Archive for the 'Confidence Tips' Category

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Act your age and look younger: make-up

Looking in the mirror before we put make-up on is one time when the ageing process is all too apparent.  Here are a few make-up tips so that it’s less apparent to others:

  • The word to keep in mind is ‘natural’. There are lots of new colours of make-up on the market that are natural – experiment with them to see what works well for you. And think about updating every six months or so, especially eye and lip and blusher colours.
  • Look at the mineral powders that are now on the market. Bare Minerals, for example, provides good coverage, but is very light.  Application of the product takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s well worth it.

  • And By Terry Plumping foundation and primer, which has a pearl effect that’s light and a lovely finish to most skins, is a great option for the natural look

  • As for eyes, the more mature should never go for glitter eye shadow.  I’ve always agreed with Bobbi Brown’s philosophy about neutral colours around the eyes because they look very natural and yet define the eye area
  • Since lashes suffer as you get older, conditioning mascara is a good idea.  Chantecaille’s new conditioning mascara provides a nice texture – again, natural but defining. 

  • Chantecaille also do a blusher stick  which is water based so it’s very hydrating, very easy to apply and gives a natural glow to the skin. You need to remember to replace the internal cap of this product to protect the water content.


Act your age and look younger: nails

Two simple tips on shape and colour to prevent your fingernails from pointing up your age:

  • Keep them short – older women tend to grow their fingernails longer and more oval than younger women.  This dates you.  It used to be fashionable, but it isn’t any longer.  Look in the magazines and you don’t see long nails.  What you do see is well-manicured hands with shorter nails. Easier to maintain? Possibly – but don’t forget a regular manicure is very important.
  • Brightly coloured nails can make older women look older.  Just as putting clothes aimed at young women on an older woman looks incongruous, bright nails just highlight the older hands.  Go for neutral colours that just make the nails look clean and cared for – and please forget the French manicure now, in my opinion it’s very dated.

As summer approaches, if you do want colour, where it can look nice is on your toe nails. The time for matching fingers and toenails as has passed although you might want to do it for a special evening occasion.


Confidence Tips: Act your age to look younger

A theme that keeps coming up, as I talk to people about confidence in the way they look and feel, is the ageing process.  People deal with it in different ways, but I have a very simple philosophy: if you act your age you will look younger.

This means being aware of how you change as you age, and adapting to it.

I meet women who do not update their style, believing what they used to look good in will still look good; and others who try to make themselves look younger by dressing up – clothes, hair, make-up jewellery – as if they were two decades younger.

Neither of these strategies work, as most of the people I’ve talked to about this recognise.  But they don’t know how to do it the right way.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be posting some confidence tips based on the simple philosophy: act your age to look younger.

The first one follows.


Act your age to look younger: glasses

Here are a few confidence tips on not letting glasses age you:

  • If you need to wear glasses, wear them all the time. There’s little that is more ageing than having to root around for your glasses when someone gives you something to read.  Get varifocals and wear them.
  • In any case, as well as giving gravitas, glasses (and not just sunglasses) hide things – for example, they cover wrinkles and can mask fading eyelashes
  • When choosing glasses, try on lots of pairs and see what makes you feel good.  If you can find an optician you can trust, that’s great.  If not try to take someone along with you or photograph yourself on your mobile in several pairs you like and get an opinion from friends

Tom Ford

  • Different faces will require different glasses. As with clothes, it’s all about proportions – some faces need glasses that make a statement, others need something more delicate
  • Personally, I don’t like frames with glitter, gold, jewels or ostentatious logos – I think they age a person, who isn’t very young.  The young wear them as an almost ironic ‘look at me’ statement whereas for older women they just look a bit kitsch.  So keep it simple. A bright colour might work for you, depending on things like your complexion, hair colour, eye colour etc…
  • Go for designers which offer traditional, but interestingly shaped frames.  Oliver Peoples, Tom Ford and Orgreen are all worth a look and there are many others.  But like clothes, their styles can change season to season.

Oliver Peoples


Confidence tip: simplicity stands out

As you walk down the street, look around and ask yourself who stands out.  Not the clothes, but the person.

I find it’s people who are very simply, but stylishly dressed.  Not funky, bling, or teetering on six inch heels.

