Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Meet Niki Whittle: Our New Guest Contributor

As a part of our ongoing effort to bring you fresh and eclectic content which is a juicy mix of flavors from all parts of the world of fashion, we have been looking out for cool bloggers who are happy to share their content on our blog.And, we have just managed to land our first Guest Blogger for Beluxed fashion!

So ( drum-rolls  please) we are pleased to introduce Niki Whittle, and we hope you will welcome her by liking and sharing her posts and also of course commenting and asking her styling related questions.

Niki Whittle wears many hats with consummate ease; she is a Fabric Designer, Stylist, Personal Shopper and Image/Wardrobe consultant, not to mention an entrepreneur managing her eponymous image consulting business.
Before she decided to start her own business, she was a successful Fabric Designer having sold her designs to Diane Von Furstenburg, Fenn Wright Manson and Calvin Klein, she also did a three year stint as a full-time fashion advisor and personal shopper for John Lewis (Bristol), where she realised that her true Passion was to help people transform their style and image, and leave a lasting positive impact on their lives.

She shuttles between Bristol where her business is based, and Bangalore where she finds a lot of inspiration and fabulous buys, she spends most of her time running her business and writing for her blog “Hip shapes and Bristol fashion” which captures Bristol’s unique style and has loads of styling tips, she also loves to spend time with her family and loves to walk her dog Hendrix (we approve highly).

She has sweetly agreed to let us bring to our readers, some curated stuff from her blog,  and we shall start doing so very soon.We also hope you will visit her business website and blog, and follow her there as well.

Meanwhile here is an interview where she shares some thoughts with us…

 BF: How did you start blogging about fashion?
 NW: Originally, I started blogging about fashion to promote my personal styling business.  I saw it as a free marketing tool, but it very quickly became more than that.  I realised that I loved sharing my experiences as a stylist and decided that I wanted my blog to be more personal, to be somewhere that would inspire others to make the most of their wardrobes…mixing and matching to the max whilst also developing their style.

BF: What is the story behind your blog's title? 

NW: Ah, well I can’t actually take credit for the name, a friend of mine came up with it one day, but I loved it so much that I had to use it.  I realise now that the name probably doesn't mean much to anyone who isn't from Bristol (my hometown) or the UK. 
Hip Shapes and Bristol Fashion is a play on words from a very old saying ‘Ship shape and Bristol fashion’.  You may have heard of the saying ‘Ship Shape?  It means tip top, or neat and tidy.  It’s a nautical term that’s been used for centuries.  The Bristol part of the phrase comes from Bristol’s port which was subject to such drastic water level changes with the tides that many ships were left beached and on their side.  Any cargo that wasn't tied tightly could be spoiled, therefore cargo ships in the Bristol port needed to ensure their load was tied up particularly securely…hence ‘ship shape and Bristol fashion’!

BF: Can you describe your blog, including how it differs from other fashion blogs?

NW: My blog is a kind of extension of my business.  I post about building a hard working wardrobe, making the most of the clothes you have, making informed purchases and developing your own style.  I guess it’s this that makes it a little different from other fashion blogs.  So many fashion bloggers post a new outfit each day and have a seemingly unending collection of clothes but I don’t relate to this.  I try to encourage people to work as much as they can with what they have, and when they do purchase something new, to make it something that slots seamlessly into their existing wardrobe that can be worn in a variety of different ways.  

BF: How do you think you became so popular and recognised in the fashion blogging world? Tell us about your other business interests…

NW: I didn’t know I had!  No, in all honesty, my blog is a tiny fish in a giant pond, but thanks for the kind words :-).  Most of my business interests are related to fashion and style in one way or another.   I run my own Personal Styling business back in the UK (you can check out my website here ) which I love - boosting people’s confidence and making them look and feel amazing is so rewarding!  But while I’m living in Bangalore I’m exploring other avenues.  I studied textile design at university and designed prints for fashion fabrics before starting my styling business, I’ve found India to be such an inspiring place that I’ve have started to design again…watch this space!

BF: Where would you like to see your blog and business go in the future? 

NW: I never started blogging with the hope of making money from it; I just love blogging and sharing my experience, knowledge and inspiration.  I’ve recently started to devote more time to my blog and am trialling out new features and ideas (feedback is very welcome!).  
Before I moved over here my blog was solely about style but over the last six months I’ve started to post more about India and the things that inspire me over here, along with my own photography.  As far as my blog’s future goes, I just want to continue what I’m doing, to develop more as a writer and stylist, and see where it takes me!  Oh, and I have a rebrand in the pipelines too!!!

BF: Where are your favourite places to go shopping - Favourite online shops? favourite local shops?

NW: There are some great designers and boutiques in Bangalore; I love Turquoise and Gold, Blur Designs, Yellow Button, Levitate and Chemistry I also love going to the flea markets, they’re a great place to stock up on quirky accessories.  Back in the UK my favourites are Whistles, Topshop, Zara and Warehouse.  But I also really enjoy rummaging in second hand and vintage shops.  For online shops I guess ASOS would probably be my ‘go to’ but while in India I quite like Pernias pop up shop, it sells some awesome Indian designers…but it is on the pricier side!

BF: Best Style advice to fashion lovers, bloggers and non-bloggers?

NW: My best advice would be to always be true to your own style.  Don’t’ get lost amongst the sea of fashionistas all desperately trying to keep up with the latest fashions and must have items.  Wear the things that make you feel amazing, that you like.  
Be creative; mix and match your clothes to the maximum and don’t be fooled into thinking you need a lot of clothes to create a lot of outfits…you don’t!  I treat my wardrobe as my dressing up cupboard, I dress to suit my mood and play around with creating new outfits all the time – I guess what I’m saying is just have fun!

BF: Personal benefits to blogging? 

NW: These are endless!  Blogging challenges me everyday to be better at writing, styling and photography.  Not only that, but I’ve met so many great people through blogging and have had some great work opportunities too!

BF: Who are your biggest style inspirations? Currently crushing on? 

NW: I get a lot of my inspiration from other fashion bloggers as I find what they put together far more accessible than what the celebrities wear.  Having said that, I do love Gwen Stefani’s style, along with the Olson twins and Nicole Richie, oh, and Carrie from Sex And The City; but it feels a bit clich├ęd to admit that!

BF: What would your perfect day look like?

NW: I miss home so my perfect day would have to be waking up in our campervan in Cornwall surrounded by friends, beautiful sunshine and stunning views.  We’d spend the day on the beach, go to the local pubs and walk Hendrix (our dog).  The perfect end would be a fire on the beach with a tasty BBQ and great music under the stars.

BF: What clothing item would you say is timeless?

NW: It has to be an awesome fitting pair of jeans, oh and a leather jacket.  Neither of these will ever date and are important wardrobe staples.

BF: What is the current favorite/go-to item in your closet?

NW: My maxi skirt!  The weather in Bangalore is pretty hot at the moment so a maxi skirt is perfect.  I have a khaki one and a navy spotted one, both of which can be teamed endlessly with my tops and are great for day and night.

So there we are, that was Niki is our first Guest Contributor, and we thank her immensely for being generous with her time and content.
We hope you enjoy the stuff we bring over from her blog and show your love and encouragement generously by sharing and commenting!



  1. Thanks so much for the lovely welcome and for giving me some of your valuble space on the blog! Niki x

  2. Great post dear! I enjoyed a lot reading :)))
    Did you want to follow each other on GFC and Facebook?
    I just followed and liked you on both platforms and it would be wonderful if you would stop by my blog and maybe follow and like back? ^_^

    Hoping to stay in touch ❤
    xoxo Jenny Tsang


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