Was This Designed for Another Body?

Yikes! This outfit is made for someone else’s body!

You have this great new outfit. Then you notice that it doesn’t look quite like it did in the dressing room!

Fit! It can make or break your image. In reality, few people can walk out of a store with a new garment and have the perfect fit. Each of our bodies is unique. None of us has the perfect proportions to match those used by a designer. Each brand of clothing uses its own design specs which explains why one brand will fit you beautifully and another will not even be wearable. You may have chosen a beautiful garment well styled for you but it doesn’t look great on you. It is probably fit. This is when you check with the alterations person and see if it can be adjusted to fit well and if the alteration are cost effective.

Some of the most common fit issues are:

Too tight–Too loose in certain areas–Sleeves too long or short–Sleeves are too tight or too loose–Pants have pull lines, especially in the crotch area–Proportion is not flattering to your build

This suit does not fit! The shoulders appear to be too wide and the sleeves are too short. Obviously, the skirt on the left is too tight. And we haven’t even seen the front!
This looks more like a bath robe than a dress. It is too  and make blousy and makes the wearer appear pounds heavier. I would suggest something more tailored to give her a stronger, trim looking vertical line.
These pants pull in the rear. The rise is too short. This cannot be altered to fit properly so take care in choosing jeans and trousers that fit your rise.

Prints Return to Old Favorites

Polka dots and stripes are in abundance on the fashion scene.   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.

Polka dots just shout “fun”.  Their shape reminds you of   balloons and balls.  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, indeed, frivolous while  larger polka dots with more space between them have much more stability.   These polka dots are still fun but become less frivolous.

Stripes in women’s fashion are often horizontal, projecting a serene message.  Think of a landscape with the many horizontal lines. 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 persona.

 

This diagonal stripe incorporates several different design features. This dress is not for the quiet, shy person. She must be dynamic!

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 loses much of its drama.   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.

With polka dots, varied colors become more frivolous and whimsical.  If your facial structure has lots of angles or 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 size and shape that best says YOU!

Need some guidance in choosing the best stripes or polka dots for you?  That’s what we are here for.  Beryl@StyleWithAplomb.com or 404-428-2527.

But It’s So Comfortable!

 

 

Are they wearing a uniform?
Are they wearing a uniform?

I hear this phrase often from clients. Does this sound like you?

It seems that more and more ladies are choosing athletic wear for their every day attire.   Athletic wear is often called “activewear” and I have seen numerous articles promoting “activewear” as a staple for daytime casual wear.

Activewear is excellent for exercise class but I don’t like to see it worn to the grocery store, running errands, taking the kids to practice or any of the myriad activities we all do every day. If you are wondering why I feel this way, let’s look at the image it projects.

Be comfortable with style.
Be comfortable with style.

The first thing that jumps out is these ladies are not showing their personal style. Look at these two ladies in the first picture. Although they do not to appear to be together, they appear to be wearing a uniform.  Unless you work for a car rental company or fast food restaurant, most people are not excited about wearing a uniform.

Then there is the issue that not all ladies look their best in activewear. Athletic clothing is usually loose and baggy or it fits the body like a second skin. Neither look is becoming to the majority of ladies. I frequently see ladies who are quite full through the hips, wearing thin stretch tights to places other than the gym.  One always holds their breath for fear of a seam bursting open!

A jeans jacket is always good with casual. Option of a longer look for more coverage.
A jeans jacket is always good with casual. Option of a longer look for more coverage.

What if you could choose something “comfortable” that is flattering to your build, reflects your personal style, and draws compliments? Let’s look at some possible options to help achieve this.

If you prefer wearing athletic wear, how about pairing the tights with a regular top? There are exercise pants that fit tightly or have straight legs. Choose the style that is the most flattering for your build and select a top that comes down over the hip line to avoid being too revealing. The addition of simple jewelry or a scarf can go a long way to give a charming casual look and not look like you just came from your yoga class.   Adding a casual jacket will complete a finished look and add the warmth you need for cooler days.

Great longer stylish top. Could wear with tights or jeans and flats.
Great longer stylish top. Could wear with tights or jeans and flats.

