Don’t be afraid to be beautiful

One of the biggest blocks to style is the fear of being too stylish, too beautiful, too seen.

A lot of us just want to be pretty “enough”.   Enough to be thought well of, enough to fit in, enough to feel confident in our skins.   And there’s nothing wrong with that, especially in certain situations.   A wrist dripping with bangles is going to get in the way when you’re working in the yard, and you probably don’t want to wear a feathered fascinator to court.

We have, as a culture, developed a timidity about stepping out in public view.  Being observed is only for the beautiful people… and we’re not one of them, of course.  Couldn’t ever be.

We’ve developed the odd idea that dressing to the nines is something you only do when you’re on the lookout for a mate – and that has tragic consequences for many a closet.   How many women do you know, when they’re asked to dress up, immediately pull out the cleavage?


If they don’t pull out cleavage, then they pull out the rhinestones (or equivalent).   And the clothing they do pull out tends to be in poor repair and/or fit.  They’re not comfortable in their skins – at least not when they’re at their best.

This is why our fashion victim never quite looks like she has herself pulled together – she’s sending the wrong signals.

It takes a bit of practice to work out your best looks, which is why you should dress to the nines occasionally without occasion.   First, you need to learn to move in your nicer clothing.  Second, you need to know what bits you’re missing – or what bits get snagged on everything.  Third, you need to be emotionally comfortable in your good things.

And fourth… do you have good things?   I mean, good things that suit the occasions that you have in your life.  If you’re past the age when you go clubbing, maybe you don’t need a spandex dress.   Maybe you need a beautiful blouse to wear to parties a few times a year over your serviceable work-slacks.    Maybe you might consider upgrading your work-slacks, just a pair or two of them.  It would be nice to be able to dress a bit better to that important meeting, wouldn’t it?

If you took a bit of thought about the occasions of your life, you might be able to figure out where to add nicer things, and slowly build yourself up.  And if you thought of the occasions of your life, you’d be likely to wear the good things you’d bought, not just store them in your closet.  They’d work with you, work for you – you wouldn’t have the honor of storing them for a ‘the perfect moment’.

Dressing to the nines, being one of the beautiful people, it doesn’t happen over night.  It’s one pair of good wool slacks, one beautifully draped silk blouse, one great gold chain at a time.

Take the plunge, and get a start with being just that little bit more beautiful… today!



Developing Personal Style

Details.  The devil’s in the details.

That extra half inch, to quote Victoria Beckham – it’s that that makes the difference between run of the mill and amazing.

But how do you figure it out?   If I cut my hair in Beckham’s wedge, I’d look like an alien, not at all like myself.  You don’t want to go big or go home until you know where you’re going!!!

Use pinterest.  Pin things that you love.  And then *analyze* them.

For instance, the following items are on my personal pinterest board:

The first picture was chosen because of the woman on the cliffs over the sea.  The second picture was chosen because of the overall crunchy boho vibe of the outfit.  The third picture was chosen because of the detail and colors.

But they have something in common.  Every one of these pictures has something of the wildness about it.  The roughness of the cliffs and the waves.  The texture of the lace and the natural leather peaking out at the belt.  The rough fabric and the botanical embroidery.

The more pictures you collate, the more you can find the common threads of things that make you swoon.   Here are another three pictures:

Other than the fact that all these ladies are wearing dresses in a field (which I noticed when I put them up here, lol), you notice a softness, a romantic femininity common to all of them.

And what do you tie between the two?  Nature, hands down.

So, what does the woman behind the computer screen do about that?  Well, she makes sure to accessorize with the following:

  • Leather
  • Natural stones (I even have a bracelet that looks like polished pebbles)
  • Flowers
  • Highly textured fabrics

And those are the things I wear to tie my outfits together.  No diamond tennis bracelets for me – not my thing.  But a rose in my hair?  Any day.

You think – but you can’t get away with a rose in your hair, not these days… oh yes you can.  Perhaps not to the office, but anywhere else.   The more *myself* I dress, as quizzically romantic and bohemian as that is, the more compliments I get.  And always compliments if there are flowers in my hair – yes, even at 43yo.  If it’s really you… really, really YOU – go for it.  Go big, and you’ll find yourself more at home than you’ve ever been.



