For my family, who matter to me more and more as the years go by, and in particular my mum whose style and dignity in the face of lifes adversities has taught me much, I blame her for my love of bags and shoes!

To start at the beginning it was Oscar Wilde who said that only a fool doesnt judge people by appearances. He was right, How we look matters. It matters for all sorts of reasons. In the western world we have to wear something every day and whatever it is, you can be sure that it tells the world something about you. It signals more quickly than a lightning strike – whether you are fun, clever, elegant, shy intelletual, dowdy, sloppy, showy, you name it a dress can convey all these qualities and more. A psychiatrist once told me that she could tell a lot about someones mental state from how they dress (I agree), it can speak of optimism, despair, hopelessness or just plain giving up. Those that dont bother find themselves in a downward spiral of not liking the way they look and so they take less and less trouble. They pretend they dont care, and that its better not to take part in a competition they cant win.

I have met very few people that dont care, Ive done makeovers and styling sessions with clients and Ive never known a women yet not to be amazed and thrilled afterwards. Once someone is in the right colours, style and had their hair and makeup done you see a change in personality and the way someone holds themselves. One of my clients thanked me as tears rolled down her cheeks, “I didnt ever think I could look pretty”, I nearly cried myself. Its good for ones self asteem, it helps us face the world more confidently and yes it makes me feel great too.

I also think that the older you get, the less you can get away with it. The young can do scruffy but as times passes and you reach middle age it gets less and less attractive.

So here are a few tips with some common problem areas…(some of which my mum told me and Im eternlly grateful)

Big Boobs – Get a proper bra, A shallow V neck creates the illusion of length. Never wear high round necks, but high collars you can.
Small Boobs – Get a proper push up bra if your wearing a low neckline, you can wear high necks and if your boobs are small enough go bra free!
Large Hips – Opt for A Line skirts, skirts and dresses that skim rather than fir tightly. Do not over size or be tempted to wear tent like creations. Provide interest at the top half particulraly the neck and shoulder line.
Flabby Tummy – Avoid ruched or pleated skirts, never wear anything too tight, opt for high wasited skirts, trousers and jeans, and keep away from belts that tie in the middle.
Large Bottom – Choose waisted jackets that flare out and end below the hip or bottom, Never wear boxy jackets, avoid high waisted anything, perk up your top half!
Bad Legs – Trousers of course, darker tights, Wear boots under long dresses & skirts in the winter and choose shoes that have height.

What is worth spending your money on?
A good coat – is a great investment as winter is long in the UK and its key to the impression you make.
A good handbag (or 2) it will go on looking good forever.
Fabulous shoes – can make even a cheap high street dress look fantastic
Accessories – should be either very cheap or very expensive. Dont waste money on the middle ground.
A great party dress – is worth spending money on as it can be worn in any season and updated with key accessories.
Trends – If they dont suit you thats ok! Look out for trends you like and that will go with the rest of your wardrobe.
A good blow dry, manicure and pedicure – are priceless and will give you the confidence to carry off any outfit.
A pair of spanks – is essential under those tight fitting dresses, giving you a flat stomach without the work
Try to plan your outfit – the night before, this will save a last minute panic and therefore a fashion disaster in the morning.

The importance of a good Personal Shopper or Stylist!
I of course totally believe in this profession, but only properly trained and experienced ones like me! Its a common misconception that department store Personal Shoppers or Stylists are trainined – there not! This is why its a free service. To spend time with a trained professional will cost you something, but it will be totally worth it. I can show you your best colours for makeup, clothes and accessories, help you dress your bodyshape, Show you how to create outfits that fit & flatter you, organise your wardrobe and take you shopping!

You dont need to be rich or famous to have a Personal Stylist, in fact its no different to booking a dental or hairdressing apt – these things improve our appearance and make you feel and look good. Thats priceless surely?

And finally, a few things I wish Id known long ago.

I wish Id know how wonderful it was to be 20, 30 etc and to have appreciated my body then.
You cant please everyone all the time.
Dont be afraid of making an enemy, sometimes courage and honesty requires it.
If it doesnt fit in the shop its not going to fit at home.
Dont buy cheap!
The things you worry about are almost never going to happen.
Never go out with a man who doesnt make you laugh and smile.
You cant have to many shoes and bags 🙂
Sexiness is nothing to do with being a certain size.
A great haircut is worth a number of new dresses.
Never buy anything because its bound to come in useful
Never buy anything that you dont love or isnt absolutley right.

If you have found some of my advice useful but would like to know more please visit my website www.appearanceandattitude.com to book a styling or wardrobe session.