Celebrating 50!

If you are on Facebook, and depending on your interests, the chances that you belong to a group or two, is fairly likely.

Earlier this year, I joined the group UK Makeup Addicts. I wouldn’t exactly call myself a makeup addict, but prefer to keep an interest in, and an eye out on what people are doing with their new purchases in an industry now worth 4 billion a year in the UK.

UK makeup addicts have over 50,000 members and it is fair to say, the majority of the group are in their early twenties to thirties. Every now and again, someone the other side of forty will pop up, and it is these occasions that keep me going.

As a teenager, living in the rural countryside of South West England, the only makeup I could get my 1980’s hands on, was a range in the local Spar called Cover Girl, endorsed by US model Cheryl Tiegs. I loved the packaging with her expensive hair, perfect teeth and firm skin and in my naivety, I believed that if I bought the highly-perfumed compact powder and mascara, that I would (totes) look like her- Needless to say, It didn’t happen.

Makeup brands that were big in my time were Miners, Rimmel, Max Factor, Maybelline, Almay and Avon and like most teenagers, I experimented with makeup.

Photo Trude Bosence

I would constantly pick the wrong colour of foundation or powder. Starting off with deep orange, (with accompanying tide-marks) progressing to pale beige and eventually ending up with my perfect match. mortuary white. (not its specific name, but looking at old photos, I can only describe it as goth horror)

Meanwhile, my sister was being lavish with her pink miners cream blush and doing a fine impression of Ziggy Stardust. This along with her self-made mullet (she was at art school, so it was fine) was just about the icing on the cake.

I had no clue about skincare or the first thing about how to apply makeup. The only brushes I had at the time, came with the compacts and they disintegrated after a few uses.

The choice of products were minimal compared with today. On-line shopping, YouTube tutorials and celebrity make-up artists didn’t exist and high definition foundation was another 25 years off.

One afternoon while I was perusing through the makeup group, I saw a woman around my age pop up. Enter Trude Bosence. A vivacious 53 year old makeup artist, hair stylist, stylist and photographer from North Devon. Trude asked everyone what they thought of her photo and fingers on buzzers, I was straight in there with ‘you look great’ (which she did) and with a relief I can’t express, at seeing someone my age posting a photo of herself.

 

Trude Bosence

Within a short space of time Trude and I hit it off, and spontaneously agreed to do a photoshoot a week later.

As a former model, I know the pressures on the makeup artist, stylist and photographer and although photo shoots can be fun, they can also come with a few time constraints. There is no time left to get creative.

Doing a shoot with Trude would have none of these restrictions. For either of us. There was no agenda, goal, deadline, or pre-conceived ideas. This along with her super friendly and relaxed attitude would make it a load of fun!

Trude’s pink flamingo studio was ultimate. The main part of her studio was taken up with a selection of props, backdrops, and lighting equipment, while a well designed end section was her dedicated makeup bar. This says nothing for her incredibly well stocked rail of clothes (many are vintage) along with a good selection of shoes, wigs and accessories. A one-stop shop for a complete head-to-toe makeover!

Trude in her pink flamingo dressing room

As well as meeting and making a new friend in Trude, I watched us working together and it got me thinking about what 50 means to me.

Reaching 50 is definitely one of those milestones everyone talks about, but it is also far more than the sum of its parts.

Reaching 50 is about taking opportunities when they come, and not turning down invites. It is about being spontaneous and trusting in yourself and your instincts.

It is about not taking yourself, or anything too seriously, and laughing out loud as much as possible!

It is about only surrounding yourself with kind, positive and authentic people.

It is about saying yes when you mean yes, and no when your heart tells you no- No questions asked!

Reaching 50 is about owning and loving every part of who you are, and who you have become and about being unequivocably comfortable in your own skin.

Reaching 50 means you don’t need permission from anyone for the way you dress, look, walk or talk. You got this far didn’t you? so keep going!

Every now and again Trude and I would laugh loud and raucously in the shoot-

We’ll show them how its done”

Trude, I think we did it!

 

If you have lost your confidence, fizz, style and self, somewhere in the maze of life, then get in touch for a free consultation and discover how a colour analysis, wardrobe plan or personal shopping trip will help to boost your confidence and give you a fresh start. You will wish you had done it sooner!

Contact Trude Bosence for information on her photoshoots via her Facebook page.

Photo Trude Bosence

Photo Trude Bosence

Photo Trude Bosence

Photo Trude Bosence

 

Rachel and Trude- It’s a wrap!

Holz vor der Hütte!

A dedication to the Dirndl

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!

History

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.

Colour Guide

#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

Tschüss!

 

 

 

 

Boo hoo!

I have to be honest. I am not usually a fan of on-line shopping. With the exception of my most favourite on-line store Top Vintage I don’t surf for clothes!

There are reasons for this. I can’t feel the fabric, I can’t get to grips with the colour, I can’t see the cut and shape, and I can’t have it straight away! Alongside that if you dont like it or it doesn’t fit then you’ve got to trek to the post office, wait in line and send it back. b o r i n g!

At least if you buy it from a shop with people in it, you can return it and at the same time have a perusal for a replacement (which invariably, has new stock since you were last there) It’s a win win, I say!

I think the peplum is a bit vintage and a bit 80’s.They are good for shapes like mine. hour glass and curvy. They offer a nice distraction around the hips while giving the illusion of a smaller waist.

boohoo

So, I thought why not check the internet. I put ‘peplum’ into the search box and up popped a company called boohoo from Manchester in the UK. They had many items with peplum. all I had to do was start looking. From skinny night club tops, to tiny features on the back of jackets. I wanted the full peplum treatment. No excuses.

The dress I landed on had 5 stars alongside it and the reviews were quite impressive.(and very useful) Women from very small to larger sizes were wearing this dress and feeling great in it.They were getting compliments too which was nice to read.

The dress definitely fit the description in terms of fit and colour and the fabric was supportive.So supportive, it was like putting on a wetsuit (do your hair first!) Once on though, it did the trick and made me feel quite fabulous!

I really like Boohoo for their no nonsense prices.Trouble shooting enough customer issues out the window have made it almost impossible not to buy something (or return it) and the garments are manufactured in the UK which is a plus.

This is when on-line shopping gets clever. It offers things you won’t see on the high street and is always better value for money. (cutting out the middle man also means they don’t have to pay extortionate shop rates) Getting a few compliments along the way for something that cost the price of a bunch of flowers is not bad either.

Thanks to the bunch at boohoo!

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.

photo 1

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!