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Monthly Archives: December 2015

Close up of a beautiful woman looking at the horizon with a hand in forehead


By | How To..., Inspiration, Psychology | 22 Comments

2016 is about to dawn and with a new year comes the promise of new opportunities, fresh starts and better and exciting times ahead.

Whatever your dreams, to achieve them you’ll need supportive friends, a positive mindset and a sound plan to keep you on track. Big goals require courage, commitment and resilience. With every set-back you rise from, you’ll grow stronger and wiser – so never, ever give up. Those who reach their goals are rarely the brilliant or talented but those who have persevered long after others have given up.

This week’s post is a collection of wise words from the many people who have influenced my life (especially my parents).

New Beginnings

~ Never be satisfied until you have found your purposeNever stop searching for why you were put on this earth and what your God-given talent is.

~ Find something that you are passionate about. Passion creates the enthusiasm that delivers boundless energy and will inspire others to believe in you. 

Build your future on integrityBe a person of your word. The unity of passion and integrity is a powerful force. 

Don’t do or say anything you would not want to read about in tomorrow’s news – you are a person of influence, whether it be to your friends, your children or your clients. If you lie, cheat or mislead you imply to others that it is acceptable behavior. 

Take a little step toward your goal/dream every day – even if you can only spare five minutes. 

Appreciate the journey – many successful people will tell you that once they arrived at their goal, they realized that the journey was the best part.

Associate with people whom you wish to become like – the old saying ‘lay down with dogs, rise up with fleas’ has its basis in fact.

Try to make wise decisions – the choices you make will affect your future just as they have created your present circumstances, take the time to think things through and seek wise council. 

Expect to make mistakes - They are life’s most valuable lessons. Failure only comes when you have not learned from a mistake and you repeat it. 

Expect things worth having not to come easily – Success is the reward for struggle and hard work.

Never forget your potential - even if others do.

~ No matter how much you look forward or dread something, it always passes; nothing is permanent so hang tight and appreciate every moment.  

Find someone who believes in you – negative people will only rob you of your potential.

~ Hugs your kids often and call your parents every week. Tell them you love them – they need to hear it more than you realize.

Evict your personal critic – when your inner voice starts to undermine your confidence, send it packing. 

Create a personal success file – and add to it daily, even if it is something small. Read it once a week to remind yourself of your progress. 

Do something nice for another person daily – without expectation of return. This can be as small as letting a car in, during peak hour or giving someone a genuine compliment. 

Spend time with your friends and family – they are your most valuable assets. Life is short and its length unpredictable, so get up now and go phone someone. 

Nurture yourself – eat well, exercise, get enough sleep, take regular time-out and spend time with those who love you. 

Value yourself – Don’t feel guilty if you occasionally spend money on yourself or buy something frivolous. Shrouds don’t have pockets and you’re definitely worth it. 

Occasionally do something silly - The best stress-reliever and depression-buster is laughter. 

Pray for guidance and expect an answer.

woman beauty portrait with summer white hat and sunglasses, studio


By | Beauty, How To..., Personal Style | 11 Comments

When you think of sophistication what words spring to mind? Worldly, refined, elegant, current, calm, grown-up, confident?

It’s these adjectives that help you gain insight and direction to achieve the look.

Another way is to think of women you think of as sophisticated. For me it’s celebrities like Olivia Palermo, Kate Blanchet, Anne Hathaway and Halle Berry. Each of these women look impeccable and in control even in the most casual of circumstances. The peak of the sophistication can also be seen in prominent personalities like Princess Kate Middleton, Queen Rania of Jordan, and of course, the ultimate in power dressing, Scandal’s Olivia Pope. Lastly, I can’t talk about sophistication or elegance without mentioning the one and only late Aubrey Hepburn.

Elegant Celebs

If you’re now thinking, ‘this sounds like it’s going to be expensive‘ relax I assure that it’s not necessarily so and even on a budget you can look polished. So here’s my 15 ways to look polished from your head to your toes:

Face First

With all looks, the most important place to start is at the top with your face and hair. It’s the first place people look, so your makeup, skin and hair will all need to look as pleasing, refined and finished as the rest of your look.

Like all things deemed ‘polished’ your makeup should be ‘flawless and understated’. This means blending your makeup to create a smooth, subtle finish. Don’t put on too much liner and sweep a beige or taupe eyeshadow on your lids for a subtle sheen. The next step is mascara to open up your eyes, blush for a healthy glow, and lipstick.

Use lip liner to prevent your lipstick from running throughout your day. The key to having a polished makeup look is to make sure it is set for the rest of the day. A spritz of some facial toning water will ensure your makeup won’t budge or smudge.

Elegant Makeup

Video Tutorial

Get Styled

Nothing says polished as much as a great style; perfectly cut and beautifully maintained it will beautifully compliment your makeup and finish off your outfit. Fashionable but not avant garde you hairstyle portrays femininity and control. The most refined looks are smooth to sleek while casual elegance is displayed as controlled waves. If you like parts then a side part is the one most favored by socialites.


