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Wearing Black

Should I be wearing black?

Recently, Emma, one of my 40+ clients asked me, “Should I be wearing black? I have so many black clothes, but I think they’re making me look old.” It’s a question I hear often.

How would you describe the way your skin looks when you wear black near your face? Is your response something like, “washed out”, “pale”, “drained”or “sick”?  If you have light to medium hair or undyed greying hair, and a fair to medium complexion or a skin tone with a golden glow you may have noticed that wearing black near your face is aging and unflattering.

Our eye and hair pigments fade over time, and skin colour changes too. You may find that after many years of feeling happy in black you now instinctively feel uncomfortable in it.

Despite what the fashion magazines and media say, black does not work with every skin tone and every hair colour.  Shock! Horror!

Test it out for yourself

You need two pieces of fabric – one black, and the other a colour you love wearing; you know, the colour that people always comment on when you wear it. Place the black fabric over the coloured fabric and hold them under your chin. Look closely at your face. Are the circles under your eyes dark and pronounced? Are the wrinkles more pronounced? Does your skin look sallow? Now drop the black fabric and do the same again. Do you see a difference?

Some ideas/solutions

So, if you feel like you’re in the same boat as Emma, here are my top 5 tips I shared with her to help her achieve a healthier look when wearing black:

 

  1. Create contrast and distraction by wearing a lighter neutral or colour near your face. This could be a scarf, a statement necklace, colourful earrings, hat or pashmina.
Adding colour to soften black outfits

Adding colour to soften black outfits

  1. As your black clothes wear out replace them with other neutrals that are dark but less harsh like navy, charcoal and chocolate. Introduce colours that suit your complexion.

 

  1. If you feel you can’t give up your black tops just yet, wear the ones that are made from softer, sheerer fabrics and that have lower necklines so that your skin colour shows more. Lace, mesh and chiffon are good options.

 

  1. If you have lots of black bottoms (pants and skirts) and black shoes and boots, find patterned tops that have some black or grey in them to link them together.
Patterned tops with black skirt and pants

Patterned tops with black skirt and pants

  1.  Accessorise your LBD (little black dress) with gold, silver, rose gold or pearl necklaces to steer eyes away from the heavy, draining black. Knowing if you have a warm or cool skin tone will help you decide which metal or colour of pearl you should wear.
Wearing Black: Little black dress with yellow gold accessories

Little black dress with yellow gold accessories

 

If you would like to discover the colour palette that best suits your complexion, hair and eye tones so that you look fabulous every day and shop for your best colours with confidence – contact ann@imageconfidence.com.au

Colour fandecks

Your colour guide

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September 26, 2017

Put the Brakes on Fast Fashion

You’ve probably heard of the term fast fashion. The Oxford dictionary defines it as, “Inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends.” I think it’s fair to say that most of us have bought fast fashion.

In March 2017, ABC’s Lateline program reported that “in Australia alone, more than 500,000 tonnes of textiles and leather end up in landfill each year.”  That’s mind blowing!

These days the fashion industry has the ability to manufacture cheap, low quality clothing very quickly. Retailers are introducing new trends every few weeks and this is impacting our buying habits. We’re buying more and more clothes and the flow on effect is that the amount of clothes we’re throwing away is increasing too.

So how do we put the brakes on this fast fashion phenomenon? What can we do to extend the lifespan of our clothes and delay their journey into landfill?

Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling:

  •  Donate to and shop at charity stores. There’s plenty to choose from: Australian Red Cross, Vinnies, Salvos, Anglicare and The Smith Family. I bought this stunning Elie Tahari silk blouse for $28 at my local Red Cross shop…. Bargain!
Saying "no" to fast fashion: my Elie Tahari blouse bought at the Red Cross Shop

Elie Tahari silk blouse from my local Red Cross shop

  • Sell or buy at recycle/consignment boutiques. I’ve used Recycled Rags Emporium in Sydney to sell some of my near new clothes and shoes that were lying idle in my wardrobe.
  • Buy and sell online at websites such as Ebay, Gumtree and Facebook’s Marketplace.
  • Organise swap meets with friends or participate in a local community event. Last Sunday Inner West Council held a clothing swap as part of their Footprints Eco Festival.  It was a fantastic initiative and lots of fun.
Say "no" to fast fashion by clothes swapping.

Clothes swap at Eco Festival

What else can I do to put the brakes on Fast Fashion?

