Opinions are like a***holes – we’ve all got one. 
Do you have a friend who has something to say about anything and everything? And who likes to share it with anyone and everyone. 
 
They like the sound of their own voice. 
 
I get invited onto local TV and radio occasionally to give my opinions on topics, sometimes it’s stuff in the news, other times it’s local interest stuff, sometimes they ask me to talk about what I do and the reasons and benefits behind certain things such as the 21 Day Style Challenge, Glum to Glam workshops, the charity Swish clothes swaps that I organise etc. 
 
For some of the light-hearted topics it’s easy to provide an opinion and chat easily about stuff. Other times when it’s a bit heavier I’m aware that I might sit on the fence slightly, hedging my bets, being diplomatic one might say. The other guest I was on with last week asked me if I was one of those controversial type guests. I’m not. But I have been on several times with that type. 
 
I find myself being a bit cautious about being controversial and alienating people – you never know who might be watching. 
 
Perhaps it’s a potential client who likes the cut of my jib and is thinking they might like to find out more about me and potentially visit my website – I don’t want to go off on one and come across as it’s my way or highway. This would be totally off brand for me. It’s important that I walk my walk and talk my talk at all times. 
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me… 
Remember the ditty from school? 
 
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. What bollocks that is...on my Facebook feed recently an article came up from Twitter July 2017 with the hashtag #TheySaid. 
 
#TheySaid 
The article is basically women relaying stories about comments made by parents or other people during childhood or teenage years that stuck well into adult life. Quite often offhand, throw away comments from our nearest and dearest that weren’t necessarily said with malice but have an enormous impact for a very long time. 
 
These words have cut deep. 
 
There are scars. Some are still open wounds, twenty, thirty or forty years on...comments made about our bodies, our physical appearance, our weight, perceived inadequacies related to our appearance. 
 
Tree trunk legs 
 
There are women in their 40's and 50's in my client group who have avoided showing their legs because of a comment a parent made when they were young. Legs like tree trunks. Legs like two pieces of string with knots in. Look at the size of your arse. You’d be pretty if you weren’t so fat and all kinds of other hurtful remarks. 
 
I first met Sue in 2014, she was out of love with her wardrobe and was often stressed about what to wear. Not any more! Read about Sue's journey as she's defined and refined her personal style, colours and image over the past few years. Definitely a sucess story. Here she is answering questions posed by my Style Sisterhood Community (free FB Group)
1. What type of thing have you done with Lisa?  
(A) Colour analysis (in person) 
(B) 5 steps workshop (twice)  
3 x 21 day online style challenges 
 
2. What actually happens?  
(A) Lisa chatted to me about what I do, my social/leisure as well as work, why I felt I wanted my colours done, what I felt I might get out of the process, what wardrobe challenges I had or issues with clothes, how I felt about my clothes & whether I liked shopping for clothes, where I shopped etc. 
 
3. How did you feel before?  
(A) A bit nervous. I had met Lisa before through networking but I was really keen to know more about what she did & how she could help me. 
 
4. How did you feel during the process?  
(A) Relaxed & we had a few laughs too 
 
5. How did you feel afterwards?  
(A) Amazed & enlightened. Much more confident that the clothes we had edited for my wardrobe were suited to my colour palette. NB Further work in  
(B) helped me understand my Own Style & why some of these 'me colour' clothes still didn't feel right on me! This has been a gradual education process & I am still learning all the time. 
 
Can your colours change? 
This is a question I get asked a lot by people who’ve had colour analysis (or as it’s more commonly referred to “having your colours done”) before. Sometimes they are asking because they’ve had it done more than once and been given different answers each time. Sometimes it’s because they’ve had it done a long time ago and wonder if what suits them will change as they are getting older. 
 
My answer is yes and no. 
 
Yes, the tints, tones and shades of colours that suited you when you were younger may change as we lose pigment in our colouring with age. So, for example, you could carry off a really vibrant red or orange when you were younger and your hair wasn’t grey, but now those hues are a bit overpowering as your colour has faded. In terms of your actual colour analysis, as long it’s been done properly, no – your season won’t change. 
 
Herein lies the problem… 
 
Quite often I get clients who’ve had their colours done before but weren’t feeling it when they were given their swatch.  
 
They never feel truly aligned to the group of colours that they were given, they go along with it for a while but because deep down they don’t feel right, pretty soon the swatch they were given never sees the light of day, they go back to wearing any old colours and their money is wasted. 
 
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 Style Sisterhood 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. 
 
Not sensible but perfect 
As the main breadwinner of the household this was probably not the most sensible decision I’ve ever made. We had no savings and credit card debts – oops. This is where the Virgin Cosmetics Company came into my life. That’s a story for another day but suffice to say that it was a perfect solution and my main source of income for 8 years. 
 
 
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. 
 
You’ve got a night out with your mates planned and it sends you into a state of panic because you have no idea what you are going to wear. It’s stressful. So what do you do? You go shopping and buy something in a panic, an impulse buy. And this then adds to already stuffed wardrobe of clothes… 
 
It doesn’t have to be like this and if you’re ready for change there are a few steps that you can follow to help you take the stress out of getting dressed. Following my tips will help you avoid the despair of standing in front of your wardrobe that’s rammed with clothes and thinking ‘I 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. 
 
I have taught hundreds of students colour theory over the years - I know my tints, tones and shades, my analogous hues and all about triadic colourways...colour mixing is my super power. 
 
 
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 
 
 
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