Do you ever breathe a sigh of relief if you aren’t a public figure whose appearance is under constant media scrutiny? I certainly do, but as a personal stylist need to be aware of what provokes comment.
Let’s start with Hilary Clinton’s surprising warning to law students:
'The most important thing I have to tell you is that hair matters! This is the life lesson that my family did not teach me. Wellesley and Yale Law School failed to instil it too. Your hair will send significant messages to those around you. Pay attention to your hair because everyone else will!’
Via hairbands and scrunchies, she finally adopted a POB, aka the Political Bob. This style, suggested as the ‘only one to win elections’ involves short, neat, apparently easy - care hair. Ahem… Hilary travelled with a hairdresser. We see variations adopted by Merkel, May, Sturgeon and La Garde. In contrast, it is suggested that partners of men in power frequently favour long ‘swishy’ hair or ‘big hair,’ signalling ‘time consuming’ and ‘crowning glory.’ Well, there are exceptions all round and age and clothing style plays a large part, but Clinton’s message is valuable. Our hair sends out a powerful message, so do let it be the one you choose. What works best may well change over time so it’s important to periodically reassess and update, consider what works best for the skin tones, hair condition and texture, clothing personality and is in touch with current fashions.
Every picture tells a story! I’m looking at one of nine wonderful WAGs (with enviably swishy hair!) all sporting taxi shoes; killer heels with ankle straps, no- need -to- run- for- the- bus shoes. Shoes shout loudly so consequently get many column inches. Consider the Duchess of Cambridge’s nude L K Bennett Sledges, Theresa May’s animal print kitten heels, Melania Trump’s towering Louboutins and Blahniks or photos enlarged to prove that celebs wear shoes a size larger to allow for swelling of the feet! The extraordinary emotion generated around footwear is shown by UK employment legislation being required as recently as May 2018 to ensure women could no longer be required to wear high heels at work. The sands of fashion ever shift and lead by Sam Smiths and Balenciaga’s Triple S, since 2016, it is interesting that UK women have bought more trainers than high heels!
Wearing colour can cause comment. The Queen is a great example of using colour to put her centre stage. Recently Nancy Pelosi’s fabulous Max Mara red coat, apparently fished out from the back of her closet during a cold spell, not her important conversations with Donald Trump, caused a storm on Twitter! In-store buyers report that currently more colourful clothes are bought because they look good on Instagram whereas 50 shades of grey do not. Another benefit of knowing our right colours!
Would you agree that Michelle Obama gets consistently good press regarding clothes choices? Like Samantha Cameron she found the constant scrutiny of her appearance tiresome but discovered that an interesting outfit could ensure a photograph and thus draw attention to causes she wished to promote. She successfully dressed her individuality while being appropriate for her role as First Lady, no easy task, and did a fantastic job of modernising dress codes for women in the public eye, using bright patterns, mixing in high street brands and promoting new designers. Michelle Obama made the humble cardi great again! Albeit in a vibrant colour with an interesting twist. She showed us how Smart Casual could be, well ..Smart!
The desire to copy fascinates me. Dress or handbag brands’ websites crash as women try to emulate a royal or celeb’s look. Elsewhere, paid influencers encourage buying of ‘must haves’. No longer is it the stunning super models who are the strongest force in selling clothes, but women who can be related to: the gran, mum or girl next door, or the pretty, minor celebs who earn a living by making their followers want precisely what they’ve got.
But do you like me breathe an even larger sigh of relief, that armed with the knowledge of your individuality in terms of Colour and Style you can admire different looks but know whether they work for YOU? You know if the tasty caramels, saffron, cumin, biscuits and pistachios currently hyped will do you proud or are best left in the food cupboard. Beige is being promoted as the Power Colour of 2019 but if you have cool based skin tones you know to avoid it like the plague!
In this era of social media our Brand is more important than ever. We can learn from the successes and failures of celebrity dressing but then use our own Colour and Style guidelines to make our own best impact.
Let’s go back to Hilary Clinton or rather to one of her favourite designers, Nina Lepore.
‘Figure out what looks good on you, what's flattering and be consistent, having a style that is yours makes it easier to get dressed in the morning’
This is what Colour and Personal Style sessions provide. Knowing exactly what works will ensure that you look and feel good and that if you are ever shot into the spotlight the media comment will be favourable!
Guest blog by Fiona Ingham consultant for Borough of Camden/Chalk Farm/Hampstead - 020 77221984- visit Fiona's web page for more information
Insta for updates @houseofcolourfionaingham
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