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Body Shape Master Class With Melissa Murrell & Hero, Stockbridge

Melissa Murrell is a stylist and business woman with an extensive background in fashion. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the class, I had never worked or been dressed by stylist. I always thought that A – probably couldn’t afford it and B – I’m pretty good at dressing myself so don’t need one! Sure, I’m not about to win any ‘best dressed’ prizes but I have always enjoyed fashion and been a confident dresser so the thought of hiring a stylist just hadn’t occurred to me. I can tell you that I feel differently now.

I can’t possibly do justice to the class in one single blogpost as it was so jam-packed with content but I can give you an overview. We learnt and analysed different body shapes: hourglass, apple, pear, rectangle and strawberry. Turns out I’m a rectangle with a bit of an apple thrown in for good measure… and you may think you have heard it all before but once you really understand and actively think about the shape of your body you can really begin to dress in the most flattering way.

I was amazed at how Melissa was able to transform our bodies with a few tweaks here and there. She made saddlebags and tummies disappear, elongated legs and created waistlines by simply choosing the right clothing for each body type. It made me realise that stylists are very skilled and I can see that employing the services of a good stylist could make a significant difference to you if you are not very confident or simply don’t know where to start with fashion and clothes.



During the second part of the masterclass Melissa discussed the principles of creating a capsule wardrobe and I’m delighted to be able to share these with you. A capsule wardrobe should be full of versatile pieces that you can easily dress up or down according to your needs. These carefully considered pieces will provide endless outfit choices and allow you to get dressed quickly whilst always looking your best.

A good wardrobe detox is your first step to creating a capsule wardrobe. Be really honest with yourself and set aside the clothes that you don’t wear, don’t fit you anymore and any sentimental pieces you have lurking in there – you will never wear that prom dress again and no, you don’t need that nice jumper with the holes in it. The aim here is to curate the clothes you already have and get rid of the rest.

Next you should really think about getting the foundations right, I’m talking underwear of course! Ill fitting underwear will make even the most expensive clothes look cheap and as Melissa says ‘you should be pointing straight ahead, not pointing south or under the arms regardless of your size!’ If you haven’t been measured in a while I recommend that you do before you get started on creating your capsule wardrobe.

Then apply the 80:20 rule, in short this means that 80% of your wardrobe should be made up of classic investment pieces – think good jeans, a decent coat, blazers and so on and 20% frivolous fashion pieces. Spend good money on the building blocks of your wardrobe and update them seasonally with a small amount of trend led pieces. While we are on the subject of investment pieces let’s talk accessories: the key to a capsule wardrobe is to ensure that you can combine all of your clothes with all your accessories. Did you know that you only actually need 5 pairs of shoes? Shoeaholics relax, remember we’re creating a ‘capsule wardrobe’ here and for that you will need just 5 pairs of shoes in similar neutral shades: nude heels, taupe ankle boots, neutral wedges, neutral trainers and a pair of neutral sandals.

Now let’s discuss colour palettes. The key pieces in your wardrobe (80%) should be bought in neutral shades, choose three of these. Popular neutral shades are whites, creams, blues, greys, taupe, brown and beige. Then choose one or two accent colours, this can be the 20% of your wardrobe in burgundy, pinks, corals, reds and greens for example. Just make sure that one of your base colours is white or cream, you won’t be able to pull the capsule wardrobe together without it.


WARDROBE ESSENTIALS: Finally your capsule wardrobe should include:

Jeans casual and going out styles in your base colours.

Neutral shoes for all occasions, buy your shoes in the same neutral tones and you will find that you always have the appropriate footwear for almost any occasion.

White and/ or neutral tops for in a variety of styles, this will allow you to transform your outfit from casual to smart with one simple change.

Blazers, long cardigans and coats should only be purchased in your base colours, this will ensure that they work perfectly with the other items in your wardrobe.

Accessories – don’t underestimate their value, you need them to pull your look together. You can afford to look for more interesting items when shopping for accessories think embellishment, texture and colour.



I thought you might like to know how Melissa styled me and what I made of it, sadly we were so caught up in the moment that we forgot to take good photographs but I hope you can get an idea from the images below.

On the day I wore a pleated midi skirt, a denim shirt buttoned up to the top and a pair of ankle boots – quite a fashion look I thought and then Melissa took me right of my comfort zone to demonstrate how I could improve my look.

She asked me to swap my shirt for a camisole with tiny straps which made me break out in a cold sweat because I have a thing about my upper arms and I try to keep them hidden as much as possible. Then she added a leather jacket, a fabulous belt around my waist and a few accessories and you know what? I loved it and it was a better outfit than the one I had put together! It was so simple but effective, I am now more conscious of my own shape and try dress accordingly by creating a bit more of a waist – I’m a rectangle remember? I am also accessorising more than I used to. My approach to accessories has always been minimal for fear of looking overdone but I realise that my outfits are so much more interesting when I include a few extras!

I’d love to know how many of you have used a stylist the past and what you thought of the experience and if you have attended any courses at Hero we could compare notes! Drop me a line in the box below.

Antonia x


I was kindly invited to attend the Body Shape Masterclass by Laura at Hero. All words and opinions are my own.

Melissa offers personal styling services and also runs a Styling Academy, please follow this link for further information.