Bonnie Rakhit is a freelance fashion editor, stylist and writer. Her hugely popular blog The Style Traveller is an insider's guide to some of the world’s coolest destinations. Previously a fashion editor at British ELLE Magazine, she is no stranger to elegance and is the archetypal Luxury Settler.
This tribe knows how to enjoy the finer things in life. Travel is more than just a hobby, it is a lifestyle and they know how to get the most out of their time abroad. The majority are married and find it important to keep a healthy work and family balance. When it comes to fashion and beauty, they are brand loyalists who go for quality over quantity.
On behalf of the Luxury Settlers, Bonnie unveils how you can travel in style and maintain the luxury back at home.
This week I attended the inspirational Stylist and Invisalign reader event at the Covent Garden Hotel, hosted by leading body language expert and Invisalign ambassador, Judi James. You may recognise the name as she is a regular on TV shows such as Big Brother, X Factor as well as author of 25 novels on body language!
She gave a fascinating talk on the dos and don'ts of body language, with a few role play sessions to get the audience involved. She taught us the art of how to confidently enter a room, join in conversations with large groups and how to greet and meet new people. All of these are skills we utilise in everyday life and are often taken for granted. Our body language gives off so many messages to others without us even realising it!
So here are a few of my favourite tips from the night:
1. Take a moment before you enter the room, pause and pull yourself up to full height. Roll your shoulders back and down to release any built up tension or anxiety. Keep your head straight and slightly raised to give that air of confidence in your pose and make sure you avoid defensive body language such as crossed arms, as this will make you look stand-offish.
2. When you’re networking, try to approach groups of three or more. Singles might look like they need rescuing but that’s not your job, you’re here to make an impression. Head for the largest gap and start to mirror the group’s dynamic in terms of body language to help you to integrate without interrupting anyone who is speaking.
3. Rehearse your handshake as this greeting ritual can be very revealing. Keep it firm and when you do shake, it is vital you use eye contact and that you smile, even if they don’t.
4. Holding your drink too low could make you look bored, however if you hold it too high it will look like a barrier. The correct height is about rib-height, which will show you’re sociable, confident and friendly.
5. When we imagine someone being confident, we imagine them smiling. When you smile it can boost your inner-confidence (we call this ‘changing your state’, where you adopt the body language of the person you want to be) and everybody likes spending more time with people who appear confident in their skin as this makes them feel more comfortable. Smiling not only makes us feel better but also affects our interactions with the people around us, which can make all the difference when it comes the workplace.
The main message to take away from Judi’s talk was the most important thing you can do to make others feel comfortable around you is to act like you feel confident. If you’re comfortable with yourself then others around you will naturally warm to you. And of course the most important rule is to smile!
It was a great chance to meet all the other bloggers, as well as competition winners, many of whom had travelled from great distances to be there and share their stories. The talk was followed by cocktails, wine and delicious canapés and we partied into the evening.
I've been checking out what's hot in fashion, food, bars and hotels. I love this city and have visited more times than I can count, so here are a few of my favourite recommendations from the most romantic city in the world:
Wander around Le Marais, the old Jewish quarter of the city - it was once quite edgy but is now home to all the coolest Parisian fashion labels. Head to Isabel Marant on Rue Charonne, then check out the chic French brands like Sandro, Maje and Les Petites all around Rue Vielle du Temple. Follow with drinks at Le Perle bar, which is Le Marais's trendiest fashion hang out.
Paris is full of fashion and design concept stores too; my favourites are the quirky Merci store and designer haven, Collette.
If you fancy lively drinks and dinner head to Cafe Ruc, serving up traditional French cuisine in an opulent brasserie interior, accompanied by banging house tunes. It is THE place for people watching, a favourite pastime of mine!
