Put a Workhorse to Work

 

Perfect for a rectangle or oval.
Perfect for a rectangle or oval.

Dresses continue to be huge in the fashion world. Exciting news for this fall is the variation of styles and lengths. Even though we have been promised longer lengths the last few seasons, stores were dominated by mid-thigh skirts. Great for the 20 something crowd but not so much for those of us over 40! Or for the professional work environment.

Another happy discovery is sleeves. Sleeveless dresses have ruled for several years. They are great with a jacket but you then lose the versatility of wearing them as a stand-alone garment. Also, I have recently been following some fashion blogs discussions only to see that many companies discourage sleeveless dresses or blouses in the workplace.0400086979286_ASTL_247x329

What I love about this season’s options is choice! I discovered several great examples without having to search far. A good sign that you won’t have to search far either. Let’s look at some different examples.

This adorable red dress shift dress is a little short but it works for most any age with the black opaque hose and booties. I love the little split design at the skirt and the ¾ length sleeves are an excellent choice for the lady who wants to show less arm. Booties are huge this season but usually give a shorter leg appearance. By using dark tights matching the booties, it gives the desired long leg line

Flaired skirt for a triangle.
Flaired skirt for a triangle.

while looking very fashion forward.   The shift will work especially well for a rectangle or oval. Bypassing the waist is really flattering for both of these body shapes.  If you top it with a jacket, choose a longer, straight jacket that is just slightly shorter than the dress.

The grey knit is a wonderful basic piece. The biggest drawback is that a knit reveals every hill and valley. Having recently attended some social gatherings where ladies were wearing the “bandage dress”, I can attest to the fact that unless you have a perfectly toned body, these knits are not the most flattering.   That being said, this dress, perhaps in a different fabric, is extremely versatile and can be worn with a variety of sweaters, vests, or jackets.

Since many ladies have triangle shapes, a classic dress with a fuller skirt is the answer.

Let's see some sleeve!
Let’s see some sleeve!

This white dress has a slightly flaired skirt but the style would work wonderfully with more flair.

What will make this dress a go-to basic is the option of being able to add scarves, belts and jewelry to the basic dress or to use accessories to augment the look with a jacket, vest , or sweater. Choose one of your best basic colors that will go well with a variety of toppers already in your closet. Then, accept the compliments and count the many ways you can enjoy your this new workhorse.

Fall is in the Air!

 

Black vest.  Big statment this fall.
Black vest. Big statement this fall.

Suddenly, it is September and fall is here! Well, not exactly since September 23 is the official date, but what’s important is that it FEELS like fall. With summer fading into a distant memory, our thoughts turn to transitioning from cottons and pastels into darker colors and woolens. This usually involves transitioning one season’s clothing out of the closet and welcoming those old friends from last winter back.

Pop of color with this skirt.
Pop of color with this skirt.

Before putting summer garments away for the winter, check each garment for spots and needed repairs. Have garments cleaned or laundered before storing. Dry cleaning is hard on clothing so I try to limit dry cleaning to the end of each season. Remove the plastic cover before storing since natural fabric needs to breathe.  

Black wear with anything sweater.
Black wear with anything sweater.

When you install your fall clothes, check each garment for spots or needed repair. I suggest trying on each item to confirm fit. This is the perfect time to look through everything you have and discover how many outfits you can make out of your existing wardrobe. When doing a closet audit, I often find clients thinking in terms of things they bought to wear together as the only option.   How many times I hear, “and this goes with this.”

Interesting black skirt.
Interesting black skirt.

There are usually many other combinations that will work and this is the ideal time to see possibilities with a fresh look.

Once you have evaluated your fall wardrobe, pick out core pieces. These pieces are usually skirts or slacks, tops and jackets. Classic dresses are very popular now and offer great versatility so they should be included in your core pieces. An easy basic wardrobe consists of:

Works with all the bottoms and neutral jacket and vests.
Works with all the bottoms and neutral jacket and vests.
Charcoal - the perfect basic for this palette.
Charcoal – the perfect basic for this palette.

3 bottoms (slacks or skirts)

5 tops (blouses, sweaters, or shells)

2 jackets (can be jacket or sweater that will make a completed look)

If you include a dress, it takes the place of both a top and bottom. These pieces should all be interchangeable but have different looks. For example, one could have a combination of gray and black with 2 tops in basic colors and three in accent colors such as burgundy, shades of blue, pink, violet, or magenta. Choose colors that are beautiful on you. These items will add variety and bring energy to your core wardrobe. You can change it up more with scarves, jewelry or belts.

Versatile charcoal jacket.
Versatile charcoal jacket.

This fall the basic neutrals are in abundance; gray and black are everywhere with a focus on shades of red for accents. If you decide you need some help, I would love to work with you to help you achieve the perfect fall wardrobe so you will look great and be ready for any event the fall might bring!  As most of you know, I usually infuse a lot more color but this blog is to show how easy it is to make a core wardrobe with neutrals and use colorful scarves, jewelry and blouses to present a different look each day.  I would add black classic slacks for the other choice for a bottom.

Images from Saks.