Archive | February 2012

Yellow – Not Just for Extroverts

Yellow - Not Just for ExtrovertsSunshine, intellect, optimism and cowardice – yellow is a very emotional colour.

I have read that yellow is the colour that most women will avoid wearing. Fashion Trends usually promote bright yellow which is a colour only a few can wear successfully. Lemon looks better on those with fair or blond hair and a yellow tie makes blue eyes in men look brighter. Butter yellow or golden amber are shades of yellow that can look great on Springs and Autumns.
Yellow is a great colour in the office for a business promoting enthusiasm and optimism. The mind takes longer to recognise yellow. So people look a little bit longer at business cards and advertising material with lots of yellow in them than at cards and brochures of other colours. Many businesses combine yellow and blue to engage both sides of the brain – yellow for decision-making and blue for communication.
Yellow has many shades. Just choose the one that is right for you.
If you want to start cautiously, buy and wear an accessory with a little bit of yellow in it to test how it makes you feel.

(Article sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ (previous name) in 2007. Click here to sign up for The ‘Baby Boomer Personal Style’ eZine.)


For the Frill of It

Frills come in and out of fashion. Some call them ruffles (same meaning – different words). Frills can be feminine or sexy, fattening or slimming, comfortable or annoying or modern or dated. They are a fashion disaster just waiting for the wrong body shape and personality.

Frills create a 3D dimension that adds interest and texture to what you wear. So if your wardrobe is full of flat-textured tops, adding a frilled item may be the boost you need to combat your ‘nothing to wear’ complaint.

Here is my no-nonsense guide to frills.

Horizontal Frills

Women with a feminine personality tend to prefer horizontal frills.

Horizontal frills can add width and weight. Frills as neckline collars widen your shoulders and bustline depending on the frill length, the material colour the pattern and how gathered the frill is. If you are very slim, this is fine. Lightly gathered single or double frills that drape gently on plain, solid colours are less fattening. Add a soft mesh or draped jacket over it and the frill becomes less obvious and now turns into an interesting feature.

Patterned fabrics make frills more obvious and your body appears bigger. Beware of rows of whole upper-body horizontal frills as they can add weight to almost everyone. Watercolour patterns where the colours merge into each other are less fattening as the pattern on the frills are less obvious. Consider wear them under a jacket or not at all.

Frills on skirts can be either tiered or a hemline feature only. Hemline frills appeal to feminine women and are usually seen on casual clothes or evening wear. Be wary of soft-material black tiered frills on a classic straight skirt. It is not a timeless style and will only look modern for the season when it appears.

Vertical Frills

Women with a sensual personality tend to prefer vertical or diagonal frills as they are ’swishy’. They move with your body.

These frills are more slimming-friendly. Centre front frills will slim or widen depending on how wide the frill is, where it ends and how much you notice it. Some centre frills can flop around as you bend and move – very annoying for the unfussy woman.

Princess line vertical frills (on one or two sides of your body) are a very modern, slimming look. These often extend a little beyond the hemline and being sewn down, are less annoying when you move.  Diagonal frills are crossovers represented in a modern trend.

Also around are soft jackets with frilled front edges. Small, very gathered frill edges can easily look dated. Longer draped frills look more modern.

Good and Bad Ways of Wearing Frills

Horizontal frills on both skirt and top equals double the weight gain and only for the very slim. Instead wear a frilled top with plain streamlined pants, skirt, jeans or shorts. Or wear a frilled skirt with a plain smooth top and accessories to draw attention to your face. Small frills or gathers as a collar or small frills down the centre front of a button-up blouse are an old standby but not a modern classic.

Not a Fan of Frills:

Go for gentle draping like cowl necklines or ruching. Both of these have a similar effect without too much fuss. Fishtail inserts on the back of straight skirts are bias cut pieces to give a sensual frill effect minus the revealing leg split.

Always use the dressing room mirror to check from all angles, distances and do lots of bending and moving.

(Article sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 10 February 2011. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine.)

To Sleeve or Not to Sleeve

‘Most women after a certain age like to cover up their arms’ said the dress shop owner when I called in to her shop. I also read a magazine article where the writer entered a dress shop and the assistant told here that ‘her arms had turned (I am still having fun imagining what that means) and it was time for her to cover them up’. Both of these got me thinking.

