Photo mojo

Photo mojo

How many of you like to have your picture taken?

I hope there are some of you who would say yes but I don’t personally know anyone. And that leads me to ponder why. Do we feel we must be model perfect to have a shot taken? Models aren’t perfect and quite often that photography shot is airbrushed to make them look perfect.

Do we fear having our imperfections captured forever in picture form? (I have news for you – we are all imperfect).

Do we fear appearing self -centered – as in a selfie?

Do we fear judgment by others?

Probably no judgment will be as critical as our own.  In a group shot we automatically look to see if we were smiling or if our eyes were shut or if our stomach is sticking out etc. Yet the thing to realize is everyone else is looking to see if they are perfect also so odds are no one will notice your perceived faults because they are looking for their own.

Is it just that we don’t look the same in a photograph as we do in a mirror?

In this day of photoshop, big brother and our picture online everywhere, should we also fear being turned into something we are not through copying and manipulation of our personal images?

There is so much behind that photograph.

What are some reasons to submit to a picture being taken of yourself or to taking one of yourself?

  • Well those photos taken throughout the school years are super cute to share and look back on.
  • You’ll probably never look better than you do now (most certainly not younger)
  • A photo can help you sell yourself and or a product in a job interview, website or marketing campaign.

A photo ideal way to demonstrate how an outfit goes together. I guess I will work on this hangup.

I have challenged myself to post on Instagram for 30 days. It is an effort to try to understand how it works. A better challenge would have been to post a selfie for 30 days. I did take a few selfies and made sure to include some that were not perfect to begin with. I found it impossible to get a great selfie so maybe my next challenge will be to post till I actually get a selfie I consider “good”. That could be a long and painful journey.

A good photographer is an investment worth making when you can afford it. They know how to pose you and your body so that it looks good. They have excellent lighting and they can help you make the right wardrobe decisions. Take a look – it’s easy to tell who’s the photographer in these 2 shots.

Back to that original question, How do you feel about being photographed?

What’s Wrong with this outfit?

What’s Wrong with this outfit?

I always love those what not to wear shows and now it is fun to figure out why my outfits don’t always work. I made these great flannel pants from a Sew Chic Pattern Co. pattern. I put the cozy side inside and they feel like pajamas. With the shirt on the left they also look like pajamas. Whoops! This shirt’s v-neck also makes my torso look too short since these pants are high waisted. 

When I switched to the white shirt and blue sweater, it drew the eye up and elongated the torso. The navy sweater lowered the visual waist a little bit and it all balanced out. My favorite outfit on a chilly day. 

The effect of high waisted pants is to make your legs look longer and as a result your torso is automatically shortened. These pants would not work as well on someone with long legs and a shorter torso unless there was another balancing trick – Perhaps a collar that stood up on the neckline to make the upper half of the body taller as well. 

If you try something on and at first it doesn’t look quite right, play around with the proportions and see if you can fool the eye till you get it right. What problems have you had with proportion?

Tips for Dressing Well as your body changes shape

Tips for Dressing Well as your body changes shape

Congratulations! You have worked hard and lost ten pounds (or 20 or 30 or more!). This is a huge accomplishment that involved a lot of mind shifts and learning.

One way to cement this accomplishment in place is to put some effort into how you dress your new body. There may still be a little work left to help sync the new thin you into your closet. And some of this work is mental.  Maybe you still have some ghosts of your past self hanging in there. Maybe you haven’t yet embraced your new body. Maybe you can’t believe you will keep this fabulous new body. All of these thought symptoms show up in your closet and they may prevent you from keeping the weight off if you aren’t aware of them.

Investing in new clothes as you lose is one way to recognize, reward and acknowledge your accomplishments. 

Here’s what you should consider:

  • If you have lost a clothing size (this is typically 10-15 pounds)) and your clothes are starting to hang on you, for goodness sake go out and get some clothes that fit. Celebrate the new you. The mental lift that comes from being a size smaller is nothing short of miraculous. If you hesitate because you still have weight to lose, don’t let that stop you. You may have gained weight initially because you didn’t believe you deserved the time and effort it takes to care for yourself. Don’t keep that old thought of not deserving things in your head. It is part of what kept you stuck and I want you to keep moving forward towards whatever great things the future holds for you.
  • Take your actual measurements and compare them to a size chart with your favorite brand to save time in the dressing room (or to save time on online returns)
  • Buy clothing that fits you well right now. Don’t buy clothes that are too small because they will make you feel fat and may defeat you mentally.
  • Don’t keep the clothes that are now too big (unless you want to keep one item as a reminder of your accomplishment). You don’t ever want to wear those clothes again and leaving them in the closet is like an invitation to return to them and the thoughts that got you there.
  • If you are still in transition to a smaller you, buy only the basics to get you through this period. If you overbuy guilt may keep you in this size that is only a stepping stone to your next stage. The basics are different for everyone. Only you know what you need to get you through a typical week.  And a week’s worth of clothes is all you need. A new bra, underwear for a week and  2-3 bottoms, 3 tops and 1 or 2 third pieces could take you through this transitional phase in style. If you aren’t sure of your clothing needs you can download my activities evaluation and the instructions for filling it out here.
  • I have discovered that when you have been overweight you may have had a tendency to hide behind your clothes or wear a lot of black. If this is you, consider experimenting and trying new color or styles.

