Archive | August 2012

What Do You Try On when Shopping for New Clothes?

It is a beautiful day. You easily found a parking spot at the shopping centre. There is cash in your purse or your credit card is handy. It is time to go shopping for something new.

But what? Something stylish and modern would revitalise you and your wardrobe. You have more important things to do than wander aimlessly into every shop in the mall.

Here are three tips to help you find what you are looking for.

Know Your Brands and Shops

Go first to those brands, shops and boutiques that have styles that suit your figure, personality and lifestyle. Look for new styles and colours. You may be a one-shop woman but most of us pick and choose from about five to six choices. Ignore those shops that are a waste of time for you. They stock clothes that are poor quality, dowdy, monotonous, too young or too old for your current work, lifestyle and outlook on fashion.

Once a year your best colours, patterns and styles will be in fashion. When it is not your season, you need to fall back on your preferred brands and shops for colours and styles that suit you. Before you go shopping, check your favourite brand’s website for styles that interest you.

Try Something New

Some clothes look awful on a hanger but fabulous on your body. These are usually clothes with shirring on the side seams or gathers at hip level. They will fit your body rather than skim gently over your shape. Many women ignore these clothes as they mistakenly believe only the young or super slim can wear them. Do not discount those. If you like the colour, try it on. You are the only person who will see you in the change room. You may look better than you think you will.

With jeans, ask about the Butt Lifter, Tummy Trimmer or Slim Leg styles and try a new denim colour. You may feel great or you may not. You do not know til you try them on.

Also investigate one new local shop or boutique a month. Ask for help so the assistant can find that special piece for you. Style is 20% inherited and 80% learnt. If you are jealous of the way other women dress without doing something to develop your own style, you will condemn yourself to a safe, boring wardrobe.

Is it Medium Contrast?

Something that creates a medium contrast of a light and a dark colour will lift your spirits and attracts others to you. It may be a light and dark pattern or a light top to wear with your dark coloured skirt, pants or jeans. Mixing light and dark colours make us feel that our wardrobe has life to it. All dark or all light colours look boring and you feel you have nothing nice to wear.

When buying a dark colour, make sure it has something interesting about it – texture, style or space at your neckline for your contrasting jewellery.

Lastly, wear your new purchase as soon as possible to feel good about your choice. Happy shopping!  

(Article sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 24 February 2011. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine.)


Skin-Tone Colours – Approach with Extreme Caution

In my local newspaper and catalogues, skin-tone colours are one of the trends that reappear regularly. Spring and summer are the favourite seasons for these colours but they can turn up as a clothing fashion trend colour at any time of the year.

When it comes to skin-toned tops and dresses, my dressing advice for business and professional women over 40 is to be cautious and think twice before buying and wearing these colours.

Why Avoid Them

Skin-tone colours for women with European heritage include the colours of beige, champagne, very soft pink and apricot. If you have darker coloured skin, your skin-tone colours are medium to solid brown and blacks.

These colours are dangerous in fitted or semi-fitted styles. They look fantastic up close when you are looking at yourself in the change room mirror dressed in these colours. You get the same reaction when you are standing close to someone else dressed in these colours. Women dressed in skin-tone colours in magazines look fabulous most of the time.

The problem comes with distance and background. Other people see you stepping out of a car, across the room, in a doorway or across the street. The further away you are from them, the less they can see the difference between your skin and your skin-coloured top. You can appear to be naked on the top half of your body. People will shake their heads and look twice at you.

The same thing can happen when you stand or speak in front of walls that are close in colour to you individual skin colour or have family photos or publicity shots taken against these backgrounds. The result can be very embarrassing and upsetting when you finally see the photos.

Test It

Take out any of your skin-tone bras in beige, apricot, pink, pale pink or dark brown, depending on your skin colour. Put it on and stand as far away from a mirror as possible. There is a very good reason these colours are called skin-tone.

How To Consider Wearing Them

Break up the flat surface of the colour. Find tops or dresses with texture like large frills that are very obvious. Small textured details will blend in from a distance. Find a top or dress that mixes the skin-tone colour with one or more other colours or patterns, especially over your bust area.

A skin-toned jacket is not a problem if it is worn over another colour and you can see that colour or pattern down the middle of your body. A skin-tone jacket, trench coat or modern coat really draws attention to your face and makes your whole being shine confidently.

Better Ways To Wear Skin Tones

Buy a handbag or shoes in one of your skin tone colours. They are a summery look and provide a wonderful contrast to dark colours any time of the year. Skin-tone shoes or boots make your legs look longer and slimmer. Do not wear matching skin-tone shoes and handbag together. It is not a modern look. Wear one or the other as a standout feature.

Look for a skin-tone coloured scarf to make your face appear brighter and healthier. Buy a skin-tone or beige coloured necklace strand and wear it with your choice of any colour pendant. From a distance it will be the pendant that stands out. Mix a neutral coloured beaded necklace with black or dark-coloured beads for a dramatic effect.