As women we can spend a lot of money on all sorts of products and procedures that cater to the manufactured or real fears that once we reach 40, we will start to become part of a disappearing and irrelevant group. We are told we must do everything we can to avoid showing the natural signs of aging – wrinkles, lines, cellulite and grey hair.

Utter rubbish!

Do you want to buy into this lie that you must now cover up your arms?

If you do, you will severely limit your choice of clothes to the dowdy styles that retailers think are acceptable for women over 40. Add to that feelings of anger, frustration and depression and you will sink into a disappearing generation.

If you do not want to buy into this lie, then it is time to remember, learn and apply some smart dressing tips and seek out those retailers who celebrate women of all ages.

Going Sleeveless

Yes you can! Here is how. It is the oldest trick in the book. Divert their attention elsewhere. Choose a lovely modern sleeveless top – one that leaves some skin space below your neck. Crossover tops are great or any interesting neckline shape. Then add a beautiful, interesting accessory – scarf, necklace, earrings or brooch. Dainty and small will not work. It must be large enough to divert their attention from your arms to your face. People will admire your style and confidence because they always see that before your so-called faults.

How to Make Short Sleeves Work for You

If you’re not totally happy wearing sleeveless tops, look for tops and dresses with a little cap sleeve. It is a tiny half sleeve that just covers the very top of your arms. They are not that common and that makes them look smart and modern. Another alternative is to recycle your sleeveless tops and wear them as a modern vest over shirts, t-shirts and dresses.

What Sleeve Lengths to Be Wary Of

These are sleeves that end in line with either the fullest part of your bust or in line with your waist. If you have a small bust, sleeves that end in line with them will make your bust look larger when you stand still. If you have a large bust, you may not want to make them look even larger. So for you, either cut them a little shorter or make them longer.

Sleeves that end in line with your waist (ie elbow length) can make your waist look bigger especially if the top, jacket or dress is a boxy shape. Take the sleeves up, make them narrower or add a frill or false hem to make them longer.

Magic Sleeve Length

It is the ¾ length sleeve. This is magic because it covers your perceived ‘arm faults’. Wrinkles appear last just above the wrist and this length covers wrinkles and batwings. You are not covering up totally, which means you are perceived as confident and young in attitude. Lastly the length is not all that common; so you look different and stylish.

Remember! How you feel about parts of your body is NOT what others see or concentrate on. They are attracted to your self-confidence. Mix up your sleeve lengths. Wear what looks great on you and what fits with your natural personality. Your confidence will shine through.

(Article sent to subscribers of ‘The Fashion Translator eZine on 18 October, 2010. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine.)

Make the Change Room Mirror Your Friend

There you are standing in a change room cubicle about the size of a shower recess. You stand about half a metre from the mirror and look at yourself from four different angles.

After a few minutes you smile or frown and the decision is made whether to buy the new item or not.

That is a false impression.

It is not how most other people see you. They are not always up that close to you and examining your body from every angle.

Here is how to get more value from the change room mirror.

Step 1 –

Put the intended purchase on. Open the change room door. Stand as far away from the mirror as you can while still seeing your reflection.

This is how most people see you first – from a distance. That can change things. Two or three colours can merge to form a totally different colour. An interesting pattern up close can look messy and awful from a distance. Some colours can merge with your skin and make you look naked above or below the waist. That shirt colour that looks OK up close can make you look sick from a distance.

After considering all of these, now make your first judgment about the item.

Step 2 –

Most people see us active and moving or standing in a relaxed pose.

If you still like the item, walk into the change room towards the mirror and see how you look to others as you move closer to them.

Bend, stretch and lift your knees. Check out your rear view and your side view. Sit down if possible and check how far the skirt or dress rides up above your knees. Is it modest or embarrassing? Will you have to spend a lot of energy always pulling it down to a respectable length for you?

Stand up straight and check also what difference good posture makes to how you look in the clothes.

Step 3 –

If you are happy and feel quietly confident that this outfit feels comfortable on your body, this is the time to do the close-up view. Most people who are standing or sitting close to you are having a conversation with you. They only see the detail from your chest up to your face. Look closely at this part of the clothing.