Dress Up Your Hair

An easy and quick way to dress up and polish up your hair do of the day is by adding hair accessories. Whether it’s a topknot or a ponytail, a bejeweled hair accent will make you look more glam and will make you stand out in a chic way. If you’re wearing your hair down, a scarf headband or a sleek patent one will have the same effect.


Stand Tall

Aside from the physical aspects of your look, from clothes to makeup, your posture and carriage carries a lot of weight when looking polished. Slouching will definitely ruin the look of a beautiful designer dress or a structured blazer. Always stand and sit up tall. Keep your shoulders square. It also helps to visualize your head attached to a thread being pulled upward.


Dress Modestly

When it comes to sophistication, err on the side of caution. The surest way to achieve real sophistication is to be modest yet chic. Look for modest necklines and hem lengths and fits that are not too revealing. When you want to wear a short mini skirt covering your legs with dark tights will instantly elevate the look. In general the more covered you are the more likely you are to be moving in the right direction. 


Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

Think Structure and Tailoring

Keep an eye out for structured silhouettes; tailored separates, semi-fitted jackets and even classic structured bag shapes like satchels, doctor bags, and frame bags are all great additions to your wardrobe and great foundations to your polished look.

Nurture an eye for quality and pay more for the items you’ll wear the most. These pieces will be your investments and better quality means superior fit and fabric. If higher-end pieces are out of the equation for you, opt to get off-the-rack, fast fashion, or discount pieces altered to fit your body. A little cinching here or a little hem shortening there can work wonders in making a garment look more high quality and have a more elegant feel. Perfect fit should be your number one goal when shopping, as this lends a polished look instantly.


Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Choose the Right Fabrics

Conger up the vision of an elegant woman, can you imagine her clothes, can you describe the fabrics or fabric quality? Fabrics that portray a sophisticated image are of high quality (or at least appear to be), have a fine weave, a soft pliable hand(feel), little to minimal texture and are matte to a subtle sheen. Think silk, wool, cotton, cashmere, fine velvet, and microfiber. Dressed in these any woman will feel a queen.

Sophisticated fabrics

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4

Layer Elegantly 

Less is more when trying to attain the polished look, think non bulky and your half way there.. If you’re wearing a dress another additional layer, like a pashmina shawl or structured jacket, is more than enough. If you’re wearing tailored separates, a maximum of 3 layered items should be your rule of thumb.

Elegant Layering

Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Hue and Contrast

When trying to achieve a sophisticated look, steer clear of loud prints and neon colors which will put your look in more trendy territory. Subtle prints in a low to medium contrast are best. Neutral colors like black, white, navy, and gray are also your best bets. Beige and nude tones are a ladylike approach to the look. You can also opt for rich jewel tones, but bear in mind that it should still be rich or even muted but never bright or loud i.e. teal instead of turquoise, emerald or hunter green instead of bright acid green.

HueAndContrastSource: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3, Image 4 

Color Coordinate

Color coordinating your outfit doesn’t mean wearing one color from head to toe (although the monochromatic look is on trend), it means that to you should make sure that one element of your look visually relates to another. You’ll look more polished and sophisticated this way. For example, match the color of your lips with your belt and shoes, or you can match the red hue of your bag and shoes with red color in the print of your dress.


Accessories Count

Sophistication extends to every aspect of your look. From the mirror you use for touch-ups to your phone case, all of the things you wear and carry with you will reflect your lifestyle, disposition and act as an indication of the care you take of yourself. Everything sends a message, so if you whip out a raggedy wallet at dinner, it’ll certainly leave a bad taste in the mouth—despite having an ultra chic look.

Also a sophisticated look doesn’t necessarily need a lot of accessories. Keeping your accessories, especially your jewelry, to a minimum is a guaranteed way to look both appropriate and chic. Always opt for classic styles, in medium-small sizes.  Large and imposing jewelry might look too garish


Source: Image 1, Image 2, Image 3

Tips and Toes

From the tips of your fingers to what you put on your feet, every little detail matters when it comes to looking sophisticated. Make sure that when heading out for the day, your fingers are well manicured. Avoid nail art, or nail colors that are loud. A classic French tip manicure or timeless colors like taupe, beige, nude, soft pink, and red are all perfect. Round, oval or round-square shapes are perfectly in-sync with your look. Avoid long pointed nails they totally send the wrong message.

Also pay attention to your legs if they are being exposed. If your legs are perfect then ‘maybe’ go bare legged; however quality hosiery always presents a polished look. Exposed feet call for a perfect pedicure and they are best teamed with flats such a loafers for ballet flats or medium to high heels. If you’re going to wear stilettos, err on the side of caution and wear them in classic hue to avoid looking too sexy (forget ankle straps; they’re too sexy). A slight sheen or some patent shine can also be a nice touch.

