Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Secret Lives of Your Clothes

With tears streaming down my face, a bundle under my arm and a box of matches in my pocket, I headed towards our backyard incinerator hoping mum would not see me. I did not want to be asked what I was doing.
Clothes are more than pieces of fabric hanging in our wardrobes. They all have stories. Stand before your open wardrobe and you could tell each item's story whether it be love, hate, embarrassment, shame or indifference.
Recently I read an article on How Clothes Can Boost Your Mood. This article talked about the things we women demand from out clothes. It also resonated with me as I have written about how hard it is to get rid of some clothes that bring up strong emotions in us.
Here is my guide to the good, the bad and the ugly of the secret lives of your clothes.
The Good
These are often favourites in our wardrobe because every time you put them on you feel good about yourself. They may be clothes or accessories and you wear them often. It might be the colour, the style, the fit, that it reflects your true personality or even all of these. Sometimes when these clothes start to fade or get a little worn, you still keep them. You are reluctant to throw out the memories of compliments and scared that you will never find anything like it again.
The good can even include a major revamp of clothes. I can remember when I left teaching and took the scissors to all my long skirts. I wanted the feeling of freedom for a new stage in my life. My way of doing this was to cut them shorter or throw them out. It felt good to change these clothes.
In a perfect world you would only have feel-good clothes in your wardrobe.
The Bad
Life is not perfect. It is messy and fluid. Bad clothes hang beside your favourites.
These are the clothes you bought on a day when you just had to have something new. This will do and it does not. Months have passed and it is still unworn. You are certain that you will soon find the perfect thing that goes with it. You live in hope that bad will turn to good one day.
Then there are the items that you thought looked good on you. It was a fragile feeling and it only took a few words to pull you down. You look ridiculous! What is that! Where are you going in that? Why are you wearing your good clothes? These are some of the words I have experienced in my life. If your confidence is low that day, the clothes are relegated to either being hidden away or only worn when you feel it is really safe to wear them.
The Ugly
That bundle under my arm at the start of this article was a dress. I was in my twenties and I had just had a big argument with my boyfriend of that time. Harsh words were said. I was taking the drastic action of burning the dress I wore during our argument. Yes, you could burn things in the backyard then. I loved the dress but it was the sacrifice.
Our clothing and accessories are not inanimate objects. They are indicators of your current emotions and the stories of your life and growth.
If it is time to move the good, the bad or the ugly on, do not burn them. Express your grief at having to get rid of the item. Then balance it by remembering all the wonderful memories this piece of clothing has given you. Now with a lighter heart, you can move on to new clothes and wonderful new memories.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How to Use Red, Yellow and Blue to Boost Your Emotions, Your Business and Your Natural Beauty

Colour is all around us. It would be very boring if we lived only in a black and white world. Colour adds interest, excitement, relaxation and individuality to our lives.
It is a visual language that we all respond to. Not everyone has learnt to tap into the unspoken emotional power of colour. When you travel or look at images from other parts of the world, it is interesting to let go of your learned responses and notice how other cultures and environments interpret the meaning of the same colours.
Red, yellow and blue are the basis from which all the colours are created. They are called the primary colours. On a colour wheel which usually contains twelve colours, the primary colours are evenly spaced - four apart.
Every colour has both positive and negative emotions and perceptions attached to it.
Here is my short guide to help you use the western world's view of primary colours to boost your emotions, your business and your natural beauty.
Red - Never Passive
The colour of action, romance and anger - red is never passive.
Usually thought of as a look at me colour, it attracts extroverts as you cannot hide in a clear, strong red. Introverts and gentler people will tend towards elegant burgundy and maroon or the more grounded red earth.
If you woke up angry, I suggest you do not wear red or it is going to be a bull-fighting day. Red is the colour for women in their 60s. It goes beautifully with grey hair and reminds you that it is now time to do things for yourself.
As red is one of the primary colours, it definitely makes your business card and advertising material stand out. Finally, red is a favourite colour choice for sporting teams that want to ignite passion in their supporters.
The Very Under-rated Yellow
Sunshine, intellect, optimism and cowardice - yellow is a very emotional colour.
I have read that yellow is the colour that most women will avoid wearing. Fashion trends usually promote bright yellow which is a colour only a few women can wear successfully. Lemon highlights blond hair and a yellow tie makes the blue eyes of men look brighter. Butter yellow or golden amber look great on those with spring or autumn colouring.
Yellow is a great colour in the office for a business promoting enthusiasm, optimism or logical thinking. Your mind takes longer to recognise yellow. People look at business cards a little bit longer if they have more yellow in them than other colours. Lots of businesses combine yellow and blue to engage both sides of the brain - yellow for logical thinking and blue for communication.
Blue - a Favourite Colour of Men
Blue relates to the creative right-brain. In its positive aspects, light blue is the colour of communication and dark blue is the colour of trust. On its negative side, blue is associated with feelings of sadness and depression.
In nature blue can be cool and calming like a light blue sky and a tropical ocean or it can be cold and depressing like Antarctic ice with a foggy blue-grey sky.
Blue helps men communicate with each other and with women. Men find it easier and less stressful talking to or listening to a woman dressed in light blue. Fuchsia which is a combination of blue and pink attracts men as the message it subconsciously sends out is of a woman who is confident and easy to talk to.
Those with cool colouring in their hair, eyes and skin will generally have a preference for soft, pale or deep blue. Those with warm colouring will tend towards aqua, blue-green or blue-purple.
Finally, colour experts say that eating blue-purple foods like berries calms you down and helps you sleep well.
Go now and play with red, yellow and blue.Look, think and feel how you can add these colours to bring more of what you want into your life.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

