Fresh Beginnings (for a Dragon of a Year!)

5 Ways to Perform Your Own Makeover

As an image coach, January is commonly a month where I see an increase in requests for makeover services.  There’s something about turning a calendar page to a fresh January that inspires “New Year – New You” time.  And this year brings even more prompting for renewal with the introduction of the Chinese Year of the Water Dragon — representing change and growth — beginning January 23.

The season for establishing (or renewing!) resolutions has us examining elements of our “self” in all sorts of areas – personal appearance often one of them.  Maybe you’re getting physically fit this January, or perhaps losing those extra five holiday pounds.  Perhaps a new career direction has inspired you to update your image.  Whatever the motivation, here are some quick-change ideas to get you started:

1)    Get a new ‘do.  A new hairstyle is a swift way to update your appearance.  It doesn’t have to be complicated, nor does it have to mimic what the most newsworthy celebrities are wearing.  What is helpful is that it flatter your features.  You can even toss out the common belief that you need to define your face shape as round, oval, heart, oblong, or square.  Simply observe whether it’s widest at the top or bottom, then focus the volume of hair at the narrow zone to lend overall balance.  It’s an added bonus if you select a style with a fuss factor relating to you’re a.m. routine and your commitment to maintenance.

Imagine this same neckline without its necklace

2)    Add value with accessories. Choose a signature element to complete your daily ensembles.  Maybe colorful scarves pick up your winter blues.  Unique or antique brooches might make a statement that is “you.”  Or, perhaps bangle bracelets set your tone (caution: if you’re in a professional career, be mindful of clanking or jangling announcements of your presence that can take away from your credibility message; “silent” dressing is better career choice).  Incorporating accessories in new ways lends an inexpensive appearance update.

3)    Dress for your body.  Enhance your dressing style with garments that relate to your own shape.  You’ll find it far more comfortable than attempting to force yourself into a garment silhouette counter to that which is natural for you.  Step #1: Commit to suspending judgment as you assess your shape.  Step #2: Commit to suspending judgment as you assess your shape (‘figured that one was worth repeating).  Step #3:  Stand in front of a full-length mirror and look at the alignment between your shoulder line and your hip/thigh area.  This will lead you to identifying whether you are wider at the top of body, mid-body, or relatively even.   Step #4:  If your shoulders and hip area were evenly aligned, also look at the degree of waist definition.  Step #5:  Relate your body to one of the six shapes in the illustration above and, finally, Step #6:  Look, when you shop, for garments that match that shape for an easy-to-fit wardrobe.

4)    Harmonize your colors.  Do you have one of those friends that seems to always look bright and healthy, every day of the week?  Is it possible that he/she has learned to identify the hues that rock their look?  When we surround our face with colors that harmonize with the natural undertones of our skin, hair, eyes, and even teeth, we naturally radiate vitality and cheer.  Try the mirror test with a sheet of bright white paper and one in a creamy, ivory hue.  Alternate holding each sheet up to your face as you smile, and note the difference in your skin tone, appearance of your pearly smile, and the brightness of your eyes.  This exercise will offer a basic introduction to your best colors, while training your eye to recognize when you’ve made a flattering choice.

The difference a length can make

5)    Customize!  An outfit you bought for $150 can look like a million bucks when it’s tailored to properly fit your body.  Length proportions, specifically, can transform an “o.k.” ensemble to “wow”!   For a modest investment, you can learn your precise, personal measurements to modify your existing wardrobe with a personal Fashion Fit Formula.  Adjustments to vertical points of a neckline, hem, sleeves, all influence an overall look.  I’m an independent partner with Pivotal Impressions, the creator of the FFF, but you’ll also find a DIY option on their site: http://www.fashionfitformula.com/

Now is the perfect time to refresh for 2012 – bring on the Dragon!

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