How To Dress for your Body Shape
Most women have a vague idea what suits them when it comes to getting dressed – compliments from friends and workmates, or even what you see in the mirror can give you a general idea. But at Annah Stretton we have ways to fine tune this – to make sure you dress the best you can for your body shape.
There are four different body shapes, and we don’t like to use the descriptions that are common with most stylists – brick, triangle, circle or hourglass. At Annah Stretton we see flowers when we look at women – rosebuds (bigger at the bottom,) bluebells (curvy but evenly proportioned,) lavender (straight up and down,) and tulips (larger on top.)
Getting dressed is much easier when you know what garments are going to work with the shape you are. Click here to follow some simple steps to work out your body shape, then once you have determined this,
Rosebud – this is the most common shape for New Zealand women – your hips will be bigger than your shoulders, and you will have a voluptuous, rounded bottom. You need to enhance your top half – wear coats with dramatic oversized collars, or ruffled necklines (our Secretly Yours jacket is perfect for you.) For the bottom half choose slim leg pants, and go for the ones with tummy control like the Lorelei. A printed or brightly coloured top, over plain pants or leggings is a great choice, and try to choose bottoms in darker shades.
Bluebells have the perfect shape, the shape we are all striving for. Your bust and your hips are the same size, and you have a well-defined, slim waist. Even if you are plus-size, you are going to look best in figure hugging outfits that define your shape, and accentuate your balanced features. Look for well-cut jackets like the Hawthorne, and pants that fit well around the bottom. This body shape is often best in a dress, Our Mercedes Dress and the Farrah Fare are examples that work perfectly on a Bluebell.
Lavenders need to balance out their lack of curves, and dress to give an illusion of a waist. Shoulder pads on jackets will achieve this, as will coats and tops with exaggerated lapels. A belt is always a great idea to create the give the impression of a waist – something this body shape is missing. Our pleated dresses, worn with a Rose Belt will suit lavender ladies of all sizes.
Tulips are top heavy – they have broader shoulders, and a narrow waist and hips – and they often have exceptionally good legs. V-neck tops and jackets draw the eye down, slimming the bust area, and pants need to be slightly wider or boot cut, to balance the top. A-line skirts will balance out your bottom, and if you keep them shorter in the front you can show off your great legs. The Sophie style of dress is perfect for a Tulip body shape.
Mother Of the Bride and Groom
There's no question that all eyes will be on the bride as she walks down the aisle – but the second most fabulous woman in the room has to be the Mother of the Bride. Gone are the days when she was expected to wear matronly outfits, or shot taffeta sheath dresses with a matching cocktail jacket - today’s mother of the bride is a star in her own right.
If you are the mother of the bride your outfit should complement the bride’s dress, while not actually matching, and colours should tone harmoniously, taking cues from the bride. One rule to follow is that the mother of the bride should not wear the same colour as the bride, or the bridesmaids – a good starting point is to talk to the bride – as it is the bridal gown that will set the tone for the whole event. We advise that both the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom wait to choose their outfit until the bride has finalised her dress and the bridesmaids as well. Then ask for a swatch of fabric, and if possible take the bride shopping with you, as this will help you to choose something that complements the wedding party. There are three words that should be at the fore-front for any prospective mother of the bride – elegant, understated and appropriate.
As a general rule, the mother of the bride takes precedence over the mother of the groom, her outfit should be bought first, and then that should be shared with the mother of the groom. The dresses don’t have to match, but once again, they should complement each other – this is especially important as both mothers will be in a lot of photographs of the special day.
You will find gorgeous choices for both the mother of the bride and mother of the groom in the Annah Stretton range of event and occasion wear -https://www.annahstretton.co.nz/collections/mother-of-the-bride-and-groom
Grow up – dress your age, not your shoe size!
15 07 16
We all know age is only a number – but when it comes to clothing this number can serve to remind you that you might just be a little past the latest trends. Are you a middle aged fashionista who doesn’t know when to quit? Worried you are making fashion faux pas? These helpful tips will ensure you haven’t matured past your own wardrobe.
Cheap and Cheerful Underwear.
Once gravity starts to take its toll it is time to get those saggy bits under control – and for this you need expert assistance. For every day the right underwear isn’t the pretty lacy pieces we all love to buy; it’s the less exciting, but just as important minimal foundation pieces that make us — and our clothes — look fabulous. The right bra can make you look kilos lighter – a great reason for investing in the right one!
Giant hobo bags
Oversized hobo bags seem to be getting bigger and bigger – the ones that look like they could almost double as an overnight bag. We are brainwashed into thinking – the bigger the bag I carry, the smaller I will look in relation to it! But the poor quality of the fabrics, the excessive trims and embellishments, and the sack-like shapes are anything but flattering. Replace these monstrosities with a classic clutch – it won’t hold as much, but it will look elegant and timeless.
