Every season, we see a slew of trends come and go. This year, for example, saw an influx of puffy sleeves and the resurgence of polkadots, as highlighted by Elle Magazine. Fashion is a cycle, after all, and you can always expect future reinventions to draw from past favourites.
However, any style enthusiast knows that you need your essentials to anchor down your looks, no matter which direction the fashion world goes. Having a solid wardrobe foundation also allows for seamless mixing and matching, making it easy to incorporate new styles without going overboard. This means having classic pieces that have stood the test of time, and are always worth a spot in your closet.
Every woman needs a classic white shirt in her wardrobe. It’s probably the most versatile item one can ever buy. Let it stand out on its own for an effortlessly stylish look, or throw a jacket over it for a more put-together ensemble. If you’d like a less casual option, go for one in a silk material.
Denim jeans come in a plethora of different cuts and designs, from flared and skinny, to cropped and high-waist. Choose one that flatters your body type and will instantly give your bottoms a boost. Pair with a dressy top, blazer, or heels for an elevated yet still casual outfit.
A good quality cashmere sweater isn’t cheap, but it’s an investment every woman must make. Ideal for those in-between days when it’s not too hot nor too cold, this knit top can smarten up nearly every outfit. Wear it loose and balance it out with tighter bottoms — like skinny jeans or a body-hugging pencil skirt — to channel your inner Parisienne.
If a denim jacket is your must-have piece in your teens, a blazer is the one you graduate to as you hit your later years. This boardroom chic staple is actually much easier to style than one might think. You can mix and match it with your favourite jeans-and-shirt get-up, or wear over a flowy dress if you’re feeling a little bit “New York Fashion Week.”Oversized double-breasted styles may be all the rage, but if you’ve got problem areas (like your tummy) that you want to conceal, you may want to opt for one with waterfall detailing for a slimming effect.
A button-down shirt is ageless and looks good on absolutely anyone, but the luxury of silk allows for a relaxed yet dapper fit. Pretty Me suggests getting a tailored fit to add a flair of elegance to this basic staple. You can then choose whether to dress it up or down. Wear it with simple black trousers for corporate chic, or loose and untucked with shorts for your downtown afternoon stroll.
A pencil skirt is a non-negotiable garment to have and can be worn in many ways. Some women think that it only flatters tall women, but that’s not exactly true — especially with the right styling. Dress it down with sneakers when hitting the movies, or pair your skirt with heels for an important business meeting.
Post solely for the use of rachel-moss.com Contributed by Althea Courtney
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!
www.rachel-moss.com Tel +44 (0) 79890 77603 email@example.com
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
It doesn’t take a deep pocket to look expensive. In fact, the opposite is true! If you want to look more chic, then adhere to a few simple rules and you can’t go wrong!
Stay away from frills and patterns and look out for silhouettes with clean tailoring. Stick to monochrome colours like grey, navy or black and add accessories in chunky jewellery, hats and scarves. If you want to know more, then get in touch for aWARDROBE consultation and find out how you can streamline your wardrobe for a new look!
Leather Jacket- It doesn’t matter what age you are, working a black leather jacket (or look-a-like) into your wardrobe will always look good,considered and expensive! Wear with jeans, skirts and dresses for a chic, dressed up or down look!
Black- Black is always chic from the classic LBD to a fitted jacket and pencil skirt. Black acts as a perfect foundation for accessories. So have a rummage in flea markets and fairs for costume jewellery and old silk scarves and see how they make your black pieces pop!
Fabric- Choosing quality fabrics like cotton, cashmere, silk and linen can make your outfits look and feel expensive. Wait until the sales if your budget is tight, to buy into this look and buy the best quality cashmere you can afford.
Monochrome- Wearing an outfit all one colour, or shades of a similar palette always look timeless. So choose pieces with less pattern, fuss and frill if you want to streamline your wardrobe.
Accessorize- Hats and gloves are a great way to bring a dull outfit alive and make your style more interesting. Find hats that are the right size and style for your head and face shape. They should balance your overall look. Felt hats and leather gloves are best bought in the sales when they are at their lowest prices.
Shoes- A pair of ballet flats,(with a small heel) a pair of nude courts and a pair of tan boots with a block heel are a great way to start off your classic collection. These three will take you a long way when it comes to dressing up or down but still looking chic in your outfit choices.
I recently met up for breakfast with my brother in my home town of Okehampton, West Devon. We met in The White Hart hotel, a 17th century coaching inn, now converted into a J D Wetherspoon pub and hotel.
The buildings history is tastefully honoured with a decent collection of nostalgic photos and paintings including the town and surrounding area. We were trying to pinpoint the year of a particular black and white street scene of Okehampton when I saw a lady in the foreground of the picture.
She was wearing a white buttoned up three quarter length dress, a neat collar and short capped sleeves with a fitted waist and a pattern around the hem. A pair of cream courts, a matching bag and her hair was styled in a neat flipped bob.
I shouted out ‘‘It’s the 60’s’’ like a crazed pub quizzer.
And then we saw the date. 1960.
What struck me, is that it took a dress and a particular time in fashion to pinpoint the age of the photo. Not from looking at the cars, buses or buildings, but a simple cotton dress.
Whether you were born during these times or not, most of us recognise something from the fashion eras of the 1940’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s and many of us will have a favourite style from those times. Any one of these eras is always a great excuse for a fancy-dress party too!
The styles of these times stood out not only for their individuality, but were clear signposts and maps to what was happening socially and politically in the country and around the world.
The wartime rationing of food and clothing in the 1940’s literally forced fashion into slimmer silhouettes using cheaper and less material. Tights and stockings would be a thing of the past as women learnt to ‘draw’ on their back seams or go without.
This all changed with the end of war in 1947. Christian Dior showed 90 creations to an audience in Paris. The skirts and dresses used huge amounts of material with equal quantities of netting underneath. It was the famous Bar jacket and full pleated skirt that epitomised what was coined The New Look. It marked the end of rationing and the doom and gloom of war and gave way to a booming time in fashion as well as in dance and music.
Fashion nowadays is a massed produced affair and there are few ‘stand-out’ moments when a new fashion season comes around and lets face it, there are only so many ways you can design another cotton t-shirt.
With charity shops in almost every town and city in the UK, it is not hard to pick up a bargain and a a complete outfit while supporting a charity or two and you will often find original pieces from way-back-when.
On top of that, you are helping to recycle the burgeoning clothes mountain we already have.
Would you like a new look?
Are you are overwhelmed or lost in the fashion jungle? Then get in touch with me today and find out how you can update your style, wardrobe and image in three easy steps!
Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and stylish 2018!
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
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.
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?
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
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!
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!
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: email@example.com
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!Mum in one of her more sober outfits!
Wigs were also big accessories in the sixties and seventies. Our dresses were from Kids in Gear, Carnaby Street, London.