Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Party clothes that do the talkin'

While many people find the Christmas party season fun and exhilarating, just as many dread it.  
Meeting strangers and going through the same script time after time just to discover that you have nothing in common with this person can be very tiresome.  To speed up the process people use external indicators to build a picture of us within a matter of minutes based on our homes, the location of our homes, what we drive, our partners etc.  It may seem a very shallow way of sussing out strangers but basically life is too short to take long periods of time with every new person we meet merely to discover that they bore us silly.
So how can we ensure that we will attract the right people to speak to us at parties this Christmas?  Clothes are an obvious way of letting people know who we are, but this will only work if we convey our authentic selves.  Trying to be bright and bubbly by wearing bright colours and shiny jewellery will only work initially - often this person will wolf down a few glasses of bubbly in quick succession to give her courage to be that effervescent personality, only to turn into the drunk lush.  Similarly party goers who have lots to offer to a conversation but opt for safe party clothes (aka conservative/boring) are often not given the opportunity to voice their opinions and are relegated to the outer circles,  saved for people who don't get out much.  
This party season don't only think about what styles are in fashion or what shapes and colours suit you but go that bit further and think about what you would like your clothes to say to someone that you've never met before?  Look at your reflection before you leave the house and think "Does this outfit say - I'm a lecturer that loves to ski, belly dance and read?" or does it say I'm an academic that's far too intelligent to consider my appearance and will bore you with "fascinating facts" about my speciality.  We all have different aspects to our characters, ensure you dress for your fun characteristics this Christmas and enjoy meeting new people who will be drawn to you naturally.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Silent clothes leave us speechless

The ultimate luxury for me is a decent chunk of time to sit down and read the paper at lunchtime on Saturdays - preferably accompanied by a large coffee and bacon roll. I loved Rachel Cusk's article on female writing Shakespeare's Sisters in this Saturday's Guardian.  One sentence that stuck out for me was Cusk's description of Chekhov's Three Sisters,  
"What they feel is not embodied by what they are."
So often I find that clients at Renideo are accomplished people but their clothes don't communicate their abilities or interests to the outside world - leaving them feeling frustrated and sometimes quite down. What they are is not embodied by what they wear. The wonderful picture on the right, taken from The Sartorialist blogspot , shows a woman who is confident in herself, being feminine on her terms.  Cusk explores a division between women accepting a male version of feminity i.e. marriage and motherhood and those who prefer to explore femininity on their own terms.
"Woman is filled with visions and yearnings that are never matched by reality; she has a power of visualisation, of imagination, that her lack of worldly power forever frustrates. Yes, she might produce literature out of this conflict in her being. But she is more likely to produce silence."
I see the clothes that we choose to wear as a representation to the world of how we feel about ourselves and often we feel frustrated that we don't communicate the different aspects of our characters. Yes we are professionals who produce high standards of work with similar expectations from colleagues but we also love to jump in puddles with our kids at the weekend and sex up our looks for Saturday evenings with our partners.  When we don't manage to communicate this through our appearance, due to lack of time and/or expertise, we often opt for "silent clothes".  Those outfits that don't offend but say nothing.  Silent clothes don't only fail in communicating who we are to the outside world, they can also prevent those that we love from understanding us.  Silent clothes will not offend anyone but neither will they inspire children to grab our hands and head for the puddles.  Our daily routines can be tiring so the non-verbal signs of clothes can tell partners and friends what we feel but don't always have the heart to say.  If we put on that dress with the brighter colours then we tell friends we want to have fun, they respond by being more light hearted and suddenly we're inspired to laugh and socialise. 
Yes at this time of year clothes must serve a practical purpose but used with insight they can do so much more!

Friday, 11 December 2009

Accessorizing your Christmas tree/outfit...

Christmas trees are a beautiful way of brightening up our homes and streets just now.  They are a great reminder of how accessories can make such a fantastic difference to anyone's appearance.  Although "looking like a Christmas tree" generally refers to someone piling on excessive amounts of accessories the Renideo still believes that Christmas trees are a great reminder of what we're seeking to achieve with our winter accessories,
*sparkle* * theme* and *scale*.
*Sparkle - winter can be a dreary season - the perfect backdrop to allow you to shine out! Just as a Christmas tree only comes to life when the bulbs or candles are lit, your outfit will look so much more ready to have fun if there's a glimmer of sparkle. Even if your colour palette suits a more matt metal finish try to add sparkle with crystals or diamonds.
*Theme - a Christmas tree looks fantastic when a theme has been followed - if it's a minimalist tree the addition of tradtional family baubles will throw the look completely.  Similarly follow a theme with your accessories - match the metals used throughout and keep the "flow" going.  If your focal accessory is one of Jacey Withers' outstanding pieces then link your supporting accessories through colour but keep them simple so that your accessories don't fight for attention.
*Scale -the size of a Christmas tree should be matched by the amount of lights or baubles - scrimping on the lights leaves tree looking forlorn but an overload of baubles can look quite gaudy.  When we consider the accessories that we will add to our outfits we should consider our own body proportions - a woman with a fine bone structure wearing a heavy necklace can look like she's about to topple over, a taller and broader woman might find that fine pieces of jewellery lose their impact when she wears them.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Gleam not glitz

It's the time of year when suddenly we yearn for more light and this translates into sequins and satin for clothes and glitter or shine for skin.  This can be a difficult look for anyone to pull off but if you're over 35 proceed with exceptional caution.
Any shine that is seen within clothes can be in direct contrast to skin that is more dry and has lines, no matter how fine they are.  To emulate the dewy skin of youth opt for a product that gifts a soft light reflection.  An old Renideo favourite is Benefit's "Body So Fine", especially good for more lavish evening events. However, it is slightly oily so be careful with satin type fabrics.  A new kid on the block that hasn't been created specifically to create a sheen but does is Nude Moisturising Body Cream , one to consider for day time sheen.  To ensure that any body cream sinks in and isn't just placed on top of dead skin cells that are about to drop off, be more vigilant in December about body scrubbbing.  Exfoliant scrubs can be a luxury in the morning that most of our timetables won't allow for but shower gloves that are popped on before the usual routine are a quick way of ensuring that body cream moisturises fresh skin that will truly benefit from moisture.
So scrub, moisturise and sheen before you consider any type of light-reflective fabrics and it will be you who glows, not your clothes.