Stories from the changing room (part 2)

Stories from the changing room (part 2)
I promised to tell you about the daughter-in-law of the 73-year old lady I met in the changing rooms.
Such a little dot, she was, modelling a rather snazzy pair of snakeskin trousers and a lacy blouse in cream. She looked fabulous. “What do you think?” she asked her mother-in-law who looked extremely dubious and replied that she wasn’t too sure at all. You see, a Classic looking at a Creative will turn her nose up and declare that SHE wouldn’t be caught dead looking like that. So, once again, I’m afraid that I had to stick my nose in and tell this lady that she looked wonderful.
I also mentioned that she was a Creative. “How can you tell? she asked me. To me, it’s obvious and sometimes even I don’t know how I work it out but, after 23 years in this business, it’s become second nature. It has a lot to do with colouring and body shape and scale. This particular combination, combined with an analysis of the person’s personality (which, in this case, had to be done on the fly) usually brings the right result.
I then told her that she probably loved ankle boots (especially with fur around the top), ethnic jewellery in wood, shells, or enamel, and loved mixing different fabrics and prints. She was amazed and agreed with everything. So, when she modelled the next outfit, a long, clingy skirt in masses of different colours teamed with a black, long-sleeved top with tassles, we both knew she looked fabulous.
And it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Just ask yourself how important their opinion really is. If the chips were down for you, would they pay your morgage for you? No? Then their opinion is really worth diddly-squat, isn’t it?
Trust your own judgement and get some expert advice. You need to wear clothes that:
• complement your colouring
• suit your body shape and scale and personality
• are comfortable
• are appropriate for the occasion
If you learn whether cool or warm colours look the best on you, and also understand which shapes and fabrics suit you most, you will soon be meeting all four of the points above.
Classics like a more conservative look (though, this is never boring) and will never be able to understand why a Creative would want to wear non-matching fabrics or prints. Dramatics often cannot bear the feel of cotton and cannot relate to a Natural wearing natural fibres. Europeans will prefer a blended look and will not appreciate Dramatics in their total contrast outfit. And the list goes on………
So, perhaps you ought to think twice before taking advice from your best friend, your mother, or your Great Aunt Morticia unless they happen to be either
• the same style as you or
• thoroughly objective?
Taking time out to learn about which colours and styles really make you look wonderful is an investment – in yourself. You will end up with a small wardrobe that works for every occasion – now doesn’t that sound like heaven on earth?

Stories from the changing room (part 1)

Stories from the changing room (part 1)
Contrary to public opinion, not all women enjoy shopping for clothes. Or am I just peculiar? I find the very thought of having to go and find something specific quite daunting and usually put it off, and off again, and then finally I just can’t be bothered. It might make a difference if I thought I was going to get any worthwhile help from sales assistants but you just know that’s a dead duck before you start.
My niece, on the other hand, could shop for England but, then, she’s not quite eighteen and has a quite different agenda – impressing the gentlemen. But I still can’t get to grips with trailing around every shop in sight, sighing over the latest fashions (some of which, in my opinion, are singularly hideous and wouldn’t look good on a stick – sorry – supermodel), and then the mere thought of having to fight with zips, buttons and poppers in a miniscule box that masquerades as a changing room just makes me feel quite faint! Give me a catalogue anytime!
However, once a month I follow in the wake of my good friend, Jean, who absolutely adores shopping for clothes. And I enjoy picking out new things for her.
We met when I wandered into the candle shop that she used to run. I was looking for some floating candles for a birthday present. Jean was very helpful and showed me an amazing collection in virtually every colour under the sun. She pointed out some beautiful examples in cream, golden brown, forest green and sunshine yellow. We started chatting and I told her that Amy (my best friend’s step-daughter) would prefer some in baby blue, dusty pink and ivory because she has Summer colouring. Jean is an Autumn and was naturally drawn to the warm shades from that palette. She booked me for a Wardrobe Weedout and we’ve been good friends ever since, updating Jean’s wardrobe along the way with our regular shopping trips.
Waiting in the changing room for her sometimes, I see some rather incredible sights, I can tell you. And, there are times when I just can’t keep my mouth shut and have to offer an opinion.
Recently, I sat next to a lady who was waiting for her daughter-in-law. The lady was holding a lime green sleeveless top with a matching floral short-sleeved blouse. I asked her if she was trying them on. She wanted to buy them but was trying to think what she had at home to go with them! I suggested some navy trousers. I knew she would prefer navy to black because she had Summer colouring. She said she’d never thought of that. So I asked her why she was buying something that she might never wear. She replied, “Well, that’s what we women do, don’t we?” I assured her that I certainly don’t do that anymore. What a waste of money and time, buying something that you’re not sure you’re going to wear. And what about the guilt that goes with it, too? No, thank you. Not for me.
I told her about knowing which colours suit you so that when you buy something, you only choose things that suit YOU. Then, everything in your wardrobe will mix and match automatically because clothes, accessories, make-up, etc. all match YOU. This lovely lady then gave me another stock answer, “Well, I’m 73 and it’s too late to change now!” I’d love to be able to write that I find this a shame but I need to be honest here. I find this kind of attitude utterly exasperating. Why do women write themselves off so readily? It is NEVER too late to learn.
We all owe it to ourselves to look good all the time. And this doesn’t mean necessarily spending loads of money on designer outfits. If you know which colours really suit you, you could easily find something in your local charity shop for a couple of pounds. I’ve picked up some incredible bargains over the years, some of which I’m still wearing. If it makes you look good, wear it. Only you will know how much you paid for it!
I’ll tell you about the daughter-in-law in the next issue – what a bobby dazzler!

