(This blog post was first published in 2014 but is every bit as relevant today).
Does looking good every day feel like too much of a struggle?
Are you filled with dread and fear every time you are invited to a party or a work event when you know that everyone will have made a big effort to look their best?
Does it really matter if you look as though you’ve thrown your outfit together without any thought?
Surely there are much more important things to worry about in the world? Especially right now!
In my experience, everyone would like to look good but there are some women who either don’t believe they can, or who aren’t prepared to put any effort into working out how.
There’s no doubt that when you feel that you look good, you carry yourself differently. You are more happy to meet new people, you hold your head up high, you act confidently and people listen.
The problem is, that unless you’re comfortable with your style, it can feel daunting to know what to buy and how to put outfits together in the right way for YOU.
It’s important to point out here that when I say look good, I absolutely don’t mean that in order to look good you need to be dolled up in smart, coordinating clothes with your hair and make-up done to within an inch of your life.
What I actually mean is that when you wear outfits that “love you back” you will look and feel fantastic.
These outfits might be casual and carefree, loud and patterned, well cut and tailored. It all depends on your signature style but unfortunately many women aren’t 100% sure as to what their signature style is.
What is your true style?
If you feel your best in comfortable clothes in soft colours, you prefer your hair to be unstructured and let’s face it, a little scruffy, your signature style may well be a natural one.
These are the women that look uncomfortable at a wedding when they arrive for the ceremony all dolled up in the requisite coordinated outfit and lipstick but when the wine starts to flow and the dancing starts, they kick off their heels, let their hair loose and move around the dance floor barefoot and free. This is their comfort zone, loose, natural and carefree – which is very sexy (on the right person).
If you put your lipstick on to put out the dustbins and wouldn’t dream of wearing anything un-ironed you might be a classic or a dramatic and this style not only suits you but you FEEL fabulous in it. These women would rather be over-dressed than under-dressed in any scenario.
So, my ethos is that once you fully accept your true style and understand how to tweak it to suit any situation, you will look great but more importantly you will FEEL great.
To help you get started on this, decide which of these statements you most agree with.
*I love camping and the excuse to leave make-up behind
*I heart flat shoes, I need to be able to walk everywhere
*I don’t hand-wash or iron
*Fabrics need to feel soft and comfortable against my skin
*If I’m carrying a bag it is likely to be a rucksack
*Make up is as important as breathing
*I have my hairdresser on speed dial
*I take the kitchen sink with me wherever I go
*I will NEVER go camping
*I love to wear colour, print and texture
*I only wear neutral, safe colours
*I prefer simple cuts and plain fabrics
*Unfussy is my mantra
*I feel elegant in a pair of court shoes
*I carry a hairbrush and lipstick wherever I go
*I love a floral pattern and a touch of lace
*Polka dots make me smile
*I love to wear skirts and dresses
*A bit of sparkle will always improve an outfit
*A Tiffany heart necklace is on my wish-list
Don’t worry if you don’t fit neatly into one style, most people are a mixture or two or even three of but they would definitely need to wear them in different proportions. Often there is at least one style that doesn’t suit you at all and should be avoided at all costs. For me this is the girly style.
Where many of my clients get stuck is when their best style (the one that loves them back) isn’t wholly appropriate for the work that they do. Let’s say you are a professional speaker and need to look smart and polished on stage. If your best style is a natural one, and you stand on stage wearing a suit and court shoes, you are never going to look or feel authentically you.
I’ve worked with many women who just needed to feel that they’d been given ‘permission’ to dress for who they truly are and to fully express themselves in their work and off duty time. And I’m proud to say that for many its been pretty life-changing.
Shopping and putting outfits together becomes a breeze when you know which direction your style is, but most of all you feel authentic and attractive wherever you are going and whatever you are doing, even if it is just to put the bins out.
Lucky for you, I have something that will help you to work out the styles that love you back, so that you find it easier to look and feel like you.
The Style Plan is an online, home learning program.
When you purchase this fabulous program, you get instant access to 8 video modules that walk you the key elements of style, from how to recognise your most flattering colours, to learning about how to accessorise in the right way for your style.
You can read more about it here.
And if you fancy getting started on your own style upgrade, use the code ‘new style’ (no CAPS) to save yourself £50 – and use that to treat yourself to something new once you’ve worked out your style!
You are very welcome!
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Thank you for showing us that we don’t have to be something we’re not! And that styles can be dressed up or down to reflect who we are. Saw Jo speak at an event (after you had styled her) and she looked amazing! Hadn’t occurred to me that you’d adapted a natural style because it was quite a classic look.
I’m glad you found it useful Denyse and I’m pleased you liked how Jo was dressed at her event. I’m looking forward to seeing her at her event next weekend, three days, three different outfits!
This article resonates so strongly. I never know what to buy or what style is appropriate. Consequently I’ve hated trawling round shops and very seldom like anything I try on. I am a boyish frame (small hips) with large chest (DD). So I take 10-12 at the bottom and 12-14 at the top, dependent on style and/or cut.
I’ve never been conventional, do my own thing unless told I have to conform, which I hate, and negative comments about what I look like have been the usual, which has eroded my style confidence. Then after a while, people have the same haircut or colour as me, wear the same combinations of what I wear. I look at them and think, yes this looks great on you, why is it so wrong for me? I’m pale skinned redhead, love summer colours blue/green/purple/red but look ill in olive, peach, burnt orange, stone, beige.
I like unusual jewellry, mixing casual clothes with smart, and use scarves and accessories. My biggest downfall is shoes. I hate them and wear flat shoes or pumps 99% time. I would love to hear your thoughts on my situation! Btw, I’m in my 60s but still want to have my own style!!
Hi there, Thanks for you comments and for sharing your own situation. It sounds to me as though you are a cross between a dramatic and a natural. Something that strikes me is how you like unusual styles and accessorising. I bet your worst nightmare would be to wear something plain and neutral with matching shoes and handbag (yet this look works brilliantly for some). I often find that once someone has had their style analysed and they have been “given permission” to go for it, they wear their clothes with more confidence. It sounds as though you’ve had negative comments from “classic” dressers who wouldn’t dream of wearing anything unconventional (and wouldn’t wear it well). Too many people think there is right and a wrong way. We are beautifully different from one another which is why we have different ways of dressing and different taste.I love that you have the confidence and the desire to wear an edgy look.
A great perspective on style – who you are comes first and your style reflects who you are. I’m more a classic person who used to feel safe in black but is now branching out into colours. Do you do colours too? Once you’re wearing the colours that are just right for you, from your own colour palette, your assets are enhanced, your ‘flaws’ disappear and you feel great. And that’s all part of being who you are in the style you wear.
I’m glad you enjoyed it Claudia. Yes I do colours too but it is just one piece of the puzzle that makes up ones style. It sounds like you understand the benefits of knowing the right palette for you. Well done for starting to branch out!
I entirely agree with this. Find your own authentic style and don’t follow the masses just because it’s fashionable if you are not comfortable with it or it doesn’t suit you. In the past few years, I think I have found the style that is me and that I am comfortable with. At the same time, I am mindful that as I approach my 50s, I don’t become dated. Great post!