Monday, 27 January 2014

My Personal Style Session

There weren't any major surprises in store for me when I returned to see Fiona Ingham of The House of Colour for my Personal Style session, however I still found it very helpful and I came away with some excellent guidelines for future purchases.

The Style session included many elements such as body shapes, body geometrics, proportion & balance and personality, but it also focussed on my  individual requirements. Obviously I don't need to build up a work wardrobe or worry about dressing for success now that I've retired, but other women might find those topics helpful.

My objectives were to understand my shape and proportions so that I could choose the most flattering clothes to create a balanced look. Our bodies change as we get older. Even if I was still as slim as I was in my 20s and 30s (sadly I'm not), I am now an inch shorter, so it was helpful to have an informed opinion about what suits my changing body. Early in the session Fiona asked me how I would like to be perceived,  to which I answered "stylish", so that was a definite challenge for her!

Having spent some time recently looking at body shapes, I wasn't surprised to be told that I was a straight rectangle with an oblong face. My body proportions are fairly well balanced, though I have a long neck so my top half is half an inch longer than my bottom half. It was great to be given guidelines for my best shapes for expensive items such as jackets, coats and dresses. As I'm only just over 5' tall (by the half inch mentioned earlier!) I know that there are certain limitations to what I can wear. With Fiona´s help I now have a list of the best lengths and the most flattering shapes on me for tops, trousers, skirts, dresses, jackets and coats. Armed with this information and the wallet of my best colours, I expect to find clothes shopping a lot easier in future.

I enjoyed the exercises on understanding your personality, where we looked at my Yang and Yin personality. This was my second session with Fiona, so when we were looking at certain questions she told me how she perceived me,  which proved very interesting.  As someone who can be very disorganised and indecisive, and who is a bit of a hoarder, it was good to know that I appear to be more organised and decisive than I really am! I was also reassured to be told that, at the grand old age of 66, I still come across as natural and youthful rather than mature and sophisticated. I scored slightly more on Yin than Yang, however I am clearly not a Romantic or Ingenue (both are more Yin) and I'm a long way from being a Dramatic or Classic, which are more Yang.  Natural and Gamine both came in the middle.

Audrey Hepburn is one of my style icons, so I was thrilled to be told that I'm a "Gamine" like her. Other well-known Gamines include Zoe Wanamaker, Danni Minogue and Victoria Beckham - though I don't think Victoria Beckham and I have a lot in common! Words to describe a Gamine include: quirky, boyish, witty and fun, youthful and French Chic. Oh la la!  I'm a Natural Gamine, which means I should add a natural or textured look to my clothes.

Fiona gave me loads of tips to make the most of my body shape and proportions and enhance my personal style. In the photo below I am trying on a long bold necklace, which looks totally wrong on me. The small delicate necklace I tried on first wasn't much better.

This long bold necklace doesn't suit me

My medium scale necklace is far more flattering
I was pleased that Fiona approved of the medium scale necklace above, as it was the one I had chosen to wear to my style consultation. The Mango jacket with rolled up cuffs  that I was wearing also won the seal of approval as did my grey ankle boots and my new Clark´s bag, which will feature in my next post. I also brought along a top that didn't really work for me, so Fiona explained why it wasn't working and what I could do to improve it.

Having worn a couple of dresses that are above my knees recently (albeit with dark tights), and having been complimented on these looks, I was delighted to be told that dresses and skirts on or just above my knees are perfect for me. I usually wear trousers during the day, which is typical of a Gamine, and I enjoy using accessories to add contemporary, funky, quirky or fun details to my look. My short hairstyle is ideal for a Natural Gamine, so it looks as if I was instinctively making some of the right choices.

The Women's Personal Style booklet contained some very helpful charts, such as the one about creating interest, where you can work out if you are underdressed or if your outfit is too distracting and you are overdressed. The mix and match chart is also useful and is similar to the Wardrobe Clusters that I wrote about earlier in the month.

Thank you for all your hard work Fiona in helping this Natural Gamine become more stylish. I would recommend a style session for any of you who are in a style rut or not really sure what looks flatter you the most.

Stop press! Fiona has just sent me an update advising which of the current trends will work for Natural Gamines. Time to hit the sales, I think!


  1. Having a style session sounds wonderful. I'm thinking about all the things I've bought which when I get them home just don't fit in with my lifestyle, or look terrible, and I wonder why I bought them in the first place.

  2. I've been there too! When I first started doing Project 333 and went through my wardrobe, it was frightening how many unsuitable and unflattering clothes I possessed. I love clothes and accessories, so it's all too tempting to buy something that won't work for you just because you love it. Having a style session was a bit extravagant, however I suspect that I'll save money in the long term. If I need a new pair of trousers for example, I'll be able to concentrate on the styles that are right for me rather than buying a pair that fits ok and then never wearing them because they don't flatter me or go with my other clothes.

  3. Fun! I'm curious which top she said didn't suit you and why.

    I can see you as natural and somewhat gamine, although to me that means more delicate. I've been told I'm gamine, mostly because I'm short but reality, I'm not--not at all. I'm kinda classic but softer.

  4. Robin, looking at my notes on the different types of gamine, you may be thinking of the ingénue gamine, which is a more delicate look. I think the combining of two types helps to make this more personal: for example, maybe you are a classic gamine?

    You'll see the top, which is actually a poncho, in my next post! The main problem is that the colours aren't great on me and it's better to wear your most flattering colours on your top half. The other problem is that the style makes me look wider. Keep an eye out for my next post and please leave your comments!

  5. Sounds like this was a great experience. Just a little jealous...

  6. I am also just a little jealous (maybe a little more than a little!) of your style analysis experience! Sounds wonderful and informative and useful---and fun!

  7. Sorry to make you jealous! I'm thinking of ways you can do your own style analysis, maybe with an honest friend, and will be blogging about that soon.