Tips and Toes

Act the Part

 One of the best things about leaving this point until now is that looking the part often helps you feel the part. Like when an actor when they dress in character and only then truly feels the part so you too will start to feel more sophisticated and confident when you’re in character. When you’re confident you stands tall, look people in the eyes when they are talking, smiles and nods when you’re in agreement and is not afraid to introduce themselves or others,or introduce a new topic of conversation. Sure, it may take some practice but I promise you it will be much easier when you look and feel the part. Another bonus is that other people will open up to you and give you the floor when you have ‘the look’.


Think Mint Condition

Nothing can ruin a polished outfit faster than a loose button or a loose thread. Before you even put on each item of clothing, give it an once-over. Check for stains, wear and tear, or any quick sewing fixes that need to be made. If found, change or fix it before leaving.

Pressing Matters

A well-pressed outfit is essential to your look. Press your outfit in advance to avoid rushing out in the morning in wrinkled clothing. Invest in a good iron or steamer, it will go a long way in taking care of your clothing and looking polished 24/7.

Want More?  The Elegant Woman website



If you enjoyed this week’s feature
please like it on Facebook or Instagram
or leave a comment/question below.
Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP


COLOR SENSE: Part 1, Value, Perceived Weight and Size

By | Colour | 5 Comments

Color is a powerful factor in our lives; it can attract or repel, alter the perceived shape, size and weight of objects, nurture or aggravate, uplift or dampen moods, cause a release of energy or calm us to the point of sleep.

In the USA the 1940′s witnessed the birth of color analysis which quickly spread worldwide to become a global sensation and a ‘must have’ consultation for every woman. Today the color a person chooses to wear is still as important as ever and is often the make or break of how good an outfit looks on us.

I believe that learning what you best colors are is a incredibly beneficial thing to do; after all a great style in an unflattering color will always be a bad buy.

‘ a great style in an unflattering color will always be a bad buy’


But that’s not what I want to explore with you today. Instead, I want to share with you the impact specific color characteristics have on your apparent shape. In later parts I’ll explore other areas of color.

Think about the last time you went clothes shopping, more than likely it was the color of a garment that first caught your attention, then it drew you in and invited you to touch it. From there it was a short trip to the fitting room.

Sounds like you? You’re not alone, but buying by color alone is responsible for more poor purchases than any other factor. Liking a color and even if it’s one that suits your coloring and being able to look good are two totally different things. It may suit your personal coloring but what about your body shape? A great color needs to suits both.

Let’s start this journey by looking at color VALUE which is the apparent lightness or darkness of a color.


I find it easiest to place colors on a scale value of one to five.

  • Light
  • Medium light
  • Medium
  • Medium dark
  • Dark


The value of a color value has two effects on the apparent size and shape of a garment.

  • It can alter it’s apparent size 
  • It can alter it’s apparent weight.



The lighter a color is, the larger it makes the garment and the area it’s been worn on appear larger, because light colors advance (appears to move forward). Medium colors on the other hand neither advance or recede and so have little effect on size. Dark colors appear to recede (move backwards) making the garment and area it’s worn appear further away and therefore smaller.

Take home point

By considering the depth (value) of a garment and the effect it is likely to have on the area of your body it is designed for before you considering taking it into the fitting room will save you time and equip your eye for success.

My Private Stylist makes this easy for you by showing you your best color value for dresses, pants, tops, pants and skirts. PrêtàStyler takes the color depth of the item into consideration when assessing an item’s suitability to be added into your personal mall. 


Apparent Weight

Depending on the depth of a color it will appear to be either heavy or light.

Yes, you read correctly- colors have apparent weight.

Light colors appear to weight the least and dark colors appear to weight the most. Why? Because of how our natural world has conditioned us. In general, those things around us which are are heaviest are darker and visa versa.

A few years ago when explaining this in a class I was running to train image consultants I was told the story by one of the students that she had been a HR manager in a transport company and the men who were loading the trucks were complaining of the weight of the boxes they were being asked to load. The weight of these boxes were in accordance with industrial regulations, so should not have been causing so much anguish among the men. The unions were involved and eventually a consultant was called in and he noticed that the boxes were all dark, having a printed outer. The consultant suggested the company change the colour of the boxes to a light colour and voila the problem was solved. No mention of the color change was made. The company informed the men and union that the issue had been addressed and hoped the situation would be resolved. The workers celebrated the win and the lighter boxes, and everything went back to normal despite no change in the content or actual weight.

It’s the same with the garments we wear. Given a dark color appears to heavier than a light color it will appear more visually appealing when it is either worn as a whole item or on the top half of the body.


Take home point

If you are bigger below your waist (triangular), short or generally overweight its best to wear the darker color below your waist. The light color draws the eye up making the body appear taller and slimmer and the dark color minimizes the hips.

If you desire to wear a darker color on your top half ensure that if you have a big bottom the top covers all of your backside.


If you enjoyed this week’s feature
please like it on Facebook or Instagram
or leave a comment/question below.
Thank you.
Ann Reinten AICI CIP