Friday, 26 November 2010

Make-over Rules

This is a list of rules I wrote as I went along with 'Project Rika'. Whenever I updated the diary I red through them again and added what I felt was missing. In this respect these rules pretty much reflect my state of mind at the time and show how worried I was to slip back into old habits and to forget things I already thought I had tackled well. I just didn't want to go back to black and drab and this list was made to keep me on track.
Some of the rules refer to Trinny and Susannah, as it were them who inspired me in the first place. For some of you who haven't seen the series those rules might be boring or just sound ridiculous. But believe me: These were the ones who kept me on track the most.
When you do a Trinny and Susannah make over on your own: Don't do it on your own! Visualise Trinny and Susannah whenever you are in front of your wardrobe or whenever you go shopping. Hear them shout: "Are you crazy woman, THINK!" And then remember the rules from the books!
Start networking. Talk to friends about what you want to do. They might know shops you've never heard about. Ask them for their experience in underwear and tights, so that you can avoid the mistakes they made. With this knowledge in the back of your head it's much easier to interview shop attendants. They only want to sell - you have to make them sell you the right thing. But only take very trusted friends onto a shopping trip. It is about getting to know yourself and some friends might want to press their own ideas onto you. And everybody has a specific pace when going through the shops. Find yours and don't follow somebody else like a sheep.
Call it a PROJECT - and let friends and family know that you will spend a reasonable amount of time and money on that project and that you expect support, or at least no stupid comments. It's about life improvement and this is something to be taken as seriously as house improvement - or even more.
Body Assessment Instead of a 360° mirror use your old pictures. You have to go through this - and if you have the book, do the 'Body Assessment' bit as well. How often don't you like yourself? How often are you in pictures in the first place? Figure out what you don't like on yourself, but as equally important find out what you like. In my case I often got caught in DIY or gardening situations where I was wearing my old discarded clothes, and my hair looked like a broom. I created something I was proud of and when documenting it I spoiled the photo. At parties in our house I only wore older clothes in order not to spoil the only things I have for the office - and it looks like it in the pictures. I don't like the bottom bit and my skin with spots, but I rather like my top bit and my eyes.
When you check your outfit use a mirror that shows your entire body. And then check the proportions. If you see just your face with the short hair, you might like it, but if you see it in comparison to your big ass/hips/saddlebags you may want to let your hair grow - What was I thinking for crying out loud: I have a small scull anyway!
Don't go shopping during sales. When you know what you want it's okay, as a shopping novice it's the most exhausting thing to do.

Go at the beginning of a new season, when all the sizes and styles are still on the shelves.
Go for one quality item instead of many low priced.
Once you have your basic wardrobe together you can watch out for bargains
Colours Get your colour charts. You might not want to carry the book with you all the time for colour reference. Go to a DIY shop into the paint department where they keep the colour labels to take away (take the book with you - you will need the reference).
Parts from the 'What you wear can change your life' book you can find on the T&S website about 'The Rules'.

Then cut and paste them together in a way that makes sense to you and in a size to fit a purse or a handbag and then never go out without it. This way you won't buy stuff that looks nice in the shop, but doesn't match a thing when you come home. A good mix and match wardrobe doesn't need a lot of items to create a lot of outfits, and you will have money left over for accessories and shoes! You can tell that I carried mine around a lot. The right bit shows just the colours, and the left bit shows how to combine them and to which amount in one outfit.

If you are unsure about your colours try to find a blouse or shirt that comes in several colours. You will see which one to choose immediately without being distracted by the shape.
How to Shop Start your shopping trip with going after the hardest thing to find. My Angst-item was 'boots'. T&S rules told me: 'Fat ankles - get boots. Then the world of skirts opens up to you'. Yeah, right! And what about the fat calves that could feed a family for a week? Never ever will I get boots for those.
Here the networking helped. I never would have had a look at the shelves if a friend (having a fat calves complex herself) wouldn't have told me that she bought boots recently. So I promised myself not to buy a single shirt before I found boots and skirts/trousers. Otherwise I might end up with tops that don't match in colour the only fitting boots/trousers/skirts that are on the market.
Promise yourself to try on everything. I saw a green shirt that looked interesting, but that I found much too green. I tried it on and it the transformation was marvellous. All of a sudden I had green eyes and a shiny skin. I was a bit disappointed about the shape (too long). I tried it later again and had somebody to have a look at it. It turned out that it was perfect to wear with my new trousers, but not with what I was wearing before:

If the item is not right for you, you may at least learn something about shapes and colours
Don't dismiss an item completely but for certain reasons. You may find that it is perfect with something that is yet to be bought. So try to remember the shop's name where you saw things you partly liked.
Culling - T&S are right. There is no way around it. But we poor non-celebs usually don't get £2000 for a new wardrobe. So that's what I did:

First thing, throw everything out that is torn and that doesn't really fit. This way you will at least look neat.
Then take your colour chart and set aside everything that doesn't fit these colours. Go through this collection again and see if you find something that makes an outfit. Blue is definitely not my colour, but I only have two trousers that fit and one of these are blue jeans. I have a few blue and blue/white/brown tops and a knitted zipper jumper that goes well with it. It's not the best thing for me to wear, but it doesn't have a 'eeeek-factor' either. If you have outfits like that give them a virtual label 'wear to tear and don't replace'. Once one items of the outfit is torn give the rest to charity.
For your peace of mind think about friends to whom you can give things to, or give to charity. A lot of my things my mum was happy to take on.

