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Trousers to suit your body type

Ask any woman which item of clothing she shops for most often and you’ll soon learn that there are two staple wardrobe items most women are constantly on the hunt for; the perfect pair of jeans and the perfect pair of black trousers

 

Versatile, classic and effortlessly chic, black trousers are a must-have in every woman’s wardrobe. Dress them up with heels, a crisp white shirt and jacket, or dress them down with a simple knit and pumps, black trousers are a style essential all year round, but with so many different styles it can be challenging to find which cut is most flattering to your figure.

 

Follow our essential guide to the perfect black trousers for each body type to ensure you look your best all year round…

 

Hourglass

Those with an hourglass figure can carry off a number of different styles, but a gentle bootcut will be most flattering. Hourglasses should be careful to team their black trousers with a fitted top that fall just above the hips, as it’s important to accentuate their slim waist to avoid their bust and curvy hips giving the illusion of a bulky torso.

 

Apple-shape

Those with an apple shape should avoid straight leg trousers as they will draw the eye to your tummy area and give the illusion of additional inches. Instead try a bootcut or a gentle flare, which will accentuate your slim legs while balancing out your figure to create a flowing silhouette.

 

Pear-shape

Trousers that are flat-fronted or softly pleated are hugely flattering on pear-shaped women, as they emphasise a slimmer waist to create flattering curves rather than a bulky torso

 

Athletic figure

Good tailoring is key for those with an athletic or boyish figure. Look out for flattering, non-clingy fabrics that will add shape to your figure, and team with a simple scoop neck or V-neck top to add shape to your torso.

 

Wearing Make-up | Part I

With an organised wardrobe, you should now be able to see at a glance what you have lurking in there! This will make life a lot easier when grabbing something to wear at some dreadful hour of the morning, when you’re not quite awake yet.

So, you have on an outfit now – but what about the whole look? Are your shoes clean? Do they match? I once went to my old office job in one navy shoe and one black – well, I’d bought two pairs of the same style of shoe, so I was pretty close!
Are there any runs in your stockings/tights/hose? Have you at least combed your hair? One thing to definitely build into your daily routine is a quick glance in a full-length mirror before you leave the house – both front and back views, please!

And what about your face? Do you look healthy, bright and awake? That vision of beauty that lights up everyone’s life on a daily basis? Is it clean? Is it made up? Or do you look like death warmed up?
Without make-up, many women can look tired. Wearing the correct make-up in colours which complement your skin tone can energise you and make you sparkle. Skipping make-up in an effort to look ‘natural’ can often be just an excuse for not wanting to bother. The truth is that well-done make-up looks far more natural than your bare skin, and you will be protecting it at the same time from the ravages of the weather, central heating, air conditioning, petrol fumes, etc..
Wearing make-up also forces you to clean your skin at night – and that can’t be a bad idea. You DO clean your skin before you go to bed, don’t you? Of course you do!

Only apply make-up to a clean face
We’ll be looking at skin care routines another time but applying make-up to a dirty face is like painting over old, peeling wallpaper – not a pretty sight! Clean your face, preferably with a pH-balanced make-up remover, which will open up your pores, close them with a gentle toner, and then apply a moisturiser.

Let the moisturiser sink in
Give your moisturiser time to sink in before applying any other make-up. If you’re in a rush, cover your face with a paper tissue and pat the skin gently. This will absorb any extra moisture.

Foundation
Foundation should match your skin tone as exactly as possible. And the only place to try foundation on when choosing one in a shop is ON YOUR FACE! Please do not be fobbed off with some fool of a cosmetic assistant trying to persuade you to try it on your wrist or the back of your hand. Just hold your hand or wrist up to your face for a moment and look in a mirror. Now, tell me, do they look anywhere near the same colour? No, they don’t.

Believe me, I thought I’d heard them all until I was taking a client shopping for make-up in a well-known High Street store. “This will be perfect for you, madam,” the assistant lied. “Just try it on the base of your thumb.” At this, I exploded and declared that I had never heard such rubbish, and added, “If I was buying a pair of shoes, I wouldn’t try them on my elbows so why would I want to try foundation anywhere but on my face?” The moral of this story is not to go shopping with me if you want to fade into the background!

