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!

 

 

 

 

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)

 

material

 

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.

collagevistaman1

 

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.

IMG_7789
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

gift

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!

20141011-13(watermarked)

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.

image003

 

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.

 

20141011-14(watermarked)

 

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!

If Clothes Could Talk!

If Clothes Could Talk-What Would They Say About You?

Along with physical fitness and health, what we wear, has the ability to impact and change the way we feel about ourselves

How we feel about ourselves (regardless of age, shape and size) can affect not only our moods but also alter our thought processes. It can shape our body language, facial expressions as well as the way we walk, talk, move and breathe.

Used effectively, clothing has the power to communicate and change the personal and professional attention we get and how others react to us.In a positive way or a negative one.

Developing your own style, rather than copying others’ allows you to put a unique stamp on your personality, add authenticity and help to express who you are, from the inside,out.

If you have become lost in a wardrobe of clothes that no longer fit and make you feel good or are hanging onto a look that is twenty years (too) old, then consider these tips when looking for a new style.

You are unique!

In order to bring about change, it is important to be aware of the things that make you the unique person you are. Everyone has something special about them!

Listing the positive physical aspects of ourselves, is not something we do everyday, but in order to find a style that fits your personality, increases your self-confidence and makes you an original, it is an important exercise.

Write down three things you most like about your personal appearance. Think about all the positive things family and friends have said about you (repeatedly) Is it your hair, skin, eyes or smile. Your toned arms, slim legs, small waist, height or posture?

www.rachel-moss.com

Highlight

What do you do to highlight these unique qualities?

Do you wear colours that flatter your pale skin and bring out the blue in your eyes, halter neck tops that highlight your toned arms, wrap dresses to emphasise your hour glass figure, belts or high-waisted skirts to show off your waist, or shorts and skinny jeans with heels to accent your legs

Choice

The choice when it comes to clothes shopping is huge and overwhelming. It is why people call on the services of a personal shopper in order to help edit these choices. The sessions are intensive style workouts designed to get rid of bad habits while keeping the focus on what works for you, your body shape, budget and lifestyle.

Choosing the right cut, colour, fabric, pattern and accessories goes a long way to creating a style that not only fits with your bodyshape, but also your character and personality.

For example, clothes in a monochrome pallette can give the illusion of height and create a more streamlined look, bold patterns and colour distract the eye away from the body parts that we would prefer to disguise. Using accessories can turn an outfit from a flop into fabulous in seconds!

Style Personality

Dramatic Classic Vintage Bohemian Sporty Natural

There are many style categories to choose from and you can always add more! But think about which one of these you are most drawn to. It could be you are a mixture between two. Some looks will take more effort to keep going than others, so think about how they could fit in with your lifestyle. At the end of the day, your style should appear effortless and be a part of you, not apart from you!

Take a look at Pinterest for images relating to the styles you like and see what you already have in your closet that could start off your new look!

For further information on how any of my style sessions can help you turn a style corner, please feel free to get in touch by phone or email!


‘‘The best money I’ve ever invested!”

Take a look at an excerpt of actor John Pirkis’s blog: Diary of a Failed actor- John highlights how his experience with me on a style and personal shopping trip gives him confidence and direction in both his personal and working life.

Do you want to see how a shopping trip can make you feel on top of the world?

Get in touch for a consultation: rachel@rachel-moss.com


The Sixties

This is a sixties post with a musical flavour, so press play on the video for maximum effect!

Style In the fifties, sixties and seventies was clearly defined by tailoring, shape, colour, hair, makeup and of course music. Today fashion feels more like a mash-up of everything together. We see the same styles repeated season after season on a variation of themes with continual throwbacks to these eras.

I was born toward the end of the sixties and although I didn’t get a chance to do the twist, I bought into the era with music. My first Lp was Twist and Shout by the Beatles. The famous four in their narrow fitting suits, beatle boots, mop-tops, skinny ties and lots of attitude! This live recording from London’s Prince of Wales theatre in 1964 conjures up so much about the spirit of the time.

Before school, I squeezed in time to watch Mum getting ready. Fascinated as she painted black liner on her upper lids and ‘false’ eyelashes onto the lower with a cake eyeliner. Her mass of hair piled high on top and secured with velvet ribbon. Eyes and hair were all that mattered in the sixties.That and alot of leg! I didn’t think much of it at the time, but looking back at photos I realized there were quite some cheeky numbers in my Mums closet which my sister and I were more than happy to recycle in the years to follow!

Despite living in the sleepy hollow of rural Devon in England, Mum would head to London once a year and stock up on a few pieces. Many of which she still has. It was the era of Biba, Mary Quant, Ozzie Clark and Celia Birtwell. It was an incredible time for design and fashion and the influence continues today.

Primary school sports day was always quite memorable.On one occasion, Mum wore suede side-laced hot pants, a matching midriff tassled top and white patent knee high boots. Dad was in a purple shirt,pants and a brown tie embroidered with bees and butterflies. They accessorized all their outfits with my Dad’s love of American cars.

Whether the judges were distracted, or we were just really good. My sister and I collected our red rosettes as we won the egg-and-spoon race and the two legged race year after year!mumMum in one of her more sober outfits!

mumtwinsWigs were also big accessories in the sixties and seventies. Our dresses were from Kids in Gear, Carnaby Street, London.