  • Offer or gift items to family and friends (with no offence taken if they don’t want them.)
  • Buy eco friendly fashion items from businesses that promote ethical and sustainable fashion such as purepod.com.au, theark.com.au (their Travel 17 collection is fantastic), wellmadeclothes.com.au and threadharvest.com.au
  • Sell at markets and car boot sales. I have sold clothes, shoes, accessories and other bits and pieces at Rozelle markets in Sydney on the occasional weekend. Each time I walked away with a tidy profit of more than $600!
  • If you buy from fashions brands like H & M, Nike and Patagonia, look into their recycling programs and incentives.
  • Donate ‘gently used’ professional clothing to your local not for profit organisations that support women and men in their quest for financial independence through employment and upskilling. e.g. Wear for Success in Melbourne (for men and women), and Dress for Success (Women only. Locations around Australia).
  • Vivienne Westwood said it so well; “Buy less, choose well.” Invest in higher quality items that mix and match with pieces you already own. Not only will they last longer, (that’s the aim of the game), but you’ll get better cost per wear per garment. Every item will earn its keep. Spending money on higher quality fabrics and textiles helps garments retain their shape, colour and surface texture for longer.
  • Shop your wardrobe. Spend an afternoon reinventing new outfits from the pieces you already own. You’ll probably discover items you forgot were there or find pieces that still have the shop tag on them! Get your creative juices flowing! Breathe new life into the existing contents of your wardrobe.
  • If you’re handy with a sewing machine or know a quality clothing alterations store you can repair or restyle garments to give them a new lease of life. You could change them to align with current fashion trends or to better fit your figure and proportions. And, if you’re stuck for ideas, Suzannah Hamlin Stanley’s book, ‘DIY Wardrobe Makeovers: Alter, Refresh & Refashion Your Clothes * Step-By-Step Sewing Tutorials’ provides plenty of handy tips and inspiration. Another book worth mentioning is, “The Refashion Handbook: Refit, Redesign, Remake for Everybody.’ by Beth Huntington.
  • Rent items you’ll only wear once. It’s such an easy, affordable way to stay current and you’ll never be seen wearing the same outfit twice. Rates are very reasonable compared to the cost of a new garment and most suppliers offer next day delivery to capital cities. dressedup.com.au glamcorner.com.au yourcloset.com.au
  • Lastly, create a capsule wardrobe: a group of clothes that mix and match with each other unified by colour. You’ll need less clothes and have more options because all items work together. It also equates to better cost per wear per item e.g. A $100 for a shirt worn 100 times =  $1 each time you wore it.
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September 03, 2017

Frida Kahlo: The Artist’s Fashion Style at La Casa Azul

Frida Kahlo was an outstanding Mexican artist and a remarkable woman. Her paintings vividly illustrate her irrepressible spirit, her life’s loves and its many tragedies. It was her ‘soul-revealing’ paintings that brought Frida world acclaim.

In 2004 the discovery and unveiling of Frida’s wardrobe further enhanced our understanding of her and her fascinating life. The public could see these items for the first time in 50 years. Nowadays some of this collection is on display at the Frida Kahlo Museum (La Casa Azul) in Mexico City.

While I was travelling in Mexico a few months ago the Frida Kahlo Museum was on my ‘must see’ list. It was amazing to view her art and personal belongings displayed in the house she once called home. The colourful clothes, accessories and ornately decorated medical supports really grabbed my attention. These items revealed a part of Frida I knew little about. I gained insights into her fashion style, her expressive personality, her love of her indigenous heritage, and how she dealt with the many physical challenges she faced.

Inside the Frida Kahlo Museum

Full length embroidered skirts showed Frida’s love of traditional Mexican folk dress, and emphasised her love of colour, pattern and texture. They also served another purpose: to hide her thinner, shorter right leg which was the result of contracting polio when she was 6. The physical and psychological setbacks continued when the lower half of that leg was amputated due to gangrene. She showed amazingly resilience and positivity about the loss of her leg and showed this by painting her prosthetic limb vibrant red. The image below shows the dragon motifs that decorated the boot. This quote sums up her optimistic attitude:

“Pies para que los quiero si tengo alas pa’ volar.”

  “Who needs feet when I’ve got wings to fly.”              

