The perfect look to step out in Spring time

For work, a dinner out or for hanging around the house Life Matters reader Charlotte Tompkins knows what to wear, but for Saturday lunch with friends her style saviness falters. Emma Harrowing shows her how to get a smart casual look for lunch with the girls.

It's 7am in the morning and 31- year-old Charlotte Tompkins is getting ready for work. She instantly knows what to wear and she is out the door in time to catch her bus to work.

At the weekend if she is hanging around her house doing chores her jeans and t-shirts are her best friends.

But on the Saturday's when she has arranged to meet friends for lunch her appearance suddenly becomes a concern.

Says Charlotte: 'I never really have a problem with how I look until I am faced with having a casual lunch with friends. I'm just not sure what to wear. I don't want to wear my jeans and t-shirt, but I don't really want to get dressed up during the day.'

Charlotte loves clothes that make her feel comfortable, so an easy-to-wear casual look that draws upon Spring's new trends is a look that will instantly make her look stylish for lunch with the girls.

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Charlotte struggles to find trousers that fit her svelte petite frame and so she tends to wear dresses, skirts or jeans. With the trouser being a big trend for Spring there are many different shape trousers in the shops so you are sure to find a style that suits you.

We went to see Helen Newton, the personal shopper at Debenhams, for advice.

Says Helen: 'For petite frames that are very straight the cigarette pant is the ideal trouser shape as this is cropped in at the ankle and has volume around the hips. This shape works in the same way as the tulip shaped skirt, creating curves to make women with a straight body more curvy.

'As Charlotte is very petite, keeping her top half neat and tailored with a fitted chiffon blouse tucked into the trousers will keep her in proportion. Choosing a blouse with detail at the neckline such as frills will add volume to her bust.

'For shoes heels are always best if you want to create a illusion of height, however, Charlotte is comfortable with her height and as she prefers to feel comfortable in her clothes a pair of patent peep toe flats will give her the comfort and style she wants.'


Charlotte has naturally wavy hair and likes the tousled look rather than wearing her hair straight.

Says Charlotte: 'My hair is very thin and so I struggle to keep it looking good. It would be great to have a style that is easy to maintain and yet makes my hair look better than it does now.'

Becky Matthews at Nigel Alexandre hair salon on Castle Street is given the task to turn Charlotte's tresses into an easy-to-maintain tousled style.

Says Becky: 'The reason Charlotte is finding it difficult to style her hair is because there are too many layers in her current style. Layers can be used to make the hair look thicker but in Charlotte's case her layers have been cut too straight which makes her hair look thinner.

'To thicken up her hair and to encourage the natural wave I am going to get rid of the blunt edges on the layers and cut in a jaggered edge. This will make Charlotte's hair less wispy and encourage more movement. This will add volume and thickness to her hair and make it easy for her to wear wavy.

'For the colour I am going to keep her blonde shade but add different colour blonde highlights throughout which will also make her hair appear thicker.'


To complete Charlotte's 'weekend lunch with the girls' look, Izzy Pemberton from Pampers beauty salon on Castle Street use Bare Minerals makeup to create a glamorous day look.

For the base a light covering of powder foundation in a shade that matches Charlotte's skin tone was brush over the face and concealer was placed under the eyes to brighten any dark circles and over the eye lids to create a base for eye makeup.

To bring some natural colour to Charlotte's face a pink blush was applied to the apples of the cheeks to give her a fresh look.

Next a highlighter was applied along the eyebrow bone and top of the cheekbones.

For the eyes a pale green eyeshadow was brushed over the eyelids and a darker green was applied to the outer edge of the eyelids to create a subtle smoky eye. Brown eyeliner was applied along the top and bottom lash line to create a soft daytime look.

To complete Charlotte's daytime look, mascara was used to define her lashes and a brown lipstick was used to define her lips.

The verdict

Says Charlotte: 'I didn't think that I would actually find a pair of trousers that suited me and although I tried on a lot of different styles these really do work. I have always loved this style trouser but I never thought that they would look good on me.

'My hair is amazing, it really does feel full of volume and the waves are great!

'It's strange having someone do your makeup for you but it really does make you try new techniques and colours. The green eyeshadow works really well with the brown eyeliner. The overall look makes me look really fresh and ready for Spring.'

Charlotte wears: Trousers, �45, Warehouse; blouse, �40, Preen/Edition; shoes, �25; bag from a selection; all available from Debenhams.