I recently met up for breakfast with my brother in my home town of Okehampton, West Devon. We met in The White Hart hotel, a 17th century coaching inn, now converted into a J D Wetherspoon pub and hotel.
The buildings history is tastefully honoured with a decent collection of nostalgic photos and paintings including the town and surrounding area. We were trying to pinpoint the year of a particular black and white street scene of Okehampton when I saw a lady in the foreground of the picture.
She was wearing a white buttoned up three quarter length dress, a neat collar and short capped sleeves with a fitted waist and a pattern around the hem. A pair of cream courts, a matching bag and her hair was styled in a neat flipped bob.
I shouted out ‘‘It’s the 60’s’’ like a crazed pub quizzer.
And then we saw the date. 1960.
What struck me, is that it took a dress and a particular time in fashion to pinpoint the age of the photo. Not from looking at the cars, buses or buildings, but a simple cotton dress.
Whether you were born during these times or not, most of us recognise something from the fashion eras of the 1940’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s and many of us will have a favourite style from those times. Any one of these eras is always a great excuse for a fancy-dress party too!
The styles of these times stood out not only for their individuality, but were clear signposts and maps to what was happening socially and politically in the country and around the world.
The wartime rationing of food and clothing in the 1940’s literally forced fashion into slimmer silhouettes using cheaper and less material. Tights and stockings would be a thing of the past as women learnt to ‘draw’ on their back seams or go without.
This all changed with the end of war in 1947. Christian Dior showed 90 creations to an audience in Paris. The skirts and dresses used huge amounts of material with equal quantities of netting underneath. It was the famous Bar jacket and full pleated skirt that epitomised what was coined The New Look. It marked the end of rationing and the doom and gloom of war and gave way to a booming time in fashion as well as in dance and music.
Fashion nowadays is a massed produced affair and there are few ‘stand-out’ moments when a new fashion season comes around and lets face it, there are only so many ways you can design another cotton t-shirt.
With charity shops in almost every town and city in the UK, it is not hard to pick up a bargain and a a complete outfit while supporting a charity or two and you will often find original pieces from way-back-when.
On top of that, you are helping to recycle the burgeoning clothes mountain we already have.
Would you like a new look?
Are you are overwhelmed or lost in the fashion jungle? Then get in touch with me today and find out how you can update your style, wardrobe and image in three easy steps!
Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and stylish 2018!
If you are on Facebook, and depending on your interests, the chances that you belong to a group or two, is fairly likely.
Earlier this year, I joined the group UK Makeup Addicts. I wouldn’t exactly call myself a makeup addict, but prefer to keep an interest in, and an eye out on what people are doing with their new purchases in an industry now worth 4 billion a year in the UK.
UK makeup addicts have over 50,000 members and it is fair to say, the majority of the group are in their early twenties to thirties. Every now and again, someone the other side of forty will pop up, and it is these occasions that keep me going.
As a teenager, living in the rural countryside of South West England, the only makeup I could get my 1980’s hands on, was a range in the local Spar called Cover Girl, endorsed by US model Cheryl Tiegs. I loved the packaging with her expensive hair, perfect teeth and firm skin and in my naivety, I believed that if I bought the highly-perfumed compact powder and mascara, that I would (totes) look like her- Needless to say, It didn’t happen.
Makeup brands that were big in my time were Miners, Rimmel, Max Factor, Maybelline, Almay and Avon and like most teenagers, I experimented with makeup.
Photo Trude Bosence
I would constantly pick the wrong colour of foundation or powder. Starting off with deep orange, (with accompanying tide-marks) progressing to pale beige and eventually ending up with my perfect match. mortuary white. (not its specific name, but looking at old photos, I can only describe it as goth horror)
Meanwhile, my sister was being lavish with her pink miners cream blush and doing a fine impression of Ziggy Stardust. This along with her self-made mullet (she was at art school, so it was fine) was just about the icing on the cake.
I had no clue about skincare or the first thing about how to apply makeup. The only brushes I had at the time, came with the compacts and they disintegrated after a few uses.
The choice of products were minimal compared with today. On-line shopping, YouTube tutorials and celebrity make-up artists didn’t exist and high definition foundation was another 25 years off.
One afternoon while I was perusing through the makeup group, I saw a woman around my age pop up. Enter Trude Bosence. A vivacious 53 year old makeup artist, hair stylist, stylist and photographer from North Devon. Trude asked everyone what they thought of her photo and fingers on buzzers, I was straight in there with ‘you look great’ (which she did) and with a relief I can’t express, at seeing someone my age posting a photo of herself.
Within a short space of time Trude and I hit it off, and spontaneously agreed to do a photoshoot a week later.
As a former model, I know the pressures on the makeup artist, stylist and photographer and although photo shoots can be fun, they can also come with a few time constraints. There is no time left to get creative.
Doing a shoot with Trude would have none of these restrictions. For either of us. There was no agenda, goal, deadline, or pre-conceived ideas. This along with her super friendly and relaxed attitude would make it a load of fun!
Trude’s pink flamingo studio was ultimate. The main part of her studio was taken up with a selection of props, backdrops, and lighting equipment, while a well designed end section was her dedicated makeup bar. This says nothing for her incredibly well stocked rail of clothes (many are vintage) along with a good selection of shoes, wigs and accessories. A one-stop shop for a complete head-to-toe makeover!
Trude in her pink flamingo dressing room
As well as meeting and making a new friend in Trude, I watched us working together and it got me thinking about what 50 means to me.
Reaching 50 is definitely one of those milestones everyone talks about, but it is more than the sum of its parts.
Reaching 50 is about taking opportunities and invites as they come your way. You never know where they might lead, the people you meet or the new things you will learn.
It is about trusting and using your instincts, intuition and perceptions. They won’t let you down, as long as you use them.
It is about not taking yourself too seriously, being spontaneous and laughing as much as possible!
It is surrounding yourself with kind, positive and authentic people. The kind who help you grow and who reflect the same qualities and values in life while telling you the truth.
”No” is a complete sentence- It is about saying yes when you mean yes, and no when you mean no.
Reaching 50 is about owning and loving every part of who you are, and who you have become and about being unequivocably comfortable in your own skin.
Every now and again Trude and I would laugh loud and raucously in the shoot-
”We’ll show them how its done”
Trude, I think we did!
If you have lost your confidence, fizz, style and self, somewhere in the maze of life, then get in touch for a free consultation and discover how a colour analysis, wardrobe plan or personal shopping trip will help to boost your confidence and give you a fresh start. You will wish you had done it sooner!
Contact Trude Bosence for information on her photoshoots via her Facebook page.
This is an annual re-post which I have done for the last six years. Here are four reasons why.
Firstly, I have always been in love with this dress and will never tire of its extraordinary ability to flatter every single body type, shape, age and size. Secondly, it holds a special place in my heart since I got married in a Dirndl to my Bavarian husband seven years ago. Thirdly, I spent a decent amount of time researching and delving into its fascinating history, and feel it worthy of a good airing and finally, it is an introduction for anyone who is new to this dress and would love to know more!
At the end, there is a useful guide on how to pick the right Dirndl with tricks and tips on getting the best fit and finding your most flattering colour.
Dirndl and Lederhosen or Tracht
If the dirndl could get herself a plaque on the Hollywood hall of fame, I would press her bodice into the clay and make her famous, just for me!
This is a dedication to the Dirndl, a dress with a legacy going back 140 years. Having stood the test of time, the Dirndl is worn today by thousands of women across Bavaria, Austria, the Alps and beyond and has become a multi-million dollar industry.
Dirndl, a term for “young girl” and the name given to the dress, originated as a simplified form of a servant’s or maid’s dress and was made of plain colours or simple check, denoting regional and social background. Back then, the dirndl was coloured using vegetable dyes, giving it a much softer look than the colours we see today, which are richer and brighter. The dirndl was adopted by the upper echelons of society in the late 1800s, when it was fashionable to emulate the simple life of the peasants, and they were made in expensive, embroidered fabrics of velvet, silk, satin and fine cottons.
