Casual and Comfortable

Last week as I was going to a breakfast meeting, I encountered ladies in the elevator coming to work to professional business offices dressed very casually. It was evident that this must be casual Friday.  What surprised me was to see the level of casual that some of the women had chosen. One very attractive young women, probably in her twenties, was wearing a simple cotton knit top and faded jeans with designer rips all through the legs. I don’t exactly “get” why one would pay extra for a brand new pair of jeans to have them deliberately look like they were worn out! But my opinion aside, isn’t that a look more appropriate for a casual outing with friends than a professional business office?
Observing many of the clothing ads no doubt contribute to the bad choices some women make. I was just looking at a magazine today and was astonished to discover a beautiful brocade coat topping a silk dress accented with tennis shoes! These were not a dressy look but would have been more appropriate for mountain climbing. Obviously this would not have been appropriate office wear but the tennis shoes certainly did not do justice for this beautiful dressy ensemble. No wonder women find it confusing to dress appropriately!

I think it would be helpful to focus on what might be the expectation of clients who come into your office. If you were going to an attorney or other business professional, what wold give you confidence that he or she had the expertise to help you with your needs? The first impression comes from their appearance. Would you feel confident about your choice if the assistant were wearing a tee shirt and faded torn jeans?

Let’s look at these examples of casual and notice how casual Friday can be comfortable and fun while still looking like you are a professional who knows what sh is doing?
If you have questions or would like to further explore how you can be true to who you are while looking the part of your professional position, call Beryl for a complimentary conversation. Style With Aplomb 404-428-2527

Which Flower says “You”?

Which Spring Flower says “You”?
Sunshine and warm weather! What a welcome pleasure after months of cold and gray. The flowers have been waiting to erupt. Each day brings an explosion of new color and beauty.
Do you have a favorite flower? Most of us do. What is even more interesting, that favorite tells more about who you are deep down inside – your personal style. Not only has this realization brought me to a greater appreciation of how varied the many different flowers are but of the components that make each one different. Let’s take a closer look.
Traditional: This is the conservative individual. They are often described as being practical and dependable – no surprises here. Don’t tulips typify this type? Tulips are predictable, standing straight with uniform flowers. We welcome tulips each spring as they lend their beauty to flower beds throughout the neighborhoods.
Elegant: Refinement and stately image, cultured and simplicity can describe this style. What better flower than a rose to represent the elegant persona? These lovely blossoms are typified by their refinement, elegance and grace.
Romantic: The profusion of delicate pink, lacy flowers of the cherry blossom beautifully represents a romantic image. Gentleness, feminine, supportive and innocent are used to describe a romantic personality. The soft, feminine color and delicate cherry blossoms exude “romantic”.
Alluring:  Glamorous and sensuous. What could be more suggestive of the Alluring style than a fuchsia? Even the
shape of this beautiful flower suggests curvy and sensual. Magenta is often used in costuming to represent the femme fatal.
Creative: Think original, artistic and unconventional for this type. I could not find the name of this amazing flower that defied convention. Combining yellow and magenta is an unusual color combination but the incredible flower within a flower image shape is even more surprising. Truly creative!
Dramatic: What could be more dramatic an image than a Bird of Paradise flower.   There is nothing subtle about this tropical flower nor is there anything subtle about a dramatic personality. Striking sophistication, powerful and bold describe both the flower and the dramatic woman.
Sporty: Friendly, casual, all-American style are portrayed by a field of sunflowers day. Couldn’t have said it better!
  Would you like to know your personal style?  Call Beryl at 404-428-2527 and let’s talk.
Image descriptions are taken from Alyce Parsons’ book Style Source.


Go Wild With Animal Prints!

