Stylise your image

Bringing out a dress style that epitomises a woman's confidence and femininity is one thing that image coach China Mngomezulu is crazy about.

Bringing out a dress style that epitomises a woman's confidence and femininity is one thing that image coach China Mngomezulu is crazy about.

Her penchant for beautiful and timeless style began at an early age at her Diepkloof, Soweto home, when she used to dish out free fashion advice to relatives with uninspired fashion sense.

A qualified teacher and economist, Mngomezulu began her career as a fashion guru in 2005 after Harambe Image Consulting was established in response to a growing demand for image-coaching services.

"My true passion has always been observing style and fashion trends," says Mngomezulu, a graduate from the Institute of Image Consulting.

Mngomezulu, whose company specialises in wardrobe makeovers for women and men, make-up, verbal and non-verbal communication, confidence building and etiquette, says most women fail to dress for their body type.

"I believe every woman can be utterly gorgeous and feel beautiful and stylish no matter her budget, body size or lifestyle. But there are those who have not yet mastered the art of understanding their bodies and end up misrepresenting themselves," she says.

She adds: "I have seen women wearing clothes that are not the right fit for their body shapes. Others wear clothes that are either too tight or too loose, some don't understand colours that suit their skin tone. Some wear wrong underwear, others are unable to differentiate between social and professional attire, others buy only one colour. Others wear too revealing clothes at work. The list is endless," she says.

She says women should learn to choose appropriate clothing that reflects their personal style and boosts their self-esteem.

"When you know you look good, you feel good," she says.

When doing wardrobe makeovers, Mngomezulu says her clients are encouraged to get rid of items that they have grown accustomed to (such as those that have been kept in the wardrobe for years because it was passed on to them by their great-grandmother).

"That item does not necessarily reflect your personal style," she says, adding that it usually takes a bit of persuasion for people to let go of such items."

A timeless wardrobe that includes a good pair of jeans, a white-fitted shirt, a black dress, a pencil or A-line skirt, a suit in basic colour, a trench coat, a good quality leather handbag, black boots, stilettos, sexy "hold me together" underwear, tailored jacket and lots of accessories is what every woman should strive for, according to Mngomezulu.

She stresses that every woman should not be without a sexy lace black or red bra and panty set, a sexy bustier or corset and lace or satin mini-nightie (baby dolls).

A good moisturiser with SPF, concealer, blusher, lip-gloss, foundation, mascara, lip-liner, eye-liner and a good perfume are a must-have, Mngomezulu says.

Outdated clothes (such as shoulder-padded jackets), items that have faded colours, underwear that has lost elasticity; and clothes or handbags with holes should not be in the wardrobe, says Mngomezulu.

Her advice when buying clothes

l Never buy a smaller size than what you normally wear (with the hope of losing that extra weight someday);

l Do not become a fashion victim by buying clothes just because they are in fashion but don't reflect your personal style;

l Never buy shoes in a rush or when feet are swollen;

l When choosing your bag it is advisable that it should not be wider than the width of your body. Buy a bag that matches at least three items in your wardrobe;

l Buy clothes that are age appropriate;

l Buy quality not quantity, and don't shop impulsively.