Just as a company needs a rebrand from time to time, we also need to rebrand ourselves at various stages of our lives.
Why? Here is a definition of ‘rebranding’ from the Cambridge Dictionaries to give you an idea : “If a company rebrands itself or a product or service that it provides, it creates a new name or image for it, often to try to change the way that people think about it”.
A company’s image will influence the way people think about it. Your personal image will influence how people see and think about you. In the work place you want people to think about you in a particular way so that you can achieve the right responses. So you need to ask yourself, are you projecting the right image or is it time to change your look?
Here are some basic rules you should stick to:
* Don’t let your hair, make-up or nails let you down. Grooming is key to a successful business look.
* Wear make-up, it will enhance your looks and convey that you are in control of your life outside of work as well as at work, but keep it minimal.
* Absolutely no threadbare clothes, missing buttons, down at the heel shoes allowed.
* Your clothes should fit well and suit you and be properly laundered or dry cleaned.
* Don’t forget your own personal look.
So, taking the points above you need to look at yourself and consider each one. Is your hair colour and style making the most of you or do you need an update? Have you mastered good make-up skills and a daily routine so that you always look good whether you have 5 or 25 minutes? Do your clothes flatter you or should you change your style? Are your garments looking a bit uncared for and could you do more to keep them looking good for longer?
The Sun’s ‘Fabulous’ magazine did a great article in January 2013 about Victoria Beckham’s image transformation in the last 6 years. They showed two photos of her, one was circa 2005 with hair extensions, blonde highlights and fake tan and the other a current photo in which she looks, as she always does these days, the epitome of a well dressed, sophisticated woman. Now that’s rebranding!
I recently found an old newspaper article that discussed a survey in which results showed that women noticed that they started feeling invisible at age 46. The survey showed that women felt that around this age they received less compliments and gestures such as doors being held open for them; which when life is supposed to start at 40, seems a bit unfair! However, the poll also showed that by the age of 60, confidence had returned. But what are supposed to do for 14 years? Just stay hidden? Absolutely not! And your wardrobe could hold the key!
You see, one of the reasons that women can start to feel invisible around this age is that as we get older, our hair starts to grey so we appear less bright than we did in our late teens and early when we are at our brightest. As grey is a less noticeable colour than a dark brown or bright blonde, as we start to grey, our hair stands out less than our younger counterparts with their bright colouring. And dying our hair back to its natural colour is not the answer as it can just look harsh against our skin. The key is to speak to your hairdresser and find a colour that looks amazing on the woman you are today. It might be softer and lighter than you are used to, but it will make you look and feel amazing!
However, it is not just the pigment in our hair colour that fades; it is also the pigment in our eye colour and skin. This is why the strong lipstick and bright colours that we used to wear, can start to look harsh on us as we get older and can make us look drained rather than healthy. It is also why Colour Consultants advice people to get their “colours done” every 10 years to check that they are still working for you and so we can make adjustments as necessary and keep you looking gorgeous!
So, what can we do to ensure that we stay visible? Simply change the colours that we wear to match they new natural colouring of your physical characteristics. To find if a colour is too bright for you, simply hold it up against you in a mirror. Close your eyes and when you open them, check whether you see the colour or your face first. If it is the colour, then the chances are that the colour is too bright for you. What we want is for the colour to work in harmony with you so it enhances your face – which means peoples attention will be drawn there – which means if they are looking there, they are not looking at your tummy or whatever part of your body you would like to disguise……
Think about makeup too! The bright pink that you wore in your twenties may no longer be the right pink for you but there will a pink that looks amazing on you! It is just going to take some experimentation to find it.
As for styles that suit your new body shape; don’t get in a tizz about the size label. Its not about dressing your size, it is about dressing your body shape. Dressing with confidence is all about dressing in a way that highlights the great parts of your body and that hides the areas that make you feel self conscious and us Stylists have all kinds of tricks to help you to hide tummies, help make bottoms and hips look smaller, busts look bigger- or smaller and disguise bingo wings. Not only does knowing this make shopping easier and quicker; it also makes shopping fun as you can quickly and easily pick out the items that suit you.
