Look Good, Feel Great, Be Inspired

March 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

Whether you’re a rebellious teen trying to find your’ niche’, a busy mum struggling to find the time, a career woman intent only on success or a home-maker whose social outings include popping round the shops and down to the bottom of the garden to hang out the washing… (phew.., breathe.., that sentence was probably too long) IT’S IMPORTANT TO LOOK GOOD IN ORDER TO FEEL SPECIAL.  In my opinion at least.

I walk to work in the morning, on arrival I change into my uniform, after work put my own clothes back on and I walk home again.  Still, I would never feel happy walking out of the door in the morning, in anything less than ordinary clothing.  I would never leave in a tracksuit, fleece or trainers (but thumbs up to the office workers who choose comfort as opposed to heels in the morning – that’s OK!).  I enjoy clothing, it’s my art – as corny as that sounds – and I wouldn’t start the day as I mean to go on if I weren’t feeling creative or inspired.

There may be many reasons why you can’t be bothered to up your style in the morning:

LACK OF TIME:  This is probably a factor for the majority of people, preparation is key.  I hate rushing to get ready in the morning, any amount of free time I have is best spent drinking coffee, watching the news and eating a hearty breakfast – I couldn’t function with any less than two out of the three.  It makes a huge difference if you prepare an outfit for the next day, the night before.  You don’t have to try things on if you can’t be bothered, just pick one piece of clothing (or one accessory) and work around it.  For example, if I pick a beaded turquoise necklace to wear the next day, I would consider which colours might work well with it – orange or dusky pink perhaps – and turn to my wardrobe for complimentary items in those colours.  Add a scarf encompassing all of the colours in your ensemble and voilà, you have an outfit prepared.  If you’re feeling especially creative at that moment in time why not put a few outfits together and hang them in your wardrobe ready for another day.  The most vital piece of advice is dont stray from your original outfit – you will only waste time and end up going back to your first idea!!

LACK OF ENERGY:  Again, another factor which probably affects most of us.  I can’t pretend to understand the life and times of a busy mum, I have a HUGE amount of respect for them but if you don’t have to think too much about getting dressed then you’ll find more time to clean up the baby poop!  I think it’s brilliant when mums invest a little bit of time into preening themselves.  Use statement accessories (belts, scarves and jewellery) with a classic jeans and tee combo, easy, and I also think Harem trousers would be a great investment as they are so easy to wear and hide the post baby weight!

WHAT’S THE POINT:  If you’re not going out for the day then what’s the point?  Imagine yourself as a student.  If you lounge around the house all day in slippers and jogging bottoms instead of getting dressed and heading down to library, do you think you would get nearly as much work done?  No, it just makes you feel lazy and sloppy.  You never know what will come up during the day or who you meet so if you put on a lovely outfit you’ll feel much better about yourself and if you decide to go somewhere, you can just walk out the door.  Of course I love duvet days, lounging around watching films or reading a book, but those days are planned.  If you wake up and spend the day lazing around in your pyjamas when you could be ticking off a chore list, trailing around the the charity shops or visiting an art gallery that day is wasted, and you won’t feel great about yourself.  So, get up, get showered and put on something nice!

Unfortunately or not, we live in a society that defines people by their appearance.    It is impossible to look your best at every hour of the day, perfection isn’t the goal here.  Living a life that involves being dolled-up to the nines day and night is a recipe for stress!  What’s important is to live life to the full, learn to love your body as it is now and ENJOY dressing up.  Your outward image also encompasses everything from posture and self-image to body language.  More often than not, if you look good you feel great a positive self-image follows on naturally from that.  Brilliant.  It becomes unhealthy when individuals begin to compare themselves against unrealistic and unattainable icons, but I’m talking about knowing who you are and having the confidence to portray that on the outside.  In reality, each and every figure flaw you may have; the spot on your nose, a bootylicious bum, dreaded cellulite or a few extra pounds that week are NEVER really noticed by anyone other than yourself.  Really!

