Life is a confidence trick, so be confident. Lose your fear of being an individual. Think yourself up, not down. Convince yourself that you are unique, then go out and convince the rest of the world. If you have the confidence to get the look, the clothes, the manners, then the man the job and the money will follow. Even if they don’t, you’ll still feel better. Here are the basics:
1: USE IMAGINATION IN EVERYTHING YOU DO
Creativity is the magic that will transform the way you live – how you present yourself, decorate your house, wrap presents, arrange flowers, set a table, and how you see things. Money can never do what imagination on a shoestring can achieve.
2: PUT YOURSELF FIRST – FABULOUS PEOPLE DO
Most women put their children, their husbands, their job and their friends first, and themselves last. If you don’t take care of yourself, no-one else will. If you put yourself last, the train soon comes off the track and everyone suffers.
3: FALL IN LOVE WITH YOURSELF
Enjoy your own company, build yourself up. Focus on your assets: what keeps your closet pals coming back for more? Embrace your life story, and be proud of the things you have overcome and achieved, however small. Don’t cast yourself as a victim and never act like a doormat- it’s the sure-fire way to guarantee you’re treated like one.
4: DRESS TO FEEL GOOD
If you like what you see in the mirror and the way your clothes make you feel, it will weave the same magic over everyone who sees you. Identify your best feature, then flaunt it shamelessly. If all you’ve got are great elbows and ears, then cut holes in your sleeves and wear chandelier earrings everywhere you go.
5: NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF A GREAT PAIR OF SHOES
Bosoms sag, bottoms droop, hair thins, but feet and calves stand up well to the passage of time. Fabulous shoes drive men (and other women) crazy- and will flatter your ankles and calves until your hundredth birthday party. Never buy shoes that don’t flatter your pins. Experiment until you find the pair that slims your claves and minimises your ankles.
6: PUT YOUR FAITH IN THE CLASSICS
That goes for everything, from frocks to flooring. As a general rule, choose matte over shiny, tailored over unstructured, fitted over loose, natural over synthetic, plain over patterned, quiet over noisy, soft over hard, and understated over overstated. Avoid fashion, especially fads. There is a huge difference between style and fashion. Some dress rules are for life: never wear clothes with words on them, polar fleece, cheesecloth, plaits, ankle boots or Jesus sandals.
7: BE ORGANISED
Have a diary, iCalendar, any method that works for you – to make sure you’re on time, on top of things and never flustered. Organisation will make you a better person – but for goodness sake, don’t flaunt your method and risk becoming a techno tosspot.
8: AIM FOR A COMPLIMENT A DAY
Even if it’s just flirting with the butcher. Compliments give you confidence. Make a noise: voice your opinion in a group and make conversation with people, even strangers.
9: MAINTAIN YOUR STANDARDS
Prune your wardrobe seasonally, bin chipped china and glassware, toss stained linen, hang those pictures, file and frame photos, reupholster that tattered sofa. Throw out everything that’s broken – relationships included. You will feel free to get on with the rest of your life.
10: DON’T TRY TOO HARD
Ostentatious things – gold-plated taps, unnecessarily enormous houses and clothes with designer labels on the outside – scream, ‘I’ve arrived!’ You will be judged and treated accordingly. Simplicity and informality is much more stylish. Sometimes it’s more sophisticated to serve a takeaway pizza or smoked salmon on toast than a five-course meal.
11: KINDNESS, ENTHUSIASM AND A SENSE OF HUMOUR WILL GET YOU EVERYWHERE
They’re the lubricants of life.
12: USE YOUR HANDS WHEN YOU SPEAK
It makes you look animated, expansive and relaxed.
13: BE DIFFERENT
When everyone else is talking, be silent. When everyone else is silent, talk. When everyone is wearing black, wear white or red. If everyone is clamoring for Bermudas, wear hotpants with the confidence of someone who knows they are wearing next season’s stuff.
14: RISE ABOVE THINGS
When people are gossip about or blame you, shut up. Never complain, never explain, and never put out a statement.
15: IF YOU CAN’T EMBRACE THINGS THAT HAVE TO BE DONE, OUTSOURCE THEM
If you don’t want to do something- make curtains, iron, mow lawns, raise children- then charm, barter or pay someone else. Don’t feel guilty, don’t do it badly, just pay someone to ensure it gets done.
16: IN CONVERSATION, GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO RESPOND
Fools gabble. Pause before you say anything- your words will carry more weight if they sound as though they are the result of intelligent thought. Don’t talk too fast- give your audience time to absorb what you are saying.
17: TO BE A SUCCESS, YOU MUST ACT LIKE A SUCCESS
Walk and talk the part.
18: ACCEPT CHALLENGES THAT BOOST YOUR PROFILE
But avoid impositions that make you a drudge or a doormat. If there’s no glory, duck, and dodge.
19: IN MEETINGS OR AT PARTIES, GET INTO THE MIX
Don’t be afraid to place yourself next to the power players, or sit at the head of the table. It’s the position that conveys power and commands attention.
20: ALWAYS MAKE A GREAT IMPRESSION
You’ll never reclaim the lost ground if you don’t. Develop a firm handshake, a warm smile, a certain way of saying hello. It’s free, and it’s the most effective thing you’ll ever do. Onwards!