blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The importance of clothes

"We're psychologically lazy," confessed the speaker. "We cling to our first impression of a person which is made within the first 5 seconds after meeting them."

I was at a Breakfast Seminar on "Image Awareness" sponsored by Holt Renfrew, and the consultant was teaching us to present "our best self" to the world. We have "a pretty sophisticated image to convey," apparently. For instance, our hair colour is so important. We have to choose it based on our skin tone. My husband, when I told him this, opined in all innocence that our hair colour was what we were born with, that we were stuck with it, surely, and some of us at the seminar wanted to ask, "What about grey?"—but we were told that "auburn browns suit the most women. We don't want to look hard." No.

We don't want to look old either. That, and a lack of attention to detail, will convey a negative impression.

Grommets on a jacket of mine
During the course of the talk we were given a lot of tips about those details to which we ought to pay attention. We should go more sheer in our lipstick as we mature. Ladies, we much watch our body line and strategically choose blocking in colour when we buy our clothes (from Holt Renfrew), because our appearance is a form of communication. Note that we have to look current, no matter how old we are. This year, we should think about the batwing or butterfly sleeve for entertaining (though it strikes me that a batwing sleeve for washing up after the entertaining wouldn't be such a good idea). Anyway, anything feminine is so vogue, this season, and blue nail colour is hot. The blouson top is really big and we're seeing a lot of grommets in our tops, metallic hardware. Or we could go for Bohemian chic, where we add in the peasant neckline and the tiered skirt. As for fabrics, the abstract snake or the classic animal is current, as are circles and dots. The one-shoulder look for our party dress and the covered placket for our blouse shows quality. We can tone it down for less formal occasions and go with Prada for the handbag.

Having mentioned the Prada handbag she conceded that some of us "may not want to spend so much on our clothes; we may want to buy antique furniture instead!" Well, as long as we remember to have retro buckles on our handbags. Don't let's forget that there's "more at the wrist this season," besides. (I couldn't refrain from giggling when I saw the PowerPoint slide which went with that suggestion: a picture of an arm absolutely covered with bangles.)

Our inner wrists will show our natural skin tone. The speaker had a volunteer come to the front to demonstrate the importance of colour in our choice of hair and clothes and began by asking her, "Can I see your epidermis?" Like me, the girl had dark eyes and eyebrows and a Mediterranean skin type. The recommendation was for her to give her hair with a copper tinge and to wear blue-based reds, silvers, burgundy browns and blue-based blues. Gold-based blues or gold-based reds would create a sallow appearance.

"How many of you have had your colours done?" she asked the crowd. A few hands went up, not many. In our Prada handbags, we ought to be carrying a swatch of 8 neutral colours and 22 accent colours to suit our wardrobes. The other thing to be aware of ... "I'm not here to depress anyone but we're talking body types!" ... is that, if we carry weight below our waist, we don't go cropped.

She was very enthusiastic about jackets ("and you know how important the piping is"). She told us that "peplums accent the waist" and she talked about "investment suits," a white one for example. We can revive our whites, if they have lost their brilliance, with a sodium bath. "When I approach a suit," she told us, "I do a squeeze test" to see if it crumples if travelled in, and we must not carry a laptop computer over our shoulder in an Armani jacket or it will ruin the finish. Having said that, we can extend our jackets into other lifestyle opportunities. We all have our own clothing lifestyles.

So we do. I doubt if she'd appreciate mine.

The image consultant started her business in the mid-80s, advising "... men only ... then I diversified to include women."


"To me she's married, not unto my clothes!" Petruchio exclaims at a comical moment in Shakespeare's play, and later he has more to say on the subject (more seriously) when he explains to his wife that he and she will dress ...
... Even in these honest mean habiliments;
Our purses shall be proud, our garments poor;
For 'tis the mind that makes the body rich;
And as the sun breaks through the darkest clouds,
So honour peereth in the meanest habit.
I imagine it takes time to acquire such wisdom.

1 comment:

CWC said...

This reads like an April Fool item, too bad it's factual. Maybe the Consultant should be reminded that what she's advocating is putting one's best phony-self forward. I'd love to have seen the look on your face during the talk.

On the other hand Armani *does* know a thing or two. When I was skinny I had an Armani jacket and it was the most comfortable thing I've ever worn.