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

Shopping In London!

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?

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Coming Soon….!

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!   rachel@rachel-moss.com or more information:


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!

Emotional Fitness!

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.

 

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Sarah Danning from Physically Fabulous

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.

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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.

Now, I must find my bikinis..

The Invisible Woman

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!

MarieH (webres)Marie- Photograph by Lia Edwards

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.

marieblogPhotographs & 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.

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”make-up should be a part of you, not apart from you!”

RachelmakeoverMake up and styling for a shoot-Photograph by Lia Edwards

 

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.

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METHODS

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.

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  1. 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.
  2. 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! ”

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