Dress to Impress – Find Out How – Instalment 4

How time flights – another week has passed and it is Sunday morning  – time to look at colours and their effect on us. Today it’s all…..

….. ABOUT BLACK

Black makes most people think of long evening gowns, of deep decolletages, of silk and satin—in other words, of elegance and sensuality.

Because black is the most important of all colours, it deserves some extra attention. Black is becoming to every complexion and suits every figure. It can be worn during all seasons and looks attractive in all types of fabrics. It is elegant, authoritative, sexy, and sad. In the late nineteenth century domestic servants, shopgirls, clerks, and elderly people of modest means were only considered properly dressed when in black. It can be worn equally well by men and women.

Black is a colour worn by rich and poor, by the clergy and by call girls. It can show positions of social standing high and low. It is both serious and worldly. It is the colour that is universally the most appropriate for all occasions. Most important, it never really goes out of fashion. Around 1930 Gabrielle Chanel brought out the famous ‘little black dress,’ which since then has never left us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whenever someone asks me to describe the greatest error in dressing, I have to answer that it is the co-ordination of colours—or rather the lack of it. The other day I looked in disbelief at a young woman who was dressed like this: black coat, light grey trousers, beige shoes, blue cap, dark brown handbag, burgundy attaché case, and, to top it all off, striped gloves in bright red, yellow, blue, green, and mauve! From the various fashion components one could see that this woman purchased items of the highest quality but because of poor colour co-ordination she looked messy and unappealing. Unfortunately, this kind of dressing is not rare. Many women wear up to five or more different colours at the same time. (Just look around you.) In the winter the problem is worse, since people wear more clothes .

Women speak with respect of someone who is well co-ordinated: ‘She’s so well put together.’ There is really no secret in looking that way. It just takes planning. The same day I saw Ms. Striped Gloves, I saw another woman who also wore a black coat, but her accessories consisted of beige handbag, a black attaché case, beige boots, black gloves, and a beige hat-and-scarf set. Everyone looked at her admiringly. She wasn’t wearing anything special or outstanding, but what she did have on fitted together.

I am often asked, ‘How can I learn to co-ordinate my wardrobe better? ‘If you think about what you have in your wardrobe and only buy clothes that will fit into that colour and style scheme, you will have no problem coordinating your look.

Most of us know that brown goes with bone, and black with red. But for new ideas, fashion magazines are a real eye-opener. Study the way they combine colours. You would probably never think of wearing a royal-blue blouse with your tan suit, but seeing it in Vogue will convince you that it can look fabulous.

Since we all know that brown and beige or black and red go together, the following chart will help you to find  more unusual combinations. Colours that harmonise well are:

  • Black and orange
  • Black and maize
  • Black and lilac
  • Black and pink
  • Black and slate
  • Black and royal blue
  • Black, yellow, and crimson
  • Black, orange, and blue

If you have never tried any of these combinations, it’s time you do. You will be surprised how becoming a Black dress with a Pink Jacket is. Or you can add life to a black dress by wearing it with a bright coloured scarf

Another source of inspiration are the combinations of men’s clothing. The colours and prints used in men’s wear are as appropriate for women as they are for men. Many women say they envy men because they always look well co-ordinated . The secret is that the colours used are fewer and stay mostly in the same colour family, with shirt and tie adding life and colour. This should translate for us into wearing neutral basics and adding colour with accessories: scarves, belts, and blouses or other tops.

Until next Sunday when we will talk about PRINTS

And never forget – A Smile Changes everything!

Brigitte

 

 

 

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Dress to Impress – Find Out How? – 3. Instalment – The Importance of Colour

Another Sunday and another step towards looking your best -today we are finding out how colours can influence your look.

The Importance of Colour

Colours have a great influence on your femininity. They send out all kinds of messages. Think of black. It is known to look sexy when worn as lingerie; however, as the colour of a judge’s robe it imposes authority . White is known to stand for purity, but a white bikini on a tanned body looks very appealing. It is impossible to say that one colour is more becoming than another. What makes the difference is the person who is wearing it, and how the colour contrasts with her skin.

