One of the pluses of your children getting older is that you have a little more opportunity to think about yourself. Life is no less busy but in a different way – mother and toddler group replaced by late night pick-ups from parties or cinema, pre-primary ballet superseded by GSCE revision. However, the days of staggering out of the house, bleary eyed from sleep deprivation, with baby sick and toddler Weetabix encrusted onto your sweatpants, are in the past. The only downside is that when your children are three and six they still like you and greet every outfit with “Mummy, you look like a Princess!”. Ten years on and my sartorial decisions are generally met with an eye roll, a sneer and the teenage equivalent of “you’re not going out dressed like that are you?”.
So, in the spirit of all self respecting magazine articles aimed at woman in their mid forties, I decided it was time to implement a bit of an image audit and try to regain some of the polish I think I must have had back the heady days before children.
This is obviously not going to be an overnight process. In fact, it is a mission for 2016, so no pressure to be transformed in record time. I don’t really want to be completely transformed, I would settle for marginally improved – set the bar quite low and anything else is a bonus is my theory.
Step one took place last week when I spent the morning having a ‘Colour Me Beautiful’ consultation. Twenty years ago this system of colour analysis was all the rage. People were flinging scarves on you at every opportunity and labelling you as Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter depending on your palette. To be honest, I was always a bit sceptical and never took any of the opportunities to have my colours done – it all seemed a bit New Age and bonkers. Then, a few years ago, I was out with a friend and we were idly browsing the rails in a clothes shop. As we flicked through the hangers the friend dived into her bag and pulled out a little wallet filled with coloured bits of fabric which she proceeded to hold up against the clothes in the shop. It turned out that she was a colour analysis devotee and would not entertain the thought of buying something that did not feature in her range of given colours. As we were discussing this I realised that yes, she did always look lovely and always ‘right’. Not because of the latest fashions or massively expensive purchases but because whatever she wears is entirely appropriate to her skin tone, hair colour, body shape and style.
I was prepared to be talked around and booked myself an appointment with the wonderfully monikered Fennella Flor (yes, it is her real name, I asked! I love it, it makes her sound like a 1950s movie studio starlet), a Bournemouth based consultant for Colour Me Beautiful. I had booked in for the full works, colour, make up and style – an approximately four hour session with a light lunch included.
Fennella sat me in front of a mirror in the window (natural light is key to the process) and created a blank canvas by covering my clothes in an off-white gown. She then proceeded to drape different coloured squares over me holding them to my face to see what worked. The funny thing was, it actually did make a difference. Colours that I thought suited me such as dark navy and shocking pink actually sucked the life out of my skin whilst some shades of green and teal (yes, teal) made my skin tone glow and eyes shine. I was instantly converted and we spent a happy couple of hours drilling down the exact colours that are right for me and loading them into my own personal wallet so that I too can be the person in the shop furtively comparing clothes to fabric swatches. Interestingly Colour Me Beautiful no longer use the seasons to categorize clients, as a global company it did not make sense when the seasons invoke different colours depending where in the world you live. Instead they use groupings of light, deep, warm, cool, clear and soft in varying combinations. Turns out I am warm and soft with lots of tones of green, camel and lighter blues in my wallet.
Colours sorted it was onto style and make up. The style section of the consultation is where you try and work out what style of clothes suit your body shape and lifestyle, it is a good opportunity to have a hard think about making some changes and stepping out of your comfort zone. I finished the session with some homework – going home to my wardrobe and weeding out the wrong colours and shapes as well as items that are more the ‘old’ you than the ‘new’. This posed a bit of a problem for me as one of the things that emerged from the session as that I should stop wearing stripes. What, no stripes? That is 85% of my wardrobe obliterated in one hit. I’m not sure I’m ready to bin all the Bretons in one go, that will have to be a gradual withdrawl.
I came away from Fennella’s studio feeling fired up and ready to shed my mummy chrysalis. I have my wallet of colour swatches and tons of great advice on ways to update and improve my look. What I really need now is a Fennella Flor clone to be with me whenever I go shopping and every time I look in the wardrobe to choose what to wear. I’m definitely converted to colour analysis and the whole experience was not only really good fun but a perfect springboard to my 2016 improvement mission.