For late night drinks head to The Hotel Coste. Its sumptuous decor, red velvet curtains, guilt baroque chairs and the heady scent of the seductive Coste candles, makes it Paris' go to bar for visiting celebs. All based around an extravagant Italian style terracotta courtyard, the decadent surroundings are juxtaposed with the house beats of resident DJ's. And of course you can buy the CD and candles from reception, bringing a smile to your face whenever you reminisce of your Parisian experience back in the comfort of your own home.
Finish off the night at Le Baron, a tiny and very exclusive club which hosts some of Paris' biggest nights. Use your contacts to get on the guest list, or act super confident, give them your best smile and expect to do some serious blagging. Once you get in, it's totally worth it.
• Do some research ahead of your trip so that you know what greeting gestures are culturally acceptable
• If you’re unsure, pause to see what the other person intends to do; this can be taken as a sign of politeness
• Always lean forward slightly, starting with the head, as this will show a desire to meet the person
• Use some extended eye contact to show direct interest in them; your expression should be soft though, not a hard stare which can be intimidating!
• A smile is probably the safest expression of rapport and friendliness as it transcends all language barriers
• When you smile you should create the smile in your eyes first and then allow it to spread to your mouth so that it looks and feels natural
• Use open gestures with a subtle display of your palms to show openness and friendliness
As a seasoned traveller and stylist, over the years I've picked up a few insider tips on packing and how to put together the perfect capsule wardrobe for a trip abroad. Here a few tricks of the trade to ensure you arrive at your destination with minimal wardrobe malfunctions and a smile on your face.
Get on the case- Pack your case like a stylist does. For minimal packing (and unpacking) time and less need for ironing when you arrive, start by laying shoes and cosmetic bags at the bottom of the case and fill in the gaps with underwear, socks, bikinis and chargers. Make sure the base layer is even and then neatly place clothing directly into the case whilst still on the hanger. Fold the clothes once in the middle or twice for longer pieces, this avoids creasing whilst in transit and it means you can unpack in no time at all; simply take the garment out of the case and place it straight into the wardrobe. But do make sure that the hanger tips aren't sharp. Pack breakables, like jewellery, inside a jewellery role or in tissue inside your clutch and handbags, that way the jewels stay safe and your bags stay in shape.
At the airport- Always carry a bikini in your hand luggage, it's the hardest thing to buy when you're abroad and it also means you can go for a dip as soon as you land! I always carry a lightweight scarf in my hand luggage too. If you go for a soft cotton, large size scarf with a print or stripe pattern, this triples up as a blanket on the flight, a sarong by the pool and a throw to lay on at the beach. Other flight essentials (especially for a long haul flight) include a neck pillow, make-up wipes to use before the flight and a good face cream to keep your skin hydrated. To make sure you arrive looking great and feeling confident, keep some earplugs handy for a deep beauty sleep, plus a travel tooth brush and paste so you land with a fresh smile on your face.
On holiday- I always take a versatile lycra tube dress; they can act as a maxi skirt, a bikini cover up and a slinky dress if accessorised with jewelled flats or heels. If you don't have an iron, a great way to steam clothes is to hang them in the bathroom and let the heat from a hot shower take out the creases. My ultimate holiday takeaway is my tablet, so I have all my holiday reading, films for the flight, music playlist and emails (if I'm working) all in one place!
This week I've been in back to back shows reviewing the Spring Summer 2014 collections, followed by party filled evenings at London Fashion Week. Here's a run-down of my top fashion week highlights that made me smile:
The Dress – Wearing a new season white structured dress designed by my friend, young British designer Georgia Hardinge, was definitely a highlight. I love Georgia’s minimal, sculptural style; she’s a master at pattern cutting and print. When she asked me if I wanted to borrow a dress for Fashion Week, I couldn’t resist! Walking tall amongst some of LFW’s hottest fashionistas, this gorgeously cut dress left me feeling confident and perfectly poised for anything.
The Diesel Party at the Serpentine Gallery – There’s always one party at fashion week that you know is ‘The’ party of the week; anyone who’s anyone will be attending. This season’s ‘it’ party was hosted by Diesel at the Serpentine Gallery. We drank gin cocktails, ate wood smoked pizza and partied the night away; climbing on top of Japanese architect, Sou Fujimoto’s giant climbing frame installation.
