Monday, March 12, 2012
I don't own a stitch of black clothing (I don't count a dodgey Halloween dress-up and my Bikram Yoga gear). Most people find this fact surprising and are also dubious that I am telling the truth. I can assure you there is no little black dress hanging in my wardrobe.
This week I attended a fabulous and interesting 'pop up exhibition' and debate all dedicated to wearing the colour black. Put together as part of the Arts Festival by the Museum of Wellington City & Sea, it had a fabulous panel of fasionistas, including Carolyn Enting, Fashion Editor for the Dominion Post, Robyn Mathieson, Emma Wallace, Duncan McLean and Dr Prudence Stone from Duncan and Prudence.
The psychology behind why we as New Zealanders and more relevantly, we as Wellingtonians are fuelling the 'Lambton Quay Black' association is really interesting and varied. Is black really cool? Do we wear black in the hope that people within certain industries will take us more seriously? Is it as one person suggested a great colour with which to make ourselves a 'blank canvas' so that our inner personality is able to shine through? Or is it because black seems really 'safe' and our confidence levels are not high enough to try colour?
Having worked in the Wellington styling industry for coming up to 7 years now I can tell you a few things about wearing black. If it does not suit you, you will look older and tired. It is not slimming when worn as a bottom (trouser/skirt) with a block of colour on top. This essentially chops you in half and makes you look a little shorter and a little wider. There are other alternatives as a 'base' colour. People rarely compliment you when you wear black and if you do wear colours that suit you, people smile at you on the street.
The panel and many within the audience did agree that colour makes people happy and often more confident. While I try to rid many people who do not suit black of this draining colour, I do agree that when it suits you and you feel GOOD and confident in it, then you should wear it. However, if you are like the huge chunk of people we see each day who want to 'break out' of the black rut, know that you CAN make the move to colour. And I wonder, if you stop buying it, then maybe the shops will stop being flooded with it?
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Many of us have spent some of last week ogling frock horrors and hits from the recent Oscars. This year was of particular interest to me as I had the exciting opportunity of helping a lovely Wellington client with her Oscars wardrobe and gown. Thanks to Wellington designer Sophie Voon, she was draped in a delicious silver silk gown and made to feel like a princess amid the acting icons of tinsletown.
The Oscars is a great reminder just how subjective fashion and style really is. Websites with the best and worst dressed polls vary so much it's laughable. Fashion can be a lot like art - you either like it or you don't.
However, dressing well for your colouring, body shape and age doesn't have to be a lottery. I have a internal mantra with which I have built my style consultancy business upon and it is Colour, Shape, Fit. If you think of your wardrobe and all the pieces hanging unworn, I bet you often wonder why you don't wear something when it seemed like such a good idea in the shop?
I guarantee if falls down on either 1 or even 2 of these reasons you won't wear it. Great coloured top but the neckline is a bit high? Great shaped dress but the colour makes you look washed out? You love the colour and shape of that piece, but have to keep pulling it down or out because it doesn't quite fit?
So as I perused the plethora of Oscar gown pictures, I assessed the overall look in a very similar way. So very many of the gowns I saw were not 3 out of 3. Sack that stylist! It upsets me the most when the person who wins the Oscar is not wearing the optimum dress because that picture is staying around for a very long time!
My favourites from the Oscars were Gwyneth Paltrow - love or hate 'the cape' the whole look suited her. Natalie Portman - hardly ever gets it wrong and keeps it simple but stunning and usually colourful. Michelle Williams, another gown that had all the elements for me. Penelope Cruz looked stunning as did Milla Jovovich.
You may not be off to the Oscars some time soon - unless of course your work for or are married to someone working for the fabulously talented Weta Workshop - but it is handy to run this mantra through your head when you are next buying a special dress. Don't accept less than 3 out of 3 and you will hit the dress jackpot.