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!
Tel +44 (0) 79890 77603
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.
UN-LOCK THE SECRETS TO A NEW YOU TODAY WITH RACHEL,YOUR PERSONAL STYLE COACH!
Love clothes, hate shopping?
Wardrobe full but nothing to wear Lost in the fashion jungle?
Love Colour but don’t know how to wear it?
Rachel’s complete colour, style and shopping experience is here!
Body shape analysis
Face shape analysis
for further information on your transformation Get in touch!
If you are on Facebook, and depending on your interests, the chances that you belong to a group or two, is fairly likely.
Earlier this year, I joined the group UK Makeup Addicts. I wouldn’t exactly call myself a makeup addict, but prefer to keep an interest in, and an eye out on what people are doing with their new purchases in an industry now worth 4 billion a year in the UK.
UK makeup addicts have over 50,000 members and it is fair to say, the majority of the group are in their early twenties to thirties. Every now and again, someone the other side of forty will pop up, and it is these occasions that keep me going.
As a teenager, living in the rural countryside of South West England, the only makeup I could get my 1980’s hands on, was a range in the local Spar called Cover Girl, endorsed by US model Cheryl Tiegs. I loved the packaging with her expensive hair, perfect teeth and firm skin and in my naivety, I believed that if I bought the highly-perfumed compact powder and mascara, that I would (totes) look like her- Needless to say, It didn’t happen.
Makeup brands that were big in my time were Miners, Rimmel, Max Factor, Maybelline, Almay and Avon and like most teenagers, I experimented with makeup.
Photo Trude Bosence
I would constantly pick the wrong colour of foundation or powder. Starting off with deep orange, (with accompanying tide-marks) progressing to pale beige and eventually ending up with my perfect match. mortuary white. (not its specific name, but looking at old photos, I can only describe it as goth horror)
Meanwhile, my sister was being lavish with her pink miners cream blush and doing a fine impression of Ziggy Stardust. This along with her self-made mullet (she was at art school, so it was fine) was just about the icing on the cake.
I had no clue about skincare or the first thing about how to apply makeup. The only brushes I had at the time, came with the compacts and they disintegrated after a few uses.
The choice of products were minimal compared with today. On-line shopping, YouTube tutorials and celebrity make-up artists didn’t exist and high definition foundation was another 25 years off.
One afternoon while I was perusing through the makeup group, I saw a woman around my age pop up. Enter Trude Bosence. A vivacious 53 year old makeup artist, hair stylist, stylist and photographer from North Devon. Trude asked everyone what they thought of her photo and fingers on buzzers, I was straight in there with ‘you look great’ (which she did) and with a relief I can’t express, at seeing someone my age posting a photo of herself.
Within a short space of time Trude and I hit it off, and spontaneously agreed to do a photoshoot a week later.
As a former model, I know the pressures on the makeup artist, stylist and photographer and although photo shoots can be fun, they can also come with a few time constraints. There is no time left to get creative.
Doing a shoot with Trude would have none of these restrictions. For either of us. There was no agenda, goal, deadline, or pre-conceived ideas. This along with her super friendly and relaxed attitude would make it a load of fun!
Trude’s pink flamingo studio was ultimate. The main part of her studio was taken up with a selection of props, backdrops, and lighting equipment, while a well designed end section was her dedicated makeup bar. This says nothing for her incredibly well stocked rail of clothes (many are vintage) along with a good selection of shoes, wigs and accessories. A one-stop shop for a complete head-to-toe makeover!
Trude in her pink flamingo dressing room
As well as meeting and making a new friend in Trude, I watched us working together and it got me thinking about what 50 means to me.
Reaching 50 is definitely one of those milestones everyone talks about, but it is more than the sum of its parts.
Reaching 50 is about taking opportunities and invites as they come your way. You never know where they might lead, the people you meet or the new things you will learn.
It is about trusting and using your instincts, intuition and perceptions. They won’t let you down, as long as you use them.
It is about not taking yourself too seriously, being spontaneous and laughing as much as possible!
It is surrounding yourself with kind, positive and authentic people. The kind who help you grow and who reflect the same qualities and values in life while telling you the truth.
”No” is a complete sentence- It is about saying yes when you mean yes, and no when you mean no.