If you are over forty anything denim that looks like it has been attacked by the sequin fairy, or ripped to shreds by an angry kitten does not belong in your wardrobe! Low-rise jeans, torn, distressed, sparkly, or overly embellished – leave these fashions to the teenagers. That does not mean we can’t wear denim – straight leg jeans in dark denim are an enduring wardrobe staple – and slimming as well!
Message Tee Shirts.
Gone are the days when if you wore an ‘I Love New York’ tee shirt we knew that you must have actually been to New York to purchase it - or at least have a friend that thought enough of you to buy it for you! That same tee shirt today has probably never been anywhere near New York – you bought it online and it was probably shipped from some huge warehouse in Iowa. The same goes for designer tees – we know that Coco Chanel must be turning in her grave at the thought of her signature logo being used in such a crass manner. Replace these with quality plain cotton tees, which can be dressed up with statement jewellery.
The old saying ‘If you’ve got it – flaunt it’ does not apply after the age of fifty! The difference between classy and trashy can be as little as one shirt button – there’s a fine line between elegant and inappropriate. Excessive boobage, especially if it is not quite as firm or un-lined as it should be, is not sexy - it's just plain wrong!
Quirky hair accessories belong on the pre-teens – not on the head of an elegant sophisticated woman. Flowery scrunchies, plastic clips, combs covered with diamantes – these are all symbols of not wanting to grow up – pull yourself together and start acting your age! If you are lucky enough to have long hair, go with a high-fashion pony tail by wrapping a small section of hair around a regular hair-tie. Secure it with a hair clip, and a touch of hairspray to keep it in place. Or try a simple black headband – velvet or grosgrain, nothing with bling or sparkly bits!
Sky-high heels should be left behind in your 30’s – this also applies to thigh high leather pirate boots (unless you go trout fishing.) Gladiator sandals are another fashion crime – so many loops and buckles that are so far from your bi-focals means you are never going to able to lace them up properly. Feet lose their fatty cushioning as we age, and we need wider and thicker heels for support to marry comfort with style. Toning down your footwear does not mean you are giving up on glamour – there are many designers of comfortable and on-trend footwear now.
Shop SALE like a Professional !
1 – MAKE A PLAN. Look at what you have in your wardrobe, and identify any major gaps. Is there a skirt you can’t wear because you don’t have the right top? Take a photo of the skirt on your phone so that you immediately re-call it when you are out shopping and see something that might just work with it. And when you suddenly have an idea about needing a particular item in your wardrobe, wherever you are, make a note in your phone for next time you are in a shopping environment.
2 – LOOK FOR THE EXPENSIVE STUFF. Sales are the best time to buy big ticket items – winter coats, tailored jackets, special occasion dresses. You may not get quite the colour or size range you may have had at the beginning of the season, but you may only pay half the ticket price. For these items think ‘investment dressing’ – even heavily discounted they can still be expensive, so look for garments that are timeless, styles that you can wear for years. And even at half price, that lime and cerise lace ball gown may not be such a bargain!
3 – DON’T BUY IT IF IT DOESN’T FIT. Don’t get excited by something that is a size too small – even if you are going to Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig – it might not be the right shape when you are a bit thinner. And definitely don’t buy something that is too big – even if it is an absolute bargain. There is nothing worse than having to pay as much again to alter a garment, or having a shoddy home done alteration show up on a designer dress!
4– SHOP WITH A FRIEND YOU TRUST. You know the one – the friend who will tell you the truth, the one you can rely on not to tell you that you look good in everything. If you can’t take a friend – trust your own instinct, or find a shop where you love the clothes, and where you can build a relationship with the sales assistant, and trust their advice.
5– THINK ABOUT IT, JUST NOT FOR TOO LONG! If you are not sure – then it is probably not right for you, and only time will tell. Have a coffee, or a walk around the neighbouring shops. And refer back to that list – remember the one you keep on your phone – is this type of garment on your wish list?
6 – READ THE REFUND POLICY. Make sure you are aware of the returns policy when you make a purchase as most retailers don’t want to see their sale or end-of-line garments bouncing back into stock, as they need the space for new season.
7 - BUY SOMETHING THAT SCARES YOU. Sale time is a good time to experiment – buy something that you would normally never think of wearing – just make sure you wear it! If you get loads of compliments on your new look you may just have discovered a new you!
8– BUY THE ESSENTIALS. They are not often discounted because for any fashion retailer, their essentials are consistent sellers. But on the odd occasion they are discounted, grab them as fast as you can – these are things you will always wear, like slips, camisoles, basic tees, well cut jeans.
9 – BUY MORE THAN ONE. If you have garments that you love, from a favourite designer, make sure you check their website often. Towards the end of the season, the same garment might be available in other patterns or colours - and on sale.
10 – SIGN UP TO GET EMAILS. If there is a designer you love, sign up to receive their email marketing. This way you will receive advance notice of their sales, you are often the first to see new designs even before they hit the shops, and you can shop from where ever you happen to be – from sitting at your office desk to the comfort of your lounge.
Want to look slimmer, sexier and more feminine? Click on the image below to watch Annah Stretton stylist Angela demonstrate how!
