Archive | May 2012

Looking Younger – Instant Fix Or New Habits

One of my goals at the beginning of this year was to ‘join Ezine Articles’. Three little words with the possibility of potential or regret – just like our attitude to looking younger.

Let me explain.

When starting something new – whether it be joining Ezine Articles, going to a workshop, starting networking or dressing to look the best possible version of you, you are faced with two choices. Try something new once only and it is the constant search for an instant fix. It may be plastic surgery, botox, a makeover or a colour consultation that is bought or done once and then you move on in search of the next magic fix.

The smart women do something very different. They realise that the makeover, the colour consultation or even joining Ezine Articles is the first step in developing a new habit.

Instant fixes leave you feeling disappointed and full of regret. Creating new habits give you a feeling of excitement because it leads to mastery of a skill. Every small success along the way leaves you with a feeling of joy and satisfaction.

Here are my three dressing tips for quiet achieving business and professional women over 40 to help you create new rest-of-life habits for looking younger.

Accentuating Your Positives

 Bring a smile to your face by aiming to always accentuate the positive things about you. Doing the opposite and always trying to hide your negatives leads to constant worry and the fear that you did not hide them well enough.

Do you have tiny feet? Then find and wear gorgeous shoes that bring attention to your feet and shoe-lovers will seek you out. Do you have nice hands or long fingers? Then experiment with nail colours and always wear rings and bracelets. Make your feet or your hands a signature feature of you.

Do you love florals, animal prints or like to look elegant? Then find different ways to express those loves and wear them often enough to feel good about yourself. Sometimes the joy and satisfaction is in the success of discovering and wearing small things that reinforce who you are to you first.

Face First

This is the best life-long habit to develop and the one that others will notice and compliment you on. It is – keep your hairstyle modern and your makeup light and enhanced natural.

The phrase ‘eye contact’ is really more than these two words. It is your whole face and hair that draws people to you and keeps them focused on your face. Then they listen to what you say.

Make a friend of your hairdresser. Hair colour today is multi-tonal which reflects natural hair with a bit more oomph. Light colours close to your face, whether it be lighter foils, a slightly lowered neckline, a skin-coloured scarf or a necklace base in soft gold or skin-coloured cord, make you face look younger and more vibrant.

As you age, go a little lighter and softer with your foundation, lipstick and eye shadows. Be a natural woman rather than an aging, painted doll.

Learn New Dressing Skills

Fashion and dressing always reflect changes in the attitudes and lifestyles of young adults. We baby-boomers relaxed the post-war dressing of our mothers just as Generation Y is relaxing our dressing styles. As the new becomes common, the smartest women follow.

The new habit to learn (or remember) is to adapt not adopt. Your goal is not to try to be 20 again. It is to ‘think 20’ and take the best and leave the rest. This is where I, as the Fashion Translator, and any woman whose modern style you admire become your educators and your role models. Scarves are an old stand-by and learning how to wear them like this Generation Y look from www.chicos.com instantly updates your look.

Making mistakes is part of creating new habits. Mistakes make great stories provided you eventually learn from them.

Last Words

I believe that the phrase ’look younger’ is negative. I much prefer you to create or continue habits that help you become more of a shining and quietly confident version of you every day.

(Article sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 31  May 2012. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine.)

The Fear of Becoming an Invisible Woman When Over 40

Is invisibility the only choice for women over 40?

In a recent article in my weekend paper about women over 40, one particular participant was bemoaning the fact that she was now invisible to younger men. She was sharing one of the greatest fears of baby-boomer women. It is the fear of losing your attraction to others. Whether it is your size or what you are wearing, many women feel unnoticed and bypassed both in their professional and personal life.

Here are two questions for you to consider? Who are you dressing for? What do you want to do with the rest of your life?

Read on for my views on whether invisibility is the only option for business and professional women over 40.

Is Invisibility the Only Choice? Yes!

