Archive | August 2011

How to Dress Well

I do not agree with everything stylists and fashion writer say we should do and wear. From my local library, I picked up the August 2010 issue of Oprah Magazine and do agree with O’s Creative Director, Adam Glassman – well one sentence. In ‘Bargain Outfits’ he said that clothes and accessories just need to fit well and make you feel beautiful.

I believe that advice applies to women, whatever our clothing budget or spur-of-the-moment spending is.

Fit Well

If an item does not fit well and look good on you, it is a waste of money and creating negative energy in your life. There is a proviso – if it can be altered to fit perfectly and you have the alterations done, that is a positive. Leather shoes will stretch. Leather shoes too small won’t. (Yes, I write from vain experience.) boxy jackets, skirts at an aging length, too revealing necklines, too tight and dolman or batwing sleeves that widen your upper body – all are poor fit.

Learn what styles suit your body shape, reveal your feminine shape and be comfortable not in pain. Use the secret weapon of shapewear to look fabulous when it is important to you.

Feel Beautiful

There is no point buying clothes unless you feel beautiful wearing them. Clothes are about lifting your energy when you put them on and creating happy memories around the occasions you wear them. So if you feel dowdy, old and unhappy in your current clothes, it’s time to learn more about modern styles and how to wear them.

Sometimes we persist with annoying and uncomfortable things in clothes that could easily be fixed. Cut off that scratchy, annoying label, find a camisole to wear under that revealing top and replace or remove trims and buttons you don’t like.

The material and its texture also have to look and feel beautiful when you wear it. If your wardrobe is full of ‘same old, same old’ materials, explore new materials and styles. Imagine opening your wardrobe and thinking ‘How do I want my clothes to feel on me today?’ Then choose to fill your wardrobe with clothes that make you feel beautiful.

Top Dollar or Bargain Price

No matter how much we earn or have we women, including Oprah, all love a bargain. It’s a bargain if it looks good on you, is modern in style and can be worn a few different ways with other clothes and/or accessories. It is not a bargain if it is restricted to only one way of wearing it.

You can make a cheap item look fantastic and more upmarket with quality accessories. Alternatively a quality classic item can look fantastic with cheap accessories as long as the accessories truly reflect your personality.

Top brands can be found at discount outlets and discount retailers or at the sales. The trick is to buy classics with a touch of difference. They will stay stylish for years.

So I believe that dressing well is fit, feel and how you put it all together.

 

(Article sent to readers of ‘The Fashion Translator’ ezine on 20 August 2011. Click here to sign up for the ezine.)

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Miracle Jeans – Are they all Hype?

Miracle jeans – body-sculpting without the pain of plastic surgery. Flatten your tummy, lift your butt, and shape your legs. Do they deliver or is it a topic for the advertising experts on ‘The Gruen Transfer’ to de-mystify?

Here’s some tips to help you choose the best jeans for you.

Style & Size

There are so many brands and styles out there that my best tip is to ask the shop assistant what they suggest for you. If no shop assistant is handy, be adventurous. It cost nothing but time to try on lots of styles. The ‘bootleg’ style with tapered fit and a slight flare below the knees is a classic style that suits all women. Straight leg jeans (with no flare) are also universally flattering. My jag jeans are called ‘slim ankle grazers’. Even after I have cut centimetres off them, they are slim-fitting at my ankles. Just make sure the jeans are ‘high rise’ or you will have the dreaded muffin top.

Here’s a tip. Find a pair of your jeans that you love. Measure them width-wise at the knees and ankles and take other jeans in at the side seams to create your best shape.

Size-wise, Corfu jeans and some Jag jeans have intermediate sizes eg 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 etc. this give you more chance of finding the perfect waist fit. Otherwise try on at least two sizes in new jeans because sizing varies. It’s not the number, it’s the fit.

Non-surgical Lift & Slim

Jeans material needs to have some stretch in it for comfort and fit. Today, jeans are made of all sorts of miracle fabrics for lifting and flattening. Generally, the most effective materials cost the most but not always. I tried on one brand advertising a miracle tummy slimming panel to find that someone had an overactive imagination. It doesn’t hurt to try them on. Look for visible results on you and ignore the advertising hype.