Simplicity Sfera coat

You won’t stand out if you look like everybody else. And everybody else is wearing whatever the magazines dictate – things that look good on models’ bodies on the catwalk.  Things that are decidedly not simple – simplicity doesn’t sell magazines.

It can be difficult to get simplicity right. Simplicity has to fit; simplicity has to be well designed; simplicity has to be made in good fabrics.  You can’t do simple cheaply. 

It can also be hard to find: try to find a simple bag that’s beautifully made and elegant that hasn’t got all kinds of handbag ‘furniture’ on it.  It’s almost impossible.  If it’s expensive these days it seems to have to be unnecessarily elaborate. 

Simplicity Sfera dress

But it’s worth the effort to find it. Simplicity is the best way to camouflage the bits that need it – well-cut it will enhance your body shape.  In previous times, that’s why women would have clothes made to measure.  In those days, tailors were also designers – today that is rarely the case, so made to measure tends to be a boring option.

And simplicity is the best way to let your individuality shine through.

So next time you are looking for something that feels a bit glamorous, think about whether you want to be invisibly trendy or simply individual.


Sales shopping – how to make sure the discounts really are bargains


Now’s the time to make sure you’re on the mailing list of the shops where you’ve had your nose against the window for the past few months so you get first shot at their sale.  More often than not there’s a preview day for mailing-list customers.

But, particularly if you’re taking advantage of the sales to buy quality pieces you couldn’t afford at full price, don’t get carried away just because it’s in the sale. A cheaper mistake that you never wear is still very costly.

Sale shopping should be viewed in exactly the same way as non-sale shopping – no impulse purchasing and a well thought-out shopping list.

Being well thought-out means knowing what you need and what it will need to go with.

So, for example, if you’re looking for a jacket to go with a particular skirt, put it on so that the sales stylist can see the proportions, give you good advice and prevent you making mistakes. I advise potential clients to photograph themselves (or better still get some one else to do it) in the pieces that they want to add to.  With mobile phones generally having cameras in them now, you can easily take a snap of yourself in the mirror.

Be aware of sale ‘bargains’ that don’t fit properly.  Many shops will put ill-fitting mistakes in the sale.  At the least, ensure that there is a tailor in the shop who can rectify any problems.

Shoes are a particularly good thing to buy in the sales, especially in neutral colours as they can last for many seasons.

Finally, a little plug: Wardrobe’s winter sale begins on 26 November


Confidence Tip: how to avoid ‘crotch-crease’

A reader asked on the Fashion Forum page how to avoid what she calls ‘crotch-crease’ – her trousers and skirts get creased across the lap after a day of sitting at her desk, in meetings and travelling.

The creases are caused by body heat, and they’re in a place that’s hard to keep cool.  And this can be a problem especially for women with thicker thighs.

In general, the best way to cope with this is to buy garments made of high quality fabrics with which, although they do crease, the creases fall out relatively quickly. Pure new wools, whether winter- or summer-weight are a year round answer.

Also, lining can absorb much of the heat, so make sure you buy trousers and skirts that are lined


Making the most of sales shopping

With the sale season rushing towards us (Wardrobe’s starts on Thursday), here are some tips to help you make the most of the sales to boost your stylish wardrobe while avoiding some common mistakes.


It is very easy at sale time to get carried away by a wave of adrenalin in the excitement of finding a bargain and buying clothes simply because they are cheap and that you end up never wearing – quite the opposite of the capsule approach.




Before you go sale shopping, make a list of what you need.  And then stick to it.  It might be a gap in your wardrobe or something that you saw earlier in the season but couldn’t afford – but in any case make sure you plan ahead.


If you’re thinking of adding things to your existing wardrobe, get somebody to take a picture of you in the garments that you’re going to be adding to. In this way, the assistant in the shop will be able to advise you better, knowing the proportions of the garment in question. For example, a longer jacket will require a straighter, shorter skirt.


If buying a jacket or suit, think about the top that goes under it and about how you’ll accessorise it – shoes, bag, scarf, belt – co-ordination and accessories are as important an element of your capsule when sales shopping as at any other time.


Sales are a good time to buy knitwear: it doesn’t date and you can afford to buy better quality such as cashmere, linen or silk knits – or mixes of all three.  The same applies to shoes as long as you’re making sure they co-ordinate with your wardrobe.


