Friday, February 24, 2017

3 ways to fall in love with your wardrobe again

I gathered together all my fashion and style books - they don't even take up one half of a cube on my book shelf!  Not one book on Chanel... I will have to remedy that.

I find it strange that my wardrobe posts always get really high readership, on the once-in-a-blue-moon occasions that I look at my blog statistics.  But I do it too.  I like to look nice but am not a fashionista, and even I can’t resist a different wardrobe point of view.  Why is that do you think?

Much of the time I am not that excited about my wardrobe.  I love some of the pieces and others are just there.  Sometimes some of the items are a little snug… so I wear the bigger sizes :) I probably do take my wardrobe a bit for granted.  Why do I say that?  Well, I am surprised sometimes when I don’t seem to have many options and then realise I haven’t been shopping for many months.  I just forget to.

I would happily show you my summer wardrobe, except that it’s the same as last summer, just with two new dresses added, oh and a couple of pairs of capri pants.  Maybe I’ll do that post next week.

So today, I’m going to get excited about my wardrobe again.  It rolls around cyclically, this closet malaise.  What are we going to do about it?

Borrow other people’s enthusiasm

Nothing gets me more enthused about fashion again than following fashion bloggers on Instagram or reading style blog posts.  I think it’s so cool that I can see what a stylish lady is wearing, today, in Paris or Milan.  I love modern times!

As a teen in the 1980s I would patiently wait for my favourite style and music magazines to arrive from the UK and devour the street style photos which would have been months old by then.  But I didn’t care, I was always inspired to be more out there, make a new outfit (literally, with my sewing machine) and not let myself lapse into mediocrity.  My mother still has nightmares from those days.

Re-organise everything

Without thinking about it too much (otherwise I’ll talk myself out of it and say it’s too big a job), I pile everything out of my drawers and onto the bed.  Then, sort and put back, seeing what I have as I go.  Maybe I’ll declutter a few pieces but it’s mostly about reacquainting myself with what I have.

Same with my hanging items, I would take them all out of my wardrobe and lay on the bed, starting with an empty hanging bar.  Then, put them back with my current favourites at the front.

Create a mini-capsule collection

After the organising comes the fun part – putting together a mini capsule collection as if you were travelling somewhere.  When we travelled to Sydney for four nights last year, my husband and I decided to take carry-on luggage only.  Our carry-on bags are tiny.  It was a fun challenge though and it was so liberating to have a tiny bag.  No waiting at the carousel; no dragging a big suitcase through central Sydney.

After that experience I have created a mini capsule for myself at times when I was either bored with my wardrobe or one time had put on a few kilos.  In the bored example, I chose some of my nicer pieces that I would not wear because they weren’t as practical, and mix them in with pieces I loved.  This made it feel like I had a new wardrobe and it was fun getting ready in the morning.

In the case of my clothes being a bit tight, I made a mini capsule of my looser/more forgiving clothes and gave myself a break while I reset my weight.  Please note I wasn’t moving into track pants and baggy tee-shirts.  This mini capsule was made of clothes that while they were bigger, were still flattering.  You know how some jeans have more stretch than others.  The rigid jeans went at the back for now.

Wearing a pair of jeans so uncomfortable and that has your muffin top spilling over is not going to help you be slimmer.  Aside from looking nasty, they will make you grumpy and more likely to comfort eat, as paradoxical as that sounds.

So that’s my three tips to falling in love with your wardrobe again.  What do you do when wardrobe malaise sets in?  Maybe it’s the end of the season, I think I’ve mentioned that one before in another post.  It’s easy to be excited about the changing season and the promise of wearing different clothes, but then once you’re a few months in, they seem a bit samey.

Please share!


PS.  If you haven’t already read my bestselling book Thirty Chic Days, there is a chapter on making your closet like a bijou boutique.  It’s one of my favourite chapters in the book and it is very inspiring to look at your wardrobe another way.  You can download it on Amazon or read the paperback too.

Check your public library also, because more and more are stocking my books.  If they don’t, ask if they will order it in.  Some libraries accept reader requests, and some don’t.  One of the librarians at our library told me they love it when people request titles, because otherwise they have to choose from big catalogues.  It’s saving them a job!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Being your own chic mentor

I came across a Word document I wrote a while back and I was playing with the idea of being my own chic mentor.  I had tons of points written down about me as a chic mentor.  At the time some were true and some were not true… yet.

I wrote them as if observing someone chic and went from there.  You can also add in attributes you admire in others as a reference point for yourself.  Coming back to this list (more than three pages long of single-spaced typing) was so inspiring and I’d highly recommend it as a fun way to inspire yourself.

Here’s some of ‘me’:
  • She dresses in a simple and neutral colour palette
  • She looks after her possessions, cares for them and shows them respect
  • She gathers furniture and clothing over time to create her own unique style
  • She aims for style, not fashion.
  • She is uniquely herself
  • She is a successful author
  • She is serene
  • She has fun with her family
  • She spends time on sexy eye makeup
  • She is elegant and has a simple personal style
  • She is light in spirit and fun to be around
  • She adds feminine touches to her outfits
  • She is very warm and nurturing at the same time as being sexy, good fun and also a good conversationalist
  • She is intelligent but also doesn’t try to dominate the conversation or show you how much she knows
  • She has a balanced life
  • She is hardworking and professional, good at what she does and takes her work seriously
  • She is down-to-earth
  • She is well-mannered and quiet
  • She has followed her dream to create her own clothing range
  • She is slim and healthy looking, not stick thin
  • She is glossy
  • She has created her own life for herself
  • She is basically the coolest female ever

It’s easy to get caught up in what we haven’t done well, the wrong foods we’ve eaten, the late nights we are having, etc.  But what about if we concentrated on everything we are doing right, and add in some ‘could be/maybe in the futures’ just to zing things up?

