Lisa O'Neill, 42, wears glitter on her toenails 24/7. Being positive is a huge part of her fashion philosophy.
"My big thing is body shape and body acceptance, really. It's not about telling everyone they have got to lose 10 kilos and spend $500. It's about feeling really good about just buying a scarf or a lipstick and getting some bigger knickers, and getting on with it really."
The average New Zealand woman is size is 14 to 16, but O'Neill deals with all sizes. "Every single woman I meet is bigger than she wants to be. Women need to stop being so hard on themselves. I would rather work with someone who looks a bit rumbly-pumbly and thought they looked hot," she says.
"If you are a big Christmas tree you can stick more stuff on it. If you are a size 6, one brooch - you are done."
People tend to blame the media for having bad body images, but O'Neill, formerly an art director for EziBuy, begs to differ.
"I worked as an art director with stick-thin models all the time, and models are coat-hangers," she says.
"The problem is models look amazing in clothing, so everyone assumes they have to look like a model - but that was never the plan. You don't have to take it all so literally. People go - oh I can never look like that so I won't try, but there are so many things you can do."
The mother of four understands the time constraints many women face. Women should spend less time cleaning and more time doing things that make them feel good. "More people see your face than your house. If you look boring no-one will visit you anyway."
She says you should choose underpants because they are sensible, not because they are pretty.
"The older you get the more hard-core your undies need to be. There's great shapewear out there that makes you feel great - and you can do three hours less at the gym a week. The right underwear is the secret, I reckon."
O'Neill's point-of-difference from other stylists is that she believes there are no set rules. "I work in the fashion industry but I'm not so keen on what's in fashion. At the end of the day there are guidelines to make you look your best - but if you find something that you absolutely love and you look silly in it, I think you should wear it."
Clothing should always enhance your best features, rather than focusing on your worst. "You just need to find what your best bit is, and decorate it, and you'll be fine. If you have got big thighs, why would you put a logo on them?"
Women don't know what to do with colour, and they wear black because they are lazy, she says.
Most people can wear most colours, but if in doubt wear the colour of your eyes. "It's really about just having everything we want, because I'm really big on women having what they want."
LISA O'NEILL'S BODY TYPE GUIDE
APPLE: The best zone is below your waist. You have got great legs and a narrow bum; wear outfits that will highlight your lower half like great shoes and interesting legwear paired with a simple black top, or a long tunic with black side panels paired with tights with lace, button or frill details near the ankles and calves.
BANANA: You lack curves. Wear clothing that creates the illusion of curves, such as feminine tops and dresses with cowl necks, frills, padding and ruching around the bust.
PEAR: The best part of your body is above your waist. Draw attention to the top half of your body by wearing a lot of accessories, bow-detail and patterned tops, shoulder detail and plain, wide leg pants.
HOURGLASS: You have the same size top and bottom. Pick clothes that will keep everything balanced and show off your waist - like dresses with waist detail, tunics that come in under the bust, big, chunky belts and - if you are a smaller hourglass - fitted clothing.
Most women are an hourglass - "but they don't believe you because they think that an hourglass is perfect," O'Neill says.
"They think of someone like Marilyn Monroe, and they think, ‘I don't look like that.' Well, no you don't, but your bust and your hips are the same - so you're matching."
"You can be all four shapes. Not on the same day - but you can change really quickly."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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