The contrast a colour creates is very important because contrasts bring out vitality, and vitality is associated, even if unconsciously, with attractiveness. For example, a blond dressed in black or a brunette in beige will look more vibrant than the reverse. A blond dressed all in beige or white will project a monochromatic look and appear a bit lifeless. Only strong make-up can improve the situation. (I can speak from experience here, being a blond myself.) If you are blond and wish to look alive, make sure that you wear your beige ,suit with a dark-coloured blouse or sweater, such as black, brown, rust, or burgundy. A white or pastel shade will look well on a brunette with olive skin.

Colours affect how we look and how others see us, more so than style. (We say, for instance, that a dark colour is authoritative—without even mentioning the style of a garment.) Colour is the first thing in our wardrobe to which we should give our attention. No style or design can make up for a lack of colour co-ordination, or for a shade that does not complement a person’s complexion, personality, or lifestyle.

LOOKING AT WHAT YOU HAVE

Many fashion designers never follow any guidelines; ignoring all the rules, they trust their instincts. I am asking you to do just that. Look at yourself and the colours you wear and decide what you like and what you feel good in. If you answer that you really don’t know, now is the time to find out. I know from working with women that there is hardly a woman alive who doesn’t react when something looks well on her, provided she makes a real effort to notice. Therefore, the first thing I am asking you to do is trust your own judgment. When you are in doubt, the colour is not for you. If it were, you would have immediately responded to it in a positive way.

What you need to do now is work with your present wardrobe. Try on your clothes and look at yourself. Do you like what you see? Maybe you think: I never should have bought the burgundy blouse for the charcoal-grey suit—it’s drab. Well, why not try the white blouse instead? See how much livelier that looks? The message here is that two muted colours don’t enhance your appearance because your face needs more light.

NOTE – Never (if you wear make-up) try on clothes without make-up; the results will not be dependable

Trying on all your clothes will help you learn more. You may find, for example, that navy isn’t really a great colour on you; you liked yourself better in burgundy or grey. This exercise will prove that you do indeed know what colour is just right for you.

CHECKING OUT THE UNFAMILIAR

Since your wardrobe, like most wardrobes, doesn’t contain all colours, now is the time to experiment with some shades you’ve never worn before. Most shops let you try on clothes before making a purchase. If, for example, lavender or charcoal grey are among those never-before-worn colours, find out now how they look on you. Remember not to listen to the salesperson—decide for yourself. Also, don’t think that another style might make a difference. If the shade isn’t becoming, another style won’t make it more attractive. (To illustrate this point, think of the times you’ve tried on something and thought: ‘If this were in a different colour I’d like it,’ or ‘The colour is nice but the style isn’t for me.’) You must consider the colour before the style. Never prejudge: try it on and look. If a blouse you want to buy comes in six colours, it’s a good idea to try on several to see the most flattering.

Also don’t forget that colours come in many different shades. While brown might not be appropriate for you, tan might be. Often we are too general in our assessment of colours. We don’t consider the many different tones that exist. Beige is a good example: there are lots of different beige. If a very light tone makes you look lifeless a camel tone might look smashing.By the way, the richer and more unusual shades can often be found only in more expensive garments. The higher price might be worth it if the shade in question suits you especially well

 NOTE – When shopping and trying to decide whether a certain colour is good for you, try to look at it in daylight. Artificial light changes colours. Go to the door of the boutique or to a window in a department store. If this isn’t possible, check it at home. If you find it to be unsuitable, take the trouble to return it. Don’t compromise when it comes to your looks. The contrary applies when buying an evening dress or a garment to be worn mainly in artificial light: try it on in that light. Many colours that look well in daylight appear drab or ugly in the evening.

 Once you have done your research, you will see that there are many colours that suit you. However, for practical purposes—budget, lifestyle, and easier co-ordination of your wardrobe—you will have to eliminate some.

Let’s start with your budget. Your funds are probably limited, which means that you have to plan your wardrobe to get the most for your money—many different looks with relatively few pieces. These pieces have to match any way you put them together. You cannot have both a navy-blue and black suit because they and their accessories can’t be interchanged. The best solution is to pick two colours that suit you well and build your wardrobe around them.

