Monday 30 April 2012

From Aztec to Zebra!

See in Spring with a Print.

When the sun appears we often look for ways to update our wardrobes for the coming season. As well as injecting colour, a quick and easy way to introduce a touch of new season style is to invest in a bit of print.

Every season there’s a focus on at least one print, with some - like floral and leopard print - seemingly never out of fashion. As soon as we strip ourselves of our winter safety blankets and wet weather-wear (a bulky coat, and warm comfortable clothes in deep colours), pastels and prints begin to appear in the shops. 

Every Spring/Summer, inspired by nature, prints make a comeback and this year is no different.  What is different this year though, is how we will be wearing it. Instead of a focus on one print, the trend off the catwalk, for women, is to wear bold clashing prints; and for men print is being modelled top-to-toe. Personally I love florals, butterflies and paisley, but I won't be wearing them altogether!

With neither look being for the feint-hearted (me included!), here are my top tips on how to wear print:
  • Be careful with the size (and placement) of print you wear – an oversized print on someone petite will overwhelm, whereas a tiny print on a larger frame may seem to disappear.
  • Make sure you wear prints in colours that flatter you (especially those nearest your face).
  • If wearing bold prints are not your thing, accessorise instead – a handbag or hankie will work against blocked colours, ladies - paint your nails, and for total subtlety go for printed lining!
  • Use print to draw attention to an area you want to show off (and away from areas you want to hide) – for example printed trousers will draw attention to your legs.
  • Try teaming prints with neutrals or pastels, in fabrics such as linen, cotton and silk.
  • If you do brave this seasons head-to-toe, clashing prints - pick at least one colour that features throughout.

So, that’s how to wear print but which ones are ‘on-trend’ this season?

For ladies – Another key trend this season is a look of the sea so go for watery prints in blues and greens, and shells; birds are the animal print to go for; vegetables replace fruits; and bold, arty graphics are also ‘in’.

For gentsThis season, pattern is not for your ties only! The theme from the catwalk is 'be bold'. Wear the exotic (such as birds), camouflage (eg leaves) and paisley.

The great thing with prints is that there is one for everyone - from Aztec, birds and butterflies through to Zebra.  Whatever print you wear, and however you wear it – wear it with confidence and a smile.

What’s your signature print and how will you wear it?

Friday 13 April 2012

Does look good, feel good always apply?

Sadly the answer is no, but the Good News is that most of the time it does. What we wear in terms of colour and how it makes us look is proven to have a strong psychological impact on how we feel, and in most cases our self-esteem and mood is heightened when we look good. So what makes the answer ‘no’.

Well, firstly we can wear something lovely and designed to make us feel better, but if we are not addressing the underlying issue then it’s not necessarily going to have the desired effect. Even so, it’s worth dressing ‘happy’ even if all it does is stop everyone wondering/asking if you’re ok, and you having to explain why maybe you’re not.

The other reason struck me after I recently met a lady at an event - she said that since having an image consultation she is scared to shop as she doesn’t want to get it wrong, and this was supported by a style consultant who said she’d met people who could only shop with their colour wallet. In other words (what I call) 'perfection pressure'.

Is the person looking back, authentically you?
I hope my clients have never felt this way (I’ve always had positive feedback except from partners who are scared about the bank balance!) so both situations struck me as sad because, as I’ve said - I believe that if women, and men, understand what makes them look good it will lead to them feeling better; and so, I conduct a consultation with this in mind. As such the whole point of a consultation is to help people enjoy clothes, shopping and the person in the mirror. In one-to-ones and in my training courses I remind people that the only thing that really matters is that when you look in that mirror, you like the look of the person you see, and recognise that person as AUTHENTICALLY (AND STYLISHLY!) YOU. 

I see my role as helping people by offering advice and solutions, not rule setting. I give my clients guidance, but make it clear to them that they have a choice. In fact I share with them my rule breakers   for example I know that ankle straps make me look petite and ‘warm’ colours aren’t in my palette but I like them so...  wear them sparingly, I don’t break all my ‘rules’ at once and I know how to compensate so you won’t catch me in an orange top at the same time as mustard ankle strapped flats!

We all look better in some colours and styles than others, but whatever the style rules, the main one is ‘if it doesn’t make you feel good, don’t do it... and if you break a few ‘rules’ – well, so be it! As Donatella Versace said “Fashion is all about happiness. It's fun. It's important. But it's not medicine” – Now style may be more serious, but it’s still not medicine, so:

- Be colour confident – Get Style Savvy - Enjoy shopping - 
- Own your style - Embrace being you! -

You should be able to say "I am so pleased with my purchases!" after a consultation.