Warm Up with Yak

 

 

Yaks at home in the Himalayas
Yaks at home in the Himalayas

With temperatures hovering around freezing in the daytime and dropping to the teens at night, my focus is keeping toasty warm. Who would have thought that the humble Yak could come to the rescue!

Yaks are natives of Tibet and are essential to the nomadic herdsmen. They are in between the size of a goat and a cow with all of the sure-footed ability of mountain goats. Their coats are designed to protect them from the bitter cold of the Himalayan winters making the discovery of using their soft wool under coat for clothing an ideal solution to keep people warm.

Yak blend by Vince (at Saks)
Yak blend by Vince (Saks)

Sportswear designer Kora has discovered yak wool is warmer than merino wool. It is more breathable, odor resistant, and transports water vapor most effectively—perfect for underwear and winter sports clothing.   Outdoor Retailers founder, Michael Klinwort, discovered the advantage of using Yak while on a winter excursion to the Himalayan region. He supports the local herdsmen in exchange for them providing him with wool.   Yak shed their wool each spring and the locals collect it to be used for clothing. Sounds perfect to me!

0400092038509-fir-84b9a6ecSeveral designers are using Yak wool in their sweater collections. Some use blends with cashmere or other wools. Yaks are dark in coloring so most of the garments you will find are darker. Some of the lighter colors are blended with other wools.

The only down side is that Yak is generally more expensive than woolen garments but then, so is cashmere!

Let’s Talk Proportion!

 

Tote.
Tote.

Big is not always better! Over-sized purses have been the dominant style for the past several years. We’re talking BIG! Although it certainly is convenient to be able to throw your sneakers in your purse along with work that has to be taken home, and anything else that will fit. Of course, that adds to the weight you are carrying around resulting in trips to the chiropractor.

During the spring runway events, we saw designers abandoning the oversized handbags and shifting to smaller ones. I, for one, am delighted to see this shift. Handbags should be in proportion with the wearer. That one accessory can throw off your entire look. Imagine how a tiny little purse would be adorable for a petite five feet tall lady who wears a size 2. Then again, it would look absurd on a lady who was a size 16 and six feet tall.  Proportion is a key element to consider when choosing accessories or patterns.

Duffle.
Duffle.

Of course, size is but one of the many factors one needs to consider when choosing the perfect handbag. I like to carry one basic purse most of the time. For those of you who change out purses with different outfits, I congratulate you! When I try to do that, I nearly always discover that I have failed to transfer reading glasses, wallet, lipstick or one of the myriad items that I often need when out and about. Thus, a basic purse needs some forethought before taking the plunge to buy.

The tote is roomy and user-friendly. The down side is that everything settles at the bottom so retrieving car keys or lipstick in a hurry can be challenging. Most totes do not close at the top. These purses are easy pray for pickpockets. We were in Italy a few years ago, waiting in line for a tour bus when I saw a hand in my tote. I jumped and exclaimed, the man quickly moved away but it still gives me chills. Fortunately, I had zipped my wallet and travel documents inside interior pockets but this is not an experience I would want to repeat.

Versatile clutch.
Versatile clutch.

Clutch bags are great for evening or dressy occasions. It is difficult to juggle a plate of nibbles and a drink but there is room for necessities. I like the little clutch pictured with the handle. It appears to be a little larger and more versatile than many.

Classic shoulder bag.
Classic shoulder bag.

Shoulder bags give you the freedom of using both hands. I especially like the short shoulder bag because it can be kept close to the body giving better control and security.  I recently found a bag like this with a detachable longer strap to use as a cross-body or long shoulder strap. It is a good scale for me and the color will go with most of my wardrobe. I can easily access my cell phone and can get the majority of what I like to carry to fit. Is it perfect? No but if you ever find the perfect purse, let me know!

 

Foun.dey.shuhn

 

Foundation:  the basic groundwork of anything

Just as a building needs a solid foundation, or you use “foundation” to prepare your face for the color accents, your body needs the right foundation garments to best project your outer garments.   Whether a $59 dress from H & M or a $1000 dress from Armani, it will look better when you are wearing the proper foundation garments.

I think we often treat our undergarments a bit like toothpaste – a necessary part of life but we buy replacements by rote.   A closet edit is often where clients realize their foundation items are not working for them.  Since good foundational garments are expensive, it is important to have a knowledgeable sales person guiding you.

A good place to start is with the bra.  I have found that my size has changed over the years so a new fitting is important.  Another nasty little habit manufacturers have is discontinuing a favorite style.  I would recommend having a good fitting at least every five years.   Although lace is beautiful and makes you feel elegant, these bras often show the pattern of the lace through soft knits.  The “T” shirt bra has become a staple in my wardrobe.  Another feature to look for when choosing a bra is the option of crossing the straps in back.  As most of you have discovered, many of the newer summer designs have found creative ways to cut deep into the armhole, thus revealing a bra strap.  I notice many women ignoring this fact and letting their bra straps show.  There is a reason undergarments are called “undergarments”.  Exposed lingerie ruins the whole look of a garment.  After switching to a strapless bra when wearing some of my dresses and tops, I discovered that one of my bras had detachable straps in the back that could be lengthened and crossed.  Voila!  Hidden straps and much more comfortable than a strapless bra.

