Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A New You....End of year musings....

When I started 2017, declaring it my New You year, I had no idea where my journey would lead me.
My daughter, seen above, youngest child and only daughter, was finishing high school, and would have her drivers license very soon, and then what? Where to start finding me again?
I knew that my look needed an overhaul, so that my transition from School Mum, to New Retiree would see my facing the world at my best.
I paid to join Marie-Anne Lecours' French Chic Academy...a worthwhile investment if ever there was one, and starting shedding my frumpy School Mum clothing for something fresher and more flattering.
I started with a simple look of a skirt and top. I did not own a single dress at this stage. A skirt and top was confronting enough. I had no idea how to wear a skirt and shirt, how it should be styled or what sort of shoes to wear.

But at least I knew what I didn't know. I knew that this was going to be a tough, sometimes tearful, always brain bending time in my life.

From Marie-Anne Lecouer, I learned what length of skirt and dress suited my Apple shape. I learned how to wear a V neck and a long necklace to give an illusion of a more slender silhouette. I learned to wear heels or wedges to give myself a taller, leaner look. I learned that a button down shirt fooled the eye into seeing you slimmer, and that any vertical detail, like the piping on my skirt, did the same.
I treated myself to some real Baroque pearls, and some nude shoes (although these were not the nude shoes I should have bought...not low enough vamp, and not high enough heels, but still, an improvement), and shortened my skirt, and got to here...
Then I found out what a difference a low vamp (the top of the shoe), a peeptoe feature and a good heel can make, and how even a broad brimmed hat can give a flattering silhouette to an Apple frame, and got to this...

The difference was pleasing.
But I was still wearing a bit of this on outings...the comfortable yet shapeless dress (dresses remained my lack of know-how in this area was embarrassing), and the too low heeled  nude shoes.

Let's not forget too, the ripped 3/4 jeans, loose shirt, and Birkenstock sandals that were my stock standard daily uniform around the house. After all, who saw me, right? Wrong. I saw me. I saw me looking like I didn't care any more. My daughter saw me putting herself last, and my husband saw me turning into a frump. Not good.
My confidence grew with the lessons from The French Chic Academy. Within a few months, this below was my new shopping outfit, and I was wearing clothes that were slim fitted, instead of flowing, and destined to age me and make me look heavier than I really am.

Casual at home became a pleasure once I realised that it was okay to look nice for ME. I wore my new pearls as often as I could, graduated to Navy over black, and found ways to wear clothing that made me appear 5 kilos lighter, even though I hadn't lost any weight.
Meanwhile, I embraced my grey curls...

...and practised new updated beauty regimes, including 'no make-up' makeup...

By mid year, I was sporting a confidence not seen by my family in years. Winter saw fitted jackets, pearls and scarves become my 'uniform'...

...and Spring saw me purchase my first After Five dress in years for my Daughters Senior Formal. Well informed now, thanks to Marie-Anne Lecouer, I knew that this dress would be perfect for me, and I felt very glamorous indeed.

 By this time I'd saved a fair bit of money up to splurge on a New Me, and one purchase after another led to styling opportunities that I would never have considered one short year ago.
This orange jacket with it's simple styling, gives me a 'column of colour' centre front, a great slimming strategy for we Apple Shaped Ladies.
My previous 'Summer Jacket' had been my old faithful denim one, but Marie-Anne Lecouer helped me to see that whilst this is comfortable and a timeless look where I live, that it is not a flattering shape for me, adding bulk where I least need it. Ditto to the Birkenstocks, though I love them. I limit these now to home wear, and wedges are my chosen footwear for outings of any kind.

The simple change of a bright stylised jacket and some heels, is a pleasing one I think...

 Becoming a student of 'what suits me', rather than 'what's in fashion' then led me to this lemon printed, fit and flare dress, the most perfect nude heels, and the rediscovery of a far more suitable denim jacket for me, in the back of my wardrobe. This dress was not perfect when I purchased it, but a nip and tuck, a few darts, and a bit of seamstress magic soon fixed that. It's now a firm favourite. I would not have DREAMED that I would be wearing a dress like this, twelve short months ago...
I learned that I could still wear some loose comfortable clothing, if styled well as seen below. Long beads, high hair, dark full length jeans, nude Birkis all add up to a far more stylish me than my previous 3/4 length ripped jeans and flowy shirt.