The two basic styles of the dress are Trachtendirndl, which consists of a blouse, tailored bodice, a full skirt and an apron and the Landhausmode (country house style), which is a dirndl-like dress and skirt that is more informal. You can still see women wearing this “softer” version, the landhausmode, on a daily basis.
The dirndl is still worn by many women for traditional and cultural events and at weddings, to show their regional pride. Lets face it, when you have an outfit that is so flattering, there won’t be many cries of “I’ve got nothing to wear!” The dirndl has a pride and pertinence to it lacking in the expensive and “samey” fashion labels on the market.
Our wedding day in England. September 2010
Where to see it
This years Oktoberfest Thanksgiving Day Parade in Munich is on the 17th September. It is still one of the best places to see every region of Bavaria’s Tracht, which are displayed throughout the festivities in spectacular style. Get there early to see the many variations and styles of these exquisitely embroidered dresses, bodices and aprons—often accessorized with hats, feathers, bust adorning roses, brightly coloured silk shawls, handcrafted jewellery, medallions and beads for the neck and waist.
The exquisite attention to detail in the costumes discloses regional, social and historic status. Farmers would often show their wealth by displaying it on their wives’ dirndl, and it was common for a woman to show her dowry in the same way.
My wedding Dirndl decorated with Edelweiss
Holz vor der Hütte
But what makes the dirndl so fine for our Frauleins? The secret, my friends, lies in the bodice. The upper part of the body being the main focal point of this dress and really the whole purpose! It’s cheeky I know, but Holz vor der Hütte literally means: a stack of wood in front of the hut. Thus, the Dirndl creates a natural platform for adornment and enhancement of this area. So get this part of the dress right and the rest will follow!
The dirndl is also in my hall of fame because it fits all shapes, sizes, heights and statures, ticking all the boxes for fit and flattery. It is the ultimate IT dress. If you are not blessed with a bountiful bosom, the dirndl will give you some Holz Vor der Hütte and if you are blessed, then be prepared for admirers who just can’t help themselves.
Underneath the bodice is a cotton blouse, cut just under the bust to avoid any excess material, cleverly veiling any excess flesh, perfect for older ladies who want to cover their upper arms. The blouses come in plain cotton for a few euros or several hundred for exotic versions in organza, linen, lace and crystal embroidery. The hochzeit or wedding Tracht really are something else!
Invites from our Bavarian/English wedding. Hand-cut paper by Alexandra Lukaschewitz
If you don’t have a Tracht (traditional costume) then it is high time you got one, after all millions of other non-natives don the costume every year and it is a great way of feeling part of the festival and getting acquainted with beer and pretzel in traditional dress!
Below are some tips for buying a dirndl. Even though some may seem obvious, you want to be happy with your choice. Despite the myths out there—Newsflash! —there are some women who actually don’t like shopping! It can be a minefield with many choices and little help and is not always as enjoyable as it should be. This should eliminate the complexity a bit, making it easier and more fun.
Tips on buying a dirndl
#1 Make sure the bodice fits you. Look for the same size as a fitted top you already own when trying it on. The bodice is the only part that needs to fit you well.
#2 When trying on your dirndl, always try on the blouse that goes underneath, even if it is not the one you want to get, and lace the bodice up. This will give you a true fit. It should be snug but not tight; you need room for dancing and saying, “Prost!”
#3 You can wear any length you want, but here’s a guide: There is mini, midi or full length. If you are a teenager, you can get away with wearing the mini dirndl. If you are older, wear the mid-length or the traditional long length. Either way, no one will be looking at your legs!
#4 There are many good second hand shops around, and with time, you can mix and match your own Dirndl by choosing from a huge selection of dresses, blouses and aprons. You can pick up a complete outfit for €100. Scores of Oktoberfest revellers return their dirndls to second-hand stores after the party is over, so there are plenty of bargains to be had.
#5 Here is a color guide to help you get the most out of your dirndl. It will help bring out the best in your natural coloring and features. Then just wait to collect the “oohs and ahhs” from friends and colleagues!
• If you are a redhead – Look for bronze and golden shades, burnt orange and reds.
• If you are blonde – Look for yellows, rose and brown, blues and golden shades.
• If you are brunette – Look for purples, reds, dark green, black and plum shades.
• If you have black hair – Look for black, purple, charcoal and royal blue.
• If you have grey hair – Look for cool (blue based) colors, preferably with some contrast, also grey, dark navy, teal and spruce, and keep makeup light and subtle.
#6 How you tie the apron bow on the dirndl indicates your marital status:
• If you are engaged or married – tie it on the right side.
• If you are young, free and single – tie it on the left side.
• If you are widowed – tie it at the back.
Have fun and enjoy wearing your dirndl. If you are one of those with the apron bow tied to the left, then get ready to take on your suitors!
For shops: Google ”Dirndl” and you will find dozens of shops across Germany and the world selling Tracht
Like a chef, I can’t imagine doing my work without a few key ingredients to hand.
For example, a successful colour analysis can’t be achieved without having a set of specially dyed fabrics. These tools, along with a keen eye and sense for the qualities in a person’s skin, eye and hair colour provide results that not only update an image, but can boost self confidence and esteem in both private life and in the work place.
To carry out a colour analysis or indeed any other image session, it is impossible to work without the key ingredient of them all. People.
Or is it?
Personally, the thought of working remotely even with today’s fast moving technology seems counter productive to what I do.
I love the privilege of working closely with people to create a result that very often, they say they wish they’d done years ago!
When it comes down to personal image, nothing is more personal, than actually talking about it.
With every new style session, an initial consultation is carried out to create a personally tailored map. Questions range from favourite colours and style challenges to discussing body shape. The information gathered is key to a successful outcome but should be handled with sensitivity and care.
Without exception, these questions can trigger various emotions and responses whether conciously, or not. Reactions can include anything from subtle eye movement to physical shifts in body language and changes in skin colour.
Without seeing someone in the flesh, It would be easy to miss out vital clues on how they are feeling as they are taken through the various stages of a personal image makeover to its final conclusion.
The thought then of conducting a style session over the phone and via Skype was the last thing on my mind, when I got an email to ask for just that.
Here I take up the challenge to see how it works!
*Freya is a primary school teacher in her mid-thirties and is returning to teaching after looking after two young children. She needs an updated wardrobe to go with her new post.
Freya suffers from a condition known as hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) and colours up easily around the neckline and facial area, so it was vital that her clothing is comfortable and not restrictive. This meant as much natural fibre as possible as well as carefully selected styles that were away away from problem areas like the neckline and underarm area.
Choosing the right styles would not only help Freya to look cool, but help her feel cool and also disguise the process happening in the first place.
Freya needed more choice in tops and blouses. Experience in on-line shopping meant she spent more time returning clothes than keeping them.
She needed clothing that was easy to move around in whilst working with groups of active young children.
She wanted her style to be casual, without trying too hard and a look that reflected her age.
With each phone session I created a list of the items she was looking for to fit around her budget, size, fabric and colour etc. This would include an image of the clothing, the brand, size and the best online site selling the item. All she had to do was order them and try them on!
I also created a fashion/mood board to give Freya a visual picture of what her new wardrobe would look like and sent her a colour booklet so she could go shopping and match up her best colours.
