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?

buslondon

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:


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!

Love The Skin You Are In?

Acceptance: The process or fact of being received as adequate, valid or suitable


Image courtesy of Lia Edwards

‘Before you can think about having style, you have to learn to look in the mirror and like what you see’ Issac Mizrahi

Aside from style, It is true of anyone who finds it difficult coming to terms with the way they look regardless of age shape or size.

Size is personal, but It is how you feel about yourself that matters and that can make the difference whether you are noticed in a positive way or a negative one.

This was beautifully highlighted at an evening event I was at in London recently. A tall lady with a full rubenesque figure passed me wearing a fitted bustier and a long fitted fishtail skirt. I stepped ahead of her briefly to tell her how fabulous she looked; She looked me straight in the eye and with a beaming smile thanked me confidently and said ”I know”
Everything about her eminated vitality and warmth and In accepting my compliment, she acknowledged this-I havent forgotten her for it

It is not only the way we look or dress that can inspire others but by accepting ourselves as a whole and maximising on the potential we can create a powerful force to our lives and of those around us.

Confidence, positivity, humour and kindness draw us to most people, but it is these qualities that are often overlooked in the race for physical perfection

The media make it their business to promote an impossible ‘ideal’ of what women should look like, not what they do and that our self worth is not measured by character, achievements or intelligence but by body size and shape.

It is estimated we spend 3 billion Euros annually on diets alone and research dictates we only stay on a regime for a certain amount of time before moving on to the next in the hope it brings the desired result.
With  83% of non verbal communication being visual and daily reminders through aggressive advertising and marketing it is no wonder those with low self esteem succumb to the pressure of looking good, rather than remembering more important, positive aspects of themselves.

‘If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
 for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself’
Desiderata – Max Ehrmann 1927

LOVE YOURSELF
I’m not talking about entering a beauty pageant but simply learning to ‘like’ what you see in the mirror.
Think about the things that set you apart and make you the unique individual you are; whether it is expressive eyes, clear skin, a great sense of humour or a beautiful speaking voice.
Having good health and being fit enough for your favourite sports and activities is something that can be taken for granted but they are all reasons to love what you have and what your body can do for you.
Celebrate your successes as well as your failures no matter how big or small. These experiences allow us to develop into stronger, happier individuals and in turn help others.

CHECK YOU OUT!
Make sure it is not your husband, boyfriend or your past that dresses you!
If you‘ve come home excited with a new outfit and the other half doesn’t like it, too bad! If something makes you feel good, then wear it.
Learning to develop and trust your personal style is an important step to higher self esteem, so start practicing to make perfect!

WALKING TALL
Good posture costs nothing more than a little concious effort;
Standing tall and walking upright helps to elgonate the body giving it a more streamline appearance whilst making your clothes look even better.
Good posture gives an impression of confidence and competence.
If you are tall, enjoy your height and don’t compensate for it by stooping or hiding it. If you are shorter, standing tall and having good posture will emphasise your stature. wearing hats is one way of adding stylish height to your frame!

HIGH HEELS
High heels  can give an outfit an air of authority and sex appeal.
But If you are going down the heel route, make sure you choose a height you can walk in without stooping or stumbling as nothing looks worse than a ‘learner driver’!
Heels by their very nature require a deliberate walking style-they are not Uggs!
If you can, always try shoes on in the first part of the day before the feet are likely to swell up from the days activities which will give you true fit.

HAIR TODAY GONE TOMORROW!
One of the most effective changes men and women can make to their appearance is with their hair.
A new cut, colour or even growing it longer can make a difference to the overall appearance. Hair can add volume to a face or create a slimming effect depending on how its cut.
Look through magazines for a similar face shape to yours and take it to a reputable salon to see what they can do for you.
If you don’t like it, It will always grow back!

EYEBROWS
Eyebrows frame the eyes and give your face its overall expression.
Getting your eyebrows shaped is a great way to open up the eye area and give yourself a more updated look.
If you are doing it yourself, pluck the hair from under the brow and make sure you do not over pluck!
There are eyebrow bars in most good department stores. I have tried threading and found it the best method.

 

All work copyright of Rachel Moss. Please do not use without prior permission