I recently helped a new client who got in touch, not because she was feeling lost with her style, or looking for help understanding how to dress her shape; her reason for getting in touch was a little different to the majority of my clients.  She suffers from severe eczema and was finding it hard to pull together outfits that didn’t irritate her skin, gave her the coverage she wanted, and most of all made her look stylish and feel confident.

This wasn’t the first time I’d helped a client with sensitive skin, it seems that there are a lot of people out there who are limited to particular fabrics for fear of irritating their sensitive skin, so encouraged by the confidence that my client gained after our sessions I thought that this weekend (while we’re still in the depths of winter) I’d share some of the things I’ve learned over the years, about keeping warm and stylish in the winter.

1.   I guess my biggest piece of advice is going to be: Master the art of layering.  If wool irritates your skin then you’re going to need to layer lighter items to achieve the same kind of warmth.  Now I find that a lot of clients struggle with layering, and to be honest it can be hard to crack, but if the proportions are right, the colors and prints work together, and the shapes flatter your figure, you’ll be fine.  Start with a simple base layer using one color palette (for example: black jeans and a black top) and layer items over this.  Keeping your base layer one color will tie your outfit together and help prevent it looking messy.  It also the added bonus of creating a flattering column that narrows and elongates.

2.   Make sure you have a good selection of layering tops on hand, in a variety of different sleeve lengths and necklines.  These will act as a barrier between you and the irritating fabrics that are in abundance over winter.

layering base layers

3.   Make the most of the trend for capes and blanket scarves.  They can be worn umpteen different ways and are so cozy!

4.   Introduce a couple of good blouses to your collection.   Silk is preferable as it’s fantastic at helping the body to retain heat and it feels fabulous against the skin.  As well as providing a warm, comfortable, luxurious barrier between you and wool, it’s extremely versatile.  Wear it to work with a pair of tailored peg leg pants, swap the pants for jeans at the weekend and for a night out wear it over skinnies and add a pair of towering heels.

versatile blouse

5.   If your budget allows, wear cashmere.   It’s much softer than wool and doesn’t irritate as much.  Trust me, this isn’t just an excuse to indulge, it really doesn’t irritate as much – I occasionally suffer from excema and can’t wear wool, but cashmere is OK.

6.   Keep your core warm and layer a long-line vest over your outfits.  You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes!

7.   And lastly, if your skin is red and angry, wearing red will only enhance this.  Opt for cooler tones instead.

How do you combat the cold if you suffer from sensitive skin?