Tuesday 6 November 2018

A Style Makeover with North East Personal Stylist Helenlee Loves

* This is a collaboration with Helenlee Loves 

I have a funny relationship with my personal style. Growing up overweight I spent my entire childhood, teen years and twenties encouraged to hide in huge baggy clothes - it's no surprise that I grew up hating clothes shopping. Now I've grown up, I really love clothes but when it comes to dressing myself I'm not ashamed to admit that I often find myself struggling with what to wear.  With an overcrowded wardrobe but no clothes to wear, I needed help so booked a style makeover with North East personal stylist, Helenlee Loves.

Here are just some of the looks that Helenlee put together using clothes she found in my wardrobe, all created to suit my colouring, body shape and lifestyle, I honestly can't get over how different these outfits make me look.

Welcome to my style makeover with Helenlee Loves!

A Style Makeover with North East Personal Stylist Helenlee Loves

I've always been quite curious about the idea of having a session with a personal stylist but have perhaps always been a little embarrassed about the idea of booking one - admitting your body hangups and wardrobe dilemmas to a stranger can make you feel a little bit vulnerable. So I felt pretty brave when I agreed to a personal style appointment with Helenlee Loves.

Helenlee appeared on my doorstep with a huge smile, warm hug and the kind of aura that immediately put me at ease. As soon as we had settled down at the kitchen table with our cups of coffee I knew I was definitely in safe hands. Helenlee is the kind of person you can share your wardrobe horror stories with - she makes no judgement and within minutes it felt like we were going to be great friends.

Helenlee's style mission is simple and effective, she's not interested in the latest fashion trends and throw away pieces and concentrates instead on helping her clients to find their own style that suits their figure, colour, lifestyle and taste which I think you'll agree, leads to a wardrobe that is perfectly created to be minimal, functional and make you feel fabulous.

The Style Code

All of Helenlee's style services start with the all important Style Code where she sits down with you in the comfort of your own home to develop a personalised Style Code to create the perfect wardrobe to suit your needs.

There are three elements to the Style Code:


To work out what colours suit me best Helenlee looked at my skin tone, hair and eye colour. Hair colour is the most dominant part of the colour analysis and as I'm auburn with very fair strawberry blonde highlights warm dominants work best for me.

Style Makeover with North East Personal Stylist Helenlee Loves

Colours that have warm undertones, particularly warm Autumn colours work best for me. So I should be looking for beautiful burnt oranges, corals and apricots, warm browns and pine greens. This means steering clear of bold and cool colours like black. I realise that for a lot of people black is a safety colour and although I've never been afraid to wear colour, there were a few black items in my wardrobe. Using my new colour palette I can switch these up for new base colours like navy blue or beige and if I really feel the need to wear something very dark I can opt for a charcoal grey.

The biggest challenge for me with my colours is definitely going to be attempting to steer clear of white which does nothing for me. I wear quite a lot of white in the Summer months but now know that I need to swap these for creams and off whites.

I was surprised to learn that most people can wear any colour, it's more the depth and shade of the colour that matters. We found these two pretty similar colours in my wardrobe, the dress on the left is warm and perfect for me whilst the plum coloured skirt on the right is too cool for me.

Style Makeover with Personal Stylist Helenlee Loves

Body Shape

Next we determined my body shape. After a fun guessing game where I got it all completely wrong Helenelee point out that my shoulders and hips are in perfect proportion and my smallest part is my clearly defined waist which makes me a neat hour glass. Well, that was quite a shock let me tell you, I'd always thought I was a pear.

Women come in all shapes and sizes and knowing what you are can make a huge difference to the clothes that you buy and the way that you wear them. The clothes that you wear plays a huge part in your confidence and it's got nothing to do with how "fashionable" you are or spending loads of money to keep up with the latest trends, it's about wearing clothes that suit you and fit with your style code.

Knowing your body shape is essential to wearing the type of clothes that make you feel and look great. As a neat hour glass if I wear clothes that are too baggy it can make me look a dress size bigger. By wearing styles that nip me in at the waist or using a belt, outfits can be changed to suit my figure.

Style Makeover Personal Stylist Helenlee Loves

Style Personality

Discovering my style personality was the part of Helenelee's style code that I was particularly impressed with. As a very practical dresser it's no good having an amazing wardrobe that isn't functional for my every day life. I work in an office, do a fair amount of walking and like to feel really comfortable when I'm out and about.

