The bottom half. If you carry your fat at the top of your hips, as I do, rather than around your thighs, you are likely to suit a dress which hangs straight. (Image 1. Me in a straight skirt) If you carry more weight around your thighs (rather than the top of your hips) you will suit an A-line or flared shape skirt. Wolf & Badger (London), a company which sells clothes from independent retailers, have a great selection of wrap, waisted and flared Summer dresses to choose from. Here is one showing how the flared shape will follow the natural line of your body.
One of the most stylish ladies I have known is an apple shape (she is petite and her waist is as big or bigger than her bust). Her secret has been to wear dresses gathered from the top, with and open V or scoop neck and bring interest near her face with necklaces, earrings and scarves. Here is another beauty from Wolf & Badger which will suit you.
You need a slender neck to wear a dress with a high neck. The longer the better - the neck, not the dress! (Think Laura Kuehnsberg). The coral coloured Whistles dress (Image 3 below) can be buttoned up for swans and opened up a button or two if your neck is short.
Can you wear a midi or long dress? If you are a long, tall Sally, no problem. You can even team this beautiful Pazuki dress (also available from Sheen Uncovered and Ruby Blue) with trainers. A word of warning though! I am 5'5" and I definitely need heels to rock a midi. In flat shoes I just look dowdy. Petites will look better in shorter dresses. The sweet spot for dress lengths is where your leg goes in to its own bone - often just below the knee.
What is your view of sleeves? Although reasonably fit, I do not want to wear sleeveless dresses on account of elephant's backside armpits. 3/4 length sleeves rather than full length give the effect of longer legs but when it gets really hot you may not even want that. More and more dresses now seem to offer that bit of coverage while allowing air circulation! Here are two: A silk wrap Primrose Park dress (below) from Sheen Uncovered and Ruby Blue and chic linen straight number from Jigsaw
Revolutionary times! I went to the “Museum of Brands” in North Kensington to see a Fashion Revolution Week event called Ethical Brands for Fashion Revolution 2019. It was exciting and inspiring to see so many companies committed to offering quality, stylish garments while still saving the planet. They were lovely people too! Things have moved a long way from needing to look as if you have joined the Amish just because you care where your clothes have come from.. See for example, www.bellesoflondon.com for office and partywear! They know who creates every stitch in every garment! Read more about some of the other brands who were exhibiting here including bespoke men’s shirts from Masato London beautiful children’s clothes , ingenious recycled Sari dresses , gorgeous upcycled jewellery from Readorn, blissfully comfortable underwear from You , a company also committed to giving underwear to girls who have none through Smalls for All and all sorts of jewellery, textiles and ponchos from Jewelled Buddha to name but only a few!
What they all had in common was an attention to sourcing of the raw materials both from a sustainable-to-the-planet point of view and to treating well the people who make the finished products. It feels good to buy with a clear conscience! Below are a couple of snaps from the event - the sari dress and a shirt from Masato..
3 Tips for older faces using “Look Fabulous Forever” makeup.
The model Cindy Joseph who certainly waved the flag for beauty in older women, only breaking through in her modelling career when she was nearly 50, advocated minimal makeup on mature faces. She proposed wearing lipstick the colour of your gums, allowing lost eyebrows to stay lost and no eyeshadow or anything more than tinted moisturizer on your skin. I couldn’t disagree more. If I did what she suggests I would look pale and “rubbed out”. I can see how Cindy Joseph’s observation worked for her – an extremely pretty lady with beautiful bone structure and very light in colour but I have now given countless women makeovers both here and at the Look Fabulous Forever shop in Wimbledon and, although a very few can look good with almost no makeup, most look greatly enhanced with quality makeup in subtle, appropriate colours carefully applied. The overall effect is that they look WELL!
I love the magic that makeup brings to my face and the way it increases my confidence. I don’t apply it in the same way I did when I was young. Here are three tips for older faces which I hope you will find helpful.
Do you, like me, find that bright lipstick suits you and adds sparkle to your look but your lipstick “bleeds”? Look Fabulous Forever lip prime applied round the edge of your lips keeps your lipstick in place. Watch the video here
Eyebrows frame your face and if you have over-plucked in the past or your eyebrows have become bitty or lost colour, “Bring back Brow Shape” really works. Surprisingly one colour works for everyone. If your colouring is light, make sure you wipe some product before you make the little feather strokes. Darker? You can lay it on a little thicker. It takes a bit of practice but once you know what you are doing it is quick, easy and will stay all day. Watch the video here.
