A dog a day!

As a child I had a terrible fear of dogs. My mum could wave my sisters and I off to school happily, but the mere sighting of a dog, had me returning home faster than you can imagine. Pictures of black dogs in fairy tales only reinforced how scarey they were were too, and Red Riding Hood’s wolf looked more like a dog to me.When I became a parent, I was determined not to have my children grow up with this paralysing fear. It is so often learned behaviour, our parents can reinforce their love, or fear of animals onto us, without their realising.

In my late 20’s I became a morning walker, a habit I have maintained. That was when I observed that most of us will encounter a dog a day, everyday! Fortunately, our four legged friends are inclined to be on leads, or barking at you from behind a fence these days, but  it can still frighten the child (or adult) regardless.

I  often ponder, had I not taken my worst fear and dealt with it, how much joy and confidence I could missed out on? These days my dog Jazzpa, ensures I walk each day, regardless of weather or mood. He welcomes his run on the beach with that same magical joy that you see when a toddler awakes, and he warns off any other scarey looking dogs for me. He is also the most wonderful companion and in winter,  the best foot warmer ever!

How grateful am I for this life lesson. Has anyone out there had a similar history with dogs?


What the frock…..

With all this hype and excitement in Melbourne for the Brownlow Blue Carpet event, I am reminded of a workshop I held some years ago.
A well known bridal designer had just opened his exquisite new premises.
He suggested it would be the perfect venue for my upcoming Wardrobe Workshops, he would get the foot traffic and I could piggy back on his name. He invited two other gay dress designers to the event, and we all
felt it was a win win. Seventy five women booked, so numbers were looking good. Among the guests was my Mum, who was visiting NZ at the time. As she arrived she had noticed a very tall (6’3) woman dressed in the brightest cobalt blue frock, complete with fur stole, fish net stockings and heels.
“Well,” said Mum quietly to me, “I wonder what you can do for her?”
She introduced herself to me as Linda, and sat in the front row, beaming with the warmest of smiles throughout the entire evening.
Upon her departure Linda thanked me for a wonderful and informative evening, exclaiming “You can’t teach me a thing about colour darling, it’s more style, I want!”
The next day the designers and I were getting together to review how things went, and if necessary, make any changes. There had been a bit of media interest and the ladies had reported having enjoyed the evening as well so why the long faces on these men? Within minutes I was to find out. The show was a great success, said one, but who invited that cock  in a frock?
My reaction then, is the same as it is now. If you want to frock up, frock up! You may not get a Brownlow nod, but who cares? As Oscar Wilde once said: “The only thing worse than being talked about, is, Not being talked about!” What do you think?

Confessions of a Style Genie…

I’m overweight again! It’s true, it’s not me, but my baggage! It happens every time I travel. My family give me heaps, and my husband, well, he just assumes that I run my very own freight service between Australia and NZ. I’m usually taking clothing to favorite clients or gifts for family and friends.
The home run always involves Manuka honey,  and sometimes return gifts and  a kiwi designer outfit for me.
So, I pay up and shut up at the baggage counter, vowing not to do this again.

My clients, however, report differently.
They are the savvy travelers, who take on board my  packing tips, and upon return, say how easy travel was for them.

Here are 5 hot tips for travel!
1. Invest in the lightest and easiest to manage suitcase you can afford.
2. Research the weather, and pack accordingly, always take a rainproof jacket.
3. If you will be relying on public transport, factor that in when you choose your footwear.
4. Try on complete outfits, with accessories and pop them into your bag then.
Too late overseas to add the missing piece!
5. Pack 3 mesh laundry bags. Pop phone chargers and plugs in one,
clean underwear in another, and keep one for laundry.

So why,when it’s all so logical and simple, can’t I practice what I teach?

bird in a guilded cage….

A25959743_034_bWhen I reflect back on my many home consultations to clients, there is one that stays with me as a reminder of how lucky I am!