Conducting the style sessions over the phone, allowed me to concentrate on every detail of Freya’s goals without distraction. As well as listening, I was able to do considerable note taking. Great for in filling in any gaps. (this could be perceived as rude with someone in front of me)
Dealing with personal issues was easier than I thought, and Freya felt comfortable and confident enough to tell me everything that was necessary to establish a clear working trust between us. Again, I think the phone session helped, and acted as a ‘safety barrier’
I enjoyed the on-line session and I can say it works and offers a good substitute especially if you live too far from the city, decent shops or you don’t have time to shop. However, it won’t ever replace being present and working through often personal stages of an image consultation (which can be a lot of fun working together!) this to me results in a more valuable and without doubt, a far more personal service.
Testimonial from Freya
I initially approached Rachel on recommendations from two friends who had been extremely happy with the services she had provided. Our initial consultation was via telephone and I felt immediately at ease talking to Rachel as she is so warm, friendly and has a genuine desire to help. After each conversation we had, Rachel provided a detailed summary of what we had discussed and she included links to recommended sites/products which she felt fitted my needs.Overall Rachel and I had several conversations either via telephone or Skype and she addressed each and every concern of mine with multiple suggestions and detailed responses.
The end result is that I have a colour palette which is tailored to me and I have a new confidence in myself and the way I look leaving me feeling ready to start work again!
London is undoubtedly one of the best shopping capitals in the world. But with such a huge and varied choice on offer, it can be a jungle. So where do you begin?
At best, shopping can be overwhelming and even intimidating.How do you shop for things that echo your personal style, and leave you feeling confident and energised, not frustrated and exhausted?
I am creating a series of guided shopping trips for small groups of like minded people around London and will be your style coach, tour guide and personal shopper rolled into one! email@example.com or more information:
Remember that old cliche where women are supposed to love shopping while the men folk are dragged along only to drop into the nearest chair, uttering ‘Yes dear, it looks fine dear’ ‘But, don’t you have one like that already..dear?’ are thankfully (mostly) confined to the archives of 70’s sitcoms.
Despite the myth that Women are supposed to love shopping I know for a fact many don’t like it at all. Some I speak to even hate it!
Surveys in the UK suggest that up to 44% of women don’t like clothes shopping one bit. Apart from the usual issues such as finding the right size, not wanting to try on clothes, bad lighting and poorly placed mirrors. (all true) There can be an issue of too much choice (or lack thereof)
Having too much of a choice doesn’t sound like much of a problem considering world events, but having the confidence to know what looks right, and step out of the house feeling good about yourself can be an uphill struggle for those battling with issues in low self-esteem and confidence.
If you look good, you feel good. This has a positive effect on yourself as well as those around you and can affect for the better, every aspect of your life.
Shopping for men it has to be said, is far easier. By definition, their choice is narrower. For the corporate environment at least, they can choose between suit, pants, shirt, tie, jacket, sweater, shoes, man-bag and coat. Business dress for men is more relaxed than ever though, and lines can still get blurred. Successful dressing for men is down to the right tailoring, style, colour and cloth.
Shopping for women on the other hand, is a whole new ball game.
Although many of us can remember the carefree days of dressing up and experimenting with shopping in our youth.Having the responsibility of a young family, work, stress or illness can leave many women on the back foot regarding confidence, energy and the feel-good factor they once had.
With the continual care of others’, many mums tell me they are lucky to get even a brush through their hair before heading out the door on the school run. Let alone choose an outfit for the day!
One of the reasons shopping can be such a minefield for women today, is they can wear absolutely everything! From skirts, to shirts, dungarees to dinner jackets, catsuits to cufflinks. As well as every concievable colour, material and style in between.
We can cross borders without a fashion visa from feminine to masculine quicker than you can say The Devil Wears Prada.
With more choice comes more problems. Can I wear this length? Is this colour right for me? Does this make me look too young? What else will it go with? Am I trying too hard? All the hurdles, hoops and mental checks we go through before we buy something (and then to take it back) can be exhausting until we start the process of on-line shopping and find it just as fruitless.
Then there is the hair, makeup, nails, and general maintenance departments to keep the whole look rolling on.
After being lost in the ‘I’ve got nothing to wear’ maize for too long, and trying to put things right with well meaning relatives and friends, a style coach is often the only way out and onto a new path and direction.
As well as coming from a neutral and non-judgemental stand point, the role of a personal shopper is about matching an image to a personality and elevating a profile (whatever role in life) This allows you to get on with the job efficiently and successfully without thinking a second longer about the image you just worked at.
And the best part? Everyone will think it came from you.
To find out more about how a style coach can get you out of your maize, speak to Rachel for an initial consultation: +44 79890 77603 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you ever had one of those nightmares where you find yourself naked at a dinner party? Or wearing a clown outfit at a funeral? Self-consciousness, insecurity and embarrassment are such strong psychological forces that they regularly haunt our dreams.
But you can turn them around. Here’s my story.
Early on last year, I was booked to walk in a fashion show for a department store outside Munich. It was my first job for a new agency and also my first catwalk show in years.
As far as my runway CV went, mine was fairly thin. My experience – and comfort zone – lay more in fashion showrooms for wholesale fashion buyers, photographic work and modelling for TV shopping channels. Rather chillaxed, really, compared to hot footing it down the catwalk trying to keep cool and collected when really you’re sweating like a builder!
My catwalk debut was moons ago, circa 1985. The Top Shop store show in Plymouth was a culmination of a six week modeling and deportment course, oh yes. I walked out heavily buttoned and shoulder padded to a thumping version of ‘Mack the knife’, my hair was sprayed to high heaven and I was shaking from head to toe with nerves.
Then came wedding shows in freezing marquees amongst prize winning cows and bulls, Laura Ashley events in (far too many) brushed cotton floral dresses, and a couple of Liz Claiborne shows that had more twists and turns than the aforementioned clown with his pants on fire.
So, on that fatal winter’s day last year, I pulled on my grey wool dress, extreme thermal tights and five inch red sheepskin wedges to meet a couple of models I was going to be working with, at the local train station.
I spotted the girls immediately (and not only because they were the only ones up at 6am on a Saturday morning). They were tall. Really tall. Standing in their ballet flats, they came to the same height as me in my super wedges.
Something felt immediately wrong, but I let it pass in my early morning stupor. On arrival at the store, I met the remaining models (including two friendly and exuberant males). They greeted each other in high fives and air kisses, and politely said hello to me. It was clear that they had previously worked together and were furiously catching up.
Brilliant, all of them were the same towering height. Almost a head taller than me, way over six foot (1.90 metres). And insult to injury, the girls were one or two dress sizes smaller than me. Taller and smaller! Just my day.
I felt I had been set up (like Channel 4’s ‘Faking It’ series) where they take a wrestler and train them up to be a ballet dancer to compete in a final showdown. Judges get to decide who the fake is. Sometimes they guess, but often they don’t. But there’s no faking height and size in a live show. All I had was my ability to walk, smile and show the clothing to the best effect.
Looking up at the high domed ceiling of the department store, I willed anyone to hoist me up and out of the building. To that effect, I even rung my husband but he was busy. So I was stuck with five fashion shows and model colleagues twenty years younger.
One of the girls I travelled with, became my partner. We practiced to be in sync with one another (as much as I could with her longer stride) and created a series of routines, turns and walks that we could remember.
It was then that the woman in charge caught my eye, and saw the discrepancy of choice in her new model. I felt like a pink pig trying to learn synchronized swimming in a sea of long limbed flamingos.
Rather than pretend NOT to see what was happening, I walked straight up to the boss.
‘Well, its obvious isn’t it?’ she said, crossly pointing at me up and down with her finger. ‘You are clearly not the height you said you were. You’re going to knock my whole show out. Everyone looks the same, EXCEPT YOU’, she bitched loudly.
I went on to explain that, perhaps, there must have been some kind of mix up in the measurement conversions, even though she had already seen me in person. Smiling hard, I promised her that she wouldn’t be disappointed, which she already was, obviously.
We got ready in our first outfits, but to make things more challenging, we didn’t walk out onto a level catwalk, common in most shows but immediately down two steep flights of stairs onto the department floor. My calf muscles were like steel by the time we finished!
