Ask the expert

On a regular basis I will ask different experts to give you (and me!) the answers to those oh so important questions on make-up and skincare, fashion, friendship, hair, music, and of course, boys.

This month: Queen of Style
Meet Corina Gaffey, Fashion Editor

Recently a lovely English girl wrote to me asking for fashion advice. So I asked Corina Gaffney, style guru of Kiss magazine to help her. Thanks, Corina!

Hope it's useful!

Coming soon: Look out for make-up and beauty tips for how to Be Beautiful, plus the Truth About Hair Care with the King of Hair!

All About Corina

Fashion isn't so much a career as a calling for Corina, who possesses a keen and unique eye for innovative style. Corina Gaffey
She began working as a freelance stylist more than half a decade ago and was quickly picked up by photographers and national publications for her lively grasp of fashion and design, as well as an ability to subscribe to classic tastes. In 2008, she secured the title of fashion editor at Kiss magazine, before quickly rising to fashion editor of Stellar magazine. She is omnipresent on the Irish fashion and style scene, and manages to constantly reinvent the energy of fashion shoots, presiding over several editorials week in week out.

The reader's letter (thanks for letting us reproduce it, A.)

I would like some advice. I am 16 and I am moving schools this September. This presents me with an opportunity for a fresh start.
I want to be a new person at my new school by wearing 'cool' clothes, but ones that suit me. But, I don't have a clue what sort of clothes to buy! I want to go shopping, but I have no idea what sort of things to look for. I don't like my legs much, so I was thinking of skirts, with boots. But I really don't know what things are appropriate and where to start.
Here are the things I will need outfits for:
For the next two years at my new school we don't have to wear uniform so I will need clothes for everyday at school.

When I hang out with friends, informal parties with friends and go shopping I can probably wear the same sorts of stuff because I should have my style sorted by then!
But another query I have is, for smart casual parties, what kind of things are 16 year olds wearing? For example, sometimes I have to go to family parties where jeans are too casual. And I'm always so clueless!
And, another thing is, I will be doing some work experience at different companies this summer holiday. What is appropriate dress for the office setting for teens?
My height is 5 feet 3 inches. I have black eyes and very dark hair, below shoulder length and I hate my thighs! I like bright colours, but most colours suit me.
Please would you recommend shoes too? Because I find shoes the hardest things to choose with outfits!
Please feel free to post my letter on your site. I would be happy if others out there got something useful from it and realised there are others in the same boat!
A, England

And here is Corina's advice:

Hi A, 

It's great you want to change up your look! Fashion is all about having fun, mixing it up and not taking it too seriously. Express who you are through the clothes you wear.

But before you rush out and buy up all the shops. Here are a few pointers…

- Read Magazines: Especially teen mags, as they are aimed at your age group and are a great place to find out what other girls are wearing. Also the pics of celebs can be really inspiring.

- Have A Rummage: You never know what hidden gems are lurking in the back of your wardrobe – or your mum's! Set aside anything you don't like and focus on what you like about the rest; colours, shapes, prints etc.

- Reinvent Your Wardrobe: An old pair of jeans can be turned into a cute little cut-off denim skirt with the help of a seamstress. Add a Tee and some coloured tights and you have a savy, celeb-worthy outfit for nowt!

- Back to Basics: Basic wardrobe items are a must! Basics shouldn't be seasonal or trendy, but that doesn't always mean they have to be boring. Shops like H&M, Topshop and American Apparel have great cool basic items, like a great pair of jeans that fit you really well, coloured Tees, a little black dress and a cute skirt that you can mix and match.

- Always Accessorise: Don't forget the power of accessories as a cheap, cool and individual way of updating your look. Any outfit can be transformed with the addition of a colourful belt and a chunky necklace. Claire's Accessories and H&M do cheap, fun pieces. 

The three pairs of shoes every girl should own are cute flats, which will go with dresses, skirts and jeans, a pair of on-trend ankle boots – they look great with a mini-skirt or dress, and knee-high boots for winter.

The first day at your new school is your chance to make an impression! Just make sure you can back-up your outfit for the rest of the year and keep your dressing pattern consistent, so don't wear anything to in-your-face. Keep it simple. A pretty, casual dress with some coloured tights and flat pumps will be comfortable as well as cool. Add a cardi if it's chilly. Remember, wear your outfit with confidence and if you don't have it, fake it! If you doubt yourself, other people will too. 

Don't think that you need a separate "going out" wardrobe. A lot of your regular outfits can be dressed up by either adding a sparkly top or by changing your hair, wearing a cute pair of heels, adding accessories or even a slick bright, pink lippy. 

Happy shopping!

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