Jeans are another great option to being comfortable yet attractive and practical. There are so many different cuts that most women can find a style that fits nicely. The most wearable will be a dark wash without distressing.  Complete the look with an attractive top or even a white blouse and add a jacket for a more polished appearance.

There are many options to finding something comfortable. Remember, the more you look like the person you are deep down inside, the more comfortable you will be!

Be Casual and Comfortable with Style

Transform jeans and tee from "blah" to "wow"!
Transform jeans and tee from “blah” to “wow”!

 

I am amazed to see how much more casual people are dressing now. Of course, I love reasons to dress up but I also love wearing jeans and a cute top around the house or to run errands. The balance is to bridge from torn jeans and a non-descript, baggy tee shirt that might be appropriate to wear while cleaning the garage to looking chic and casual.

Fit is a must. There are jeans and there are jeans. Since jeans have become a staple in most everyone’s closet, there are jeans to fit every body. A good friend of mine who is a grandmother, wears jeans and a classic sweater or crisp shirt much of the time. She usually wears black jeans and a neutral top, perfect to express her a well-groomed classic look. Adding a simple favorite necklace, she is always appropriate for lunching with a friend, a shopping excursion or even a week in Europe. Her secret: A polished conservative look supporting her style that affords huge versatility in a wide range of settings.

Friday Casual Day at the office.
Friday Casual Day at the office.

Wearing a statement necklace can transform “blah” into “wow”. Look at the lady wearing black skinny jeans with a black tee shirt. The necklace transforms her black on black from ordinary to stunning. Adding heels and a dressy clutch make it appropriate for the theatre or dinner.

Jeans for casual Friday at the office can portray professional when worn with a white blouse topped with a jacket, accented with the bold turquoise necklace. Don’t you love the boots?

Of course, a blouse doesn’t need to be classic white. This pink checked blouse worn with dark blue jeans makes a statement of its own. Adding bracelets and a creative statement necklace turns this into a showstopper. It is not a look for the shy and retiring but would be perfect for that confident person with great presence.

Casual style impact with color.
Casual style impact with color.

It doesn’t take much to transform from a casual look that elicits a yawn to smiles and compliments!

Flea Markets, antique shops, resale shops and the like are great places to find unusual statement jewelry. It need not be expensive but must have character. Don’t forget to check out family jewelry boxes for forgotten pieces.

 

 

Fall: The New New Year

 

The other morning I took the dog out and was overcome with the glorious feel of fall in the air. The beautiful blue sky, pleasant temperature and humidity just said “Welcome to Fall”.  Much to my surprise, according to the WSJ, fall has become the new season for resolutions and commitments. Fall is the new New Year.

Fall has become the most popular season for weddings! Who would have thought?

Get to the gym!
Get to the gym!

Gym memberships and commitment to lose weight were 32% higher than in January last year.  Cathryn Marshall is a superb fitness trainer and nutritional coach and the author of Simple Fat Burn.   She worked with both my husband and me about 5 years ago.  My husband lost 20 pounds and I lost 5, dropping from a size 6 to a size 4.  You can do it yourself with her book, join one of her classes or private consultation.  Her web site is www.simplycathryn.com

Grocery stores see an increase in sales as people plan meals to cook at home, eat better and achieve their weight loss goal.  This makes sense.  Kids are back in school, vacations are over and it’s time to settle down and get serious.

Yummy fresh veggies for dinner.
Yummy fresh veggies for dinner.

Attention shifts to career development and education coupons, showing a 30% increase.

Skincare and fragrances sales rose 30% in September last year.  You might enjoy reviewing last weeks post on San skincare.

Ready for fall Closet edit.
Ready for fall Closet edit.

Time for cleaning out garage, closets, and getting organized.  A closet edit each season is essential.  Start the new season fresh, knowing everything fits, is in good repair and free from stubborn spots.  You know before you walk into the closet what top goes with which skirt or slacks and how to create variety with accent pieces.   Need some hep?  Give me a call.  404-428-2527.  50% off for first two callers who book appointments.

To the Max!

 

December reminds us that cold weather is on the way. Is this the year to add a new coat? Coats are the one item of clothing where styles do not change drastically so a favorite coat may last several years. This year welcomes back the maxi! Last year we saw a glimpse of the return of these ankle-length styles but this year brought a full resurgence back into fashion.

images-5At first glance, the maxi looks extreme.

