The Styling You Manifesto #fashion #beauty #advice

Real-girl words to style by: The Styling You Manifesto

Nikki Parkinson Beauty, Fashion, How to 70 Comments

When I first started writing about fashion and beauty about 14 years ago, I was winging it.

Not winging it so much in what I wrote but in the advice I was dishing out but missing the mark on myself.

I’ll let you in on a little secret.

Yes, I’ve always been obsessed by all things clothes and makeup and skincare but I really didn’t have a clue about style and how to maybe get some of it happening in my life.

Clueless, I tell you.

I’d been in that many ruts over the years that my wardrobe was starting to resemble a dirt road in desperate need of some love from a grader.

But then a funny thing happened. Writing about my obsession became akin to driving a grader over the ruts in my wardrobe.

I learned a trick or two from clever experts and took strategic mental notes from the stylish girlfriends in my life.

I have to say, though, it was when I finally left journalism to follow a dream to style real women instead of models that that learning curve took on the proportions of a very steep rise.

In 3.5 years I worked with more than 200 women of all shapes, sizes and ages.

Women who let me into their wardrobe or humoured me as I threw clothes at them in the change rooms of boutiques, chain stores and department stores.

These women taught me to trust the knowledge I’d accidentally amassed in pursuit of escaping my own style rut history.

And many of the mantras I shared with these women, I’ve shared here on the blog over the past 4.5 years.

So, today, in the spirit of the Christmas season, I’d like to share these mantras with you in one place  … drum roll, please.

Presenting … the first Styling You Manifesto.

A manifesto that represents the core messages that help me get my style on – and keep it on most days. I hope they help you too.

The Styling You Manifesto #fashion #beauty #advice

I’ve been working with the uber-talented Kelly Exeter from Swish Design and The Smile Collective.

Kelly has not only given Styling You a sassy new logo but she’s captured the essence of my words in a manifesto design that I hope you’ll love and share with the women in your life.

The Styling You Manifesto

How to make the manifesto your own

1. My Christmas gift to you:  Click here for a FREE printable pdf download.

2. Something a little more swish and stylish {puns very much intended}Purchase an 8×10 print, A3 print or beautiful canvas print through the Smile Collective.

But … I know you want more

I got to chatting with Cameron Parker, the clever cookie behind The Dairy.

I’d already bought a phone case {hello lovely Keren Brown pineapples to match my cushion} and asked about the custom design option The Dairy offered. Turns out it was too easy and next thing you know there are not one but three Styling You phone covers now for sale through the site.

I picked out my three most repeated mantras from the manifesto, Kelly wove her design magic and now you can carry them around with you as a reminder to keep away from those ruts in your style road.

3. Let your phone do the talking: Shop the Styling You phone case collection here.

Styling You phone cases | Available iphone 4, 4S, 5 and Samsung Galaxy S3 | The Dairy

Oh, and of course, “selfies” are very much encouraged.

Styling You phone case: Don't Buy It Unless You Love it

Tell me …

Which of the mantras in the Styling You Manifesto most resonates with you?

Which gives you the biggest kick up the style bum to take a little rut-escaping action?

  • Wendy Loubser

    Hi Nikki,

    Just found your blog and am thoroughly enjoying my visit.

    I posted your manifesto on my blog – I hope that okay – I have linked it back to you, but if it’s a problem, please drop me a line and I’ll remove it.

    Have a stunning day

  • Jenni

    Don’t buy it unless you love it – I have so many mistakes in my wardrobe even some clothes that have never been worn because I realise when I get home that someone talked me into something that I didn’t truly love.

    • Jenni – we’ve all done this. I’ve got better since I’ve made the “love” bit a rule though!

  • congrats on the new look — and the phone covers are great!

  • Lisa @ Giving Back Girl

    Oh Nikki, this is perfect!!! And just quietly, if there was Kelly Exeter fan club, I’d be the president because everything she touches seem to be pure and simple brilliance. i love it when two clever girls like you get together.

    • Oh Lisa … she is amazing – talented and beautiful (inside and out). Very privileged to work with Kelly x

  • Don’t buy it unless you love it! ~otherwise it’ll languish in the wardrobe … and I hate having an overstuffed wardrobe! I’d rather have room for shoes 🙂 and honestly, life is too short to wear stuff cos it’s ‘fashionable’ – life should be about happy! and awesome! and fun!

  • Amy @ Absolute Amy

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this manifesto! Every woman should have a copy, thank you so much for sharing your style and beauty secrets with us. Amy x x

  • Oh, I absolutely love it! Don’t buy it unless you love it. It’s just a shame I love so very many things! 😉

    My style has changed a little over the years. I am now more confident to fly my own flag and do my own thing. It’s simple things like wearing a little cotton jacket instead of a cardigan or adding a belt or completely clashing my colours and patterns in an oh so fabulous way.

    Due to a combination of illness making it difficult for me to exercise and medication making it hard for me to lose weight, I’m now a size 12 instead of the 8-10 I spent most of my life being. I’m enjoying being a size 12 – I’m enjoying the fact that a little extra on my previously narrow hips and thighs balances out my boobs and I now look like I have a waist. I guess I’m an hourglass now – the figure I’d always admired.

    I wore a shorter skirt the other day – couldn’t bear to throw it out but it never looked right. Finally figured out that what it needed was a floaty top and sandals.