Pampering at the Ugg Lounge at the ME Hotel – Directly opposite Somerset House, the main HQ of London Fashion Week, is the elegant ME Hotel. Famed for fashion parties at the rooftop bar, this season Ugg shoes treated weary journalists to a spot of pampering in the uber chic penthouse suite. The perfect way to put a smile on my face!
Celeb Spotting on the Frow – Harry Styles popped up at several of the shows this week, including Burberry, which had a star filled front row. At the Topshop Unique show I found myself sitting directly behind celebrity A-listers Kate Moss, Phillip Green and Anna Wintour.
If you want to catch up on more shows from LFW, check out the Stylist fashion week bloggers here.
It's that time of year again; the fashion circus is back in town. This Friday, 13th September marks the start of London Fashion Week. The bi-annual sartorial extravaganza in which all of the fashion world's beautiful people descend upon the stunning Palladian architecture of Somerset House, for five days of back to back fashion shows and parties galore.
Having been in the fashion industry for almost 13 years, I've attended quite a few fashion weeks in my time and they never fail to bring a smile to my face!
I enjoy investing a bit of time in planning my fashion week wardrobe. Preparation starts the week before, although outfits can undergo some last minute alterations on the day. Whether you’re attending the catwalk shows in person or catching up on the backstage gossip online, here are a few choice street style shots of my favourite fashionista's to give you a bit of inspiration on how to take on Fashion Week with confidence (no matter what your age).
For the under 20's, take a leaf out of fashion blogger Stella Katterman's book. London is such an innovative city for trends and avant garde fashion, Stella and her friend Isabella channel really individual styles. Stella is working a 'grunge fairy' look whilst Isabella opts for pilgrim chic. The style rules here are anything goes, so take inspiration from the things that inspire you. If you have the confidence to wear it, you can work it!
For those in their 20's and 30's, I love fashion blogger Andy Torres' style. Here she mixes up a fun graphic sweatshirt with a tailored peplum skirt and metal cap boots. Wearing youthful sports casuals with more grown up structured minimal pieces, her look is chic and on trend, but with a playful twist.
For the ladies in their 40's I asked uber fashion queen Anna Della Russo for a quick street style snap. Wearing head to toe couture looks, she is the ultimate icon in how to dress with confidence. Never one to shy away from the crowds, ADR has the poise to wear whatever she likes, wherever she is. And that is what making a statement is all about, the confidence to be yourself!
The most important rule of all: no matter what your age is, if you want to exude confidence, walk tall and wear a winning smile.
Steven Brookes reveals how to recreate a model-worthy pose when caught in front of the paparazzi firing line:
“To create a beautiful silhouette, the most flattering pose is to stand 45 degrees to the camera, as this can help make your figure appear slimmer. Remember to keep your shoulders down and relax, shifting your body weight on to your back foot so the photographer can capture the full length of your outfit.”
Judi James, Invisalign ambassador and body language expert, reveals how to achieve that winning smile:
“When you smile, dip your eyes slightly at the outer corners so they narrow into your mouth, giving you something of that Brigitte Bardot smoulder. The corners of your mouth need to then curve upwards, pushing your cheeks out slightly into an ‘apple’ shape. Keep your mouth spread evenly with a good display of teeth and don’t forget to relax and enjoy the spotlight.”
This week I've been topping up my tan in Ibiza. From the minute I see the sandy beaches and Dalt Vila (The Old Town) through the window of the plane, this is one place in the world which is guaranteed to put a smile on my face.
I've been coming here for over 10 years and there are lots of incredible beach bars, restaurants and of course super clubs which are old Ibiza standards. Top of my list is lunch at the Jockey Club on Salinas beach listening to chilled tunes, eating freshly caught fish and delicious salads, followed by an afternoon lounging around at hippy beach bar Sa Trinxa just down the coast. I also love a trip to Formentera, a small island off the south coast of Ibiza, preferably on a friend’s yacht.