Summer Dressing Tips
Summer is here at last and it is a great time to sort out the mis-matched clothing in the wardrobe, or the ones that those little winter fairies have stitched the side seams smaller on!!! Get in and de-clutter, get some girlfriends around and swap some clothes with each other, try some new styles.
Here are some top tips to get you started for those lazy hazy crazy days of summer.
Dress for your body shape not your body weight, by doing this you will instantly feel better and look slimmer, it really is an illusion but well worth the knowledge.
Layer with a framer.
With our four seasons in one day we need to be prepared - layering is the key, a light top underneath the main garment and then a framer (a longer light weight jacket, cardigan or coat) over the top. This does two things - keeps you warm and is easy to slip off when the day has heat in it. Also the right style for you should either skim your hips, come in at the waist or flow to elongate your silhouette.
Colour it right, colour it bright, or classic black and white, with the Race calendar fully booked, Christmas celebrations not too far away and not to forget the Wedding season. Whatever colour is for you, don’t forget to get it right - this makes your eyes “Pop” and gives you a glow to your complexion.
Sort your make up drawer out too, most make up does have an expiry date and also you want to match the right foundation to your skin tone, over summer lighter is better unless we want the sexy smokey eyes for an evening date…..
It's all about the accessories..
Invest in a great handbag that can be versatile and go with most of your wardrobe, big enough to hold the lippy and touch up make up, also the groovy sunnies that are a must to protect your eyes from the UV rays and compliment your day wear.
Before you head out the door throw on a bit of bling whether it be your pearls, diamonds, chunky silver or colourful beads, it is the finishing touch.
Check your hair and slip into your comfy flats or stylish heels and enjoy your day.
Written by Annah Stretton stylist, Kerry Tait
Your own personal look book! The perfect tool for wardrobe success!
“Nina! Help!!!” I hear this a lot. An instance recently, was the most amazing yet! It was with very self-unsure Tracey, who had a session with me in our Pukekohe store.
The owner and operator of a very successful local business, she came across as someone who really didn't need any help, but alas,was all smoke and mirrors!
Tracey attends a variety of seminars, events and fundraisers. Tracey said, before each event she is overwhelmed with what she should wear to impress, feel comfortable and look confident!
I decided to share with her my own little secret..I have a look book!
Let me explain, when a designer creates a new a collection it gets photographed, it is then put into a look book so the range is easily depicted - much like a model and her portfolio.So, to put it simply, when I'm in an outfit that works for me, I go to a full length mirror and take a selfie! I keep all these photos in a separate album and then transfer them over to my lap top - where I have my look book!
The beauty of having it on my laptop, as well as my phone, is I can add notes. For example, where I wore this last, did I feel great, what accessories did I add and any other useful information!
Tracey loved the idea so to get the ball rolling, we took pics of her in the two outfits she purchased that day and she left the store excited about going home and implementing the selfie plan I had suggested .
I've also heard a lot of people do this with weight loss and exercise programmes - it truly is a great tool! You need not share any of these pics, they are simply to give you more confidence, so don't be too critical!! And remember, sexy isn't a shape –it’s an attitude!
Please share with us any other great ideas you have around your Look Book! You can share them with us on our Annah Stretton Fashion FB page.
Much Love Nina
Boy do I have a very simple and highly easy solution for you!
Can you remember a particular time when you’ve been wearing a gorgeous pair of heels and when you first put them on all was great! Your feet were possibly a little, ..let’s say puffy, so there didn't seem to be a problem with them flicking off.
Then, 2 hours in ....oh goodness, as the day or evening progresses, something sinister happens!! Your feet change! Pixies come and ruin your ability to keep your shoes on and they slip off at the heel! Annoying? - Yes Totally!!!
We begin walking like we are 5 again, prancing around in mums shoes and avoiding a lot of movement!
Well my friends...there is an answer to this dilemma and it’s only around 3 bucks!
It’s a Mary Jane hair tie! You simply pull it over your foot and shoe and bingo...no more flipping off....I tell you this works and there is are so many different cute hair ties on the market you can easily find one to match your shoes...for such a small price! And let’s face it, if we have to Mc Guyver our heels half way through a wedding, no ones going to notice - but our dancing feet will still be rocking!!!
Give it a go! Post us your pics on our Annah Stretton Fashion Facebook page!
$50 Date night! What a perfect idea!
Amazing the things that come out of styling sessions!
In our beautiful Ponsonby store in walks "Trish", a beautiful 38-year-old mother of two. She has been married for ten years and is simply lost with how to dress now that shes approaching 40! This is something I hear a lot of! So we got to chatting about her social life, a great way to lead her in the right direction of ideal garments to invest in.
She said the only social thing she really does is weekly $50 date nights, I was instantly intrigued! Tell me more! Then she told me that her husband and her got to a point where they lost a bit of their connection, life became about the kids, school, paying the mortgage - basically groundhog day! I think we can all relate to this!!
