Monday 14 September 2009

Tuesday Ten

As the winner of the Class of 2009's Most Stylish Teacher Award, I thought it only fitting that I should now bring you...

Ten Tips To Steal My Style

1. Dress for your shape. Yes, it makes me sad that I can't really wear a shirt dress (instantly smart, I think), that I don't have the neck for a turtleneck (they look so snug!) and that to wear bodycon would be a complete betrayal of my genetic legacy, but putting these things on won't change the facts. On the other hand, I rock the strapless prom and wrap dresses; and hats, along with most styles of sunglasses, suit me.

2. Dress for your size. If I could have one wish, it would be for sizes not to matter anymore. Why ruin a perfectly good outfit by pouring yourself into a size 10 when you're actually a size 12? It's not a good look. Nobody ever looked stylish in clothes they feared to break wind in.
It works the other way, too. I spent many of my formative years in outsize clothes, and I wince to think of it, in the same way most people do when they look back at their childhood birthday party outfits. You want a clean silhouette, and to get it you need a nice drape, and nice drape can't happen when the clothes are barely touching the body.

3. Have a signature portion to your look. Keep one part of it instantly recognisable, as a way of keeping a running theme through your outfits. I had a friend at school who never went out without plenty of red lipstick on. I find you can dress as outrageously as you please but if you keep that one thing the same, people won't be surprised.
Of course, your one thing might be that you're always different. And hats off to you, for being so original. Now, go away and stop proving my theory wrong.

4. Find your niche. I was surprised when I received my award, because not many teenagers would regard an endless parade of jersey dresses, handknits, polka dots and Boden as stylish. It seems knowing what works for me and sticking with it has come to fruition. It may not be their idea of style, but it is a definite style.

5. Have a couple of crazy fashion rules. If the Americans can have that slightly bizarre "No white after Labor Day" thing, there's room for a few more. They don't have to make sense to anybody except you. My fashion rule is that I don't wear green - it's for leaves. I very rarely break this rule. Brown used to be in the same category but I couldn't fight that battle forever, being both a brunette and a fan of leopard print.

6. Invest in things that help. My handbag liner was one of my smartest buys ever, because now each one of my two dozen handbags sees the light of day at least three times a year, and I am never without lip balm/safety pins/work keys. Good underwear also falls into this category - and certainly helps with #4.

7. Customise a little. Elle blogger Laurelle Gilbert recommended adding some studs to the collar of a plain white blouse to get on trend this autumn. This is a marvellous plan, which I shall be following, as soon as I remember to buy a white blouse. And some studs.
Sequins are looking popular for 2010, so there's plenty of time to get a bit handy with a needle and thread - even if it's just your socks. And there’s a lot of very lovely knitwear about these days, too.

8. Bend trends to your will. When I went shopping for new school clothes at the end of the summer, there was much gnashing of teeth as I realised that all those cute jumper dresses didn’t cover that mole on my thigh which is my hem length for decency; and, as a leggings reject (see #1), they were sadly unsuitable for sporting outside, let alone at work in a secondary school.
However, I soon realised I'd given up too easily. Enter, the wide legged trouser and the chunky waist belt.

9. Know your limits. It takes a lot of effort to look fabulous every day. Have a back up plan. When I'm tired and overworked, the black clothes come out, as if I am reverting back to my sloppy student days - only now, the black clothes are of better quality. And clean. And there is only one set of them, so I can't stay lazy for long. Going back to black removes any issues about matching accessories or shoes, and gives me time to sort out my signature hair. And my classes have it figured out now – black outfit = short fuse; shut up and get on with work. See? My style helps in my job.

10. Wear it with confidence. Who cares what they think? The vast majority of women are more interested in their own appearance than yours, anyway, unless you happen to be strutting down Christopher Kane's runway.

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