Check that you can bend, squat and sit in them without pain. Some salespeople will tell you that you are better off in jeans that zip up tight at the waist as they will stretch as you wear them. That’s fine but if the first hour is uncomfortable and zipping them up is always a challenge, they will sit in the back of your cupboard, unworn.

Does my Bum look Big in These?

It is easy when trying on jeans to only look at your front and side view. Rear pockets can make or break your look.

What to look for in pockets? First the stitching colour. The more the stitching colour blends with your jeans colour, the less obvious the pockets are and the smoother your bottom shape. Got a pert bottom? Let the stitching pattern and colour draw attention to a ‘Kylie Monogue’ bottom. The best pockets are on an angle and do not go below the courve of your bottom. Any lower gives you a bigger bottom or a ‘daggy look’.

PS:  Don’t keep old jeans because you hope to fit into them again one day. Jeans are always evolving and new styles and brands are much more flattering than old styles.

 

(Article sent to readers of ‘The Fashion Translator’ ezine on 19 August 2011. Click here to sign up for the ezine.)

Springs – Your Season has Arrived

Each of us has one quarter of the year when the fashion industry loves and indulges us. Springs – your season has arrived.

So what to choose that is stylish and age-appropriate. Changing your complete wardrobe every year is for the young. You are now smarter.

Spring is a frilly season. As you age, be more selective. Vertical frills are always stylish, slimming and non-age-specific. Avoid high frill necks – too girlish. Pleated frills are stylish and don’t date. Look for something a little unusual as that means more wearability.

A touch of spring style with classic clothes shows your individuality and personality. Think floral patterned shoes, scarves with edging (tassels, bobbles or a bit of sparkle), aqua/turquoise blue and orange indian style jewellery or a touch of sparkle (diamantes or silver thread) on your jeans.

Beware the body toning solid colours (beige, cream, salmon) or pale merging colours that make you look naked from a distance. Wear an outside beige jacket underdone or wear another colour over the top of skin-toned tops.

Heartfelt Giving – Pleasure or Pain

Recently I had coffee with a friend who was affected by the January 2011 Brisbane floods. I listened and I got the really personal experience of situations I have written about in my eProgram ‘Wardrobe Full, Nothing to Wear’.

While she and many others were grateful for all the help they received, some ‘giving’ created problems for the ‘receivers’ and it’s delicate stuff.  Receiving is not always pleasure. Sometimes it is pain.

So here’s three things to consider before you donate your unwanted clothes to another person or a charity so that you give where it will do the most good and be most appreciated.

Offer not Give

This is painful. We all feel that we are donating/giving from our hearts. We know that there are others less fortunate or poorer than us and we want to help. It makes us feel good to give and we want them to feel grateful for our generosity. Rejection is not part of our plan.

Now ‘walk a mile in the other person’s shoes’. That gift may be totally useless to them – not their style, size, colour or fit their current lifestyle situation. But they often take it so as not to upset or offend you.

Change your wording and perception. You are not ‘giving’. You are ‘offering’. And offers can be accepted or rejected. Think in ‘their shoes’ not yours. Your gift may be more appropriate somewhere else.

Ask What They Truly Want

There is the story of Juliette Wright who started http://www.givit.org.au because she found that what she was offering (designer baby clothes) was not what the charities desperately needed. So she started the website so that charities could ask for items that would support and make their clients’ lives more enjoyable and productive.

So before you offer your unwanted clothes and accessories to someone, ask what they truly want. The answer may surprise you because it’s usually not what you were thinking of giving. The pleasure is that you may be able to find and give the appropriate item. The pain is that you may have to find a different place to donate your unwanted items.

How Else Can I Donate?

Swapping is one option. You can organise your own or sign up for professional swap meets. There is still no guarantee that someone else will want what you are offering. You can search for specific charities that want what you have to offer or you can sell them. It can be a pleasurable game of ‘who wants what I offer’. Don’t stop at the first rejection. You can sign up for http://www.freecycle.org which is a donation site for your local area. You list the items and they may or may not be snapped up.