So they sat down to come up with an idea to rekindle, they came up with the $50 date night. Every Wednesday night they would rotate the kids to each of their grandparents and take turns of organizing a three hour date only being able to use $50 bucks. They would have movie night, fish and chips on the waterfront, play ten pin bowling or a bottle of wine and cheese in Mission Bay...I just love this idea!!
I honestly think this is something we could all learn from. A date doesn’t have to be expensive; it’s like all things in life, if you put more thought in the outcome can be quite remarkable. This gorgeous Trish reminded me of that. So, put your thinking caps on Girls and challenge your man to do the same. Share your great $50 date night ideas on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AnnahStrettonFashion
..and we would love to see a pic too!!
Have fun dating!
Much love Nina
Challenge Yourself - Life really is what you make of it!
Yes, I know its easier to put things on the ‘to do’ list, or think, “Everything will work out.. I’ll do it tomorrow!”
SERIOUSLY! Its time to stand up and challenge yourself!
Recently my amazing employer and mentor Annah and I have decided to work together on expanding the Australian market. As I am at the beginning of the process, I know it’s all up to me to rip up that ‘to do’ list and simply just do it!
Our success will be a reflection of my own drive and efforts, my happiness in life will also reflect on this greatly.
If you challenge yourself to make a difference in your world, you must be responsible in making it come to fruition.
What you are adding to your ‘to do’ list may not be work related either, it could be as huge as an entire life change! I have an amazing friend whom I have reconnected with, for years she had her life on that list but finally came to a defining moment where enough was enough! She has made massive positive changes in her life, completely self-driven, and is finally happy!
If you continue to ignore what’s going on around you, you won’t see the things that are blocking or stopping you from achieving your goals and dreams - you will stay on the ‘to do’ list forever.
Here's my advice to you: If you need to phone someone...Call them! Procrastination will get you nowhere! Neither will burying your head in the sand (speaking from past experience!)
In the words on Nike - "JUST DO IT!"
To me... Love from me
I’m going to wrap up 2013 with a more personal blog. I hope you all take a little piece to relate to you...
In the past four weeks I have dealt with some very interesting emotions, but held strong to keeping the right things for me in focus.
Along with dressing correctly there’s also the importance of being true to the inner you and allowing yourself to feel the emotions you need at the time. Every so often the universe tests us by throwing things at us. To name a few I’ve been dealing with, I have been overwhelmingly showered with attention from someone from afar, had the horrific news of my very special friend’s mother being killed in a car accident, had devastating news of another special friend that death will become her, and was then awarded Employee of the Year.
The one thing I can say about all these things is live each day true to you... If you love someone - love them. If you need to say goodbye to someone - say goodbye. If you love your job - keep loving it.
So many times in my sessions I hear ladies say, ‘I always put myself last - I make sure the family is happy’. Make sure YOU are happy and the family will follow.
Christmas is a mere four weeks away - so this year I want you all to go out and buy yourselves a great Christmas present.
Wrap it up beautifully and sign it To ME, Love from ME!
The reality is tomorrow may never come - as sad as that sounds, so do something today that will make your tomorrow special.
Merry Christmas to you all.
When Good Brides go Bad!
The first thing that enters our heads when asked to be a bridesmaid is, "Oh no, what am I going to be made to wear?!" Horrific visuals of puffy sleeves and satin gowns in unflattering shapes!!!!!
On two separate occasions this week I've come across how a bridesmaid feels. My first was in a styling session with a beautiful lady who is currently on a very positive and motivating weight watchers journey. She openly talked to me about her worst ever experience around dressing.
"My brother's wedding," she said. "Simply the worst day of my life." And after listening to why I could only but agree how awful this must have been.
My gorgeous lady (let's call her Beth) has most of her weight in her lower tummy, so naturally this is where she needs to feel covered. Beth went for her fitting and told the bride-to-be that the top half of her suit was too short. She felt her tummy looked massive. Beth showed me where it sat and it was directly on the widest part of her tummy. Not at all flattering.
She discussed with the bride and the seamstress to have it lengthened. The bride unfortunately just never got around to sorting it out! Beth arrived at the bride's house the morning of the wedding to get glammed up (supposedly) only to find the suit was still the same. The bride simply shrugged saying, "It is my day, not yours."
The saddest part is Beth had to walk with the other bridesmaids feeling like total crap to the point where Beth's mother cried.... not for the wedding, but she knew how humiliated Beth would be feeling.
The second example isn't as sad and shows a lot more awareness.
On Sunday I met my friend Annabelle, who is a bride-to-be and her cousin, Jordan, to look at bridesmaids dresses. Jordan is not at all a girly-girl. In fact, she even said, "I feel like a man in a dress if I get dressed up!"
The great thing about this bride is that she listens. She has four bridesmaids that are all different body shapes, ages and sizes, in fact one of them is me! She's made the best decision to give our group a colour but the dress shape is up to us to choose. Our comfort and confidence is paramount to her. The gorgeous Jordan put on a dress and showed me. It was ok, but very obviously uncomfortable for her. I just had to show her how great she 'could' look in a dress, so I put her in the perfect style. She loved it. Instantly she grew taller, had a smile and felt great. Jordan said to Annabelle, the bride, "I know I can relax and let loose in this - in fact I think I have a new attitude toward dresses now."