Ways to transition your wardrobe without spending a lot of money

When you are in transition (and even after) consider buying clothing at consignment stores. I prefer in person but there are online options for this also including Postmark, Thread UP and the Real Real. Consignment stores typically carry clothing that is in season and has been vetted for stains, tears and condition.  At some consignment stores you can find new items with tags still on as well as designer items. Clothing is arranged by type, color and size making it easy to shop. Having a pre-determined  list of the clothing you need will make shopping even easier. Most consignment stores also carry all the accessories you need including shoes, handbags and jewelry.  You can bring your old clothing that is now too big to a consignment store and get a little cash to purchase your new wardrobe with.  Clothing should be in season, in good condition and not dated or old fashion. Any old clothing that doesn’t meet these conditions can go to a charity. They will typically sort out clothing that isn’t useable anymore and sell it to a clothing recycling facility that pays them by the pound.

As a bonus this kind of shopping is also much kinder on the environment than typical retail and fashion production.

Once you have reached your final size, carefully consider what clothing you need. Invest in a good set of basics and expand seasonally from there. If you aren’t sure how or where to begin, consider hiring a wardrobe coach to help you begin your new wardrobe at your new weight. You will be surprised at how much you learn and how much time and money you will save by having a plan.

Congratulations on your weight loss!

Beth Dewey is a sustainable image consultant and wardrobe coach at Joyous Style. Joyous Style solves the problem of a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear. She works  with business owners and salespeople to make sure the image they are showing on the outside matches the value and feeling that is within. She also helps you clean your closet of all those past selves disguised as clothing that no longer works for us and that is simply consuming valuable head and closet space.  She can be reached at 206.792.6171 or

Your best networking Tool

Your best networking Tool

What’s your best networking tool?

You might think it is a glitzy card or a cute elevator pitch. These are great but in my opinion your best tool to opening the door to genuine conversation and networking is a warm smile.

As I walked the streets and waited in line to take in the Guinness Tour on a recent trip to Dublin I did some people watching and experimenting. Why is no one smiling? We are all about to go on a brewery tour and we are in Dublin and the sun is shining. Will I look like a mental case if I smile? Will I be happier if I smile? Will it get reflected back? Are these people happy? Has someone studied this officially? Are there places where smiling is bad form or forbidden? Do I just feel freer to smile now that I am an older woman and it won’t be taken the wrong way?

I mentioned these thoughts to my daughter who has covered a little more of the world than I have. She said that when she was in Argentina part of her instruction was that she shouldn’t smile as it could be taken as an invitation. I’m not sure if they said what it would be an invitation to, but I agree that a smile could be taken as an invitation. Did the males get the same instruction? It is sad that we feel we have to fear that a smile will bring unwanted attention. Is it a societal more to look sad so we will be “normal”” and unapproachable? Does it save time? Is that the kind of time we need to save?

When I was younger people were always imploring me to smile. My husband is always trying to get me to smile for pictures I don’t want taken of me. So I am guilty of not always being a happy face. And some of that not smiling may have come from fear of being taken the wrong way or having to engage. (Not a problem for me now days – bring on the conversations with strangers). Contrary to all those people who seemed to feel it was OK for them to tell me to smile, I won’t tell you to smile but I will invite you to think about what doors it could open.

When you are networking your goal is to GET invitations to engage and communicate. And if a simple smile is all it takes then why not? Unless you are afraid of what comes next. If you are scared stiff at networking events try a warm smile next time as a part of your introduction. At least in the US you will appear more relaxed and confident, ready to learn what others are about which is the key to successful networking.



Today a friend wanted to visit the Seattle Aquarium. For some reason it was not on my radar as a must do but I went. And all I could think about was the undersea world must have been Bob Mackie’s inspiration as he dressed Cher. My photos aren’t the best but you get the idea. The outrageous color combinations and flamboyant fish made me lust for glamour and fun. 

Fashion designers get their inspirations from the world around us. What inspires you?