How to choose the right Gym wear for your Bodyshape

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So lets face it ladies, you have mustered up every last ounce of strength to drag yourself out of your comfy bed to go to your MK Trainer class and the last thing you want is to feel bad when you put your workout gear on. Talking from personal experience, you are always more likely to go if you feel more confident in your workout attire. We are here to help ensure that it’s the right one!

So here are a few quick easy tips to help you choose the right shape outfit to make you feel more confident, look great and get set for your workout.

Traditional Pear Shape

Most “pear shape’ ladies tend to have a smaller torso and curves on the bottom.

  • Choose a brightly coloured top to emphasise your top
  • Full length Dark plain bottoms (Navy/Black/Grey) to minimise your bottom half.
  • Avoid any patterns on your bottom.
  • V Neck work out tops are always going to be the most flattering so scan the shops or online stores for V necks.
  • Bootcut trousers are your best friend.
  • Look for the funky trousers with skirts over the top of them.
  • Keep your trainers the same colour as your trousers to elongate the body

Traditional Athletic Shape

If you have straight narrow hips and a slim torso:

  • Play around with lots of different shapes and colours.
  • Look for patterns that are on your hips and chest to add shape to these areas.
  • Team a coloured bra with a different coloured vest
  • Wear different colour tops to your trousers to create detail and shape
  • Avoid straight lines as you want to create curves. Think round necklines and patterns

athleticathletic2

Traditional Apple Shape (Or if you have recently had a baby)

If you have a curvy tummy or upper arms, focus on your amazing legs!

  • Invest in some brightly coloured patterned (if you dare!) trousers and dark plain tops.
  • Avoid baggy bootcut trousers.
  • Look for fold over waist bands – You can then control where the waist band sits for comfort and maximum confidence.
  • Look for gym tops that have a little gathering of material at the waist or gathering at the sides.
  • Focus on the fabrics – Stay clear of the really tight lycra and if necessary buy a size bigger to give you more comfort. Cut the size label out and you won’t even know!

We offer an ‘Online Personal Shopping experience’ where we find all the right outfits for you to suit your body shape and email you a link to click and shop from the comfort of your own home. If you are interested, please contact us to find out more.

Any questions, please post them below – We are happy to help with your Style dilemmas.

Catherine x

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How to create a Minimalist Wardrobe – Saving time and money

How to create a Minimalist Wardrobe

 *We wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time.”

You want your wardrobe to be a shopping destination where everything you love is in your size, in stock and it fits! 

  1. Empty the entire wardrobe/drawers and lay the items out on the bed – Now breathe!
  2. Try on every single item! Yes I know its timely but necessary! Then put your clothes in designated piles as follows:

C – Charity

A – Alterations

K – Keep

E – Ebay

  1. If you have not worn it in a year you probably wont wear it. Ask yourself – “If I saw it in the shops today, would I buy it?” If you haven’t “let it go!” 🎶
  2. Assess the state of your hangers – Wooden ones are best & padded soft hangers for delicate items. Ditch any wire one’s – They are not your friend
  3. When you are putting your clothes back in the wardrobe, lay them on your bed & try them on with other items that they will co-ordinate with. You are looking for several co-ordinating items to create a Capsule Wardrobe. Add a scarf or some jewellery to accessorise. Take a photo of the completed outfit. Picture “Cher” from “Clueless” – yes you can sit and browse from your chosen outfits from anywhere and you’ll thank yourself when you go shopping. You will have your own little portable wardrobe to look at when you are considering purchasing something and can’t remember what you have that may compliment it.

Clueless-Cher-Closet

  1. With your accessories – Only retain the ones that compliment your skin-tone and co-ordinate with your outfits. Scarfs need to be hung up on a hanger so that you can see them. Add curtain rings to a hanger and hey presto!
  2. Shoes – If they give you blisters bin them! Check if any need new soles as this can often extend the life of your shoes by at least another few seasons.
  3. I am all for retaining items that you want to fit back into but don’t hang it directly in front of yourself so that it’s the first things you see when you open your wardrobe! It’s damaging for your self esteem. 
  4. If you do not love it and would not wear it tomorrow – Send it to wardrobe heaven!
  5. When you rehang the items in your wardrobe, hang the hanger the wrong way around and if the hanger is still hanging this way buy the end of the year, get rid!

