My No.1 Styling Tip: The Wild Card

Hobbs SS16 Style Session at London's Kensington High Street hosted by Catherine Summers of Not Dressed As Lamb

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For the first time ever I got to share my no. 1 styling tip to an (albeit small) live audience last week.

I was thrilled to get to host an event at Hobbs London to help celebrate the opening of their new Kensington High Street store: an evening of talking about clothes and outfits that I’d styled along with some bubbly and delicious nibbles is basically my idea of heaven.

Hobbs hold a Style Session regularly and this was my first – it was so much fun and so great to meet and chat with customers. Although I love blogger events it was nice to meet a different crowd who aren’t bloggers for a change… You get a whole different perspective about attitudes to style which I’m really grateful for.

(If you wish to receive information about future events and Style Sessions with Hobbs, sign up to their newsletter by going to their website and clicking on “Register” at the top – you’ll be the first in the know. If you Update Your Preferences you can select a store that’s closest to you to make the communications more location-relevant.)

I’d been to the store the week before to put together six outfits of my choice, all of which I absolutely loved. I’ve featured all the looks below alongside some shots of me doing my “thing”, i.e. gesticulating wildly and talking a lot. (I mean a lot.) I had two gorgeous models who both looked so lovely in the outfits I chose – at least two of the outfits got an audible “gasp” from the guests so I knew I was doing something right!

The theme of my talk was “Going for bold” – Hobbs described the event as


What I wanted to do was 1. Dispel any notion that Hobbs only offers workwear, and 2. Show outfits for “play” – shopping, summer parties, lunches, weddings, date nights, etc. – in bright colours and patterns. I wanted to show off my signature style of mixed patterns, bright accessories and no black (though I did throw in one touch of black which was too gorgeous to pass up).

My Number 1 Styling Tip: "The Wild Card" - Not Dressed As Lamb |
Which leads me onto that number one styling tip! This is such a great tip and I was so pleased to share it with the guests, it’s something that really gets you thinking and encourages you to be more adventurous in your style choices.


My number one styling tip

Ask yourself: Have you ever gone round a store and thought “Oh I love that, but I can’t wear it / That won’t suit me / I can’t get away with wearing that”? And then just dismissed it because of one of those (rather lame) reasons?

If this is you (I’ve done it myself plenty of times), do this next time you’re shopping for clothes:

As well as the regular items that you’ve picked out, take something into the changing room (add to basket if online) that you looked at and loved, but thought would never suit you. Rather than just dismissing it, be daring and try the damn thing on. It’s called the “Wild Card” – it works more often than you’d think.

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What’s the worst that can happen? It doesn’t look so good after all, or you’re not comfortable in it. Or you may give yourself a bit of a giggle.

However… it may look sensational. You may look at yourself and think “You know what? I really like it on me/it makes me feel gorgeous/this colour looks great with my skin tone/I can wear yellow after all”. Why deny yourself that pleasure because you thought to assume it would look terrible?

This is why I always say to dress for your personality first, not your shape. Shape comes into it, but you can take two people of exactly the same shape and size and dress them in identical outfits: One will look great because it suits her personality, the other one will look ridiculous because it does not.

Dare to step outside your comfort zone, you never know where it may take you…!

I must say a huge thank you to Hobbs for inviting me to host the Style Session: It was a lot of fun and a great opportunity to share that styling tip with your customers.