Reaching 50 is about owning and loving every part of who you are, and who you have become and about being unequivocably comfortable in your own skin.
Every now and again Trude and I would laugh loud and raucously in the shoot-
”We’ll show them how its done”
Trude, I think we did!
If you have lost your confidence, fizz, style and self, somewhere in the maze of life, then get in touch for a free consultation and discover how a colour analysis, wardrobe plan or personal shopping trip will help to boost your confidence and give you a fresh start. You will wish you had done it sooner!
Contact Trude Bosence for information on her photoshoots via her Facebook page.
This is an annual re-post which I have done for the last six years. Here are four reasons why.
Firstly, I have always been in love with this dress and will never tire of its extraordinary ability to flatter every single body type, shape, age and size. Secondly, it holds a special place in my heart since I got married in a Dirndl to my Bavarian husband seven years ago. Thirdly, I spent a decent amount of time researching and delving into its fascinating history, and feel it worthy of a good airing and finally, it is an introduction for anyone who is new to this dress and would love to know more!
At the end, there is a useful guide on how to pick the right Dirndl with tricks and tips on getting the best fit and finding your most flattering colour.
Dirndl and Lederhosen or Tracht
If the dirndl could get herself a plaque on the Hollywood hall of fame, I would press her bodice into the clay and make her famous, just for me!
This is a dedication to the Dirndl, a dress with a legacy going back 140 years. Having stood the test of time, the Dirndl is worn today by thousands of women across Bavaria, Austria, the Alps and beyond and has become a multi-million dollar industry.
Dirndl, a term for “young girl” and the name given to the dress, originated as a simplified form of a servant’s or maid’s dress and was made of plain colours or simple check, denoting regional and social background. Back then, the dirndl was coloured using vegetable dyes, giving it a much softer look than the colours we see today, which are richer and brighter. The dirndl was adopted by the upper echelons of society in the late 1800s, when it was fashionable to emulate the simple life of the peasants, and they were made in expensive, embroidered fabrics of velvet, silk, satin and fine cottons.
The two basic styles of the dress are Trachtendirndl, which consists of a blouse, tailored bodice, a full skirt and an apron and the Landhausmode (country house style), which is a dirndl-like dress and skirt that is more informal. You can still see women wearing this “softer” version, the landhausmode, on a daily basis.
The dirndl is still worn by many women for traditional and cultural events and at weddings, to show their regional pride. Lets face it, when you have an outfit that is so flattering, there won’t be many cries of “I’ve got nothing to wear!” The dirndl has a pride and pertinence to it lacking in the expensive and “samey” fashion labels on the market.
Our wedding day in England. September 2010
Where to see it
This years Oktoberfest Thanksgiving Day Parade in Munich is on the 17th September. It is still one of the best places to see every region of Bavaria’s Tracht, which are displayed throughout the festivities in spectacular style. Get there early to see the many variations and styles of these exquisitely embroidered dresses, bodices and aprons—often accessorized with hats, feathers, bust adorning roses, brightly coloured silk shawls, handcrafted jewellery, medallions and beads for the neck and waist.
The exquisite attention to detail in the costumes discloses regional, social and historic status. Farmers would often show their wealth by displaying it on their wives’ dirndl, and it was common for a woman to show her dowry in the same way.
My wedding Dirndl decorated with Edelweiss
Holz vor der Hütte
But what makes the dirndl so fine for our Frauleins? The secret, my friends, lies in the bodice. The upper part of the body being the main focal point of this dress and really the whole purpose! It’s cheeky I know, but Holz vor der Hütte literally means: a stack of wood in front of the hut. Thus, the Dirndl creates a natural platform for adornment and enhancement of this area. So get this part of the dress right and the rest will follow!
The dirndl is also in my hall of fame because it fits all shapes, sizes, heights and statures, ticking all the boxes for fit and flattery. It is the ultimate IT dress. If you are not blessed with a bountiful bosom, the dirndl will give you some Holz Vor der Hütte and if you are blessed, then be prepared for admirers who just can’t help themselves.
