Friday, January 5, 2018

A Year of Authenticity......

Are you hiding behind a persona that's not really you?
Do you dress a certain way because that's how Mums/Nannas/Doctors/Teachers/Support Workers/Office Staff are 'supposed to dress'?
Have you lost yourself in the day-to-day drudgery of life?
I can tell you that was me. Right up until about December 2016.
December 2016 brought me epiphanies of many kinds. Soon my daughter, my youngest child would be finished school. Soon she would be off to University with all the life changes that brings. Soon it would be just Husband and I at home. Soon, I would have time to be me. 
I had realised that in being a full time Mum, I'd lost a big part of who I really was. Don't get me wrong. I've treasured every single moment, and can see the evidence of my presence in the lives of my disabled son, my daughter, and my grandchildren. My older sons did not have the luxury of Mum 24/7. They've done me proud all the same. Thankyou boys.
What my older sons DID have was a glamorous young Mum, a career girl, who dressed impeccably every day, sky high heels and all. A Mum who would be up at 5am to roll her hair into fat heated curlers to create the looks fashionable at that time. A Mum who would change her nail polish to match her clothes. A Mum who sewed her own clothes because the retailers simply didn't have what she liked. Someone who was entirely comfortable in their own skin.
That changed for me, when my youngest son was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. My world fell apart. My family and especially my older sons, supported me as much as they were able. But suddenly my world shrunk to a schedule of endless therapy and medical appointments, and time for me became scarce on the ground.
Pretty dresses and killer heels became a thing of the past, as I wrangled with hoists, wheelchairs, commode chairs and lifting and transferring that would shame a body builder. My uniform became one of freshly washed natural curls, 3/4 pants, loose shirts and comfortable shoes. After a while, that was all I had. Going out became a trial because I simply, truly, had 'nothing to wear'.
Above, was me, day in day out, in December 2016. Neat and functional. Dying to be more glamorous, but really, not knowing where to start.
Enter Marie-Anne Lecouer into my life. I found her through her French Chic Facebook group, and never looked back. A small monthly payment over six months gained me access to her French Chic Academy, with knowledge and power beyond my expectations, and it was life changing.
Those 3/4 pants? Gone. Ripped jeans? Never again. Birkenstock sandals...only in the home thankyou.
A year and a bit down the track and there's a new me in every way.
I've gone a bit Heather Sweet....or Dita Von Teese as she is better known. Yes I know. You imagine that French Chic style is all about Chanel-esque suits, white shirts and trench coats. But NON! It's about finding your own style, and adopting ways of wearing what you love, so that it flatters your shape. Mon Dieu! A revelation!
So yes. Of course I can be 40s-50s glam, and still engender a French Chic look. It's all in the execution of the idea.
These before and after pics of Dita tell an interesting tale.
What a box of black hair dye, eyeliner, matte red lips and a killer frock has done for this woman is inspirational.
She was pretty as a blonde, but as a raven haired beauty, she's a stunner.

She made her mistakes along the way. I don't think this look was doing her any favours...
..but she's steadfastly refused to succumb to the temptation to adopt todays Look du Jour with a spray tan, Balyaged locks and a nude lip as seen her below photoshopped by some clever person.

She remains uncompromisingly herself. And it works for her. One might argue that 'Blonde Heather' is the 'authentic' person, and 'Raven haired Dita' is the ring-in here. But I admire that Dita has discovered who she wants to be, and then set about reimagining the way she looks to fit that. Her exterior presentation, is the manifestation of her inner self. Go Dita.
Now I'm no Dita. I'm older and a bit heavier, although we are the same height (!) and I live in the 'burbs.
But here's a story for you.
There's a certain dress store where I live that sells Dita style frocks as seen at the top of my post.
When it first opened, I was walking past with a 'friend'. I admired the dresses longingly (and I was slimmer then!), and she commented 'yes but that's a lifestyle isn't it. It's a statement. You can't dress like that one day, and wear jeans the next'.
Well. That stuck with me for the next ten years. I continued to look longingly in the window, but didn't dare venture inside this shop for fear of being laughed at. Silly, I know.
Enter my dalliance with the French Chic Academy, and particularly a module titled Authentically You, and here I am, snapping up pretty dresses and patent leather wedges like there's no tomorrow.
Because I CAN wear a pretty dress today, and jeans tomorrow. So long as I style them to flatter my Apple shape. So long as I remember to aim for a Long and Lean look, to wear heels to add to that illusion, to minimise accessories when wearing a print, to take care with my hair and makeup. I remember to wear good shapewear with my pretty frocks to minimise the bits of me that would make a pretty frock look lumpy where it shouldn'
All of that matters. Every bit, and more. It all makes a difference.
Yesterday I purchased a set of heated rollers. Yes, those little instruments of torture that once yielded me a Good Hair Day every, single, day. I deserve that now...the Good Hair Day Every Day, AND the heated rollers. What a Godsend they are. I'm relearning how to use them to my advantage. I'm loving what they do for my silver locks, as much as I did when I sported a frosted Farrah Fawcett look 40 years ago. I'm loving that they turn me into a teeny weeny bit of a Dita.
Is there something you can do to set yourself free this year? A way of digging deep and finding a bit of you that's been lost for a while?
Who are you, deep down inside?
I don't imagine that everyone aspires to the Glam Girl look like I do. Perhaps you're more Stevie Nicks, or Audrey Hepburn, or Grace Kelly. I love all of those ladies and their style too. On different days I might aim for emulating them.
Because I can. Because I don't have to be Dita every day. And no. It's not a 'lifestyle choice' or a 'statement look' that once entered into, cannot be changed.
Your personal style represents you on any given day. And that can be a different 'you' EVERY day if you want.
Just remember the number one rule. Dress for your shape. That is all.
Today I'm being Dita. Who are you today?


