Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Contrasting views

It all seemed very straightforward: I knew my body shape (rectangular or H), my face shape (oblong), my features (a combination of round and angular) and I was waiting for my colour swatch to arrive so my colours could be sorted. I understood what shapes suit my rectangular body, how to create a column of colour to make me look taller (always a bonus!) and what necklines flatter me. Once I had my colour swatch, I would be ready to shop.  Imogen's 7 Steps to Style course had taught me so much and soon I would be as stylish as all the other bloggers out there!

I was feeling very confident - perhaps a little over confident? - until the words "value contrast" and "colour contrast" came into the equation.  What did this mean?  As Imogen had promised to write a blog post on the subject and was looking for volunteers, I sent her a photo as soon as I read the request.  Here it is:

I was delighted when I saw that I had been included as I knew this would help me progress even more. Imogen said that I am high value contrast but low colour contrast. I have dark hair and eyes, however my skin is fair making the value contrast high. On the other hand there is no obvious colour in my face as my hair, eyes and skin are all neutral, which is why my colour contrast is low.

If you click on this link you can look at the other volunteers, who have different levels of value contrast and colour contrast, plus outfits that Imogen has suggested would suit us all. I think Imogen explains the concept very well and I agree with how she defines my contrast levels.  Now comes the tricky bit! When I'm putting together an outfit and I know that the colours and designs all suit me, I also need to take value and colour contrasts into consideration. In my case I will look my best if I wear either a monochromatic colour scheme or dress head to toe in neutrals, both in a high value contrast. I will also look my best if I wear more dark colours than light ones, just using small amounts of light colours to add the contrast.

This is the outfit that Imogen suggested for me:

I love that outfit, however I won't be making any purchases until I receive my colour swatch and have confirmed that the colours suit me. In the meantime, I am using my current wardrobe to try and work out suitable combinations. I may treat myself to some new additions once I have identified which colours work best for me, but the looks below will have to do for now!

This was yesterday's outfit. The trousers are a bit too loose though the colour seemed right.  Once I have the swatch, if the trousers look good with it, I'll be taking them to be tailored so they fit better. When I went out I wore a much lighter blue scarf, which provided a better contrast than the necklace I'm wearing in the above photo.

Today's outfit seemed to meet the criteria a lot better. The colour of my top blended well with the colour card and I think the white stripes help with the value contrast, so this is a definite keeper. I posted this photo on the "7 Steps to Style" facebook page and it met with general approval, so I'm confident that I'm going in the right direction.

It is often said that the most stylish women make it all look effortless, but trust me behind the scenes there's a lot of hard work involved.  Having said that, it's also great fun. For all you over 60 women out there, I hope that you will start creating new and more flattering outfits with your own clothes. With Christmas coming up, what better time to add some style and colour to your wardrobe?

Monday, 10 November 2014

Style - the whole package

I enjoyed taking part in the different challenges during Imogen's Evolve Your Style 31 day style challenge and in particular I enjoyed being a member of the closed group on facebook. I was inspired by the other participants, many of whom were incredibly stylish and creative, and I appreciated their positive feedback on some of my more successful outfits! It was interesting to find out which of my outfits worked, which needed a bit more working on and which were destined for the recycling bins.

I then took the big decision to enrol on another of Imogen's programmes: 7 Steps to Style. For any of you who have always wanted a colour and style consultation but don't have any image consultants living near you, this is a very good alternative. If your budget won't stretch that far (and I do think it's incredibly good value for the amount of advice Imogen gives you) then I would suggest going through the different categories on her blog: Inside Out StyleShe helps you to identify your face shape, body shape, colouring, personality and the many other aspects of developing your overall style personality. Imogen also gives lots of good examples of clothes and colours to suit your body shape, colouring etc.

As I've mentioned before, there are inevitably a few limitations to how you can express your style personality. If you are rebellious but happen to work in a very traditional working environment, you may have to rein in your rebellious streak until you get home. I'm short, so I know that dramatic clothes will tend to overwhelm me, but I also know that I can add a few dramatic touches via my accessories. 

I'm still working through the 7 steps to style and at the moment I'm stuck on colour. What's interesting is that when I did my colour analysis last year I was definitely cool rather than warm i.e. a jewel winter.  However at the moment there seems to be uncertainty within the group about whether my colouring is cool or warm so Imogen is sending me a set of colour cards that we're hoping will make it clear. Watch this space!

One of the exercises is to define your style personality and I discovered that I was a mixture of several styles, though my main personality traits are relaxed. I do like many elements from the other styles, such as dramatic colours, creative jewellery and elegant chic textures. The style statement that I eventually decided upon, with the help of others in the group (especially Juhli!), is: Casual Chic with a dash of Colour and Drama.

Does this outfit tie in with my style statement?
The outfit shown above is definitely casual and I'd like to think it is chic as well. The bright pink colour adds a touch of drama as well as colour to my outfit. Although they're not very clear in the photo, my toe nails are dark blue to match my necklace and bag.  The length of the top and trousers aren't ideal as they split my figure in half, however the white sandals help to compensate for that as they draw the eyes down. This may not be a particularly stylish outfit in the eyes of the fashion world, but this is me wearing clothes that I feel comfortable in and that I feel express my personality.

When I went for a style consultation earlier in the year, Fiona and I agreed that I was a Natural Gamine. I have created a board on Pinterest reflecting this, however I now feel that there are other elements to add in as a result of embarking on the 7 Steps to Style. So far as my personal style is concerned, I believe that I now have the whole package. Once I have finished this new journey in style, I will post an update on here.