A happy organised wardrobe = A happy woman!

Less time deciding what you want to wear and more time to enjoy the day ahead.

How to create a Minimalist Wardrobe
 *We wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time.”
You want your wardrobe to be a shopping destination where everything you love is in your size, in stock and it fits! 
Empty the entire wardrobe/drawers and lay the items out on the bed – Now breathe!

Try on every single item! Yes I know its timely but necessary! Then put your clothes in designated piles as follows:

C – Charity
A – Alterations
K – Keep
E – Ebay
If you have not worn it in a year you probably wont wear it. Ask yourself – “If I saw it in the shops today, would I buy it?”

Assess the state of your hangers – Wooden ones are best & padded soft hangers for delicate items. Ditch any wire one’s – They are not your friend

When you are putting your clothes back in the wardrobe, lay them on your bed & try them on with other items that they will co-ordinate with. You are looking for several co-ordinating items to create a Capsule Wardrobe. Add a scarf or some jewellery to accessorise. Take a photo of the completed outfit. Picture “Cher” from “Clueless” – yes you can sit and browse from your chosen outfits from anywhere and you’ll thank yourself when you go shopping. You will have your own little portable wardrobe to look at when you are considering purchasing something and can’t remember what you have that may compliment it.

Clueless-Cher-Closet
With your accessories – Only retain the ones that compliment your skin-tone and co-ordinate with your outfits. Scarfs need to be hung up on a hanger so that you can see them. Add curtain rings to a hanger and hey presto!

Shoes – If they give you blisters bin them! Check if any need new soles as this can often extend the life of your shoes by at least another few seasons.

I am all for retaining items that you want to fit back into but do yourself a favour and don’t hang it directly in front of yourself so that it’s the first things you see when you open your wardrobe! Fold it away and keep it somewhere safe.

If you do not love it and would not wear it tomorrow – Send it to wardrobe heaven!

When you rehang the items in your wardrobe, hang the hanger the wrong way around and if the hanger is still hanging this way buy the end of the year, get rid!

A happy organised wardrobe = A happy woman!

Spend Less time deciding what you want to wear and more time to enjoy the day ahead.
Want us to help you with your wardrobe? Come and see us for a Wardrobe Consultation:

http://www.beforemeetsafter.co.uk/index.php/my-wardrobe

How to Find your Style – Feel Comfortable & Confident in your clothes

How do you find your style?

“Fashion says ‘me too’, Style says ‘only me’ ” – Lynn Dell

ultimate_home

Many women struggle to find a style that is right for their lifestyle, their age and their body shape. Why do we find it so hard? We we are too heavily influenced by what we see around us, through celebrities and even friends and family. We also just get stuck in our ways and are fearful to try something new.

Why is it so important to find your Style? 

The real benefit of finding a Style that is right for you is for two reasons: Confidence and Comfort. When we stray away from our true Style, we begin to feel uncomfortable and can start to feel a bit lost. When you know and understand your style, you will shine. You will look more confident, feel more confident and be more confident. We have all heard of the phrase “Mutton dressed like lamb” and really what this comes down to is knowing your style, shopping for your style and sticking to it.

