Archive | January 2013

The Little Red Dress or Little Red Top

We women have been brainwashed over the years into thinking that Black is the only versatile dress colour.

Not so!

Let me educate and show you how you can wear a red dress, top, shirt or jumper in many different ways.

Landsend Little Red DressMy red jumper & black pantsThe first secret is to buy a dress or top in a medium shade with a matt finish that feels flat  and smooth to the touch. Together, they create a good base for other colours and textures.

When you pair red with neutrals accessories like mid-brown, mid-grey, cream or nude, you soften the red. The model on the right ( has done this with her brown belt. These colours show your inner self-confidence without screaming ‘power red’. Wearing red with black, white or black and white heightens the contrast to a more dramatic level like my red jumper and black pants on the left.

Patterns can soften or heighten the contrast. The model’s shoes stay with a subtle pattern whereas a brighter animal print or black and white shoes would heighten the contrast.

Other options are to wear either lighter or darker shades of red accessories to create a pleasing monochromatic colour scheme. Red and any shade of purple go well together as they are beside each other on the colour wheel. Red with yellow is for Extroverts and works best when both colours are used in a pattern. Red and green is too Christmassy. Instead try red and turquoise or red and teal.

You can use these principals on any coloured dress or top. It is much easier when you have your personal colour swatch because you can play and experiment with different colour combinations using the swatch samples.

(This Short Image Bite was sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 31 January 2013. Don’t miss out on receiving fashion and dressing advice for the modern business and professional Baby Boomer woman. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine.)


A Secret Colour Scheme that ALWAYS Works

How to Wear All One Colour & Look Fabulous
(with the Secret Colour Scheme that Always Works)

‘Style is a simple way of saying complicated things.’ – Jean Cocteau

Men have kept their dressing simple. Women, with their almost endless retail and fashion choices, can feel that dressing is complicated.

Not so! Dressing can be simple and that to me is the essence of Style.

One of the simplest ways to dress is to wear clothes and accessories in variations of the one colour. It is even more stylish when you base it around your best colours in your Personal Colour Palette. It also works for any age.

MAKE SURE YOU COME BACK to read my extra tips.


Wearing all one colour or variations of one colour is called a ‘Monochromatic Colour Scheme’. This is when you wear variations of one colour above your waist. You can wear it from head to toe or just above your waist. Most women only use Black as their Monochromatic scheme but it is much more versatile than that.

The secret is to remember to practise CPR – Contrast, Proximity and Repetition. This is the way to look fabulous all the time.

Monochromatic with Colour
Monochromatic Fuchsia - McCalls 6282With a Monochromatic Colour Scheme you do not have to wear exactly the same shade. Mix your above-waist dressing with light and dark variations of the one colour so that you have an interesting repetition of the colour you have chosen to wear. The model on the left is wearing a bright fuchsia top (McCalls 6282) with a flower brooch that contains light and dark variations of fuchsia plus medium fuchsia drop earrings.

I go monochromatic when I wear my watermelon red top with a pale pink necklace because pink is a light variation of red.

Try shades of purple. Dark purples are grape, aubergine and plum. Light purples are jacaranda, violet and lilac. Try shades of green. Dark greens are forest green, dark teal green and emerald. Light greens are mint, pale green and pale lime green You can mix your greens with medium or light turquoise. These light and dark variations can also be applied to the other basic colours of blue, orange and yellow as well as neutral brown.

The key is contrast which makes the repetition interesting. This is most effective when you add both light and dark variations of your preferred or best colours, especially those that intensify your eye, skin or hair colour. Proximity comes when you add your contrasting shades close to your face because this is where we want people to look. Now you have applied CPR to monochromatic with colour.

Monochromatic with Texture
Texture also adds contrast and interest to monochromatic with colour.

Monochromatic Brown - Butterick 5617Monochromatic Plum - Simplicity 2148The model on the left is wearing a flat surface dark brown jumper under her mid-brown shantung jacket (Butterick 5617). The jacket adds sheen and her jacket buttons, rings and bracelets add different textures. Texture on your hands and wrist is great as many of us have expressive hands and they are also on view when we sit with people.

The model on the right (Simplicity 2148) is wearing flat surface pants and top in plum. Her casual jacket is a darker plum in a stretch velvet. Adding a necklace with texture would create more interest with its proximity to her face.

Both models illustrate CPR principles with monochromatic colour and texture.

Monochromatic with Pattern
Monochromatic Light Brown - scarf Simplicity 2148Pattern is best when it ties the colour shades together and stays within the monochromatic light and dark variations.

The model on the left (scarf pattern – Simplicity 1871) is wearing variations of neutral brown. Her pants and top are a light, flat surface beige. Her mid-brown jacket in knit adds contrast, texture and repetition. Her scarf combines the two colours in a different texture and highlights her face (proximity).

Last Words
There you have it – the secret colour scheme that always works ie wearing variations of one colour. Add texture and/or pattern. Follow the CPR principles and you’ll look fabulous and never feel deadly boring again.

(Don’t miss out on upcoming articles for Baby Boomer Entrepreneurial Women. Click here to sign up for The ‘Baby Boomer Personal Style’ eZine and get your weekly info every Thursday.)

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Colour Blocking Above Your Bust

Colour Blocking Top - Gail TColour Blocking adds variety to your wardrobe. These styles are always smart and fashionable.

The simplest way is to have the colour or pattern block above your bust line like my client and friend, Gail on the left. Unless you have very wide shoulders (ie an inverted triangle shape), this is a slim part of your body.