I kept in time with the music, twirling to our memorized routine. I also kept telling myself: keep smiling, keep walking, don’t look down and please, please don’t fall on your pink pig arse! Fortunately, I completed the shows without a hitch.
In the last show, I was calm enough to take a look at the largely female audience. How on earth would these women in the audience wear the clothes and styles on models with a dress size eight and the height of Olympic athletes?
It was an abruptly absurd and exhilaratingly comical vision. The models were definitely Haute Couture, the clientele, of course, were just your average women, somewhere between a height of 5 feet 4 (1.65 metres) and a dress size 14 (42). Don’t get me wrong, that’s exactly as it should be!
My main job as a style coach is to help create and refresh a personal image of an individual person, who, in all likelihood, is not a supermodel. To do this with lasting results, things must be done in an authentic way. A successful image transformation not only has to fit to the personality, character (and comfort zone) of the person but should highlight the best of their body shape and unique features regardless of age, shape or size.
I couldn’t see how a catwalk show like this could carry this important message across. It looked manipulative to say the least.
I thought of the customers trying on the clothes after the shows, and wondered if they thought they could look like the models once they bought the clothes. I also wondered, how many were disappointed with their reflection and walked away empty handed and dejected.
As I made my way back to Munich I thought of my sometimes conflicting jobs as style coach and model. One creates and improves an image of reality, of what we do look like. The other participates in creating an illusion of what people think they should look like.
By now, I know which aspect I prefer. I hope you do too.
If Clothes Could Talk-What Would They Say About You?
Along with physical fitness and health, what we wear, has the ability to impact and change the way we feel about ourselves
How we feel about ourselves (regardless of age, shape and size) can affect not only our moods but also alter our thought processes. It can shape our body language, facial expressions as well as the way we walk, talk, move and breathe.
Used effectively, clothing has the power to communicate and change the personal and professional attention we get and how others react to us.In a positive way or a negative one.
Developing your own style, rather than copying others’ allows you to put a unique stamp on your personality, add authenticity and help to express who you are, from the inside,out.
If you have become lost in a wardrobe of clothes that no longer fit and make you feel good or are hanging onto a look that is twenty years (too) old, then consider these tips when looking for a new style.
You are unique!
In order to bring about change, it is important to be aware of the things that make you the unique person you are. Everyone has something special about them!
Listing the positive physical aspects of ourselves, is not something we do everyday, but in order to find a style that fits your personality, increases your self-confidence and makes you an original, it is an important exercise.
Write down three things you most like about your personal appearance. Think about all the positive things family and friends have said about you (repeatedly) Is it your hair, skin, eyes or smile. Your toned arms, slim legs, small waist, height or posture?
What do you do to highlight these unique qualities?
Do you wear colours that flatter your pale skin and bring out the blue in your eyes, halter neck tops that highlight your toned arms, wrap dresses to emphasise your hour glass figure, belts or high-waisted skirts to show off your waist, or shorts and skinny jeans with heels to accent your legs
The choice when it comes to clothes shopping is huge and overwhelming. It is why people call on the services of a personal shopper in order to help edit these choices. The sessions are intensive style workouts designed to get rid of bad habits while keeping the focus on what works for you, your body shape, budget and lifestyle.
Choosing the right cut, colour, fabric, pattern and accessories goes a long way to creating a style that not only fits with your bodyshape, but also your character and personality.
For example, clothes in a monochrome pallette can give the illusion of height and create a more streamlined look, bold patterns and colour distract the eye away from the body parts that we would prefer to disguise. Using accessories can turn an outfit from a flop into fabulous in seconds!
Dramatic Classic Vintage Bohemian Sporty Natural
There are many style categories to choose from and you can always add more! But think about which one of these you are most drawn to. It could be you are a mixture between two. Some looks will take more effort to keep going than others, so think about how they could fit in with your lifestyle. At the end of the day, your style should appear effortless and be a part of you, not apart from you!
Take a look at Pinterest for images relating to the styles you like and see what you already have in your closet that could start off your new look!
For further information on how any of my style sessions can help you turn a style corner, please feel free to get in touch by phone or email!
‘Before you can think about having style, you have to learn to look in the mirror and like what you see’ Issac Mizrahi
Aside from style, It is true of anyone who finds it difficult coming to terms with the way they look regardless of age shape or size.
Size is personal, but It is how you feel about yourself that matters and that can make the difference whether you are noticed in a positive way or a negative one.
This was beautifully highlighted at an evening event I was at in London recently. A tall lady with a full rubenesque figure passed me wearing a fitted bustier and a long fitted fishtail skirt. I stepped ahead of her briefly to tell her how fabulous she looked; She looked me straight in the eye and with a beaming smile thanked me confidently and said ”I know”
Everything about her eminated vitality and warmth and In accepting my compliment, she acknowledged this-I havent forgotten her for it
It is not only the way we look or dress that can inspire others but by accepting ourselves as a whole and maximising on the potential we can create a powerful force to our lives and of those around us.
Confidence, positivity, humour and kindness draw us to most people, but it is these qualities that are often overlooked in the race for physical perfection
The media make it their business to promote an impossible ‘ideal’ of what women should look like, not what they do and that our self worth is not measured by character, achievements or intelligence but by body size and shape.
It is estimated we spend 3 billion Euros annually on diets alone and research dictates we only stay on a regime for a certain amount of time before moving on to the next in the hope it brings the desired result.
With 83% of non verbal communication being visual and daily reminders through aggressive advertising and marketing it is no wonder those with low self esteem succumb to the pressure of looking good, rather than remembering more important, positive aspects of themselves.
‘If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself’ Desiderata – Max Ehrmann 1927
I’m not talking about entering a beauty pageant but simply learning to ‘like’ what you see in the mirror.
Think about the things that set you apart and make you the unique individual you are; whether it is expressive eyes, clear skin, a great sense of humour or a beautiful speaking voice.
Having good health and being fit enough for your favourite sports and activities is something that can be taken for granted but they are all reasons to love what you have and what your body can do for you.
Celebrate your successes as well as your failures no matter how big or small. These experiences allow us to develop into stronger, happier individuals and in turn help others.
CHECK YOU OUT!
Make sure it is not your husband, boyfriend or your past that dresses you!
If you‘ve come home excited with a new outfit and the other half doesn’t like it, too bad! If something makes you feel good, then wear it.
Learning to develop and trust your personal style is an important step to higher self esteem, so start practicing to make perfect!
Good posture costs nothing more than a little concious effort;
Standing tall and walking upright helps to elgonate the body giving it a more streamline appearance whilst making your clothes look even better.
Good posture gives an impression of confidence and competence.
If you are tall, enjoy your height and don’t compensate for it by stooping or hiding it. If you are shorter, standing tall and having good posture will emphasise your stature. wearing hats is one way of adding stylish height to your frame!
High heels can give an outfit an air of authority and sex appeal.
But If you are going down the heel route, make sure you choose a height you can walk in without stooping or stumbling as nothing looks worse than a ‘learner driver’!
Heels by their very nature require a deliberate walking style-they are not Uggs!
If you can, always try shoes on in the first part of the day before the feet are likely to swell up from the days activities which will give you true fit.
HAIR TODAY GONE TOMORROW!
One of the most effective changes men and women can make to their appearance is with their hair.
A new cut, colour or even growing it longer can make a difference to the overall appearance. Hair can add volume to a face or create a slimming effect depending on how its cut.
Look through magazines for a similar face shape to yours and take it to a reputable salon to see what they can do for you.
If you don’t like it, It will always grow back!
Eyebrows frame the eyes and give your face its overall expression.
Getting your eyebrows shaped is a great way to open up the eye area and give yourself a more updated look.
