Her A-Z of Personal Style

Style isn't just about what you wear.

A - Attaché case - sounds so much more elegant than briefcase. There are some great vintage attachés to be found. They're usually quite old and well worn hence the leather is perfect. This is an ordinary accessory I'd like to see more of but used and dressed in a not so ordinary way.
acrylic - No sweater, or any other piece of clothing mind you, should be made from this. It pills, stretches and actually stinks.

B - breakfast - If you don't have time for a sit down breakfast you better reexamine your life - enough said.
black - There have been many great quotes about the color black. Which is a color and it's my favourite. Christian Dior in his book, The Little Dictionary of Fashion simply says under the heading of B, 'I could write a book about black.' I recommend that you have one in black of everything in your closet. I recently lost about 95% of my wardrobe (long story) and because most of it was black I was still able to go out for interviews, dinners, and events looking put together.

C - curves - Ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive. There's a whole song about that. Sure, my husband has nicer legs than I do but he doesn't have a waist or butt like mine - sorry honey. Our curves are what set us apart. May I direct you toward the winding curves of Ms. Monroe & Ms. Russel in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
compliments - We all like to receive them but so few of us give them. When you are the recipient of a compliment say 'Thank you" don't get into a discussion pointing out the negative. For example, "I love your dress." --> "Oh, this dumpy thing? I've had this forever!"
confidence - To me, confidence is the most important thing you should learn in your life. Confidence is sexy. Don't ever let anyone take that from you.

D - demi cup - Whomever designed the bras that are out there today should be strapped in a padded bra straight jacket and put into solitary confinement. Why would I want padding up to my collar bone? Or padding at all? My bra of choice is the demi cup. Accordingly, they've disappeared and have been replaced by these football shoulder padded monstrosities I'm supposed to strap to my chest. Maybe I'm happy with the size and shape of my breasts as they are. Heaven forbid. Anyway - the demi cup is a sexy little bra that lifts and cups. The demi cup gives the gals a little jiggle instead of a lot of stifle. I found some great ones at Agent Provocateur the other day along with some sexy wireless ones that are also impossible to find in mainstream shops.

E - etiquette - I'm currently reading Emily Post's Etiquette and to tell you the truth I'm feeling rather embarrassed about some past situations. The book is worth a look. It's in the library and probably hasn't been checked out in a long time.

F - fabrics - It's important to know which fabrics are flattering on you. For example, velvet, satin and corduroy add weight. Lace and jacquard can only be worn by certain people without looking sleazy or elderly.

G - grooming - You only make one first impression. Proper grooming takes too long? Well imagine how long it took those people in the 1700s with their powdered wigs and such. I'll be the first to admit it takes a long time - even to achieve the eau naturelle look. This tip fits in with the age old saying, never leave home without clean underwear in case you get in an accident. I have my own mantra, never leave home in socks with holes because you never know when you're going to try on a pair of shoes.

H - hair stylist - They are your Rainbow Skittles on an Eat-More day. Before I met JD I passionately loathed going to the salon. I'd even cut my own hair so I wouldn't have to go. What I like about JD is that he understands the importance of personal style and he accentuates this in his clients. There's nothing worse than watching a make over show that presents the made over woman in a look that should've been her before picture.

I - intimacy - You've heard it before but I'll say it again - once we've slept with one person we've slept with every single other person that person has been with and vice versa. If that's not enough to creep you out how about some nice close ups of STDs. Some STDs you can get rid of some you can't. Talk to someone that's got one for life and they'll tell you straight up how awkward it can be trying to get back into the dating scene let alone letting a potential partner know about it. No glove, no love.

J - jeans - Songs have been written about these (see Dr. Hook's perversely titled Baby Makes Her Blue Jeans Talk). I think women buy so many shoes and bags because jeans don't fit properly - my husband believes this too. Once you do find a pair stick with that style and brand. I've had a lot of good memories in Levi's. I've gone from the faded out tuck and roll 501s in the 80s, to the grunge boy's orange tab in the 90s, to the boho 70s vintage 578s in the early 2000s. I'm currently wearing black Hudson skinny jeans but they sure lose their shape fast.

K - keeping your cool - Imperative. Once you lose your cool that's all they'll see and remember. Just because you're having a bad day doesn't mean you should ruin someone else's.

L - labels - You have your own style and need not define yourself with someone else's initials.
lip balm - With SPF twice a day at least.
lip stick - Don't test the color on your wrist, it's not the same color as your lips.
lip liner - Danger. Proceed with caution.

M - moisturizer - Like your hair stylist, this can be your best friend. Like your best friend, things change over time. It's difficult to find a moisturizer that's right for your particular skin type but try. If you don't find the right one you'll end up with clogged pores or dry patches. I've been using Avalon Organics Oil Free Vitamin C Moisturizer for the past couple years and am quite happy with it. I have sensitive skin and use a separate sunscreen I bought from a dermatologist. Remember your skin changes as you age and so should your moisturizer.

