Today I got the chance to be the 'client' at a training session for the Style and Wardrobe part of the work done by some ladies training to be Colour Me Beautiful consultants.
They ask you to take along 5 outfits and they analyse your personality, colouring and body shape and give you advice on clothes.
I had a great time and learned a lot. I had taken along a mixture of clothes from my wardrobe - a lot of them from my SWAP and a mini wardrobe I had sewn.
I'll share with you about the session here - sorry its quite long.
If you want to do this yourself, or with a friend its all out of the book 'Colour Me Confident' by Colour Me Beautiful.
They had asked me to bring with me 5 outfits of clothes, which I did. When I arrived the trainer took the suitcase away for them to have a look, gave me a coffee and had me do a style personality questionnaire.
This is all in a little booklet which they work through with you and personalise as you go along.
This is the quiz in the 'Colour Me Confident' book on p142 for any of you that have it.
The trainer asked me to tick all the answers which apply and bear in mind not just how I dress now, but changes I might like to make in future.
I sat and did the quiz which came out as follows:-
City Chic: 0
They also asked me which stores I like to shop in.
Because I had a tie between 3 different areas they showed me some mood boards of the different looks, and I didn't like the Classic at all, so they wrote me down as a Natural Dramatic.
Throughout the consultation there were a few things where the trainer asked certain questions or I mentioned something, which seemed to her to confirm the Natural as the main style, with the dramatic parts being in bold colours, jewellery and other accessories.
Next we moved on to Face shapes. Here I came out as a Softened square.
There was some debate about the square versus rectangle, but basically I am a square with a long forehead and not a rectangle - due to how my features are placed on my face.
They thought I had gone for a reasonably good hairstyle for my face shape - having my natural wave going into curls and layered softens the outline of the face. I need to have a fringe but not to completely cover the forehead so I get some length there.
As a Natural I should stick to low maintenance hairstyle, not try to straighten it etc (phew!) And should choose deep and warm hair colours - ie medium brown with warm red undertone. Because of my Dramatic leanings I can go quite red if I want to, particularly because I have green eyes.
Glasses need to be angular and not rounded, because I should play up the angular rather than the rounded contours in my face. This was a relief as I just ordered some new glasses in a dark bronze colour (like a metallic version of my hair) with angular frames - spot on they said
After that we moved onto body shapes, and I came out as a Triangle in their system because I carry my extra weight/visually seem heavier around the hips/thighs.
So to appear balanced they suggested tactics to visually balance out the two halves of my body.
That was interesting because having reasonably broad shoulders, but small bust and broad hips I never quite know where I sit on those designations.
Their suggestions were:-
Tops - patterns, texture, bold colours.
Skirt - simple lines, no prints and coming out at the bottom e.g. flip, bias etc.
Trousers - plain flat fronted with side zip, bootleg etc, no hip pockets.
Coats - Single breasted, no hip pockets
Dressing the Top Half
Fitted tops, avoid boxy jackets
Dressing the lower half
Plain smooth bottoms
No extra bulk e.g. cargo pockets etc
Bring interest to
Your top half with big jewellery and accessories
Details on trousers
plain tops (need layers/texture etc)
Smooth on bottom, texture on top
Soft fluid draping bottoms, Knit tops
Patterns on the top half only. Use horizontal stripes on the top.
Scale and height
Here I came out average height and shoe size, and neither long nor short waisted.
Due to Triangle shape should not wear light bottoms, dark top.
Options either - all one colour, or lighter/brighter top to balance.
Good to wear same colour/tone bottom and jacket with strongly contrasting top, or top and bottom, with contrasting jacket. This gives the contrast which I need to have definition. Should not have monochrome or tone on tone, need to have a colour (or two colours).
Next they went through lots of necklines etc, and we did stop and start this by trying on some of the things I had brought and saying why they were good or not.