Invisibility is the only option if you choose to take that option. If you decide to retreat from contact from others, wear dowdy clothes, slouch and look unhappy, you will be invisible to everyone and not just young men.

If how you dress and look becomes unimportant to you and you decide to follow your current passions, you cannot be invisible. Your life-affirming attitude will shine through to others.

 

Is Invisibility the Only Choice? Maybe!

Beware of invisibility by accident. This is when you live in mostly beige or black clothes or become so much of a stereotype of your age group that you show no individuality.

You might have put on extra weight or wear dowdy, shapeless clothes because it is all too hard. You have no idea how to look modern and stylish. To you it seems like the media is only interested in women much younger than you.

You might relate to the survey result In Weight Watchers, July 2010 magazine that found that women today feel less valued by their partners than men do. If any of these are you, it is time to change invisibility by accident.

Is Invisibility the Only Choice? No!

Face the question that frightens you. Who are you dressing for? Are you dressing for men and of what age group? Are you seeking compliments from other women? Are you dressing to please yourself first?

Dressing for yourself to suit your shape and personality improves your posture and puts a smile on your face. Believe me, men of all ages may not notice your clothes or your hairstyle but they do notice your self-confidence. So do other women. They notice the women who walk tall and quietly proud of their individuality – the Helen Mirren, the Maggie Beer and the Mery Streeps of the world. Look around for female role models in your local community or women over 45 who are on a bigger stage.

Even if it seems that no one notices, it is your self-esteem that matters. Youth is spent dressing for others. Age is spent dressing for you only. Stand tall, smile and learn new dressing skills if that is what you need and you will never be invisible.

Now you are ready for the big question. What do you want to do with the rest of your life? Clarity on that attracts people to you. If you are not sure what to do with the rest of your life, I suggest you read I Could Do Anything If Only I Knew What It Was by Barbara Sher.

Last Words: Getting your partner to pay you compliments, now that is a whole different subject.

Brown – Your Connection to the Earth

Brown is considered to be part of the orange family of colours. It is thought of as a more sombre and sensible shade. Brown is about duty and responsibility and being very grounded. On the negative side, brown is often used in movies to show an unhappy person who is a bit of a martyr.

Brown is not all dull. Springs and Autumns often love brown and it loves them. It can be a better neutral for them than black which is a harsher colour. There are rich shades of brown, especially red-browns and dark chocolates as in this Vogue pattern  8705. Brown can be an exciting hair colour especially when it is a mixture of light and dark shades. If you wear brown on the top half of your body, add something in a gold, aqua or turquoise to provide a beautiful contrast.

And finally, brown is the colour of chocolate. Enough said!

(Article sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 23 September 2010. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine.)

The Art of Compliments – Giving Effectively and Receiving Graciously

There you are in any situation and someone pays you a compliment. They say you look well or gorgeous or that meal you cooked was lovely. You blush. Then comes the put-down. It is from you not the one complimenting you. We women are often our own worst emery.

I have seen this happen so often. Why do we do it?

There are many reasons why women can be afraid of compliments. The simplest one is that we have not been taught how to give effective compliments nor how to receive them graciously.

Good manners never go out of fashion and a sincere compliment is a special gift to be treasured.

Here is my simple guide to giving and receiving compliments.

How to Give Effective Compliments

The aim of most women is to dress and look nice enough to receive compliments. These come more often from other women than the men in your life.

A great compliment is first about your body language. Be expressive and smile with your mouth and eyes as you give it. Nice words which are spoken from the mouth only are perceived as flattery and not believed. A smile from the mouth and eyes is perceived as more genuine.

Now for a technique I first learnt from Allan and Barbara Pease in their book, ‘Easy Peasey People Skills for Life’.  Add an explanation ie words that expand on why are saying nice things to that person.  Instead of saying that the other person looks lovely, add another sentence or use – ‘because’ – followed by your reason. ‘You look lovely because that aqua colour really makes you shine’. If you can, compliment her on her talents and skills. This shows that you have noticed something special about her. It will be heard, remembered and make her feel good about herself.