If you are doing it yourself, pluck the hair from under the brow and make sure you do not over pluck!
There are eyebrow bars in most good department stores. I have tried threading and found it the best method.
All work copyright of Rachel Moss. Please do not use without prior permission
There are thousands of how to beauty videos on-line these days.
Some are really informative and well done, while others drag on for ages before getting to the point.We spend on average thirty seconds on each new website we come across, so there are a few things to get right if you want someone to stay on yours.
For me, a good makeup tutorial should not take away from the main theme. Makeup and how to apply it. The backdrop should be clean and not distracting (I don’t want to see someone’s messy bedroom!) the lighting should be good and light the face from all sides. If a voice is not easy to listen to, I’m also out of there!
One of my favourite makeup tutorials is from expert makeup artist Lisa Eldridge. With over a million subscribers, she is unflappable, consistent and has a flawless quality all her own. With tutorials, beauty advice and insider knowledge, Lisa has worked on leading magazine covers, photo shoots, fashion shows and collaborations with major beauty brands.She literally eats, sleeps and breathes the stuff!
Knowing how to do my own makeup (as a model) and applying it for my clients for colour analysis and makeup sessions, I am fairly confident with using it and love playing around with different products, ideas and colours.
As with everything in life, there is always room for improvement and a chance to develop skills, so I asked a couple of friends if they would volunteer for some makeup sessions in exchange for a mini photo shoot. Here’s what we came up with!
Nutan(below) inherited dark circles under her eyes and usually wears no makeup. I Used Kryolan’s orange colour corrector and mixed it with foundation and applied with a brush. We evened out Nutans skin tone and lifted the whole eye area giving her a more youthful appearance.
Laura likes makeup but doesn’t wear it everyday. To make her blue grey eyes and (Sarah Jessica Parker hair!) stand out, I evened her skin tone out and added a warmth to her cheeks with a peach blush. I finished this off with a slightly blue red lip colour to make her teeth appear even whiter and Laura got to working on her poses like a pro!
The important thing to know with makeup, is you absolutely don’t have to spend alot to achieve a flawless look.
It is all about technique. Using the right technique with the right product, can take your look to another level and give you a really polished salon finish.
Remember: Makeup (like colour) should always be a part OF you, not apart from you!
If you want a makeover and would like more information on what a makeup session can do for you, or you want to volunteer for a before and after photo and a mini photo session, please get in touch!
Take a look at an excerpt of actor John Pirkis’s blog: Diary of a Failed actor- John highlights how his experience with me on a style and personal shopping trip gives him confidence and direction in both his personal and working life.
Do you want to see how a shopping trip can make you feel on top of the world?
Get in touch for a consultation: email@example.com
When people ask me what I do for a living, I try to sum it up as concisely as possible. From the What image would you like to project conversation to the full menu. Wardrobe Planning, Colour Analysis Makeup and Personal Shopping From the menu, It is the personal shopping that still leaves people the most puzzled. To clear things up, this newsletter will come in two parts: The guide to personal shopping and the guide to wardrobe planning.
Being a style coach is about listening and building trust. It is creating an arena that is comfortable, inspiring and motivating. The results are a personal style that is relevant, authentic and highly successful in a social and professional context.
I would like to thank two people who have inspired me to create this newsletter (and whose testimonials you can read at the end)
KAREN Travels between Munich and New York with her career as an opera singer. She came to me looking for more colour and to move away from her NewYork black. Being a few inches shorter than the average German woman, Karen wanted to find a European chic and for things to fit her height and shape. Read how her shopping trip went below.
JOHNA long time friend and actor, continues to reap the benefits from his wardrobe, colour analysis and personal shopping sessions. Being colour blind, we had to build a strong wardrobe in identifiable colours, tones and styles to help him secure acting roles.The investment continues to pay off and allows him to feel on top of his game. Read more about his experience below.
PERSONAL SHOPPING IS FOR EVERYONE ELSE!
Having spoken to various groups of people over the years, I have come to realise that although many have heard of personal shopping, they think it’s not something for them but rather for everyone else. It can seem intimidating or out of reach. It’s what rich people do or bored hollywood housewives, right?
The people who use a personal shopper, use one from all kinds of reasons, backgrounds, cultures, ages, shapes, sizes and budgets. (and no, not just actors and opera singers!)
It is why talking to people, and creating workshops are important. They help bring the subject closer to the audience, making it more attainable and less intimidating.
You dont need money to look good, but you do need to know how to use the right tricks and techniques that apply to you and everything that is unique about you.
WHO USES A PERSONAL SHOPPER?
Take for example business professionals. They need to project an image that matches their role and responsibility in the company they represent. How they look and what they say should be unequivocal and create an impact before a word is even spoken. When it comes to climbing the career ladder, details matter and people do notice.
Actors need to create a strong first impression. New York based John Pirkis has often seconds to gain the confidence of potential investors when he goes up for a new role. Dressing the part requires attention to detail.The suit John wears is from one of our shopping trips and continues to earn him praise in castings. His blog: ‘Diary of a Failed Actor’ describes perfectly the highs and lows of his profession.
SOCIAL-There are social reasons. Someone may have lost their confidence (and their way) from a separation or divorce.They want to bring back some of the style they once had and start dating again. A session with a style coach can help them find a more relevant image while giving them the confidence and motivation to make a fresh start.
FAMILY-There are those who have raised a family and are looking to return to work or start a new career. This means bringing an image up to date and in line with other job applicants and is also an opportunity to turn a new page. Personal shoppers are booked for birthdays, anniversaries and as leaving presents and gift vouchers are a popular choice.
COPY CAT- It is no good copying a look in a magazine if it doesn’t translate to your body shape or the person you are. We all know that models don’t represent the majority of womens’ body shapes (or mens for that matter) but copying them can take out the hard work for us.
It takes time to develop a style and find something that you are comfortable with. Being in a neutral, non-judgemental position allows me to speed up the process!
ON THE STREET- Surveys say that women dominate 65% of the global market. When it comes to retail shopping, It is evident there are still huge gaps in the market. Often I see women (and men) walking around stores in an effort and a daze trying to find something to wear. Help is either minimal or intrusive and not much in between.They exit the store minutes later, only to repeat the process somewhere else.
The experience is nil and the frustration is high.
STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO SHOPPING
MEETING UP- To begin with there is an informal but focused consultation to discuss specific desires and goals. Meeting in person works two ways. It allows me to get a clear idea of bodyshape, height and natural colouring, aswell as the persons character and personality. It also helps build a level of trust and establish a friendly working relationship.
LOOK BOOK- Having a photograph to work with beforehand, allows me to prepare a few images I think are suitable (like a look-book) for the person I am working with. This helps establish a focus for ideas and drums up excitement. Together we discuss style, shape, colour, fabric, accessories and anything else that is important
RESEARCH-Before a shopping trip, research has to be carried out. This is an important aspect for a successful shop and the focus of everything I know about that person so far. From where to find the right length pair of pants, skirt, dress, jacket, collar type, material, tailoring, colour, pattern, accessories and so on. This also applies to skin care and makeup
SHOPPING DATE-The big date has arrived and what we’ve been waiting for! When trying on clothes, I advise people to come wearing (easy to get in and out of) clothing. To bring heels if trying on dresses and business shoes if trying on suits. Clothes that are hampered with buckles and buttons will only slow down the process!
SUCCESS- Of the clothes I select, 99% of them are bought and successfully integrated into the wardrobe. The selected items not only double the outfit choices but work with existing pieces and new alike. Guided shopping can seriously breaks old habits because they are intensive one-to-one style workouts and a time of real focus. Many people report that they not only save money on future trips but are able to shop in half their normal time.
