The Little Black Dress (LBD) is the staple of any wardrobe because it can go from day to evening and can be paired up with anything. What’s great about it is its versatility and ability to coordinate with just about anything in your closet to dress it up or down for any occasion from work to cocktails. Audrey Hepburn made it famous wearing a simple silhouette with a strand of pearls and it was a hit that has endured the ages. When choosing among the millions of choices when it comes to an LBD consider your figure for the style that high lights your assets and minimizes your liabilities. For example, if you have large hips, look for styles that put the emphasis from the waist up with detailing such as epaulets and buttons. If you have a thick waist consider a drop waist or one with princess seams to camouflage or create a waist. If you are large busted, choose a style that has long or 3/4 length sleeves. Avoid any detail or attention in the bust such as lace or square neckline as these draw attention to it.
The new year has begun and with it a travel itinerary that takes you near and far. Whether it is to visit an existing client, a prospective one, or traveling for a job interview, you will want to be dressed to impress and
comfortable so you are able to concentrate on the business at hand.
When traveling, whatever your occupation or position, bring items that can coordinate with other pieces of your wardrobe. Build your travel wardrobe around neutrals such as black, taupe, camel, navy and go from there. Include lots of accessories, such as scarves, jewelry, belts and hosiery to change up the look with the same pieces. Here are some ideas for a great travel wardrobe:
- · If suits are required bring a suit or suit separates. Add blouses and shirts for variety and accessorize for impact. Consider a black dress with bold jewelry for evening and stripy sandals. Or consider a dress with a coordinating jacket that works both during business hours and after. Wear the jacket over the dress with some jewelry during the day, take off the jacket and add some bold jewelry and perhaps a shawl for evening. Consider trousers and a coordinating cardigan with a top for weekend events. Choose a couple of pair of shoes such as pump or ties that go with your travel wardrobe with medium heels.
- · If jackets are optional, consider knits for day and evening wear. Chico’s has their “Travelers” line that was popularized by Michael Phelp’s mother during the Beijing Olympics. Made of Lycra and Acetate, they travel well, are easy to care for and comfortable to wear. Consider pants and skirts and coordinating tops and jackets that can go anywhere as well as day into evening like black, silver, deep navy or dark chocolate. Team up black Traveler’s pants with a black turtleneck and jewelry and perhaps if its cooler, a tailor mandarin collar jean jacket with jeweled buttons for evening events on the road. For day try the black pants with the black denim jacket and a tailored shirt, belted for day. Everything goes with black.
- · Consider classic suit separates that go from day to evening such a gabardine twill trousers or skirts and a single blazer in black or navy. Bring an assortment of blouses, shirts and sweaters such as turtlenecks that coordinate. Accessorize dramatically for evening events and employ scarves and some jewelry for day.
- · If you have a tendency to get cold in air conditioned hotels, bring a blazer or good rib knit or double knit cardigan that coordinates with the rest of your travel wardrobe.
- · If jeans are permitted choose ones in a dark wash that are in excellent condition as well as another pair of pants or skirt in a neutral such as khaki or black.
- · Introduce knits such as sweater sets, cotton V- or round neck pullovers or turtlenecks and mock turtle styles. Look to natural fibers blended with synthetics or 100% synthetic fabrics for ease of care.
- · Consider bringing one jacket, perhaps a black blazer or a cardigan that coordinates with the rest of your wardrobe. A blazer or box jacket, if necessary, can take you to evening if jackets are optional and jeans are permitted. Wear it with a silk blouse or jeweled tone shirt and bold jewelry.
- · Regarding shoes, don’t buy any new ones to wear on your trip, your feet will hate you. Buy the shoes about a week or two in advance and break them in at home, then they will be ready for your trip. Consider bringing a pair of shoes perhaps slip-ons, loafer or tie styles in a medium to low heel such as an inch and a half.
- · When it comes to cosmetics, have them in a makeup bag. You may have lots of makeup but you can only take what you really need and the colors you wear most often. All of my makeup is in such a bag and makes it really easy to travel anywhere and cuts down on decision making each morning.
It’s true, when you’re blue, wearing blue will help you feel better. And this is the season for blue – thank goodness – electric blue! It happened to me this past week, I was feeling blue and decided to see if this cliche really did make a difference. I pulled on my blue shirt and behold, I was feeling a bit better. The importance of color in clothing cannot be underestimated. Colors that we see are a result of light waves that affect our feelings and our response to objects we see. Blue as a color is a cool tone that indicative of the calmness of the ocean and the horizon. Peace and tranquility are terms often associated with the blue ocean so naturally, the color inspires the same in the clothing we wear. So the next time you’re feeling blue, pull out that blue shirt and put it on. You’re going to start feeling a whole lot better!