Remember you are a living person not a static model in a magazine.

Use this 3 step process to make the change room mirror your friend and not your enemy.

Bonus Tip – Always Check Your Rear View

When buying new clothes always check your rear view as this tip is for all those who have a husbands or partner like mine. My experience is not unique.

When we go on holidays, I take the photos and he takes the videos. Bless his soul, he does love me and that is why he often says ‘just walk up there so I can put you in the video’. Of course, I walk that way. There in all its glory, captured on video, is my rear view.

While on holidays recently, I watched a Japanese couple repeat the same scene. The lady was smarter than me as she had a unique solution to this problem. While her husband videoed, she turned around and walked backwards so that he got her front view only. Hmm! Must try that.

(Article was sent to ‘The Fashion Translator’ eZine Readers on 56 October 2010.  Click here to sign up for eZine.)

Beware! Fashion Speed Bumps Ahead!

Fashion is a funny thing. It goes in cycles – sometimes small cycles and sometimes large ones. It is these cycles that often convince women to keep clothes because ‘they’ll come back into fashion again’.


Yes, you are right. Popular styles do come back into fashion again.

Here is the ‘No’ that most women ignore or do not understand.

I call these recycled styles ‘fashion speed bumps’ because they are designed to make you slow down and think twice. Styles that are recycled are usually short-lived fads and fads are designed for young women. Yes, we were all once young and followed fashion fads. Because these fad fashions are about selling something old as new, they are never exactly as they were last time around. Wear your old style and that is what you will be perceived as – ‘old and out-of-date’.

Here is my guide to four ‘fashion speed bumps’ to approach with caution.

Cargo Pants

These are always in fashion for the outdoor traveller. Wear them without a care in the great outdoors and on that adventure expedition to Africa or Antarctica.

Modern cargo pants are tapered to the ankles with loose elastic and buttons (not full elastic). Tapering is flattering. Wear them if you are tall and slim and look good in them like this model in Simplicity 6055.

There is a big challenge with cargo pants as casual day wear. Yes, it is those large side pockets that make every woman’s thighs look bigger. Ignore this style if your thighs are not one of your best assets. A second problem is the elastic waist with cords tied in a bow. Okay on the young; feels grandma-ish on anyone over 40 (even if no-one sees them).


This time round they do not look like clothes worn by aircraft mechanics. They have tapered legs, are two pieces with sleeveless tops in V or halter necks and come in soft fluid materials like this Vogue 8738 (much easier than unzipping everything to go to the bathroom).

They are great for the slim and fantastic for the tall and slim. Everyone else must drive on. Even in its current two-piece version which looks better with a belt or waist chains, jumpsuits will be short-lived.


Wide Peasant Blouses

Peasant blouses are a summer staple and come in many variations. The ‘fashion speed bump’ variety is the one with wide bat-wing type sleeves that start at the waist as in this Vogue 1245. This style widens and shortens everyone from waist to shoulder. It will make you look dumpy unless you are very tall and it will still widen tall women. Even in elegant colours and fabric, it has ‘beware’ written all over it.


Casual Cork-heeled Slingback Shoes

The modern version of these casual favourites has thicker soles and that makes the heels much higher. The shoes are not the problem. The problem is what you choose to wear them with. Wear them with jeans and they work well. Wear them with a knee-length modern dress and you look okay.

The ‘fashion speed bump’ comes when you wear them with a blouson dress that ends at mid-calf length like this New Look 6024. This style and length looks dowdy with thick heels. It screams ‘pretend young’. Wear with care.



Beware of those clothes you wore for a short time when you were young. They are ‘fashion speed bumps’. Bless them and thank them for your happy memories as you slow down. Then wave as you drive on. There are more flattering styles ahead.

Action Step: Do you want to know which modern styles flatter you. Have a look at My Private Stylist . Then call me. I’ll measure you accurately and I will personalise it for you in a full package with a Style Book you can take with you when you go shopping.


(Article sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 23 February 2012. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator Ezine.)

Plan B Dressing – Part 2

A networking associate posed a question to me last week. She said that when getting dressed, she often forgets what she has in her wardrobe than can be worn together. Although her clothes hang in colour groups, that provides no reminder and she often defaults to her favourite combination. Did I have any ideas to help her?

