Every season, we see a slew of trends come and go. This year, for example, saw an influx of puffy sleeves and the resurgence of polkadots, as highlighted by Elle Magazine. Fashion is a cycle, after all, and you can always expect future reinventions to draw from past favourites.
However, any style enthusiast knows that you need your essentials to anchor down your looks, no matter which direction the fashion world goes. Having a solid wardrobe foundation also allows for seamless mixing and matching, making it easy to incorporate new styles without going overboard. This means having classic pieces that have stood the test of time, and are always worth a spot in your closet.
Every woman needs a classic white shirt in her wardrobe. It’s probably the most versatile item one can ever buy. Let it stand out on its own for an effortlessly stylish look, or throw a jacket over it for a more put-together ensemble. If you’d like a less casual option, go for one in a silk material.
Denim jeans come in a plethora of different cuts and designs, from flared and skinny, to cropped and high-waist. Choose one that flatters your body type and will instantly give your bottoms a boost. Pair with a dressy top, blazer, or heels for an elevated yet still casual outfit.
A good quality cashmere sweater isn’t cheap, but it’s an investment every woman must make. Ideal for those in-between days when it’s not too hot nor too cold, this knit top can smarten up nearly every outfit. Wear it loose and balance it out with tighter bottoms — like skinny jeans or a body-hugging pencil skirt — to channel your inner Parisienne.
If a denim jacket is your must-have piece in your teens, a blazer is the one you graduate to as you hit your later years. This boardroom chic staple is actually much easier to style than one might think. You can mix and match it with your favourite jeans-and-shirt get-up, or wear over a flowy dress if you’re feeling a little bit “New York Fashion Week.”Oversized double-breasted styles may be all the rage, but if you’ve got problem areas (like your tummy) that you want to conceal, you may want to opt for one with waterfall detailing for a slimming effect.
A button-down shirt is ageless and looks good on absolutely anyone, but the luxury of silk allows for a relaxed yet dapper fit. Pretty Me suggests getting a tailored fit to add a flair of elegance to this basic staple. You can then choose whether to dress it up or down. Wear it with simple black trousers for corporate chic, or loose and untucked with shorts for your downtown afternoon stroll.
A pencil skirt is a non-negotiable garment to have and can be worn in many ways. Some women think that it only flatters tall women, but that’s not exactly true — especially with the right styling. Dress it down with sneakers when hitting the movies, or pair your skirt with heels for an important business meeting.
Post solely for the use of rachel-moss.com Contributed by Althea Courtney
We have all met someone in life who has a sense of style. Their appearance, is in harmony with their body shape, height and natural colouring, as well as personality and character. They are fluent in the language of dressing and look good whatever the budget!
But why does getting dressed seem so easy for some, and a daily chore for others. And does it even matter?
The clothes you wear, do not define you as a person, but they are a reflection of your attitude and how you feel about yourself. When it comes to non-verbal communication, clothing is responsible for the majority of our first impressions. It displays our economic status, social circle, level of sophistication, morality and mood.
Social media, TV and advertisting bombard us with thousands of images of what we should look like, and not what the majority of us do. Women are predisposed to feeling more inadequate and tend to underestimate their attractiveness. If you lack in confidence and self-esteem, these images only reinforce poor body confidence.
Experiences such as divorce, illness or bereavement can leave us on the back foot with a lack of the feel-good factor we once had. And a busy family life leaves little me time.
If you look good, you feel good. Who doesn’t want to feel more confident, happy and youthful!
Many women dress older than they are or wear clothes larger than their actual size. Trying to disguise any perceived flaws often highlights them more. We stop wearing things that don’t make us feel good, without knowing why. Trust your instinct and learn to like what you see in the mirror.
Colour is an instant way to make yourself feel and look better. The right colours can give a youthful glow while the wrong colours can be ageing. We are all born with either a cool (blue) undertone or a warm (yellow) undertone to our skin. Knowing this will establish the best colours to wear next to your face or the body as a whole. Cool skin tones can wear blue, red, green and berry shades while warm skin tones can wear burnt orange, rose, blues and golden shades.
Hiring a professional style coach allows for an unbiased viewpoint. It eliminates emotion and other expectations that may arise in the hands of well meaning friends or relatives. Being friendly and non-judgemental also play a big part in building a relationship of trust.
The job of a style coach is to help steer you away from old, repeated negative responses and replace them with a new focus.
The focus on finding the best styles for your body shape, colours that flatter your natural colouring and give you a youthful glow, aswell as tricks and accessories to highlight your best features.
Almost everyone I work with say ‘I wish I had done this earlier’ Next time you open your wardrobe, get dressed or go shopping, think about the value you place on yourself and how it reflects the best of you from the inside, out.
Tips to finding your style • Create a vision board on Pinterest and find styles you’d like to try out • Consider your best assets and find ways to highlight them • If something looks, fits and feels good. Ignore the dress size. • Choose a monochrome colour pallette to give a streamlined look. • Use bold prints and accessories to confuse the eye over a larger frame • Walk tall and sit straight- It makes clothes look better, and creates presence and poise!
www.rachel-moss.com Tel +44 (0) 79890 77603 firstname.lastname@example.org
Wearing the right colours for your skin hair and eyes can enhance your natural colouring and bring your features alive as well as visually reducing blemishes, clean up the complexion and give you a more youthful appearance and who doesn’t want a bit of that!