The woman, like many lived in a beautiful home, with gardens, swimming pool,and ensuites off each bedroom. They travelled, dined out and hosted dinner parties. From where I was standing at the time, I thought she has it all! Family photos of the husband and two children looked pleasant and she was also attractive with a trim little figure. However, I was soon to discover she was miserable. We chatted briefly and then I got onto doing her wardrobe. As I created new looks for her, I caught glimpses of a smile now and then, but overall there was a real sense of melancholy. Towards the end of our time together she made the comment that I was so lucky. Lucky? I thought, if only she knew my circumstances-not long out of an unhappy marriage, trying to make ends meet financially and still look after the children, and doing my best to look the part in the one best outfit I owned. I told her I didn’t feel lucky and asked her why she seemed so unhappy. Her reply said it all. “I loathe my husband, but refuse to leave him. I know I choose financial security and besides, what would people think?” I  knew what I thought as I drove away. There is real courage in being true to yourself and owning up to an unhappy marriage. You may not leave the nest with much, but better than being like a bird in a guilded cage!

If the shoe fits……

Have you ever purchased a pair of shoes that you regret buying?
You’re not alone! With every wardrobe I have ever done, there are shoes lurking in cupboards
and boxes that deserve a refund. As you know, it is the most difficult purchase on the planet to return.
Has anyone ever had success taking back a pair of shoes that ‘did not stretch'( as promised) or were just downright
Whilst we can all admit to impulse buys, or frantically trying to match up shoes to an outfit, it seems
so unfair to pay too much for shoes that you can’t even wear.
How many times have I heard shop assistants say the shoes will give! The completion of that sentence should be:
…will give pain!
A golden rule for me when buying shoes nowadays is: Never purchase a shoe, if in any doubt about their comfort.
Winter can be kinder to our feet, with the opportunity to wear boots (with socks and footless tights for ultimate comfort).
Summer can involve the sling backs that do not grip properly, or worst still,very hard soled sandals, that tire the feet.
Alternate your footwear when possible and remember, after age 35, most women go up a shoe size. (Some, even a dress size or two!)
A good podiatrist is worth his/her weight in gold. If you require more frequent visits than 6 weekly, see a specialist. You may need surgery
on damaged toes from all those fancy fashion shoes.
Hot tip! Never drive in boots or shoes with heels. They will get damaged beyond repair very quickly. Instead, wear flats!

A leg up with hosiery!

Ever wondered what hosiery to wear with which outfit?             You’re not alone!                                                                                         Clients often ask me about this and I am always keen to demonstrate how powerful it is to get ‘the look right!’                 Firstly in nylon terms you need to know the lower the denier, the finer the hose.  The heavier the denier,  the thicker the hose,( often referred to as opaques).  When to wear sheer hose?                                Sheer hosiery is much sexier with heels and great in summer and evening wear. However, on a cold winter’s night  you may start looking and feeling blue.     Better to opt for opaque footless tights with those fabulous shoes in winter, still sexy, without the freeze factor. (Remember, none of this applies if you still frequent the night clubs weekly).                                                                                            Can every woman wear footless tights with short skirts and sexy shoes?                 In my opinion, no. Not a good look for more solid legs. The footless tights will draw the eye to bigger legs, every time. This gal is far better to apply a natural looking tan to her legs, or opt for pantyhose or stay ups.                                             The good news is though, that we all get to wearing footless tights with our boots. Did you know that our nylon panty hose do more damage to our poor little toes, than most shoes? Give your feet a break in winter by wearing socks and footless tights with boots.                                                                                                          Hot tip: Create footless tights in any colour by simply cutting off the toes of pantyhose. They don’t run, and they look fabulous when you match the colour of the tights to the outfit for evening wear.

Reflections of a Style Genie………

One of the most fascinating things about doing wardrobes is the ‘presentation!’
There are many variations on how we organise (or don’t organise) our clothes.
First, there is the woman who does a fastidious tidy up before the consult.
Then there is the other extreme, where a woman drags her clothing and shoes etc into the lounge (leaves me wondering what is lurking in the wardrobe, itself?)
Then there is ‘most of us’ who despite feeling a little nervous possibly
await eagerly for fresh eyes to create something new for them to wear.
Ah, the joy I feel when I see this person excited again, with their own wardrobe re-styled! New looks, out piles, alterations and no more ugly wire hangers.
So, what is it that still fascinates me about doing wardrobes?
I have always secretly felt it is more like a journey to the heart, through the wardrobe.
Tip: Once you have booked your wardrobe consultation, relax and enjoy the journey. It is the stylist’s responsibility to impress you now!