How to Use the Colours of Black, White and Grey to Add Interest and Diversity of Your Life

Most of us would hate to live in a world that is only black and white and shades of grey. We need colours that are pure, strong, rich, muted, soft, cool and warm to give our lives the richness and diversity we enjoy. Without black, white and grey, all the colour variations we enjoy would not be possible.
Black and white are usually considered to be non-colours although black is the absence of colour and white is made up of all the colours. Grey, of course, is the mixing of black with white.
Every colour has both positive and negative emotions and perceptions attached to it and black, white and grey are no exception.
Here is my short guide to help you use the western world's view of black, white and grey to add richness and diversity to your life.
Black: Safe or Mysterious?
Black is generally called a non-colour but if you look at your wardrobe carefully you will see lots of variations in the shades of black. It is the colour of night and nothing is more magical than moonlight reflected on water in a black, star-less sky. Black is the colour of mystery. Have you ever stared into a black inky sea? It is also the colour of fear of dark nights and black holes.
Black is a fall-back colour when you cannot find anything else to wear. All black hides your personality and can repel the happy people you want to attract.
Make it more interesting by wearing black clothes that have pattern or texture in or on them. Black is a wonderful neutral background for adding accessories in colours and styles that bring out your gentle, playful or funky personality.
Black is a serviceable colour when worn below the waist. Just try to make the black you wear above the waist more interesting.
White: As Clean as Copy Paper
We associate white with the positive aspects of purity and cleanliness as in a glass of water or a pristine waterfall. White also represents poise and confidence. It is the traditional colour of brides and the fail-safe colour of men's business shirts. White dominates summer clothing because it repels the heat and looks fabulous on fair-skinned, tanned men and women. This is why there are many Blanc du Nil shops around the Mediterranean. These are shops that sell only white clothing.
On its negative side, white is often perceived as insipid or boring. Too much white can be cold and isolating - think trendy white designer rooms you would never want to live in. People who wear a lot of white can be seen as cautious or self-sufficient and not open to receiving help from others.
When added to other colours white provides a crisp, clean contrast as in a white top with contrasting belt or in stripes, spots and contrasting white collars or cuffs. White repels light: so it can make your body look larger. For those of you with warmer complexions and colouring, pure white is too harsh. Creams and softer white colours are more flattering.
Grey: A Bit Ambiguous
Grey is a shadow colour associated with the god, Mercury, who moved easily between heaven, earth and the underworld.
Grey brings out our pre-conceived attitudes. People often only see the negative side of grey with bleak fogs, threatening storms and images of boring, austere, colourless old fogeys. Wearing grey can have a positive side as it helps you to be open to new influences and then helps you form enlightened opinions on new things i.e. using the grey matter of your mind.
Grey is a wonderful neutral especially for skirts, pants and jeans as it is softer than black and often includes black in its stripes or fine checks. Grey mixed with silver, black or white can create a striking or a gentle combination. As a hair colour, grey refers to black and white, silver or pure white hair. Wear red, pink or aqua to create a wonderful contrast to highlight grey hair.
Go now and play with black, white and grey. Look, think and feel how you can use these colours to add more richness and diversity to your life.