It’s All About Proportion

Posted on January 26, 2011 by admin

Boots have been such a popular fashion look this season that I thought it would be helpful to talk about what work and what doesn’t.

Shoes and boot fashions have had a heavier look in recent seasons, which will continue into the spring. I have seen women in feminine, delicate dresses wearing motorcycle boots. There is just a disconnect between a feminine dress and heavy, utilitarian boots. Each has a role in fashion but those roles do not intersect.

The motorcycle or work boots are adorable with jeans for a casual, outdoor look. This is not a look that everyone can wear. I feel the look is best on someone with a real outdoor persona and generally better for the young. It is a lot easier for a thirty year old to pull off this look than a sixty year old!

The main key to wearing boots well is balance. Look at this picture on the left. The balance is excellent and the fashion forward style is hip and visually pleasing. Balance is achieved through use of color and physical bulk.

First, the black boots and leggings give weight to the lower part of the body and balance is added by wearing this oversized black vest over the big shirt. The scarf not only gives a pop of color but additional bulk toward the face to balance the weight of boots. This look wouldn’t be nearly as effective if the model had blonde hair unless she had a lot of attitude.

Current styles take more skill in keeping good balance so I recommend you look at the total picture. If your style is bulky boots, be sure you add some extra visual weight to keep that balance. When you look in the mirror for your final fashion check, do a “blink” test. Close your eyes for a few seconds then open them. If you see the total you, you most likely have achieved good balance. If, however, you notice your feet first, you need to add something to achieve balance.

Need a little individual guidance? Call Beryl at 404-467-0288 or email us at Beryl@StyleWithAplomb.com

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Forever In Blue Jeans

Posted on January 13, 2011 by admin 

Denim, which was featured on the runway of several designers for their spring collections, brings images of cowboys, and gold miners.   Levi Strauss in 1873, introduced the original dungarees to the gold miners.  The sturdy, durable fabric became a staple of the working class.   My daddy was a rancher and a cowboy.  He always wore Levi’s.  I remember him describing when he was young that no one ever washed their Levi’s.  Anyone who did wash them or, heaven forbid,  wore a brand other than Levi’s was looked upon with disdain by the real cowboys.

A small exhibit of just seven paintings from the 17th century, debuted in Paris during Fashion Week depicting peasants wearing jackets, aprons and dresses from a fabric called “genes”.  It is thought that the name came from Geona, Italy, which is presumed to be the place of manufacture.  French weavers also are credited with producing a similar fabric in Nimes, which was referred to as “de Nimes”.    So, there you have it.  The names jeans and denim originated in Europe and Levi Strauss just introduced the fabric to the United States.

There are very few examples of actual fabric from this period, probably because it was worn by the poorest of the poor and they literally wore out their garments.  The paintings confirm this assumption.  The exhibit is presently in New York at art gallery Didier Aaron.

Back to designers presenting denim in their spring collections.  Designers such as Stella McCartney, Derek Lam, Celine, Dries Van Noten and Valentino included denim in their spring collections.  I have only see pictures of a few designs but am unimpressed.  Stella McCartney showed a shift dress that resembled a knee-length hospital gown.  Now the few times I have ever had to wear a hospital gown, I remember joking with the nurses that this would never make a fashion statement.  How wrong I was!  I think Stella McCartney has risen to prominence as a designer because she is a talented young designer and not just due to her famous father, but this does not personify her best work.  Celine presented a boxy t-shirt over full-length denim skirt, which resembles scrubs. Both of these designs, in my opinion, might very well have been more appropriate for the peasants in the 17th century.

I like denim and think most everyone should have some great-fitting jeans and, maybe jackets or other accessories.  Venturing out from the traditional, I can see where some very interesting and fun designs could be created from denim.  Let’s hope the designs I haven’t seen have more vision.

If you want your closet to bring a smile to your face every time you walk in, call us.  Beryl@StyleWithAplomb.com or 404-467-0288.

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Stripes or Polka Dots?

Polka dots and stripes are reappearing on the fashion scene in the cruise and spring collections.   All polka dots and stripes are not created equal.   Let’s look at them more closely and see which iteration might have a place in your spring wardrobe.