Animal prints continue to be popular so I thought I would share an  article I read by fashion editor Teri Agin.
“In recent years stores have been replete with animal prints: blouses, shoes, and handbags.  These timeless, abstract prints – such as leopard, tiger and snakeskin patterns – are neutral and versatile enough to be combined with black, brown, red and even purple.
I happen to love animal prints because the designs look lush and urbane – absolutely perfect for women of all ages.  Even the cheapest T-shirt top or scarf in a leopard print packs a punch and imparts a bold accent.
But take care when donning these jungle patterns.  Go easy, with simpler jewelry.  In clothes, stick with smaller patterns that won’t make you look thick.
Every gal should have a pair of animal-print pumps and a handbag – just don’t wear them together. is one retailer that offers many affordable animal-print bags, which are much fresher than standard black or brown purses.
Animal prints are one of those novelties that women are enthusiastic about, and they always sell out quickly every season,” says Edward Wilkerson, designer for women’s label Lafayette 148.  To keep the “call of the wild” look fresh, a “zebra” pony-skin jacket and a leopard-printed silk blouse can be worn with a pencil skirt.  “We keep them looking new with colors, like a tiger print against a fuchsia background or leopard with cobalt blue,” Wilkinson says.”
Beryl’s comments:  I thought you would enjoy this article, as we have not discussed animal-prints for spring.  I don’t think animal prints are for everyone.  Having just an accent, perhaps a scarf, shoes or bag could work for most people.     When you move to a blouse or jacket, watch the scale of the print and color contrast.  A zebra print will only work if the wearer has strong coloring and a strong presence.   Animal prints are quite forceful and can easily overpower a small person or someone with a quiet, reserved personality.  Use the “blink” test when choosing whether this is a look for you.  Standing in front of the mirror, close your eyes for a few moments then open them quickly and observe what you see first.  If you see you first then recognize that you are wearing an animal print, it probably will work.  If you see the print first, it is too strong.
In a business setting, choosing just an accent piece can give the punch you are looking for without taking over the entire look. A handbag, scarf or shoes can serve as just the right accent .

If They Can’t See You They Can’t Hear You

Have you ever been chatting with a group of people and every time one person attempted to add to the conversation, she (and it is almost always a “she”) was ignored?  I have seen this and it is usually because the ignored person is almost invisible.
Years ago, after having gone through the then popular training in the four seasons color analysis, I had a client who was a perfect example of being invisible.  Her graying brown hair matched the beige frames of her glasses and her barely discernible makeup helped her become nearly invisible.  Although she was impeccably groomed, her beige business suit with a cream colored blouse turned her into oatmeal!  Had she stood next to a beige wall, it would have been hard to see her.
The lovely medium soft blues, pinks and lilacs of the cool summer color palette brought her delicate coloring alive without being so bright that it overpowered her.  Carrying these medium shades of her palette through in her makeup transformed her by showing off the natural beauty she was.
Of course, the color system I now use is significantly more complex offering a much greater range of colors for each client and even taking into consideration their personality.  The four seasons served as a wonderful introduction to women everywhere about the importance colors play in helping them look their authentic best.
I am always saddened when women allow themselves to be “invisible”.  They may be the most intelligent and talented person in the office but are not
the one who get the promotion because they do not “show up”.  I recently worked with a client who was convinced that his expertise in his profession was what was important and his appearance did not play an important role.  After we worked together, he changed to a more professional appearance and within weeks had, not only got an offer for a new job, but his present employer gave him a significant raise.
Is it time for you to upgrade your image to match your competence?   Let’s talk!  404-428-2527

Short legs?

http://Short Legs?

How to look taller if you have short legs.

Great skirt length –ankle strap shortens
the leg – choose a pump
Short Legs?
I was surprised when my daughter commented, “Mom, how come I didn’t get your long legs?  I had always thought of how lucky she was to have a nicely proportioned  hourglass body shape while I have a high hip-bone to deal with!

We don’t always appreciate that each of us is designed uniquely.  There is no one else like us in the world   so we have the joy of dressing a unique work of art.  There is a way to camouflage those traits that aren’t our favorites so let’s look at leg length.

Change bootie to pump with hose that blend with colors.
It is the lower part of your leg from your knee down that gives a visual appearance of a long leg.   Thus, a skirt length near the knee is a good length for most people.
Avoid wearing shoes that visually “cut” your lower leg such as ankle-strap shoes or short boots.   You can achieve the look of a long leg line by wearing opaque tights in the same color as your booties and skirt.  Wearing hose that visually pull your skirt and shoes together is also effective.  A pointed toed shoe will further enhance the visual leg length.
Wide legged cropped pants should be avoided.  These trousers are great for the lady with wide hips but they should be full length, almost touching the floor.
Monochromatic blend of colors  pull this together.
Notice how short her legs look with these wide-legged pants.
One final trick for anyone who wants to appear to have longer legs, push your sleeves up!  It is amazing how you instantly appear taller!  How easy is that?
Use these tricks and see how effective they are in helping you achieve the image you want.

Was This Designed for Another Body?

Yikes! This outfit is made for someone else’s body!

You have this great new outfit. Then you notice that it doesn’t look quite like it did in the dressing room!