Underneath the bodice is a cotton blouse, cut just under the bust to avoid any excess material, cleverly veiling any excess flesh, perfect for older ladies who want to cover their upper arms. The blouses come in plain cotton for a few euros or several hundred for exotic versions in organza, linen, lace and crystal embroidery. The hochzeit or wedding Tracht really are something else!
Invites from our Bavarian/English wedding. Hand-cut paper by Alexandra Lukaschewitz
If you don’t have a Tracht (traditional costume) then it is high time you got one, after all millions of other non-natives don the costume every year and it is a great way of feeling part of the festival and getting acquainted with beer and pretzel in traditional dress!
Below are some tips for buying a dirndl. Even though some may seem obvious, you want to be happy with your choice. Despite the myths out there—Newsflash! —there are some women who actually don’t like shopping! It can be a minefield with many choices and little help and is not always as enjoyable as it should be. This should eliminate the complexity a bit, making it easier and more fun.
Tips on buying a dirndl
#1 Make sure the bodice fits you. Look for the same size as a fitted top you already own when trying it on. The bodice is the only part that needs to fit you well.
#2 When trying on your dirndl, always try on the blouse that goes underneath, even if it is not the one you want to get, and lace the bodice up. This will give you a true fit. It should be snug but not tight; you need room for dancing and saying, “Prost!”
#3 You can wear any length you want, but here’s a guide: There is mini, midi or full length. If you are a teenager, you can get away with wearing the mini dirndl. If you are older, wear the mid-length or the traditional long length. Either way, no one will be looking at your legs!
#4 There are many good second hand shops around, and with time, you can mix and match your own Dirndl by choosing from a huge selection of dresses, blouses and aprons. You can pick up a complete outfit for €100. Scores of Oktoberfest revellers return their dirndls to second-hand stores after the party is over, so there are plenty of bargains to be had.
#5 Here is a color guide to help you get the most out of your dirndl. It will help bring out the best in your natural coloring and features. Then just wait to collect the “oohs and ahhs” from friends and colleagues!
• If you are a redhead – Look for bronze and golden shades, burnt orange and reds.
• If you are blonde – Look for yellows, rose and brown, blues and golden shades.
• If you are brunette – Look for purples, reds, dark green, black and plum shades.
• If you have black hair – Look for black, purple, charcoal and royal blue.
• If you have grey hair – Look for cool (blue based) colors, preferably with some contrast, also grey, dark navy, teal and spruce, and keep makeup light and subtle.
#6 How you tie the apron bow on the dirndl indicates your marital status:
• If you are engaged or married – tie it on the right side.
• If you are young, free and single – tie it on the left side.
• If you are widowed – tie it at the back.
Have fun and enjoy wearing your dirndl. If you are one of those with the apron bow tied to the left, then get ready to take on your suitors!
For shops: Google ”Dirndl” and you will find dozens of shops across Germany and the world selling Tracht
Like a chef, I can’t imagine doing my work without a few key ingredients to hand.
For example, a successful colour analysis can’t be achieved without having a set of specially dyed fabrics. These tools, along with a keen eye and sense for the qualities in a person’s skin, eye and hair colour provide results that not only update an image, but can boost self confidence and esteem in both private life and in the work place.
To carry out a colour analysis or indeed any other image session, it is impossible to work without the key ingredient of them all. People.
Or is it?
Personally, the thought of working remotely even with today’s fast moving technology seems counter productive to what I do.
I love the privilege of working closely with people to create a result that very often, they say they wish they’d done years ago!
When it comes down to personal image, nothing is more personal, than actually talking about it.
With every new style session, an initial consultation is carried out to create a personally tailored map. Questions range from favourite colours and style challenges to discussing body shape. The information gathered is key to a successful outcome but should be handled with sensitivity and care.
Without exception, these questions can trigger various emotions and responses whether conciously, or not. Reactions can include anything from subtle eye movement to physical shifts in body language and changes in skin colour.
Without seeing someone in the flesh, It would be easy to miss out vital clues on how they are feeling as they are taken through the various stages of a personal image makeover to its final conclusion.
The thought then of conducting a style session over the phone and via Skype was the last thing on my mind, when I got an email to ask for just that.
Here I take up the challenge to see how it works!
*Freya is a primary school teacher in her mid-thirties and is returning to teaching after looking after two young children. She needs an updated wardrobe to go with her new post.
