On-Line Styling Session

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.

Photo: Lia Edwards  Rachel with Margareta-Maria Heinrich

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!

Personal Profile

  • *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.

Summary

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!

*Not her real name

How Do I Look?

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)

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

IMG_7600After 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 rachel@rachel-moss.com

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Pigs And Flamingos

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!

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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.

image008I 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 you would like to know how a style session can help you, please get in touch!

From Devon With Love!

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.

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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 Fontaneda create 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 label IVKOA 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.

Now, where’s that cake!

Think Pink

I love contrasting colours- Here is a study in pink and black with a twist of orange!Grazynapinkwindow Working on Grazyna’s windows in her gorgeous boutique To Be A Woman in Munich always gives me the opportunity to experiment with colour. Since she always has so much, it is like being in a candy store!

I like to be as spontaneous as possible when window dressing, and try not think too much about the end result but rather ‘go with the flow’ Sometimes ideas can take a little time to come to fruition and other occasions they are quick!

Over the next few weeks, I will be bringing you some of my favourite contrasting colours including some more unusual colour ‘flavours’ so watch this space for more!

If you want to know which shade of pink would suit you, then get in touch and book a colour analysis with me today!

French Fancy

The month of May in Munich didn’t get me dancing around in dresses yet, and we are already into June- What is going on people!

It’s been pretty cold and windy here, so I have kept things colourful but warm and have been spotted wearing a coat I bought in the lovely market town of Tavistock, Devon in England. Daretobdifferent is a friendly family run boutique buzzing with atomsphere (and customers) and stocked with some known, and not so known labels.(check out their website for updates) Eva Tralala (yes, really) is a French label specializing in quirky but very wearable pieces.

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In Munich this coat seems to have the power to stop ladies in the street. They ask me where I got it from and if they can touch it!  As I am talking, I realize I am fiddling with the wool bobbles inside the pockets. It came with two huge safety pins, so I can wrap the coat as I see fit.

It is very often the smaller towns that hold the greatest gems. Next time you are shopping, think of going off the main street and away from the mass produced fashion, and start exploring independent shops. At the same time you are supporting local and often family run business. A big plus in my book!


One For The Men!

Men, you don’t have to go around wearing the same old safe, blue, and black. Ok, so you probably can’t go to work wearing red jeans unless you have an open minded boss, work from home or (more likely) an advertising company. Then of course you will need them for your creative play zones. On weekends however, you can wear whatever takes your fancy!

PAmens2Let your personality shine using colour and accessories. If you are not confident with colour, then start from the bottom up. I love these desert boots with blue rims between the soles. Or throw a colourful scarf against a dark jacket. The devil as they say, is in the detail!

Hats are another way to show some style and will give an illusion of height. Kaufhof department store in Munich has a fantastic selection of mens hats and accessories.

Start experimenting or book me for a personal shopping workout to show you how!

Dye-ing For A Change!

For months now, I have had a bag of tired and dull clothing in my wardrobe. I still wanted to wear them but not in their current form.PAbluedye1 My aim was eventually to get round to dyeing them. Fabric dye is a brilliant (and cheap) way of bringing life back to clothing that has lost its colour or appeal. It is also a great way of getting rid of any yellowing (under arm) patches too! I chose a lovely cobalt blue (that happens to be on trend this summer!) but there are dozens of colours to choose from depending on what you want.

The simplicol dye here was around 5,50 Euro. I dyed quite a few pieces, so bought a large box. I also needed an extra 500 gram of salt to fix the colour. After 40 minutes in the washing machine and a quick re-wash, I transformed my clothes and can now mix them with other pieces and accessorize as I wish.

My clothes were 100% cotton and absorbed the colour perfectly. Anything that is not a natural fibre such as nylon stitching or lining etc will not take the dye but can still add interest and contrast to your pieces.


Feeling Blue

I was in the beautiful Bavarian countryside on the weekend and took a photo of the Enzian flower (trumpet gentian) which inspired me (as nature does) to put a blue look together for you! These flowers sprung out of the ground with gusto and provided a colourful force against the still bleached and weathered grass of winter.

The roots of the enzian plant provide bitters for a digestive called Enzian! I’m not a fan of it myself, but I am a fan of this deep violet blue! PAblue

Life Is Rosy!

There are some colours that just make you smile. Fuchsia is one of them. The red pink combination is vibrant but elegant. feminine yet intense. Fuchsia or magenta, is made by combining equal and intense amounts of red and blue light together. The blue gives it a coolness, which is especially great for warmer skin tones. Depending on hue and tone this colour will suit almost every skin tone, so experiment with the colour against your face to see what looks best.PicsArtfuscia If you dont want to give over to fuchsia in a dress or coat, then pick it out in details like bags, shoes and scarves.  Combine this colour beautifully with green and other tones of purple and play the colour off with strong prints such as black and white for a more quirky look!

Colour Is Always In Fashion

collagepinkDepending on mood, I can dress in shades of one colour palette, or mix and match colours together for more of an impact. Wearing certain colours can act as a natural ‘pick me up’ and make you feel more energised.

Colour can draw and provoke emotion and memories for different reasons. From childhood, education or simply memories of buying something from a first wage packet!

I draw inspiration from the great outdoors and love to watch how the colours of nature blend and clash without ever looking out of place If you love colour but aren’t sure what goes with what. rather than play it safe, experiment until you are happy with the mix you have got and use your instinct. If it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t. Start again and play around until something clicks!

If you don’t want an overload of colour then choose a base of colour such as navy or black and accent it with accessories like a red belt, necklace, loafers and a handbag!

This is an elegant way to play off and highlight your favourite colours without going over the top.

Better still, take a colour analysis with me to find out which colours impact your business and social life and those that make you feel and look ten years younger!