The mind does not know truth from fiction, and simply takes in what you feed it.  In addition, what you think is your reality is only your perception of what you think is reality.

I did a psychology paper, for fun… as you do, fifteen or so years ago.  One part I distinctly remember in the text book was that how you view something isn’t necessarily fact.  Your beliefs filter what you see, much like a pair of sunglasses.

It’s taken that a long time to sink in for me, and I forget it sometimes.  What I take from it though, is to be open to different ways of seeing things.  Don’t be rigid.  Soften the view.

Do you think you could be your own chic mentor?  What are a few bullet points that your dream chic list might say?


PS. My most recent book ‘How to be Chic in the Winter: Living slim, happy and stylish during the cold season’ is available on Amazon now, in paperback or on Kindle.  Read ‘How to be Chic in the Winter’ to discover my strategy for not just surviving, but thriving this winter; on how to have a chic and beautiful winter season and emerge, like a butterfly ready for a gorgeous spring and summer.

Go here to take a look.

Friday, February 10, 2017

How to be the belle of the party

Reader Elizabeth wrote to me:

How do we stay and feel chic when we're in a social situation which is awkward? I am about to go to a large 50th party with lots of people, most of whom know each other very well, and most of whom are acquaintances of mine rather than close friends. They're perfectly nice people but I will feel an outsider and dread getting into those dead-end conversations where I know someone wants to get away (and so do I to be honest!) but I feel awkward when I survey the room full of other people having a jolly time and I don't feel I can break in to their conversations…. How can I maintain my chic-ness in that situation??

Aah, Elizabeth, I hear you.  As an introvert I can easily wish for these types of events to not exist at all so that I can simply stay at home every night with a book.  Alas, that’s not going to happen, and I do realise I sound quite anti-social right now!

So let’s find out how to make the most of a situation.

My first thought was to treat this party as a kind of acting role.  I find doing something like this kicks my creative brain into gear and shuts up the whining ‘Do I have to go?’ side of me.

Instead of dreading the party, I will enjoy it.  I will focus on meeting new people and having interesting questions up my sleeve.  I will eat and drink elegantly!

Imagine how royals feel when they go to a big event.  Do you think they might prepare?  I do.

Firstly, if you can get someone talking about themselves, they will love you, because you know how people like to talk about themselves.  I do, it feels good!  Something that I have to remember is that it’s not too personal to ask questions – people enjoy answering them and it gives you a different angle rather than just ‘how’s that weather, huh?’

I’ve had some excellent conversations with people at parties just because I’ve asked a question I’m a bit nervous of.  It might be a serious illness or difficult time they have had.  People are happy that you care.

When I am asked questions, I try not to let the answer drone on for hours.  Sometimes it does happen though, so when I realise I’m doing that, I cut myself instantly with ‘But enough of that boring old stuff, what about you?’ and you can link that question into the conversation.

I actually love that tack:  it sounds very well-mannered to deflect a question you don’t want to answer with ‘Oh, that would bore you to tears, let’s talk about something more interesting’ or ‘Too dull for words, let’s talk about you’ if someone asks what I did that day.

You may find yourself with someone who doesn’t know they are starting to drone on and on.  What to do?  It’s a bit cheeky, but I like to throw in a completely unrelated question.  If they are getting long-winded on an uninteresting topic, I’ll ask ‘Have you been away over summer/winter?’ or ‘Do you have any holidays planned?’ in a gap (hopefully there is one).  The vacation question is an excellent standby.

Channel yourself as Jackie Kennedy or some other excellent conversationalist that you have heard of.  Play your part and you will find that not only do you have more fun because you have taken the focus off yourself and your nervousness, but people will rave about you to their friends.

They have found you to be fabulous company because you listened well.  This works particularly well if you are introverted because you might find it uncomfortable talking about yourself.  You might worry about coming across too unexciting because of your quiet life.  You might like your privacy too much.

Be effusive in your praise and exclaim in delight at every revelation you hear.  A friend of my husband’s is loved by everyone because he is a crazy-high positive person.  Everything is wonderful and whatever you are doing is amazing.  He almost comes across as comical but it’s just how he is naturally.  I channel some of his energy when I need to lift my socialising game.

Just listen, ask questions and be excited.  That’s the secret!

I’d love to hear other angles too, because you guys are the best.  What would you say to Elizabeth if she asked you the same question at the top of this post?  I’m looking forward to picking up some good tips too!


PS.  Did you know I have books available on Amazon on Kindle and in paperback.  I write on living a simple, beautiful and abundant life.  My books contains loads of tips on how you can achieve this without spending a lot of money.  Pretty much everything I recommend is F R E E of cost, with an upgrade of mindset through inspiration being the way to go.

You can find my books here.
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