Lastly use her name at any place in your compliment. Using her name makes the compliment unique and special to her and acknowledges that she counts for something in the world.

We all have inborn skills and talents that we take for granted because they come easily to us and we assume that everyone else can do that skill as effortlessly as we can. When you notice that special skill and take the time to tell another person that this is not universal to everyone, you are giving the gift of individuality and reminding them that they have something unique that they can contribute to the world.

As adults, most of us get so little appreciation that giving a compliment is a wonderful gift and may be the nicest words that the other person has heard in a very long time.

Writing a Thank You

A short sentence or paragraph explaining why you are writing a Thank You Note is a compliment in a written form. Use the same technique to personalise cards or write on letter paper. You will be remembered as considerate, thoughtful and perceptive.

How to Receive Compliments Graciously

The mark of a confident woman is how graciously you receive compliments.

The simplest way is to say – thank you. Then smile. Those two words and a smile are enough. Many women are embarrassed by compliments; so just saying only those two words takes courage. At the most say – thank you for noticing.

Please do not add words that criticise or negate you or your talents and skills. The other person has given you a gift. Do not belittle their gift by saying that they are wrong. When you do this, you are embarrassing both yourself and the person who complimented you.

Being given a compliment is an opportunity to see yourself as others see you and to feel about yourself as others feel when they meet you. We are all concerned about the image we present to the world. A compliment allows us to experience the results of our efforts, especially our innate talents and our learned skills.

So listen more, speak very little and accept and appreciate the unique person you are.

There you have it. Explain the compliments you give and receive all compliments with two words and a smile. Simple but not always easy.

(This is a composite article of two shorter articles on Compliments that were sent to readers of  The Fashion Translator eZine’ in 2011. Click here to Signup for ‘The Fashion Translator’ eZine.)

Grey – A Bit Ambiguous & Under-rated

Grey is an equal mixture of black and white. It is a shadow colour associated with the god, Mercury, who moved easily between heaven, earth and the underworld.

People often only see the negative side of grey – bleak fogs, threatening storms and images of boring, austere old fogeys. Wearing grey can have a positive side as it helps you to be open to new influences and helps you form opinions on new things (ie using the grey matter of your mind).

There is a version of grey in every colour season swatch. Here are a few tips to make the most of grey as an addition to your fall-back, black business and corporate wardrobe.

Grey is a wonderful neutral especially for skirts, pants and jeans. Grey in pants is best in a darker charcoal grey which is just a softer version of black. For a suit or skirt, choose a grey in a pinstripe or check pattern. Grey and white lighten and soften; grey and black look darker and more sober.Grey mixed with silver, black or white can create striking or gentle combinations.

Grey and red go particularly well together. You can wear any colour with grey that you can wear with black. The effect can be softer, feminine-strong or more distinctive than all black.

Black and white makes grey; so a scarf or necklace in black, white & another colour adds professionalism and individuality.

As a hair colour, grey covers black & white, silver or pure white hair. Red, pink or aqua add wonderful contrasts to highlight grey hair.

Beware the light grey knit vest jackets that are around today. They can be quite aging. Choose with care. Go with your gut feeling not the salesperson’s advice.

(This is a combination of two articles Article sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 24 March and  14 July 2011. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine.)

I Will Wear Those New Clothes Soon. Yeah, Sure!

I wore a new skirt and top to two networking events recently. They had been hanging in my wardrobe for two months before I finally got the courage to wear them. Why, I asked myself, do we women do that?’ We buy clothes and then let them sit there neglected, sometimes for years.

I am sure I am not alone in this. Have you ever bought something new – clothes, shoes, handbag or jewellery – and three months later you still have not worn it?

Here are three insights and dressing tips for business and professional women over 40 to help you finally wear those unloved clothes and accessories in your wardrobe.

