Snuggle up into January

It is well and truly January – a little bleak, a little colder and perhaps a lot of us are a few pounds heavier! To be truthful, I think that adding a little weight over the holidays is beneficial, it makes us a little more ‘cuddly’ and protects us a tad more from the inevitable cold spell ahead. Turn down the volume in your head that is beating you up, ignore all those weight loss ads and relax. Life is a cycle of change; it would be sooooo boring to stay the same all the time! I always get so angry in January when I see how much everyone is bombarded with advertising about losing weight, this ultimately makes a huge segment of the population feel bad about themselves or guilty even, and if I have seen anything throughout my years of talking to women, one thing is for sure – feeling bad and guilty equals zero weightloss. How about a new approach? How about feeling wonderful exactly as you are? How about being grateful and appreciating all your assets? By doing this, you start a new chapter, you ditch the old record of failing at every single weight loss programme that you have tried and your new positive approach to your body allows the weight to simply fall off. Killing yourself with kindness will motivate you to walk a little more every day and perhaps will help you to reach for some fruit instead of a sugary snack. Shed the guilt cycle and enjoy life!

I really do hope that you had a wonderful holiday season and that you accepted every offer bestowed upon you. Dressing up and getting out is the absolute best thing for your soul. I get up really early so the closest that I would ever come to being a ‘night-owl’ is that of a baby owl…safe to say that I am almost always sound asleep by 10pm. However, that did not stop me from celebrating every day of Christmas and the New Year. I just did it during the day so no excuses; it’s possible to party every day and wake refreshed every morning! I thoroughly recommend it.

A lot of our ‘sparkly’ wardrobe bits will be retired until next year and it’s now time to think about what to wear for the next three months. January, February and March always have a bite to them, so it’s important to know how to dress warmly without forfeiting style. I love my trips to the Netherlands to visit my daughter but every time I go I am reminded how ‘bad’ we are at dressing according to our weather. It rains there as much as it does here but how many Irish people invest in a warm winter raincoat? The €5 umbrellas that we buy; they last exactly five minutes and are laughable, sp please please invest in a good strong umbrella that will fold up and fit in your handbag! It might sound like I am stating the obvious but just watch what happens the next time that it rains….comical really! Just because it might be freezing outside does not mean that we have to collectively resign ourselves to giving up on style – it just means that  we all have to think a bit more  creatively when getting dressed in the morning.

Start out by becoming a pro at layering. Thin layers work wonders and don’t leave you feeling like a balloon. Gorgeous chunky jumpers can be insulated with a fitted top inside and they give you better definition shape-wise too. No matter what your face shape or age, there is always a hat that will suit you. I’m baffled by the number of people I meet who never wear hats because they think that they don’t suit them. My answer always is that they just haven’t tried on enough hats to find the type that is made for them and there is no better way to keep body heat in than a hat.

Great winter boots will always steal the show. Do you have a gorgeous pair? What about a pair of over-the-knee flat boots? They are the best way to keep your legs warm if you are wearing a shorter dress or skirt. While black boots are very wearable, very practical and work with just about anything, choosing a different colour boot can set you apart from the rest. It is something that I am always hunting for on my travels!

We all only have ‘so much’ room for winter coats. Investing in a new one at the start of the season will mean that you will most definitely want to get the ‘wear’ out if it! By the time February comes, while it is still bitterly cold, most of us are a little tired of the same old coat. Believe it or not you can ‘belt’ just about any coat and cinching your waist will give that same coat a whole ‘new’ look. If you are a ‘fashionista’ follower then you will have seen how some of them have even belted puffer coats.

Faux fur is a wonderful way to look glam and stay warm, giving you a ‘fun’ look too. A short faux fur coat looks really great with jeans and flats for a cool day look and you can ‘pimp’ your regular winter coat with a faux fur stole and some fur mittens. I bought a chunky faux fur headband last winter and it is sensational..of course, not for everyday wear but I do ‘feel like a 1960s diva when I wear it. Who knows, maybe it looks ridiculous but it’s different and its fun and I feel great….isn’t that what it’s all about?

Always experiment with scarves! Don’t ever just give up and throw a scarf around your neck every time, google different ways to wear a scarf. Use a big one as a blanket scarf over a long coat…I must say that I love this option. I loved the way that my daughter wore a rolled up scarf on her head over the holidays, very retro! So next time that you are shopping for a scarf, make sure that you think about more than one way to wear it.

Wear silk to stay warm; like I needed a reason to wear silk? I love it, it’s simply luxury next to the skin and the feel good factor is off the charts. I bet that most of you didn’t realise that it is an extremely warm material and because it is so thin it is easy to layer underneath your winter clothes. By choosing special fabrics like merino wool, cashmere and silk thermals, you will not only look amazing but you will also be ‘snug as a bug’. Avoid cotton thermals, they are just not as good and they look bulky under your clothing! Thin knit snug sweaters hug your body and accentuate your glorious shape.

A chic turtleneck is the under layer of all under layers. It is a foundation piece for all your winter outfits – from work to weekend so always stock up on basic colours!

A furry parka for fighting the elements is an absolute must. Seeing as I spend most of my weekends on the sideline at matches and three nights a week at training, I will never apologise for my vast array of furry parka jackets ¬ they keep me warm without forfeiting relaxed style. Choose your favourite colours; don’t just limit yourself to black, khaki green looks amazing too as does grey. Navy is great on blondes and redheads. While white may not be the most practical, it sure does look good and we all do have a washing machine after all!

I suppose that when it comes to nightwear you are expecting that I will tell you to buy lots of fleece pjs? Well, you are wrong. Wear silk always. Buy fleece sheets or quilt covers instead but never ever reduce yourself to fleece pyjamas. Femininity needs to be nurtured and embraced always and there is no better way than to wear silk to bed. In fact, I do believe that there is no better way to start off the year than to invest in some gorgeous silk nightwear – your confidence, your self esteem, your body and whomever you might happen to share your bed with will thank you for it. Happy New Year.

Louise O'Dwyer

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

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