Make the most of your eyelashes. As you probably know by now I am a fan of Rapidlash eyelash serum (available in Boots). It has restored my eyelashes which were getting rather thin. It takes about a month to notice the difference. If, like me, you have softer colouring and black mascara is too harsh, try brown and just use some black on the tips.
If you would like some help with applying your makeup, email me to book a lesson or a makeover. Contact me on 07932 599210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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I laughed this morning because I remembered that one of my inspirations for becoming interested in style was fear. I wanted to avoid slipping into the colour beige and into elasticated trousers in my, er, mature years. What am I wearing today and indeed much of the time? You’ve guessed it! Elasticated trousers! I have to say, in their defence, though, the ones I wear are rather different from the crimplene monstrosities I had so feared.
Luckily it is possible now to go for the comfort of “stretch” whilst not abandoning a smart look.
For some years now I have been recommending Robell trousers. It is a German brand and their model “Marie” seems to work for all shapes and sizes. Petites can wear ¾ length. They are pull-on, come in many colours and they do fleece lined for the winter months; nice and snuggly whilst looking smart. They are available in some boutiques, although none locally to me, but now I know my size I buy from: https://www.sosimply.com/ I suggest you order a size smaller than your normal size.
Uniqlo also do a stretch trouser (although it does have a side zip and button) called “Smart Leggings Trouser” for £24.90. I bought a pair in dark green and am delighted with the quality of the fabric (cotton with some elastane). For me, it is more proof that Uniqlo is the new M & S, i.e. a shop where you can get practical, basic, fashionable clothes at reasonable prices.
Long live elasticated trousers! As for beige, call it taupe or camel and it sounds much less scary!
Many of us post-menopausal and/or post children women find that our waists are not what they were. In my case it was never brilliant but there has been a definite thickening in that area. I do know that posture has something to do with it and if I remember to feel I am growing an inch taller it immediately creates more space between my ribs and my hips and a bit more waist appears. Hard to keep it in mind for more than a few seconds though!
Here are a few tips of shapes and ideas to look for to divert the eye away from your waist.
1. Shaped tops. There is a gentle suggestion of a waist and it skims your body shape rather than clings. It comes to just below the waist or can be more of a tunic. Here’s a casual top from the go-to shop for basics, Uniqlo and a tunic from Seasalt Cornwall
2. Dresses. My waist is six inches less than my bust and my hips are two inches bigger and I find shift or pinafore dresses – straight skirt but with a bit of shape – work for me. It means I am wearing the same colour from neck to knee and it by-passes my waist. If you carry more weight around your hips and thighs, your dress will need to be more shaped with an A-line or flared skirt. Here are a couple, the first, a straight shape from Seasalt Cornwall and for curvies, this lovely wrap dress from Arket.
3. With a top and trousers or skirt, consider monochrome – i.e. different shades of the same colour from top to bottom so there is no strong contrast around the waist area. Wear the lighter shade where you are smaller e.g. if you are an English “Pear” keep the lighter shade to the upper part of your body and the trousers or skirt to the lower like this outfit from Poetry. Crinkle linen trousers - £109 and Hemp and cotton scoop-neck top - £39 Poetry Fashion.
4. Create interest around your face with a necklace or scarf so our eye is drawn to your face. This lovely scarf from Sophisticato.uk is described as “Autumn” but I think it would look gorgeous if you are a light “Spring”.
5. If you are a straight shape (like an H), a dropped waist with a frill or flounce around the hip area can work for you. Here is one from People Tree.
6. Don’t tuck blouses in. Or if you do, pull it out as far as you can so the blouse flops over the top of your waistband. It is then less obvious whether there is a waist there or not. A silky fabric will work best for this and I like this one from M & S. in several colours at £59
7. Asymmetric shapes (diagonal lines as seams or as stripes) are flattering draw the eye away from the waist. Grizas.
It is all a matter of optical illusion – directing our attention to where you want it directed and not where you don’t. Oh yes! And for me, comfort is a major factor. I don’t really like the feeling of a tight waistband.