Freya suffers from a condition known as hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) and colours up easily around the neckline and facial area, so it was vital that her clothing is comfortable and not restrictive. This meant as much natural fibre as possible as well as carefully selected styles that were away away from problem areas like the neckline and underarm area.
Choosing the right styles would not only help Freya to look cool, but help her feel cool and also disguise the process happening in the first place.
Freya needed more choice in tops and blouses. Experience in on-line shopping meant she spent more time returning clothes than keeping them.
She needed clothing that was easy to move around in whilst working with groups of active young children.
She wanted her style to be casual, without trying too hard and a look that reflected her age.
With each phone session I created a list of the items she was looking for to fit around her budget, size, fabric and colour etc. This would include an image of the clothing, the brand, size and the best online site selling the item. All she had to do was order them and try them on!
I also created a fashion/mood board to give Freya a visual picture of what her new wardrobe would look like and sent her a colour booklet so she could go shopping and match up her best colours.
Conducting the style sessions over the phone, allowed me to concentrate on every detail of Freya’s goals without distraction. As well as listening, I was able to do considerable note taking. Great for in filling in any gaps. (this could be perceived as rude with someone in front of me)
Dealing with personal issues was easier than I thought, and Freya felt comfortable and confident enough to tell me everything that was necessary to establish a clear working trust between us. Again, I think the phone session helped, and acted as a ‘safety barrier’
I enjoyed the on-line session and I can say it works and offers a good substitute especially if you live too far from the city, decent shops or you don’t have time to shop. However, it won’t ever replace being present and working through often personal stages of an image consultation (which can be a lot of fun working together!) this to me results in a more valuable and without doubt, a far more personal service.
Testimonial from Freya
I initially approached Rachel on recommendations from two friends who had been extremely happy with the services she had provided. Our initial consultation was via telephone and I felt immediately at ease talking to Rachel as she is so warm, friendly and has a genuine desire to help. After each conversation we had, Rachel provided a detailed summary of what we had discussed and she included links to recommended sites/products which she felt fitted my needs.Overall Rachel and I had several conversations either via telephone or Skype and she addressed each and every concern of mine with multiple suggestions and detailed responses.
The end result is that I have a colour palette which is tailored to me and I have a new confidence in myself and the way I look leaving me feeling ready to start work again!
London is undoubtedly one of the best shopping capitals in the world. But with such a huge and varied choice on offer, it can be a jungle. So where do you begin?
At best, shopping can be overwhelming and even intimidating.How do you shop for things that echo your personal style, and leave you feeling confident and energised, not frustrated and exhausted?
I am creating a series of guided shopping trips for small groups of like minded people around London and will be your style coach, tour guide and personal shopper rolled into one! email@example.com or more information:
Remember that old cliche where women are supposed to love shopping while the men folk are dragged along only to drop into the nearest chair, uttering ‘Yes dear, it looks fine dear’ ‘But, don’t you have one like that already..dear?’ are thankfully (mostly) confined to the archives of 70’s sitcoms.
Despite the myth that Women are supposed to love shopping I know for a fact many don’t like it at all. Some I speak to even hate it!
Surveys in the UK suggest that up to 44% of women don’t like clothes shopping one bit. Apart from the usual issues such as finding the right size, not wanting to try on clothes, bad lighting and poorly placed mirrors. (all true) There can be an issue of too much choice (or lack thereof)
Having too much of a choice doesn’t sound like much of a problem considering world events, but having the confidence to know what looks right, and step out of the house feeling good about yourself can be an uphill struggle for those battling with issues in low self-esteem and confidence.
If you look good, you feel good. This has a positive effect on yourself as well as those around you and can affect for the better, every aspect of your life.
Shopping for men it has to be said, is far easier. By definition, their choice is narrower. For the corporate environment at least, they can choose between suit, pants, shirt, tie, jacket, sweater, shoes, man-bag and coat. Business dress for men is more relaxed than ever though, and lines can still get blurred. Successful dressing for men is down to the right tailoring, style, colour and cloth.
Shopping for women on the other hand, is a whole new ball game.
