What’s Your Dresscode?

Posted on October 26, 2010 by admin

Kiev, Ukraine – Opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenki, the former prime minister know for her love of designer dresses and high heels, …called the new government dress code “laughable”. You can understand Ms. Tymoshenki’s response when you realize that she appeared on the front cover of Elle magazine Ukrane in 2005.This is from an article by James Marson regarding the new dress code for cabinet of ministers employees. An aid called the code “archaic” and was quoted as saying, “Everyone should have a sense of moderation. If they don’t have it, it’s worth considering whether such a person should be employed in government service.”

The code includes a ban on mini skirts and high heels and calls for employees to maintain a “responsible appearance”. There is lengthy instruction on moderation of dress include instructions for men as well. They are advised to have at least three suits in subtle colors; for work, for summer and for weekends. Plunging necklines are out for ladies as are see-through garments. It is also suggested to tone down perfume and makeup. And, of course, one must not wear the same outfit two days in a row.

What makes this more amusing is when you understand the Russian woman’s fashion mentality. My friend Nina Gleyser who owns Nina’s Couture in Buckhead says that fashion is all-important to Russian women.

Before coming to the United States, Nina had a thriving Couture business in St. Petersburg where women came from all over the USSR and Europe to purchase her designs. She told me that a Russian woman would not even take out the trash in the morning without having her make-up fully applied and being fashionably dressed. Nina also said that they would cut back on food and other necessities in order to be fashionably dressed.

When we were in Russia some ten or fifteen years ago, I observed that the ladies were all wearing fashionable clothing, heels, make-up and well coiffed hair. Just an aside: when women reached a certain unknown age, they transformed into the babushka – wearing a raincoat with a head- scarf, no make-up and “sensible” shoes. There was no transition. No in between. Poof! They were babushkas! 

Although Ukraine is no longer a part of Russia, I get the impression that the women follow the Russian sense of style. Russia today is one of the biggest importers of couture from Paris and Milan. They lead the world in consumption of high-end fashion design.

It will be interesting to see if these new rules are followed. Ukrainian politicians are not known for their decorum in Parliament. Last April a dispute descended into egg-throwing, fisticuffs and torn shirts!

To explore how you can be stylish without sacrificing food or necessities, call us at Style With Aplomb. Beryl@StyleWithAplomb.com 404-467-0288

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10 New Trends for Fall

Posted on October 20, 2010 by admin 

What do you plan to add to your wardrobe for fall? With new fall clothes arriving in stores, let’s take a look what’s being served up for this season.

Green is the fashion color of the season. Unlike the apple green that has dominated the fashion scene for several years, this is an olive green. For all of you who have had color analysis, you know that green is a pivotal color between cool and warm, thus it is important to choose the shade that works with your personal color palette. If your coloring is cool, you will want to choose an olive that has some black added to it while the person with warm coloring will want an olive leaning more toward yellow.

Olive is a great basic color, which can be accented with a bright scarf, blouse or jewelry. I like to wear leopard print shoes trimmed in red and a red handbag to accent my cotton cool-toned olive pantsuit.

Military influenced style goes hand in hand with green. What would be more natural than a military design in olive? The designs feature lots of buttons, epaulettes, pocket flaps and all manner of military detailing. Military, by definition, is generally quite a masculine look. Couple that with olive and you risk looking more like your heading to the battlefield than the office. Not the way to present a polished, feminine, image! My advice: Choose carefully. 

Pantsuits – After several seasons dominated by skirts and dresses, we are seeing a resurgence of the pantsuit. (Can’t you just hear Hillary say, “Yes!”) Pants are more versatile than skirts and for this reason, I prefer them. Rather than buying a matching pantsuit, why not try separates? The best part about this new look is the pants are available in a variety of styles. If you are a triangle with wider hips than shoulders, select the wider legged trousers. Straight-legged pants are a good style if your legs and hips are slender. Really skinny pants are best worn by the very young with long, slender legs and hips. Brands vary a great deal in cut so you can most likely find the pant that really works for you, even if it takes a bit of alteration.

Capes, Ponchos and Vests – You will see a wide range in styles of capes and ponchos. This is a fun way to update your current wardrobe. There are cape jackets that give a more business-like appearance or the casual poncho on the other side of the spectrum, which works in a casual setting with a great pair of jeans. Depending on which cape or poncho you choose, it will work with a variety of different slacks or jeans and take you to many different settings. Vests are practical for our Atlanta temperatures. These are really just jackets without sleeves. I found one in Europe several years ago and it is a staple in my casual wardrobe throughout the fall and winter. Worn with a long-sleeved sweater, it is lighter than a full jacket or coat. Any of these choices will not only give your fall wardrobe a new, updated look but will offer great versatility.

We’ll complete the Top 10 next week.

If you are puzzling over which fashion statement will give you the most bang for your buck as you step into fall, give me a call. Brainstorming is always better with two! Beryl@StyleWithAplomb.com or 404-467-0288.

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How do you choose flattering clothes and accessories?

Posted on October 19, 2010 by admin 

How do you choose flattering clothes and accessories?

The easy answer is: “Know your own signature style.” That’s the easy answer but when it comes to real life, it isn’t always the answer we follow.