Wearingcolours that don’t work for you can create an appearance and complexion that is ageing or hard. It could be said that wearing the wrong colours can mis-represent who you are, even how you feel.
How To Establish Your Skin Tone-
We are all born with either a BLUE (cool) undertone in our skin or a more YELLOW (warm) undertone and it is from this that we can establish the most flattering colours to wear, next to the face or as a complete look
Take the test- Take a look at the inside of your wrist or forearm to see if the skin has a blue tint (indicating a cool undertone) to it or a yellow-green (indicating a warm undertone)
Or this- 1. Take off any traces of makeup and look into the natural daylight with a hand-held mirror
2. Wear a white shirt or hold a piece of white paper to your face.
3. If your skin tone in contrast to the white looks YELLOW or a warm golden, then you have WARM undertones to your skin which means you will look best wearing warmer colours.
4. If your face looks BLUE to pinkish, your skin tone is COOL which means you will look best wearing cooler colours
5. If your skin is a mix of blue and green you have a NEUTRAL skin tone which means you can wear a mixture of both warm and cool colours!
6.You can also do the same with GOLD or SILVER fabric. Gold being great for warm skin tones and Silver for cool.
YOUR HAIR coloring will be- coppery brown, dark brown, chestnut or dark golden blond, red, dark or light auburn.
Your eyes will be- hazel, pale green or blue.
Your complexion will be- golden brown, yellow beige, peach or ivory. you may have freckles & tan easily
WARM colour suggestions- Bronze, burnt orange, red, yellows, rose, brown, blues and golden shades.
Your hair coloring will be-black, dark brown, brunette, ash blonde silver grey or white
Your eyes will be- dark brown, green, hazel or dark blue
Your complexion will be- black, olive, fair, rosy or pale and your skin often burns in the sun
COOL colour suggestions- Purples, red, dark green, plum, ruby, royal blue, teal, black, aubergine
Dressing against the norm — what does it say about you?
From eccentric socks to dressing against our gendered expectations, many people push the limits of social norms when it comes to fashion. Research has shown that non-conformists can be viewed as being of a higher status and more competent than those who follow the rules of fashion. We take a look at what different clothing says about the wearer…
Against gendered expectations
The line is becoming increasingly blurred between male and female clothing. Many people are speaking up, opposing the ideas that men and women should be dressed according to their sex. But, are you presenting yourself in a different way when you dress against the gendered expectations?
Although fashionistas are saying that they don’t agree with gender rules, some research suggests that we’re still stuck in our old ways. Psychologists in New Jersey found that attitudes towards gender stereotypes hadn’t changed much between 1983 and 2014.
There is an argument that shows that it’s favourable for women to cross the gender barrier but perhaps not men. Back in 1990, it was found that — despite the sex of the applicant – if the clothing that they wore was more masculine, they were more likely to be hired. When men dressed in pink however (a colour commonly associated with females), they were seen as less intelligent than women who were wearing the same colour.
Another way of going against the grain when it comes to style it through eccentric clothing. When we think of outrageous outfits we may think of people with brightly coloured hair, patterned clothing and over the top jewellery. But, there are other ways to express freedom through dress.
For example, people who wear unconventional socks are viewed as being rebellious and expressive. One of these people is Justin Trudeau, the current Prime Minister of Canada, who shows off his fun side by wearing funky socks with a traditional suit. You can make your own subtle ‘eccentric’ changes through patterned socks by CT shirts, online retailers of men’s formal shirts and accessories. Or make yourself stand out from the crowd through bright scarves and other extras.
Photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash
By dressing against the norms, studies have shown that you build a brand of being ‘gutsy’. And in fact, people have the potential to see you as more brilliant, creative and successful. One study, published in 2014, found that those who go against conformity can be viewed as of a higher status than those who don’t. They were also considered to be more competent — potentially influencing the impression that they give off in the workplace.
Not only does it affect people’s perceptions of you but it can also affect the way you think, feel and act — this is through ‘embodied cognition’. Since eccentric dress gives you greater potential to express your individuality, it’s possible that it can make you feel more confident and comfortable in different situations. This could then go on to improve your performance at work or in challenges where you want to push yourself.
Against the dress code
In some situations, for a job interview perhaps, it can be argued that dressing in accordance with expectations is the best thing to do.
Under some circumstances, we think that people with extraordinary appearances are more successful.
Men who wear smart, fitted suits as they are often expected to wear in a formal situation, were perceived as being more confident, successful and thought to be earning a higher wage. This was compared to men who weren’t dressed as smartly — in a loosely fitted suit.
In one study that looked at the effects of clothing, it was found that senior managers were rated less favourably if they were dressed more ‘provocative’. This was a skirt slightly above the knee and one button on the blouse undone. It’s clear to see that it is important to consider our dress style carefully as people can make many assumptions without any evidence.
In some environments, wearing your set uniform can improve your productivity. Research found that in a lab, those who were wearing lab coats felt smarter and went on to perform better!
As we can see, dressing against societies expectations can have many effects on the opinion of others and your own performance. Although it’s important to express yourself through dress, you don’t want to hinder your work or your impression on others in formal situations. Wear a pair of crazy socks underneath your day-to-day outfit instead.
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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!
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 email@example.com
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.
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.
I love contrasting colours- Here is a study in pink and black with a twist of orange! 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!
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.
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!
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!
Let 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!
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. 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.
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!
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.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!
Depending 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!