Although many of us can remember the carefree days of dressing up and experimenting with shopping in our youth.Having the responsibility of a young family, work, stress or illness can leave many women on the back foot regarding confidence, energy and the feel-good factor they once had.
With the continual care of others’, many mums tell me they are lucky to get even a brush through their hair before heading out the door on the school run. Let alone choose an outfit for the day!
One of the reasons shopping can be such a minefield for women today, is they can wear absolutely everything! From skirts, to shirts, dungarees to dinner jackets, catsuits to cufflinks. As well as every concievable colour, material and style in between.
We can cross borders without a fashion visa from feminine to masculine quicker than you can say The Devil Wears Prada.
With more choice comes more problems. Can I wear this length? Is this colour right for me? Does this make me look too young? What else will it go with? Am I trying too hard? All the hurdles, hoops and mental checks we go through before we buy something (and then to take it back) can be exhausting until we start the process of on-line shopping and find it just as fruitless.
Then there is the hair, makeup, nails, and general maintenance departments to keep the whole look rolling on.
After being lost in the ‘I’ve got nothing to wear’ maize for too long, and trying to put things right with well meaning relatives and friends, a style coach is often the only way out and onto a new path and direction.
As well as coming from a neutral and non-judgemental stand point, the role of a personal shopper is about matching an image to a personality and elevating a profile (whatever role in life) This allows you to get on with the job efficiently and successfully without thinking a second longer about the image you just worked at.
And the best part? Everyone will think it came from you.
To find out more about how a style coach can get you out of your maize, speak to Rachel for an initial consultation: +44 79890 77603 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you ever had one of those nightmares where you find yourself naked at a dinner party? Or wearing a clown outfit at a funeral? Self-consciousness, insecurity and embarrassment are such strong psychological forces that they regularly haunt our dreams.
But you can turn them around. Here’s my story.
Early on last year, I was booked to walk in a fashion show for a department store outside Munich. It was my first job for a new agency and also my first catwalk show in years.
As far as my runway CV went, mine was fairly thin. My experience – and comfort zone – lay more in fashion showrooms for wholesale fashion buyers, photographic work and modelling for TV shopping channels. Rather chillaxed, really, compared to hot footing it down the catwalk trying to keep cool and collected when really you’re sweating like a builder!
My catwalk debut was moons ago, circa 1985. The Top Shop store show in Plymouth was a culmination of a six week modeling and deportment course, oh yes. I walked out heavily buttoned and shoulder padded to a thumping version of ‘Mack the knife’, my hair was sprayed to high heaven and I was shaking from head to toe with nerves.
Then came wedding shows in freezing marquees amongst prize winning cows and bulls, Laura Ashley events in (far too many) brushed cotton floral dresses, and a couple of Liz Claiborne shows that had more twists and turns than the aforementioned clown with his pants on fire.
So, on that fatal winter’s day last year, I pulled on my grey wool dress, extreme thermal tights and five inch red sheepskin wedges to meet a couple of models I was going to be working with, at the local train station.
I spotted the girls immediately (and not only because they were the only ones up at 6am on a Saturday morning). They were tall. Really tall. Standing in their ballet flats, they came to the same height as me in my super wedges.
Something felt immediately wrong, but I let it pass in my early morning stupor. On arrival at the store, I met the remaining models (including two friendly and exuberant males). They greeted each other in high fives and air kisses, and politely said hello to me. It was clear that they had previously worked together and were furiously catching up.
Brilliant, all of them were the same towering height. Almost a head taller than me, way over six foot (1.90 metres). And insult to injury, the girls were one or two dress sizes smaller than me. Taller and smaller! Just my day.
I felt I had been set up (like Channel 4’s ‘Faking It’ series) where they take a wrestler and train them up to be a ballet dancer to compete in a final showdown. Judges get to decide who the fake is. Sometimes they guess, but often they don’t. But there’s no faking height and size in a live show. All I had was my ability to walk, smile and show the clothing to the best effect.
Looking up at the high domed ceiling of the department store, I willed anyone to hoist me up and out of the building. To that effect, I even rung my husband but he was busy. So I was stuck with five fashion shows and model colleagues twenty years younger.
One of the girls I travelled with, became my partner. We practiced to be in sync with one another (as much as I could with her longer stride) and created a series of routines, turns and walks that we could remember.