    One of my sayings is “the higher the boobs, the smaller the tummy” 😉

    • I love your saying, Kim-Marie, and I love that you’ve embraced your style for who you are now xx

  • Catherine

    Love it Nikki. It’s so nice to express yourself with words x

  • Jour et Nuit Online

    What a great manifesto! All of it is so true 🙂 my personal favourite is “Don’t buy it unless you love it” which means that I don’t have a big wardrobe as I’d like because I sit there and go to myself “Do I REALLY love it, or just like it? Will I like it next year?” 🙂

  • It looks great. Forget the rules speaks to me:)

  • Julie

    Thankyou Nikki – these are all great! The one to kick me up the style bum: Try on something you normally wouldn’t – I need to do this more often (with a friend in tow for a second opinion!). Always enjoy reading about your SY journey too – very inspiring xx

    • The worst that can happen is that it doesn’t work Julie … but if it does it could be the wardrobe “spark” you were looking for!

  • So fabulous Nikki! Love it x

  • abeachcottage


  • Am I the only one wanting the phone case to be backwards, so it appears correctly in the mirror. LOL

  • beautyholicsanonymous

    Love the manifesto, thank you! Downloaded it, going to print and frame it 😀

  • B

    Oh I LOVE LOVE LOVE this! I am so excited for you and so pleased you are sharing!!

    I love the one about ‘Don’t follow the rules’ but – I am not sure this is the phone case for me when I am at school – hahaha!

    The phone case I love is: ‘Style Doesn’t Come With A Use-By Date’… Love it.

    • Hahaha, no probably not the best idea, B. The Use By Date one is a good one for us to remember. I’ve got a better mindset around that than when I was 30!

  • Love, love, love this manifesto – every single line rings so true. Thank you for always being real with us, for answering our questions and for inspiring us to develop our own personal style. You’re an inspiration, Nikki. Now I’m off to place my orders! xx

    • Oh, thanks Sonia – and thanks for ordering, that’s super lovely of you x

  • Omg I thought the manifesto itself was so clever but now to see all of the products that you have created: wow! I’m off to check out Smile to see them all and see if you’ve created a tote bag option? It’d be so handy for shoppers! X

    • Thanks Cheryl. Super fun for selfie photos! Need to investigate a shopping tote option, yes!

      • Lisa Mckenzie

        Yes a SY shopping tote,great idea!

  • Lisa mckenzie

    MMm for me it is a toss up between “Style does not have a use by date” and “Don’t buy it unless you love it” I used to buy anything just because it was on sale or I thought I should own it,but now no, I have made too many fashion mistakes because I didn’t listen to my inner fashion goddess,not now though,I only wear things I love or in the case of ” home” clothes, like it very much and now have a better wardrobe because of that.I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the styling ideas you give us and the lovely comments you make,you make every woman feel stylish ,young old ,fat or thin or inbetween I am so glad I found your blog ,your blog is the best style one by a country mile.Thank you Nikki for this lovely Christmas present I am going to frame it so I can see it everyday and also order a phone cover.xo

    • You’re a good shopper Lisa but yes, always good to remember that it’s not a bargain unless you love it because if you don’t love it, you’ll never wear it. And style does not have a use-by date. It really doesn’t.

      • Lisa Mckenzie

        Yes but it has taken age and wisdom,to learn these things,I wish my younger self knew what I know now.x

  • Ang

    “Don’t buy it unless you love it”….

    I just upgraded to this new saying from my old one, which was if its a maybe its a no, thank you, just the change i needed. Love your site, it’s the first thing i check every morning. 🙂

    • Oh, thanks so much Ang, that’s lovely. And the LOVE has to be there in the change room … if it’s not there then, it’s never going to be there x

  • Loving this manifesto!!

    • Thanks Omega … you live and breathe this. Love how you own your style x

  • Love this idea! Don’t buy unless you love it!
    I don’t really have much style so I like your mantra. Hope it can help me!

    • It can Caz and to be confident in your style – not mine or an image from a magazine. It has to fit your life and your personality. x

  • TravelGenee

    Don’t buy it unless you love it. It’s a manta I’ve tried to use for years however still learning. Nice to see a SY styled version in the manifest. Also I need even though you love it, it’s time to pass it on!

    • You’ve been a good student Fran … always see you with an accessory added now!

  • I love ‘forget the rules write your own’ – applies to so many things!

    • It really does. Sometimes too many rules in any aspect of our lives can stop us from being ourselves. x

  • Sonya

    Definitely ‘don’t buy it unless you love it’ – so true! I can’t wait to finish my uni course and get out earning money so I can update my wardrobe. So looking forward to that.

    • And Sonya when you do finish your course and are working, your style will evolve with that too. Have fun moving with that!

  • “Style doesn’t come with a use by date” …
    I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, finding styling you was like a little beacon of light out of the clothing rut I had fallen into. It very much reflected how I was feeling on the inside… Old and used up. You have encouraged me to re-embrace my inner style. It was always there, I just got tired with life, and stopped.

    Just because I’m nearly 43, doesn’t mean I’m a dinosaur.

    • Oh Vicky, thanks so much – we are far from dinosaurs – and if we ever lose our style, it’s ok to re-find it. It is. x