Fashion After 50: The Art of Walking Like a Movie Star
Most of us want to be noticed when we walk down the street. But do you know how to turn those heads? Do you have the confidence to even attempt it? Join us in discussion with style blogger Mel Kobayashi who shares her secrets about learning to walk like a movie star. Enjoy the show!
My guest today is Mel Kobayashi. Mel is a style blogger who has the most amazing approach to style, combining it with art, culture and comedy. Welcome, Mel.
Thanks for having me. It’s so wonderful to be here.
I am very happy to have you here. We have a very big community of women over 50, and they really love to dress up. We simply love style.
You’ve mentioned to me before that when you started developing your style, you also started developing your ‘walk,’ your unique way of presenting yourself. Could you tell us about it? How do we walk in a way that shows our fashion sense?
I call it ‘my movie star walk,’ and it’s very dependent on what I’m wearing because clothes have a certain vibe that reflects back on you. When I choose my clothing, I do it based on my mood. But, after I put it on, the clothing affects me.
It took a while before I started to feel comfortable and to fully express myself. There were techniques I used along the way to be able to do that without feeling self-conscious.
You know how people say, “When you walk into a room, you should pause and look at the room”? It doesn’t work if you don’t know how to do it. If you are uncertain and panic, and you go, “Ahh,” the effect won’t be what you’re trying to achieve.
Let’s say you have the style and the clothes, and now you are trying to figure out how to show them to their best advantage and to express the way they make you feel. What do you do? You walk into the room and…?
Actually, there is a whole process before that. Let’s say you’re experimenting, trying to figure out your style, but you don’t know how to wear the clothes that you have with confidence. Finally, you’ve been able to put the clothes on, but you think, “Oh my God, everyone is staring at me.”
Odds are, no one is looking at you – unless you want them to look at you. Initially, there is a whole cycle of complimenting other people and having them compliment you back, so before long you get used to the attention.
If you’re a little more eccentric, you will have to get used to the attention, because you are kind of different from the average person. You can shut it off though, which is interesting.
When I started developing my style, I started with small things like my first pair of mustard colored tights. They were a breakthrough for me, making me think, “Oh my God, I’m wearing mustard tights with my very normal dress.”
Then it moved up. I would dress matching the tights with the hat or the coat, and it all came together. That was the first step.
Another thing to consider is, anyone can do it. For instance, police officers always look intimidating, they are trained to be that way, it’s a learned behavior. Similarly, anyone can walk like a movie star.
I figured this out through these little incremental steps of wearing one outrageous piece and getting used to it, then wearing another outrageous piece and getting used to it and so on. Then you get used to people looking at you and you learn how to respond.
When people would say to me, “Oh I love your top,” I used to say, “Oh no, it’s just a silly top.” Now I respond with, “Thank you,” because I’ve learned to embody my style.
So, in a way, the walking is dependent on the clothing. If you are wearing, for example, a white shirt with a more masculine jacket, you might walk with that in mind. You’d walk as if you’re in control, you have the authority, as per the stereotype.
Exactly. I’ve got three basic walks that I feel are most powerful to me. One is a predator, rock star kind of walk. I’d channel it when I wear a black blazer with my white shirt and my cool sunglasses. I’d move slowly, intentionally, as if daring people to step in my way.
The neck has a fluid, slightly exaggerated back and forth motion, as if trying to say, “Oh yeah? What’re you looking at? You looking at me?” It’s got a little bit of gangster in there, too.
Another walk is the movie star walk, which is kind of sultry. There is a little less neck action here. Instead, you’d be walking as if trying to look a little above everyone else. It’s a cool walk.
The last one is like a Betty Boop or Marilyn Monroe in a flirty little part walk. You walk with slightly exaggerated movement of your shoulders, and just imagine Marilyn’s pencil skirt hugging her hips and her bum. In your mind you’d hear the men on the sidelines whistling.
Of course, I wouldn’t walk exactly like any of these. I would do the Mel translation of the walk which is a little subtler. Although, sometimes I’ll do the full on walk.
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And you like to make faces.
I love making faces. No one ever taught me not to do it, so I’m enjoying myself making faces.
So, the walk is actually comprised of the clothes, the mental attitude that goes behind the movement and the facial expression.
Yes. Actually, I’ve made it into a mnemonic. The words you need to remember are GO DISCO
“Go” means “Go put on something fabulous.” That’s the first step, and it should be a small step. I always suggest you go to the tights. Pick out something pretty and daring.
“Dis” stands for “Distract yourself.” I know you’re obsessed with your tights, because you feel out of your comfort zone. Stop thinking about it, no one is looking at you. You want to look at other people instead and find something to compliment them for. This will take your mind off your tights.
“Co” means “Confidence.” Going daring little by little will help you develop amazing confidence, and that’s when you walk in the room.
You walk in the room and you pause. You survey the room and then you sail into the room. I’ve never really tried that full on, but nowadays everyone is so busy that they don’t look up to pay attention to you. It’s fun to think though, “What if they did?”
It mentally prepares you about engaging with people in a room. That strategy for switching the lens from yourself to other people and complimenting them gives you somewhat of a rebel vibe, and that’s perfectly fine. People will see your confidence and appreciate it.
A great aftereffect of gaining confidence is that no matter where your creativity has taken you, no matter how you’ve chosen to dress or carry yourself, it stays with you. If you put on jeans and a t-shirt, your presence will still be noticeable, and people will pay attention to you.
And it’s really wonderful that you’re not born with that confidence. It’s something anyone can learn to do, just like the police officer learns to be intimidating. It’s very empowering.
I really love your strategy. I think it can help us find wonderful parts of ourselves that we didn’t know existed.
Yes, and it’s not hard. The way you get to that point is by playing. How horrible can that be?
We played dress up when we were little kids, channeling different characters, and we were so multi-faceted.
We put on our mother’s makeup garishly, and it was so much fun. I still do it sometimes. It’s really about enjoying the smallest thing you can, because why not?
What’s your final word to women in their 60s who are uncertain about their style, who lack confidence to get out and really express themselves? What would you say to them?
I would say, start small. Have a blast. Invite your friends over for a night of dress up. Put your wigs on. Put your feather boas on. Watch Ab Fab. Have a martini. Enjoy the small things that you have.
I am totally inspired. I am going out tomorrow to buy myself a pink feather boa! Thank you so much, Mel. You’re fabulous. I’m really happy that we had a chance to talk.
Thank you so much for inviting me. I had such a good time talking to you.
You are very welcome. Take care.
Did you enjoy playing dress up as a kid? Do you play around with your clothes now? How daring are you when choosing your clothing? Do you think you could gain more confidence by following the Go Disco steps? Please join the conversation below!