Bad: Halterneck, crew, funnel
Good: Scoop, boat, bardot
Tops should not stop at the widest part of the hip - I had at least one which was too long - an unflattering line. I need to keep an open neckline and not wear polo necks or anything which comes up too high.
A boat neck needs to have a longer necklace to give that same impression.
Raglan or cutaway are not good as they de-emphasize the shoulders.
Classic inserted sleeves are the most flattering.
3/4 sleeve good, also puffed shoulders as these broaden the shoulder.
Flared sleeves, cuffs and ruffles were all marked as bad..
Camisole marked as good for layering
Wrap tops, fitted twinset and bolero jackets also marked as good.
Wrap tops as extra good as they show off the waist. (and I think the current avatar pic demonstrates how fab that does look)
I queried the bolero because I was uncertain, so they dressed me in one of the ladies tops, tied to look like a bolero/shrug type top. Advised as a good way to take my plain bold colour 3/4 sleeve tees and give them more texture was to wear a short sleeved crochet style bolero over the top. This is new to me so have to try it.
No to anything loose fitting. classic, bulky.
Good to wear a fitted waistcoat - adds interest at the top, shows of waist etc. Avoid Victorian style blouse -too fussy, also anything too loose as have lost waist definition.
We spent some time trying on a few skirts I had brought with me. A plain dark 6 gire skirt with godets at the hem was best - hit at just below the widest part of the calf.
(Loes Hinse gore skirt btw, but modified a lot)
Also tried a similar shape skirt which was just below the knee- very unflattering.
Though they did say with a fitted suede boot and tights I could wear the knee length in winter.
Lots of no's on the skirts
pencil skirts in either knee or longer were out as made me look like a parsnip!
Flip and bias marked as good
(not sure on the bias myself, they like them and said shows my curves, I wonder as T&S say no bias for saddlebags).
No to full skirts, tiered skirts or circle skirts as too much bulk.
Also should not have thick fabrics as adds bulk.
best option was plain front side zip trousers with a medium leg.
Boot cut also OK
No to classic jeans, flares and combats..
best: Single breasted with button at waist - fitted
Also cropped shrug style and gilets.
Should not have anything cardigan style, deconstructed or double breasted/boxy.
Single breasted, knee length with open collar and darts/shaping to fit at waist
Single breasted trench coat
No shapeless styles.
No pockets on hips.
No to straight shift styles - very unflattering.
Generally best with separates but can choose
empire line or wrap dresses.
Shoes, boots and handbags
Knee high boots in suede.
Also suggested I bring colour in with bright coloured bags - e.g turquoise, teal, red etc.
Pattern on top and plain on the bottom.
Swimsuit with bust detail.
Padding to enhance bust.
Padded bras to build up top half.
Spanx or similar when wearing clingy skirts and trouser to minimise bumps and lumps.
Belts worn on the waist - never at the hips. And can be slightly dipped at the centre front (no idea how to make it stay like this btw!)
Dramatic jewellery, bronze, teal, orange, turquoise, wood
Avoid high around the neck. Better worn showing some skin.
Remember: go bold and bright with your accessories.
Summary at the end
Chocolate, navy, pewter for summer, but make sure wear with brights for contrast.
At the end of the session they gave me some mail order catalogues and some post it notes and asked me to find outfits and mark them.
Then they looked through with me and asked me to explain which area of their suggestions the garments matched.
This is to check that the client understand what they are looking for and have understood the advice.
So I will weed out quite a few of the 'meh' things in my wardrobe, and also style myself up a little more.
I loved when the trainer styled me in my navy Loes Hinse skirt and teal print scoop neck top - in a skirt and wearing my ballet flats BUT with a shorter top and a belt, just to give a little bit of waist. (Need to shorten that top as hitting at the widest part of the hip)
also when she put turquoise with lime for more summer POP.
I got a few tips on how to dress more young/fun/trendy and less classic. I think the classic bits are to do with wanting looking smart for work, and wearing what I think you should wear and look frumpy on me, so that was really helpful.