John Galliano – The Show Must Go On

March 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

Everybody’s talking about it so,  I googled ‘Galliano’ and stumbled upon the video in question.  The Sun had what I was after – shock – and I swiftly hit play

Well, well, well – what a naughty boy huh?  My feelings on the matter are as follows:

The slurring of his – almost inaudible – speech and his defensive stance as he uttered the words “I love Hitler…” (eek), indicate intoxication that much is certain!  He is as flamboyant in his mannerisms as he is in clothing design and dress sense.  The words are shocking and there is never an excuse for anti-Semitic behaviour.  However, in this instance I am not supportive of the couple being targeted.  Controversial or what.  Well, they do say a lil’ controversy ups the visit count to a blogger’s site!  That isn’t my motivation however…

In this situation, I can’t help but feel sorry for Galliano himself.  The couple involved are quite clearly taking great pleasure in capturing what is being said on their home video camera, most likely with the intention of selling the material for a hefty sum.  And that they did!  The pair giggle at points and utter blasphemous slurs.  Yes, they’re suffering a wave of abuse but if you use the Lord’s name as just another expletive, you are breaking the 3rd commandment right!!  I’m trying to demonstrate the point that these arguments aren’t always black and white.  The words coming out of Galliano’s mouth are quite frankly ridiculous, absurd even.  I don’t believe for a second it’s his religious stance.  I personally think this was an aggregated attack, which has led to the downfall of an extremely talented individual.  The incident obviously left Dior with no choice but to part ways with Galliano.  Since the 50 year old’s sacking last week, it was not clear whether his Spring/Summer 2012 collection would be shown to the press at all.  However, after negotiations, Galliano’s people settled on holding a low-key presentation instead of a big-budget runway show.  This is not the first time that a celebrities bad behaviour has been ousted, and i’m not sticking up for them!  I especially don’t rate celebrities as trend-setters as you well know!!  But this incident does demonstrates the extreme pressure celebrities are under to keep their guard up at all times, whilst remembering that someone out there with a camera might just be filming their atrocities.  Fame?  No thank you.

John Galliano is rumoured to be in a rehabilitation centre in Arizona on the advice of his close friends in the fashion business.  I wish I could just jet off to rehab each time life got a little tough, wouldn’t that be nice!  I’m sure after a couple of months, all will be forgotten and John Galliano will be snapped up by another fashion label.

What’s your opinion?  I’d love to know…

Don’t be a sheep.

February 11, 2011 § 1 Comment

 

Originally uploaded by Ian@NZFlickr

 

“This season your wardrobe simply must take on a 70’s, hippy-esque vibe meets ballet inspired romanticism with just touch of neon. Oh, and add to that a turban and one statement earing – that’s ONE – for good measure…”

Stop. Think. I’ll continue…

Would you as the above ‘article’ said, would you dash out to the shops, purchase new items and entirely change your look in favour of a more trend led style?! Season’s are a-changing but that doesn’t mean you have to become an entirely different person. Personally I love it when I’m not ‘fashionable’ because it means that I don’t have to walk down the street and come face-to-face with someone else wearing exactly the same as I am.

Why do we consult the pages of the fashion magazines in order to ‘find out’ how we should be dressing each season?? I’m neither shunning fashion journalism nor stopping shopping I’m merely musing. Hmmm. To be a truly stylish fashionista surely it’s imperative that you’re one step ahead of the game, no? We must predict and interpret each trend as opposed to slavishly following them! Relish your individualism, and cherish your personal take on ‘fashion’. So why oh why do we feel the need to copy those peeps on the pretty pages of a magazine.

When it comes to celebrities, I don’t know why anyone would want to mirror their style. To be honest it is manufactured, apart from the few who shop for themselves – your Sienna’s & Kate Moss’s – celebrities are generally shopped-for and advised-on and quite often the middle (wo)man goes unmentioned. Take Cheryl for example, yes, Miss Cole (Or is it Tweedy now). Somewhere in the transition from ‘velour tracksuits complete with trucker cap’ to ‘skinny-jeans & chiffon blouse’, a fairy godmother must have waved her wardrobe weeding wand. I was however once the owner of a pair of Adidas popping trackies… But back to Cheryl, I don’t believe for one minute that she progressed naturally from chav to chic.

Have fun with fashion and don’t be led by the trends this season! You are more stylish than you know…

Is there a fashion trend you wish you’d stayed away from? Let me know your thoughts.

