What to take in your suitcase?

Posted on January 26, 2010 by admin 

With airline travel becoming increasingly challenging, it puts more pressure on the business traveler to choose wisely.  I recently spoke with a group of women who travel every week and are searching for ways to maintain a fresh new look each day without feeling like they are wearing the same thing every day.  I have another client who travels two or three times a month and her company does not want to pay for a checked bag so everything must go into a roll-on.   So what to do?!

It is easier when you travel and are calling on different clients during the week but those whose travel takes them to one client for three or four days can find the wardrobe challenges daunting.

My suggestion is to take one basic suit (jacket with pants or skirt) then add variety through:

Texture

Color

Interesting scarves

Your suit serves as the base while adding texture, color or interesting scarves gives variety so that you and your clients have a feeling that you are wearing a different outfit each day.

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Texture:  Notice in this example, the ruffles on the blouse offer lots of texture.  Now this blouse might have more ruffles than you care to wear but the point is that the eye is drawn to the texture of the blouse.  You hardly notice the long, black sweater and the gray skirt.  We are just looking for a concept here, not that each of these pieces would be perfect for your body type or personality.

Day 1:  Your core suit is gray.  You wear it with a simple shell; let’s say black with a jewel neckline.   Accent with an interesting necklace.

Day 2:  Wear the skirt with a textured blouse and long black cardigan as in the example.

Day 3:  Wear black trousers, the cardigan and shell with a bright colored scarf at the neck.  Use a longer silk scarf (print or plain) and loop it around your neck then tie the ends in front.  Your attention will be drawn to the scarf and the sweater and trousers will be subordinate.

Day 4:  Wear your gray suit jacket with black trousers and a bright colored blouse.

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Notice on this second example that the blouse becomes the focal point.  Again, these colors or styles may not be to your liking so we are again looking at the concept.  For a warm palette, let’s look at the possibilities.

Day 1:  Wear a chocolate brown suit with trousers.   Wear a camel shell and interesting accent jewelry.

Day 2:  Wear the yellow sweater, floral blouse and camel slacks as above.

Day 3:  Wear the chocolate brown suit jacket, second floral or bright colored blouse in toasted greens, teal or burnt orange or a combination some of these colors and camel slacks.

Day 4:  Wear the chocolate brown slacks, yellow sweater and brown shell from day 1 with a brightly colored scarf.

In both cases, you have other possible combinations beyond the suggestions given.

Let me just throw out some other possibilities. Let’s say you have a traditional, waist length cardigan.  For the gray/black option, it could be in red, plumb, or blue:  shades that go well with gray or black.  Button the bottom few buttons and wear a shell underneath that coordinates with your skirt or slacks.    Add a scarf at the neck pulling in coordinating colors and you have another option requiring hardly any suitcase space.  For warm tones, how about a teal blue, lime green or burnt orange?  The bright color will give a completely different feel to your basic colors and look fresh and different.

I would suggest basics of gray/black or gray/navy for cool toned skin and chocolate brown/camel for warm toned skin.   As spring approaches, a warm or cool toned taupe is excellent for business.   These neutrals will still go with the bright colors that complement your natural coloring.

With these few suggestions, I hope your imagination is now ignited to see the variety of possibilities that can be made.  Don’t forget to keep track of what you wore with each client so you can use a different combination for the next visit.  By doing this, you will appear fresh and different each time you call on a client.

Tip:  Dry cleaning will change the fabric color over time so be sure to dry clean both jacket and bottom together so they maintain the same color.

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Stylish on the Slopes

Posted on January 21, 2010 by admin 

Stylish on the Slopes

We are in Vail this week for our annual outing with family.    My first trip to Vail was 24 years ago and I felt that I had been transported into a wonderland.  The charm of the village is enhanced by clear Christmas lights on trees throughout which gives a fairy tale effect.   Whether walking through the village or being up on the slopes you are struck by the myriad of different ski wear.  Some of the boarders look pretty – well, stereotypical of boarders.  However, the variety of skiwear reflects every color in the rainbow and every personal preference.  Which brought to mind my first skiing experience.

When I was seventeen and a freshman   in college, I was dating someone who invited me skiing.  The little college I attended in Eastern Oregon had two small ski stations within driving distance from campus, neither or which offered any rental gear.  That meant that I needed to come up with my own gear.  Now, being on a very tight budget, I was challenged as to how to make my money stretch as far as possible.  So first of all, I had to have boots so that was purchase number one.   The next most important, of course, was my outfit.  I chose some navy ski pants, a beautiful white ski sweater and topped it off with a medium blue parka that really enhanced my blue eyes.  By this time I was nearly out of money but still needed skis.  Being quite creative, I remembered my dad having a pair of skis that he had used to ski over the mountain into the Hells Canyon on the Snake River during the winter to check on cattle he had wintering there.  (Remember that I was raised on a cattle ranch in Eastern Oregon.)  Now the fact that the skis were wooden and seven feet long never posed a big problem in my mind.  After all, this was the days when long, straight skis were the style of the day.   I took the skis to a shop and had metal edges and downhill bindings added and I was set.  Of course, the reality was that even with the trend of the day being longer skis, these were nearly a foot too long for my 5’ 7” frame.  That fact was born out when I found doing turns quite challenging.   In the several times I skied, I never made it off the bunny slopes but I always looked good.  As my husband says, “You haven’t changed!”

