Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gotta Be Me

One thing that I've learned over the years is the importance of dressing for the image you want to portray. This seems to be something people miss especially if they still need help finding their own personal style. Two things that you should ask yourself when you have any article of clothing on are: 1) Do I look good in this? and 2) Does it represent the image I want to portray?

Let's say the REAL you wants to have a more tailored and sophisticated look. However, in your closet you have a lot of t-shirts, jeans, and casual wear. You are transitioning in your life and want to be taken more seriously at work as well as in your professional life. The problem is that your wardrobe does not reflect this same image. Peruse  your closet for all of the items you have and try to look at them individually as well as how you would normally wear them. The sweat pants and sweatshirt? It's comfy and you like it but it does not portray the image you are going for. The tailored pants? It's not so tailored and is too heavy. Yes, it represents the image you want but it doesn't look good on you.

Remember, you must evaluate your clothing at least seasonally. Get rid of items that you can't answer both questions with a YES. This might require you to go shopping for clothes you can answer yes to. Also, don't be afraid to experiment with clothing options you've never tried before. Maybe you've never worn that blouse with those pants. Put them together and look in the floor length mirror. Does that give you a look you're going for? Keep trying until you are happy and confident that it's truly the style that represents you.

Until next time....

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Corset

In this article from the December 2010 issue of Women's Health, I saw this great outfit (circled at the bottom right). It shows how you can mix a few of your classic pieces with something trendy or unexpected. Three classic items: jeans, blazer or cardigan, and heels. Trendy items: corset, bright belt, accent jewelry.

To imitate this look:
Corsets, $60 http://www.fredricks.com/
Cardigans, $31 http://www.thelimited.com/
Boyfriend Jeans, $69.50 http://www.gap.com/
Nude Platform Pump, $65 http://www.endless.com/
Bright Skinny Belt $9.50 http://www.charlotterusse.com/
Accent Necklace, $28 http://www.tracilynnjewelry.net/

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The List

Okay! Okay! So, you don't have anything to wear! Go right out to the mall and buy a few things! It's as simple as that. Right? Wrong. One of the biggest mistakes that can be made is to do impulsive shopping. This can lead to buying an item that may cost too much, fit poorly, be of little quality, or will not have the wearability that you should be looking for in almost every article of clothing. So, what should you do instead? Assess what you already have and then....make a list!

Before going out to buy that article of clothing take a look in your closet and see what you may be able to mix and match first. Maybe you  have a shirt in your closet that hasn't been worn for a while. Pair that with a skirt you love or your favorite jeans. Layer it with a blazer or even a cardigan and you have a totally new look! Maybe there's a pair of shoes in your closet that's been hiding for years! Take them out and see what you can wear with it. I had a pair of navy blue crocodile pumps that I absolutely loved (they were a brand name purchase on sale at Marshall's so I definitely had to pick them up). However, during the week my attire is very casual. So, what did I do? In that it's a cooler month now, I paired my pumps with my favorite blue jeans, tights, a nice blouse, a blazer, and some funky jewelry and was out the door! It was very classic-chic and allowed me to pair my pumps down so that it would be functional during the week.

If you've worn everything in your closet (which might just mean that now it's laundry day) evaluate the items that you actually need. For example, maybe you have all of the classic pieces and you need a few trendy items. Grab a magazine of the latest trends and pick two or three that you want to choose for yourself. Maybe you don't have those classic pieces. Then, write down the ones you need and buy them. It might be easier to spread them out to one or two at a time. If there's a sale (different from clearance item) pick up two or three and add them to your closet. You just found a great deal! Even changing your accessories can make an item seem new. Buy some new jewelry. Get a new handbag. You'll be surprised at what a difference this makes.

Here's a sample of my list (my true list is actually much longer). I'm preparing for the new year and thus, reorganizing my entire wardrobe. Some pieces I'll be keeping but most items I will actually have to break down and buy. As you can see, I started my list by writing down all of the items I want in my wardrobe, which includes a few classics and some more modern pieces. Next, I went through my list and determined which items I already owned and wrote "Own" next to them. I know that when I go shopping I won't have to pick these articles up because I already own them. This also takes away from buying an article impulsively, especially if I already have two or three of the same item. Now that I have my list and know what's already in my closet I'm ready to shop! 