Of course, if these two colours are red and royal blue, they might not fit your lifestyle, which is your next consideration. Red and royal blue would not be suitable as basic colours. They are noticed and remembered too easily by others and they are inappropriate in many situations. So you should concentrate on the neutral tones that suit you: black, white, grey, brown, beige, navy, and so on. From these pick two for the basic items in your wardrobe, such as coats, suits, dresses, trousers, and skirts. Don’t worry about being too monotone in your look, for there are endless variations and shades in these colours. Another advantage of basic colours is that you will never look out of place, either at work or in a more casual setting. Furthermore, you will never be overpowered by these shades. I’m referring not only to your complexion but also to your personality. It takes a certain bravado and energy to carry off flamboyant colours. Unless you have plenty of both, you will feel and look uncomfortable in, such as, a bright pink. You can see how true this is when you think of days when you don’t feel well; don’t you automatically choose a darker outfit? This comes from your unconscious desire to fade into the background.

NOTE –When you’re tired, it’s better not to wear black at all. Instead, put a lighter shade next to your face.

Now look at the bright colours that you found becoming. Just because they don’t fit your lifestyle as basics doesn’t mean that you have to live without them. You can wear them in small quantities: in a scarf, belt, blouse, bag, and, if you are daring, as the colour of a pair of shoes. Did you ever own a pair of red shoes? They go with more outfits than you realise. They brighten up a grey dress, a navy suit, or a black skirt. Red also looks very fashionable with beige; a red blouse can work wonders with a beige suit.

Another reason that can help you decide on a colour is the type of fabric. A heavy fabric projects a colour more strongly than a thinner, finer material. There seems to be more of it. Take yellow, for example. In a wool fabric, it will be too bright for most of us. But the same colour in chiffon or silk is very soft and feminine.

Sometimes it happens that a colour unflattering to you is needed to complete an outfit. Let’s say you have a tweed jacket with a bit of green in it. A green blouse or sweater would certainly complete the outfit, but since green is not a good colour for you, choose a green skirt instead—it is far enough from your face not to be unbecoming. In other words, keep an unflattering colour away from your face. This type of compromise is sometimes necessary to extend your wardrobe.

NOTE  – Don’t worry too much about the latest fashion colour. It is never the only colour to be worn, even if it is the dominant one of the season. If it is suitable for your looks and your lifestyle, by all means wear it. If not, don’t feel too bad. Remember that looking terrific is more important than looking fashionable.

I think for today we will leave at this – there is much more to say about colour, but I don’t want to overwhelm you – this is quite a bit to digest –

Until next Sunday when we will talk about Black and what colours co-ordinate well.

And never forget – A Smile Changes Everything!

Brigitte

 

 

Dress to Impress – Find out How……… 2. Installment – Telling the Truth

Every Sunday I look forward to connecting with you, today it’s about

TELLING THE TRUTH

To see what you like about yourself, you need—besides an open mind—a full-length mirror. Stand in front of it and try to imagine that the person reflected there is someone else. This way your good points become more apparent. Being more objective will make you more generous. You will give yourself credit for what you have instead of being over-critical.

Start with your hair. Does it frame your face the right way? Is it too short to do so? Or, if your hair is long, would a shorter style make it appear thicker and more sensual? Would more frequent brushing add the life that is missing? When looking at your face, it might occur to you that make-up could improve it. If you are not used to wearing any, or if you don’t want to look made-up, relax: having good make-up that enhances your face does not mean a heavy, painted look. It can be very subtle and still create the effect you want.

Now to your body. In order to know what to do about a large bust or thin arms, you must first be aware of your assets and liabilities. And to help you to get to know yourself well, I would like you to fill out the chart below. Standing in front of your full-length mirror, pull in your stomach and stand straight. Start with your shoulders; don’t accuse them of sloping when bad posture is the culprit. Examine yourself carefully and circle the appropriate adjectives.

HEIGHT: WEIGHT:

HAIR COLOUR:

 

DRESS SIZE:

SHOULDERS: Broad Narrow Sloping Just right
NECK: Long Short Fair Just right
BUS Big Small Fair Just right
ARMS: Heavy Thin Fair Just right
WAIST: TORSO: STOMACH: Big

Long-waisted Protruding

Small

Short-waisted

Fair

 

Fair

Just right

 

Just right

HIPS:, Wide Narrow Fair Just right
DERRIERE: Big Flat Fair Just right
LEGS (length): Long Short Fair Just right
THIGHS: Heavy Thin Fair Just right
LEGS (below knees): Heavy Thin Fair Just right
HANDS: Small Large Fair Just right
My best features (s):

 What I don’t like about myself:                                                       

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Now that you have completed the list, check it thoroughly. You will find that you have more assets than defects. And don’t feel depressed about something like heavy thighs; most defects (or what appear to be defects) can be corrected or minimized through diet, exercise, better posture, better care, or more attention to detail. There are very few things that are impossible to correct, and even those are easier to live with once you know them . Being aware of your body will help you buy the clothes that will make you feel and look more attractive and confident.