No matter your size, accentuate the positive and minimize the negative. Strategically dress to truly impress!
· One-tone or one-color suit in cool colors
· Delicate high heeled shoes
· Slim-line skirts
· Vertical patterns in pinstripes
· Vertical seaming
· Slim-line slacks
· Three Button Suits
· Bulky, complicated clothing
· Cluttered necklines
· Skirt too long or too short
· Ankle strap shoes
· Thick-soled or heavy shoes
· Double-breasted jackets
· Clothing that fits well
· Well-tailored dark suits
· Cloths that accent the face i.e. printed shirts, scarves around the neck
· Solid colors
· Smooth fabrics
· Pin or chalk-striped suits
· Tops and shirts outside the skirt or trousers
· Narrow belt pushed down a bit further than normal
· Blouson tops
· Light-colored shirts with belts lighter than the pants
· Skintight or very loose garments
· Bold patterns
· Front-pleated trousers
· Pleated or dirndl skirts
· Large plaids
· Bulky sweaters
· Unstructured jackets
· Colors that change at the waist
· Wide Belts
In the fashion field there are a lot of terms that are used extensively in the industry to communicate certain facts about a design, fabric or look. The more you know about these terms and what they mean the better able you will be to communicate what you want and the look you are aspiring for. In the next few blogs we’ll untangle the world of fashion terms and put you on the same page with designers so you can buy with confidence and look terrific for work or play!
Acetate: is a cellulose based textile that is dry spun and blended with other fibers to produce sheen in fabrics.
A-line skirt: is a skirt that is fitted at the hips and gradually widens towards the hem, giving the impression of the shape of a capital letter A. This also applies to dresses and coats that have similar shapes.
Ascot: There are two types of ascots 1) the ascot scarf, which is a square of silk loosely gathered around the neck and, 2) the ascot tie, common in menswear has a pleated neckband and is worn either under or over the collar.
Bell-shaped silhouette: A silhouette made popular by Christian Dior in the 1950’s that includes a full skirt and sleeves making the waist appear tiny.
Bermuda shorts: also known as walking shorts or dress shorts, are a particular type of short pants, widely worn as semi-casual attire by men and women. They got their name from their popularity in the country of Bermuda. The hem can be cuffed or un-cuffed, and land about one inch above the knee.
Blazer: A blazer resembling a suit coat cut more casually sometimes with flap-less patch pockets and metal buttons. Historically a blazer’s cloth was usually durable (14oz.), because it was an outdoor sports jacket. Blazers are often part of a uniform for airline pilots or someone on a rowing team.
Boat-neck: also called a bateau neck, refers to a wide neckline that runs horizontally, front and back, almost to the shoulder points, across the collarbone. It is traditionally used in nautically inspired sweaters and knitwear and was originally derived from sailors’ blouses or sweaters, often with wide navy and white horizontal stripes. The wide, plain neck was said to facilitate quick removal if a sailor were to fall overboard. Wikipedia.org
Bomber jacket: is a garment originally created for pilots, which eventually became part of popular culture and apparel. It is long sleeved, lands at the waist and commonly has a zip closure. Wikipedia.org
Boot cut leg: Pant legs that are tapered to the knee and loosens around the ankle to accommodate a boot. Wikipedia.com
Brocade: a class of richly decorative shuttle-woven fabrics, often made in colored silks and with or without gold and silver threads. Brocade is typically woven on a draw loom. It is a supplementary weft technique, that is, the ornamental brocading is produced by a supplementary, non-structural, weft in addition to the standard weft that holds the warp threads together. The purpose of this is to give the appearance that the weave actually was embroidered on. Wikipedia.org
Button-down collar: Button-down collars have points fastened down by buttons on the front of the shirt and were originally introduced by retailer Brooks Brothers in 1896.
Chalk-striped: A series of threads, not just one thread, used to create a stripe that resembles a stripe that is drawn with tailors chalk or rope. The width of the stripe varies while it is always wider than the pin stripe.
Chanel jacket: A style of jacket originally designed by Coco Chanel. The jacket has a box silhouette with three quarter length sleeves and is weighted on the bottom by a chain that is sewn is the hem. The jacket is collarless, lands at the high hip, with simple closures at the center.
Chiffon: a fabric made from cotton, silk or synthetic fibers. Chiffon can be dyed to almost any shade desired, but if it is made out of polyester it can be difficult to dye. Under a magnifying glass it resembles a fine net or mesh which gives chiffon some see-through properties and is primarily found in evening wear. Wikipedia.org
City shorts: Women’s pants that are usually cuffed and land at the knee or no more than three inches above it and worn for the office when jackets are optional is an accepted mode of attire.