So, story one - bride not listening equals a devastating result.
Story two - bride listening equals a wonderful experience for all.
Brides, I agree it is 'your' day, but your decision on how you dress your maids will create a life time memory. Make it a beautiful one.
The realities of lifeA follow on from last week
Sorry girls but you may need a tissue for this one...
Last week I talked about how our adult lives are influenced by our upbringing - this week I’m reflecting on how one little lady influenced a couple of adults lives - both her mothers and mine.
As before, I’m going to give my characters fictional names - so I’m going to start with the mum in the story who I’ll call Sue. Sue came bounding in to see me - running late and freaking about time. “Calm down” I said, “there’s no hurry, just relax.” Sue looked rather stressed so I took her around to the couch to relax and simply breathe! “Nina,” she said, “I must explain why I’m late” (here comes the bombshell!) “I’ve been at the hospital this morning and I now have confirmation that my ten-year-old daughter has about 3 months to live.”
Wow...I then had to question as to whether she was up to having her session. “I’ve got no choice” she said, “my daughter, (let’s call her Sophie) has been dreaming of this day”. As she said this the most beautiful little angel came around the corner in the sweetest little dress.
Sophie had suffered from leukaemia for most her life. She was about the size of a 6-year-old. She grabbed hold of me and hugged me so tight saying, “You must be Nina... I’m so excited. You’re going to make my mummy beautiful. Thank you so much!”
Sue then started to tell me of the journey she had been on with little Sophie. She had been sick for most of her life so Sue had basically been her at-home nurse. Sue had attended an event I had spoken at and won a complimentary one-on-one style session. She went home and told Sophie all about the things I had said at the event and that she was coming to see me. Apparently Sophie got so excited she even went through her own wardrobe looking for her signature style!
Sue then told me that she lived in trackies - she saw no point in dressing up and frankly just never did. Sophie on the other hand would beg her mum to dress up... “but mummy you’re just as pretty as the other mummy’s and they wear pretty clothes… why can’t you??!!”
Sophie sat on my knee that day and said “Nina please make my mummy see that she’s beautiful”.
So you know what, I did! I got Sue dressed up straight away! Little Sophie sat on the couch like a cheer squad, clapping and squealing and at one stage she even started dancing!
But there was one particular dress that stopped Sophie in her tracks..."Mummy that’s the one...that’s the dress. You have to buy it!"
“Wow” I said, “she really likes this one.” Sue softly looked at me and said, “It’s for her funeral Nina... she’s asked me to do this for her.”
We held each other, and yes, cried.
I’m telling you this very emotional experience for a reason... maybe it’s not important to you to occasionally get dressed up... but just maybe its important to someone you love xx
TEACH YOUR DAUGHTER WELL!!
One thing that is occurring to me on a daily basis is how much information we "do and don’t" receive from our mothers, grandmothers and aunties around dressing, style, self-image and self-confidence. It’s actually something that has surprised me in my styling sessions… when these ladies come in with no idea whatsoever or even a slight amount of knowledge about the importance of looking great.
“But no one taught me growing up!” they say. Likewise for the fashion conscious ladies they tell me, “Oh my mother was great. She encouraged me with fashion and style. The reality is the best time for a little lady to find out about being a lady is right from the start! You will know yourself if you had the influence of another woman in your life who taught you things about style and how in turn, this has made you more confident.
So girls, take time to invest in your little ladies. Even if you’re not a girly girl... she well could be!
And little girls love to be pretty and feminine! Even though my mum was not a style driven lady she encouraged me like crazy to be and would play dress ups with me and let me do her hair. She made me believe I was a little princess and I could have the world. To this day I believe she is the reason I’m as confident as I am. Don’t have the daughter who visits a stylist in 20 years’ time saying, “Oh no, mum was just too busy”.
This blog was actually inspired by the words of the funniest lady, Mrs Brown who said… “A son is your son till he finds a wife but your daughters your daughter all your life!”
Thanks MUM! X
The Glamour of the winter coat!
One way to overcome the winter blues
Yip ladies it has happened, it is officially COLD! The one and only bonus to this is we get to snuggle up in our winter woollies. I myself love that part of winter, there’s something quite comforting about wrapping a woolly scarf around my neck and driving with stylish leather gloves. Without a doubt, my favourite winter garment of all time is… the "Coat"!
As I always do I spoke to a large amount of ladies about what they love about the colder weather with their wardrobes and the answer was unanimous. There just seems to be something that happens to us when we put a stylish, tailored, and classic coat on. We seem to hold our shoulders back, walk with a sense of empowerment, and simply feel and look more finished.
I remember watching a great movie with Jennifer Lopez…Maid in Manhattan. There’s a scene in the movie where she (Lopez) puts on a coat from the wardrobe of the elegant and wealthy lady staying in the Motel. Lopez instantly changes...and to some degree I believe this happens to us all!