Using a style personality questionnaire we determined that I'm a "natural classic" meaning I prefer a laid back comfortable and casual style with a simple and timeless wardrobe.  I'll admit that I've always felt like I should walk around apologising for the way that I dress just because I want to wear flats and be comfortable but discovering my Style Code made me realise how ridiculous that is! Everyone has a different personality and lifestyle and it's important that your wardrobe fits in with that.

The Wardrobe Detox

I met Helenlee again a week later when she came over on a Saturday afternoon to help me clear out my wardrobe. Although I'm a little embarrassed to show you the state of my wardrobe before our detox I thought I'd best show it to you so you can really get a feel for what we were dealing with.

A clothes rail full of hangers with so many clothes squeezed in that I struggled every morning to find anything to wear. My wardrobe definitely had no order and everything was in a big mess, I could never easily lay my hands on anything. The top shelf was stuffed full with old jewellery boxes, crates full of beauty products and an endless tangle of hair styling instruments. The less said about the bottom drawer the better, my handbag storage had become a huge knot of bag straps, belts and scarves and I barely opened it because it would take me so long to pull anything out.

What a mess!

Style Makeover Personal Stylist Helenlee Loves - Wardrobe Detox

Using my style code we did a very thorough (and eye opening) wardrobe detox. Working from left to right we took each item out in turn and discussed whether I'd worn it recently, if we thought it suited my style code and if it looked old and tired.  Forming three piles "donate" "keep" and "maybe" some clothes fell easily into the donate pile but others took a bit more investigating.

Helenlee advised me on each part of clothing that she pulled out but I never felt under any pressure to get rid of anything. Obviously we all have those sentimental pieces in our wardrobe we couldn't bare to part with and some items of clothing I am attached to even though they don't fit perfectly into my style code. Helenlee completely understood that, however I did find myself very open to getting rid of most the items she advised didn't really suit me, I was more than ready for a fresh clean wardrobe!

Style Makeover Personal Stylist Helenlee Loves - Wardrobe

Something I was keen to discuss was my work wardrobe and when we got to that part of my wardrobe we pulled out my swing dress, something that I've been wearing every week to the office. Putting it on Helenlee pointed out a number of ways it was going against my style code - its shape was all wrong for my neat hourglass and the dark black colour doesn't suit me. One for the donate pile!

Slightly alarmed that I would have nothing to wear for work we carried on our hunt until I hit a part of my wardrobe that I've never worn before! Please tell me I'm not the only person who holds onto clothes that still have the tags on? Hiding away in my wardrobe we found a pair of trousers that fit perfectly into my style code, paired with this top I hadn't worn in years we suddenly had an outfit fit for the office that looks far better than what what I was wearing before and it was an absolute joy to rediscover clothes I'd long forgotten or finally find a use for things I'd never worn before.

Style Makeover Personal Stylist North East

Helenlee explained the importance of streamlining my wardrobe to make it far easier to manage so we picked out items that I wanted to keep that were more appropriate for Summer and put them in a separate pile to stash away for the warmer months. I have to agree with her, what on earth is the point in cluttering up your space with clothes you're not going to wear until July?

Another amazing tip Helenlee gave me was that t-shirts and jumpers shouldn't be hiding away in drawers where I'll never wear them but hung up in my wardrobe with the rest of my collection so that I can see everything that I have in one place. I never would have had room in my wardrobe to hang anything like that before but now with so much space I can easily fit all of my clothes into the wardrobe.

As we worked our way through my wardrobe we soon noticed a pattern, most of my clothes were far too big for me. As I'd been wearing my trousers and skirts on my tummy rather than on my waist I'd bought everything a size too big which meant most of my clothes were really ill fitting and unflattering. We spent most of the afternoon having to use clothes pegs to peg me into clothes so I could get an idea of how things should be sitting. Anything that was too big or too short (tall girl problems!) went straight into the charity shop bag.

Style Makeover Personal Stylist Newcastle

After a while I began to notice that all of my clothes were beginning to create the most beautiful capsule wardrobe with loads of complimenting colours and it suddenly became a lot easier to understand my colours as they were beginning to form the basis of my wardrobe.

