Real women... real fashion dilemmas (solved!)

Most of us have style dilemmas that we stumble through life trying to resolve, but imagine having an expert team on hand to know how to turn these dilemmas on the head and make you look the best you ever have...

Real women… real fashion dilemmas (solved!)

Most of us have style dilemmas that we stumble through life trying to resolve, but imagine having an expert team on hand to know how to turn these dilemmas on the head and make you look the best you ever have…

As part of a market research exercise, local independent fashion boutique, Feva in Cheltenham, asked its customers to nominate their biggest fashion dilemmas. The most popular advices included:

Dressing suitably for my age but still looking good Looking casual but stylish Standing out from the crowd/being individual Making myself look slimmer Finding my perfect pair of jeans Knowing what cuts and styles suit my shape

Interestingly, 84 per cent of the 190 respondents said that they felt they would benefit from professional fashion advice.

So to follow this up, we asked Feva owner Jan Clift and well-known local stylist Michelle Blake, along with hair stylist Mondo Guidetti and make-up artist Jayne Moy, to help six Cotswold Life readers solve their individual fashion dilemmas. Kate Brown took the photographs, set against the stunning backdrop of the recently refurbished Cheltenham Town Hall.

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None of the ladies had ever modelled before, so it really was a real women photo-shoot. And all of them were absolutely delighted with their results, proving that you don’t need to be Kate Moss to shine on the catwalk.

Sharon Willetts-Fairman - beauty therapist

Sharon’s dilemma: “I simply didn't know what clothes to buy - I didn’t know what colours or styles suited me, or what to wear for my age. I was always buying the wrong things, so I had lots of clothes but nothing to wear!”

Style team advice: “Sharon’s body architecture is very straight and structured, so she can wear textured, fitted clothing to create interest and shape so that she doesn’t look too stiff. She has a really feminine persona and can carry prettier, feminine styles very well, so we put her in a fabulous ‘Downton Abbey’ 1920s-style evening dress with hair and make-up to match. For the second outfit, to bring out her natural colouring we used an autumnal dress with a textured suede jacket for a more casual look.”

Sharon’s response: “I’m now more confident and think about what I want to achieve before I go shopping - shapes, patterns and colours. I used to return home dejected but now I get really excited about going shopping and can spend all day doing it!”

Outfit 1Jacket by Mariely Paris, �165Dress by Isabel de Pedro, �169Necklace by Bibi, �135

Outfit 2Evening dress by Forever Unique, �335Heart necklace by Bibi, �75All from Feva, Cheltenham

Linda Burridge - business advisor

Linda’s dilemma: “I’m petite and had trouble finding things to fit me, often ending up wearing clothes that were far too baggy, and I was a bit reluctant to wear anything above the knee. Also, I was interested in how else to wear my hair and what would suit me.”

Style team advice: “Using warm copper tones to enhance her skin tone and eye colour, Linda’s hair has been shaped and layered to frame her face. We then applied rich and earthy make-up tones to accentuate her lovely big eyes. We chose fun and quirky clothes to reflect Linda’s youthful and outgoing character. One outfit is an elegant top, short leather-panelled skirt , a bright and bold suede jacket and boots that just shout out “fun”. The other outfit elongates her shape with an on-trend dress featuring a diffused pattern and warm colours.”

Linda’s response: “I’m now much better at buying clothes that match my personality. Both these outfits do that, but I felt particularly good in the jacket and short skirt, which I wouldn’t have dreamt of wearing before. I am now beginning to wear more vibrant colours.”

Outfit 1Jacket by Mariely Paris, �165Top by Isabel de Pedro, �139Skirt by Isabel de Pedro, �175

Outfit 2Dress by Fehu, �359All from Feva, Cheltenham

Teresa Morgan-Jones - company director

Teresa’s dilemma: “I was far too traditional in my total appearance. I didn’t use make-up, I wore very conservative clothes and I didn’t make the most of myself. I had been invisible for years and felt it was now time to stand out from the crowd.”