Another dress found me. This time a graphic printed shift. I've always loved shifts, but never found one that flattered me. Well here it was. I styled it with my new dark, simply embellished denim jacket one day...

...and my new orange one another day, giving me two very different outfits. Again, using long necklaces to add a long and lean look.

Of course, I rediscovered my scarves. I had a collection already, and now I knew how to wear them to enhance my DRESSES, and add a stylish look to my silhouette. Previously I'd worn them tied around my neck with little short tails, visually shortening my body significantly. The correct way for an Apple shape to wear scarves, is to create a V neck with a scarf ring (to avoid bulk) and leave the tails hanging long, to trick the eye into seeing you taller and more slender. Believe me when I say this works!

Hermes with $2 eBay trio scarf ring...

Hermes-a-like with Hermes-a-like chevron scarf ring, both thrifted...
Hermes with cocktail ring worn as scarf ring...

Hermes with Fleur de Lys scarf ring...
Hermes with trio scarf ring, mixed prints and Aurora Borealis brooch. You CAN mix prints and it's a great way to confuse the eye and disguise other body faults. You just need to make the prints different, so it doesn't look like you tried to match and failed, echo the colours and add a solid colour to the outfit, as you see I've done here with my navy cardi.

The same scarf with a bumble bee scarf ring look completely different with this olive linen dress...

...and this navy blue version of the exact same dress, looks very different with a vivid Pucci scarf, and Aurora Borealis pin...

I'd also learned a bit about selfies by last month. Taking shots from above is flattering. Who knew, right?
Below, sky high curly bun, and neutral Hermes-a-like scarf, gave my navy blue dress from the day before, a whole new look.

I keep saying I love scarves. Nobody ever has to ask 'does my bum look big in this scarf?'.
I bought a few more dresses. Three went back, three stayed with me, but ALL needed alterations. I'm still working on that one! I was learning that little alterations like a new neckline, or the length of a skirt, can take a dress from 'no way' to 'yes please' very easily.

I love this dress, but the neckline is awful on me. A scarf does the trick temporarily, but it really needs a scooped neckline. Stay tuned.

This dress is fabulous, but needs to be taken in slightly. For some reason, this neckline is okay, with my Baroque pearls to add length to the look, and hair worn up to add height.

This dress was an online purchase, and whilst this is a horrible phot of my hair (humidity begone!), I love, love, love the dress and the fabbo pointy toed nude heels. Again, I would NEVER have worn this dress a year ago. Today it's one of my favourites. Remember I didn't own a dress this time last year!

Now there's a New Me nearly every day.
Casual Me in shift, neat charcoal jacket and long necklace...

Mad Men inspired me in fit and flare floral dress, sassy bun, and customised long beads...

Nanna Me in Nautical striped dress with customised vivid pink beads...

and High Tea Me in sunny print Review (brand) dress and pearls...

...and that's just this week.
Remember, one short year ago, almost to the day, I did not own a dress. Or maybe I had one, but never wore it. I lived in jeans and flowing shirts and Birkenstock Gizeh sandals. I had absolutely no idea how to wear a dress and hadn't bought one in years. I was lost. A friend and I admired some pretty dresses and she said to me 'yes but that's a look you have to sustain. You can't wear a pretty dress one day and not another'. At the time, I took that as a flat 'no, YOU can't wear dresses because you're old'. But really I should have taken it as a challenge. As in 'well, let's just see if I CAN wear pretty dresses every day'. I think I've just proven her wrong ;-)
How has the New Year, New You challenge gone for you. Did you challenge your ideas on who you are, and how you can look your best, this year? I've been thrilled to have you along for the ride, and can't believe how much I've changed. I hope I've inspired you to do the same.


  1. Have loved sharing in your transformation this year, Mimi, you're looking (even more) fantastic!
    Fiona xx

  2. This post is very inspiring. Lise

  3. Oh my gosh, Mrs. Mimi! I don't get to read your posts every day, but when I get the opportunity and I open jaw just falls open. You are such an inspiration! How you truly have found the You Inside who has been itching to get out. Wow!! My favorite is the yellow floral/denim jacket! You look lovely in all of them but I just love this one!! Thank you for sharing this journey with us. Blessings to you!! <3 <3

  4. Loved this post. I really liked seeing how the little changes made a surprising difference. I especially liked that you didn't have to buy a ton of new things to make it happen. I might have to pay more attention when im shopping from now on.