SELF AWARENESS- Finally, these sessions are a reminder that is important to highlight the best of ourselves for ourselves. Unique aspects that over time have been forgotten or buried under the layers of life.They are about bringing those positive aspects to the surface by recognising what we have got, not what we haven’t. Knowing how to reflect these qualities increases confidence, self-esteem, self-awareness and is always an inspiration to others.
See what Karen and John had to say!
Rachel is fantastic – she is smart, talented, genuinely positive and amazingly tactful. I am a typical New York “everything in black” girl, and also a good 6 inches shorter than the average German woman.The lovely european chic-casual style has been a mystery to me since I moved here. I had pretty much given up on ever finding clothes in Germany when I went to Rachel for help
She has a brilliant eye for colour and form, and after our initial consultation, even before we went shopping, she had me thinking differently about how to dress and what to put together.She has the patience of a saint – I had extremely vague answers to her questions about my personal style, since “black” has been my answer to everything for years.The shopping experience was amazing.
I generally give up after one hour, but two and a half hours with Rachel passed in the blink of an eye.Not only did I end up with some beautiful clothes in lovely colours, but we also got some fantastic things in black that actually fit me.
Rachel very tactfully explained to me how to mix and match to achieve the look I wanted, and much to my delight, I can apply her advice to both my old and my new clothes.My “What Not To Wear” moments have dramatically decreased and miraculously, my mother, my husband, and my garment-district friends all love my new clothes!If you want assistance, advice or even just a ray of sunshine in your wardrobe, I highly recommend consulting Rachel for any and all of your fashion needs.
Rachel, I cannot thank you enough for the extraordinary results you have achieved for me! Not only restyling my wardrobe, but also taking the dread I had of shopping for clothes. Being colour blind just added to my problem.
Your patience, calm energy and passion for the task in hand made the event and effortless joy and education.
I feel confident to venture out on a shopping trip of my own and even look forward to it.
Thank you again.
‘‘People will stare. Make it worth their while” Harry Winston
There is no getting away from it. My work is personal. In order to get to the heart of someones style, I have to get to the heart of their wardrobe. This means sifting through items that no longer measure up. (literally) ultimately clothes that stay, should fit into two categories. They should Fit and they should Feel Good (lets call it FFG!)
COLOURS- should compliment the natural tones of skin, eyes and hair and styles should match body shape, frame and personality.
DRESS UP-Many people dress older or younger than they really are, or in clothes that are larger or smaller than their true size.
REASONS-Over time, we can lose sight of ourselves. Styles we once looked good in, no longer fit and the colours we used to love, no longer make us feel or look as good. There are clothes handed down by well meaning friends or relatives which don’t fit (they don’t have the FFG!) and why in the end, they get discarded.
They were bought with someone else in mind. certainly not for you and not for your body shape or character. Whether you are selecting your own clothes or given them, try them on first. If they don’t have the FFG factor then please don’t feel obliged to take them or buy them!
SHOPPING-With relatives can prove tricky. In the heat of the moment, outfits are bought that you wouldn’t otherwise see yourself in but you oblige (because they bought something too) It’s not something you would have chosen, and most likely will be worn once.Well meaning relatives can play dress up in things they think you will look good in.This also comes with obvious problems. Then there are just plain old habits of buying the same styles in the same colours like, forever!
GRACEFULLY AGEING- Take my mum for example. She used to apply the Mary Quant style eye makeup that was standard in the 70’s. She even painted in her lower lashes. She looked amazing. By the 80’s though she adopted different methods in both makeup and dress. This didn’t diminish from her style but only increased it. With each decade she made small changes that bought her up to date.These changes were subtle but transformative. Now in her early 70’s she is as stylish (and as beautiful) as ever.
It is so important to try things on and see why they don’t work on a particular body shape and to get into the habit of looking in the mirror!
STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO WARDROBE PLANNING
Firstly, an informal consultation is arranged to establish specific desires, goals and problem areas. Whether you want to create a formal business look, a change of style or to add a few key pieces. An appointment is made to visit your home and your wardrobe!
Clothes are tried on to establish what should stay and what should go. This is based on Items that no longer fit the body shape, personality or lifestyle, aswell as colours that no longer flatter the natural colouring of hair, skin and eyes and finally clothes that are old and worn out. Where there are any gaps, a shopping list is made of the necessary items to complete the wardrobe.
Once the wardrobe is de-cluttered and organised, the next step is to mix and recycle the remaining clothes back in. Planning a wardrobe is not about spending money on new clothes but knowing how to breathe new life back into what you already have. Mixing suit jackets with jeans, and skirts with vintage tops and jackets. Utilising hats, belts, scarves and other accessories to maximum effect.
By the end of a wardrobe session, you will have gained awareness for styles that fit your body shape and personality creating your unique look. You will find shopping and choosing individual pieces easier and faster and will have the confidence that the pieces you do pick will sit comfortably into your wardrobe. This is the true meaning of finding your style!
We often stop wearing things that dont make us feel good without knowing why-you already have the answer-Trust your instinct!
If you would like to see what a wardrobe session can do for you, please get in touch for an informal and friendly chat: firstname.lastname@example.org
The shelves are already groaning under the weight of books and magazines on Bikini diets (as I write, it is 152 days until summer) with regimes on how to get rid of winter fat and tips on losing those winter blues.
Personally, I don’t weigh myself. I know what my ideal weight is and the things that are bad for me. The majority of the time, I avoid the type of foods which tighten my waistline and make me feel sluggish. They’re the ones loaded in sugar and saturated fat. They send me into a helter skelter of low blood sugar shakes and yawns like I haven’t slept for a week. Not nice.
There is no doubt that keeping fit is the way to a better quality of life. It makes everything easier. Health, well being, increased confidence and getting dressed without turning yourself inside out. But what about an ideal emotional fitness?
Being emotionally fit doesn’t lend itself to the packaging on glossy magazines. ‘Are you strong in the head, as well as in the bed?’ they just wouldnt sell and are the reserve of bookshops in the self-help section. Sorting yourself out emotionally is too much like hard work and besides, it can wait can’t it?
Our internal dialogue sabotages possible changes with reasons why things should stay as they are. ‘It’s my fault that I’m always messing up’ ‘I’m lucky to have anyone at my age, so I shouldn’t complain’ or ‘I’ll get round to it when Spring comes’. As the poet Edward Young said ‘procrastination is the thief of time’
It’s easier to go on a diet than change a job that leaves you feeling undermined. simpler than standing up for yourself in a friendship that leaves you empty or un-appreciated and certainly easier than confronting a relationship that no longer reflects your basic values.
They say people don’t really change until they’ve suffered enough. It’s probably true. I like to think of emotional fitness as a yearly stock take of oneself. A chance to make a few adjustments and press the refresh button. Being introspective is not easy, but it allows you to become aware of your place in the world and of those you love. If you don’t rate yourself highly others won’t either. This applies to everything, from work, relationships, friendships, goals and anything else of value in life.
Minor changes can make a major impact-
Acceptance- Its cliche but learning to love who you are goes hand in hand with confidence. People love to be around others who are comfortable in their own skin.
Honesty- If you can be honest to yourself and your journey in life you will be able to help others when it matters. If your attitude remains unchanged, don’t expect the outcome to be any different.
Responsibility- You have a responsibility to have the best that life has to offer. That also means taking it on the chin when you’ve messed up. whatever. whenever. whoever. Say sorry. move on.
No is a complete sentence- The world will not cave in if you disagree, have your own opinion (or first argument!) It will however, give you a greater sense of control in life.
Inspiration-You may not be aware of it, but someone is already inspired by who you are and what you are. Be proud of your achievements and of your failures. big or small and share your story when the time is right.
Lia Edwards is a Munich based portrait photographer originally from the UK. She discovered her passion for photography in 2001 while living in Sydney Australia. Read more about Lia’s work here.
Luckily for the rest of us, Lia moved to Munich in 2011. We met shortly after at a creative group meet up. She showed me a copy of a beautiful retro style photo she had taken, and I was hooked.