It was then that the woman in charge caught my eye, and saw the discrepancy of choice in her new model. I felt like a pink pig trying to learn synchronized swimming in a sea of long limbed flamingos.
Rather than pretend NOT to see what was happening, I walked straight up to the boss.
‘Well, its obvious isn’t it?’ she said, crossly pointing at me up and down with her finger. ‘You are clearly not the height you said you were. You’re going to knock my whole show out. Everyone looks the same, EXCEPT YOU’, she bitched loudly.
I went on to explain that, perhaps, there must have been some kind of mix up in the measurement conversions, even though she had already seen me in person. Smiling hard, I promised her that she wouldn’t be disappointed, which she already was, obviously.
We got ready in our first outfits, but to make things more challenging, we didn’t walk out onto a level catwalk, common in most shows but immediately down two steep flights of stairs onto the department floor. My calf muscles were like steel by the time we finished!
I kept in time with the music, twirling to our memorized routine. I also kept telling myself: keep smiling, keep walking, don’t look down and please, please don’t fall on your pink pig arse! Fortunately, I completed the shows without a hitch.
In the last show, I was calm enough to take a look at the largely female audience. How on earth would these women in the audience wear the clothes and styles on models with a dress size eight and the height of Olympic athletes?
It was an abruptly absurd and exhilaratingly comical vision. The models were definitely Haute Couture, the clientele, of course, were just your average women, somewhere between a height of 5 feet 4 (1.65 metres) and a dress size 14 (42). Don’t get me wrong, that’s exactly as it should be!
My main job as a style coach is to help create and refresh a personal image of an individual person, who, in all likelihood, is not a supermodel. To do this with lasting results, things must be done in an authentic way. A successful image transformation not only has to fit to the personality, character (and comfort zone) of the person but should highlight the best of their body shape and unique features regardless of age, shape or size.
I couldn’t see how a catwalk show like this could carry this important message across. It looked manipulative to say the least.
I thought of the customers trying on the clothes after the shows, and wondered if they thought they could look like the models once they bought the clothes. I also wondered, how many were disappointed with their reflection and walked away empty handed and dejected.
As I made my way back to Munich I thought of my sometimes conflicting jobs as style coach and model. One creates and improves an image of reality, of what we do look like. The other participates in creating an illusion of what people think they should look like.
By now, I know which aspect I prefer. I hope you do too.
Looking in front of a mirror can be an uncomfortable prospect for some. It can leave us feeling exposed and revealed for longer than we feel comfortable.
If this is you then a couple of hours of in front of one, will most likely not be on your bucket list!
Recently, a good friend of mine asked me to give her mum who was visiting from the UK a session of colour analysis and makeup.
I had already met Marie on previous visits and I knew she felt a little apprehensive about getting her colours done. It was more so with the make-up as she wore very little, and had a tendency to hide behind her fringe.
As it turned out, Marie enjoyed her sessions enough to inspire me to create this post!
Having explained the colour analysis. (I use the tonal method) Marie became rapidly absorbed in the process. We discovered a palette of colours that flattered her complexion. Those that picked out her blue eyes and ones that added warmth to the tones in her hair. The mirror became an accessory (not the enemy) and guided her to new possibilities until she started to think about what she had in her wardrobe.
Photographs & Styling-Rachel Moss
Marie’s shopping habits were based around price and colour. If you get use out of what you buy (no matter what) then the job is done. If however, you rack up a wardrobe of unworn items with the tags still hanging off and things you can’t return. the experience is not only lost, but becomes a costly habit that only tends to repeat itself.
Marie seldom wore her sale items but didn’t always know why. Her instinct was already giving her the answer- Use it next time you go shopping and if nothing else, think about how things can fit in with the rest of your wardrobe.
When it comes to colour, don’t just look at the colour, but take in the whole of your image. hold the colour next to your face and see what it does to your hair, skin and eyes.The right colour can enhance your natural colouring, lift your complexion and energize you in many ways.
”make-up should be a part of you, not apart from you!”
Women often tell me they would like to know how to use makeup but don’t know where to begin so they default back to the no- makeup look!