  1. Hi Mimi,

    I have enjoyed watching you transform over the past year, and the change has been amazing (not that there was anything wrong with you before lol). I also like the fact that you don't mind sharing how your life is changing and that you can simply be who you are now. I love seeing all the photos of the new beautiful fashionable you.

    Now is the time for you as it is for me. I am at an age (55) where I rethink my life constantly and I have made subtle changes to how I dress and wear my hair. I am still dying my hair at the moment, but I think I am getting closer to letting the whiteness take over.

    I am just a simple country girl at heart and I am happy with dressing up occasionally when I go out. I am concentrating more on my inner being, I feel there could be some improvement there. I am also getting my fitness and healthy eating habits back so my mind functions better and improves my well being overall.

    Thank you for this great post,


    1. Dear Tania, you make a good point. I think we all reach a stage of deciding that it's time for 'me'. You're a little younger than me, but not by much. I also believe we get closer to who we want to be, not just who we need to be as far as appearance and lifestyle goes. Hence the reason why a lot of ladies of our age, simply cut their hair super short and be done with it! Sadly that look does not flatter me, and fortunately, hair is one thing that doesn't trouble me in terms of maintenance. Inner being is important as well, you're right there. I am finding ways to generate an enduring internal peace, in order to handle whatever comes my way next. Life is never all smooth sailing and 2017 was particularly challenging for our family in so many ways, so it's always useful to maintain health, stamina, and state of mind in order to deal with surprises...both good and bad. Loving your thoughts. Mimi xxx

  2. Mimi I do believe I can see you as a 'Dita', Glamorous Granny. I on the other hand want a completely different look. Babe Paley, who was part of the NY rich and glamorous scene is more my style icon. Actually her look when she holidayed in Bemuda is the look that I want to achieve. It is a lovely relaxed, yet perfectly put together, beach look for the tropics. Babe was a stylish woman all the way through her life. She was incredibly thin and tall and always wore her hair short to shoulder length. I am tall and have short hair and this is where the physical comparison stops. I still long for, and am working towards, finding that tropical style of a well dressed and put together woman.

    1. Dear Jane, you are kind to refer to my efforts as Glamorous Granny. That is my aim :) Now I'd never heard of Babe Paley, but she was a fascinating character. I hope you won't mind if I commit a blog post to her and your desire to model yourself on her? I do see similarities in your frame and bone structure to her, and feel you have chosen well there. It's infinitely more difficult to look put together in the tropics I find. What works in a cooler climate, would be unbearable in our heat. I for one, think you're well on the way to that goal. Love, Mimi xxx

  3. Mimi, I love this post! Very inspiring. And, yes, you can be glam one day and in jeans the next - you'll just have a more put-together jeans look than you had before.

    1. Thankyou Jean. Yes you are spot on. Once can still be 'well dressed' in jeans. Don't some people have the oddest! Mimi xxx

  4. I agree, this is a wonderful post and it's been a wonderful year watching you transform and starting to believe that I, too, deserve to spend a bit of time on myself. That feeling and looking good is for ME and for MY happiness--and not something I "owe" the rest of the world (although the world will certainly benefit).
    I share your love of all things Dita--she's just an amazing woman who has made an art and a statement of enjoying her own look. I think she'd dress/groom as she does, even if she weren't famous.

    1. Thankyou Sue. I like what you said...the world will benefit. I remember my French boyfriend saying to me when I wanted to wear a tracksuit to the local store...'It is not nice for them'. I was only 19 and didn't really understand what he meant. But then I read a book written by a lady with a French husband, who said the almost identical thing to her twenty years later, and the penny dropped. It pays to be aware that others DO look, and it's a compliment to those around you to take care with your appearance. It's a discipline too though, isn't it! Glad to find a fellow Dita admirer :) Mimi xxx

  5. A fascinating post Mimi and so true about losing ourselves in the day to day stuff of childrearing etc.. My husband is working away from home and I have had to refind the independent person I used to be. It has been fun and oh so liberating. I have mastered a few new skills along the way.I am doing a clothes fast this year and making, remodelling or making do. I still intend to look fabulous. Love the Grace kelly look and also admire Princess Mary of Denmark for her choices, Planning to visit the Edith Head exhibition soon for a dose of fabulous. Barb

  6. Hi Mimi

    Thank you for a great post. Authenticity is something I strive for in all aspects of my life. I do not necessarily aspire to any particular look. My goal is simple and streamlined in my clothing as well as other facets of my existence. In order to achieve this I remain strong-willed and am not swayed by the latest trends and frippery. In fact, my latest Facebook profile photo embodies my 'look'. White collared shirt, pearl studs but no other jewellery and black hat on my super-short hair.

    I am a 'what you see is what you get' kind of girl.


I love hearing from you! I always respond to comments, so don't be shy! Mimi xxx