Give to a friend

Give to your cat

The sad leftovers
If you are really short of outfits then keep a few more of the not-the-right-colour items that are vital to cover naked skin and give them the virtual label 'replace as quickly as possible'. And really do it - depending on the time and money you have for shopping. This way you won't have to go naked, although you won't look gorgeous immediately, but you know what you want and what you need to buy, and you can keep an open eye for bargains - and you have something to look forward to. Sometimes patience is a good thing to practice because it bears the reward in the end.
Hair Get your hair sorted. Nobody who is in the position to need T&S has the hair sorted - even if you think you have. Look at your face and see what sort of broom is growing on top. The book gives a lot of advice, but let's face it: There are a lot of untalented hairdressers on the market.

Never let an apprentice cut your hair or give advice in hair colour. Although it's more expensive - get the boss to do it or at least a senior person.
Look around at your friends heads. Who has tricky hair (too thin, too curly) and nevertheless looks good. Try their hairdresser.
Complain to hairdressers. When you have the next appointment, tell them exactly where you had problems. They should give you advice on how to style your hair.
Collect images of hairstyles (there are magazines on the market that have nothing else than hairstyles in it). Hairdressers hate it when you come with one picture and tell them that this is what you want to have. Normally this is not possible because your hair structure is different, and they hate to be restricted in their creativity. So usually this approach leads to disaster. But when you make a collage of 3 types of photos:

Like it
Like it, but it's not practical for me for this or that reason
Hate it

Then the hairdresser gets an idea about what sort of person you are what gives him/her the freedom to create a style that your hair allows and that suits you. I got lucky the first time round when I went to see Nadia. She did a decent cut in that style (my hair wasn't long enough), and she started with a little bit of a red shine to give me an idea how red works on me. However when I went there the first time I was so nervous that I was much too early and went into a bookstore with a cafe area. And next to my table they had the Trinny and Susannah book 'What you wear can change your life'. That was so meant to be. I got the book, got my fist haircut and from there the whole project kick-started.
Make Up Get the grips on make-up. I hated foundation and now I believe it is made by angels in heaven. I got the palest one from Tesco. I don't use it every day, but there are these days when my skin looks like purplish mince and then it is a life saver. And I use it in the evenings or when I know that pictures will be taken. Most camera flashes let you look like a ghost anyway, but with a foundation, you at least don't shine like creamed with lard.
Update: Although the Tesco brand is really good I became a Maxfactor girl now. I'm rather pale and they have the brighter tones. And they are very silky and I find them easier to apply, so I actually use it daily now. Main reason for it now that foundation keeps the coloured bits like blusher and eye shadow in place. Without foundation those are all over the place within an hour.
Find a routine for the make-up removal. I do it before I settle down for the couch potato part of the day in the evening because I know I'm not doing it properly when I'm too tired. This actually improved my skin. I never cleaned and nourished my face this carefully before.
For puffy eyes: If you don't have a cooling gel mask for the freezer, always have a little bag of  frozen peas ( you can re-use it for a long time). Wrap it into a kitchen towel and hold it under your eyes for couple of minutes (don't press on too hard).
Miscellaneous Tights can be very easily ordered via Internet. I used My Tights so far. They are quick and reliable, the descriptions are better than the advice you normally get from shop attendants. They have fantastic tights with bum-lift. Actually built in Magic Knickers (Falke Wonderpo Tights). It's hard to get in - but for occasions and certain outfits it's definitely worthwhile.

My first order from the internet
Decide the night before on what you want to wear the next day. Best when you are coming home and change for comfy, sport or going out. You are then handling your wardrobe anyway and the morning your tasks will be going so much easier when that is sorted already. It's hard to take decisions on what matches what when you are still half asleep and under a tight schedule. If I have the time the next morning I may reconsider - I just might feel more colourful than the chosen outfit, or so - but it's always good to know that something decent is hanging on my wardrobe.
Sort your wardrobe by items and colours. Trousers with trousers, skirts with skirts, blouse to blouse, and so on and within those categories the warmer things together and the summery things together and within those categories by colour. This way you can easily grab warm, orange bottom and warm orangy top - done. Or summery green bottom with summery green-ish top - done again. One grip - and there you are!
Because things have their place in the wardrobe you see instantly what is in the wash and what makes an outfit. It may need some time to get used to keeping it in order, but then think about it: It's not more of an effort to hang something into the right place than into the wrong place. But the benefits of doing it right are inevitable.
Have your accessories on display. If you have them digged into some boxes and bags you won't even remember what you own. I attached hooks to the inside of my wardrobe doors for my jewellery, belts and bras, and my shoes are lined up on a shoe shelf on the floor of the wardrobe. Small jewellery is in open little boxes on a shelf. Trinny suggests to attach see-through pouches attached to a door/wall to keep jewellery in, there you can keep any size and shape. A board to hang keys on can be another option.
Get creative with your household items and find the solution that works best for you. Only rule: Easy access to the items.

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