N - No - It's the opposite of yes. It's only two letters but it can be difficult to say. Practice saying, "No" to a mattress sales person (these are the new used car salesmen). It's quite educational listening to their many ways of handling rejection.

O - obsess - Obsess is a dangerous word. Beware of it. Obsession is when your mind is preoccupied with an idea while addiction is when your body is chemically dependent on a chemical. Obsession can mess up your life and cause things like panic attacks, phobias, and social anxiety. The best thing to do is acknowledge it when it's knocking on your door and tell it to go away. Our mind can play with us, let it know you don't want to play that game.

P - personality - There are a lot of adjectives out there to describe one's personality. I was part of an exercise once where a group of us, that knew each other well, were set up in pairs. Each person drew a portrait of their partner. The portraits were then passed around the group and each person wrote an adjective on it that they felt described the person. Talk about an eye opener. The question comes up time and time again in interviews, "Describe yourself in five words." I can't stand that question. Wouldn't it be fun to throw them a curve ball by saying, "Obnoxious, ignorant, vain, self destructive and underhanded."
- I think your purse says the most about your personal style out of any piece of clothing or accessory. My mom carries a purse the size and weight of a bowling ball bag. I have no idea what is in there. I only use a purse if I'm going out to a show or special event and in that case it's a vintage one. The rest of the time it's a wallet - I just make sure I spend a lot more time grooming that eau naturelle look before I leave home ;) Even though I don't carry a purse I still love them. From here I can see eleven of them just in my closet.

Q - quote - There is no exquisite beauty without some strangeness to its proportion. Edgar Allan Poe. That has been my favourite quote my entire adult life. Find a quote that fits your beliefs, is significant, reassures you, puts you back on track or just makes you feel good. Plus, you never know when someone, somewhere is going to ask you what your favourite quote is.

R - recipe - Everyone should know enough recipes off by heart to prepare a three course meal - as well as the wine to go with it.
recognition - Start giving recognition to people that do a good job. Fill out those customer service questionnaires in your hotel room. Everyone deserves to be recognized, even your boss.

S - slip - Wear a beautiful silk and lace slip under a dress for a day or evening out and you'll make it a staple in your wardrobe. I think slips are sexy. Plus, it feels a little frisky knowing you have a sexy little number on under your dress that no one knows about but you.
silk - Sure it feels luxurious and makes you feel elegant but it also keeps you warm, (that's why they make long underwear out of it) which also causes you to sweat and silk turns a darker shade when it's wet. Do you know how many silk tops I've disposed of after realizing this? Yuck. If you're going to go silk keep it in a slip, camisole or sleeveless shirt. Remember it's not you, it's the silk.

T - toast - Like a quote you should have one that moves you. I love proposing toasts. It's a chance to let someone know how you feel about them and makes you proud to stand up and say so.
tact - Don't ask someone why they aren't married, if they are pregnant, why they don't have children, why they are in a wheelchair. Never tell a person they look tired or ask whether they've lost weight. Mind your own business and if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all.

U - undress - Vivienne Westwood once said that sexiness is the most important thing about fashion because fashion is eventually about being naked. I agree. Learn how to undress as sexy as your clothes make you look and feel. Find a song - have some fun.

V - volunteer - Why not? Volunteering is fun. Everyone is very grateful and polite. It's a totally different vibe than the actual work force. It gives you a chance to work in the industry that you've always wanted to work in but could never even get an interview for. I knew a woman who volunteered at a record label at 4 am every Saturday morning doing some sort of stats. She went from that to personal assistant, to manager, to A&R and now she lives in LA doing big wig record label stuff. All that started from volunteering one morning a week.

W - water - Drink it. To make it easier to keep track of how much you drink in a day fill a 2 litre bottle (a big soda bottle) with water. I prefer the clear ones because I can see how close I am to my goal. One of these is just about 8.5 cups. I've also read that by dividing your weight by 2 gives you the total amount of fluid ounces of water you should drink in a day. For example, if you weigh 120 lbs/54.5 kgs you should drink at least 60 fl. oz/7 c./1.6 L. of water per day. If you don't like the taste of water slice some cucumbers or lemons in it. In the evening, drink hot water with honey and lemon it'll help you relax before you go to bed.

x - This will be your code name only you and your best friend know is fake (because she has one too). It's the alias you tell the sleazy guys. I'm Sarah.

Y - yacht clubs - <-- believe="" can="" i="" just="" span="" style="font-weight: bold;" that="" typed="" you="">yourself - It's easy enough to say but do you really know yourself? I don't think we ever really know ourselves because hopefully we're always learning and opening our minds to new things or opportunities.

Z - zzzs - Get your sleep. As someone with insomnia I urge you to please cherish your ability to sleep and not to take it for granted.