What are you going to change in yourself this year?

We hear all sorts of advice as to whether we should (or shouldn’t) make New Year Resolutions. Apparently, it takes only three weeks before we all give up on them so you’ve probably given up on yours already then?

Could you do with some more confidence?
But, what if you really want to change? What if you could really do with some confidence?

We all know that deep down inside we’re just as good as the next person but when the time comes to step outside the comfort of your own front door and face all those others who seem to brim over with the darned stuff, you feel small and inadequate and go right back to being someone who doesn’t quite get you want.

It doesn’t have to be that way at all. In fact, as Louise L. Hay says at the end of the first chapter of her most excellent book ‘You can heal your life’, (and I’m paraphrasing wildly here) you’ve tried un-confident and it didn’t work, did it? So, why don’t you try confident?

You will be judged by the way you look
Looking fabulous all the time will certainly go some way to increase your confidence about yourself. People judge you by how you look whether you like it or not so my advice is to make the very best impression that you possibly can. You will receive more courteous treatment the better that you are dressed. Just think of the way Julia Roberts’ character was treated in the film ‘Pretty Woman’ when she tried to shop on Rodeo Drive in Hollywood while dressed like a lady of the night!

Job interviews
And if your plans for next year include improving your job prospects, then think on this for a moment – a prospective employer will want to hire you because you are well-dressed, which indicates to them that you are efficient, healthy and capable and, therefore, just what they are looking for!

Do you realise that by the time you have opened the door at an interview, walked in and held out your hand to shake theirs, the interviewer has already made his / her mind up about you? And that is all usually BEFORE you’ve said a word!

Now, don’t get upset about this – because YOU do exactly the same to other people! It all happens at a subconscious level so you’re probably not even aware that you’re doing it.

First impressions
93% of a first impression is non-verbal. And people make their mind up about you within 30 – 40 seconds of meeting you. They look at the overall impression that you create. They scan you up and down, trying to work out whether you look capable of doing the job.

They have already decided whether to offer you the job BEFORE you open your mouth.

If you were interviewing someone who looked pale and wan, or badly put together, would YOU want to employ them? No, of course not. You’d want the best person you could find for the job, someone who looks as though they will be in the office every single day, not off sick.

I have learnt my lesson well. I understand all about the importance of first impressions and use it all the time to get what I want. And you can do exactly the same.

What do YOU want from life?
So, take a moment to consider. What exactly do YOU want from life?

