Johanna Baker-Dowdell, Strawberry Communications
An avid Trinny & Susannah fan from the time I spent living in the UK in the early noughties, I relished the opportunity to flick through the pages of their latest book Who do you want to be today?
As a full-time business woman working from a home office and mother to two young boys, I sometimes think I want to be a single girl on holiday with nothing more pressing than what I should wear out tonight. When reality kicks in though, I have to be honest and say I\’ve never been a follower of fashion and my standard uniform is jeans and a T-shirt with comfy shoes (if at all) and an easy-to-manage medium-length hairstyle.
But all this changed when my business was a finalist in the Central Coast Business Achiever Awards and I had to attend a formal event. Now this was an excuse to pore carefully over the pages of Who do you want to be today? After discarding the Boho look as too casual, Rock Chick as a bit too wild child and Avant-Garde Eccentric as, well, too eccentric, I decided for that night I would be a Diva!
So, armed with the book and some style rules from previous Trinny & Susannah offerings (such as choose something with a V-neck to emphasise my bust and find an outfit that showed off my legs from the knee down) I went dress shopping. Dismayed with the dresses I saw at the first four shops I stepped into, I was ready to give up and drag out something old to wear from the depths of my wardrobe. I pleaded with a shop assistant to find me something “elegant, not bright and floral,” and she just looked at me blankly. Things were not looking good.
But everything changed when I walked into the next retailer and saw a black, V-neck, knee-length chiffon dress. It was almost perfect â€“ the only downside was that it was sleeveless and I don\’t like showing off my upper arms, but that could be fixed with a pashmina. I\’d found the dress, now back to Trinny & Susannah\’s advice for accessories, hair and make-up.
The Oxford English Dictionary lists the definition of “diva” as “From the Latin diva, Goddess”. I decided I was going to need more than just a dress to conjure up the Goddess in me, but I was willing to try. Starting with a trip to the hairdresser for a cut, colour and fantastic sleek style, I was already on my way.Johanna; front row, right side in pink pashmina
I put together the rest of my outfit, making sure I was following the diva-esque guidelines laid out by the style queens:
- Dress must frame shape and not be broken up by frills or ruffles â€“ check
- Tailored dress affords a fine view of my dÃ©colletage â€“ check
- Round toe heels with added embellishment (bows in my case) – check
- Luxurious wrap (pink pashmina) â€“ check
- Dramatic make-up (fuchsia pink lipstick and smoky eyes) â€“ check
- Big and sparkly jewellery (matching pink pearl earrings, bracelet and necklace) â€“ check
I was feeling divine and ready to try on Goddess for size. My outfit drew lots of comments so I\’m sure I got it right for the big night. Sadly I didn\’t win the award, but I did win in self-confidence, remembering what it\’s like to spend hours getting ready for a special evening out, and then feeling like a princess for the evening.
Who do you want to be today? covers day and night options for each of the 12 looks and even offers tips on how to transform yourself completely with a new look. Trinny & Susannah model the looks themselves, along with four “real” women ranging in age from mid 20s to late 50s, and in size from 10 to 16. Focusing on more than just the clothes, the book is a guide to putting the entire look together from clothing and shoes, to the little extras and make-up techniques to really complete the look.
For this real girl, taking a trip into Trinny & Susannah\’s wardrobe was well worth the effort it took to release my Goddess, if only for a night.
Available now:Â Hachette RRP$29.99