Last week on my Facebook page I wrote a status, from the heart about how I cried in Bluewater when I was trying to buy some clothes and had a major crisis of confidence. Sounds a bit pathetic doesn’t it? Maybe. But maybe not.
Unexpectedly my status clearly touched on something very real because over 60 lovely women replied sharing their similar experiences – lacking confidence after having a baby, lacking confidence in general and nothing to do with babies … there was a common theme.
I think women are AMAZING – but we don’t celebrate us enough.
We are our own worst critics.
But we SHOULD be celebrating and supporting each other with advice and through shared experiences.
So I’ve decided to start a new monthly series on my blog called ‘YOU’RE AMAZING’ because you are!
I want to share tips about stuff that affects all of us as women – from women who are actually qualified to help (i.e not me!)
In light of the recent discussion about struggling with style on my page – this month I’ve enlisted the help of Kent-based stylist, personal shopper and altogether lovely lady – Lynne Meek from Styling Matters
I met Lynne a few years ago at a charity fashion show and not only does she have ALL the style going on but she’s a genuinely lovely lady who just gets it.
So here are some incredibly helpful, real and useable top style tips from Lynne – because you’re amazing. (And please don’t forget it).
1. Don’t be so hard on yourself! Our expectations of ourselves as women and mothers and how we should look are at an all time and unrealistic high. Just remember, women in the media don’t really look like the photos, they are airbrushed up to the max and they have staff! If you’ve had children or are getting older your body will change, that’s only natural. When I’m working with a client I just see the beautiful woman standing in front of me. It’s all about perspective.
2. The shops have a huge amount of clothes in them, and this can be totally overwhelming. The best tip I can give you is to know as much as you can about yourself. If you find this really difficult, personal stylists can be worth their weight in gold. To understand what colours, shapes and styles suit you will mean you can go into a shop in future and focus on the few things in there that are really you. You won’t be overwhelmed with choice as you’ll have learnt what to look for and what to avoid. In a few hours you should learn enough to stay with you for life and it will save you a fortune in buying the wrong things in future.
Some Shopping Rules – don’t go shopping in a rush.
Never buy in desperation
3. If a personal stylist isn’t for you, listen to the comments you get from your partner, friends, children and family about items of clothing you wear. You’ll pick up on the shapes, styles and colours that really suit you as you’ll get the most positive comments. Partners and children can be brutally honest about clothing choices, but they are generally pretty good judges as they are looking objectively and not emotionally. Make sure you have a full length mirror in a well lit part of your home and spend time trying things on and really looking at yourself from all angles.
4. Concentrate on building a capsule wardrobe of pieces that are easy, practical, and all work together. Chose a dark neutral colour for your colouring (black, navy or dark grey for instance) and a good light neutral (white, cream, light grey, beige). Buy your most important items like coats, jackets, jeans, trousers, footwear and handbags in your favourite neutral colours. You can then add pops of your favourite seasonal colours for tops and knits. If you can build a small capsule collection in a handful of your best colours (say for example navy, ivory, coral, denim blue, grey and teal) you’ll have an infinite number of outfits, as everything will go with everything. Get a few great accessories – a scarf in your best colour, a cool necklace or bracelet – and it will finish off your outfit brilliantly.
5. Some Shopping Rules – Don’t go shopping in a rush. Never buy in desperation. Don’t buy something just because it’s a bargain. Always try things on (and definitely before the 30 day refund period is up!). Only buy it if the colour looks great on you and it flatters your shape. Buy fewer things, but better quality. Ask yourself if you really love it and if it goes with at least three key things in your wardrobe. If you buy on-line be ruthless and only keep the great successes. Send everything else that makes you look or feel bad back to the retailer!
6. Try not to wear clothes to hide in. It’s easily done and I see it a lot. Buy clothes that fit you right now and have stretch for comfort. I promise you’ll look better in fitted clothes with stretch, than you will in something large and shapeless. For a slimming look, go for a dark fitted pair of slim fit jeans with a good level of stretch and a higher waist. If your tummy isn’t your strong point, wear a looser top with fitted arms, a lower neck and a bit of shaping at the sides (from the armpit to rib cage). It will give you shape without having to wear anything tight over your tummy area.
This is a message for mums. I’ve been there and I know how hard it is.
Don’t beat yourself up for not looking like Claudia Schiffer.
There will be days when even getting out of your PJ’s is a triumph.
7. I have done hundreds of wardrobe edits, and a lot of people assume there is little worthwhile in their wardrobes. I have never found this is the case! There are always some hidden gems, but what is very common is that they are lost in a sea of other clothes that don’t fit, are worn out, have been given as they are someone else’s mistakes, are old fashioned, or are unflattering colours or shapes. By having a good old clear out of undesirables from your wardrobe, your hero pieces will shine.
8. Fabric technology has come on leaps and bounds in the past few years and I really notice this when I see a mix of old and new clothing in people’s wardrobes. Your clothes should feel soft and comfortable, wash easily and have built in stretch. This is great news for mums, working women and all age groups. It also means that you don’t have to wear clothes that are wide, square or shapeless any more.
9. This is a message for mums – I’ve been there and I know how hard it is. Don’t beat yourself up for not looking like Claudia Schiffer. There will be days when even getting out of your PJ’s is a triumph. Motherhood can be a wonderful time in your life, but you’re going to be knackered and have very little time for yourselves. You’ll be so focussed on motherhood and everything else going on in your life that you and how you look will be right down the bottom of the list. Don’t be proud, ask for help. Factor in some me time. And remember to look after yourself. You’re important!
10. And lastly (again) don’t be so hard on yourself! Other people really don’t notice all the things we agonise over about ourselves. They notice our eyes and our mouths far more. So wear a top or a scarf in your ‘wow’ colour, and smile your best smile and you won’t go far wrong!
(I would love suggestions of what YOU’D like to see in this series – please leave me a comment and thanks for reading)