Lia was the perfect choice for me to update my photos for a model agency in Munich and we have worked together on several occasions. (see photos below)
This year we created a further collaboration with our styling and photography packages. If you want the full works from makeup, wardrobe, styling and photography then talk to us for a consultation.
What makes a good photograph?
One of the most important things when you are being photographed, is to feel relaxed. We have approximately forty three muscles in our face and use the large majority of them when we laugh (even more when we frown) If you are tense, it will show in your face and body and no amount of editing will hide the fact.
Plan your photo shoot with your photographer around a day when you know you have time to get ready and have little stress as possible. Book baby sitters if you need to and think how you want to look and what you are going to wear.
Whether it is a romantic couple shoot, family gathering or head shots. Choose your clothes with care. If you are in a family portrait, think about a theme. Wearing bold colours on a dull day can create vibrant happy portraits (Lia will discuss this with you)
If they are portraits, your photos need to be something you are happy with looking at for a long time. If they are for business, an actor or model they need to get you noticed and working for you from the get go.
Even if you are experienced at having your photos taken, the first few frames of a shoot are usually a good warm-up exercise and an opportunity to get to know each other and break the ice.
As the session continues, you will feel less self-conscious. It will be these photos that you look at and share the most because they will reflect you at your most natural and relaxed.
Hair and Make-up
For natural photographs, it is best to stick to your usual hairstyle and not to try anything too radical. The same goes for makeup. If you don’t usually wear much make-up, its best to avoid hitting the makeup counter at the last minute for a look that you wouldn’t normally go for. The chances are, you will not be happy and the makeup (which is invariably applied under bad store lighting) will not transfer well to natural daylight or studio shots.
If you need help with how to apply makeup and want to discuss a LOOK that flatters your natural colouring and features contact me!
What makes a good photographer?
The job of a photographer is not always easy. communicator, director, stylist, (sometimes gymnast!) being able to encourage and coax and give a few concise orders in order to get the best shot and a happy customer.
Ultimately, their job is to bring out something special in your personality and character and find a way of capturing it. Good results are based on creating confidence, trust, communication and having fun working together in order to achieve the same goal.
Memorable photography is an alchemy of everything coming together. Photographer, subject, lighting, chance moments and a desire to be part of a creative process.
Lia knows how to do this, while her returning customers and word-of-mouth serve as testament.
Note: To achieve my quick change looks, I used: 1 black dress, grey skirt, red cardigan, white blouse, blue jacket, high heels, sunglasses & a magazine.
Many of us aren’t truly aware of our body type or how to make the most of our best features.
What is certain, is that we are used to disliking certain body parts verbatim, and hiding them away. Well listen up (this includes you guys!) because things are going to change!
We shop for different reasons. Out of boredom, emotional reasons, habitual, inspiration and because we love it! If not well managed, shopping can be stressful and fraught with (too) many choices, indecisions, and wasted time and if you go with the wrong person, nerves can get frayed!
Step out of your closet and learn to wear your favourite and fail-safe styles with confidence! Whether you need to dress for the office, an interview, a social gathering or simply to up-date your look.
Make sure the clothes you spend your hard earned money on work for you, not against you. At the very least, your clothing choices should fit well and make you feel great.
Wearing the right styles can make you feel confident and in control. They can give you presence, authority and allow you to stand out for the right reasons, giving you an edge and advantage over others. The opposite is also true. The wrong styles can be ageing, confusing and make you look bigger than you really are and who wants that?
Keep the focus on your best features and believe me, no one will be looking at any of your percieved flaws!
I have covered the five main body shapes here. You could be one, or a combination of several. Check the shape that corresponds mostly to your own and add another if you need to in order to find your best styles.
Failing that, book a session with me, that will change the way you Shop Forever!
Whether you lose or gain weight your bone structure will stay the same but It is the COMBINATION of all these factors that gives you the body shape you have.
As humans we are attracted to balance which just so happens to be the key to good dressing. Look at your body in the mirror (yes, you!) and see it as two equal parts. Find a balance to your dressing with the correct styles and find ones that work for you.
With the pear shape directly below, you can see that this shape is bottom heavy. Wear jackets and tops with structure, interest and detail to balance out the look and draw the attention upwards and away from the lower half. Now, choose your main shape and go from there- Any questions, just mail me!
TRIANGLE or PEAR SHAPE
SHAPE: You are SMALLER on the top than the bottom with narrow shoulders and a smaller bust. KEY to YOUR dressing style is to draw attention to the top half & balance it with the lower highlighting the shoulders, neckline and face.
STYLES to look for: Structured jackets, textured & chunky knitwear, gilets over tops, fitted shirts, dresses with a fitted waist, wide straps & capped sleeves. Necklaces to keep the focus on the upper body. Wide legged Trousers that flow from the waist
INVERTED TRIANGLE or VASE SHAPE
SHAPE:You are BIGGER on the top than the bottom with broader shoulders & slim legs. KEY to YOUR dressing style is to draw attention to your lower half & balance it up with the top, highlighting your great legs!
STYLES to look for: Asymetric tops, halter necklines,soft jersey tops and dresses with scooped or V-necklines, A-line or flared skirts, softly structured jackets & coats. Slim line trousers or jeans
SHAPE: Your TUMMY is larger than your bust giving focus to the middle part of your body. KEY to YOUR dressing style is to draw the attention away from your middle to your neckline, arms & face.
STYLES to look for: Good underwear is KEY for the apple! prints & colour of one colour group in empire line or strapless; tops that are fitted at the waist, belted dresses, box pleat skirt, V-neck tops. Tailored trousers for a smooth bodyshape.
HOURGLASS SHAPE SHAPE: Your SHOULDERS and HIPS are of equal measure with a defined waistline.This is one of the easiest bodyshapes to dress. KEY to YOUR dressing style is to emphasise the silhouette, waistline & elongate the body.
STYLES to look for: Wrap dresses & shirts, deep V-neck cardigans, scooped neck tops, fitted jackets, tailored coats, pencil skirt or A-line and tailored trousers
RECTANGLE or H SHAPE
SHAPE: You have a STRAIGHT ‘ruler’ shape where shoulder and hip are the same width with slim arms and legs.
KEY to YOUR dressing style is to create curves & break up your straight frame & emphasise your waist!
STYLES to look for: Tops with detail, sweetheart & ruffled necklines, bias cut skirts and dresses in colour, texture and pattern. Capri pants and skinny jeans
I have to be honest. I am not usually a fan of on-line shopping. With the exception of my most favourite on-line store Top Vintage I don’t surf for clothes!
There are reasons for this. I can’t feel the fabric, I can’t get to grips with the colour, I can’t see the cut and shape, and I can’t have it straight away! Alongside that if you dont like it or it doesn’t fit then you’ve got to trek to the post office, wait in line and send it back. b o r i n g!
At least if you buy it from a shop with people in it, you can return it and at the same time have a perusal for a replacement (which invariably, has new stock since you were last there) It’s a win win, I say!
I think the peplum is a bit vintage and a bit 80’s.They are good for shapes like mine. hour glass and curvy. They offer a nice distraction around the hips while giving the illusion of a smaller waist.
So, I thought why not check the internet. I put ‘peplum’ into the search box and up popped a company calledboohoofrom Manchester in the UK. They had many items with peplum. all I had to do was start looking. From skinny night club tops, to tiny features on the back of jackets. I wanted the full peplum treatment. No excuses.
The dress I landed on had 5 stars alongside it and the reviews were quite impressive.(and very useful) Women from very small to larger sizes were wearing this dress and feeling great in it.They were getting compliments too which was nice to read.
The dress definitely fit the description in terms of fit and colour and the fabric was supportive.So supportive, it was like putting on a wetsuit (do your hair first!) Once on though, it did the trick and made me feel quite fabulous!
