International Women’s Day

I recently spoke at an International Women’s day event. The theme for my talk was the importance of empowering women and what I believe can make women stronger.

We have incredible freedoms and opportunities in Australia compared to so many women around the world.

Without strong women speaking out and standing up, we wouldn’t have the rights we have today, and we have a duty to use our voice wherever possible to speak up for the women who are still silenced.

• I grew up in Central West NSW, 1 of 4 children, daughter of an Italian immigrant, and my father’s culture and background had a very significant impact on our upbringing. • I owned and managed a retail business for 20 years where a personal styling service developed. • I’m a Mother of four daughters. • I have a Bachelor of Business, majoring in Public Relations. • I’m an Image Consultant with expertise in Visual Expression • I’m a volunteer at Dressed for Success – an organisation that outfits disadvantaged women free of charge, and I also participate in their outreach program – providing clothing for women in prison for court appearances and life beyond.

I am 53 years old and there’ve been 3 recurring themes throughout my life essential to my ability to grow and empower myself.

The 3 C’s

  1. Communities – the support
  2. Change – the attitude
  3. Confidence – the tools Albert Einstein said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving”. To keep moving forward we need confidence, support, and the ability to embrace change.

Communities When women join educational institutions, political parties or any decision-making bodies, it gives them opportunities to see, and to know more of the world, and it puts them in a better position to take control of their lives. Joining organisations and communities promotes personal growth, self-respect, pride, and resilience.

Feeling part of a group where you have shared values and interests can increase levels of happiness. When people feel they have social support, they have faster recovery from trauma, illness, and hardship. Don’t just take my word for it … there’s a Swedish proverb that goes something like, ‘a sorrow shared is a sorrow halved, and a joy shared is a joy doubled’.

It’s not just organisations that will empower you. Friendships are an incredible source of inspiration and support too.

I’m fortunate to have long and close associations with amazing women. They’re strong, intelligent, hardworking, resourceful, courageous, generous, loyal, interesting women who applaud my successes, support me during setbacks, and inspire me to keep growing, learning, and achieving my goals.

Change On average we have five to seven career changes in our life. Being able to adapt to change is one of the most essential skills that a person can have, and it’s one of the most difficult things because most of us are creatures of habit.

It isn’t change itself that we resist, it’s the belief that we will lose something we value – our purpose, and it’s also our fear of failure if we can’t adapt to new challenges.

The transition from employee to mother and then to working mother is a huge change in a woman’s life.

• Managing both work and life • The impact on your career • Caring for a baby, and • Last but not least – working mother guilt!

Navigating the nuances of returning to work while caring for a baby is a heroic feat. Although women are capable of handling the challenge, and the changes, it can be very difficult to adapt.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, returning to work after long sabbaticals caring for children can be daunting too. You may feel …

• your skills are out of date, • you’ve lost touch with the industry you previously worked in, • or you’re too old.

Being a stay at home parent is one of the hardest jobs you will ever have and the skills you gained are incredibly transferrable. Without embellishment they include: chauffer, chef, collaborator, communications expert, leader, listener, multi-tasker, nurse, negotiator, project manager, researcher, and tour guide. And the list doesn’t stop there. A very worthwhile exercise in gaining confidence and self worth is to rewrite your resume – even if you’re not applying for a job.

I read a great book called ‘How Women Rise – Break the 12 habits holding you back. It’s for any woman who wants to identify self-defeating behaviours that get in the way of where you want to go. It’s about getting unstuck, and embracing change.

The book has a happy ending which is ‘how to change’. For me, knowing I wasn’t the only flawed woman who engages in behaviours that are self-sabotaging was reassuring, and it encouraged me to be more confident, more courageous, and more aware of what not to do. It encouraged me to change.

My final topic is confidence – from inside out! While being part of communities and embracing change are incredibly important, these things come more easily when we’re confident in who we are.

Part of my current work is is helping people look their best so they feel their best. It’s simple … Looking good means feeling good. Feeling good about yourself will give you confidence.

I have completed studies in Colour Profiling; Personal Branding; Professional Styling; Make-up; and Men’s Image and Style. I’ve developed Colour & Style Workshops and have recently formed a partnership to work on Corporate Programs.

Visual presentation accounts for more than 60% of the impression we make on others – initially and ongoing – It’s based on what you wear, how you act, and how you walk through the door.

What you wear tells the story of who you are and what you stand for. Clothing is the most powerful, non-verbal communication tool we have. You can appear confident, powerful, approachable, or you can look dated, dishevelled, unapproachable or worse … invisible!

What’s your personal brand? How do you see yourself? How do you think others see you? How do you want to be seen? What-ever image you want to project, dress for it.

