Thursday, July 26, 2012

Modern Day Classic Dressing

The "Set" shown below, "Modern Day Coco Chanel," is an illustration of a classic outfit that will never go out of style.  The LBD, Little Black Dress, can also be a black shell and skirt if separates fit better.  If slacks are available in the same fabric and color buy them too if the budget permits.  I own five black dresses in various styles and lengths.  If Navy blue is more flattering on your skin tone then always look for Navy dresses when shopping on-line or in the stores.

A cream sweater is a good investment because it can be worn three seasons of the year, at least in Kentucky.  Buy the best quality you can afford.  The sweater shown in the Set below is a cashmere blend so that means it is extra soft and beautiful.

A woman should have a signature scent.  Always test perfume on your own skin. It takes a little while for the fragrance to blend with your own body oils so wait about 30 minutes before making a purchase. Department stores usually have sticks of paper near the sample perfumes so you can spray some on the paper and take it home.  Take several different brands home so you have a good choice.  Jot down the name of each sample so you'll know which one to buy.

A "Kitten" heel shoe is more comfortable than a higher heel for women who have foot problems and pain.  It's a classic heel and can make an outfit look a bit dressier than a wedge or a flat shoe.  The shoes illustrated in the Set below are called "cap toe." Coco Chanel believed that the black cap on a cream shoe made a woman's foot look smaller.  Many shoe manufacturers make flats and heels with a cap toe.  This is a classic style that has stood the test of time.

A black leather purse with a chain strap is also very classic.  A navy blue one is a good idea if your "Palette" is navy rather than black. Chains reflects light, that's why Coco Chanel used them on her handbags, and it can make a purse look a bit more dressed up.  If you can find a quilted bag all the better.  The added texture of the quilting adds interest.  It can also be worn with casual outfits too.

If you cannot afford genuine pearls then opt for faux (fake) ones.  A simple strand of pearls is very classic and can be worn with everything from an evening gown to blue jeans.  If genuine pearls are not in your budget opt for faux pearls.  Buy necklaces and bracelets with good quality clasps if you are buying faux items.  Vintage stores, antique malls and flea markets are good places to buy pearl jewelry. Look for strands that have tiny knots in between each pearl.  That adds strength and durability.  Be sure to soak them in water every once in a while to keep them clean and the string hydrated.  Look for pearl stud earrings made of sterling silver, surgical steel or 14 karat gold.

Black undergarments are another basic that I consider a good investment.  A good fitting black bra, shape wear, panties and half slip will keep you looking sleek under your LBD.  If the bra strap happens to slip out from under your black dress it's not as noticeable as a white or colored bra strap.  I've never liked the look of bra straps showing under any circumstance.  If you wear a bra under a garment with spaghetti straps then choose a bra that closely matches the garment color or opt for a strapless bra.

Having these classic items in your closet means that you will be ready for almost any event even with short notice.  Get in the habit of sending your LBD's to the cleaners to keep the deodorant and perfume from damaging the fabric and to keep them ready to go at a moment's notice.

I like clear anti-perspirants because they don't leave white residue on dark clothes.  I'm allergic to some of the ingredients in clear products so I have to use the regular formulas.  I place a clean tissue under each  arm after applying deodorant so the excess will be absorbed and not rub off on my sleeveless LBD's. Applying it after getting dressed is the safest way to keep you from getting residue on other areas of the garment too.

I suggest you get ready in this order: dress, anti-perspirant, hair spray, perfume (I spray it in the air and walk under it, keeps it from being too strong) and pearls.  You never want to get hair spray or perfume on genuine pearl jewelry.  If this happens remove and wash them immediately.

Being "Ready to go" at a moment's notice will allow you to say "YES!" instead of "no" to invitations and special events.  Create an outfit that will always be waiting for the next invitation or special evening.  Being prepared will give you confidence which is one of the most attractive attributes of a woman.  When you LOOK good you FEEL good!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012

Adventures in Shape Wear

Shape wear has been around for a very long time.  Boned and wired corsets come to mind when I think back to a time when women's bodies were tortured into eye pleasing silhouettes. I'm sure if I were to delve into history I would find that the creators of these "cages" were men.  I don't know why a woman would fantasize about going back in time and living like that.  I think high heels were designed by a man, possibly a king, who wanted a shoe that would disable a woman when she tried to run away from his advances.  I've seen photos of Asian women whose feet are completely misshapen from "binding."