Fit! It can make or break your image. In reality, few people can walk out of a store with a new garment and have the perfect fit. Each of our bodies is unique. None of us has the perfect proportions to match those used by a designer. Each brand of clothing uses its own design specs which explains why one brand will fit you beautifully and another will not even be wearable. You may have chosen a beautiful garment well styled for you but it doesn’t look great on you. It is probably fit. This is when you check with the alterations person and see if it can be adjusted to fit well and if the alteration are cost effective.

Some of the most common fit issues are:Too tight–Too loose in certain areas–Sleeves too long or short–Sleeves are too tight or too loose–Pants have pull lines, especially in the crotch area–Proportion is not flattering to your build.  Notice how much better the right image on the bottom  looks with some fine tuning.

This suit does not fit! The shoulders appear to be too wide and the sleeves are too short. Obviously, the skirt on the left is too tight. And we haven’t even seen the front!
This looks more like a bath robe than a dress. It is too    blousy and makes the wearer appear pounds heavier. I would suggest something more tailored to give her a stronger, trim looking vertical line.
These pants pull in the rear. The rise is too short. This cannot be altered to fit properly so take care in choosing jeans and trousers that fit your rise.

It’s Officially Fall!

With fall officially here, I am getting fashion magazines featuring new fall clothes that are arriving in the stores.  I was really disappointed to see Vogue flooding the pages with plaids in every iteration.  It
looked more like a magazine for lumberjacks to choose their wardrobes to transition into cooler weather!  The lumberjack look has a place–think hunting,  cutting trees and many hardy outdoor activities.  Fashion for every day is a bit of a stretch.

Plaids give an outdoor image.  The larger the plaid, the more masculine it looks.  Plaids work very well for the person with a square jaw when appropriately sized to your features but they are not flattering for rounded features.  Most of the garments that I noticed would have been appropriate for a Bohemian look but not serious daily wear.  I can’t imagine wearing these selections to work unless you work in a very casual setting.

There were a number of various sized check as well.  I mean like one often sees in an Italian restaurant in red.  Do you want to look like the tablecloth in a pizza restaurant?  Even if the check is black and white, it still reminds you of a tablecloth!  Carolina Herrera, known for her beautiful refined, feminine clothing, featured an evening dress in about a 1″ black and white check.  Wouldn’t you feel more appropriate at a picnic?

You will be happy to know that there are many other choices to help you choose the right look for you.  Wisely, the buyers for the stores chose more wearable pieces that do not represent the extreme choices of Vogue.  Lets here it for the buyers!

Images from Saks.

Look! I’m Beautiful!

 Look!  I’m Beautiful!

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall.  I’m Ugly!
What ever happened between these little girls who see their own beauty in the mirror but grow up to find every perceived flaw?  I find that women have a much greater tendency than men to be self-deprecating.  When they look in the mirror, they see just the things they don’t like and dismiss their natural beauty.
One of the things I love the most about being an image consultant is helping women discover their personal beauty and learn how to make it work for them.  After all, each of us has totally unique finger-prints and irises, then without question, each of us is a unique creation, never intended to look like someone else.
Little girls look in the mirror and appreciate their image.  Look at the sheer delight in the face of this little girl.  I have always love the Norman Rockwell picture of a young girl all dressed up admiring herself in her make-believe world.  How do we lose that?  It may be from some thoughtless critical remarks.   It often comes when young girls start to compare themselves with others.
It always saddens me when I see Cher today.  She was strikingly beautiful with her dramatic bone structure.  Her American Indian heritage was evident, giving her a unique beauty, unlike anyone else. In my opinion, she has diminished her unusual beauty by trying to look like everyone else.
The key is to accept the “is’s”!  So you wish you were tall enough to be a model and you are 5′ 2″.  That’s and “is” and can’t be changed.  Learn how to appreciate your petite frame and make the most of it.  You can wear things that no 5′ 10″ woman can wear!  Or perhaps you are large boned.  You aren’t going to be able to wear something frilly and very feminine.  You will probably look fabulous in more tailored, classic or sporty clothes.

 Norman Rockwell was a master at capturing emotions of children.  This little girl is totally delighted in the result of adding make-up.

I encourage everyone to stop and look at your own beautiful design.  Treasure those aspects that are your unique beauty.  Do you get compliments on your hair?  Then choose a style that accentuates your hair, one that you can maintain.  Then, let that be your crowning glory even when you are running to the grocery store.  You have a small waist but are fuller through the hips.  Choose styles that minimize your hips while accentuating your small waist.  You get the picture.  Focus on the features that bring you compliments, those features that you love about yourself and make the most of them.
We love to help women recognize their own special beauty that others do not have.  How fun to embrace your own “Signature Style” and be the most beautiful “you” that you can be!