Why does the Orthopedist Hate Style?

One of the things that sets me apart from most image consultants is that I’m not automatically going to recommend a 3″ heel for every woman.  Now, it’s not that 3″ heels aren’t amazing – they are.  But not every woman can wear them, or wants to.

What happens when you hie yourself off to the orthopedist because you have something wrong with your feet or knees, and your doctor says, “sensible shoes”?    Do you fling yourself over the cliff of despair and buy some sweatpants?  No.   Do you mess about and skirt what your doc told you to do?  No.  You figure it out.

Remember Rule One:  Clothes exist to serve you.   A shoe that damages your body is not serving you.

So, you go to the specialty shoe store.  Talk to the clerk, look at the wall of shoes.  Make your choice.  Now, to integrate your new shoe with your old wardrobe:

Orthopedic shoes tend to be very heavily Earth in style, whereas a sharp looking heel is all about the Fire.  In fact, many outfits are finished and Fired-up with a heel.  So now instead of drawing attention to your feet, you’re going to want to direct attention away from the foot, and you’re also going to want to add some punch to your overall outfit.

Some Extremely Sensible Shoes are skirt friendly, some are not.  I hate to say it, as a card-carrying member of the skirts-only club, but if you are working in a corporate environment and the orthopedic shoe has come to land in your lap, it’s time to go slacks shopping.  A long skirt (which is highly wearable with a sensible shoe) is just not corporate-professional.   (If you are in a corporate-professional office and are sentenced to orthopedic shoes, may I recommend an oxford if possible?  It will still register subconsciously as corporate, even if it’s not feminine).  Your slacks should be long – no ankle length, please (those are best with loafers and ballet flats, which tend not to offer the kind of support you’ll want in a sensible shoe).  Loose is better than tight, a true trouser is a good.  Start googling the 1940s and let yourself be inspired.

Working with a sensible shoe in a creative environment is much easier.   You might be able to wear a more Water inspired wardrobe  – long and loose and flowing – and that lends itself to redirecting the eye away from the foot.  Also, a more creative environment lends itself to my big piece of advice – sharpen and enlarge your accessories.

Your feet have just become rooted in Earth, strengthening your overall look and grounding it very firmly.   The rest of your outfit needs to add some interest.   Sharpen your haircut, add bigger bangles, allow yourself a slightly wilder silhouette overall… that’s your key.

It’s okay to have a moment when you mourn the curveball that your style has just taken.  This is a major change.  But it, like everything else, is manageable.  Everything can be managed!




*By the way, if the shoe companies of the world could buy a clue – there are a lot of women who need very sensible shoes who would like to look professional and/or cute.  Figure it out, people.  There’s a market.   Oh, and those women tend to be at the top of their professions… they’d be very happy to buy a variety of cute, supportive shoes – if they could find them.


Scars and Serenity

This is good advice anytime, and it pertains to beauty.  As we age, every one of us collects scars and every one of our bodies changes and ages in ways that distress us.  What do we do about those things?

  1. Figure out if it really bothers you.
  2. Figure out if it can be changed.
  3. If it can’t be changed, can it be hidden?
  4. How difficult/uncomfortable is it to hide?
  5. Learn to live with it.

I have large, dark, deep scars on the top of my right foot.  They can’t be changed.  They can only be hidden by socks or boots.  Finding boots that fit is nearly impossible.  I don’t wear socks very often.   I just live with it.   Does it bother me?   When I think of how cute my feet were before the scars happened, yes.  Otherwise, not really.  They’ve been there a while now – time leads to acceptance.

I have bags under my eyes that discolor when my allergies act up.  They can’t be changed, when they show up, they’re there.  They’ve only started popping up in the last five years, and they bother me a lot.  So, when they’re here, I am more likely to wear foundation and/or concealer.   The fix is very little different than my regular routine, and it’s easy to deal with.

I’m heavier than I want to be.  I work out at the gym – a lot.  I am working to improve my health, but change is glacially slow.  I dress the body I have right now – and obviously, I use tricks to focus the eye away from problem areas.  So – I both hide and work to fix, while accepting where I am right now.

Fix what you can.  Accept what you can’t.  Get on with life and remember that your sunny attitude is more important to people’s perception of you than any mark.