Monday, 23 June 2014

How I Found My Personal Style III: Analysing Cuttings

So you've hopefully managed to collect some CUTTINGS and thought about your taste in general - asking yourself what you like the look of...

The next step is to assess your cuttings.

1.  Ask yourself:  'What style is this?'  How would you describe each picture you're got?  Is it 'classic' style or 'feminine/ masculine', 'dramatic', 'sporty' etc.

2.  Think about why you like the item/ outfit.  Take each picture and ask:  'So why did I pick this?'  Was it the length/ colour/ fabric/ shape/ neckline/ decoration etc.  Try to work out if there are any lengths, necklines, fabrics, colours you like particularly.  And look at how clothes are put together - whether they're layered or not for example, how colours are combined and whether you are drawn to patterns or plain.

From asking yourself why you're drawn to the pictures you've chosen, make a list like this one below and, where you can, write down what you like in the way of the following:


Monday, 16 June 2014

Loving Our Differences


Shannan Martin says it so well here.  So today we are pausing in our series on How To Find Your Personal Style to remember some of what is at the heart of MIRROR MAKEOVER.  That:



Monday, 9 June 2014

How I Found My Personal Style II: Questions of Taste

It's been a week or two since we were working through this series on finding your personal style.  We left it with you doing cuttings.

Continuing to get a feel of your tastes, the next thing to do is ask yourself:  "What do I love the look of?"  This is not just of clothes but things in general.  If you have pictures to illustrate your answers, that will help you even more.

LANDSCAPES or CITIES I love the look of:  This could be a kind of weather, like snow or a particular country or city.

PERIODS IN HISTORY:  You don't have to know the history of fashion although there are books on this at libraries and information online.  But perhaps a Romans toga

FILMS/ TV PROGRAMMES:  This could be anything from the fashion icon films like Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast At Tiffany's to quirky and colourful cartoons.

PAINTINGS:  You don't have to be an art historian.  It could be something a friend paints or a picture on a greetings card you've got.

HOMES:  Could be anything from a National Trust house you've visited to something you've done in your own home.

DESIGNERS:  Perhaps it's a fashion designer whose work you admire or a shop window that attracts you and you always stop and look in when you pass.

PEOPLE:  Whose style do you admire?  We're bombarded with pictures of celebrities - it could be one of them.  It could be someone from the past or someone you personally know.  Maybe it's not all the time you admire a person's style but sometimes you glimpse something that appeals.

INTERESTS/ HOBBIES:  Do any of your hobbies give you ideas?  This could be something like food packaging or from the world of music.

CHILDHOOD:  Children often have a freedom around clothes and decorating if they're allowed to.  Remember your taste as a child.  Was there anything you loved the look of?  It could have been a character in a story book.  Or did yiou used to play dressing up - what did you choose to wear?

...Go!  Don't take too long pondering.  Just write anything that comes into your head.  And ignore any question that doesn't apply to you.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

The Nesting Place: A GIVEAWAY

13 very un-dream houses.  That's Myquillyn Smith's story.  Not one of them was where she would have chosen to live but those houses have helped teach her lessons about decorating, making a home and even about life that she shares in her book:  The Nesting Place.

She encourages us to do what she wishes she'd done 13 times:  
  • embrace the house you live in
  • make it lovely according to what you find lovely
  • make it a home - one that works for you and is welcoming and comfortable for other people
She gives us permission to lower our standards.  Ignore our fears.  Have some fun.  And take some risks - even if that means making a mistake or twenty.

She wholeheartedly believes that it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful.  In fact, she talks about giving up on perfection because imperfection is quite simply the reality:


Because:   'no amount of striving can create the perfect life we think we are looking for.'

She writes:  'as long as we all choose to walk around clothed, the laundry will never really be finished...  As long as we eat, walk, and need places to sit down, the kitchen sink will have a few dirty dishes in it'

And she talks about seeing this inevitable imperfection differently:  as signs of life.

'The too-small twin bed in the fifteen-year-old's room could be a trigger to be annoyed that we have to provide a new bed...  Or it could be a time to appreciate that our boys are growing up, which is exactly what they should be doing.  What a gift...  These messes all stem from gifts in my life.  My home is a reflection of our life, and life's messes can be gloriously beautiful.'

Wherever you live and whatever your circumstances, Myquillyn encourages creative freedom and an enjoyment of life that makes this book well worth reading.

I have one copy to give away.  There are lots of pictures so it's definitely much better in real life than on Kindle!

Simply subscribe to and email me to let me know that you have or already are!

Closes at 11.59pm GMT Sunday 8th June.

This giveaway is part of #imperfectweek. 

Sunday, 1 June 2014

It Doesn't Have To Be Perfect To Be Worth It

So, we've been talking about taking the first steps to finding personal taste.  And I asked you last week about doing cuttings - whether you found it difficult.  Revealing ourselves through the style choices we make can feel very vulnerable.

I said knowing you will have to share cuttings with other people or seeing what they've produced can make it worse.  But actually I find we can be a bit scared of ourselves too.

I was reading about Maggie Whitley taking up embroidery.  She shows some pictures of what she's made and says that we will probably notice that it's not very accomplished and we'll see the mistakes.

I was very struck by what she says next:


That's certainly not the way I generally feel about doing creative things or other things for that matter.  I make meals and am very conscious of everything that's not as well cooked as it could be (or as healthy as it could be come to that).  Food is measurable in a way - you do know if something is beautifully cooked or not - although there's more uncertainty about judging combinations of flavours.

I go to drawing or sculpture classes and feel frustrated by working on something that isn't perfect.  Obviously it's not going to be.  'Perfection' in art of that kind is very hard to measure, doesn't even exist.  As a human I can create beauty perhaps but it is always going to be inferior to nature where life and magic and what is truly exquisite are made.  But even if it's not perfection, I feel there's still something higher to attain to than I reach.

I realise that takes away from the enjoyment of the creative process and of the finished result.  It's easy to live that:

If it's not perfect, it's not worth it.

It's also easy to live that:

If I'm not perfect, I'm not worth it.   

Are you hard on yourself?  You don't even really know what 'perfect' would be but there's a higher standard, a higher something, to attain to than you reach?

But what about if it doesn't have to be perfect to be worth it - not you or what you do?  That 'sometimes a little imperfect is all we really want anyway'?

It's #imperfect week here again on Wednesday with a giveaway you won't want to miss.