Clothes Valet: is an item of furniture where clothes may be hung and aired out. Typical features of valets include trouser hangers, jacket hangers, shoe bars, and a tray organizer for miscellaneous, day-to-day objects like wallets and keys.
Cotton Twill: Also referred to as Chino, is a twill fabric, originally made of 100% cotton. Today it is also found in cotton-synthetic blends and common among such brands as Dockers.
Convertible collar: a collar that is the part of a shirt, dress, coat, or blouse that fastens around or frames the neck. Among clothing construction professionals, a collar is differentiated from other necklines such as lapels, by being made from a separate piece of fabric, rather than a folded or cut part of the same piece of fabric used for the main body of the garment. Wikipedia.org
Cordovan: A shade of burgundy and rose. The term was first coined in Spain
Cowl neck: a high loose-fitting turnover collar used especially for sweaters and women’s blouses.
Crew Neck: a type of shirt or sweater that has a round neckline and no collar. Often worn with other layers the crew was originally developed in 1932 as an undergarment for football players.
Cropped Jacket: Worn primarily by women as a short version of a jacket that lands above the waist but below the breast. Cropped jacket styles vary from dressed up and form fitting to very casual depending on the fabrication and style detail.
Cropped pants: Usually worn by women and are pants that land below the knee about midcalf.
Cummerbund: a broad waistband usually worn in place of a vest with men’s dress clothes and adapted in various styles of women’s clothes.
Day dress: is a garment consisting of a skirt with an attached bodice (or a matching bodice giving the effect of a one-piece garment) worn during the day such as sun dress or shirtwaist dress.
Double Wrap Belt: A belt that is designed to go around the waist twice.
Drop Waist Style: A horizontal waistline that falls near the level of the upper hips. This balances the upper and lower body (for those that are short waisted) and adds the impression of height by lengthening the torso.
Gabardine: is a tough, tightly woven fabric used to make suits, overcoats, trousers uniforms, windbreakers, and other garments. The fiber used to make the fabric is traditionally worsted wool, but may also be cotton, polyester, or a blend. Gabardine is woven as a warp-faced steep or regular twill, with a prominent diagonal rib on the face and smooth surface on the back. Wikipedia.org
Gathered skirts: Full skirts, also known as dirndl skirts. The term dirndl originated in Austria and Bavaria and described an everyday dress with apron.
Gladiator sandals: a flat sandal that laces up the calf ending mid calf or right below the knee
Glen Plaid: is a woolen fabric with a woven twill design of small and large checks also known as a Bankers Plaid because of the frequency of bankers wearing the pattern. The pattern has been introduced to cotton shirting and other non-woolen fabrics as well.
Herringbone pattern: describes a distinctive V-shaped weaving pattern usually found in twill fabric. The pattern is called herringbone because it resembles the skeleton of a herring fish.Herringbone-patterned fabric is usually wool and is one of the most popular cloths used for suits and outerwear. Tweed is often woven with a herringbone pattern.
Houndstooth: The houndstooth check is made with alternating bands of four dark and four light threads in both warp and filling or weft woven in a simple 2:2 twill, two over – two under the warp, advancing one thread each pass.The pattern can be large or small depending on the needs of the manufacturer.
Jegging are leggings that are made of denim and Lycra spandex to look like tight denim jeans.
Jewel neck: This neckline is round and sits at the base of the throat. It is also called the T-shirt neckline.
Linen: is a textile made from the fibers of the flax plant. Linen is labor-intensive to manufacture, but when it is made into garments, it is valued for its exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather. Wikipedia.org
The color for summer is white. However, depending on the nature of your professional will determine how much white you incorporate in your business wardrobe. Here are some tips that will help you to make peace with fashion in the office.
- If employed in traditional fields such as banking, accounting and financial planning, wear white in small doses. A white shirt will always be a mainstay in a business wardrobe no matter the field.
- If employed in marketing, television, real estate, incorporate white in greater doses such as a white jacket and spectator pumps.
- If employed in the fashion, interior design, theater or the movie business, the unexpected is expected. Incorporate white as in a white suit with nontraditional lines such a safari style or box style jacket. Forget the hat and consider spectator pumps or sling backs in white and another color.
- Remember that white makes an image appear larger so use it to your advantage. Wearing a white jacket and dark slacks or skirt will make the top portion of your body in proportion to the bottom half, which is the case with most women.
- Forget totally white shoes. If you have large feet this will only make them appear larger. Spectator pumps are always in style and create a sophisticated look to any business ensemble.
- Be sure to accessorize with gold, silver or pearls to create the look of affluence.
- If you don’t feel comfortable with wearing white, consider it in small doses such as a white belt, scarf or white purse.
- And yes, you can wear white after Labor Day!
White is a great color this summer. It’s cool and hot at the same time. However, when it comes to business, moderation is the key.