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In my opinion there should only be one trussed up creature at this time of year and that that creature is not you! Inspired by a feature on Monday’s Woman’s Hour on “Waist Trainers” or “Waist Nippers” I would like to add my own two penn’orth on shapewear or foundation garments. I remember the discomfort and futility of trying to create more of a waspish waist and being naively surprised at the roll which appeared above and below. At the time I did not realise I was buying into a male ideal of the female form (as brought up by Lucy Adlington on the Woman’s Hour feature). My mind doesn’t work like that. I simply wanted a smaller waist and a flat tummy. It didn’t work. Big surprise!
Until hearing about them on the radio I wasn’t aware of the proliferation of “Waist Nippers”, “Miracle Waist Cinchers”, “Black Bum Lifters” and the like on sale in the high street right now and being touted as something new!
I applaud the conclusion of the Woman’s Hour feature i.e. that these garments will not “train” your body as is claimed by some manufacturers. Wiser to love the body you have. Pressure to fit into some sort of ideal image creates stress and unhappiness. Acceptance brings so many benefits. With that acceptance can come some more comfortable solutions.
For example, there are optical illusions you can create with the clothes you wear. These will not give you an hourglass figure when your natural body shape is, for example, round or straight but you can bring attention to your assets and minimize the bits you are not so keen on.
Asymmetry is one feature which will create the optical illusion of slimming and lengthening. Look for tops and dresses which have a diagonal line or lines either in the fabric print or as a seam and immediately the eye will be drawn away from a non-existent waist line!
If you would like to discover more ways to dress your body shape in ways that will flatter you consider booking a style consultation with me: email@example.com. You will then know you look good AND be able to breathe more easily. You can enjoy the poor old trussed up turkey for your Christmas Dinner!
We are nearing the party season and your thoughts may be turning to sparkle. But where? How much? A basic principle of dressing and of makeup is that light brings forward and dark recedes. Sparkle is all about catching the light so think of accentuating your assets
High/Low dressing is chic at the moment so try teaming your sparkle with something casual.
1. You are a typical English pear? Wear a sparkly top and dark skirt or trousers Here's one from Mint Velvet to suit you if you are cool-toned***
2. You are an athletic build - i.e. your shoulders are bigger than your hips? Go for a sparkly skirt like this one from Karen Millen and a matte (possibly dark) top.
3. If sparkly clothes are not you and you have a reasonably long neck, keep it simple and add a sparkly scarf. Here's one for a warm-toned gal and another if you are cool-toned from Not-on-the-High-Street.
4. If you prefer the idea of sparkly shoes these low-heeled silver courts are from Clarks and the gold flatties from LK Bennett If you want to go luxe these beauties are from Russell and Bromley
5. ....or just carry a sparkly handbag. Here's one from Accessorize
6. ... or wear your sparkle in jewellery.
7. You have bright, cool colouring and white teeth? You can rock diamante like these from Sophisticato
8. You are more muted? Go for a gentler gleam - e.g. pearls with a pink or yellow tinge like this necklace also from Sophisticato
9. You are over 50? Go for matte makeup. Of course I recommend Look Fabulous Forever which is specially formulated for you. Only a couple of products in the range have shine. Try a dot of "Sheer Brilliance Lid Colour". above your pupil and maybe another in the inner corner of your eyes.
10. And a touch of lip gloss in the centre of your lips worn over the top of lipstick can add some extra shine for parties. Here is "Fabulous Lip Shine"
And of course the most important sparkle of all is your lovely smile!
Animal Prints - Leopard, Cheetah, Zebra?
Did they ever go away? I think animal prints are always "in". As with all patterns look at the overriding effect - is it light? bright? warm? Animal prints vary a great deal so there is no rule of thumb as to what will suit you. If you are not sure, try shoes or a handbag. After all, with animal print a little goes a long way. You definitely don't want more than one animal print item at a time!
If you suit dark brown, tan and cream you can probably rock a leopard print top. Here I am in my party top talking about animal prints. (First seen on Facebook) Click here
If those colours aren't for you, try a plain top and keep the leopard or the snake to below the waist.
My friend Annee (below) is a “Light”and leopard print is not ideal for her. By wearing white underneath her shirt and a silver necklace she makes it work.
Zebra prints are for Bright, cool "Winters" only. Black and white is the highest possible contrast and will overpower most ladies who haven't got very dark eyes and either black, ash blond or white hair.
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