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 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.

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!