It”s Ninety Degrees and I’m Freezing!

This doesn’t seem weird when you spend time in air-conditioned buildings. I recently met a client for lunch and wore a sleeveless cotton dress. Although the dress was perfect for the occasion, I was uncomfortable during most of the meeting and left the restaurant feeling like an icicle.   Transitioning from outdoor heat to indoor air-conditioning always presents a summer clothing dilemma.

Make it traditional.
Make it traditional.

My favorite solution is wearing a jacket.   A jacket is a stylish way to keep you from freezing and to cover the upper arm; an issue for many ladies. I found a great selection of light-weight summer jackets on line at Chico’s. Not only are they modestly priced, they offer a wide range of sizes. It will be key to wear jackets only over something that is fitted: sheath dress or fitted top with slender trousers or pencil skirts. If you choose a print, the jacket should be plain.  A brightly colored jacket will give a boost to black which tends to enhance every line or shadow of your face.  Choosing a jacket color that complements your natural coloring will make you glow.

Versatile white.
Versatile white.

This white eyelet jacket would look great over a dress or slacks. The design has a feminine elegant look but the simple cut would work for many styles. A short jacket will be excellent for someone without much waist definition as your eye is drawn to the narrow opening in front. Avoid a short jacket if your build is a triangle, as it will accentuate the width of your hips. I love the ¾ length sleeves – a look that always makes your legs appear longer. I usually suggest pushing up sleeves to achieve this look but the shorter length sleeve has done it for you. When wearing a jacket note the proportion. Always avoid a half and half proportion. This short jacket will be great with slacks or a skirt that is a longer proportion than the jacket.

For an elegant look.
For an elegant look.

This longer jacket is an option and would be a perfect camouflage for hips wider than the shoulders. It is also a great look for someone with long legs. A shorter person could certainly wear this with slacks or a knee length skirt or dress. These sleeves could be pushed up and the collar popped up to add a little pizzazz. If you like a little drama, you might consider an animal print. This is a more casual look with the white top and beige slacks.   The horizontal break where the colors meet visually widen and shorten your body.

Earthy and dramatic!
Earthy and dramatic!

This is not the print for anyone with medium brown hair that is turning gray as the print will blend with your hair and give an all-over gray look.  This bright blue jacket is perfect for a traditional look.  It would also be appropriate for the office.

Look cool and stay warm as you enjoy your summer events!

Who’s teaching our girls how to dress?

 

An essay adapted from “The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who made Made America Stylish ” by Linda Przybyszewski reflected my sentiments so well that I wanted to share it. Dr. Przybyszewski is a professor at the University of Notre Dame.

Oops!  Maybe too tight and too short.
Oops! Maybe too tight and too short.

The author begins her comments by using a senior student on her way to an Ivy League law school. She appeared in class after being the featured speaker at a university luncheon. Her usual class attire was jeans and a T-shirt but she had felt the need to dress up for this occasion. The young woman was wearing a short black skirt that required constant pulling and tugging to keep it from being totally revealing and a very low cut white top. Not only was the outfit inappropriate, it was distracting for the rest of the students – especially the young men – during the entire class.

This professor lamented that many of the sources for instruction on how to dress are missing in today’s culture. Does anyone remember home economics classes?

Speechless!
Speechless!

Each spring one can find a surge of articles from human resource department lamenting the disconnect many college graduates have with appropriate dress in the workplace.  I just read one article where the boss of a new hire asked that she look around the office and get an idea of what was  appropriate dress,  then to go home and not come back until she could return dressed to fit in with her coworkers.

Here are some key points from the essay:

Beautiful and appropriate!
Beautiful and appropriate!

Emphasize the face. Your face should be the first thing people see and what your wearing supports keeping attention on your face. If the focus is on your face, people will be more likely to hear what you have to say. A necklace can add interest and keep the attention on you.

Beware of black. Although black has the reputation of being the “go-to” color by many fashion magazines, it often makes one appear harsh and emphasizes shadows and lines on the face. Using your most flattering colors serves to show you at your best.

She has a face?
She has a face?

Forget your feet. Emphasis has been on shoes for the last number of years. Not only does it take attention away from your face, many extreme styles cause permanent foot damage. Choose shoes that fit your lifestyle.

I plan to purchase this book as a resource in my library. With the rebellion of the 1960’s and women’s movement of the 1970’s, many young women rejected attention to appearance. It may be that today’s young women are ready to embrace learning how to dress appropriately so they can become viable candidates for the job they really want or a longed for promotion.

 

 

Thought of a tank for summer?

 

Try some rushing
Try some rushing

The beach is beckoning for summer fun. What an ideal vacation with kids of all ages! Doesn’t just relaxing on the beach with a good book make you wish you were there right now? It’s summer time and what better place to enjoy a few days than catching rays at the beach? But, that brings with it the anxiety of “the bathing suit”! Most of us do not look like the models in magazines when wearing a swimsuit. It is the one mode of dress that is impossible to camouflage areas of your figure that you would prefer were designed differently.

Flatter with a print
Flatter with a print

I know of one lady who spent her beach time in the hotel room or shrouded in a long muumuu and unable to enjoy the beach.   The vacation was ruined for both her and her husband.

Visual hour glass waist
Visual hour glass waist

J Crew has a great selection of suits that will fit different body shapes and their price point will not break the bank. I am not a fan of bikinis as they are rarely flattering. However, J Crew offers many options to help you find the perfect fit.  The ideal is to find the right fit and style of suit so you can enjoy getting some rays at your best.     Wear a cute cover-up to and from the hotel and don’t let those imperfections control your vacation.

Cover-up that can be a dress
Cover-up that can be a dress

J Crew offers a number of tank styles that will be flattering for many ladies. Using prints is one great technique to visually diminish areas of imperfection. Notice the red suit with rushing. These little gathers help hide a tummy. I really like the navy suit with chevrons drawing your eye inward at the waist. This suit would visually give anyone a smaller waist.

Simple pattern to flatter
Simple pattern to flatter

I also like the simple tank with the star pattern. This dark color will be flattering for most ladies and the understated pattern is another example of visually camouflaging less than perfect areas of your body. There are many varieties of simple cover-ups to wear over your suit.   Some, like this simple knit shift, can double as a casual dress.  How easy is that to look casually smart with so little effort?

Many retailers have sales going on right now so check out your favorite stores.  Don’t forget to get a little color on your legs to complete the look.  If you don’t want to do it naturally, self-tan products are a great option.  I love the self-tanning milk from Arbonne and Clarins makes a good product – or you may have your own favorite.