You have been warned. Be wary of skin-toned colours! 

(Article sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 10 August  2010. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine.)

Monetise Your Wardrobe for Success

It is amazing the number of people who come up to me at networking events and say ‘You should talk to that person. They are in business and they need to dress better.’

The way we dress is determined by many things – our upbringing, our current financial state, our self-beliefs, our desire to please others, out motives and our dressing knowledge and skills to name a few. Some dress to show their wealth and status and some dress to hide it. For women, every life event brings up the common cry ‘What will I wear!’ None of us want the embarrassment and shame of getting it wrong.

Here are my three modern dressing tips for business and professional women over 40 to help you build a wardrobe that adds value to your working life.

Get Rid of Poor Investments

Any investor knows that hanging on to poor performing assets will drain or destroy your future wealth. So it is with your wardrobe.

Now is the time to go through your clothes and accessories with a critical eye. We have all heard the old adage – ‘Dress like the next job level you want.’ That also applies if you are in business for yourself. Clearly define your goals for the next 12 months and look to see if each item in your wardrobe represents you at that level of income. Keep the ones that do and get rid of those that drag you down or keep you forever at your current level. Dispose of your cheap, make-do items as well as the expensive, classic suits that do not fit your future direction. You may not be able to do a complete purge but you can devise a plan for replacing items at a better level.

Also check items for repair and alteration. Scuffed shoes and ill-fitting clothes are noticed by other. Fix them or throw them out.

Pay Yourself First

Another important investment rule is to put a certain percentage of your income aside for monetary growth. This also applies in your professional wardrobe.

Put part of your income aside to invest in purchasing well-made, quality clothes and accessories. You may buy them at full-price or on sale. Go for brand, fit and the quality. People do decide to employ you, have you speak to their group or give you a promotion based on their impression of you. When you buy judiciously, you can use appeal to do part of this work for you. A good first impression makes the next step easier. A poor first impression means you have to work harder to turn it around.

Learn all the modern dressing skills you need to represent yourself as professional, approachable, confident and forward-thinking. Buy books, go to workshops or pay an Image Consultant to gain the edge over your competition. Create your unique brand and show your personality through what you wear.

Money Loves to Work and Be Appreciated

The classic money novel, ‘The Richest Man in Babylon’ by George S Clason reminds us that money will lose its value if we do not put it to work. Hide it under the bed and inflation will erode its value.

Once you have started to build a wardrobe of better quality clothes that suit your 12 month goals, make it work for you. Working clothes that are rarely worn are underperforming assets. Quality, modern, neutral pants and skirts can mix and match with a variety of tops, skirts and jackets. Use accessories to diversify your basic clothing investments and give them variety. Increase your awareness and appreciation of the abundance in your wardrobe by working out new clothing combinations.

Step up by having professional photos taken for promotion and advertising. Opportunities to speak can arise at any time. Even short elevator speeches are an opportunity for your clothing to reinforce your business message and personality. You do not need a massive, room-sized dressing room of clothes. Fewer, well-chosen clothes working often will bring you financial rewards.

Last Words

Talking to other people about their dress sense needs to be done with sensitivity and respect. Lift your clothing and yourself to the next monetary level and other will notice and want to know your secret and who taught you those dressing skills.

(Article sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 6 September  2012. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine.)

Adding Style to an All Black Outfit

Black Dress with StyleOh! The reasons I have heard for wearing or not wearing black. We women seem to have a love-hate relationship with the colour. Some of us wear only black and some avoid it at all costs and some would wear it more if only they know how to make it interesting.

Black is the fall-back colour when you cannot find anything else to buy. It is a corporate colour and safe to wear on any occasion. Black is a colour that fills the wardrobe of plus-size women because it is extremely difficult for them to find interesting and flattering clothes in other colours.

Here are my modern dressing tips for business and professional women over 40 to help you get the most out of wearing black.


Black Plus Neutrals

When women think ‘black and neutral’, they usually think of combining black with white. This is a strong and often striking combination. A bold graphic scarf or jacket looks fabulous on those with strong colouring and an extrovert personality. For introverts who want to dip into black and white, try a subtle patterned black and white shoes or belt or an elegant pearl necklace or accessory with an all-black outfit.

Go beyond white to a neutral beige or the skin-tone colours. Shoes or handbag in these shades contrast beautifully and elegantly with black. Consider wearing a soft or leather beige flower brooch to bring light to your face. Black plus beige is great for quiet achievers as well as extroverts who want to show their softer side.