2 pair of black pants

1 boyfriend blazer

2 pair of blue jeans (bootcut)
1 pair of blue jeans (skinny leg)
1 skirt suit

1 shift dress

slouchy hobo bag

1 cardigan

1 safari-style jacket

1 trendy item

As I go shopping, I'll pull out my list from my wallet and choose one or two items I want to buy. If you're able to buy all of the items and not have to forfeit gas, groceries, or a mortgage payment then wonderful! However, if you are on a budget, determine how much you are willing to spend for that day, pay period, or month and choose your articles based on that. Once I've determined my budget and bought my needed items, I'll have to figure out how to style them with items of clothing I already own. (Note: If the item of clothing is likely to go with very few items in your wardrobe you'll be better keeping it on the rack and saving the money!)

Make sure that when you get home you take the time to pull out articles of clothing you already have. This may take an hour of your time (more or less depending on the size of your wardrobe). Pair your new purchase(s) with the articles that you already have and take pictures of how they would look together. Also, that current magazine you were looking at for trendy pieces? Use that to get ideas on how to style your clothes too! Before you know it, you'll have a new look and a new you! Until next time....

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Classics

I'm a true believer in organizing style from the basics. This is why this week I am focusing on five Classics that women should have in their closet. The whole idea of classics is that they don't change as often as other clothing you buy. Therefore, it can be 10, 15, 20 years from now and they will still be a necessity to your wardrobe. You can also mix and match these classics with trendy pieces (items that are in style for a short period of time) and still have amazing style!

The first classic item in any woman's wardrobe is a suit. This can be a skirt suit or a pant suit but it should be a suit that you can wear with other items in your closet. Therefore, a suit that has a lot of embellishments or might be very colorful may not be an appropriate choice. I recommend a suit that has a neutral color such as a black, gray, or navy blue. By choosing a suit with a neutral color it increases the wearability (the amount of times you can wear the item).

I'm always a fan of having tops that fit. That's why my second classic is a white t-shirt or a white button-down dress shirt. You may choose to have one or both of these items depending on your need. For example, if you dress more business casual a simple button-down shirt may be best. However, if you have a little more flexibility with your attire you may want to invest in a t-shirt. Now to make your t-shirt more sophisticated you may get a better quality style such as a short sleeve white blouse from New York & Co. or Ann Taylor Loft but still make sure the item can be dressed up or down.

My third classic item for women is a nice pair of jeans. This can be a jean jacket, skirt, or pants. You may even choose to have all three, which is even better! These items will be used to dress down your other classic items such as the suit blazer, skirt, or pants. They may also be used for a weekend event or something a little more casual. Plus, it's totally up to you to determine the style. Just make sure it fits appropriately for your body type (which I will disucss at a later time).

I truly believe that women should have a little black dress. That's why it's my fourth classic item for women's wardrobe. In my opinion, a little black dress can make you look classy and sophisticated. You may choose a sheath dress, lace dress, a-line dress....whatever is your style and fits appropriately for you. However, I do recommend that when you put it on, it makes you feel like a woman and nothing less!
My final classic for women's wardrobe is a pair of black pumps. These can be patent leather, basic leather,  or suede. They can be a 21/2" pump or higher (21/2" pumps may be a little more comfortable if you'll be walking in them all day. Anything over 31/2" may be worn occasionally). Just like your jeans, black pumps will be used to dress up your wardrobe (instead of down). So, you can pair your jean pants or skirt with this item and get a totally different look.

Those are my five classics! Make sure that when you're buying your classic items you invest a little more money in them since you will wear them much longer. Therefore, don't be afraid to spend over $100 to buy your classic items because you'll wear them for years and not just for a season. Also, make sure that the "quality" piece is actually of quality. Check for irregularities, appropriate fit, as well as pricing. Remember-just because something is priced high (or low) does not mean it's absent from irregularity (which I will also discuss in a later blog).

If you have these 5 classics, excellent. If not, at least now you know where to start. Until next time....style beautiful!