No matter your age, if you start to notice changes, don’t let this period of your life make you feel invisible! Don’t blend in by wearing beige’s or neutral colours nor opt for clothes that hide your figure. Instead, take action and look upon it as a period of adjustment and a chance to review your wardrobe. An opportunity to try something new. Make it fun by going on shopping trips with friends in the same situation and discovering your new look together.
And if you are unsure of where to start or are struggling, don’t do nothing! Find a Stylist or Image Consultant that understands how you are feeling and can help you find your way back to style confidence! I like nothing better than helping someone start a new chapter in their lives; in fact, it’s why I do – and why I love – my job!
So, what exactly is a capsule wardrobe? Simply put, you start with a collection of clothing items that are timeless and therefore, don’t go out of fashion, and each season, you add to or replace with seasonal pieces, bringing in colour and styles keeping your wardrobe looking current and fresh. The aim is to create a compact wardrobe that enables you to have an outfit for most occasions without owning loads of clothes! The idea originated from a lady called Susie Faux, owner of a boutique in London in the 1970’s. The idea was used by Donna Karan in 1985 as she released a collection of seven interchangeable work-wear pieces and the rest as they say, is history.
When I talk to my clients about creating their capsule wardrobe, I recommend that they spend the most money on the wardrobe staples; the coats, trousers, skirts etc. These are the items that you could have in your wardrobe for years so they are worth spending more on and selecting quality fabrics. Then, spend less on the seasonal items, the tops, the coloured accessories, that seasons trend like the floral skirts, so when that particular trend comes to an end, you don’t mind parting with those items and making room for the new.
Of course, in order to make your capsule wardrobe really work, you need to be able to mix and match as many items as possible to maximise the number of outfits that can be created. And this is where colour is key! The trick is to purchase your staples in neutral shades – black, navy, taupe, charcoal etc. Neutrals are great as they go with everything- including each other! So when you add your fun colours, you can simply just pair up your item with a neutral and away you go! Now, if you have had “your colours done” selecting your colours and knowing how to wear to them in the best way for you is much easier and you have a head start. If you have not yet had a colour analysis consultation, and are interested in building a capsule wardrobe, then having one done could be a great investment. You will learn which are your neutrals, how best to wear them and which fun colours work best on you and how to combine your colours in the way that works best for you – some are better with tone-on-tone whilst others are better with lots of contrast.
Picking a colour theme throughout your seasonal wardrobe will also help you to maximise the number of outfits in your collection. Don’t get in the trap of just picking one main colour; opt for 3 or more to really give you options and make each outfit look different. I ran a Capsule Wardrobe Workshop at the weekend in collaboration with the fabulous Etcetera Boutique at Cedar Farm, Ormskirk, near Mawdesley and put together a few smart casual capsule collections – capsule wardrobes are not just for work! They will work for you, no matter your lifestyle! Here are the images showing some of the different collections:
In each collection, we stated with trousers and jackets in neutral colours, and then added in the colour in the tops, scarves and accessories. Of course, you can purchase tops and accessories in neutral colours too which will help to add flexibility to your wardrobe.
Understanding what styles suit your body shape can also help you to select clothes that you love and feel great in! We want to ensure that you get maximum use out your new wardrobe and wear all of the items many times.
How many items should your capsule wardrobe contain? Some stylists will give you a set number and break it down into items, however, I feel that this depends on the person, what they like to wear, how they spend their time and what their wardrobe already contains.
Now we know what a capsule wardrobe is, why do you need one?
- It will save you time! Selecting what to wear each day, becomes simple. Just grab 2 or more items to make up your outfit in the knowledge that they go together; add accessories and away you go! If you look in your wardrobe each day and feel deflated by what it contains, try on several outfits and still not feel “right”, and leave the house feeling frustrated, then a capsule wardrobe could really be the answer. How much better would you feel looking in your wardrobe, seeing one of the collections above and being able to easily put together an outfit that makes you look and feel amazing!