Each cosmetic counter worth its salt has cleanser, toner, moisturiser, cotton wool and all the accoutrements at the ready. You should remove the foundation on one of your cheeks (or go without in the first place) and then try three different shades in a row on your face, close to your jawline. The one that can’t be seen (or disappears into your skin) is the one to go for.

Apply foundation with a damp sponge
All foundations should be applied with a cosmetic sponge – using your fingertips will leave an uneven, greasy finish. The only exception to this is tinted moisturiser which can be applied with your fingers. Personally, I still use a sponge – I hate having to rush into the bathroom to wash my hands.
Dampen the sponge first and then squeeze out the excess moisture. I find a final squeeze between two layers of towelling works wonders.
Apply the foundation in dots on your face – perhaps one on each cheek, one on your chin and one on your forehead – and then blend in with the sponge. Make sure not to leave a ‘tidemark’ on your jawline.

Go gently on the eye area
Leave your eye area until the last sweep of the sponge. By this time, you will have used up most of the foundation and just leave a light covering for this most sensitive of areas.
If your eyebrows are dark, then try to avoid applying foundation to this area or you will end up with two ugly patches of matted carpet on your forehead! Brush your eyebrows through, back and forth, with an old, clean toothbrush to remove any unwanted make-up.

Concealer
If you want to hide dark circles under your eyes or any other blemish, apply concealer which is the same colour as your skin tone (and, therefore, the same colour as your foundation!). Using a concealer which is lighter than your skin will only draw attention to the little horror that you are trying to cover up.
Try using concealer AFTER foundation. You might find that after applying your foundation, you don’t need to hide quite as much as you thought!
If you have really difficult-to-conceal dark circles under your eyes, try applying a light coat of blue cream eye shadow to the area before using your ordinary concealer. This really works!

Fearful fact
It’s a fact that women who wear make-up earn, on average, 25% more than those who don’t.

Read on in Part II where we’ll look at blusher and powder applications.

Wardrobe Detox | Part II

If you manage to complete Part I, you should be feeling particularly pleased with yourself. But there’s a bit more to do to achieve a wardrobe that works for every occasion. Don’t give up now. This is the start of an organised wardrobe and the psychological benefits cannot be too strongly stressed.

Items for repair/cleaning
It’s a good idea if you can get these items cleaned and/or repaired before you begin mixing and matching. You’ll only have to repeat some of the process below when they are.
Let’s put the most of your energy into the items in your wardrobe as these are the most important. But first, line up a special treat for yourself – a box of your favourite chocolates or ice cream, perhaps? But, hold your horses, not just yet……

Trying on
Put on your favourite blouse. Look at yourself in the mirror and decide why it is your favourite. Does it make you look wonderful? If so, then more than likely it will be in the correct colour palette for your skin tone. So, you are now looking for trousers, skirts, jackets, etc. that tone with or complement this blouse.
Try on every skirt you have with this blouse. And while you’re there, try on all your jackets and cardigans with this skirt and blouse.
If you have trousers in your wardrobe, try every pair of trousers on with the same blouse (and don’t forget to try all the jackets, too, with this same blouse and trousers combination).
Then move on to your next most favourite blouse or jumper. Try on every skirt you have with this top and then try on all your jackets with this combination … and so it goes on.
Soon, you should be able to see how useful your existing wardrobe really is. You will have a number of outfits in your wardrobe, not just a number of clothes.

Some things just don’t work?
On this second pass through your wardrobe, you may discover one or two items that really don’t go with anything else anymore.
Maybe the colour just isn’t right for you. Perhaps the style doesn’t lend itself to other items you really feel comfortable in. You might have already discovered so many more outfits that work really well, that you just don’t need this item anymore.
Whatever the reason, just add these to the removal pile.

Time for a treat
You can probably see now why I recommended a short break between parts 1 and 2. This is tough work and I expect you’re pretty shattered by now. This is the time to indulge in your special treat – you deserve it.

Items for removal
Now, you can turn your attention to the items that you originally put away for removal. If you really have the energy and want to see if there is anything that could still be salvaged, this is your last chance to go through them. If not, it is worth sorting them into anything that could be useful to your local charity shop or a friend or relation. Please make sure these things are clean before you pass them on. All the rest should just be binned.

