January 2012





Your Mum drops in with a little something she picked up for you.  You are filled with a familiar dread as you realise she has done it again: bought you an item of clothing. “Oh it was on sale. I saw it and thought of you.”

Now, in your head you are thinking: Mother – what is it about this frilly swirly multi-coloured top with a halter neck and beaded bodice makes you remotely think of me? And then you begin to question your own fashion choices.

So why should you never let your mother choose your clothes?

Well, the store {insert name here, we don’t want to offend anyone} where your mother likes to shop is basically aimed at a certain age-demographic. We aren’t going to say that your Mum chooses boring old-people clothes because your Mum might be funky in her own right. But your clothing says a statement about YOU; you have to feel confident and comfortable, not frumpy and 25 years older than you are.

Now onto the second point: why you would never let your mother choose your man. Well, if it were up to my Mum she would choose the first man she met who a) ironed his clothes and b) knew what Gumption was. But bless her heart, there is more to a man than that. You want someone who connects to you on many levels, someone who you could imagine sharing your life with and someone who is going to fall for you – not your Mum. But of course, if your chosen man is polite and courteous to your Mum it is going to make your life a whole lot easier!

This quote from Bridget Jones’s Diary says it all (said by the character of Mark Darcy): “Mother, I do not need a blind date. Particularly not with some verbally incontinent spinster who drinks like a fish, smokes like a chimney, and dresses like her mother.”

Mothers are a blessing until they flex their tastes on your behalf. You know you can’t stop them doing it but you don’t have to use either the clothes or the man.

But good on her for trying.

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This week I have great pleasure in introducing to you the ever delightful, ever stylish and all round good girl, Imogen Lamport who has loads of advice to help you when clothes shopping – yayy!

1.  Being influenced by the sales assistant who is paid to get you to buy clothes (whether they suit you or not).

Retail sales staff are paid to sell you clothes.  Some are even paid extra commissions based on how much they sell. So it’s in their interest that you buy as much as possible, whether it suits you or not.  I’ve been shopping and told a client that something doesn’t suit them and they should take it off, moments later the sales assistant will pipe up and say it looks fabulous.  Who is telling the truth?

2.  Not bothering to try on the clothes

Many women are short on time and so rather than try on a garment they just pick it out in what they consider to be their ‘size’ and take it home, and justify to themselves that if it doesn’t fit they’ll return it.  But so much doesn’t get returned because they don’t get around to it.  Instead of having saved themselves time (by not trying on in the store) they’ve now wasted the time it took them to get to the store, and wasted money by not returning the unflattering garment.    Always, always, always try on garments in the store.  Yes it may look fine on the hanger, but so often, the cut is a little off, and it doesn’t work on the body.  Don’t fall into this trap.

3. Only taking 1 size into the change-room

It’s true that so many stores only allow you 5 or 6 garments in the change-room at once, so you feel you have to be really selective about what you take in.  Don’t be, take lots of clothes and lots of sizes – the sales assistant will keep all the extra clothes at the change room for you to try on if they have a numbers policy and then you can get them to bring you the other sizes and styles you want to try, rather than have to get dressed and leave the change-rooms.  Try on 20 garments at a time, not 5 and you’ll have better success.  Try on multiple sizes of clothes as even in the same store sizes vary between garments.

4. Buying on the sizing label not what fits you

I’ve seen some catastrophic purchases in people’s wardrobes because they bought a size not for fit.  Look it’s a size 12! They tell me excitedly, even though the pin-stripes on the thighs are bent and bulging.  Nobody cares what the size is, the label is on the inside not on the outside, so no one else ever needs to know what it is. If you don’t like the size, cut the label out once you’ve purchased it. You’ll look so much better when your clothes fit you well, rather than basing your purchasing decisions on a number that is completely arbitrary and varies from store to store.  You are not a number!

5.  Buying because it’s designer or a label, not because it suits you

OK, it’s easy to fall into this trap – we all love a bit of luxury and sometimes we may buy a garment not because it suits us, but because it’s a designer label.  We buy it because we want that little bit of luxury in our lives, but beware, just because it’s a label, doesn’t mean it will work for us, our lifestyle or suit our silhouette or colouring and in the end could just be a costly mistake.  Only buy designer when you understand what really works for you – then the investment can be worthwhile.

6. Buying because it’s on sale, not because you need it

Many of us love a bargain – it’s the hunter in us, out there stalking our prey, looking for the best catch.  But just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s really a bargain.  Purchasing clothes that you never wear, not matter how cheap is a waste of money if they’re just going to take up space in your wardrobe and eventually be thrown out and end up as landfill.  Make sure if you buy something on sale you’re not just purchasing emotionally, ask yourself is it really filling a gap in your wardrobe?