- It should save you money! Once the investment has been made in your staple items, you should just be able to purchase a few pieces each season to bring your wardrobe upto date and ready for the new season. If you have it right, whether you need an outfit for work, a BBQ with friends, a date or going to the park with the kids, you will have an outfit to wear. No more running to the shops for an outfit in desperation or standing in front of the wardrobe looking for something to wear…
- You will wear the clothes in your wardrobe! By keeping your wardrobe to fewer pieces, you will see all of your clothes and you will want to wear each of the items to give you different looks. If you have items that you have never or rarely worn, think of the money lost! What else could you have spent that on?
- Shopping becomes easier! You will be able to see which items needs replacing each season and go shopping with a list rather than feeling overwhelmed by all the options and just picking up items so you can get out of there!
Think that working with a Stylist is just about clothes? Well, think again! The style and the clothes that we wear affect our mood, health and overall confidence. Its been researched by scientists and its called “enclothed cognition”.
When I tell people what I do, I often get asked who my clients are and the truth is that they are a complete mix of age, careers, marital status and shape and size. But what they do often have in common is that when they look in their wardrobe, they don’t see anything that reflects who they are now! They tell me how they open their wardrobe, flick through all the items in there but don’t see anything that they want to wear. They tell me how they try on different items only to take them off as they don’t feel comfortable, don’t fit or don’t reflect who they are or the image they want to portray that day. They tell me how they leave the house feeling frustrated and disappointed in how they look. They tell me how when they go shopping, they go into the Stores they have always shopped in, but don’t see anything that they like and leave empty handed, frustrated and confused.
OK, I agree, it does sound about clothes so far but it goes further, its about feelings – feeling inspired by our wardrobes so we can easily select an outfit that makes us look – and feel – great! Happy about how we look so that we can leave the house unrushed and can start our day in a positive mood! Its about dressing with authenticity, dressing in a way that makes us feel comfortable and reflects both our personality and the person who we are today. When we feel great we grow in confidence, out self-esteem increases and we feel more inclined to socialise and not decline those invitations that can fill us with the “I don’t have anything to wear” fear, we feel more positive.
It tends to be changes in our lives that bring about our wardrobe crises. Having children, children leaving home, leaving work to start our own business or to commence our retirement, divorce or bereavement. I was at a Coffee Morning recently and spoke to 2 ladies about all of this. They were both struggling with their wardrobes; one who had left work had a wardrobe full of suits or jeans and t-shirts and another who ran her own business and was concerned that her casual dress code was not projecting the right image to the more corporate clients that she was now pitching too. Two completely different scenarios, but both on the same journey to try and understand how to dress for these new chapters in their lives in way that feels authentic, comfortable and appropriate.
So if this is you, how do you move forward? Well, here are my 5 tips…
1) Start collecting images of outfits that you like and that you think you would like emulate. You can use magazines, newspapers, or use online sources such as Pinterest. Is there a celebrity whose style you admire? When you have a collection, take a look and find the similarities; is it pattern, colour – whether bright or neutrals, styles – really casual, smart or classic. Write down what you like about what you have collected and keep it in your purse and bring it out on your next shopping trip and look for items that reflect these words.
2) When you go into the changing room, take something in with you that you would never have normally picked out. Try it on! You might love the colour but hate the style or vica versa. It might be an absolute disaster but it could also be a revelation! It will get you into the habit of going outside your comfort zone and you just might be surprised!
3) Shop somewhere new! If your usual shopping haunts are no longer working for you, its time to try something different. Look online or ask friends for some ideas. Small boutiques can be a source of great inspiration and with staff who are customer focused and are who have spent years dressing women, they can suggest items for you which again you would not have picked out yourself. Go with it and try it on! Whats the worst that can happen? You don’t have to buy it if you don’t like it!
4) Go shopping solo! This is your journey and you need to discover what is right for you. Friends and family will have their own ideas for you but only you know what is right for you. Plus you don’t want the pressure of someone knocking on the changing room door asking to take a look when you are not comfortable in what you have tried on!
5) Do your shopping trip when you have plenty of time and the stores are quiet. Mondays and Tuesdays are great shopping days. The Stores are re-stocking after the weekend and are much quieter. Have time to browse, treat yourself to lunch and may be a small glass of wine and just enjoy discovering the new you! It can be a lot of fun and think how wonderful it will be when you have that wardrobe of clothes that you can’t wait to wear!