Style team advice: “We shaped Teresa’s hair into a classic bob but with a sloping fringe to give her more eye focus and a sexier look. She has great bone structure and an excellent canvas for make-up so we went for it – lots of colour, a strong lipstick and bold eye shadow. For a great day look, we decided on a structured jacket with lace and leopard print trim, and tapered trousers with a leather waistband to show off her fabulous legs. Then we made a dramatic statement with a Save the Queen dress - nothing boring about that Teresa!”

Teresa’s response: “What a transformation! I just loved this bolder, more confident and, if I am allowed to say so myself, more sexy look. I feel I’ve really come out of myself and am delighted with my new appearance. I’ve cleared out my wardrobe and started all over again!”

Outfit 1Jacket by Save the Queen, �315Trousers by Save the Queen, �139

Outfit 2Dress by Save the Queen, �225Butterfly necklace by Bibi, �135All from Feva, Cheltenham

Sonia Bellamy – lawyer 

Sonia’s dilemma: “I was stuck in a rut. I created two uniforms, one for work and one for outside work and bought the same things all the time. And as a lawyer I tended to dress like a bloke, I didn’t wear make-up, I shied away from colour and simply hated shopping.”

Style team advice: “We went right back to basics with Sonia. She is a tall, curvy and proud size 16, but she needed to learn how to dress for her body shape. The “Diva” dress is a great start – it works for all sizes, is very flattering across the bustline and the stomach where many women feel self-conscious. The colourful, fitted jacket livens things up and because it’s a soft fabric it’s more flattering for a bigger bust. Her naturally dark hair has been softened with a cooler tone and blow dried straight to create an elegant geometric bob, and for someone who never uses make-up, strong lipstick really suits her.”

Sonia’s response: “Wow, what a change. I would never have considered an outfit like this myself, but this has now made me much more creative in my thinking. I’m really excited about wearing more prints and bolder colours, and I now never go anywhere without my lipstick!”

Jacket by Aventures des Toiles, �165Dress by Diva Catwalk, �120Butterfly necklace by Bibi, �135All from Feva, Cheltenham

Lynne O’Farrell - retired dentist

Lynne’s dilemma: “I just wanted to look right for my age. I don’t want to be drab, but I don’t want to go over the top either. I want a style that’s right for me at the age I now am.”

Style team advice: “As women get older they become concerned about wearing clothes that may appear too young for their age, but they still want to look fashionable and in touch with current trends. For Lynne, using her lovely natural hair colour and wave we created more drama and followed this through with clothing to reflect her very individual personal style. She really suits glamour but with a slightly quirky twist as typified by this outfit – a boho chic cotton dress teamed with a striking and colourful ‘go anywhere’ box coat.”

Lynne’s response: “This has confirmed my view that age and retirement is not a boundary – there is always excitement in fashion however old you are. I think we all need a bit more colour as we get older, so it’s no more beige for me.”

Outfit 1Dress by Angels Never Die, �85

Outfit 2Coat by Didier Parakian, �639All from Feva, Cheltenham

Jenny Leyfield – teacher

Jenny’s dilemma: “Having worked in the Middle East for the last 5 years, I am now back and obviously a bit older. I want to start buying clothes again, have a bit more money to spend, and want a wardrobe to match my lifestyle. As a concert flautist, I need glam but I’m also very much an outdoor girl.”

Style team advice: “Starting with Jenny’s naturally long and pretty hair, we created more volume and enhanced it with curls. We then went for a naturally made-up look, set off with a pale lipstick and smoky eyes. For outdoors, we have given her a pair of high-waisted trousers with a bit of give for curvier body shapes, and a crisp blouse with feminine lace detail, avoiding a collar as that wouldn’t suit her. For Jenny and her flute, it’s a high quality, glamorous evening dress which enhances her great figure and will last a lifetime.”

Jenny’s response: “This experience has been a complete eye opener for me. I now realise that I can wear more glamorous and distinctive clothes, without losing my natural style. For example, I can imagine wearing these trousers absolutely anywhere. I am now focusing on buying key pieces of higher quality that last longer and flatter my shape.”

