Just be yourself

Life is precious and living in this busy world we sometimes forget to ‘stop’ and take a breath and relish simply in our existence. Rushing and running everywhere, frantically moving onto the next ‘thing’ that we ‘must’ do seems to be what LIVING is now reduced to. According to some people, you need to have perfect skin, perfect hair, be a perfect shape, have a perfect house and even if you are not happy, you are supposed to pretend that you are.

Well, I’m not selling you any ‘perfect package’. I’m telling you that you are exactly how you should be and therein is where you find perfection. Stop allowing other people to make you feel bad and women are the absolute worst for looking ‘down’ on other women. I’m so tired of it. Just because you dress in ‘only’ designer everything and spend three hours getting ready before you leave the house, does not mean that you look better than someone who had to save to buy an outfit in PENNEYS and leaves the house with no makeup – you could say it’s a confidence thing? Bottom line, we are all the same inside, we feel the same pain, cry the same tears and scream at our kids…even though we would never stop screaming if anything ever happened to them! 

So many times I hear women say ‘If only I had the confidence to wear that’ or ‘I could never put that outfit together myself’. I’m telling you that you all can. Confidence is a habit than can be developed by acting as if you already had the confidence you desire to have. Take that in and maybe read it again. No one, most especially the people who you think have loads of confidence actually feels confident all the time, or even most of the time. We all have a ‘monkey on our shoulder’, some little thing that makes us feel ‘less than’ but only because we allow it to. 

Some of us have such little faith in ourselves when it comes to ‘getting dressed’ that we hand all of our ‘power’ over to someone else. If, on the odd occasion that you do stop to take a breath, you will find that you do know what suits you, what looks good on you and what doesn’t and how to take care of your skin or your hair. Please be aware that there are a lot of people out there making a lot of money because a lot of women have low self-confidence and self-esteem.

So, if I have described you, before you go to buy any summer clothes or shoes, make a promise to yourself that you will work on feeling better about yourself first. Then you’ll find that what you ‘do’ buy is exactly what you should buy for YOU and there will not be a wardrobe full of clothes with the labels still on them or pots of creams sitting on a shelf for evermore. 

Get up every morning and tell yourself that ‘you look lovely’ – that’s when it really counts. And let it sink in. It’s never about the clothes; it’s always about the person! 

If you do decide to start picking up a few bits for the summer season, then you simply must find your shade of terracotta. Warm rusty reds right through to sunburnt orange are still big news. Valentino decided to fuse wine with orange – a sensational mix. Picture this, a flowing long burnt orange skirt, big thick belt with a big gold buckle and a loose wine top, half tucked in by the belt buckle and some gourmet flip flops – my idea of a heavenly summer look – of course, the wide brimmed straw hat is optional!

Tie-dye has had a modern update, it is no longer the uniform of art teachers and ageing hippies, it is now a fashion influencer favourite. The theme is ‘liberated woman’ and of course Stella McCartney created the most gorgeous blue and white t-shirts, boilersuits and combat pants – not for me but they look amazing on the ‘young ones’.

Shorts were a big hit on the catwalk for this season. While teaming cycling shorts with a Chanel jacket might work for someone in an alternate universe, it did appear to be a firm favourite for those in their 20s and was met by roaring applause; to be honest, it looks to me like someone ‘doing the walk of shame’ after a night out but everyone to their own! I must admit that I am quite taken with the slouchy style, they look fantastic with a little heel or flats and a nice shirt, stylish, cool and not over-done. It might take a little getting used to but definitely a winner.

It’s all about a sharp silhouette this season – tailored trousers look so very good with shirts, all pulled together with a belt and this is a much softer look than a suit. This is a look that any size can wear, not just a streamline size 8, have a look at how Burberry or Givenchy teamed the trousers with shirts – great inspiration and always available at a fraction of the cost in high street shops. It’s a very polished look.

The term ‘Utility’ is everywhere in Summer 2019 and it includes boiler suits, combat pants and over-sized anoraks. I did raise an eyebrow when my daughter bought a black tie-dye ski suit for her festival-going this summer but I get it now. Utility clothes means that you can wear them for just about anything so Niamh can ski, go to festivals, clean her apartment etc – in that one outfit! Don’t fret, the combat trousers are NOT the military style ones but loose-cut with pockets that aren’t bulky.

I’m always on the look-out for the feminine touch and this year’s trend is ‘bows’. You will find them everywhere, on the front of dresses, the back of dresses, as the tie in a skirt, on the neckline of a blouse or top and maybe as your hair tie-up. Find your perfect size bow and lovingly wear it.

There are still a few ruffles around so whatever you bought last year can be successfully re-emerged this year. This is a lovely trend for those of you bored with clean cut lines, it’s a fun look!

Find your comfort zone with clothes this season and then push yourself a little beyond….no one wants a boring wardrobe where everything looks the same. You can re-invent so many parts of your wardrobe with a little bit of time and creativity and confidence of course. Hold your head up girl, there will always be plenty in life to pull it down but success is always about getting back up and moving forward – no matter what! Be brave, in fact be inspirational and always sing to your own tune.

Louise O'Dwyer

Louise O'Dwyer is an Image consultant based in West Cork

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