I was amazed by the amount of clothes I already had in my wardrobe that could fit into my style code and Helenlee gave me some great tips on how to wear them in a different way. This denim dress has always been one of my favourites, which is no surprise as its shape suits my figure. By rolling up the sleeves attention is drawn to my small waist. Amazing!

Style Makeover Personal Stylist Newcastle - Helenlee Loves

Perhaps the most important thing I learnt during my wardrobe detox was how much I'd been using the space as a dumping ground. The huge basket at the bottom of my wardrobe had become a place for me to chuck bags, scarves, belts and hats where they'd become lost in a huge tangled mess never to be found again. The top shelf of my wardrobe was littered with forgotten beauty products, empty jewellery boxes and hairdryers and a lot of the time opening the doors was a bit of a health risk (I've lost count of the amount of times a hair dryer has fallen on my foot!) Once we'd been through all of my clothes Helenlee gave me the task of clearing out the rest of my wardrobe to make it clutter free - beauty products should live in the bathroom, not in my wardrobe!

I think you'll agree the end result is very impressive and this is only a progression picture, there is more change to come!

Style Makeover Personal Stylist Newcastle - Helenlee Loves Style Code

Skype Styling my Accessories 

Sorting through my stash is quite a mammoth task so we arranged another shorter session to specifically go through my shoe and bag collection and this time decided to do it via Skype.

Helenlee often uses Skype to chat to clients that don't live in the North East or to fit in with people's lifestyles and commitments. I have to admit I did wonder how well a style appointment would work using our laptops but I had an absolutely brilliant evening going through my accessories collection using my webcam.

I hadn't realised how huge my shoe collection was until I started discovering boxes and boxes of shoes all over my bedroom. On top of the wardrobe and under chest of drawers I found endless shoe boxes, thick with dust containing shoes that I had completely forgotten about - it was like Christmas had come early!

Helenlee Loves Style Code

We both agreed that hoarding shoes in boxes was a little daft as I was never going to wear them so everything was unpackaged then we sorted out a sensible shoe collection perfect for my needs and to fit in with my new look wardrobe. Helenlee was really understanding when I announced that I wanted to keep a ridiculous pair of glittery killer heels that I never wear. Despite them having not been on my feet for years they are so special to me as I wore them during a the photo shoot that Simon and I did for Weight Watchers when we first met.  She suggested that as I'm probably not going to wear them, maybe I should display them on a shelf in my bedroom rather than hiding them away in a box.

Sorting through my bag collection we got rid of a lot of very unpractical bags that I'd been clinging on to for no apparent reason and managed to pull together a really great collection of bags to perfectly cater for my needs. It made me realise how little I use some of my bags. Simon bought me a beautiful Kate Spade bag as a wedding present which sits in a dust bag and I never use, as part of my wardrobe detox it's now much easier for me to grab and start using!

Helenlee Loves Style Code - Shoes

Living with my Style Code

So how have I been getting on with the Style Code in my every day life? Well it's been a few weeks now and I have to say for the first time in my life it's an absolute joy to open up my wardrobe every day and only having a collection of clothes that I know I look good in. It makes getting dressed in the morning so much easier. I also packed for a weekend away a few days after we detoxed my wardrobe and I couldn't believe how much easier it was deciding what to take with me.

I love that I've started to take more care with my clothes and I really take the time to hang everything up properly and neatly now rather than chucking things into an uncontrollable pile. It's also really given me the tidying bug and I've since sorted out my bathroom cabinets and chucked out loads of unused or out of date products.

Although the first time I stepped back into a clothes shop a few days after my style makeover I found it all a little overwhelming, I had my own personal stylist tucked away in my phone to guide me. Helenlee sent me my own personal Style Code profile to save in my phone as well as a 7 day private Whatsapp group where we could chat all things style code for the first week to help me out with any problems.

I've started to have a really good think about how I want to pull my wardrobe together and a few bits and bobs that I now need to buy to make it complete. I've really enjoyed picking out a few signature colours to help create my wardrobe and I'm currently obsessed with rusty oranges and leopard print for the Autumn months!

Helenlee Stylist Loves Style Code

I've strolled around the shops a few times since meeting Helenlee and have definitely found myself being a lot more mindful in clothes stores. I'm really taking the time to look at clothes properly and have already noticed myself picking out pieces that compliment my colours and style. From now on I'll only be buying clothes that I look really good in and that I'll get wear out of. I have a Zara package arriving in the next few days with some new things that should hopefully slot into my new look wardrobe perfectly.