I gave her some suggestions and decided to share them with you. I call this the ‘quick grab and wear’ part of Plan B Dressing.

Re-organise or De-clutter Your Wardrobe

If you have so many clothes hanging up that they merge into one solid block, it is time to re-organise or discard. Has the season changed and you are still keeping on hand clothes too summery or too wintery for this time of year? If so, move those clothes elsewhere. Space out the clothes that are left so you can see all your clothes. Hang jewellery in clear pocket hangers and scarves on tie hangers to make it easy to choose the accessory you want.

Can’t get rid of clothes you know need to go? Click here to go to the ‘Wardrobe Full, Nothing to Wear’ Action Program which will help you happily discard unwanted clothes.


Kathleen Noonan wrote in the Courier Mail ‘etc’ magazine on 11 June 2011 about the Buddhist principle of ‘enough’. With your wardrobe that means that before you buy more clothes, look at your wardrobe differently. Change any out-dated ideas that only this can go with that. Play Dress Ups. Use this Step 5 from my program above. Try on everything with everything. Try camisoles and singlet tops as modern outer vests. Mix patterns and colours. You may be amazed at what works and how your dressing choices have suddenly expanded. Enough will be plenty.

Create a Looks Folder

Now it is time to remember your old and new combinations. For the writers, write down all the combinations you can wear.

For those more visual, take pictures against a plain wall of yourself or your combinations. Create an album of your looks on your mobile or iPhone. Or cut and paste them as small images in a Word document and print them in colour at Office Works etc for only a few dollars. Or, depending on who shares your computer or laptop, create a screensaver of your looks (suggested by the networker above). Or get creative with your own ideas.

Stick your printed sheets on the wardrobe door or wall for easy reference. Remember to check before you get dressed.

Bonus Tip

When you buy something new, wear it as soon as possible in at least two different ways to imprint it on your mind. Be like a little kid. They are often so in love with their new clothes that they don’t take them off for a month.


No more complaining about your wardrobe. Get dressed simpler and faster.

(Article sent to readers of ‘The Fashion Translator’ ezine on 16 June 2011. Click here to sign up for the ezine.)

Plan B Dressing

You know the feeling! You have just got dressed ready to go out and suddenly you notice something’s wrong. Now you have to change in a hurry. So much for deciding the night before what you were going to wear today!

Yes, I’ve had my share of last minute disasters – rough heels caught in skirt hems, toothpaste stains on a clean jumper etc. Disasters usually happen when you are rushing and not concentrating totally on what you are doing. Apart from slowing down what can you do?

Here are three tips to help you laugh at minor disasters and immediately go to Plan B. It is your preparation behind the scenes that makes all the difference.

Stick to Your Very Best Colours

Base your wardrobe around a few colours that absolutely make you look fabulous. Make sure that you have tops, jackets, dresses and accessories in the three colours that contrast with your skin, eyes and hair colours. If your eyes are the stand-out feature on your face, add the shade that heightens your eye colour. These are the colours that will draw attention to your face. Then choose a couple of extra colours from your colour palette that you like and that go with your three or four main face colours.

Add a few tops, shirts, dresses or jackets in neutral colours that suit you and appeal to you. These may be black, white, brown, cream, beige or any pattern including these colours. Buy skirts or pants in your preferred dark or light neutrals.

This makes it very easy to swap clothes or accessories when disaster strikes.

Maintenance is Important

When you notice an item that needs repairing, put it aside immediately to be fixed. Do the basic repairs as soon as possible or set a regular time aside each week to either fix them or take them somewhere to be fixed. This way you choose from your entire wardrobe not half your wardrobe.

Book the Next Appointment Before You Leave

Booking the next appointment with the hairdresser, massage therapist or beauty salon before you leave ensures that you always look your best because you have scheduled your appointments to look after yourself and to allow for special events. You also ensure your favourite person is always available.

Now you know some of my secrets for always looking good (Plan B Dressing) why not have a look at your Colour Palette with new eyes or book yourself in for a Colour Consultation if you don’t know your best colours.

(This article was sent to readers of ‘The Fashion Translator’ eZine on 19 May 2011. Click here to sign up for the eZine .)