Spanx, Bali, Miraclesuit, Body Wrap and other manufacturers have added shape wear to their lines.  Spanx, an Atlanta company, seems to take the lead.  You can find lightweight or firm body shapers, depending on your needs.  Whether it is smoothing out through the midriffs, thighs or tummy, there is something for you.  The “frog suit” is a lightweight full body and thigh unit that allows you to wear your own bra so you don’t get a “uni-boob” effect.  Look for panties that do not show a panty line with your slacks.

When you are trying on any shapewear, look for something that will be comfortable.  These are not designed to be like the corsets we have all see in movies from the ‘40s or fashions from the turn of the 20th century.  Smelling salts are no longer fashioable!  Be sure you move around, make sure they garment doesn’t roll up or cut in.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking a smaller size will minimize as it will be uncomfortable over time.

Choose a store that has staff trained in fitting lingerie.  You don’t want someone that has just been working in the perfume department helping fit your lingerie.

Are You Wearing the Right Undergarments?

Are You Wearing the Right Undergarments?

Posted on August 3, 2011 by admin

With temperatures soaring into the 90’s on a daily basis, it only follows that ladies are turning to cooler, summer attire. Although this is most appropriate, I am amazed at how many people don’t wear appropriate undergarments.

Last Sunday my husband and I attended the US Open Tennis Championship finals. I noted one lady who was impeccably dressed with black walking shorts, white sleeveless top, Chanel sunglasses and an attractive straw hat. Had we been judging who was the best-dressed spectator for the event, she would have won unanimously. There was only one very big problem. Her deep cut sleeveless top clearly exposed her bra straps. Despite the fact that the straps had cute little daisies on the top of each shoulder, it was still an exposed bra strap!

In the last few weeks, I have noted so many occasions where bra straps are clearly visible in sleeveless attire and often a regular bra will be worn with spaghetti straps. The bras that have clear plastic straps, designed to be “invisible” are even more offensive than regular straps showing. The only invisible straps are no straps showing at all! There is a reason they are called “undergarments”.

Lingerie faux pas are not limited to just bras. Visible panty lines, an exposed “T” of a thong and sheer skirts showing the wearer’s silhouette can all be seen on a trip to the mall. Appropriate lingerie for each of these is available and will make the difference between looking looking your best or missing the mark.

Bras: This is one of the most important undergarment purchases you can make. Statistics show that the majority of women are wearing bras that do not fit correctly. This is especially important for the ladies with fuller bosoms. Saks has an excellent staff of women who are trained to fit a bra correctly. Specialty lingerie shops usually have trained staff as well. Good strap support is very important for a larger bust. Although a strapless bra is a great solution for a variety of more exposed top, it will most likely not give enough support for the larger bust. There are many versions of racerback and convertible straps to be worn with deep-cut sleeves. I really like the T-shirt bra with a slightly molded cup which gives a smooth line. This is flattering for the many soft knits being worn today. There are also camisoles available with a built-in bra to wear under those sheer or semi-sheer tops. If you choose to wear a separate camisole, be careful that the two sets of straps are not obvious. 

Panties: Choosing the right panties or briefs has always been a challenge. You want comfort and coverage but you don’t want visible lines. Many people opt for the thong, which avoids panty lines on trousers. However, as I have noted in past blogs, the thong is not a good choice with knit dresses. Many times have I seen a light- weight knit dress glued to the buttocks of someone wearing a thong and no slip. When you sit, the dress will cling to your skin so that it molds to you when you stand up. Most embarrassing!

There are several other options to avoid a panty line in trousers. Pantyhose are a possible option. You can even cut them off just below the knee and get the seam-free line without having to show them on your feet. Several manufacturers make thigh-length panties or longer that will also give you a line-free look. If you like a little control, Spanx is a good choice. They come in different lengths and offer light support.

I think everyone needs a slip just as insurance. Many summer dresses of a cotton or linen-type fabric are not lined. One may not be able to see through it in the dressing room but out in the sun, your silhouette will be obvious. A slip is also a solution for the clinging knit dress.

Another undergarment you might want to consider is something to smooth the midriff. The resurgence of the slim fitting sheath dresses has also brought the problem of a few little rolls exposing themselves. Spanx also has a great line of garments to smooth through the mid section. These are available in most department store lingerie departments.

Enjoy the rest of summer, dressing with Aplomb!

Need some help shopping for the right undergarment? We would love to guide you in choosing the perfect items for your wardrobe and lifestyle. Beryl@StyleWithAplomb.com or call at 404-428-2527.