We’re always hearing, “dress for the job you want; not the job you have” and “look good, feel good”, but most people underestimate the power of dress. Studies confirm that the clothes we wear affect our behaviour, attitudes, mood, and confidence.

We all have days when we feel uninspired, flat, directionless and missing that spring in our step. Put on something dowdy, dirty and dishevelled and you’ll feel the part. However, if you wear your favourite outfit, the results will be amazing.

At 53, I’m still learning from so many amazing women. Notwithstanding this, I think the 3 C’s will always ring true.0 Likes

The Psychology of Dressing Well

The competitive edge

The power of clothing to change our emotions is … well … powerful! It impacts how we think and feel, the way we perform and act, and what other people think of us

Clothes are an expression of who we are and how we project our character to the people we meet. Few people understand its importance, use this powerful resource, and dress to impress.

We all make an extra effort and take time to look nice for special occasions, and then the thought, energy and trouble often drops off in everyday life.

Scientific studies suggest that how we dress has a powerful impact on how we’re perceived and may give us the competitive edge needed to succeed in our professional and personal lives.

Enclothed cognition

We’re always hearing, “dress for the job you want; not the job you have” and “look good, feel good”, but most people underestimate the power of dress. Studies confirm that the clothes we wear affect our behaviour, attitudes, personality, mood, confidence, and the way we connect with others. This is called ‘Enclothed Cognition’.

Enclothed Cognition is used to describe the effect what we wear has on psychological processes such as emotions, self evaluation, attitude, and interaction with others. Also, as a society, we place symbolic meaning on clothing and we assess people based on how they present. Through years of social conditioning our unconscious decision making process goes into autopilot.

The subconscious connection

The clothes you wear and the way you present will change the way other people hear what you say. It will subconsciously tell them if you’re like them or different. It will determine the way they see you, whether they’ll listen to you, and whether they trust you.

When President Barack Obama spoke to an audience of working class people, he ditched the suit and wore his shirt sleeves rolled up. This sent a powerful message that he was hard working, relatable, trustworthy, understanding – and above all else, one of them.

We judge people during first contact based on what they wear according to the occasion, and we judge ourselves on how we present because of the way it makes us feel.

Looking good results in results

In 1998, research of a well known psychologist who surveyed over 500 firms showed that habitually informal dress codes ultimately resulted in relaxed manners, relaxed morals, and lower productivity, and this is still true today.

We all have days when we feel uninspired, flat, directionless and missing that spring in our step. Put on something dowdy, dirty and dishevelled and you’ll feel the part. However, if you wear your favourite outfit, the results will be amazing. You have more energy, inspiration, and the day looks more positive.

It’s simple. How you dress affects the way you feel and how you perform. Gym clothes put you in the mood to exercise. High heels make you feel glamorous, and confident. A suit puts you in business mode, and you’ll think smarter, faster, and command more respect.

Dress for the job you want

Extensive studies confirm clothing that is associated with certain roles encourage us to act accordingly. Dress like a judge, you’ll have authority, wisdom, power; dress like a fireman or policeman, you’ll be more heroic and run towards danger to save people.

Your appearance matters to others too. Being in the workplace often involves interacting with new people, co workers, and communicating with managers. Your reputation is a priceless commodity and visual presentation accounts for more than 60% of the impression we make on others – both initially and ongoing.

Research has established a link to suggest people unconsciously behave in a way that is matched to their dress. Ipso facto, dress for the role, have the role!

Clarke Kent mild mannered reporter, invisible and insipid. Changes into his cape and suddenly he’s a superhero. Cinderella, a housemaid who wears rags, puts on a ball gown and suddenly she’s a Princess! Same guy, same girl, just different clothes.

Think it into existence, speak it into existence, dress it into existence – and it will exist!

For more information, or an initial consultation, please email me directly at

Sneakers: The Ultimate Guide for Obsessives

A CLEANER SNEAKER? From left: Veja and Allbirds sneakers, whic hproject a more sustainable design ethos, are keeping the big brands on their toes. Veja V-10, $150,; Allbirds Tree Runners, $95, PHOTO: BRYAN GARDNER FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, STYLING BY ANNE CARDENAS

Article by Wall Street Journal

As athletic shoes morph and multiply—emerging as a pivotal business for both men’s and women’s fashion—we offer an extensive primer, including the threats to Nike’s dominance and 5 game-changing technological innovations

By Jacob Gallagher

Updated Sept. 6, 2019 4:25 pm ET

What’s the last pair of shoes you bought? Let me guess: sneakers. Maybe a pair of collectible, cartoonishly colored Nike s? Leather Common Projects lace-ups in minimalist, office-friendly white? Or some humbly ho-hum navy-blue wool Allbirds? You weren’t alone. The sneaker business hit $44 billion in sales last year in the U.S., up 9% from the year before, according to market-research firm the NPD Group. 