Hobbs SS16 Style Session at London's Kensington High Street hosted by Catherine Summers of Not Dressed As Lamb
My outfit: Blue sweater | White jeans | Red sandals | Yellow necklace


Casual pattern mixing for daytime: Polka dots, florals and snake print | Hobbs SS16 styled by Not Dressed As Lamb
Look 1: Relaxed daytime pattern mixing

Polka dot sweater | Floral wide leg trousers | ‘Winchester’ hobo bag | Snake print sandals | ‘Valentina’ pendant


Hobbs SS16 Style Session at London's Kensington High Street hosted by Catherine Summers of Not Dressed As Lamb
Hobbs SS16 Style Session at London's Kensington High Street hosted by Catherine Summers of Not Dressed As Lamb
Date night outfit: Red off-the-shoulder- floral top, denim wide leg trousers | Hobbs SS16 styled by Not Dressed As Lamb
Look 2: Elegant evening or date night outfit

Off-the-shoulder floral top | Wide leg chambray trousers | Red clutch | Red ‘Ting’ sandals


Hobbs SS16 Style Session at London's Kensington High Street hosted by Catherine Summers of Not Dressed As Lamb

Soft pastels: Pink trench, grey skinnies and nude brogues | Hobbs SS16 styled by Not Dressed As Lamb
Look 3: Spring or autumn daytime shopping or lunch date outfit

White ‘Ruby’ sweater | Pink trench coat | Grey skinny jeans | Mixed pattern scarf | Nude brogues | Soft blue ‘Hampstead’ saddle bag


Pattern mixing: Navy/white striped sweater, khaki floral wide leg pants, strappy wedge sandals, novelty camera bag - Hobbs SS16 | Not Dressed As Lamb
Daytime pattern mixed stripes and florals | Hobbs SS16 styled by Not Dressed As Lamb
Look 4: As featured in my post last week

Striped sweater | Floral wide leg trousers | Navy wedge sandals | ‘Hampstead’ bowling bag


Hobbs SS16 Style Session at London's Kensington High Street hosted by Catherine Summers of Not Dressed As Lamb
Coral dress for the races or wedding guest outfit | Hobbs SS16 styled by Not Dressed As Lamb
Look 5: Wedding guest or Day at the Races outfit

Coral fit and flare dress | Wide brim hat | Chunky pearl necklace | Red pointed heels | Navy ‘Mayfair’ clutch


Hobbs SS16 Style Session at London's Kensington High Street hosted by Catherine Summers of Not Dressed As Lamb
Black and white elegant evening look with pleats | Hobbs SS16 styled by Not Dressed As Lamb
Look 6: Elegant evening outfit

White pleated top | Black pleated midi skirt | Peep toe heels | Metallic ‘Mayfair’ clutch | ‘Rosa’ pendant


Hobbs SS16 Style Session at London's Kensington High Street hosted by Catherine Summers of Not Dressed As Lamb
Rail items, left to right: Pink trench | Floral dress | Green sweater | Coral dress | White pleated top | Floral wide leg trousers | Red floral top | Black and white dress


Hobbs SS16 Style Session at London's Kensington High Street hosted by Catherine Summers of Not Dressed As Lamb
Talking to a guest about the ‘Delphine’ jumpsuit

Something that made me giggle: Before the Style Session started, Sara the store manager checked with me that my name was “Catherine Lamb”… She’d of course got my real name and blog name mixed up.

However I’m warming to Catherine Lamb… I feel a name change coming on, what do you think?!


(Thank you to Kiri of Social Talent for taking the photos)

Disclosure: I have written this post in collaboration with Hobbs (click here for my full disclosure) as a follow up to the Kensington High Street Style Session. All content is original, however, and opinions are my own and 100% honest.

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  1. 1 July 2016 / 5:59 pm

    Love your #1 style tip Catherine as well as your advice to dress for your personality and then for your shape! Thanks for sharing your brilliance.

  2. 29 June 2016 / 10:47 am

    This is an post to my heart! When I was still working, as a branchemanager in a fashion boutique, we always gave detailed advice. And I also said to the customers, just grab what you like and then we will style it together. And very often the women saw that they had a better figure than they thought. And when they went with their purchase, they had a lot more confidence. Great was that.