My favourite restaurants include dining out in the Bedouin tents under the stars at KM5 and the divine Moroccan dishes at über chic El Ayoun. Clubbing is of course a must for Ibiza travellers and Space is a firm favourite day-time hangout of mine. There aren't many places in the world you can dance to the world’s best DJs on a sun-filled terrace surrounded by beautiful smiling people at four in the afternoon!
This year has seen the opening of many new bars and clubs on the island. Of those, I would definitely recommend the beach bar at Cap de Falco. London's own Experimental Cocktail Club has also set up on the edge of the national park and purveying its imaginative cocktails to the beautiful Balearic audience. Go for the day or evening but make sure you don't miss the sunset. For Ibiza aficionados, I would say it rivals the views of Beniras in the north but with a chicer vibe.
In the restaurant stakes, if you want to hang out with the jet set, head to Cipriani's on the Marina, decked out in enough teak to make the yacht crew feel at home. Eat or drink, but the main pass time here is definitely to people watch. Also after dinner head over to the trendy new roof top bar Ushuaia Tower. The door policy here is severe so make sure you dress to impress and give the host a winning smile! Once inside sit back, relax or party till dawn looking out on the world below.
'''Read below my top tips for 'social flirting' in Ibiza.'''
“If you’re heading to Ibiza for some last minute summer fun, there’s a chance you’ll be meeting lots of new and interesting people as you sip cocktails by the pool or party until dawn. To make a lasting first impression with the ‘in’ crowd, here’s my top ‘social flirting’ tips that will ensure you shine with confidence:
1. People tend to make up their mind about you within the first few seconds of meeting you, so make sure you walk into any social situation with a warm, friendly smile
2. Actively listen to a group while chatting. This will create an impression of attractive confidence, social charisma and attentiveness
3. Always maintain eye contact when people are talking to you. Do not gaze off into the distance and lose focus - people can spot boredom a mile off
4. When it’s time to leave, try and say goodbye to as many people as possible and especially those you had a chat with – it gives a good impression and people will want to hang out with you again if you bump into them another night.”
Let me just start by saying, I am a total Ibiza-phile. My first trip to the magical island was when I was 19 and I have revisited every year since. I've had a lot of practice in the art of packing for a Balearic getaway.
Ibiza is completely spontaneous, It's the sort of place that never fails to put a smile on my face, there’s always something fun going on if you know where to look. A day by the beach chatting to new people is just as likely to lead to an impromptu invite to a yacht party, as it is an underground cave rave in the North of the Island. You get swept away in the moment and there’s no time to get changed.
So my first rule of dressing is ‘make sure you’re covered for all eventualities’. A good tip is to wear a bikini under all of your outfits, beach and club, especially a neon one if you want to stand out from the crowd.
For daytime think boho, boho, boho, no I’m not crying, it’s the style which encapsulates the whole ethos of the island. Channel global traveller meets cool rock chick in the day. And for night time clubbing ramp up the glam factor and seek out the sequins and shine. Wedges or jewelled flat sandals work well for both night and day.
Ibiza has such a mash up of styles and trends that girls in bikinis and flip flops dance alongside perfectly groomed party princesses. Make up wise, sun kissed natural beauties always looks so much better in the heat, like wise sea salt-tousled locks, just add a touch of gloss to your lips to enhance you smile and you're ready to roll. To look like an islander wear white, it’s a cool colour for the day and glows bright under the UV lights at night, perfect for the White Isle.
Remember to come back next week as I reveal where to go and what's new in Ibiza.
‘I enjoy investing a bit of time in planning my fashion week wardrobe, preparation starts the week before, although it always seems to change the morning of the shows. So whether you’re attending the catwalk shows in person or catching up on the backstage gossip online, here are a few of my favourite fashionista's street style shots to give you a bit of inspiration (no matter what your age).’