Having spent so many years hiding in oversized clothes and then battling the last 7 years with a touch of body dysmorphia trying to get used to my new shape and size, meeting Helenlee has been life changing and I am so thankful to her for helping me to feel confident in the way that I look.

This is just the start of my restyle journey, I still have an entire pile of jackets, coats and jumpers to sort through, a fair few drawers to tidy and, fingers crossed, will soon be turning my spare room into a dressing room. If you're interested in seeing my progress make sure you follow me on Instagram for updates.

If you want to discover more about Helenlee's personal style services and find out how she can help you to create your own style code, you can find all the details here

Helenlee Loves treated me to a complimentary style makeover in exchange for this honest review. 


  1. It's incredible how much small changed can make a big difference, I always thought you dressed really well anyway but the dresses with the belts make you look 2 sizes slimmer!

    1. Ahhh that's so kind of you to say because I always feel a little like I dress like a slob. It's what I was talking about in the post - liking to be comfortable and feeling the need to apologise for it!

  2. I loved this post Chloe - the old Chloe would NEVER have worn an outfit that really draws attention to your waist but you look so good styled like this!

  3. Oh wow, this sounds great. I really need to do this. My wardrobe is way worse than your before. I think my body has gone through so many changes with pregnancy and breastfeeding this could be really beneficial to me. I do love my baggy clothes too though, I like to be comfortable and pretty much spend my life in slogan Ts and jumpers. I wonder if Helenlee could help me! You look great. The idea of an organised wardrobe is what attracts me most to this though!

    1. I'm definitely keeping some slobby jumpers but I'm going to keep them with my PJs and just wear them to slob about the house in (I may also occasionally sneak out to Tesco in them but don't tell anyone!)

  4. This sounds like SUCH a fun experience! It makes me wonder what I'd learn about my style and wardrobe... xx

    Laura // Middle of Adventure

    1. It really was so fun and the best thing is I'm now really in full tidying mode so I should have a lovely tidy house for Christmas!

  5. I'd love to do something like this, especially when baby's here - I feel like my wardrobes taken a total back seat over the last few months (and rightly so) I can't wait to come back to it in the new year though with a fresh mind. One of my aims for maternity is to nail the ultimate capsule wardrobe, as silly as it sounds. Ha. I love this idea though. Sometimes all it takes is a fresh pair of eyes to steer you in the right direction. You look amazing!

    1. I bet a capsule wardrobe would work so well as a new Mum too because everything is much easier to manage, you can just grab items and dash!

  6. Oh wow, Helenlee sounds so thorough! I think I'd be terrified of letting her into my wardrobe, but at the same time, it sounds like such a great experience, especially because you've come out of it looking like a mega babe!

    Olivia - The Northernist

    1. She definitely doesn't cut any corners! She's so kind when she tells you things don't suit you, I never felt under any pressure to get rid of anything but just found myself wanting to! It's just so good to have such a nice fresh re-start!

  7. i LOVE seeing how your wardrobe has changed. she has done such an amazing job and im so happy that people let into into their wardrobes, it can be a scary thing

    1. I felt scared thinking about it but the reality was actually quite fun! I can't wait for Christmas now so I can fill some of the wardrobe gaps!

  8. Wow this sounds like such an amazing, life changing experience and the results look so good! I love the outfits you are wearing, you look amazing!!
    Also the section of wearing trousers and skirts on your waist not your stomach has blew my mind! I thought the latter was the more flattering way they could be worn haha, I'll need to reassess my wardrobe asap! ;)


    1. Thank you! I definitely need a few more bits and bobs to finish my wardrobe off properly, I'm still wearing a few wrong colours at the moment!

  9. Love this post Chloe. I liked your style before, but can see a difference in little details and changes. Shame on you for hiding that figure! :p
    I love the idea of this though. It's so interesting and completely makes sense. But I guess when you don;t know these things, you don't know. :)
    It's definitely something I could do with. After two children, I feel I've definitely lost my way and mojo!


    1. Ahhh thank you! My wardrobe is definitely still a work in progress but I'm slowly replacing things with more sensible fashion choices. Finally found the perfect pair of high waisted trousers for the office last week and I can't wait to wear them!


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