  3. 23 June 2016 / 9:56 am

    The most amazing collab ever-you are effortlessly chic and I adore those capsule wardrobes. Do you know one of my first part time jobs after uni before working in the film industry, was working in Hobbs in Liverpool St and I learnt how to create key capsule wardrobes as part of my training. They are such a stylish brand and are fab to their employees too! Have to make your next one. Adore those bold prints, love this post x

    • 23 June 2016 / 11:21 am

      Ohh Vicki thank you my lovely!! That's good to know that they're good to their employees (they're good to me!) – the first job I went for after college in the holidays was working in Hobbs on the Kings Road, but I didn't take it for some reason… Here I am working WITH them 20+ years later!!

      And yes, it'd be lovely if you were to make the next one!! x

  4. 21 June 2016 / 8:56 pm

    I totally agree, some of the favourite things in my wardrobe are things I nearly didn't buy/try on and now I love them
    livinginaboxx | bloglovin

  5. 21 June 2016 / 8:49 pm

    Reading this made me smile because that's always been my approach to trying things on – I even refer to love/hate items as the wild card too! Now I shop online mostly so it's even more of a gamble…all part of the fun 🙂

    Emma xxx

    • 22 June 2016 / 8:59 am

      Hehe I knew you would be the sort of person who would always choose a wildcard, Emma!!

  6. 21 June 2016 / 3:48 pm

    What a fun event. I love many of the pieces you are sharing. The red off the shoulder top, the pantone colors ( blush brogues) .would be hard to choose! I like your advice on the "wild card" and Catherine Lamb has a ring to it!
    jess xx

    • 22 June 2016 / 8:46 am

      Thank you Jess – I'm thinking Catherine Lamb could be my " stage name"! ;)))

  7. 20 June 2016 / 11:27 am

    Brilliant advice! I'm often telling my friends the same thing – and it works more often than not! I love these outfits and the photos are gorgeous!
    Suzy x

    • 20 June 2016 / 8:45 pm

      Thank you Suzy my lovely – that's great that you tell friends the same thing…! x

  8. 19 June 2016 / 10:12 pm

    I would wear any of these outfits. Wish I could have been there x

    • 20 June 2016 / 8:14 pm

      It was a shame you couldn't make it, Laurie – hopefully next time! x

  9. 19 June 2016 / 7:05 pm

    I wish I was there, Mrs Lamb 😉 I thoroughly enjoyed the Hobbs styling session with Alyson Walsh in February and will make sure to be in London for your next event!

    The collection is gorgeous which makes it very hard to select my favourite look. I think I'll have them all… love the red dress in no.5 but also the floral blouse in no.2 is lovely – and most definitely your pattern mixed look!

    Annette | Lady of Style

    • 20 June 2016 / 8:08 pm

      Ohh I hope so, Annette!! OMG you would look sooooo gorgeous in that red floral top, it was made for you :))

  10. 19 June 2016 / 5:26 pm

    I'm all for the "Wild Card"!
    Every time.
    Much more fun than 10 pairs of black trousers :oD

    • 20 June 2016 / 7:56 pm

      Oh yes, SO much better than all those black trousers, Samantha…!!

  11. 19 June 2016 / 3:16 pm

    I love how you took an idea and put a great title to it: Trying on the wild card!!! It's brilliant Catherine!!
    Looks like a great event! You're a natural at that kind of thing, obviously!

    • 20 June 2016 / 7:46 pm

      Aww Jodie thank you, I think it went well, I got a very positive reaction from everyone so I hope they enjoyed it and liked the wild card tip too :))

  12. 19 June 2016 / 1:56 pm

    Haha, Catherine Lamb is too funny. Sounds like a great event, and I REALLY like your wild card tip! I used to be terrible about trying on different clothes but am slowly trying to change. You really can't judge clothes on a hanger and you never know how things will look on you! Great reminder!

    Andrea’s Wellness Notes

    • 20 June 2016 / 7:44 pm

      That's so true about things looking different on to how they do on the hanger, Andrea! So glad you liked the tip xx

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