The Style Saboteurs – or why you sometimes need to get out of your own way

Do you know someone who gives herself a hard time about how she looks? You know the kind of thing; “I can’t wear this I’m too old, fat, tall – and so it goes on.

This blog is about celebrating the amazingness (Yes, I know I’ve made the word up) of women. Very accomplished women who have demanding jobs and may also act as carers for their families still tend to put themselves down when it comes to their appearance.

Well, if that is you I would like you to stop right now. Let’s explore some of what I call the style ‘saboteurs’. Those ideas and beliefs we have about how we look that prevent us from rejuvenating our personal style.

Comparing yourself to others

The reality is that you are unique. To compare yourself to someone else is a pointless exercise especially if they are younger, thinner or richer. Unfortunately the media tend to promote ‘ideals’ of beauty that at best are unhelpful and at worst create dissatisfaction. Be the best you can be. Be you at your best. I love this quote from a man who embraced style and was always himself.

“Be yourself. Other people are already take” by Oscar Wilde

Waiting to lose weight before you buy new clothes

We all know it is unhealthy to be overweight and if you are severely overweight then you need to seek professional advice. If you are a woman who has had children, if you are going through, or have gone through the menopause or you simply lead a busy life and have erratic eating patterns then the chances are you weigh more than you did a few years ago. If you are constantly telling yourself you’ll buy that new dress when you have lost 10lbs then, guess what – you won’t. You’ll continue to wear the same old thing which you probably don’t like and may not suit you. Just because you weigh more than you’d like (and many of us do!) does not mean you can’t look good and wear stylish clothes. Style is dressing for the shape you have now.

I can never find anything to fit

Oh please! I do not accept this. Unless you are an extraterrestrial being I’m assuming you look much like the rest of us. Women come in all different sizes and shapes so the starting point is to know what shape you are. I’m also assuming you know what size you are. I will soon be posting an article about body shape, but in the meantime, I can strongly recommend The Body Shape Bible’ by Trinny & Susannah, which explores 12 different body shapes and provides good advice about the best clothes for each type. In my opinion, based on mountains of research, no one has produced a better guide.

I’m too old to change my style

You are never too old. There are no age limits to having style. Style rejuvenation is about looking good at any age. Just look at some of these stunning older women. Now tell me you are too old!

 confident mono chromeup swwep

bobrelaxed fit beige knitwear

My kids/friends/partner/colleagues will laugh at me

Time for some tough love! You owe it to yourself to look good and feel good, for you. If someone you know feels ill at ease or threatened by your desire to look good and update yourself (perhaps it will highlight just how much they have let themselves go) then it really is their problem. Also, if they really care about you they should feel happy to support you. When your children do this it usually is because they see you in a role rather than as an individual. You may need to sit them down and talk to them and  firmly let them know that you are doing this for you.

I just haven’t got the time

If you have a very busy work schedule and/or a large family to look after then of course you will be short of time. In this case you will need to schedule some time each week (or day) to clear out your wardrobe, decide what you need to buy and then go shopping. Always shop with a plan. Click onto the Style Challenges page and read my article ‘The Art of Shopping’ which provides a fool proof guide to successful shopping. Follow the guidelines and it will change how you shop forever, and save you a small fortune! Many large stores provide personal shoppers and provided you are clear about what you want to buy they can be helpful. However, I would offer a note of caution. They can only offer the brands they stock, which you may not like or may not suit your body shape, and the personal shopper may be years younger than you and will either (I’m speaking from feedback from my clients) dress you in clothes that are too ‘this season’, and therefore offer a poor return in investment, or may dress you as they ‘perceive’ an older woman should look.

What’s your particular style saboteur? Why not let me know.

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