Promotion at work?
A better job?
To improve the way you think about yourself?
More confidence?
More money?
To find a partner?
To impress your boss / work colleagues / friends / family?
To look good all the time?
So, what are you going to change this year?
Why not start by discovering your best colours with a professional consultant, and let her show you which shapes, fabrics, textures, etc. suit you, your personality, your body, and your lifestyle?

I did. And look what happened to me.

Are you wearing a right bra?

According to many surveys, 80% of women may not be wearing the right bra!  Are you perhaps guity of the same?

Every woman can admit how difficult it often is to shop for a comfortable bra. Not only is it hard to find one which you actually like in terms of appearance, but it is also hard finding one which is actually going to fit you the right way and give you the right amount of support.  How do we then differentiate between the bra that looks good versus the kind of bra we actually need?  And, how do you know if you’re wearing the wrong bra?  So many questions…and so many bras…

Double-bubble effect when you are pouring out of the top of the bra or sides producing a muffin top effect – NOT sexy, ladies!

For optimal comfort and support, the back wings (back wings are the strips of fabric which extend from outer base of the cups and secure at the back of your bra) should be comfortably anchored at or below your shoulder blades.

If you are bulging out of the top of your bra, make sure you are wearing the correct cup size and check to see if the type you have chosen is not too shallow for you.  Often the shallowest cups are demi as they are not intended to cover the entire bra, these bras are for low cut shirts.  If you are consistently noticing the bulge, you should opt for non-padded, full cup bras.

If you are experiencing pain in the neck and shoulders, you need a more supportive bra, which evenly distributes the weight of your breasts.

If you would like to minimise your assets, choose a minimiser bra, which can reduce the appearance of the bust by up to one-cup size.  I also wanted to point out that if you’re wearing a strapless top or a dress, compliment your image by wearing a strapless bra! It doesn’t ever look good to have straps hanging out.

But how can you measure yourself for the right bra size?

Take a flexible tape measure and measure around your chest, just beneath your breasts. If you measure an even number of inches, add two to the number; if the number is odd, add three. This is the band size for your bra.

Next: measure around the fullest part of your bust. Take the number of inches and subtract the number of your first measure. If the difference is one inch, you need an A cup, two inches is a B cup, three inches a C cup, four inches a D cup, five inches a DD cup, six inches an E cup, etc.

It’s SO easy – but if it sounds too complicated for you, just walk into any John Lewis store or Selfridges and they will measure you for free!

So, invest in yourself, and never struggle to find the right bra again!

If you’d like to contact me for any more advice, feel free to drop me a line and I would be happy to help!


Creative and Chic

Being on a tight budget might mean you have to work a little harder for more fashionable style – but you can structure your wardrobe to make sure it pays off and your results can outshine a top-to-toe designer ensemble. Think: eclectic, creative, innovative.

Some tips:

Think Vintage | Vintage boutiques and markets for one-off finds.  Not only will you save money, you can guarantee that you won’t be mincing in the corner when two other girls at the party have your same handbag.

Customize | Everyone’s got a needle and thread! It’s easy to update old pieces with a few quick snips, a bit of hemming or by adding embellishments such as sequins or tassels. This is also good to do with op-shop finds that may have amazing patterns or detailing but an outdated cut.

Be inspired | If you are not confident in pulling together an outfit by yourself, look to some photos of celebrities or style blogs. You can get a good idea of what proportions work and which garments look good together – then go searching for inexpensive replicas.

Hit the high street | Even women who can afford unlimited designer clothes are shopping at high street shops – Kate Moss and her undying devotion to TopShop is the perfect example. The quality and style of many high street shops have recently skyrocketed, while the affordable prices have stayed the same. It is a good idea to buy all the current but-unlikely-to-endure trends from Topshop, H&M and Zara.

Invest in classics | By the same token, if you want to buy designer, buy items that won’t date.  Cashmere sweaters, black shoulder bags, trenches, the fabled LBT, black coat, good pair of boots… you know, the usual.

Dress for your body and yourself | At the end of the day, if you’re wearing something that fits you and that you love, you’re always going to look and feel beautiful.

Continue reading “Creative and Chic”