This section covers what I did for Marie who wanted a natural look. Please get in touch if you want to know how colour and makeup can help you.
Like the best clothing and colours, makeup should enhance your natural features and colouring. Ideally and in all cases, you should not see the makeup before the person or be staring quizzically into their face wondering what on earth they have done to their eyebrows!
There should be a harmony in the makeup you apply and the look you want to achieve. At best, makeup allows you to feel in control, confident, beautiful, empowered and sexy. It is a tool that if you know how to use, can make a difference to the way you feel and the way you are perceived.
At worst, it can be distracting, ageing, confusing (and sometimes unintentionally, funny) It can also send out negative signals.
Marie’s skin type was a combination of an oily T-zone (nose, chin and forehead) and normal. She had open pores and a reddish complexion.
Before applying foundation, I had to take the redness down on her skin. Avene Antirougeurs Jour is a hydrating emulsion that helps reduce redness and the sensation of heat on the skin. It also contains a small amount of green pigment to help diffuse any redness. It is light to wear and contains an SPF 20.
For the foundation, I mixed a combination of two colours together to get the right shade. (Estee Lauder’s Fresco and Mac’s face and body foundation in C7) I Worked with a combination of brush and sponge to create a smooth finish and blend around the corners of her nose and mouth, making sure there were no hard lines.
The smooth foundation and even base really set the stage for Marie’s beautiful blue eyes to stand out!
3. Marie’s eyelashes and eyebrows were naturally dark but she was losing colour and definition. I used a sculpting eyebrow pencil by Chanel (colour 60) to fill in the gaps with light feathery strokes. This gave natural definition framing her eyes and face.
4. I filled in the eye area with a stone shadow from Mac and a soft highligher just beneath the brow bone and applied some mascara.
5. Having created an even skin tone, I needed to put some colour back into her face. With a large blusher brush I used Mac’s (Melba) powder blush gently dusting it on the apple of her cheeks to add a warm glow.
I will finish the post by including an extract of the testimonial Marie wrote after her sessions. It’s something to remember that everyone one of us has the ability to inspire others’ regardless of age, shape, sex or size. Making the most of what we have got, rather than what we don’t is one of the best places to start!
”I felt like a new woman and couldn’t stop smiling all day. My daughter commented on how natural the make-up was and how great I looked. I would highly recommend the experience to my friends because it has really improved my confidence and made me feel so much happier in myself. I might be in my Sixties, but I still feel 25 inside and I don’t want to be invisible! ”
It seems that you can’t mention the word beauty these days, without protest and outrage. Women it seems are fed up with being told what to look like. Especially on being beautiful.
Below is the recent Dove campaign: Patches. You will carve out your own opinion for sure. On the whole though, it seems to have drawn more annoyance than praise.
‘‘I want Dove to stop capitalizing on the insecurities of women and using it as a marketing tactic’’ and ‘‘Stop telling me that I need to feel beautiful because I do not’’ read some comments including those who dislike the trickster way in which the film was made.
Without exception, the Women who have inspired me over the years have all had one important thing in common. They are all comfortable in their own skin. Regardless of shape age or size, they have an innner confidence and self-acceptance that cannot be ignored (or acted out) and one which positively effects not only themselves, but those of the lives around them.
One of these Women inspired me to create a presentation called ”Bringing out the Goddess in you” which follows my journey as a model in London to setting up my style consultancy business in 2006. I met my Goddess while working at an event in London. A tall lady with a full rubenesque figure wearing a deep magenta bustier and long fishtail skirt. She stood out like a Valkyrie in a Wagner opera. I took a moment to step ahead of her to tell her just how fantastic she looked.
She thanked me with a beaming smile, looked me straight in the eye and with one hand over mine, said quietly and confidently. ”I KNOW”
In accepting my compliment, she acknowledged this and I havent forgotten her for it.
As the women said in Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches. ‘We spend alot of time as women analysing and trying to fix the things that aren’t quite right, when we should spend time appreciating the things that we do like’
Beauty and whatever you perceive it to be, is not only in the eye of the beholder, it is in the eye of the holder.
Take a look around and see if you can spot a Goddess in the crowd. They will not be rushing out to buy the latest beauty product in pursuit of happiness.