Choose a colour, colours or patterns that suit you (ie not too dark or depressing) as this area will highlight your face. The wrong colour or pattern will drain colour, interest and energy from your face.

Experiment to find your best length. Above the curve of your bust, as in the photo, suits every woman. When it starts on your bust line it draws attention to your bust. The best proportions of colour mix are uneven ones – 1/3 to 2/3 or ¼ to ¾ or 1/8 to 7/8.

Always wear an accessory to bring the colours together. The ideal is a scarf or necklace that includes three colours – either the two colours plus another neutral colour or all three colours in your top or dress.

Go and colour mix with confidence and shine.

(This Short Image Bite was sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 17 January 2013. Don’t miss out on receiving fashion and dressing advice for the modern business and professional Baby Boomer woman. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine.)

Two of a Kind Fashions

There is a story of the late Jackie  Onassis buying her fashion items likes tops and jumpers in bulk. A later version of the story has her returning most of them for a cash refund. True or not, I was reminded of this when I recently bought two pairs of jeans exactly the same for a future holiday.

Have you ever started to wear an item of clothing and realised how comfortable, versatile and flattering it is? Then you think ‘I wish I had bought two of these’. If the opportunity has been lost, you are left with a twinge of regret every time you wear it, especially as it starts to fade or slowly fall apart.

Here are my tips for Baby Boomers and women over 40 on the joys and challenges of buying two-of- a-kind fashion items.

Identical Twins

Two pairs of identical black Jag JeansLike the picture of my two pairs of jeans, these are items that are exactly the same size, colour and fit.

Identical clothing items are best for basics like jeans, pants and skirts that are modern classics and can be dressed up or down in a number of different ways. They are great for Plan B occasions when you spill or stain one of them and need to change quickly. Black, chocolate brown, grey, navy or stone colours will mix with all of the colours and patterns in your wardrobe. These identical items are very useful for women who don’t want to think much about what to wear.

Identical dresses are rare (black ones are a different topic). White or coloured identical tops, shirts or jackets are also great for Plan B dressing. If they are quality, versatile items you will feel comfortable and smart wearing them for years. Because people notice more what is on the top half of your body, these items can more easily create negative feelings of boredom, feeling stuck in a rut or that everyone has seen you too often in this item.

Fraternal Twins

Fraternal Tops - same style, different coloursLike this picture, these are two items in the same material and style but in different colours or patterns.

The advantage of fraternal fashions over identical fashions is that, because of the colour or pattern variations, you will probably feel happier with them for longer. You may favour one more than the other but you always have a colour choice. Whether basic or modern classics, if the fit and style is right for you, you will wear them often.

The danger comes in accessorising them both the same way. While this makes for comfortable and easy dressing, you may not shine as much as you want to. Buy them only if you can mix and match your accessories to make each look unique or you will get bored with them.

Sometimes a fraternal twin pops up years later. I currently have a dress that is a close variation (different colour) of a style that I wore in my 20s. The style still flatters my more-relaxed shape. Grab these when you find them and keep their secret to yourself.

Think Twice Before You Buy

Half Price Sale SignOften we do not recognise the versatility of a fashion item when we buy it. It is only later that we search for the same or a different coloured item. On other occasions we recognise the potential immediately. Stop and think twice before buying the second item, especially in the current climate of continuing sales.

Do you really love the style and will you be happy wearing it for years? Will you wear one til it wears out and then bring the second one out or will you alternate wearing them? Is it a well-made item or are you buying cheap quality that will need replacing sooner than you expected? Can you afford to buy two items? Do they fit perfectly or can they be adjusted to a perfect fit? There is nothing worse than two similar or identical items that need to be pinned, tucked or folded every time you wear them.

Last Words

Identical and fraternal fashion items can be the best items in your wardrobe or a ‘what was I thinking’ disaster. It all comes down to knowing your most flattering colours and styles, your fashion personality and the modern classic styles that suit every Baby Boomer and woman over 40.

(Don’t miss out on upcoming articles for Baby Boomer Women. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine and get your weekly info every Thursday.)

Trumpet Hemlines – Feminine and Sensual

What is a trumpet skirt? The Trumpet-style hemline is a feminine-sensual skirt or dress style. It is a style that skims your hips and thighs and flares out slightly at the hemline which reminds you of the musical instrument after which it is named.

Forever brand Trumpet SkirtIt is at its best when the hemline is slightly above, on or just below your knee.

Trumpet hemlines are created from one of three styles. The first is when skirts have single or double bias-cut hemline flounces as in the red skirt on the left from


Kwik Sew3108 Trumpet skirt



The second is created by 4-8 gored skirts that are slightly shaped outward at the bottom like my Kwik Sew 3108 pattern on the left.




Vogue 1208 Elegant-Sensual Trumpet Dress



The third is seen in this Vogue 1208 red elegant-sensual dress which is cut on a slight bias to creates the trumpet shape. Your choice of material colour, pattern and texture determines whether the style is feminine or sensual.


Feminine personalities love the frills and sensual personalities love the ‘swishy’ feeling of these styles.



With a trumpet hemline, wear delicate or strappy feminine or sensual shoes that show a lot of your feet. Boots and shoes with thick ankle straps defeat the purpose of wearing this feminine or sensual hemline.

(This Short Image Bite was sent to subscribers of The Fashion Translator eZine’ on 3 January 2013. Don’t miss out on receiving fashion advice for the modern business and professional women over 40. Click here to sign up for The Fashion Translator eZine.)