My advice to you all is if you haven't invested in a "Great Coat" for your winter look...do it! But make sure you stick to all the rules for your body shape, and colouring. For example, Bluebell - you still need to show your waist! So keep it fitting. Rosebud - Big collar, slightly ‘A’ line bottom. Tulip - Small fine detail at the top, definitely longer line through the base. Lavender - You can do a combo of most of these but try to get great definition in the waistline.
I must be honest though...I have more than one coat!
Wrap up girls and fight the winter blues.
The word "Sexy"… what does it mean to you?
As women, let’s face it we all want to have a feeling of being sexy. After a styling appointment I often ask ladies how they feel now after being correctly dressed. The most common response is sexy and confident.
So time to ask yourself…what makes you feel sexy? I myself have two:
-My fingernails. If they are not looking perfect I don’t hold my wine glass the same, I hide my hands. I simply don’t feel right.
-And secondly, brushing my teeth before bed. I know, it’s sad but true even when waking up alone I don’t want morning breath!
The most obvious thing that makes women feel sexy is being confident. These two things always go hand in hand, hence the importance of finding your personal "thing". I decided to ask a few ladies what makes them feel sexy -what their "thing" is.
Here are the responses I got:
-Egyptian cotton sheets
-Fragrance - either with perfume, candles, or a whiff of a man’s scent!
I actually have to admit I agree with ALL of these!!
Sexy is not and I repeat NOT only a "bedroom" thing - look at the sexiest woman around... Nigella Lawson - a very voluptuous bluebell. She bakes muffins and feels sexy!!
So girls your Friday night to do list...Take off your flatties, throw on your heels, spray on some perfume, paint your nails and pour yourself a glass of bubbles! Bring your sexy back!
A styling session experience...
The power of confidence!
I’m going to share with you one of my MANY amazing experiences I have had with the ladies who come and have a one-on-one styling session with me.
I’m going to call this wonderful lady Sally - I did ask her if I could share her story to motivate others - she said yes so here goes!
I sat down with Sally and instantly knew she was a lost soul. She was low in energy, flat and had real sadness in her beautiful eyes. We began the session and she very quickly told me of her pain…she had recently finished her chemo treatment and was on the road to recovery, but when it came to her as a woman she was miserable and couldn’t bear to look in a mirror.
Sally had lost her hair through the chemo, and unfortunately couldn’t wear a wig due to it aggravating her scalp. She couldn’t see anything but a bald head, so to Sally she was plain and simply ugly.
I knew then that it was my job to get this amazing lady to find the beauty in herself again. We connected massively and went through all her other hopes and dreams and how she could build her self confidence to see past the no hair barrier.
Then we got to the frocks! I picked out a wide variety of different garments to not only flatter her body shape but give her an amazing new look. Then we hit the jackpot. One outfit looked unreal, Sally stopped and stared at herself in the mirror, then with tears rolling down her face she said, "Nina...I can’t believe it, I’m actually beautiful!"
Sally went from hating the mirror to actually walking out the door dressed in her cool new look beaming with confidence...I was also brought to tears with Sally’s amazing transformation.
Clothing is not just clothing ladies; it can actually make or break us!
During this past week I’ve reflected a lot on last week’s blog of the YouTube clip of the forensic artist. I realised that not only are we incredibly hard on ourselves, we also shop with too much “emotion” involved.
I know you have all heard of the saying "retail therapy" - this is actually totally true. A massive amount of us feel down and figure buying something will release endorphins and make us feel better.
Take my advice ladies… buy a great lipstick, perfume or scarf. These things will give you that lift your looking for but will not become that "bad purchase' that gives you buyer’s remorse.
On Anzac Day I decided to go through my second wardrobe (the one I rarely visit). I was so surprised at the colour range. The styles were all appropriate to my body shape but the colours weren’t - they were meek and mild and completely hid me.
I thought back to where I was in my life when I purchased these garments - sure enough my past marriage was at one of its saddest stages - so I was emotionally shopping and intrinsically purchasing for that emotion.
I wasted thousands!! Looking back a new lippy would have been a much better plan!
A fascinating YouTube clip
I need to share this with you ladies because what I saw really hit home.
This is a clip of a "forensic artist' who invites a group of ladies to meet him. Firstly, he gets the ladies to sit where he cannot see them. He then asks them to describe themselves - or how they interpret how they look. While this is happening he draws them. Secondly he asks one person to describe another - while he is drawing. This is the interesting part. The picture he draws while the other person is describing is way more accurate...the picture from the self-explanation is way off and ultimately less attractive. How incredibly SAD!!
The saddest part of it all is how true this is...what we see through our eyes are our faults. We struggle to appreciate our own unique beauty, which each and every one of us has! We really do need to stop this. In my one-on-one sessions I ask, "Do you understand your body shape...what are your assets?" Hilariously I get, "my house and my car!!" I can't improve either of those with the right frock!
Take the time to click on this link and watch this - I really do think it will give you a little push towards self-love...and hey while you’re there, think about what your assets are. Give back to you, you're worth it!