Although the modern sneaker era arguably began with Nike’s first running shoes—the basic Cortez—around 50 years ago, today that type of functionally athletic sneaker is not driving the growing market. Matt Powell, the senior industry adviser for sports at the NPD Group, noted that sales of performance-sport sneakers (for running, basketball, tennis, etc.) are tapering off. “For the last four years we’ve been in this period where we do not have a single performance [shoe] trending positively,” he said. Why pay for state-of-the-art, air-bubbled high-tops if you’re not Steph Curry lining up to take a three? 

Simpler sneakers are on the upswing. “Retro definitely has a bit more of the momentum,” said Erik Fagerlind, the co-owner of Sneakersnstuff, a global chain of sneaker boutiques. Tasteful throwbacks, like the reissued Nike Tailwind, Adidas Superstar (see “Os” above) and upscale traditional sneakers like Spalwart’s Marathon Trail Runner and Brunello Cucinelli ’s luxe suede low-tops appeal to a clientele who came of age in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. For Frankie Walker Jr., the co-owner of Unknwn, a Miami sneaker retailer, and a child of the ’80s, the sneakers of one’s youth hold nostalgic charm. A plus? These clean styles won’t look out of place at the office. 

Another sneaker that blends well with business-casual garb is the understated, sustainable kick as epitomized by the knitted-upper runner from direct-to-consumer startup Allbirds (“Ds” above) or the subtle shoes from French label Veja (“Ss” above). At a time of staggering clothing waste, these shoes attempt to tread more lightly on the environment. 

At the opposite end of the style spectrum, aggressively trendy sneakers are rife in the Instagram age. Statement shoes like Balenciaga’s colossally chunky Triple-S or Nike’s collaboration with Japan’s Sacai (with its double soles and double tongues) leap out on social media, where brash sneaker fans of all ages battle for bragging rights. The thirst for boast-worthy shoes has supercharged sneaker collecting. On resale platforms like Stadium Goods, StockX and Flight Club, obsessives amass and unload limited pairs, sometimes at hammer prices well into the five figures. In July an entrepreneur paid $850,000 for a set of 99 rare sneakers during a Sotheby’s sale. 

Of course, most of us are just looking for one everyday pair. For many, it’s a low-key minimalist sneaker, but even if you’d never wear Technicolor Nikes (“Ni” above), they can be fun to look at.

TIES NOT OPTIONAL Off Duty’s deputy fashion director wears hertrusty New Balances with a directional Céline dress. PHOTO: RYAN MESINA/THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Can sneakers be stylish?

Fashion editor Rebecca Malinsky willed them to be following a debilitating foot injury.

AT A CLOSE FRIEND’Swedding in the Portuguese countryside a while back, I danced until the wee hours in a predictably picturesque setting. The next day, however, my right foot was aching. After the seven-hour flight home and a long walk through customs I knew something was not right. Three podiatrists, two MRIs and one renowned foot and ankle surgeon later, I discovered that I had boogied my way to a rather serious ankle injury that would simply require time and supportive (read: ugly) shoes to heal. Time? Sure. But trading ballerina flats for the same sneakers as my dad? 

The accident humbled me into accepting the fragility of the human body—in the painfully conspicuous form of orthopedic shoes. I spent about 18 months solely wearing running shoes, minus the three hours I devoted to getting married in 1-inch Valentino heels lined with Dr. Scholl’s pads (fighting back tears from the pain and the emotion of it all).

Physically, just getting from point A to B has been exhausting; mentally, trying to remain confident as a fashion authority in sensible sneakers has been taxing. In the time I’ve spent in my go-to pairs of shoes—a gray New Balance 990 and a black Asics GT-1000—I’ve had to get creative to make them feel like they are truly a part of my personal style. But along the way, I developed the following guidelines on how to style sneakers fashionably:

  • Don’t dress down. Sneakers look more considered and intentional when paired with trendy clothing vs. basics. Try a slouchy linen pant or floral dress instead of jeans.
  • Consider the classics. Many designer sneakers are inspired by traditional tennis, or running, shoe brands. Scout out the original: It looks more authentic and saves you hundreds of dollars.
  • Venture manward. Why are women’s sneakers always fuchsia and teal? Learn your sizes in men’s sneakers to get the more-interesting lime green/black or red/white/tan combinations.
  • Socks matter. They should match your outfit, not your shoe. Invest in no-show peds for summer, and some gray, textured wool tall socks for the cooler months.

Jeans Glossary … get the perfect fit for your figure

Voluptuos Curves – classic or relaxed fits are best.They’ll give you ease and flattery in the bottom area without being big all over. Get a pair that sits on your hips rather than your waist. Concentrate on getting the waist and leg proportion just right. The waistband should sit just below your waist’s natural curve and the leg should skim your natural shape. A very tight waist with full legs is the worst proportion. Avoid too tight legs and small or widely spaced back pockets.

