Self- Image Demons 
 
Do you talk to yourself (maybe out loud or in your head) sometimes but not in a nice way? Does your inner critic say nasty things to you as you get ready for a night out? You’re trying a new top on that you really liked in the shop, it’s a bit more colourful than you’re used to or maybe it’s a different style that you’ve not tried before…you aren’t 100% sure and need a bit of reassurance that you look nice. 
Then those little voices start in your head. The self -image demons can be proper nasty little buggers with viper tongues, making vile and vicious comments. They’re evil, they know too well about all the things we’re not sure about, they play on our insecurities and affect our self-confidence. 
 
Whiney, Nasty Bitch 
 
I recently asked in my online community, the Let’s Chat Wardrobe Wobbles group on Facebook, about the kind of things SID* (Self Image Demons) might say. Most of the responses would be deemed horrid and offensive if we ever actually said them to anyone else…we’d be seen as a whiney, nasty bitch on the attack. 
In December 1999 I was very heavily pregnant. Waiting for a baby that should've been born in November. I thought someone was playing a joke on me and he wasn't ever going to come out. I'd gained almost 5 stone in weight and my boobs were like a couple of shiny watermelons. I was so uncomfortable. I'd had heartburn since the fourth month of pregnancy; it had started literally once the morning sickness passed. Liquid Gaviscon was my friend for the duration and I never went anywhere without it in my handbag. 
Reluctant to be born 
I ended up being induced 10 days after my due date. Even then he was reluctant to be born. Finally, with the intervention of forceps I delivered an 8lb 10oz baby boy with tufty blonde hair and beautiful big blue eyes. He was just perfect and I fell immediately in love with him. 
 
Life changer 
The reason I'm telling you about all this is because it was the ultimate life changing time. Having a baby changes everything about your life. If you are a parent you'll know from experience. Your priorities change and what was once important becomes less so. I had planned on going back to my college lecturing job just 3 days a week after maternity leave. That never happened, I couldn’t face leaving him with someone else looking after him while I commuted 140 miles a day to look after and teach other people’s kids. 
What size is PLUS Size? In Nov 2015 I put it out there in various social media groups that I belong to and asked ”at what size do you consider plus size to start?” 
My question was for market research purposes, not to be controversial or start a debate. Someone had suggested I ought to use the term in my marketing and was curious to see what people thought. I got quite a few responses and it seems to be a subject that ruffles feathers and divides opinion. Some people find the term offensive, mean and rude, others see it as an alternative term for unhealthy. 
 
Is it a classification or an insult? 
I personally don’t like it but it seems to be the recognised term within the fashion industry. If I’m looking for clothes online I Google ‘plus size’. The answers I got ranged from size 14 upwards but most people thought size 20 was the starting point. Is it just a term to describe a body shape? Like short, tall, athletic, curvy etc? Some of the people who responded were apologetic, as if they were worried about offending people. Others thought it might be better to use terms that seem less derogatory. 
 
Are you normal? 
I wonder why it is seen as a negative term? If you look for the dictionary definition of the word plus it has quite positive connotations… Advantage, asset, higher end of the scale, extra, a perk, prerequisite. It also says it can refer to larger than normal size in women’s clothing. What’s normal? Is it the same as average? Because the average woman in the UK is a size 16, 5ft 3″ and weighs 11 stone apparently. 
How do you know what your style is? Why is it important? What if I don't have a style? Where do I even start? I have so many different styles in my wardrobe, I'm confused... 
 
It is said we wear 20% of your wardrobe 80% of the time. I have no idea who said it or even who made the statistic up but I reckon it’s pretty accurate amongst the women I come across as an Image and Colour Consultant. 
 
Quite often my clients have got a wardrobe stuffed full of clothes but only ever wear the same few items. Sound familiar? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. It’s very easy to get stuck in a rut and to wear the same old clothes week in, week out. 
 
The other thing that happens is that you’ll maybe buy something while you’re out shopping just because it catches your eye. You get it home but then don’t know what to wear it with. It’s quite easy to end up with a wardrobe full of clothes this way but still feel like you have nothing to wear. 
 
Yep - I can 100% claim this title, here's why...Back in the late 80's/early 90's I worked as a designer for printed textiles. 
We produced artwork for many of the High St retailers including Miss Selfridge, Oasis, Burtons, Dorothy Perkins, Marks & Spencer, BHS, Littlewoods, Monsoon and Next. 
 
They would bring in samples of the colours they wanted to use and we had to mix them with paint to Pantone reference accuracy. 
 
Sometimes it might take all day to get the hues just right; adding a pin prick of colour on the tip of your brush at a time until it was perfect. 
 
Give me a few tubes of colours and black and white and I could mix them by eye to match anything. These days it's all done by technology. 
 