I am an image consultant. I know what colors look best on me. I know the styles that work best, yet I still occasionally succumb to a great bargain. For instance, last fall I found a Ralph Lauren blazer for 70% of the original price. It fit perfectly. It would work with different jeans that I presently owned and would be the perfect jacket for cool days or when I wanted to be casual but look a bit more put together. The problem: the jacket was black. Now I know that black is too harsh with my very fair coloring but I rationalized that I could wear a white or pastel turtleneck sweater under it and it would work, so I bought it. Yes, I have worn it numerous times and all of my rationalization was correct. But, I never feel great in it. I feel okay.

After that experience (yes, there have been others) I have been rethinking my philosophy for making fashion decisions in the future. I have come to this conclusion. I want to always look great. Just okay doesn’t cut it any more.

How do you do this? First of all, know your color palette. This, I think is the most difficult and gets even more so as we age. When you are young with more dimension of color in your skin, the biggest key is getting it right between cool and warm. People’s personal colors change as we age or as we go through stressful periods. About every five years, our coloring adjusts slightly. Sometimes it happens more quickly. I remember working with a lady from New Orleans. She had lost everything in Hurricane Katrina. Carla Mathis, (the woman with whom I studied) had done her colors right after the hurricane. She came to me about two years later and asked to have a reevaluation. The colors that looked beautiful on her were more vibrant that those done right after the hurricane. In another instance, during a workshop I gave for single women, one lady commented that she had mostly black in her closet. She had recently gone through a divorce. Going through emotional or personal trauma effects more than your emotions. Wearing color takes energy. If you need to put your energy into other areas of your life, you will resonate with more neutral colors so that your energy can be devoted to your area of need. As the crisis passes, your more vibrant self emerges.

Know your body shape and proportion. Certain styles flatter certain body shapes. Just because it is in style, doesn’t mean it will work for you. For example, cropped pants were popular last summer. If you have shorter legs, it simply will make them look shorter so don’t follow that trend. If you are a triangle with wider hips, the leggings – not matter what name they bear – will always make you look more like an ice cream cone than give that svelte image of a six foot tall model with no hips.

Know your scale. Whether you are petite or large in scale, accessories should reflect your scale. That huge purse or necklace that is fabulous on a large boned, large scaled person will never work on a small-scaled person. I just consulted with a petite lady who has larger scaled features. She can wear jewelry in a larger scale than someone who is petite with small features but she still needs to keep it in scale with her very small frame.

These are probably the most important considerations in allowing you to choose flattering clothes and accessories. To go deeper into the finer details, one can consider proportion in more detail and look at the part line and texture have in helping each person present his or her best self.

If you want to get past okay and always feel great in what you wear, we need to talk. This fall, I have been working with clients to show them how to always look great with fewer clothes. Save money, time and consternation! Beryl@StyleWithAplomb.com 404-467-0288

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Is Fall Finally Here?

Posted on October 13, 2010 by admin 

It’s October and the leaves are changing so, despite the unseasonably warm temperatures, it is time to think of switching to fall clothes.

I have just started my bi-annual closet audit. Our closets in the condo are not as large as they were in the house, so for the first time, I am going to pack away summer clothes, giving more room for my winter garments. I know many women who love this approach to seasonal change. When it’s time to unpack your spring clothes, it seems like greeting old friends. This also allows you to look at each garment with fresh eyes. You may discover something that you thought was a keeper, is really not quite up to standard for a new season. Or, perhaps one of your go-to pieces has really become tired and needs to be repurposed.

First, I look over each item and make sure it does not have stains, pulls or other signs of wear. Then, I determine if it needs to go to the cleaners. Anything with visible soiling needs to be sent. However, if it is just wrinkled, I am packing it away so the dry cleaning can be done in the spring and the garment is ready to wear.

A quick tip: don’t stores clothes in the plastic drycleaner bags. Dry cleaner bags do not allow natural fibers to breathe. 

Something else that I did was store a few things that I am not quite ready to give up. There is that beautiful, beaded long evening dress and the suede suite. I have worn neither of them for several years, yet they are not Good Will candidates but probably not quite up to standard for a resale shop. I also packed away the turquoise silk dress that I wore 24 years ago when we got married. The style was timeless but the shoulders have become faded from hanging in the closet. That is definitely a sentimental “must keep”. Besides, my husband who is far more sentimental than I, would be really upset if that dress disappeared!

Summer shoes were transferred to the secondary closet in a hanging storage unit. My winter shoes now reside in my primary closet. All sweaters and blouses are arranged by color. I added a separate grouping for those things that I wear at home and on weekends and those garments that I wear for working with clients, meetings and other events. Slacks and jeans are grouped in the same fashion. My suits, skirts and jackets also reside together.

Now, when I walk into my closet, I know exactly what I have and what items work with each other. With that information top of mind, I can keep an eye open for new fall looks that can be worn with what I have in my closet and which accent pieces might give a fresh new look.

To paraphrase Coco Chanel: You don’t need a closet full of clothes; only a few great pieces that look fabulous on you. 

Want some help choosing those few great pieces? Call me. We’ll determine which pieces those should be and what accents can give them lots of mileage. Beryl@StyleWithAplomb.com. 404-467-0288 office 404-428-2527 mobile.

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