The Power of Clothes

Or Caryn Franklin's top 5 tips for some Fashion First Aid

I've emerged from a tough time at last. Don't ask me what happened, just know that I took on way too much and fell down!

We all think we are invincible and we all demand so much from ourselves. I have girlfriends who work full-time, while they parent children or teens and look after elderly relatives. They are also overdoing it, we talk about it as women do. Why I thought I could work, parent and add additional long long hours as a volunteer activist  for the last five years, to my load is a mystery. I've been to 'Burn Out Central.'

Re-entering the work place while feeling fragile the other week, I really appreciated the power of clothes to act as a therapeutic tool. Picking out items from my wardrobe that gave me a boost, a charge even, to wear next to my skin and act as 'power dressing armour,' made a huge difference to my confidence.

Perhaps my 33 years in the fashion industry has been for this moment. I don't think anyone knew what I was really feeling, because my clothes were working so hard to deliver a polished veneer. If you find yourself in need of an emotional pick me up, look no further than your own styling skills. Putting yourself back together again and braving the world begins with flinging open your wardrobe doors and celebrating the woman you are. Sometimes I'm Zena the Warrior, sometimes I'm not. I've distilled my 'Clothes Therapy,' advice into a short list for you. I hope it helps.


What to wear when you need some Fashion First Aid.

Cos top

Colour: A zinging hue thrills not just the viewer but the wearer. Try it yourself...throw on some grey and take a feel underwhelmed doncha? Now deck yourself out in bright orange and repeat the selfie moment. That instant hit you get when you see colour is what others will get when they see you walk through the door. Colour makes us smile.

My crafty cut top from Cos has more than paid for itself in smiles given to this wearer!

Jaeger leather bag

Capable bag: Large and roomy, your luggage must be easy to work so that you can find everything you need with ease instead of pulling things out to get to the bottom and getting flustered.

When I am stressed I can never find my phone, my wallet, my keys and am in danger of loosing everything several times per day this makes me look as anxious as I feel.  Love this Jaeger bag bought in the sale which has enough compartments to have fun with and long handles to throw over the shoulder. Throw and Go girl!

Clarks comfy brogue

Extremely comfortable shoe: I can't stress this enough. Ground yourself to the planet floor. If you are already feeling off balance, don't choose shoes that scrunch up your toes and may cause you to wobble at any moment. Heels don't HEAL but supportive flats can make you feel more connected to your body.  I have lived in these mock snakeskin brogues since buying them from Clarks.

I am supremely balanced even though I am... err...imbalanced at times.

Jewellery: I discovered the therapeutic importance of dress jewellery for the umpteenth time and this summer and I am currently wearing chunky rings, necklaces and bracelets to remind me of empowering key words. When I see my rings or hear the jangle of my baubles it acts as a prompter to remember what I need to to stay sane. Those of you who know my look will remember I tend to favour a nod towards the androgynous statement and that means minimal 'Tom,'.

But this summer I'm decking myself out in a power bauble or two. This maximalist display has the added advantage of being a great conversation starter and allows for other women to launch into a frivolous non-work related exchange. See my wonderful necklace from 'Gerry's Collectables,' stall  at Greenwich Market Tuesday and Thursdays and while you are in the zone check out the 'Wears London,' store in the same market for the vintage watch face designs of Monkey Shirley and the clever folded paper designs of textile designer Kirsten Flora.

Ronit Zilka trousers

Trousers: A fitted trouser has an air of competency. At Feltham Comprehensive in the 70's my friends and I were amongst the first girls in the country  to wear trousers as part of our school uniform. Yes it was that backward. I've never forgotten the heady power of discarding the hated school skirt and knee length socks for the altogether cooler strides. Happy Days.

Trousers deliver the sort of punch you need to reek of confidence and look wonderfully sensual too especially if they are patterned. These Ronit Zilkha vintage strides are playful and elegant, I enjoy them every time I wear them.

In trousers I am faster and more forthright, I'm also more often than not, benefitting from pockets at the hip, which allow for the stroking of  a well placed lucky stone or crystal.




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