So follow these simple Tips to finding yours:

  • Find a role model or Menagerie – Identify somebody that has similar colouring and body shape to you. You will probably need to have two separate people. Make sure they are also of a similar age to you.
  • Create a Mood Board – Cut out pictures from magazines, internet images or Pinterest – This is particularly useful if you aren’t sure what your style is. You will find some examples on our Pinterest board here:

http://www.pinterest.com/catherinem2470/feminine-style/

  • Write down words that describe your images – Romantic, Casual, Natural, Classic, Artistic, Colourful – This will help you to pinpoint some looks.
  • Look at 2 of your favourite items of clothing – Why are they your favourite? Is it the colour/Style/Cut? There is normally a good reason why you like them. Make sure you use whatever the reason is when you are constructing your moodboard.
  • Focus on the things you are most confident with – If its your legs, emphasis these with a pair of skinny jeans or choosing lighter/brighter colour trousers and skirts to draw peoples attention to this area. Use darker colours to disguise the areas you aren’t so happy with.
  • Find out who makes your style – This is one of the biggest areas we help women with – There is little point in popping into Jaeger if you don’t have a classic style – Think of shops that sell your style and stick with them. The sign up to their newsletters and stalk them on facebook! You want to be in the know for all their sales and new season launches.

If you would like any help with any of these areas, these are all covered in our ‘Style consultation’. Please contact us for more information at Catherine@beforemeetsafter.co.uk or take a look at our website: http://www.beforemeetsafter.co.uk

http://www.beforemeetsafter.co.uk/index.php/my-style

shoe image

How to shop the January Sales! A survival Guide

shopping_home

I feel the need to share with you my thoughts on how to shop successfully during that time of the year that is creeping up on us….the January Sales! Some love it, some hate it but one thing that most have in common is how many people get the January sales so wrong! Spending money on items that will sit in their wardrobe for the next 2 years with their tags still attached and gathering dust. This adds no value to our lives, our bodies or our wallets! So I am going to share with you my top 10 tips of how to shop successfully in the sales and make worthwhile purchases that you will actually wear.

1. Make a list of items you need rather than just scanning the rails for items you don’t need.

2. Shop Online – You would never catch me queuing for the 5am Boxing Day sales if you paid me! Make sure that you do your research – Know which of your favourite stores start their sales, charge your laptop/tablet/iphone, make yourself a cup of tea, grab the left over pudding from Christmas Day and shop to your hearts content in the comfort of your own home. Many stores will offer free home delivery and you can try and return if they are not suitable. Crazy carpark issues/buggy ramming and overheated stores when you are dressed for Winter avoided. Done!

3. Following on from the above – When shopping online, make sure you do so through the Cashback websites. I use Quidco and Topcashback. You will earn cashback just by entering the website link you want through their sites. So as well as purchasing items in the sale, you also earn cashback. A double whammy! Is it worth it? I earnt £465 this year in cashback so absolutely yes! Try these:

http://www.topcashback.co.uk/ref/millscatherine

http://www.quidco.com/user/2528155/1962386/

4. “Do you really like it? Is it is it wicked?!” DJ Pied Piper has got it spot on when it comes to making a Shopping decision – Before you take the items you have picked up to the till, sing yourself this song and ask yourself, Do you really like it, is it is it wicked and (I’m going to add a lyric here) Do you really need it?! Honestly! Use a Cost per Wear calculator – Justify your love! – How much does it cost/How many times will you wear it= Cost per wear! If you will wear it a lot then you can justify the cost.

5. Buy clothes that can be teamed with other items in your wardrobe – This may seem obvious but if it doesn’t mix and match with at least 3 other items you already own – Don’t buy it.

6. Buy more solids than prints – They are more versatile and co-ordinate with more

7. Take a photo of your outfits – Ever watch “Clueless” and wish that you had an epic automated wardrobe system like that? Well now you can! Print them off and stick them in a book/photo album and when you have little time to chose, grab your very own “look book” for ideas! This will mean that you buy less items and are better prepared for those days when you can’t decide what to wear.

Clueless-Cher-Closet

8. Use accessories to update your wardrobe – Its Cheaper, more fun, easier to find and works well if you have pieces in your wardrobe that are your key staples.