Link to YouTube clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zw72ECvuT5c
Accessorising your outfit
I’m asked so often about accessories and how to wear them. In fact, I am a true advocate for accessories - I believe they will finish off any outfit.
Take a simple scarf for example, throw on a classic tee and pants and you have an instant up-to-date style. Just throw the scarf around your neck. If you over tie or knot wrap you'll cut your neck line off which cuts you off up top making you look frumpy (there’s that word again!), so show a small amount of neck to keep elongated.
Bracelets are fantastic for all you small hipped girls...i.e. the tulip and lavender body shapes. The bunched bangle look creates a visual to the hip line maximising this area.
Long line necklaces are great for the bluebell and tulip body shapes. They create a line through the bust...separating the bust and creating a ‘V’ shape. Funky shorter necklaces are great for the smaller busts...i.e. the rosebud body shape.
Flower clips - one of my all time favourites!
For the rosebud and lavender body shapes put the clip on your lapel or on your dress/top to one side above the bust line. Bluebells and tulips put the flower on the waist (but to the side) to create even more accentuation to this area.
Belts - as you know I’m mad on belts. I seriously think belts make the woman! They are without a doubt the easiest way to change a look. If you haven’t tried working with a belt, go into your closest Annah.S store and get the girls to show you the elastic rose belt!
And finally the Vogue pick for this season - the fur collar. Simple, classy and warm too. Let’s face it - we all love a bit of extra glam! And we have the perfect solution with our NZ possum fur collar wraps.
Have fun...and remember keep putting things on until it feels like too much, then take one piece off...overdoing it really is a myth!
How to dress if you’re short
This is for the shorter ladies ...or what I call the 5'3 and under club!
I myself am only 5'3 so I understand - if you've meet me you’d know I was born in stilettos!
I've put together some pointers to help us out…
1. Wearing your waist high - wearing either a belt under the bust or a garment that is shaped under the bust will give the illusion of a longer torso and therefore, longer legs.
2. One colour - I know patterns are fun but the reality is ‘Continuation is Elongation’. Wearing one colour makes you instantly look taller.
3. Patterns - If you do want to wear pattern keep it either on the top or all over the garment but keep it small.
4. Heels - A 'must' girls! If you can’t handle stilettos, do the wedge!
5. Jackets - Do not wear the classic coat which falls to the thigh. You need to have your jackets stopping at the hip line or higher. And they need to be fitting.
6. No No's - Boxey or baggy clothing are major NO NOs on a short lady. You need your body elongated - not squashed.
7. Do not do the 3/4 pants - You have two lengths ladies… on the knee or full length.
8. Skirt length - Same goes with skirt lengths. The mid-leg look unfortunately just cannot be done.
The good news is ladies… the most beautiful things are little. My Chihuahua, Prada is living proof of that! So embrace your height by dressing it right.
Dressing "Age Appropriately"
After writing my last blog on skirt lengths, it came to my attention that I now need to follow up with the importance of dressing age appropriately.
I’m going to start with “turning older does not mean…. I don't bother anymore, nobody cares what I wear now that I’m older or I just cover up now that I’m over 40”. I get these excuses from women far too often. I’m an advocate for taking everything into consideration to get your look, your lifestyle, your bodyshape, your personal style and, YES your age right.
We live in a very teenage trend focused society but that is exactly that… a TEENAGE trend! I understand that as we age, we still want to feel sexy and in fashion but sexiness does not have to mean short and tight. Sexiness is confidence and class.
There is definitely a time when it is not a good look to be wearing your 18-year-old's clothing! Her mini skirt looks better on her!
There is a reason for the saying "mutton dressed as lamb" and you do not want to be the one this is directed at.
The truth is the sexiest, more mature ladies are likely to be wearing a dress to or below the knee with a suitable amount of cleavage showing. For example, Sophia Loren, who incidentally is in her 70s, still rocks out in a fitting, v neck, sexy frock nearly every time I see her in fashion mags. She’s still dressing like a beautiful woman in the correct garments, but she is not dressing like nobody cares either!
Today when I was grocery shopping I saw a lady (also I’m guessing in her 70s) wearing over the knee stiletto boots, tight pants and a fitted tee. It my friends, was all kinds of wrong!
If you feel like you're dressing too young or trying to maintain your youth, try dressing in a much more stylish and sophisticated way and look out for all the compliments you'll receive.
Age with grace and style ladies… it’s so much sexier!
The Long and the Short of It
What skirt length do I suit???
This is a question I am constantly asked by women in my styling sessions.
The reality is, if you're wearing the wrong length skirt you can instantly look frumpy.... not ideal girls!
The calculation or symmetry is to do with your own legs - the length of hip to knee and knee to ankle. The length of the skirt will create the balance or figure "8" look (which is the hour-glass proportion). This is why it is virtually impossible for most of us to do mid-calf without a heel. Your mission ladies, should you choose to accept it, is to stand in front of a full length mirror and play with where your hem-line is sitting. When you've created the balance or "8", you'll instantly see it. If you happen to be a techy-type, then you can actually get out a tape measure and measure the distance between hip and knee then knee and ankle. Basically you need to equalize the length of upper and lower leg. If your hip to knee is longer, you can go shorter. If your knee to ankle is longer, you can go longer.