Based on my perusing the ski shops here, I doubt that a college student on a tight budget could buy his/her stylish outfit.  Even though skis and boots can easily be rented, it would take a good chunk of the “What Not To Wear” budget to just buy the outfit.  (And, let’s don’t even think about Aspen.   The ski outfits pale in comparison to the ladies you see on the streets sporting in excess of six figures in furs, jewelry and purses.)   That aside, if you think you would like to take up the sport, try Peter Glenn’s big sale that is held every fall.  After all, part of the fun of skiing is looking great on the slopes!

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Stripes Anyone?

Posted on January 14, 2010 by admin 

“We love stripes!” Colleen Sherin, woman’s fashion director for Saksis sometimes difficult to pinpoint exactly what sparks a new fashion trend but there have recently been several books about Coco Chanel in addition to the film.  The economy may have played a part as well.  Certainly the stripes, originating from the lowly swabbies, may be more appealing to consumers than emulating a suited banker or for that matter, a polished politician.   I don’t think we can pinpoint the exact catalyst of why this return to fashion representing honest labor and earthiness will be so dominate in stores.   Based on what I read, you can expect to see  many versions of the mariniere for both men and women as spring clothes begin to arrive in stores across the country.

Stripes have a fresh, clean look and most people can wear some version of them.   I caution you to do the “blink” test to be sure they are not too dominant.   If so, there is another version that will work so keep looking.  (The “blink” test is to close your eyes for a moment as you stand in front of a mirror.  When you open your eyes, if the garment is the first thing you see, it is too dominant.)

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New Year’s Resolution #1 – Lose Weight!

Posted on January 6, 2010 by admin 

 

Ringing in the New Year always brings with it resolutions to drop those few pounds gained through our annual eating marathon from Thanksgiving to the New Year.  I have just finished Murielle Guiliano’s French Women Don’t Get Fat and  was surprised to see that most of her suggestions echo those that I have practiced for years.  My weight has stayed the same since I was about 25 so I know the habits work, at least for me.   Just for the record, I weighed 15-20 pounds more through high school and college until I discovered how to maintain a healthy weight.

  1. Don’t ever go on a “diet”.  The very word conjures up visions of deprivation and facing an unpleasant experience.  Just by tweaking some of your eating habits, you can drop a few pounds without ever feeling like you are on a diet. 
  2. Read ingredients on labels when grocery shopping.  If you can’t pronounce it, you don’t want to put it in your body.  You will be amazed at what you discover.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are the most nutritious, then frozen with canned being the least.  
  3. Breakfast is the most important meal of your day so be sure to have some protein.  I always have a protein shake. It can be made with almond milk, sweeten with Stevia (a natural sweetener with 0 calories that you can find in health food stores) and add frozen berries to make it like a milk shake.  Other options are a piece of cheese or an egg with Ezekiel bread or yogurt with good quality granola.  You will never get as hungry during the day if you start your day in this way. 
  4. Lunch can be a homemade soup, salad or other fresh vegetables with possibly some lean chicken.  When eating out, you never know what has been added to the food.  Sugar is a common addictive and most foods have too much salt, rich sauces or added fats which can negate your good intentions. 
  5. Have an afternoon snack of a handful of raw or toasted almonds without salt or an apple, orange or other piece of fruit.  The actual fruit is better than juice since it is more nutrition’s and you get the pleasure of chewing while your stomach has to work to digest it and feels more full.  Don’t forget to chew each bite thoroughly.  This starts the digestive process and also gives your stomach time to realize when it is satisfied. 
  6. Dinner is best when prepared at home for the reasons mentioned above.  I often prepare two or three vegetables or a salad and vegetables with a serving of wild-caught fish or chicken.  I frequently buy a roasted chicken (free-range antibiotic free), which gives us our meat serving for two meals, and then I can pop the carcass in a pot and cook it to make broth, which include the remaining pieces of chicken.  This is the base for a great vegetable soup. (Be sure to skim off the excess fat.)  Sometimes I serve a salad with chicken the second night.  Options are limitless. 
  7. Drink plenty of water.  Our bodies are 70% water and must be hydrated adequately.  If you weight 140, you should divide that by half  – 70 – and that is the number of ounces of water your body needs daily.  Coffee and soft drinks do not substitute for water.  If you are drinking several soft drinks each day, remember that a can of Coke contains twelve tablespoons of sugar and the diet Coke is sweetened with a chemical that causes you to crave more sugar.   Begin gradually cutting back as you increase water.  But, you say, “I just don’t like the taste of water.”  We have become so accustomed to drinking flavored drinks that many people don’t like the taste of water.  Water from the tap has chlorine and tastes pretty awful so drink filtered water or bottled water.  Most refrigerators have filters on their dispensers.   You can add a squeeze of lemon to give a better taste and boost your consumption of fruit at the same time.   Fruit juice, however, is high in calories so it should not take the place of water. 
  8. Begin moving.  If you don’t regularly go to the gym, look for ways to add steps each day.  Twenty minutes of daily walking will jump-start your metabolism so that you will burn more calories.   More importantly, there are many other health benefits such as helping prevent osteoporosis and helping high blood pressure to name just a few. Take the stairs when possible and park further from the building allowing you to have a little longer walk.   Find ways to add more steps, which will add up to twenty minutes without your even realizing it. 
  9. Allow yourself treats.  If you love sweets, treat yourself after dinner with a special reward.  It is best to have a small, self-contained portion.  It is easier to stop at one scoop of ice cream if the whole carton is not there beckoning you!  If your weakness is chips, have a handful after dinner for your special reward.   Just don’t eat the whole bag.  Have a glass of wine if you like.  The key is to never feel deprived but to reward yourself with a small portion of your favorite.  

After a few weeks of following these simple suggestions, I think you will be surprised at how much better you feel not to mention the pounds you have shed.

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