7. Not understanding your silhouette and what suits it

Understanding your colouring, body shape and proportions are key to what clothes you should buy.   Clothes that suit you make you look and feel great.  Clothes that are for a different body shape won’t flatter and you’ll never feel fabulous in them.   Investing in finding out what suits your unique body pays for itself time and time again as you stop wasting money on clothes that don’t suit you, plus has the added benefit of making shopping easier as you know what to try on and what to avoid.

8.  Not creating a list before you go shopping

Wardrobe after wardrobe I see has multiples of the same garments.  Their owners will often exclaim in surprise “oh I forgot I had that” as we find clothes stashed away at the backs of drawers.  So much money is wasted on buying clothes that people don’t need and that don’t add value to their wardrobes, filling the gaps and extending their outfits.  Instead their filled with wardrobe orphans and multiples of the same garments.  Before you shop, you need to do an audit of your wardrobe and work out what you really need so that you’re not going to waste another cent on something you don’t need.

9. Buying ‘different’ for the sake of different

Yes, it’s easy to get stuck in a style rut as we tend to keep buying what we feel works, or sometimes just keeping on buying the same garment in different colours, it become so boring.  So we bust out of our rut and choose something completely different, but when we get it home we never wear it because it’s really not ‘us’.  Clothing personality styles are closely related to our personality traits, if we move too far away from our personality we won’t feel great in the clothes we choose.  Try a little bit different rather than radically different and you’ll have more success.

10.  Going shopping without grooming first

Shopping for clothes means spending some time looking at ourselves in the mirror.  So before you go, make sure you do your hair and put on some light makeup – groom – then you can assess how the clothes really look rather than just thinking that you look terrible (particularly as the lighting in some changerooms is harsh and unflattering anyway – give yourself all the help you can!).



Imogen Lamport AICI CIP is one of Australia’s leading image consultants and is an author of 4 style books, sought-after speaker,  blogger and also trains people to be image consultants and personal stylists.   If you need some help getting your wardrobe under control, finding out what suits you and taking the stress out of figuring out what to wear please contact her www.bespokeimage.com.au   alternatively you can get fresh style tips from her blog www.insideoutstyleblog.com .

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You’re off at work all day and there are no kids at home to mess up the house.  It’s just you and the little mess you make.  How hard can it be to clean the house?

Well, that was what you thought until you looked at it, knowing that you only have 15 minutes before that special bloke arrives.

Don’t worry.  15 minutes is plenty.  Here’s what you do.

1. Arm yourself with your tile and grout cleaner, fire away at all the areas that need it; the shower, the vanity, the kitchen sink and let it sit for a bit.

2. A dash of toilet cleaner around the bowl is next, then step away and attend to the piles of stuff; letters and bills etc that have piled up on the end of the kitchen bench. Find a spot for them. Even if it’s a box labelled “Filing” that you’ll get around to soon!

3. With the surfaces free don your dusting glove (make sure you have one of these life savers) and walk around, room by room, running your dusting hand over all the surfaces.

4. Next up is the damp cloth for wiping down dirt and grease … and if you’d like to speed the process up, and work one room at a time, put your dusting cloth in one hand and your wiping cloth in the other! This saves you going back to rooms you’ve already been through.

5. Whack the kettle on, take your bathroom armoury with you and wipe down the surfaces that you sprayed earlier. Having the spray sit on them grotty areas gives it time to do its job – and makes cleaning it much easier and quicker.

6. A quick wipe down and brush of the toilet, run a mop over the floor and a vac over the carpeted areas and you’re done … perfect timing as the kettle has just clicked off.

Easy peasy.

15 minutes down, house clean, kettle boiled and man at the door.  Perfect.

PS A friend of mine sprays Mr Sheen in the air just before her guests arrive –  house may be dusty but it smells like it’s clean! Any tricks up your sleeve?

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Happy New Year to You All!

As a treat, for first post in 2012, we welcome Bernadette Leahy who is the Single Gal Over 30 Finance Whiz. Enjoy….

In lieu of Prince Charming prancing into any single, 30 something gal’s life, (hopefully he won’t be prancing, a confident strut would certainly be equally acceptable!), there is some ‘secret women’s business’ that must be attended to.

Uh huh, big, fat, secret women’s business. No questions asked.

If you want to ensure that you have your financial “goodies” plucked, perky and taunt as ever, (rather than being the floppy, saggy kind), ready for whatever – or whoever – is going to come charging into your life, well ladies, please listen up.