9. Shop designer labels when they are in the sale – Make sure it is a staple item (Like a pair of jeans or a suit)

10. Expect to have your clothes altered – I have at least 80% of my clothes altered! Why – Because then they become items that fit like a glove rather than pieces that are just that little bit too big or too long. You could probably give yourself at least 5 new items to wear if you just had those items altered to fit rather than them hanging in your wardrobe and you never wearing them because they are not quite right.

We are also offering a Capsule Wardrobe Workshop on Sunday 18th January from 1030am-12.30pm at our Studio in Milton Keynes. Learn how to build a wardrobe of items that work together to help you spend less and wear more. Priced at £40 (Or £35 if you bring a friend). Spaces are limited so please contact us to book your place.

Capsule wardrobe workshop

I will be posting some of my favourite items that I have found in the sales on my Facebook page, so if you want to follow me and my best finds, please follow us:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Before-Meets-After-Personal-Styling-Image-and-Style-Consultancy/369339673078472

Don’t forget to sign up to our Newsletter too to keep up to date with our Group Workshops and special offers.

http://beforemeetsafter.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=55b37c72a9135137cdea2a3ab&id=18c86aa2aa

We would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year. xxx

This is my body – The Real Thing – Mums Tums Confidence Campaign

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Google “Post Baby Tummy” – What do you see?

I see “will your flat stomach come back after pregnancy?” “Why has it changed and how to tone it?” alongside an array of photos of Tummy Rub’s and Waist cinchers.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am a wearer of some of the super amazing Spanx underwear and slathering on Bio oil in the hope that perhaps one of my stretch marks will magically disappear into stretch mark heaven, but how does it make me feel when immediately I am subjected to these images. That there is only one solution. To cover it up, cinch it in or slather it up with oils and creams. I start to think that perhaps I should be hiding my tummy? Should I be trying to lose it? When lets face it, I am going to be stuck with this post baby tummy. But do you know what, that’s actually ok.

But I wonder how many other women are faced with the same negative emotions and lack of confidence due to media expectations. Certainly not like the images you are looking at right now. Unfortunately the sheer volume of idealized images in the media creates a massive gap between what we believe is normal and what actually is normal.

Is this a problem? Yes! The reason that we feel conscious about the way we look is because of society’s expectations. We are expected to lose our baby weight within 9 months but not only that to return to our pre baby shapes. Think about the long term implications of this. A mother who feels dissatisfied with her body feels selfless, worthless. This mother is so distraught about herself that she hides herself in baggy clothes, she avoids socializing with new people and subsequently she hides from the world.

My company, Before Meets After, has started a local campaign to show mums what ‘normal’ mums tums look like. Mums from all over have sent us photos of their tummies that you can see here, often with encouraging messages such as, “I wouldn’t change this for the world.” One amazing mum referred to her stretch marks as her “Tiger Stripes.” It has been truly inspiring.

The vast majority of the images we have received have been shared on the condition that their names are not disclosed. I have no need to question this because the simple reason is we don’t feel confident enough to share our war wounds. Anonymously yes but you know what – That’s ok too.

I understand that for some women, even sharing their tummies with the world is just too difficult. I used to be one of these women. This is the reason why I created my business – To help empower women to feel more confident about themselves. Why? I struggled for years with my own body issues and confidence. To the point where I would spend hours trying on dozens of outfits. I expected the clothes in my wardrobe to give me confidence, just like that. What a high expectation to have of a wardrobe!

I started to look past the clothes and understand the psychology of my wardrobe. I shopped to make myself feel better and when this did not work, the feelings repeated themselves. I had a visit from an Image Consultant who helped me understand what shapes suited my body and what colours made me look amazing. But it was more than that. For me, after clearing out my wardrobe, it was like somebody had given me permission to get rid of everything in my wardrobe, in my life, that made me sad. I realize that I had started to accept change in my life. Alongside the advice I received to truly understand my style and my shape, my confidence began to grow.

Being a Mum is also recognizing that we are individuals and not just mums. Being a Mum is most of the most rewarding and biggest changes to our lives. It is about change. Our skin has been stretched so far past our toes that we forgot we even have any!