All Hail the Queen of Shops!

January 19, 2011 § 1 Comment

Now I don’t watch a lot of TV these days but Mary Portas never fails to keep me entertained.  She is inspirational, entrepreneurial, motivated and a complete genius!  To put in plainly, I want her career.

If you didn’t catch her new show this evening on channel 4, I’ll give you a quick synopsis:  Mary Portas (retail genius) goes undercover on the UK’s high street and makes the discovery of discoveries – that Primark, H&M and Pilot are not providing a decent level of customer service.  Pilot was the focus of Mary’s energies and the company was in dire need of a kick up the bum, and I quote: “Shall I go & see if that woman’s alright”, say’s one hair twiddling, gum-chewing sales assistant to her supervisor, “Nah, she’ll live” was the reply.  Boy oh boy, Mary really had her work cut out for her.  So off she went to see the MD who turned out to be a profit driven, delusional, man.  To cut a long programme short, Mary convinced the MD to give the customer more of an experience by giving the fitting rooms a much needed facelift,  and in turn motivating the staff to give better customer service.  The concept works of course and is rolled out to Pilot’s other 42 stores.  I’ll wait with baited breath to see how that goes…

Mary really has hit the nail on the head, as a consumer nation we have been blinded into thinking that low pricing ensues poor or completely non existent customer service.  I am guilty of this.  But the reality is that there are disgruntled shoppers everywhere.  So according to Mary – and if I were you I’d do everything she says – we should take a stand!  Following her advice, if you don’t receive adequate service with a smile – ask to speak to the manager.  Be bold, frank and state clearly that the service you have received, or not received as the case may be, isn’t good enough.  Put your purse away, and walk out the door.

While this is good advice and clearly what you deserve as a customer of a multi-million pound profit grossing retailer, why not give the sales assistant a smile back.  A little bit of respect goes a long way and I’m sure that a once unwilling assistant will be on-hand to help you if you give them the chance.  It seems simple that further training and improvements in the service a retailer provides not only benefits it’s customers – who are parting with their hard earned cash – but helps to motivate it’s staff too.

Retailers have a lot to learn from the king of customer service, John Lewis.  They install a basic 3 minute timeframe within which sales assistants must approach the customer.  The sales assistants are always knowledgeable and helpful in their advice.  While another surprising high street retailer doesn’t work so hard on the approach, Poundland never fail to impress me with their cheery smiles and friendly patter at the cash desk.  If I were to list all the retailers who have failed to impress me in the customer service stakes I would quite literally be over my word count.  Primark are at the top of my list given their shoddy stores, filthy fitting rooms and quite frankly appalling service.  Let’s hope Mary Portas gives them what for next week on her secret shopping expeditions!

Have you experienced superior customer service in an unexpected environment or have you been left blown away by a serious lack of it?  Let me know your thoughts.

The thrill of the hunt.

November 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

For an avid charity-shopper such as myself, the word ‘vintage’ has become mildly irritating. It has changed the entire concept of my favourite pastime, increasing price-tags and fuelling tempers. It infuriates me to see prices as ridiculous as £7.99 for a bobbled cardigan or £28.00 for ‘vintage’ boots in need of a re-heel, a good polish and perhaps a trip down to the bowling alley for a freshen up. Were those boots £2.80 however, I would snap them up in a second. And why shouldn’t they be fairly priced? Stock is entirely donated (equating to a 100% profit margin), employees volunteer their time and business is surely better than ever. Never before has second-hand shopping been so socially acceptable. Charity shops also serve the purpose of providing good quality clothing to those who can’t afford high street prices, right? As uncharitable as I’m beginning to sound, the point I am trying to make is that just because an item of clothing is worn – thus deemed second-hand – and sent off to a charity-shop it does not entitle you to classify it as vintage Mr Banardo! And cutting out the label won’t fool me into thinking it is a genuine vintage article either! I feel privileged that in and around my home town there exists a plethora of charity shops which haven’t followed the disheartening trend of sectioning off a vintage area, and where you are still treated to superior customer service from a 70-something old dear. Mary Portas I love your work, but please leave the O.A.P’S alone – it isn’t a fair fight!

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