Wear Your Crown Proudly

If a woman’s hair is her crowning beauty, why do so many women give it so little attention?

Uniform for many young women.
Uniform for many young women.

When we meet someone, either a friend or new acquaintance, our eye first goes to her hair.  Unfortunately, it seems that many women treat their hair as an inconvenience and give it the least attention.  Grocery stores are filled with young women wearing workout clothes; their long hair pulled back into a ponytail and pulled through the opening at the back of their baseball cap.  Long hair, properly groomed, is beautiful but it requires more care than shorter hair.

How do you choose a hairstyle that works for you and your lifestyle?

Soft style for soft features.
Soft style for soft features.

First I would suggest seeing a good hair stylist.  This can be a challenge.  Top stylists can be very expensive.   Well known stylists like Ted Gibson and Nick Arrojo of What Not to Wear fame, can cost $500 to $1000 for a cut, not to mention the trip to New York for the appointment.  That’s not an option for most of us.   However, for all of you who ever watched that program, I’m sure you agree that the haircut was the defining step in transforming women from “before” to “after”.

Good hairdressers understand your hair type and what will be the best cut for you.  They also are trained to look at your facial shape and features to determine how to style your hair. I have a client with beautiful long, softly curled hair.   It frames her rounded facial features and is truly her crowing beauty.  However, one time I met her at her hairdresser’s when she had impulsively asked to have her hair straightened, resembling Jennifer Aniston.  This straight line simply didn’t work with her soft features and diminished her beauty.

It is up to you to tell your hairdresser your time restraints and your level of expertise in working with your hair.  An expert hairdresser can then choose a style that works for your hair type, your facial structure and one that you can keep up on a daily basis.

Fitting for Meg's overall persona.
Fitting for Meg’s overall persona.

There are several ways you can find a good hairdresser.  First, when you see someone with a great hairstyle, that you think would work for you, ask her who does her hair.  Most women will be flattered that you asked and will gladly share the information.

Secondly, when you are researching a new hairdresser, look at the type of training they have had.  Some training schools stress styling while others focus on cuts.  I have very straight, fine hair requiring a superb cut, almost like a sculpture.  My questions always focus on cutting expertise.

If the hairdresser is a little over your budget but you really like the cut, have him or her do the initial cut and ask for a recommendation for someone in the salon who is less expensive but can replicate the cut.  Most high-end hairdressers recognize there are budget constraints and are happy to make referrals within the salon.  If they are offended by such a request, you probably don’t want to deal with their ego anyway.

Next week, we will discuss how more mature woman can choose the perfect style for a youthful and stylish appearance.

Ladies, start your engines!

What’s with the motorcycle jackets?  Just when I thought they were a one-season fad, here they are again as the “new” look.   I’m not sure what’s the attraction.

Biker Jacket
Biker Jacket

That said, a leather jacket, selected to fit your style and color palette, can be a key wardrobe staple.

I just read an article featuring moto-jackets used as accessories from evening gowns to jeans.  The jeans I can see but, in my mind, there is disconnect between a motorcycle jacket and an evening dress.  Sienna Miller, a beautiful actress with her own edgy style, appeared at the Met ball wearing just that.  Not only was the jacket black covered with silver studs, but the sleeves were down to her knuckles, giving the illusion that she was playing dress-up in her big brother’s coat.

So, why is this not a good look?  And, is there a way you can pull it off with aplomb?

First, know your style.  There is a big difference between a sporty outdoor look and classic or romantic.   Many motorcycle jackets have a “bad girl biker” look instead of fashion forward or edgy.  I attended a training class in Toronto a couple of years ago where one of the image consultants was clad in black leather trousers and a black leather motorcycle jacket.  She was an attractive blond with a classic persona.  All that leather in black gave her a harsh appearance.  No one wants to look like Marlon Brando in “The Wild Ones”.

Marlon Brando
Marlon Brando

Authentic motorcycle jackets are accented with heavy zippers, studs and other hardware, adding to the masculine, tough impression.  They were designed to protect the rider in case of an accident, not be a fashion statement.

 Classic Moto softened
Classic Moto softened

If you love an edgy look, how about considering the classic moto-jacket in a softer color?  This light pink jacket has simply softened the look by choice of shape, color and less hardward.  This jacket still has an edgy look but could be paired with skirts or dresses as well as jeans.  It does not read. “I’m going for a spin on my Harley.”

Classic leather jacket
Classic leather jacket

The bright pink jacket steps away from the “biker” look and goes much more traditional while maintaining a fashion forward appearance.   This jacket can easily transition from slacks to jeans to skirt, or over a dress.  Choosing a color in your palette, this could be a great accent over neutrals that will be your go-to topper.