“Only tall, slender women can pull off a maxi,” you might think.

“They are so impractical and limited in what you can wear under them.”

“The long length will really be unwieldy.”

Let’s look at some options and prove all of these concepts wrong.

First of all, a slender cut maxi will be very flattering for a short person or someone with a few extra pounds. I would select a slender cut that will carry the eye all the way to the floor. This is the perfect place to wear your favorite boots. The boots should blend with the coat, creating a total look. Even though this black tweed has a slightly full skirt, it gives a long, slender image. What a perfect look for the lady with wider hips or larger upper legs!

To the office, shopping or out to lunch.
To the office, shopping or out to lunch.

Another great look is this olive maxi coat over a maxi skirt with snakeskin boots.  These elements coordinate beautifully.   Jeans or slacks would work well under this coat. The color combination is excellent for a warm toned individual. You could combine with most any warm tones: burnt orange, camel, or other muted warm color.

Easy and chic : welcome the cold
Easy, chic and practical.

The puffer coat is an excellent choice for a warm go-everywhere wrap. You can head to the ski slopes, a winter trip to Europe, or just navigate northern winter temperatures.

Maxi coats make wonderful evening wraps for cold evenings out. If you have a floor- length or tea length dress, the line is destroyed when worn with a regular length coat. Nothing can take away from your elegance entrance like a foot of beautiful dress peeping out from under your coat. However, if the coat covers the dress, you confidently make your entrance knowing you look your best.

As spring approaches on the other side of winter, this pink maxi coat will be a welcome change. Pink would never look appropriate on a gray, cold winter day but what could welcome sunshine and new blossoms better than the light pastels for the change of

Welcome spring with cheer and grace.
Welcome spring with cheer and grace.

season. A lighter fabric not only meets the warmer season but drapes perfectly in this full skirt. Assuming this lady is wearing a light color under the coat, I would suggest cream-toned shoes.

So you can “Maxi” and be warm and look fabulous!

 

 

 

 

Jeans Come Full Circle!

 

Office casual.
Office casual.

From its humble beginnings of serving the gold miners, laborers, and cowboys, denim is now a fashion favorite. “It’s no coincidence that jeans are worn by billions of people all over the planet every day,” said Jason Denham in a recent WSJ article. Mr. Denham is founder of Amsterdam-based denim label (you guessed it) Denham!

When I was a little girl growing up on a cattle ranch in northeastern Oregon, my daddy wore jeans all of the time. He was a real cowboy and there was definitely a code for wearing jeans. No self-respecting cowboy would wear any brand but Levis and before I was born real cowboys never washed their jeans! Oh horrors! I suspect that changed as these rugged men brought wives into the picture.

Looking good casually.
Looking good casually.

Today, denim has entered the mainstream fashion world. The question now is not whether one should have a pair of jeans, but it is choosing the right quality. It really has little to do with the fancy pocket stitching denoting which expensive brand one is wearing but it has more to do with the quality of workmanship.   Experts interviewed in the article suggested turning the jeans inside out to confirm that the fabric and stitching feel solid and durable.

Jeans dressed up.
Jeans dressed up.

You often pay extra to have the fabric treated to mimic years of wear but why not try adding your own aging process. Try wiping your hand on your thighs to create a 3-D effect along the natural horizontal creases. Many purists do not believe in washing their jeans and definitely not having them dry cleaned.   If you do choose to wash them, use a gentle warm or cold water cycle and a mild detergent. Then hang them to dry.

Off to shopping.
Off to shopping.

Men can toss on a blazer with a great dress shirt open at the collar over their jeans and be ready for a casual day at the office or meeting friends for drinks. You might not want to wear those jeans that look like you have spent the week on a construction site!

Kick it up a notch.
Kick it up a notch.

Ladies can go from a very dressy jeans look with silk blouse, dressy sweater, jewelry and heels to popping on a casual jacket over a cotton shell for a more casual look.

At this moment in history, jeans are in! And…..Daddy was right! It’s all about quality and you don’t have to wash them!  Full circle, indeed.

Rock your best look!