Well done!

You now have a wardrobe containing clothes that you know you are going to wear. You know what looks good with what – you’ve learnt to mix and match what you already have and you will make so much more use out of the items you have.

Wardrobe Detox | Part I

Sorting out your wardrobe is marvellous therapy. You will feel so pleased with yourself when you’ve finished.

Hopefully, before you begin, you will know which colours suit you – that is the major part that you must understand before you begin throwing things out right, left and centre.

I strongly recommend locking yourself in your bedroom with a bottle of your favourite tipple, planning to go nowhere for the next couple of hours. And be careful before planning to do this with a friend. We talked about this in the last issue – can your friend really be objective about you? Will she/he be a help or a hindrance? If in doubt, trust your own judgement or call in expert help. If necessary, put a big sign on the door that you are not be disturbed under any circumstances – not even if George Clooney arrives at the door with flowers and champagne…… Well, you get my drift, I’m sure.

Your mission is to sort out the wheat from the chaff and the first step is to make three piles of clothes:
• Clothes you only wear once a year (taffeta ball gown, bikini, etc.)
• Clothes you haven’t worn for more than a year
• Everything else

Don’t worry about whether the colours or styles are right at this point. Just make your decision based solely on the criteria above. We’ll cover specifics in Part 2.

At this point, you will probably be exhausted and need a refill. Do not be distracted by the television, the cat who has been sick on the carpet, or the pile of ironing which beckons. Be strong and return to the task in hand. It WILL be worth it.

Special items
Start with those items that you only wear once a year and decide if you will definitely need them again this year. If not, add them to the pile that you haven’t worn for more than a year. If you reckon they are still useful items to keep, put them back in the wardrobe and give yourself a pat on the back.

Items for removal
The second pile of clothes that you haven’t worn for more than a year should be considered as being destined for removal. You’ve already spent time on these items so let’s move on. We’ll come back to them later but now it’s time to concentrate on the clothes that you actually wear.

Items to keep
Put them back into your wardrobe, checking each one for stains, missing buttons, loose threads, etc. Any of these should be put aside into a fourth pile for cleaning or mending. Do NOT put these back into the wardrobe until they are mended or clean.
Hang all your jackets next to each other, separating them from the matching skirt and/or trousers. Hang all your skirts next to each other and repeat this with trousers, blouses, jumpers, etc.
Oh, and please – respect the clothes you have left – please use decent wooden or shaped, heavy plastic hangers. Wire hangers are cheap and nasty and will mark your clothes eventually. Add wire hangers to the pile for removal.
It is amazing how many people only ever wear suit items that match. If you have the right mix of colours in your wardrobe, many of your skirts and/or trousers will go with a variety of your jackets. In a nutshell, if everything in your wardrobe matches YOU, then each piece will match each other! You have more outfits in your wardrobe than you can imagine.
Take a break
Before launching into part 2 of this exercise, I would recommend a recess. You will probably have been in there for longer than you anticipated and be in urgent need of a lie-down in a darkened room.

If you still have any energy:
• Bundle the clothes for removal into bin liners or carrier bags, ready for disposal and hide them in a cupboard – don’t get rid just yet
• Sort out the remaining pile, separating out those that need repair and putting those with stains into the wash basket
• Close the wardrobe doors
• Congratulate yourself on a job well done

Part II/a> of this mission will require more liquid intake, more time to yourself, and more energy. We’ll look at what to do with the pile for removal, how to decide what to finally keep and how to make the most of what’s left!

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!

Oriona



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”

‘Rewind’ Cover Shoot | Behind the Scenes

When my dear Vogue friend Maria Asadi approached me to collaborate with photographer Andres Reynaga on a shoot cover, I jumped at the opportunity to get involved. The two main stars Roxy and Spin are B-Boy Championship World Finalists, super flexible and remarkably talented.  I couldn’t wait to meet the wonderfully attractive Roxy who is also a Guinness World Record Holder for achieving an amazing 71 head spins in 1 minute!

Continue reading “‘Rewind’ Cover Shoot | Behind the Scenes”