What’s in Your Wallet (oops!) Closet?


What’s in Your Wallet (Oops) Closet?
Most people wear only 20% of what is in their closets.  That is truly shocking.
Are you a 20%er?
My daughter called me a week ago very excited. She was going to a girlfriend’s and going shopping.  It was Sunday and most of her favorite resale shops were closed so I was a little puzzled.   Then she explained that she was going shopping AT her friend’s home in HER closet!  Her friend had accepted a new position across the country and was selling her large home.  One entire bedroom had been transformed into a closet, affording additional space for her other large closets.  She was inviting friends to come and help her eliminate hundreds of pieces of clothing.
But they were so cheap!

What a great adventure!  But then my image consultant ‘s heart took over and all I could think of was, “How could she possibly wear all those clothes?”  “Wouldn’t it just make your head explode to have hundreds of choices each day?”  How much money is wrapped up in items of clothing that might get worn once a year – or not at all?”

That is an extreme case but working in many of my client’s closets I find similarities. Many of my clients are avid shoppers.    Put the word SALE in front of that and you have catapulted the adventure from enjoying the fun
 shopping to a buying frenzy.
I was going to wear this where??
One of my clients had a huge closet full of clothes, many of which looked just like the next item.  She had found a certain looks that worked very well for her but the need for 15 similarly styled tops is questionable.  Another client had over 10 black wool skirts but she tended to wear more casual slacks to work, leaving these beautiful skirts hanging, unworn, in the back of her closet.
Then there is the client who just loves a sale without analyzing how the garment looks on her.  It may not be a good color or style for her, but it was such a bargain!  Unfortunately. This garment will usually hang in the closet with the tags still attached.
When we moved from a large home with custom walk-in closets, to our condo, I was confronted with having to scale back my clothing to fit two much smaller closets shared with my husband.  We recently installed closet organizers and I now have one of those closets to myself.  I realized that I don’t need lots of clothes.  I only need  well-chosen key basics and a wide variety of versatile accent pieces.  Each of these is in my color palette and coordinate with other pieces.  They reflect my individual style, fit perfectly, and will take me to any event from theatre, casual, important business meeting or other occasion.    The good news:  I never have to spend time in my closet wondering what to wear!

What’s Your Favorite Basic Color?

What’s Your Favorite Basic Color?
I received a call from a client last week asking for guidance in choosing the best color for shirt and tie for an important interview.  Since he works in the tech arena, the basic dress for work is jeans and a polo shirt.  However, even this casual environment expects candidates to up their game for an interview.  Since this is a question I frequently am asked, I thought I would share a few guidelines to help you choose your best look.
Black is the most frequently chosen basic color.  It is strong and powerful-the ideal color to convey an image of power–a great choice for a CEO leading an important meeting but not so good for an interview.   Black is a complex color that sends different messages.   We associate black with grief signaling withdrawal but that can also apply if one is under pressure to finish big project and simply doesn’t have the energy to wear colors.  Black is a good basic if you have very dark hair and/or dark skin but you will appear more approachable using a colored blouse or shirt.   Notice the models pictured above.  The burgundy blouse keeps a business look but brings lightness and softness toward her face.  The man has a more relaxed appearance with light slacks and blue shirt.  Blue is an excellent shirt color, flattering to most people regardless of whether they are cool or warm toned.
Gray is an excellent color for business.  The lighter the shade, the more casual it appears while a charcoal gray which has black added, becomes more powerful and formal.  Gray can be accented by most colors.  Since it is a combination of black and white, it projects compromise, especially in the lighter shades.  It is a wonderful choice to wear into a situation of conflict.  You appear to be ready to negotiate.

Brown has an earthy vibe and is a good choice for people with warm toned coloring.  The addition of black to the brown fabrics makes it more formal business.

Navy blue is my all-time favorite as a wardrobe base color.   Blue is the most universally liked color.  It has a psychological impact of success and spirituality.  We “shoot for the moon” and “reach for the stars” and God is in the heavens.  Navy is formed from blue and black together, giving it the positive attributes just mentioned while adding the power of black.   Thus, navy is a strong business image yet is approachable.  Most all colors complement navy.  Whether, pink, red, orange, yellow, lime green, light teal or lilac or raspberry, you will be able to wear many of your best colors with navy.
Oh, the client who needed some help in his interviewing attire.  He had two job offers, one being the job he really wanted!
Beryl Pleasants
Style With Aplomb