I really like Boohoo for their no nonsense prices.Trouble shooting enough customer issues out the window have made it almost impossible not to buy something (or return it) and the garments are manufactured in the UK which is a plus.
This is when on-line shopping gets clever. It offers things you won’t see on the high street and is always better value for money. (cutting out the middle man also means they don’t have to pay extortionate shop rates) Getting a few compliments along the way for something that cost the price of a bunch of flowers is not bad either.
Casa Magnolia is one of those gem like shops you sometimes hear people talking about, like it nearly belongs to them. Well this one is mine!
I try to visit whenever I stay with Mum in Devon. The shop is nestled in the beautiful town of Chagford on the edge of Dartmoor, South West England
We usually decide beforehand whether we are going to go in or not because once past the threshold, it’s nigh on impossible to walk away empty handed. If we decide not to go in, we take necessary precautions to avoid the danger zone and go in search of cake!
Shopping doesn’t always have to be about spending money though. On the contrary. It can also provide a valuable source of inspiration and ideas that fuel creativity in general and it is more than OK to window-shop and walk away.
So what makes this shop stand out from the rest? To start with they have fabulous collections. Oska, Terry Macey, NYDJ, Clemente, Lily & Me, Quernstone and Joseph Ribkoff to name just a few. Having an experienced eye and always on the lookout for new labels keeps things current, interesting and buzzing.
Then there are the accessories. Supreme bags designed by Tissa Fontanedacreate an entrance and you wonder, are they rubber or leather? (The answer is leather) Jewellery from Florence, bags from Argentina and hand crafted belts and boots from England.
Then there is the service. The dream team consists of Pam (the owner) Vikky and Adam. Any one of them will be waiting with a beaming smile and welcome. Creating an atmosphere and service that is friendly, genuine and relaxed. Combine this with passion and experience and you get a winning combination. Not something in my experience that everyone in retail understands. It goes some way to explain their loyal following of present and new customers alike.
On a recent visit, my eye was drawn to some gorgeous knitwear (shown) from the Serbian labelIVKO. A collection of high class knitted womens’ fashion and accessories. Ivko combine craftsmanship with state of the art technology. One look at the website will explain their motif handwritten emotions! you will get lost in their dream-like films.
Mum treated me to the cardigan which put a massive smile on my face (also shown) The cardigan does its (100% wool) job by perking up, and putting life into an otherwise dull outfit.
Visiting this shop reminds me that England (as the saying goes) is indeed ”a nation of shopkeepers” for that (and countless other things) it is always good to go back.
Looking in front of a mirror can be an uncomfortable prospect for some. It can leave us feeling exposed and revealed for longer than we feel comfortable.
If this is you then a couple of hours of in front of one, will most likely not be on your bucket list!
Recently, a good friend of mine asked me to give her mum who was visiting from the UK a session of colour analysis and makeup.
I had already met Marie on previous visits and I knew she felt a little apprehensive about getting her colours done. It was more so with the make-up as she wore very little, and had a tendency to hide behind her fringe.
As it turned out, Marie enjoyed her sessions enough to inspire me to create this post!
Having explained the colour analysis. (I use the tonal method) Marie became rapidly absorbed in the process. We discovered a palette of colours that flattered her complexion. Those that picked out her blue eyes and ones that added warmth to the tones in her hair. The mirror became an accessory (not the enemy) and guided her to new possibilities until she started to think about what she had in her wardrobe.
Photographs & Styling-Rachel Moss
Marie’s shopping habits were based around price and colour. If you get use out of what you buy (no matter what) then the job is done. If however, you rack up a wardrobe of unworn items with the tags still hanging off and things you can’t return. the experience is not only lost, but becomes a costly habit that only tends to repeat itself.
Marie seldom wore her sale items but didn’t always know why. Her instinct was already giving her the answer- Use it next time you go shopping and if nothing else, think about how things can fit in with the rest of your wardrobe.
When it comes to colour, don’t just look at the colour, but take in the whole of your image. hold the colour next to your face and see what it does to your hair, skin and eyes.The right colour can enhance your natural colouring, lift your complexion and energize you in many ways.
”make-up should be a part of you, not apart from you!”
Women often tell me they would like to know how to use makeup but don’t know where to begin so they default back to the no- makeup look!
This section covers what I did for Marie who wanted a natural look. Please get in touch if you want to know how colour and makeup can help you.
Like the best clothing and colours, makeup should enhance your natural features and colouring. Ideally and in all cases, you should not see the makeup before the person or be staring quizzically into their face wondering what on earth they have done to their eyebrows!
There should be a harmony in the makeup you apply and the look you want to achieve. At best, makeup allows you to feel in control, confident, beautiful, empowered and sexy. It is a tool that if you know how to use, can make a difference to the way you feel and the way you are perceived.
At worst, it can be distracting, ageing, confusing (and sometimes unintentionally, funny) It can also send out negative signals.
Marie’s skin type was a combination of an oily T-zone (nose, chin and forehead) and normal. She had open pores and a reddish complexion.
Before applying foundation, I had to take the redness down on her skin. Avene Antirougeurs Jour is a hydrating emulsion that helps reduce redness and the sensation of heat on the skin. It also contains a small amount of green pigment to help diffuse any redness. It is light to wear and contains an SPF 20.
For the foundation, I mixed a combination of two colours together to get the right shade. (Estee Lauder’s Fresco and Mac’s face and body foundation in C7) I Worked with a combination of brush and sponge to create a smooth finish and blend around the corners of her nose and mouth, making sure there were no hard lines.
The smooth foundation and even base really set the stage for Marie’s beautiful blue eyes to stand out!
3. Marie’s eyelashes and eyebrows were naturally dark but she was losing colour and definition. I used a sculpting eyebrow pencil by Chanel (colour 60) to fill in the gaps with light feathery strokes. This gave natural definition framing her eyes and face.
4. I filled in the eye area with a stone shadow from Mac and a soft highligher just beneath the brow bone and applied some mascara.
5. Having created an even skin tone, I needed to put some colour back into her face. With a large blusher brush I used Mac’s (Melba) powder blush gently dusting it on the apple of her cheeks to add a warm glow.
I will finish the post by including an extract of the testimonial Marie wrote after her sessions. It’s something to remember that everyone one of us has the ability to inspire others’ regardless of age, shape, sex or size. Making the most of what we have got, rather than what we don’t is one of the best places to start!
”I felt like a new woman and couldn’t stop smiling all day. My daughter commented on how natural the make-up was and how great I looked. I would highly recommend the experience to my friends because it has really improved my confidence and made me feel so much happier in myself. I might be in my Sixties, but I still feel 25 inside and I don’t want to be invisible! ”
It was a great end to the month of July, working with Munich based portrait Photographer Lia Edwards on a styling and photographic session for a new client.
A few weeks before the shoot, Margareta checked in for a wardrobesession with me. As owner of MMH life coaching, Margareta wanted a more International look to reflect her business.
First off, we established anything outdated in Margareta’s wardrobe and got rid of things that no longer fit or were tired and worn. At the same time, I looked for the best cut and colours to complement her figure and natural colouring.
Next, we set a date for Personal Shopping. A list of key items was created in order to fill out any gaps in the wardrobe. Margareta had fun discovering selected pieces that added volume, as well as value to her existing wardrobe.
All that remained, was for hair and makeup and to get ready for the shoot!
As a model on clothing and photographic shoots I have first hand the experience on what is needed for getting the best results. In this work, the devil is (always) in the detail!
Having personally booked Lia for a photoshoot of my own, I was struck by the energy and quality of her work- It seemed a natural step for us to collaborate!
If you are looking to re-brand your business; update your website or simply for a fresh new look! Talk to us today and experience a professional but fun photo shoot with photos that everyone will be talking about!