Cardigan sweaters have been popular as long as I can remember.  My mother and all of her friends used to have a white cardigan to slip on as a light jacket.  They may have been practical but were not only matronly looking but also all looked alike.  As I was growing up, the fashion changed to our buttoning them up for a stand-alone top.  Of course, there was a short time we buttoned them up the back just to be different.  (That might have just been a fad in Oregon!)

In recent years, businesswomen, embraced the cardigan, paired with a matching shell.   Taking the place of a jacket, the cardigan set gave a softer yet professional appearance.   In warmer weather, you could button the cardigan and drape it over your back, tying the sleeves in front.  This was cooler for our Atlanta summers but gave a more put together look.   An added benefit  for those with a triangle shape was that the sweater added more substance to the shoulder area shoulders helping balance with the hips.  It also added visually to sloping shoulders.  Of course, the look did not visually benefit an inverted triangle.

This year the cardigan is more popular than ever with a new twist.  Matchy-matchy is no longer in vogue, although I do still see matching cardigans and shells advertised in the higher end department store catalogues.  The look this year is a bright colored cardigan, buttoned part way and paired with a shell or blouse underneath.  The cardigan is generally more fitted like a blouse and can be found in a full range of colors as well as prints.  Some prints are shown paired with a complimentary print shell or blouse.   Combining two prints requires some real know-how, as the look can be great or a disaster.   Check out some of the lines like Etro, know for combining prints, to look for ideas and then choose two prints only if you really like the combination and feel comfortable wearing it.
Cardigans need not be just the traditional sweater style.  This season features boleros, waist-length styles that button, long cardigans, cape effects — the choice is endless.  These sweaters are one of the most practical ways to update your wardrobe while adding a piece that is really versatile.   And, the best part is that stores are starting their markdowns so you can get a great value while still finding a wide selection.

Happy shopping!

Are You Ready for the Beach?

While watching “Pretty Woman” recently, my husband asked, “Haven’t we seen this before?”  Well, of course we had, we but I not only like Julia Roberts but thoroughly enjoy seeing her transformation from a not so believable hooker into a stunning woman.  With this recent image in mind, you can imagine my shock when I spied her photo clad in a bikini on the front page of the Enquirer at the grocery store checkout.  I understand from first hand experience that motherhood can add bulges and bumps to the sleekest of bodies, especially if you have had twins, but why would one want to flaunt all of those changes for the world to see?

About last March, many of us were contemplating the new diet or exercise program we were going to embark upon in preparation for the summer swimwear season.  Now the season is officially upon us and not everyone has achieved the goal of that “perfect” body to show off a new suit so let’s take a look at which suits are going to be most flattering.

It is astounding to see the number of photos of celebrities clad in bikinis long after that style was attractive on them.   It is either that they are in a time warp and don’t see themselves as others do, or they just don’t care.  I think everyone can look attractive and appropriate in a swimsuit if they just spend some time choosing the best style for their body.

First of all, in my opinion, only the young with fabulous figures should wear a bikini and one-piece suits can be more alluring.  A one-piece suit slims the mid-section and helps camouflage rolls and bumps.  If one carries quite a bit of extra weight through the mid-section, suits with a slight skirt conceal even more.   There are suits with a bra top which offer support for a fuller bust or, for the small busted person, styles with ruffles or gathers in the bust area enhance dimension.  The one-shoulder look has found its way into swimsuit fashion as well.   This can give an elegant, not too revealing, look.  The asymmetry tends to draw the eye up and elongate the body.  Prints have also carried over into swimwear this season.  Print can very successfully camouflage unwanted bulges by drawing attention to the print and not to the body.  Just be careful that you don’t choose a suit with a pattern strategically placed to draw attention to an area of the body that you don’t want to target.   The “V” or wrapped look helps to elongate the area from the neck to the bust.  High-cut legs can slim legs while traditional legs cut can add width.  If you have extremely large thighs, try on suits and determine which is more attractive.

Since swimsuits are for swimming or sunbathing, having a great cover-up is key for walking around the pool or along the beach.  There are great scarves some 45”X45” that are really versatile and often match bathing suits.  The corners can be tied just over the bust, creating a dress effect or tied at the waist, making a long skirt.  They are not only attractive, but hide any imperfections that you think the bathing suit reveals while you are walking.    Of course, there are as many different cover-ups as there are suits so you can have great fun choosing the right one for you.   For the best look, though, be sure the cover-up relates to your bathing suit and looks deliberate instead of thrown together.

This summer, there is no need for you to dread putting on that suit.  By choosing a suit that flatters you and adding an attractive cover-up, you need never fear having that surprise photo appearing in the family picture album – or on the cover page of the Enquirer!