 

Frida Kahlo traditional Mexican folk dress

Frida Kahlo traditional Mexican folk dress

 

Frida Kahlo's prosthetic limb displayed at La Casa Azul

Frida Kahlo’s prosthetic limb displayed at La Casa Azul

Art out of tragedy

In 1925 a bus that Frida was travelling in collided with a trolley car. This accident left Frida seriously injured with an array of broken bones and internal wounds. It was while Frida was bedridden healing from these injuries that her life as an artist really began. The plaster casts that she wore after the operations became a canvas for her artistic talents. She beautified the casts by painting them: transforming practical, unattractive moulds into works of art. And, to conceal the bulk of the casts and orthopaedic corsets, Frida wore free flowing, intricately decorated tops and dresses.

 

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Frida adorned herself with ornate necklaces and head dresses too. These accessories drew the eye away from her ailing body up to her radiant face. Even Frida’s famous ‘mono-brow’, seen in her self-portraits and portraits of her by other artists, served to draw attention upwards.

 

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I spent hours walking around the rooms of the Frida Kahlo museum. Here was a woman who successfully used different mediums to express who she was and how she felt. Everything she wore resonated with her identity, beliefs and values, and at the same time accommodated her physical needs. She made her style her own and I greatly admire her for this.

 

Ann Vodicka is an image consultant who is passionate about helping her clients discover, express and develop their unique sense of style. She is the owner and director of Image Confidence.

For the month of August take up our special offer of $50 off Personal Shopping and Wardrobe Revival Experiences. Ann will make clothes shopping fun and rewarding, and will help you organise and revamp your wardrobe. Email or phone Ann to take advantage of this offer.

 

 

 

 

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July 31, 2017

Fashion Colours for Winter 2017 – Your Trend Forecast.

For those of us in the southern hemisphere, we’re in the thick of winter right now: time to be adding some fun, fashion colours to liven up your day and your wardrobe.

So how do we know what colours are on trend for this season?

Every year fashion colour trends are summarised in reports from world renown colour authority, Pantone. These reports highlight the colours we will see in shops for the upcoming seasons. Forecasts are based on colours showcased at New York and London Fashion Weeks.

Pantone’s Fashion Colour Report for Fall/Winter 2017 has a collection of warm and cool reds, deep port, soft pinks, olive to lime greens, autumn leaf colours like rust, terracotta and spiced mustard and some light to medium cool blues.

Pantone’s New York Fall/Winter Fashion Colours 2017

Use accents of these colours to add interest to your winter outfits. Style with accessories like scarves, earrings, necklaces, ties, hats and gloves. It’s the easiest way to incorporate colour to achieve an on trend look.

If you have warm undertones consider hues like Grenadine, Lemon Curry and Golden Lime. If you have cool undertones choose colours like Blue Bell, Shaded Spruce and Ballet Slipper. Experiment with these fashion colours to discover what works well for you.

Pantone’s London Fall/Winter Fashion Colours 2017

Choosing colours that best suit your hair, eyes and skin tone will have you looking healthy and vibrant even on the greyest of days!

Have you been trying out various warm and cool colours, like those in the Pantone winter colour range, but are still baffled by which colours work for you? A personal colour analysis will eliminate all of the confusion and guesswork. You’ll know your best colours for every season, including this winter.

 

Discover what colours work for you.

 

 

Ann

ann@imageconfidence.com.au

0408 108 804

 

 

 

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June 27, 2017
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Viktor and Rolf: A Message of Creative Self-Expression

Amsterdam based Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren are the masterminds behind the fashion house and perfume Viktor & Rolf. I was lucky enough to be in Melbourne and visited the National Gallery of Victoria’s Viktor & Rolf: Fashion Artists exhibition which runs until 26 February, 2017. For me it was a fascinating and thought provoking […]

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December 19, 2016
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Personal Styling creates a Lifetime of Transformation

For many of us identifying and creating our own personal style is the work of a lifetime, for others it’s an effortless journey that simply falls into place. Working out what to wear, what colours suit you, and how to dress for your body shape can be a daily challenge. How much time have you […]

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December 06, 2016
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Personal Styling Tips 101

  “I think what you wear really does need to reflect what your own personal style is.” Rachel Zoe It doesn’t matter where you’re from, how confident you are or what stage you’re at in your life, there simply is an undeniable truth that First Impressions Count! Whether you’re meeting people for the first time […]

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December 03, 2016
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