Even though something is cheaper than it was, it should still fit you perfectly, you should still think about how well it suits you, and you should still make sure that the alterations are perfect.  If you don’t, that apparent bargain will turn out to be an expensive mistake.


Try to go at the beginning of the sale – you’ll have a much better selection to choose from.  It’s a good idea to ask your favourite shop to mail you about the first day of the sale as more often than not there’s a preview.





Confidence Tips #4: what to wear when travelling

“At airports I think you can spot British people because they are so badly dressed. I know comfort is important but surely it is possible to look good too.”  So wrote Penelope on the Confidence Tricks Fashion Forum page.

Here are some tips on how to look good when travelling. 

The two things, above all, to remember are: stretchy not baggy for comfort; and it’s the scarf, bag, belt and shoes that makes you look like the confident international jetsetter.

Many people, when they travel take things that are comfortable but don’t work together – so they end up with a mix of styles and colours.  From personal experience (and I travel a lot) I make sure I have within my wardrobe pieces that work particularly well for travelling (whether by car or plane).

Essentials are:

·         Comfortable well cut stretch jeans – blue denim or a light colour – or techno fabric trousers with elasten.  The great thing about stretch fabrics is that no matter how long you sit in them, they still look respectable

·         Summer or winter sweater depending on where you’re going

·         A shortish jacket because you’ll be sitting in it for long periods and you don’t want to be sitting on it

·         A chic scarf, soft bag, belt and, depending on whether it’s summer or winter a comfortable short boot, shoe or sandal. 

·         For longer flights, when your feet swell, you could do worse than these shoes from Ruco Line that have a slight wedge to them. 

Also Russell and Bromley do a shoe with a slightly elasticated body, also with a slight wedge, so they look good and allow you walk comfortably through the never ending airport corridors.

·         Summer or winter,  always accessorize with a scarf – it looks modern and finishes your outfit.  And you can find very fine ones for summer

·         On long haul flights, don’t wear mascara, just eye shadow to avoid the panda eyes look; and also use a night cream, rather than day cream as moisturiser as it’s slightly thicker and helps combat the in-flight dryness

·         If you’re not travelling business class, take an easily accessible toothbrush/paste as after a long flight brushing your teeth is a quick revitaliser.  And a small Evian spray or similar is a good way to moisturize and leave your face looking and feeling fresh

·         I always take a shawl to cuddle up with in case the air conditioning is fierce

When the destination climate is very different from the departure, the trick is layering.  Stick a t-shirt in your bag to change into if its going to be hot at the other end.  Or just wear a long sleeved stretch shirt.  When you arrive, roll up the sleeves, take off your socks and pop your jacket over your arm.

And finally, wherever you’re going, keep your sunglasses at the ready – even if it’s not sunny, at the end of a long journey, they’re a good way to hide your travel eyes.


Confidence tip #3: don’t let creases cause you worry lines

If, like me, you travel a lot for your work, you probably spend more time than you’d like to worrying about creases as you pull your clothes out of the suitcase.  Crumpled is not the look you want when you turn up at the big meeting.


Here are some simple tips that I use to keep my clothes in good shape despite the rigours of travel:

  • when packing, use a soft bag rather than a hard suitcase.  It’s a bit counter-intuitive, but clothes tend to move around more inside a hard case and so get more creased
  • before you pack the bag, take a big plastic bag; open it out like a sheet and line the bag with it; when you’ve packed, pull the bag over the top of the clothes.  This will stop the clothes getting wet as they travel on the luggage cart from the aeroplane if it’s raining
  • save the polythene from your dry cleaning and fold your clothes around it as you would with tissue paper.  It creates a kind of vacuum and the clothes don’t crease as much – I find it better than tissue paper
  • as for the clothes to pack: the better the quality of the wool, the easier the creases fall out.  if they don’t, hang them up in the bathroom while you shower.  The moisture in the air will do wonders, particularly if you air them with a hairdryer
  • if you can, travel with a small steam iron.  Not one of those ones that looks like a lollipop (the shower trick is just as good for what they do), but an actual steam iron.  I’ve got one of these, but there are plenty of others on the market
  • if you’re pressing your clothes before travelling, let them cool before packing them.