Outfit 1Shirt by Save the Queen, �198Trousers by Jonny Q, �120Heart necklace by Bibi, �75

Outfit 2Evening dress by Faviana, �280All from Feva, Cheltenham


Celebrating its 10th birthday this year, Feva is an independent boutique in Regent Street, Cheltenham, offering individual, chic and affordable fashion that’s a bit different from the norm. Each designer brand is carefully selected by owner Jan Clift for its quality, individuality and style.

With three showrooms on two floors, and a separate personal styling studio, Feva offers immense choice with day, evening and occasionwear, as well as stylish accessories. So you can shop for just one item or an entire outfit. There is also a clearance room for those looking for out-of season bargains.

Based on the feedback from the fashion dilemma research, Feva has just introduced a new styling packages service offering varying levels of fashion advice to help women choose the right outfits for their colouring, bodyshape and personality.

Jan’s style tip: “Invest in a few timeless key pieces that you absolutely adore and will wear from one season to the next, and build your wardrobe around them.”

Feva is at 20 Regent Street, Cheltenham, GL50 1HE, or call 01242 222998.

Michelle Blake - style consultant

Michelle has been involved in the fashion industry for her entire career, firstly as a hairdresser and L’Oreal colour technician. She then set up her now very successful Cheltenham-based colour and style consultancy, while still continuing to work with L’Oreal as a consultant.

Working one-on-one, Michelle helps her clients to see themselves objectively, understanding their own personalities and body shape, and then provides advice on colour, make-up, hair, clothing and accessories to discover the style that works for them.

Michelle’s style tip: “Most women need more glamour, but you mustn’t slavishly follow fashion trends. Dress who you are – fashion assists your own signature style so understand this before buying anything.”

To get in touch with Michelle, email her at or call 07909 553468.

Kate Brown - photographer

Kate is an established Cirencester-based portrait and wedding photographer. Her approach is simple, unfussy and effective. She specialises in taking spontaneous, natural images that capture the person in the moment, images that can be enjoyed forever and beyond. In June 2012 Kate founded All About Eve, a unique outdoor boudoir photography service for women to celebrate their natural style and femininity, regardless of age and size. Kate’s photography is regularly published in national and local press.

Kate’s style tip: “We all want to look fantastic in photographs, but it’s amazing how many of us hunch our upper bodies without realising. Gently roll your shoulders back and down for an elegant, feminine look.”

If you want to contact Kate, email her at or call 07818 074312. &

Mondo Guidetti - hair stylist

Following stints with Vidal Sassoon in London and Glasgow, Mondo Guidetti opened his own boutique salon in Montpellier, Cheltenham, in 2005. With typical Italian flair, the salon grew rapidly and was refurbished two years ago, resulting in an elegant hybrid of contemporary design set amongst traditional Georgian architecture and delivering Mondo’s vision of “a space that incorporates a gallery for hair, where the clients are the works of art.”

Mondo’s style tip: "Be adventurous and don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone."

Mondo Salon can be found at 11 Rotunda Terrace, Montpellier, Cheltenham, GL50 1SW, or call 01242 245744.

Jayne Moy - make-up

Following a successful career as a model, Jayne trained as a beauty therapist and joined the Lucy Clayton modelling agency, eventually becoming deputy principal. Marriage and family brought her to Cirencester where she now works as a freelance make-up artist, focusing on fashion shows, photo-shoots, bridal make-up and women looking for a total change of style.

Jayne’s style tip: “Discover your own beauty rather than emulate others, understand what are your best features and bring them out to emphasise your individuality. And smile!”

If you want to contact Jayne, email her at or call 07772 87885.

Cheltenham Town Hall

Our fashion dilemma shoot took place at Cheltenham Town Hall and its Skillicorne Gardens.

Throughout the year the Town Hall – together with its sister venue the Pittville Pump Room – has a wide-ranging programme of events, from live music and stand-up comedy to the world-class series of Cheltenham festivals.

The Town Hall has a range of rooms available for hire, with capacities ranging from 15 to 1,000, catering for any size or type of event, from private meetings to elegant weddings.

To book tickets or hire one of the venues call 0844 576 2210 or visit

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