So how can I help you?

Ultimately I have come to accept my body because I know how to work with it, not against it.

I am not here to convince you to show off your imperfect perfect body, but only say that if we were a little more willing to talk about it, there would be more mums who would be proud of their Real Mum Tums.

There is no magic formula. Lave the magic to Disney and follow my Top 10 Tips to feeling more confident about yourself:

  1. Invest in good jeans – Wear Jeans that have side zips and sit on your waist. Not only will they look better but they will make you feel more comfortable and confident.
  2. Wear some of your favourites – Just because you are a Mum does not mean that you need to raid your partners wardrobe for baggy pants (Although these come in handy in the first 6 weeks of having a baby!) – Better to spend £50 on a new pair of jeans that fit you for your shape now rather than put up with a pair that just don’t fit right.
  3. Box up your pre baby clothes – Somewhere where you won’t see them for a fair while! There is nothing worse than opening your wardrobe to clothes that don’t fit you. You think they will inspire you to get back into your pre baby jeans – They won’t. Trust me
  4. Do some exercise – Strengthening your core will not only help you with your body confidence but also your mind. Think of all of those good endorphins! If nothing else, it gets you time to yourself!
  5. Try accessorising an outfit – Some simple jewellery can transform an outfit and slim the body – Making you feel great and an inexpensive way of adding style to your clothes without having to buy a whole new wardrobe. Check out this handy Neckline hint sheet:

necklaces to neckline

  1. Get Measured – Your bra size changes a lot after having a baby – Get yourself down to a good bra department, get measured and wear with pride. There’s nothing like a nice new matching set of underwear to make your boobs like pert and well cupped!
  2. Plan ahead – Get your outfit out the night before – Just like your mum probably used to do for you when you were at school! Good planning will stop you from frantically trying to find something to wear.
  3. Use Dry Shampoo – If you have never heard about this, stop reading this and immediately get yourself down to Boots! It will honestly change your life when you don’t have time to wash you hair. It also smells good making you feel good!
  4. Talk to other mums – Our confidence workshops are a great platform to do this and sometimes it is easier to talk to mums you don’t know.
  5. Seek Help – Recognise that if your body confidence issues go deeper or perhaps you are suffering with PND– Seek help. Speak to your Health Visitors. There are some extremely good Life Coaches, NLP Practitioners and Counsellors that really can help make a difference.

It is not what others think about your body that matters – Its yours. Your body, your confidence, your life. Remember that it is ok to have bad days. You are not alone.

Our confidence workshops aim to talk about these issues and offer some helpful tips to improve your confidence with your own body.

If you would like to learn more about our ‘Confidence Workshops’ please contact me on Catherine@beforemeetsafter.co.uk or check out my website for more information www.beforemeetsafter.co.uk. You can also sign up to our newsletter here:

http://beforemeetsafter.us5.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=55b37c72a9135137cdea2a3ab&id=18c86aa2aa

_Confidence-Workshop_webresized

If you would like to join in on our “Mums Tums Confidence Campaign” please contact me with your story and pictures. We would love to hear from you.

Thank you to all the amazing mums who have contributed towards our campaign. x

pic9 pic8 pic7 pic6 pic5 pic4 pic3 pic2 pic1     Amy Mcclaren Beth Hall Charlotte Nanayyakara Claire Graves Cleo Terry Coral Thompson Elizabth Dee Emma Maunders Fiona Banyard Hannah Thompson hayley hills helen haslett Kate Streeter Laura Ali lindsay Liz Marr Liz Marr2 Lucy Graham Lucy Porter Marianne Browne Michelle Parker Michelle Tromans Natalie Ward tash illing pic 1 Tash illing pic 2 tash illing pic 3 Tash Illing pic 4 Zoe frankland zoe hedges

New Mums – How to Look and Feel Amazing

Pregnancy bump pic

“65% of Women with young kids claim to be unhappy about their bodies.”