  5. Dear Mimi- loved watching your transformation , as much seeing it in your face as your outfits :-) .I love dresses and have worn them for years. I try to reinvent my older dresses each year in how and what I wear them with .This year I seem to have more blues and variations of blue than in the past.Long dresses and shorter dresses I love them all . It is particularly warm weather we are having for this time of year and dresses are my daily uniform.I think I need some long necklaces like you have , next . Love Maria xxx

  6. you have nailed it!!! I love your posts.... I just wish you were a pear like me... I could really get some ideas! lol

  7. Popping over from Bluebirds are Nesting. Wow! Thank you for sharing your gradual transformation. I know you will inspire many ladies to escape "frumpsville." Many women compromise on modesty just so they can look stylish, but are still unhappy with their wardrobe. You proved them wrong.


  8. Dear Mimi, Thank you for encouraging words on looking after ourselves. The way we look affects the way we feel so much. Ironically I type with a face mask on and a hair pack! If you could see me now!
    I have found the wheat free diet has had an odd effect.... a facelift. I thought I was imagining it but everyone is noticing. Now I see on websites they have "facelift Friday" and "carb face" and post carb face photos. Mmm sounds weird but its true, much less puffiness and slimmer face. So free facelift! I hope it keeps going! Is making me feel good!
    Thinking about my gaols for the new year. Have a wedding so will be in a trillion photos. Better get to work!
    I love to see people well groomed. It is getting to be sadly lacking so thank you for all the encouragement as we can all make an effort to look lovely, it makes so much difference! With love

  9. Such an inspiring and transforming journey, Mimi! I think we all could do with a few lessons in how to look our best. You have me re-thinking a few things in my wardrobe now. I did make one new change this year - I went from dark hair to blonde because in reality it was going white anyway! Now I need a new wardrobe.......Love seeing your beautiful transformation my dear. Hugs xo Karen

  10. Thanks for taking us on your wardrobe makeover journey. It's been really good and very informative. I have been looking and learning and really focusing on what I already have. Not a lot of purchases this year but more mixing, matching and sorting through what I have which has been a good exercise in itself. Really looking forward to seeing your other dresses with shoes etc. You have made some great choices there. Cheers Janiebabe x

  11. Hi Mimi,
    I have learnt so much! Thank you! Never even looked at a scarf before but am now busy hunting. You have inspired many. Sarah

  12. Hi Mimi,
    You are looking great my friend. Good for you that you took the steps you
    needed to learn what would help you......I have been an empty nester for awhile now so I have learned some of those tips by tril and error and reading and from my daughter and daughter-in-love, and I definitely know
    what doesns't look good on me but my problem is finding things that do look good. Like the longer jackets, they are hard to come by, cause
    they tend to make all the jackets and tops shorter...and there is the problem with so many things out of polyester....just can not wear it as
    it makes me too hot (since I am still having my own personal summers) lol.
    I use scarves a lot
    too, but I just drape them around my neck and let them hang, gives a
    very slenderizing look. Since I am in the process of going from blonde
    to silver or salt and pepper, I guess I should say, I am learning about they say you have to wear a bit brighter lipstick and
    blush so your face doesn't looking for some lipstick
    that will stay on for awhile, and a nice hot pink color. My daughter-in-
    love suggested Mac lipstick.....and it is half the price of the Elizabeth
    Arden I know use, that doesn't stay on very long. So that will be on my
    Christmas list....
    I am thankful for my 2 fashionistas in the family who give me advice and
    will be truthful as well.....
    It is really fun to get a new look and I am delighted every time I can
    find anything to wear that makes me feel good in it.....
    Keep up the good work, the fact you are feeling better about your look
    shows on your sweet face.............we are never too old to improve...
    that is for sure.

    So are you about ready for Christmas. I am doing pretty good but then I
    got sick the end of last week, and over the weekend, so am hoping I feel
    way better tomorrow as we are having a Christmas party here on the 15th
    which is this coming say a prayer for me if you think of it.
    Have a Merry Christmas Season sweet Friend,
    Love and Blessings,


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