 

While preparing for upcoming speaking events for business professionals and those seeking jobs, it occurred to me that many of you might find some of these concepts valuable.

First of all, your grooming is the first thing people notice whether you are looking for a job, going to a luncheon or running to the grocery store.  Neat and put together rule!  Fit ranks alongside in importance.

I really like both of these looks in the first picture.  The one on the left is not as professional a look for the office but would be beautiful for a luncheon, church, or a business dinner.  This style will camouflage wide hips or give a balanced look for wider shoulders and narrow hips.  The key is to have a defined waist, longer legs and to be fairly slender.  The suit on the right would go to the office as well as any of the events mentioned above.

The gray suit is a classic business professional look.  I love it paired with gray shoes as the eye travels from the bottom of the skirt to the shoes, elongating the leg line.

Professional presence.
Professional presence.

This suit could be a basic classic piece to mix and match in many ways.  It could be paired with any blouse color or print that looks great on the wearer.   Black or charcoal slacks would offer another variation, while topping the skirt with a sweater or contrasting jacket would give another totally different look.  Be sure to dry clean both the jacket and skirt together as they will slightly change color with each cleaning.

Cautions:  I find the hairstyle on this model a little too casual for business and the necklace needs clear definition either nestled above the blouse neckline or extending below the neckline enough to appear intentional.

The print dress with white jacket is a great business casual look.

Chic casual.
Chic casual.

Prints are never formal but the jacket helps give a more finished look.  The skirt length is excellent for this fuller skirt.  This would look good on a variety of body shapes.  Neutral sandals add the perfect finishing touch.

What were they thinking?
What were they thinking?

The two images wearing black dresses personify what not to wear!  The black dress on the left could work to go out to dinner but the hairstyle looks like she just finished cleaning house.   The longer sleeve is excellent if you want to hide your upper arm but the low neckline is inappropriate for most daytime events.  It’s ideal for a dressy evening, then finish the look with a great hairstyle and a pop of jewelry.  The dress on the right is – well, best left for a cocktail waitress.  Nothing about either of these looks says alluring and mysterious!

 

 

 

Styles You Can Actually Wear!

Bypass waist with a shift
Bypass waist with a shift

 

New spring catalogues have started to arrive and I was amazed to find an abundance of cloths that most women can actually wear!   I mean those over 25, those who don’t have the perfect hour-glass figure or those who work in conservative environments.   As I thumb through catalogues and fashion magazines, each page reveals another style that would be a great choice for the majority of ladies. 

Shift drama
Shift drama

First, I was impressed with many longer lengths.  There are even some calf-length skirts.  The most frequent complaint that I have heard over the last several seasons, is that skirts are too short.  Even if you have great legs, a skirt approaching the knee is usually better than mid thigh.  Most assuredly, it is a more appropriate length in a business setting. Mid-calf length is also an option.  It will look best on the tall lady with long legs.   If that is not you, you probably want to take a pass on this look.0478508034269_247x329

Look for many shift style dresses bypassing the waist this spring.  What a great trend for anyone wishing to camouflage her waist or hide a tummy.  No longer do you need to improvise to cover that area — it’s the style!  Stores are also featuring a wide selection of over blouses; another great camouflage piece for the waist area.  One caution:  do not wear a top to bypass the waist with a full skirt.   You want a fitted top to balance a full skirt or fitted slack or skirt to balance the over top unless your goal is to visually add lots of pounds.

Dressy flat
Dressy flat

A third trend that will be music to your ears and your feet is the flat shoe.  If 4” heels have never been your thing or your feet simply can’t tolerate very high heels, this is the season for you!   Stores are filled with dozens of options from ballet flats suitable for business or dress to fun sporty flats. Yes, Jimmy, Manolo and Christian are still showing many choices in high heels but they are also offering mid-heels and flats.

Have some fun!
Have some fun!

If any of these new fashion trends are on your wish-list of “I wish they’d . . . “ it’s your season to shop.  Since such wearable styles do not appear often, I encourage you to shop carefully and buy the very best quality you can afford.  Quality purchases will look good for several seasons so that you can look your best even when it is not the “in” fashion.   Classics are never out of style.

Happy shopping!

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!