I recently became a mum for the second time and it has not been any easier second time around to deal with my Wardrobe issues: the same wardrobe issues that every Mum faces. What can I wear that can be thrown on in a few seconds, be comfortable and yet still allow me to feel vaguely like a normal person!?

Nobody really tells you what is inevitably going to happen in the days after having a baby to your body! Yes we all know about the Bridget Jones style pants that will continue to fill our underwear drawers for the next 5 years but what about the feeling that somebody has stolen our body!

So what is a post baby diva to do?

Here are my top tips to looking and feeling fabulous after having a baby:

Tip 1 – Darker colours will help to make an area appear smaller so whether it be your boobs or your tummy area, stick to darker shades. This is equally important to disguise milk stains/baby vomit/your own dribble stains after falling asleep watching daytime tv with your baby. If you are to wear Black, add some colourful accessories to stop you looking like a cat burglar!

Tip 2 – Fabric – Think about swapping the cotton t-shirt for lighter floaty fabrics. They can make you feel 10 times sexier as they glide over your mummy lumps and bumps. Also great to wear a chiffon style top over that plain boring strappy breastfeeding top.

Tip 3 – Invest in a Changing bag that doesn’t make you feel too mumsy. We all start to loose a bit of our identity when we become a Mum. Buy a large bag that allows you to throw all your baby items in but also makes you feel like you.

Stella and Dot "Keep it in the bag"
http://www.stelladot.co.uk/catherinemorgan Stella and Dot “Keep it in the bag’

Tip 4 – Use tankinis when swimming with your little one to give you extra support and to cover up the “mushy bit.” We all get it, we all have it, ,lets learn to love it!

Tip 5 – Wear Narrow Stripes – Many people think that strips widen you but if they are small enough they have the opposite effect.

Mint Velvet Navy & Grey Stripe Tee
Mint Velvet
Navy & Grey Stripe Tee

Tip 6 – Invest in the Celebrity loved SPANX! It doesn’t need to cut off your blood supply but just to give you a little extra support around your tummy and hips. I felt so good in mine I sometimes slept in it!

Tip 7 – Dry Shampoo – This is a MUST for the bathroom cabinet. A quick spray and its like you have given your hair the Vidal Sassoon treatment! Because every mum is worth it!

Tip 8 – Plan in advance your outfit – Now I know this seems like a big ask but before you fall into bed, grab a pair of jeans a top and a nice necklace out of the closet ready. It may take up a few minutes of your pre-bedtime routine but trust me it will take you a whole lot longer when your baby has decided to have a marathon feed and you need to get out of the house quickly.

Tip 9 – Accessorise – Its all about the scarves and jewellery. Think about how you can transform your outfit with just some simple accessorising. Throw on a Long necklace of you want to create length (Illusion of slimmer lines) or a bright short necklace if you want to draw attention away from other parts of your body that you may be feeling less confident about.

necklaces to neckline

Tip 10 – Keep your skin looking good – Keep your eye make up remover, cleanser and face cream by your bedside. It’s then within reach and accessible at anytime.

Tip 11 – Learn about Good Nutrition – What you feed your body plays a vital part in how you feel on the inside and out.

Tip 12 – Embrace your flaws – Your body has been through some major changes and therefore it is inevitable that some of these changes will be permanent. I always think of my C Section scar and stretch marks as my War wounds. Focus on how much more fulfilled your life is with your kids. As much as we want to tear our hair out sometimes, they have proven that you can never love anybody else with as much love.

My final note – Take time for yourself. It is important to remember that as well as being a Mum you are an individual, a truly unique amazing and sexy woman. It may be tough to get to grips with a new body-shape but it is important to be true to yourself. If you were a runner pre baby, invest in a second hand running buggy. If you were a Yoga enjoyer, join a Baby Yoga class that you can enjoy with your baby.

Discussion

-How do you feel about your body confidence after having a baby?

-What did you find the most difficult to adjust to after becoming a mum?