Donate without Rejection:  Put it anonymously in a charity bin and leave it for them to sort out. Be realistic. Some items are ready for your rubbish bin. Put them there and don’t leave it for for charity to throw it out.

By all means give from your heart. Just do it consciously. One day you may be the person who’d rather say ‘no’ than receive.

I leave you with this quote by Suze Orman in her book ‘Woman & Money, Australian Edition’, Hay House Publishers, 2009 – Generosity is when you give the right thing to the right person at the right time – and it benefits both of you.’

Spring Food Colours

As August ends, the spring colours and styles appear everywhere. Here’s a tongue-in-cheek look at the new spring season colour names.

I opened my Target catalogue and noticed that for spring, it’s food all the way – salmon, cream, mocha, latte, paprika, spiced coral, cinnamon dust, burnt olive and oatmeal. Were the designers cold and hungry in winter when they named these colours?

Burnt olive confused me. How do you burn an olive? I saw no difference between it and a normal olive green. I also found ‘fatigue’. Yes, as in ‘army fatigue’. Fatigue seems to be a light olive colour. And where did ‘donkey’ and ‘dark nomad’ come from? Donkey is a shirt colour in a brownish-khaki shade. I guess the colour looks like what we assume when we think of a donkey. ‘Dark nomad’ really got me. From the picture, it appears to be a camel colour ie beige mixed with a pale apricot. There’s nothing dark about it.

That’s the beauty of women’s fashions. It’s never dull and boring.

It put a smile on my face just writing about it.

The New Me. Who is She?

Intimo Pink Wrap JacketYou’ve made the decision. You have stopped the excuses. You have faced your embarrassment. You have dropped weight and are well on your way to your target goal weight.

And you are scared. Who is this new woman that is emerging from under the protective layers of weight? There’s less of you weight wise but more of you emotional wise that is being exposed. With less weight, people notice and compliment you more. How is the new you going to dress?

Dropping weight means changing your mindset and dressing habits. Here’s three dressing tips to help you dress for the new you with a changing body shape.

Your Covering Changes not Your Basic Body Shape

Many women believe that when they drop weight, they can move from a large, rounded apple shape to an hourglass. That is not true.

Your basic body shape is determined by your bones and the width of your shoulders. They do not change. Only your covering over them is changing. As you drop weight, your true body shape will be revealed and be more defined. Now is the time to become excited about who you really are.

Look at your younger, slimmer photos to determine your body shape. Read articles/books on Body Shapes and how to dress for yours. Pay $99 and go online to http://www.yourfuturedirection.myprivatestylist.com/ to work out
your Body Shape and find out what styles suit you now and forever. Or send me an email for a private Body Shape Session.

Styles that Work for all Body Shapes

Crossover tops and jackets are great for changing body shapes. Choose ones with ties so that you can wrap then tighter as you drop dress sizes. Intimo has a short pink or black wrap (as in the picture) that can be worn seven different ways to expand your wardrobe with one item.

Wrap dresses and shift dresses are in fashion now. Wear them with a self-tie or belt and you can bring it in a few sizes as you slim down Tops, shirts and dresses with a princess line from the shoulder flatter all body shapes. Take the side seams in as you get smaller. Clothes that skim your body make you feel good and bit by bit overcome the ‘I’m still fat’ mentality.

Classic or Cheap & Cheerful

Your call! Both do the job. You can go to shops that sell classic styles in good quality fabrics and price. If necessary, have them altered to fit. Alternatively go to Target, DFO, Trade Secret and other discount or boutique stores with cheaper, fashionable clothes. Try the second-chance or charity shops. It’s all in how you wear it and not necessarily the price.

Do buy new clothes and new underwear. Waiting until you reach your magic goal weigh is denying yourself the pleasure of the journey. Tell yourself you are worth the effort and cost of looking nice whatever your weight and size.

Magic Tip:  Raise your skirts and show some leg. Best choice is just below the knee. Second best is just below the widest part of your calf. Add nice shoes. People will love the new you because you are doing what many women are scared to do – show sexy legs. Yes, we all have them.

Discover the new you as you make dropping weight an exciting journey not a punishing chore.