Now it's 2012 and we have "shape wear." Most people have heard of the brand "Spanx" by now.  Other companies sell similar products like Victoria Secret and Vanity Fair. I am old enough to remember wearing a long leg girdle to high school.  It had garters sewn inside the legs to hold up our stockings.  I was too thin to wear a girdle for the obvious reasons.  I wore one to have a smoother line on my backside since an elastic garter belt cut across my bottom in a very unflattering way.  Pantyhose were invented when I was around 16 or 17 but they were a far cry from the pantyhose of today.

A lot of women I know haven't owned a pair of pantyhose in over a decade. It was always a hassle to find the right size and fit and then if you got a runner in one leg you had to throw the whole garment away, unlike stockings.  Most women just wore slacks and Knee Hi's if needed for foot comfort.

I'm not sure when it started but perhaps we can blame the "no stocking legs with high heels" on shows like "Sex in the City." It IS true that your foot does not slip and slide as much when heels are worn without slick hose.  Unfortunately not all women's legs look good bare.  Many women over  certain age have varicose and spider veins.  Hosiery improves the look of legs that are less than youthful.  Many women opt for laser removal of the veins and enjoy the benefits especially when self tanner is applied frequently.

Control Top Pantyhose used to take the place of a pantie girdle.  When women quit wearing them it meant that their clothing was not going to be as attractive from the waist down.  Some women wear thong underwear which sometimes makes their backside look worse.  Thong underwear is for younger women who have zero cellulite and almost no loose skin or "jiggle." I've seen plenty of older women get up from a chair and have their dress, pants or skirt actually stuck in their "nether regions." I don't know a graceful way for a woman to pull out that fabric in public without embarrassing herself.  Thongs may work for some with pantyhose and sturdy jeans.  New underwear fabrics can make a panty line almost invisible.

The next time you go shopping in a store or on-line check out the new shape wear garments.  Buying a size larger than you think you will need will enable you to get used to wearing shape wear. After you are used to the fit and feel you can order a size smaller for times when you really want to look slimmer under a nice dress for a special event.  These garments can raise the self-esteem by making a woman feel thinner and more put together.  As with all undergarments you really only need to buy Nude and Black.  Nude looks best under whites and pastels and black looks best under dark and black clothing. I have a black one made by "Miraclesuit," the bathing suit company.  It is black and goes from the bottom of my bra to my lower thigh.  I love the way it makes me feel under my black and dark dresses and skirts.  Try'll never know until you do!

Look below at my "Shape Wear" Set for some examples of new ways to look and feel your best.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Matching Your Clothes

Matchy matchie, either way my computer's Spellcheck doesn't like it.  It's a word that has been coined in the fashion industry by stylists.  Decades ago a woman tried very hard to coordinate her outfits by matching items to each other much like a game of "Go Fish." The challenge was something to look forward to and we would become excited when an outfit came together.  I don't know when things changed, maybe it was the show "What Not To Wear" that gave women the idea that it was no longer "cool" to match their clothes in an outfit.  To me it is not an outfit if the elements don't match.  In interior design we do it all of the time.  Repeating a color or element in a room gives it a look and feel of balance.  The same holds true for an outfit.  By repeating colors and patterns you create a sense of balance and harmony.  Anyone can throw on a few articles of clothing and walk out of the door.  To me that is not true "style." While there will always be times and places where it's appropriate to wear something thrown together there will be times when a woman will need or want to coordinate her outfit and make it something attractive and cohesive.  I don't think we would be so enamoured by shows like "Mad Men" if the wardrobe creator did not work very hard to match the female characters' wardrobes in an attractive and appealing way.  I don't think Christian Dior would have become so famous if he had not created his "ensembles" of a matching dress and coat.  He had a shoemaker create the perfect matching shoes for his ensembles as well as coordinating handbags and hats.  The costume jewelry market of the 1950's took their cues from the Paris designers and created works of art to be worn with the designer creations.  All of this is art to me.  When I'm styling an outfit I look at all of the elements, colors, fabrics, patterns and silhouettes. When it comes together it looks cohesive and attractive.  When a woman wears such an outfit it makes her feel more confident and special as well as pretty.  I hope that before long "matchy matchy" will no longer be dirty words.

Monday, July 9, 2012

If You Love Something,

"If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it's yours. If it does not come back, it was never meant to be."

Monday, July 2, 2012

80% of 10 Year Old Girls Have Been on Diets

A plus size model's smallest dress size is an 8.  That means the models we see in magazines are probably a size 0 or 2.  That's unhealthy, especially when they are so tall.