So, this is what sets me apart from your usual franchise type colour analysis people. I know what actually makes up the cool and warm versions of colours and have a real depth of knowledge I'm not just following a manual. 
 
 
It’s hot, hot, hot and you want to stay cool.Long floaty maxi dresses are great, but for many of us (who don’t have a thigh gap) hot weather and dresses just don’t cut it because of the hell that is often referred to as ‘chub rub’, inner thigh chafing. 
If you suffer from this you know how uncomfortable it can be. 
Me and my trusted gang of researchers in the Let's Chat Wardrobe Wobbles group on Facebook have been on the interweb for you and found a few possible solutions that might help widen your wardrobe choices this summer and beyond. 
 
Talc/talc free alternatives 
A low cost, portable option that your nana might have used back in the day 
 
 
Longline pants/cycling shorts 
Not the sexiest thing in the world but neither is red raw skin 
 
 
Bandalettes 
The ‘sexy’ solution - make sure you order the right size though or they roll up or fall down 
 
 
When it's hot we just aren’t used to it here in Blighty. The heat and sun is all well and good if you are lazing around in the garden or on holiday. Then a vest top and shorts or a sundress are fine. 
But what do you wear to work? 
What is acceptable to wear to the office or to meet clients? 
 
Here are my tips for dressing professionally even when it is scorchio… 
 
1) wear lighter neutrals – white, tan, taupe, grey or a crisp white and navy combo 
 
2) wear nude underwear if you are wearing light colours – it does not show through clothes as much as white 
 
3) keep your fabrics light weight but not too lightweight or floaty 
 
4) cotton, linen and silk are good, linen blended with something will crease less 
 
5) the more skin you show, the more casual you will look 
 
6) think light layers if you are going from heat outside to cool air con (nippy is not good) 
 
7) only go without hosiery if it’s appropriate 
As with clothing styles some shapes and styles of swimwear will help you feel more confident if there are parts of your body that you would prefer to disguise. Certain cuts and styles are going to enhance your assets too.This content will be shown in the summary on the main blog page. 
 
If you are looking for swimwear, the shops are starting to get stock in for the summer, buy early as they tend to sell out quickly especially online, in my experience. Here are a few tips for you… 
• Invest in bra sized swimwear if you are well endowed 
• Solid colour side panels give the illusion of a smaller middle 
• Mix and match tops and bottoms to suit your body shape 
• Shorts styles can make your legs look shorter/wider 
• Strapless and bandeau styles are best for smaller boobs and shoulders 
• Wide straps will make your shoulders look smaller 
• Heavily patterned tankini tops disguise spare tyres 
• Swim dresses are good for creating balance if your shoulders are wide 
• Triangle bikini tops and halter necks are good for column shapes 
• Brief skirts (all in one) are good if you are conscious of your hips/thighs 
 
Accessories are to punctuate an outfit they should finish off your look making you look well put togther. One of the greatest challenges when selecting accessories is to know how many to apply. When you apply too many, your overall look can appear tacky. 
When you fail to apply enough, your outfit can look a little boring and Ordinary Olive - let's have a look at how to create the perfect combination. 
 
When it comes to choosing accessories, it isn’t simply about numbers; it has a lot to do with creating an overall look that is well balanced. To achieve this, it is a good idea to take a leaf out of the interior design book. 
 
In the world of interior design, designers are advised to choose one focal point in the room. Other aspects of the room are supposed to support the focal point, rather than compete for attention. These rules also apply to any outfit. 
 
If your outfit already has a focal point, for example a dress with a sequined bodice, the rest of your accessories should tie in with your bodice in a low key way.  
 
For example, a pair of diamond studs and simple nude court shoes would most likely be complimentary. In contrast, a chunky necklace, three bangles up the arm, and contrasting coloured shoes, would most likely be overpowering. 
I love my specs, I think of them as an accessory. If you're a long term face furniture wearer or it's just that your arms aren't quite long enough any more you might want to read my tips for making sure that your chosen spectacles are making an impcat for all the right reasons  
It’s important, as a glasses wearer, that you are happy with your choice. Especially if you need to wear them all the time. They need to suit you, your colouring, face shape, features and personality all need to be taken into consideration. There are so many styles to choose from its difficult to know where to start. 
 
I often get asked about how to choose glasses so I thought I’d share a few tips to help you next time you need a new pair. It does really can make a massive difference to your image and say a lot about your personality. 
 
Here are a few things to consider… 
 
1) Colour – choose to suit your colouring. A good tip is to pick out the colour of your eyes. Choose silver frames or cool colours if your skin has cool undertones (pinkish hue). Gold, tortoiseshell or warm colours if you have warm undertones to your skin. Think about the type of clothes you like to wear, do you prefer bright or muted colours in your wardrobe? Your specs will look better if they are harmonious.  
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