Mums, get your colours done and fashion yourself beautiful!

Sound is my cuppa tea. Tint. Shade. Hue. Nope, not a clue. I was quite contented perceiving the world in secondaries. And it was very obvious in the way I dressed. A lot of monochrome because my son told me to, and it concealed. A Multitude. And unflattering shapes.

Madeleine wears a light coloured dress while posing for mums magazine

Madeleine … a dress for every occasion

As a young thing,  I thought fashion was superficial, for air-heads; inner beauty, the soul, much more important. As I hit my 40s, it didn’t help that  I was post-chemo, 11st, with a husband who wasn’t fashion-sensitive either. Worse, when I did pluck up the courage to have a look at a Hobbs, Whistles, Phase Eight, Benetton or Gap, I just came away feeling insulted when their sizes stopped at 14. M&S did the plus sizes, but was horribly dowdy. Fashion was fat-phobic and a bunch of Hobbit-haters, (where are the shorties on the catwalks?) At a plump 5ft2, I was beyond bothering with. So I was going to be fashion-phobic.

The metamorphosis began when my neighbour broke the Code of Silence. She invited me round to her house when her Colour & Wardrobe Guru, Anne,  was there. I was so pitiful,  they forgot the £250 and passed direct to download. They assessed my skin tone, eye colour, hair colour and shape and I was told all-over turquoise would look fab on me…  I just laughed. Anne gave me an interior designer’s colour palette with ‘my colours’ ticked, and a book ‘Colour Me Confident‘ by V. Henderson and P. Henshaw (Hamlyn, 2006). I nodded and smiled but the will wasn’t there. What was the point? Nothing fitted.  It all sat in a cupboard.

Fast-forward 2 years, I was 8.5 stone and another friend suggested I put some effort into my presentation. ‘Do it for yourself.’ she said. This time the words hit fertile ground. ‘Cream would really suit you.’ So I picked up some useful basics at H&M straight away. I dug up the Guru’s materials, kept the palette in my wallet for when I was charity-hunting and studied the book. Essentially, near my face, I need to stick with anything BLUE . Red-Violet, Violet, Blue-Violet, Blue, Blue-Green. Reds and Greens, yes, but deep and rich only.





This colour wheel is great in setting it all out clearly.

Once you have your colours, then it’s a question of developing your style. So, turquoise ok, but a turquoise what? Sexy silk slip dress or a linen suit or a blousy shirt with ruffs and ribbons…? Do I like Dramatic, Romantic, Classic, Natural or City chic? This is where the journey really gets interesting because it’s where you start daring to try on all sorts of hitherto outlandish things and just seeing how you FEEL.

Every shopping jaunt is an exercise in self-discovery and finding clothing that expresses a part of the true you. You know it’s ‘you’ when it makes you feel beautiful and happy. ‘The wand chooses the wizard’.

After a few years of building my wardrobe from near-scratch, I now have a dress for every formal occasion, so, for example, when I did a Bible reading at our Carol Service, I wafted up to the lectern looking like the Angel Gabriel himself.

And I have collected heaps of quirky day wear to fit the seasons, the crazy weather but most importantly of all, my mood. Fashion is superficial, if you simply ape the trends, but it most certainly isn’t if you use it as an outlet for your creativity.

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