St. Johns at Neiman Marcus

St. Johns at Neiman Marcus

Polka dots have a fun feeling to them.  They are round, active and remind you of balloons and balls – fun.  When I took classes at UCLA my professor said polka dots were frivolous.  I have come to the conclusion that tiny polka dots with little space between are, in deed, frivolous.  However, larger polka dots with more space between have much more stability.   These polka dots are still fun but with a much more sophisticated feel.

Stripes in women’s fashion are generally horizontal, projecting a serene message.  Think of a landscape with the horizontal lines of fields.   Turn the stripes into a diagonal, and they project an active, dynamic image.  Picture the contrast between the serene field and jagged mountains.  Vertical stripes project an erect, soldier-like image.  Men’s pinstripe suits have a formal, business like persona.

Armani Collezioni at Neiman Marcus

Armani Collezioni at Neiman Marcus

When stripes are used in women’s fashion, they can vary in width as well.   The wider the stripe, the more impact it makes.  I noticed the first stripes that appeared in the fashion cycle this year were in black and white.  This contrast is dramatic to begin with so a very wide stripe in black and white can only be pulled off by a wearer with a lot of attitude.  By softening the color palette, a wide stripe softens.   Today, I was looking at a new magazine picturing a soft pink and white, wide horizontal stripe. It was perfect for the blonde, feminine model.  Black and white would have completely overpowered her.

Tory Burch at Saks

Tory Burch at Saks

When varied widths and/or colors are used in stripes, the look becomes much more sporty.  With polka dots, varied colors take on a more frivolous feel and are more sporty.  It presents a whimsical look.

If your facial structure has lots of angles on your and your brows are straight, stripes will be excellent for you.  If you face is soft with lots of rounded lines, polka dots will be your friend.  If you have a combination of rounded and straight lines, you can wear either print.

Have fun choosing the right look for you.

If you need some guidance in your pursuit of stripes or polka dots, give us a call.  We’ll be glad to help.  Beryl@StyleWithAplomb.com or 404-467-0288

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Cruise into Coral

Posted on January 7, 2011 by admin

I happened to be in some stores when the cruise/resort lines fashion collections were just arriving.  I was fascinated to note that each line was predominantly coral.  It was like everyone got the memo.  Along with the more neutral tones that supported the coral were shades of green.

I just read an article about the cruise/resort line fashion collections that caught my attention.  I had noted that the cruise/resort collections seemed to be more important of late but did not understand why.  It used to be that top designers would delegate the cruise line to their junior designers until they realized that the cruise collection is very important financially.  That collection has a longer sales cycle before markdowns than either the more important fall or spring collections.  Cruise arrives at about the time the fall line is going through its first markdown cycle and stays until when the spring fashion collections begin to arrive.   Thus, from a marketing standpoint, it enjoys the longest period in the store before markdown.  It is not surprising then, that top designers have taken over the cruise collections themselves, recognizing what a key role this line plays in keeping their investors happy.

It is fun to see color after somber seasons of olive and various neutrals.  Coral is a great crossover color.   It is a tinted orange with some pink added so depending on whether the pink or the orange is dominant, there is a coral that will work with either a cool or warm color palette.  I have seen several displays combining coral with pink for a fun analogous palette.

When you are choosing a coral tone, be sure to look carefully at how it works with your natural skin tone.  If you have cool toned skin, choose a coral with more pink added.  Orange (and peach tones are orange with white added) will usually force an orange tone in your skin and no one wants to go around looking like a pumpkin!  The softer tint of coral or peach will not be quite as obvious but it could make the skin appear more sallow.  I’m not sure why, but cool tones worn on warm toned skin are not quite as obviously wrong as the warm toned colors worn on cool skin.  Of course, the best solution is to know if you are cool or warm toned and to choose the colors best for your skin so you will always look great.

Coral has a warm, cheerful feel, offering the perfect antidote for the depressing social and economic conditions that we face.   Coral is the perfect color to cheerfully welcome New Year. (All photos from Neiman Marscus.)

Don’t forget, help in determining which are your best colors, is only a phone call away at Style With Aplomb.  Call Beryl at 404-467-0288 or email at Beryl@StyleWithAplomb.com.

Posted in style | Tagged colors, fashion, spring fashion | Leave a comment