But…long story short, I still strongly believe the best skirt length is just on the knee... it's sexy, timeless, flattering and classy. Have fun deciphering your perfect length!
Under covering the "True You"
I’m talking about underwear! Last week at one of our fun and interesting styling events I presented alongside a lingerie brand.
What a stunning range of gorgeous garments there is out there. I myself had to indulge in a jade green corset set…far too sexy to cover up...but I’ll try!
The fabulous lingerie presenter and representative sized me for my purchase. I realised it must have been 10 years since I had been fitted properly! Crikey! I tell you all to do it at my events but procrastinated myself! Well…I can tell you its incredible when you’ve got the base right because it makes it so much easier to get the finished look polished! The correct undergarments can make your body take its correct shape, not only that but you’ll feel glamorous and attractive underneath your frock!
The underwear range they have is total quality, and the colours are beautiful.
I’ve always been a sucker for lingerie and now that I've got my fitting perfected - look out Visa!
Now...your turn! Put this straight to the top of the “to do” list...Go get that fitting, your bust will love you for it!
Finding the right shoes
I have just finished a styling session in our Ponsonby store with a fabulous lady named Dawn.
During the session we realised the style of shoes she was wearing was inappropriate for her bodyshape. I cannot express how important it is to wear the correct style of shoe....
A) Elongation of the legs.
B) Sexiness of the calves.
C) Suitability to your signature style.
D) Appropriate to your lifestyle.
I'm well aware many of you go for comfort over style whilst shoe shopping. If you can't immediately find the right style, encourage yourself to keep looking. There will be the perfect pair of stylish, comfortable shoes waiting for you somewhere. Don't be tempted to make the same mistake we often make with clothing and buy the first available pair that only ticks a couple of boxes. You'll only end up wearing them once then they will just live in your wardrobe for the dog to chew!
Most importantly, if you are shorter in the leg, do not wear straps up around your ankle. Also, we all need to get back into our heels; even a small amount of heel will make you feel more feminine.
Why don't you try something radical like a bright colour or patterned shoe teamed up with a classic look? But remember, your shoes should compliment you, not over-power you.
Have fun and get down to some serious shoe shopping! A little birdie tells me our stores may have some little gems on the way... stay tuned for an update.
Standing your ground!
As I previously mentioned I am over in Australia (see my travelling tip below). Last week I spent time with my partner, Paul, and while I was there we travelled to the most beautiful place, Bussleton. We stayed in a gorgeous resort with not one but three restaurants to choose from. Paul (unlike myself) is not a ‘dress up kind of bloke’ so when it came time for getting ready for dinner I chose to be myself and dress up. I still remained resort appropriate (a sparkly kaftan with heels) but, as is so very common, I was more dressed up than him.
This is OK ladies!!!
Do not feel that you need to curve ball your glamour because your partner/husband does not share your passion. When I do one-on-one consultations I find so many ladies have become the "jeans and tee" type only because they try to fit in with their man. Stay true girls and stand your ground! Because I dressed up so nicely that night Paul treated me to the best restaurant of the three available, I indulged in oysters and wine and felt totally glam!
Four fabulous tips for travelling
As I have just left for yet another trip to Australia it reminded me of how easily I can now pack and how important it is to be organised. How many times have you packed for a trip only to find you packed loads of pieces that were never even worn...and too many shoes! We over pack the same way we over shop...so here’s some tips for the ultimate suitcase…
1) Pack items and tones that match, this way the climate is not an issue, you can layer the pieces and still maintain a great look.
2) Spread everything out on the bed. Take out your feature pieces (for example, the highlight garment of your look) you should only need five feature pieces, then get three complimentary pieces that will match up to all five features. Finally allow yourself five random pieces, take all other garments out!! Be strict-you wont need them!
3) Toiletries - don't bother taking your entire make up kit - likewise to the clothing - be strict. Take one great eye shadow pallet, neutrals are perfect, they suit all looks.
4) Learn to ROLL...if you’re not a roller get rolling. By rolling your garments not folding them you save so much space and it keeps your suitcase nice and tidy.
Advice for purchasing in “SALE TIME”!
Ladies…I know it’s exciting to see gorgeous garments for a fraction of the price, but ALL the same rules apply as full priced garments. Do not be influenced by the reduction, make sure it still ticks all your boxes. Too often I see ladies wearing the wrong styles simply because it was 50 bucks! You’re actually worth more than to dress to a price tag – if you’re not sure whether the styles are right for you look for complimentary pieces- for example, you may get a great deal on a cute cardi or framer that needs no styling. DO NOT be the lady with the “bargain” dress that’s hanging in the wardrobe with its price tag still on it!
Use that 50 dollars wisely-stick it on a lay-by!