The Cold Feet Syndrome

With my new outfit it was the skirt I was worried about. I bought this pair of long, wide-legged culottes with a split skirt over it. I love it but I thought it was a bit too dramatic and might turn people off. Silly, is it not – the fear of being judged as weird. It never happened. If it did, what does it matter. I was being true to my personality and wearing something a little dramatic and playful. So why did I fear looking stupid? We all do it. You buy something that brings a smile to your face and then you get cold feet about wearing it.

Solution: After you bring it home, decide to wear it as soon as possible. Face the Cold Feet Syndrome and prepare your answer for your imagined critics. Be true to yourself.

Almost Perfect

Then there are the clothes you buy that need altering in some way to fit better. I will fix it soon – you say to yourself. Maybe there is a family heirloom ring that does not fit and has been in your jewellery box for ages. Yes, I finally took that one in for alteration last week. Are you hesitating because of the time or the money? I have no time this week. I cannot afford it. It gets put off and put off and put off, even if you have no idea of the cost.

Solution: Make the decision to get it altered now. Do it yourself or find out the cost from a professional. Then pay them to do it. You must love your clothes and accessories 100% or you will not wear them. Enjoy the money you have already spent and honour your heritage.

Bought It Under the Influence

No, not alcohol! You bought it because someone cajoled, nagged, harassed, bullied or hit your emotional hot button to get you to buy it. Maybe an overpowering saleswoman, party planner or friend pushed you into buying it when you were hesitating or not wanting it at all.

Solution: It is time to learn to stand up for yourself, what you like and what you want. Maybe you need a Colour or Style Session to help you know what is right for you.

So whether you bought under the influence, have cold feet or you feel dowdy in imperfect clothes, get into action. Wear it this week, get it altered or contact an Image Consultant to organise your Colour or Style Session.

(Article sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 30 June 2011. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine.)

Are You Typecast or The Real You?

Acting is a funny profession. Do your job really well and people start to believe that the character is the real you. People get attached to characters they see often, especially in a TV series.

Some time ago my husband and I went to see a George Clooney movie in the town of Burlington in the USA. The three ladies behind us were excited and could not stop talking about all the George Clooney movies they had seen. Suddenly their mood changed. As soon as they discovered that in this movie George was playing against type as a totally unlovable character, they walked out.

Some actors play a character so well that they become typecast. They never get a chance to keep developing.

So who are you?

Are you typecast as an actor playing a role, perfected over many years, of who you want people to think you are? People cannot truly like you if you never show them who you really are. Play a part and others can only relate to that character.

How do you reveal ‘you’? Here are three modern dressing tips for the modern business and professional woman over 40 to help you avoid being a typecast character.

I Will Think Twice before letting someone else talk me into buying something. Whether it is a friend, family member or sales assistant, stop before you say yes. Ask the questions – Do I like this colour, pattern and style? Is this me or someone I’m pretending to be? If you have to think twice or a long time about it, it is not you and that item of clothing or accessory is going to sit in your wardrobe unworn.

I Will Repair, Alter or Throw Out all those clothes and accessories that just do not feel quite right on me. Home Truth – If you really loved it, you would have fixed it by now. Okay, sometimes we all are slack. Leave it too long and your heart tells you that most of those unrepaired and unaltered items are not really who you are today. So fix them or dispose of them. Then you can go shopping for what you really want, need and love.

I Will Receive Compliments Graciously. All of us like to give but many of us find it hard to receive. Receiving is also an act of generosity. When you get a compliment on the way you look, just say thank you. Do not add a put-down of yourself or immediately give a compliment back. Both of these destroy the pleasure for the other person. You are telling them that you are not proud to be you. When you show people who you really are and they notice it, they are recognising and liking you not the actor playing the pretend you.

Who is George Clooney? I believe that he is a good actor and that is all I know for sure as I have never met him personally.

I would much rather get to know the true and interesting you not the  pretend character many of us think we should be.

(Article sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 30 December 2010. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine.)