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Until next Sunday when we start to look at  The Importance of Colour, Prints and Fit

And never forget – A Smile Changes Everything!

Brigitte

 

Dress to Impress – Find Out How……. – First Installment – Looking Your Best

Good News for every woman who wants to knows how to dress well and find her style  – today I am starting to post my book Dress to Impress on my blog. Chapter by chapter, and page by page.

It will be posted in instalments, giving you an opportunity to take in the advice and apply it while we go along. There will be a new post every Sunday.

And here is the first one:

 


          How to Look and Feel Your Best Every Day

How good looking you are, and how confident you feel about yourself is not a matter of how fashionable you are, or of how much money you have, or even of how beautiful you are, it is a matter of how well you can present and package yourself.

Yes, packaging is what sells most products and when it comes to looking good, you are the product and your clothes are the wrapping.

The belief that there are no ugly women, just women who do not know how to look attractive, is truer today than ever before. Today there are no limits on what a woman can wear. There are no do’s and don’ts, and not even the fashion designers impose any particular look on today’s woman. Our options are varied and plentiful and if a woman cannot find her particular look among them, she can only blame herself.

Without over-emphasizing the importance of appearance, don’t forget that the biggest asset you have in life is yourself and you must use it to its best advantage. The French philosopher Voltaire once said: ‘Dress changes the manner’. That was true in the eighteenth century and it is still true today. Think about how good you feel when wearing your favorite outfit—or how you want to fade into the wall when you are wearing something you don’t like.

Choosing the right clothes can make you look and feel your best everyday. However, it does not happen by itself. It takes a little time and more importantly, a commitment to yourself.

Having made the decision to find out HOW TO LOOK AND FEEL YOUR BEST EVERY DAY you might ask, ‘Now what?’

The first step is to take inventory of yourself. This is not an exercise in scrutinizing your defects. The point is to look at your body objectively and make a list of your assets: my legs are good; I could probably wear my skirts a bit shorter. Maybe my hair shouldn’t be pulled back, or maybe it would look more feminine a little longer. What about makeup to bring out my eyes?

How to take inventory of yourself we will talk about next Sunday – see you then

And never forget – A Smile Changes Everything!

Brigitte

 


 

Your thoughts and question will be appreciated- contact me at bbnnic@gmail.com.

GETTING OVER GROWING OLDER

HELLO EVERYONE

TODAY I WANT TO THANK MY LONG-TIME FOLLOWERS FOR READING MY BLOGS,  AND IN THE HOPE THAT YOU WILL JOIN ME ON MY NEW BLOG – WHICH IS THE RESULT OF MY LATEST BOOK – GETTING OVER GROWING OLDER –  PLEASE GO FOR THE LATEST UP-DATES TO

http://www.gettingovergrowingolder.com

THE BOOK IS  AVAILABLE ON AMAZON – PAPERBACK EDITION AND KINDLE EDITION – THE LINK IS

http://www.amazon.com/Getting-Over-Growing-Older-Positive/dp/069262385X/

THANKING YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT

Bscan0003-3RIGITTE

TIP OF THE DAY NO. 75 – TAILORS ARE NOT A LUXURY

TIP NO. 75 – TAILORS ARE NOT A LUXURY

There was a time no woman would have been without a dressmaker, and men had their personal tailors. And even today it is not a luxury to have a tailor. No, they don’t make our clothes anymore, but they are still necessary to shorten, lengthen, take in the waist, and adjust a garment to fit our figure.

Especially when a woman is not the same size on the top and on the bottom, a little help from a good dressmaker can make the difference.

How do you know if somebody is a good tailor or seamstress? You don’t until you try it out. Most Dry Cleaners do alterations – but to find out how good they are give them a hem to do and if it is done well, give them more complicated things to do. However, one word of warning, when an alteration comes close to remarking a garment I recommend against it because it will affect the style and never look right.

So when you are shopping and you see a bargain, or something you really like and the skirt or the sleeves are too long, or it is a little  loose somewhere, remember there are still tailors out there to help you.

See you tomorrow

  scan0004-2                       Brigitte