you can find.”
Connect with Venus on Facebook HERE https://www.facebook.com/ilovedjvenus
Glamour model and owner of new agency Frontier Models among many other things Laura Lacole has a passion for fashion.
She said: “My best fashion tip is to buy good shoes and good bags.
“It doesn’t matter if your clothing is from Primark, or not the best of quality because you’re on a budget or funds are limited.
“If you wear good quality shoes and handbag it completely steps up the entire outfit. It’s all about the key accessories.”
Tweet Laura @LauraLacole
Vikings, The Fall and Hollyoaks actress Karen Hassan reckons having key pieces available to wear at all times is important.
“We’ve had a brilliant start to the summer in London so I’ve tried to update my wardrobe with key pieces” she said, adding: “My recent purchases include skinny white jeans, a few blouses and sparkly sandals. All of these items I can either dress up or down. I always think it’s important to feel comfortable in what you’re wearing.
“I always have lots of black and white in my wardrobe as I like the simplicity of it but then I might try matching it with gold or a bright colour for a bit of fun.”
Tweet Karen @karenhassan2
Experiment & Mix & Match
NI Lights and Belfast Times lifestyle blogger Lyndsay Malone says experimentation is the only way to find out how to incorporate your personal style with your budget and this season’s hottest trends.
She said: “No matter what is on trend there’s always something to flatter everyone, whether it’s a colour, a silhouette or fabric. And to suit all budgets.
“Accentuate the bits you love, if you feel good, you’ll look good.”
Tweet Lyndsay @LyndsayMalone
Make A Statement
Fashion stylist and SugahFix blogger Katrina Doran says you don’t have to go big to make a statement, but if you do it’s worth doing well.
She said: “Don’t be afraid of print! It’s the best way to disguise any curves, lumps and bumps that you want to hide. The print confuses the eye so you don’t know if it’s a bump or if it’s part of the print.
“The size of the print really depends on your taste and your personality – large and small work equally well but large prints are for more ‘bigger personalities’ and more delicate prints are for gals who prefer not to draw attention to themselves.”
Tweet Katrina @Sugahgal
Frontier Models fashion model and presenter Rachel Ewing believes that a lot can be said with one unique piece.
She explained: “Sometimes less is always more – pick one stand out piece or accessory and keep everything else relatively simple.
“Scarves are my saviour.
“The right scarf can dress up a casual outfit, finish off a formal outfit, act as a conversation starter or even hide a hangover.”
Tweet Rachel @racheleewing
Key Items & Classic Style
The Fall and Hollyoaks star Bronagh Waugh says being on trend can sometimes turn out to be a disaster.
“Wear what you feel comfortable in” she said, adding: “not whatever the latest trend is.
“ Otherwise it can look a little like that trend has thrown up on you! For me a good example is the excess fringing on the boho style at the minute.
“I got a great tip from another actor when starting out which was that going into a meeting or audition you really can’t go wrong with a really good pair of jeans that fit and suit you and a crisp plain white shirt or t-shirt. It’s timeless and a classic and always looks good.
“I love playing with new looks all the time and playing dress up but you just can’t go wrong with jeans and a white shirt – a blazer and heels to dress it up if you have to or just my trusty brogues.”
Tweet Bronagh @bronaghwaugh
Fashion writer and owner of the blog The Real El Woods Louise Vance says investing in the right staple items can give you a lasting classic style.
She said: “When it comes to your wardrobe it’s always good to invest in quality, staple items, and during the sales I always make a point of purchasing a good quality, designer handbag.
“Websites such as The Outnet offer year round reductions and sister site Net-a-Porter has fantastic end of season sales.
“Opt for a striking design in a vibrant colour or exotic leather and you will have a piece that will act as the focal point for any ensemble, elevating a simple LBD or work suit to a whole other level.”
Tweet Louise @LoulouVance
Tweet Katie @KatieLarmour
Lifestyle and fashion blogger Aine O’Hagan is also a fan of having key items ready and waiting to be utilised all year round.
She said: “It’s important to have a capsule wardrobe with a few key items, it will save you money and you can top up every season with a few new pieces.
“A wardrobe with a few essential items will save you money and you can top up every season with a few new pieces.”
Tweet Aine @Aine_ohagan