Entries by Carla Mathis

How early childhood shapes our self-image and style

When Scott* entered my studio for his first consultation, his personal presence was quiet and nearly invisible. In his mid thirties and single, he wore light gray, worn and baggy jeans, an oversized pale blue dress shirt, scuffed and mealy loafers…and had barely combed hair. He wore glasses that were conservative and more of a non-statement than anything else. This was nothing like the same man I had watched perform a song in front of a large audience with a vibrant and engaging presence. I wondered, where was the disconnect? He came to me for personal styling and identity work with the goal of improving his personal image and increasing dating prospects. Before I met with him, I had asked him to bring 5-7 favorite pictures from art, architecture and nature. I call this exercise the Favorites Effect. This simple exercise is remarkably telling. When you describe why you like […]

The Psychology of Style

Clothes are opportunities. Fashion, getting dressed, gives us a chance to express different dimensions of ourselves. Different looks have different psychological effects. Our life is a kaleidoscope of possibilities — the possibility of meeting that important person who brings life, light, and new vistas. What outfit do you put together when you want to express the core of who you are? Look in your closet. Are you excited about what you see hanging there? Is every piece like one of those shimmering, glistening pieces of glass in the kaleidoscope — ready to create a pattern that can support and even change your life? Or are you seeing sameness? Same color, same style, no style really? Is your closet full of color like your vibrant personality? Or is it smooth and creamy like honey and cream over strawberries? It could be warm and rich like polished antique wood and brass. What words would you use to describe how you feel and how you want to […]

Style Lessons From The World’s First Size 22 Supermodel

Bravo, Tess! Congrats on your cover for People Magazine last month, “The World’s First Size 22 Supermodel!” You are an inspiration. Finally, all of our bodies are being celebrated in print. Tess made her dream of being a model happen. What an encouragement for women the world over…of all sizes and shapes to go after our dreams…to embrace our beauty. So, how does Tess do it? What tips can we pick-up to make our plus size and full figured bodies work for us at play, at work and on camera? First, Tess intuitively chooses clothes that work for her Figure-eight silhouette. Tip 1: Discovering your Body’s Silhouette is the first step to creating looks that flatter your body from every angle. Tess’s shoulders and hips are relatively the same width, while her waist is smaller, creating a classic figure-eight. Let’s look at how Tess accentuates her small waist. She has a […]

Reflections of Self

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we have it not.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882). When you are ready to go out the door, and check the mirror for that last-moment look, you might say, “Wow, this is good.” If you can say this and mean it, you are one of a small percentage of women who likes her reflection. If, however, you give a sigh or a groan it’s important to know what prompted that sigh or groan. Is it your body? You might wonder why you were born the way you are, and would like to change things about your body. What would you change if you had a magic wand? What is your list? Whatever it’s, there are ways to dress in a way for you and your friends,and everyone you meet to say, “Wow, she’s beautiful!” […]

Choices

What size mirror do you have at home? Do you have a full length one or a small mirror to use when putting on makeup? If you want to do what it takes to see and celebrate your beauty, get a full length mirror! Whatever your body…. if you feel you can’t possibly be beautiful because you are too plain, too heavy, too thin, too hippy, too flat or some other “too,” know your perception is not true. You have three more choices: You can continue to see yourself as ‘less than’. In which case you can keep reading these blogs to explore the possibility you might be wrong. You can deny that one’s looks make a difference, in which case, keep on reading these blogs to discover that this statement is false. How one looks does make a difference, in both how others perceive you and how you feel […]

Beauty, Nature, and You

“Every soul yearns for the Beautiful” Beauty —John O’Donohue Nature holds the key to Beauty. How do you feel when you come across some scene in nature or a magnificent-to-you flower? Whether grand in scale, or dainty in detail, beauty brings joy and a sense of wellbeing. There’s not one definition of beauty. Look at the thousands of different types of flowers: some are big, some small; some have frilly petals, others pointed ones; some have many petals, others few, yet, we don’t say one flower is more beautiful than another because it’s different. Some are fragrant, others merely beautiful to see. We don’t try to make a rose less a rose or an orchid less an orchid. You can look at differences in women in the same way. Some of us are large-scale with large features; others have small-scale delicate ones. Some of us are curved and others straight. […]

Whispers of the Soul

Why is it harder to create a list of what we like about ourselves than what we don’t? In our soul, each of us yearns to be special—and beautiful. At some point as children we knew we were. Why is it, then, that most of us as grown-ups don’t believe it? My Story I knew I was beautiful until I was nine when the first whisper of dissatisfaction with myself crept into my awareness. One particular outfit stands out in my memory. I was young enough to have time to ponder my reflection in the full-length mirror behind my closet door. Dripping wet from the bath, barefoot, with slicked-back hair, I would step into the brand new back-to-school pale pink and white tiny-striped dress with its soft white collar that touched the edge of my shoulder. I would smell the brand new smells that only a new dress can have, […]

Locked in a Lie

There might be perfectly reasonable explanations for why you would like to change things about your body, for why you haven’t yet embraced who you are. Simple reasons that often avoid detection. Stores don’t carry clothes that fit you. Clothing manufacturers design and cut clothing based on specific proportions and dimensions. If your body proportions are different than the fit model of the manufacturer, the clothes you try on and buy won’t fit. The sleeves will be too short if your arms are longer than the fit model, or too long if your arms are any shorter. If your waist is wider or smaller … if your hips are wider or more narrow … if your bosom is larger or smaller than the fit model, the list goes on. Typically, we either make do with what is too big or go through life being squeezed into garments like a sausage. Its […]