Is a leather jacket in your future?  Start looking now for your best style and color,  making a perfect addition to your year around wardrobe.

Cuddle Your Cashmere

imgresCashmere is not only luxurious, it is one of the best choices for keeping warm.   However, it requires a gentle hand.images

For those of us who love cashmere, those pesky little pills are problematic.  I have sweaters fifteen years old with no evidence of pills and others purchased last year, covered with them.  It doesn’t seem to have any relationship with the price, either.  The length of the fiber is the determining factor.   This is almost impossible to determine by examination when choosing which sweater to purchase.   One must wear a cashmere sweater a few times before pills become evident.  Areas of wear like under the arms, where a shoulder bag rests, and under the seatbelt are typically areas of pilling.

images-2Manufacturers are working to try to reduce pilling but once you buy the garment, there are some preventative measures you can take as well.  Wearing the garment more sparingly is at the top of the list.  Allowing at least 24 hours before wearing again allows the fibers to recover from stretching from the last wearing.

There are many different pill-removers are on the market.  Examples are:  The Sweater Stone, which resembles a bar of soap and claims that it will not damage the garment’s “halo”.  The Evercare Giant Fabric Shaver is a battery operated model, the D-Fuzz-It Sweater and Fabric Comb is small and easily portable.  The Gleener has three edges for different pill heights as well as a lint remover.   Amazon has a wide selection available but I would suggest trying them in person to determine which is your favorite.

Cashmere sweaters will last for years with proper care.

images-1Storage:  Sweaters should be folded to avoid becoming misshapen on hangers.  Clean them before storing as food stains, perfume or body oils will attract moths. Fold sleeves in the back and close zippers.  Store in a cool, dry place to avoid mildew.  Never store in plastic.  Use a container that breathes.

Cleaning:  Follow the instructions.  If the label says ‘Dry Clean Only’, there are probably components that cannot be washed.

when washing, turn the sweater inside out, use a mild soap and tepid water temperature.  Wash by hand, using a gentle squeezing motion or use the hand-wash cycle on your machine.  Dry flat on a towel away from direct sunlight.

It takes more effort but the years of cuddle and beauty your cashmere sweaters provide are worth it!

 

From Staple to Star

images-2

We all have at least one white shirt in our closet.  This is the blouse that we grab to wear with jeans, slacks, or skirt, top it with a sweater or jacket and out the door.

The white shirt now moves from supporting role to STAR.  Spring runway shows were replete with wide-ranging styles of white shirts paired with floral or contrasting colors.   What a welcome change after seeing so many print-on-print pairings that made your eyes tired just trying to find a point of focus.    Prints, in all their uniqueness and variety, have taken an important place in fashion of late, but I am glad to see a solid used to anchor the busy look.search

Carolina Herrera, a prominent New York designer is known for wearing a beautiful white blouse paired with a pleated skirt.   Her clients love her classic feminine dresses and elegant evening gowns and wedding dresses.  Renee Zellweger chooses Herrera for her red-carpet gowns.  This spring the designer sent a simple white blouse buttoned on the side, down the runway.  She completed the look with a long evening skirt.  This blouse could easily be worn with slack, skirts or jeans for a totally different look.

0437631904955_247x329A white blouse can add great dimension to your present wardrobe.  It does, however, require special care.  White cotton blouses are best worn crisp and pressed, yet dry cleaning can leave them yellowed according to the century old French Laundry and Dry Cleaning in Pasadena, California.  They recommend washing them by hand in a pure soap such as Ivory flakes.  Detergents contain chemicals, which can discolor.  If you have a good hand laundry near where you live, this would be the perfect solution.

All whites are not created equal.   Choose a shade of white that complements your natural coloring and matches the whites of your eyes.  Consider the color of your teeth as well.  A stark white will make teeth and whites of your eyes appear more yellow if they are not sparkly white.   I love the effect of adding a scarf to give a pop of color and diminish the stark look of white-white.

You may want to consider the shirt elongated into a dress—perhaps in a color.  Raf Simmons of Dior offers one for the spring collection in the palest lavender.  I bought one a couple of seasons ago that has been my go-to for summer.  It is a simple classic — navy, sleeveless with flaired skirt.  A bright scarf adds the accent or it can be topped with a bolero sweater if  time will be spent in a chilly, air-conditioned room.NMD0MB7_mh

Carolina Herrera blouses are pricy but don’t let that scare you.  Stores will have a wide range of choices in styles and price.