Black Plus Colour

Being a non-colour, black is a perfect background for adding jackets or accessories in any colour. The best colours to wear with it are those that provide a light contrast to the dark black. Jackets and accessories in a matt finish can look a little dull. Go instead for a jacket or accessory with some sheen or shine. Light contrasts that look fabulous with black are pale pink, light turquoise, soft red or silver. You can go subtle in a necklace or earrings with a mixture of black, white and a soft or medium shade of any colour.

Lift the contrast level a little with a medium shade of any colour like medium red, warm or cool purple and medium aqua blue or turquoise green. For extroverts who love high contrast add strong orange, hot pink, red patent shoes or bright yellow to black to show your confidence and energy.

Non-aging Black

Black & BeigeBlack can be very aging and unflattering to some skin tones. As you age, black looks best when your neckline is halfway between the top of your bust and your collarbone. Go as low and as wide as you feel comfortable. If you are wearing clothes with a higher neckline, add a scarf or necklace that has beige, apricot or pink colours. These mimic a healthy skin colour and add lightness to your face. The combination on the right from one of my Pinterest repins  (click on it to repin it) shows how beautifully stylish black and beige/pale pink can look.

If your hair is blond, light red, white or grey, on the top half of your body wear patterns that have more white than black in them. The opposite works for darker hair i.e. more black than white in the pattern. Black is a wonderful background for patterns, especially when it includes colours that create the light and dark contrast mentioned above.

Wear makeup, especially lipstick, when wearing all-black clothing. It does not have to be red. Any of the softer, glossy neutral colours work well.

Last Words

Black is a colour too often downplayed or underestimated. Treat it with respect and it will reward you with increased confidence, beautiful memories and surprising compliments.

(Article sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 23 August  2012. Click here to sign up for ‘Baby Boomer Personal Style’  since renamed.)

Sale Items – Real Bargains or Lemons

Sale is a four letter word that most women love and every male dreads. Too late to hide the credit card. She is out the door or buying online.

The news of a sale comes to women today in many ways. It can be a catalogue on your lawn, an ad in a local paper, on TV or an email from a retailer who has your name on their email list. You can hear about a sale from a friend or you can see the magic word while browsing on the Internet.

The words, sale and discounted, are designed to attract your attention as retailers vie for your shopping dollars. Yes you will ignore those items outside your budget or price comfort zone. If we are comfortable with the price, what next?

Here are some tips to help you bring home real sales bargains rather than sour lemons.

Are You The One for Me?

Items go on sale because they either have been overlooked or judged unsellable. A recent poll in the July 2012 Australian Womens Weekly conducted for the article ‘The Crisis Rocking Our Fashion Industry’ reported that 57.1% of women are unhappy with the selection of clothes unavailable. Lemons fit in that category. Bypass the boring, the unsuitable colour and the too outlandish for you. You will never wear them and they are not a bargain at any price. Skyscraper 10 cm heels are great for some but if you feel you will totter and fall on your face, admire them and pass by or scroll down the webpage.

A sale item is a real bargain if you have never seen it before and can now picture it going with a number of your current clothes and being worn regularly like my purple jumper and cami. The sale price is the bonus. Wearability and versatility mean nothing if the size is not perfect. Do ask as your size may be available from a different store. Choose only items you will wear often with pleasure. Unworn and rarely worn items are no bargain.

Beware Hidden Costs

Before you pay for that item do the ‘Hidden Costs’ Check. Is it a well-made item in quality material? Check for broken zips or missing buttons. If it is a little too big or too long, can you or someone else alter it. I bought a sale item merino wool top with sleeves for an Amazonian woman. Too late I found out that woollen seams cannot be altered. Now I must manually tuck under the excess every time I wear it. You have to decide whether little annoyances make the item a bargain or a lemon.

Sometimes the hidden cost of alteration can take a sale item from a bargain to a lemon. To have the sleeves taken up on a lined coat bought at a sale cost me almost as much as the coat itself. I was not expecting that. A modern classic, very wearable item is worth altering. A trendy, one or two season, occasional-wear item is not.

The Curse of Vanity

It does not matter how educated, practical or miserly you are, every woman has succumbed to vanity when shopping. Sales increase the temptation.

Those lust-have brand leather shoes may be beautiful and well made. Vanity struck when I bought apricot shoes in a half-size too small. I told myself that leather stretches. It does but not that much. Why apricot when I had very little to wear them with? Vanity is the answer. They ended up a lemon – lovely to look at but rarely worn.

There is no complete cure to vanity. Think twice before buying and hopefully vanity purchases will be a rare rather than a regular occurrence.

Sale Shopping with a Friend

This can be as dangerous as vanity. You can talk each other into buying unwise clothing and accessories or the second pair of eyes can find real bargains you may miss or overlook. Only you can decide whether sale shopping with a friend is a wise idea.

Last Words

A sale was once a rare, much anticipated event. Now it is commonplace and learning to sale shop wisely is a modern dressing skill every woman needs to master.

(Article sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 9 August 2012. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine.)