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A Fresh Look at Shoes

Posted on February 22, 2011 by admin

A Fresh Look at Shoes

What a pleasure to see a shift in shoe styles for spring! Although platform soles are still being shown, not every shoe this spring looks like it was intended for Lady Gaga.

Ballerina slippers are a wonderful alternative. They will look great with shorts, Capri’s, slacks and long or short skirts. They don’t have the sophistication of heels but are great choices for spring and summer casual wear. Most anyone can wear ballerinas and one doesn’t have to fear breaking a leg or twisting an ankle.

Espadrilles are a huge item for spring and summer so if you have a pair from last summer, prepare to enjoy them another season. Espadrilles can be seen in wedges, flats or sandals. The wedges will be a bit dressier and will look great with most casual attire.

There is a resurgence of a pointed toe, which I love. A pointed toe is much more flattering than a rounded toe. Your leg will appear longer and thinner. For those who have narrow feet, a pointed toe works best. The Christian Louboutin and Valentino collections featured some mid-heels in addition to the very high heels. Of course, peep toes are still very popular. Be sure to show off your toes with a fresh pedicure.

A full range of sandals joins the spring/summer selections. If you have slender ankles and are wearing shorts or a short skirt, the gladiator style will work great. Otherwise, there are many styles to choose from. Again, a fresh pedicure is a must with sandals.

Many platform styles still appear in collections. Just keep in mind that when an extreme style like the exaggerated platforms we have been seeing for a few seasons start to go out of fashion, it may very well not be popular again for some time. You will probably want to choose carefully if adding any of these to your closet. 

I love shoes and it is a joy to see styles that are intended for a wider audience. One of my favorite places to shop is Marmi in Lenox Square. They have a great selection in a moderate price range offering styles for narrow, medium or wide feet.

If you are looking to optimize your purchases for the spring/summer season, call us at Style With Aplomb. We can guide you in making decisions giving you the most mileage out of your fashion purchases. Call us as 404-467-0288 or contact us at Beryl [@]StyleWithAplomb[.]com. Remember, we offer one half hour complementary consultation when you call.

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What”s under that dress?

Posted on June 30, 2010 by admin 

New York Fashion Week 2007 by Peter Duhon

We attended a large party this weekend where the guest list spanned the gamut in age and style of dress.  As an image consultant, it is always great fun to attend such a party as I get a fascinating peek into a wide cross section of Atlanta.  With temperatures soaring into the 90’s and intensified by the typical high humidity, it is no surprise that many ladies chose sundresses.   Along with sundresses, one could find dressy cocktail dresses, dressy casual and just simply casual.  It wasn’t until people started dancing that the need for  proper under garments became spotlighted.

One of the popular fabrics for summer is a knit or jersey.  These dresses come in different weights but all of them should come with a “caution” label.  One striking young lady wore a heavier jersey dress that fit her beautifully.  She was lovely until she started to dance.  Once on the dance floor, it was quite evident that she was only wearing a thong and the longer she danced; the jersey dress clung even tighter, making the lines of her thong more pronounced.   Jersey has a proclivity to affix itself to skin once the skin is a bit moist with perspiration.  On a recent outing to the symphony, I followed a young lady out after the concert that was also only wearing a thong.  The long, jersey dress she was wearing had adhered itself to her derriere and left nothing to the imagination.  I’m sure none of the ladies wearing a dress of this type have any idea that a dress that looks so attractive from the front could ultimately be such a disaster from the rear.  This is where some under garments would save the dress and the appearance.  A half-slip would help skim over whatever kind of panties the wearer chose and keep a nice, smooth line.  One trick that I use with a garment that shows a panty line is to wear panty hose with the feet cut off.  This allows for a bare sandal look while a providing a line-free undergarment.

Another undergarment error that I observed was a middle-aged lady with salt and pepper grey hair wearing a satin cocktail dress.  The dress was quite modest and appropriate for her build and her age but once on the dance floor, it clearly revealed that she was not wearing a bra.  It did not appear that the cut of the dress would prevent wearing a regular bra but if so, a strapless bra would have been appropriate.  Some very young women can get away without a bra for a while but the majority of women need a bra to keep “the girls” in place and help the dress fit correctly.

The third example of needing help with undergarments (or lack of) was a lady who appeared to be with her 20 something daughter and her boyfriend.  This lady had chosen a cocktail dress that revealed more of her bosom than it covered and had even had a bare area in the middle of the back.  She was much more exposed than her daughter and it seemed to me that she would have been much lovelier in a less revealing dress.  I have talked with many men who have stated that they find a suggestion of sexy far more alluring than revealing so much that nothing is left to the imagination.

Anyone looking for that great summer dress that will work for our hot, humid summers might want to be more thorough in checking out how it will sit, move with you on the dance floor and be perceived by others.  Even though it is not quite as cool as wearing minimal undergarments, taking precautions that you are properly covered can save you embarrassed once you hit the dance floor or spend time sitting.

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