I think we’d all agree here, that when you’re a single chick, your friends and your social life are what adds the va-va-voom to life.  I know, I know, sure there can be the occasional dalliance that comes your way (hmmm, sexy to boot too). But if you do wake up bleary-eyed one morning to find yourself, shock-horror, single in your 30’s, it’s all going to be about how we spend our time, honey.

Saturday morning brekkies with the girls, Thursday night dinners, Friday night champers and the occasional splurge on some mighty fine heels online can definitely be yes, fun.  With a capital F.

Ka ching.  Ka Ching… 

Visa bill in and I owe what?  Breathe….  Slowly….

Unfortunately, this single thing doesn’t come cheaply. If there isn’t some hot-blooded man by your side that you are navigating the financial maze with, it’s you and you alone, who has to come up with the goodies to cover everything. The fixed stuff.  The ongoing stuff.  The fun stuff.  Every month.  (I’m getting a head ache…)

However, it’s when you become in such hot demand that you find your sweet tush searching for coins down the back of the couch for your morning coffee, it can a bit of a rude awakening.  There are certain realities to how far your budget will stretch and what we single ladies can – and can’t do.  God damn it!

It can be an expensive gig this single thing!

I’m certainly not suggesting that you “suck it up” and live your life glued to the couch under house arrest, only occasionally getting out and ‘doing your thing’.  Without question ladies, it is a big MUST that we grab life by our painted nails and suck the bejesus out of it.

But before we pucker up to get ready to suck like there is no tomorrow, we have to be a bit smart here. Yes, smart.  So, here are some things I think you ought to know, to ensure that you are a sassy, financially savvy, hot little piece of work.

Read on ladies!

1)      Drinks are on me?  Uh…no.  Not this time

You know what I am talking about.  Is it you?  Yes you? Are you always the girl who, at every outing with the girls, grabs the bill from the table and pulls out your glittering, well loved, pink credit card, offering to pay for everyone? “Drinks are on me!” you cry, as you secretly wonder if your run of good luck is about to come to an embarrassing end.

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s a wonderful thing to be able to be that one that pays for all your friends with a meal or a drink or two.  Kudos to you. It feels good.  For a bit.  And then it starts to hurt.  And believe it or not, it can be kind of embarrassing, for the person on the other end if it happens all the time.

Please don’t fall into the trap of always offering to pay. Allow your friends to have the opportunity to repay the favour.  It feels good!  For everyone.

2)      Know what you’ve got 

ATM’s are everywhere, baby.  Winking at you.  Daring you to take out your hard earned moolah at any opportunity. They are on every street corner aren’t they, seducing you in?  Or so the banks would lead you to believe.

So, I made an executive decision.  Whenever I pulled my hard earned money out of one of those little ATM’s, I’d take out an amount.  This amount would be exactly what I knew I needed for the ‘fun stuff’ for the next fortnight.  That was it.  Not a penny more.  And once she was gone, she was gone. And I will tell you this ladies, when you realise you only have a couple of those orange ones left to get you through the weekend, mark my words you will spend it wisely.

So choose a figure ladies – and hang your hat (or lacy bra) on it!  And stick to it.  No questions.

3)      Be desirable.  For all the right reasons.

Ok, so maybe it is true.  We women want to be wanted. But when being wanted turns into some cringe-worthy, erratic behaviour (i.e. stalking!) that makes us stand out for all the wrong reasons, that’s when you have to hope you have the foresight to stop (or you have some friends who hide your car keys).

It’s no different with our moolah.  When it comes to financial matters, please ensure that you are a girl who stands out, for all the right reasons.  If you want to start dating someone (a bank), show them that you are a chick they want to be in relationship with.  Not just for the short-term but for the long-term.  Don’t be the girl who they see as worthy of the one night stand.

So what does this mean?  In money terms, consistent savings – check. Good work history – check. Bills paid on time – check. It’s not rocket science but sometimes so easy to let slip. Manage those financial goodies of yours and manage them well.


So ladies, that’s it from me for now. Hopefully enough to get you thinking, But you have questions?  Savings. Seriously savings…what are they?   I have to choose?  Really?  But how do I get it to stretch?  Bla…bla…bla….

Well have no fear ladies, help is on the way!  Log on to my website www.getmoneybackproject.com.au and sneak in your email address.  I will then shoot out to you the 5 hot tips in gory, juicy detail, about all this secret financial stuff for you, the sexy single 30 something that you are! 

Ciao, ciao for now.

Bernadette Leahy

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