Curvy with Small Waist – stretch jeans will be great for you. Straight, tight cuts are perfect. Low-riders are the most flattering. A gentle flare will balance your hip curve. High-waisted jeans will make your bottom look disproportionately large.

Slim Bottom – stretch jeans but not too tight are best. *Slim leg, to follow same line as small bottom. Back pockets, decorative, even with flaps are great. Avoid stiff denim, baggy or boy cuts.

Short Waist – You need to make your torso longer so hipsters are perfect. They will give extra space to your top half and proportion. Absolutely no high-waisted jeans. Perhaps wedges or heels to give you more length.

Heavy Thighs – An easy fit on the hips and avoid tapered legs and anything oversize. Boot legs will balance your thighs where you are heavier Don’t tuck in tops but keep them close to the body without being skin tight. Avoid baggy tops. High, tight-waisted are very very wrong!

Small with Short Legs – Lengthen your legs and add curve. Wear heals and make sure the length is long enough but does not fold over shoe. Slightly higher than hip waistline and straight leg cut. Low cut jeans with wide legs will shorten you – avoid.

Long Waist – Lengthen legs and shorten torso. You can wear jeans a little higher than hipsters to disguise torso and snug fitting legs. Add more height with long hem and high heels. Avoid ankle cropped length.

Boyish Figure – For slim hips and straight waist, try to add curves to your figure. Experiment between high-waisted and low-rise straight leg jeans. The boy cut is great for you. Success is getting a waist line to optimise your curves.

For All Shapes – jeans look best in a medium to heavy weight denim. Thinner fabric will highlight, not hide bulges.

Wardrobe Essentials

Underwear is the foundation of every outfit. The wrong underwear will ruin a look. No matter what size you are, perfectly fitting underwear will enhance your body shape. Be professionally fitted for bra size and style. Keep colour simple – black white and neutral. Avoid seeing your underpants – through clothes, above clothes and below clothes – shorts that are shorter than your underpants are probably not a good idea… at any age. 

You need something to wear to a casual lunch; a job interview; business meeting; a date; a formal…

Keep in mind ‘less is more’.. buy fewer pieces, that are better quality and be discerning. 

Jeans– Take the time to find a great pair that suit your body shape. Spend more on jeans because you live in them. 

Jackets… A jacket is the starting point for so many great looks. Worn with pants, jeans, a skirt or shorts… You can make it casual or formal, depending on your style and destination. Go for a simple cut in fabric and colour and start to build. A denim jacket for summer nights over dresses; and a leather jacket. 

A white shirt, and several white t-shirts. Always make sure they are clean, no stains with careful attention to shirt collars… Whites may have to be replaced seasonally and always keep napi san handy to soak them. 

A selection of simple t-shirts and tops in basic colours – black, grey, navy, khaki. 2 or 3 plain V-neck jumpers in your favourite colours. Keep these pieces fresh. Buy cheaply and replace as soon as they look less than perfect. This includes hosiery (stockings, tights)

A little black dress and another great dress. 

Three pairs of shoes: boots, flats and going out. 

Personalise your basic wardrobe depending on your lifestyle… student, part time work, stay at home parent, work life … You will need hanging around at home clothes also. Be disciplined in buying these items, and remember that less is more. A lot of money is spent on impulse unnecessary pieces that clog your wardrobe. 

Trends are fashion items that come and go so it’s best to buy inexpensive versions of these fleeting styles. Remember this – fashion fans who follow every catwalk trend have an identity problem. Sooner hopefully rather than later, you will realise that dressing from top to toe in the latest look does not work. We aren’t turned on by groups of girls wearing all the same clothes. We admire individuality, imagination and leaders not followers. 

Classics, however, are at the heart of your style. These are investment pieces and where money is well spent. Subtle adjustments will make the difference between bringing your classics up to date and looking dated. This is where ‘trends’ can freshen up your look and help it evolve. The key is striking a balance between the look of the moment and your personal style. Every season, someone reinvents the perfect dress, blazer and shirt. So, when you are thinking about how to make trends work for you, look to the latest versions of the garments you love. Personalising a trend could mean wearing it in your favourite colour, choosing a hem length that works for you, or finding the shape that flatters you. After all, when you look good, you feel good. Blending confidence with personal style is the game aim!

When putting a wardrobe together, if your budget is limited, the most important thing is having the discipline to invest in one or two beautiful key pieces and mixing these with classic pieces like jeans, white shirts, cashmere knits …

In summary, plan your long term wardrobe: only buy pieces you can’t live without, and don’t be controlled by trends.