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Do I look Fat? Clothing Tips so you Don’t

Nothing makes you look bigger than you are as when your clothes don’t fit.  Either too tight or too lose clothing draws attention to your figure flaws without having to say a word. Here are some tips so you don’t.

  • No gaps up front: Shirts need to lie smoothly over the bust and chest area as well as allow for two fingers ease around the neck with a closed shirt.
  • Pants and skirts should fit smoothly over legs, derrier and around the waist.  Fit the widest part of your body and alter the waist so that it fits.  If its pulling at the hip or crotch go up a size.  As well, pants and skirt should close easily with enough ease that there is no “muffin top” or hangover.
  • Seams should rest on the shoulder.  Particularly for set in sleeves, you want the shoulder seam to rest at the edge of the shoulder bone so the underarm area has enough ease for freedom of movement.
  • Sleeves should come to approximately an inch below the wrist bone
  • Collars and cuffs should not pinch.  As mentioned earlier two finger ease in the collar and a finge ease in the cuff.
  • Proper length is essential.  Neither too long or too short.  For skirts, let them land about the knee as this is the most becoming length for a woman.  For pants, they should rest with a slight break on the top of the shoe and land about the heel and sole in the back.
  • Wear dark colors such as black and navy to appear 10 pounds smaller and bring attention to your best selling feature with a bright scarf or necktie near the face.
  • For women with large breasts, avoid square neck top, short sleeves and horizontal stripes that are evenly placed. Rather, focus on three quarter length sleeves, long sleeves that taper at the wrist, and long sleeved shirts.
  • Wear the classics such as A-line skirts, straight skirts, blazers, pin strip suits, tailor-notched collars shirts, and double pleated skirts. As a man, you will look pounds thinner with a navy pin striped suit that is closed. Avoid peter-pan or round collar shirts.
  • Avoid heavily texured fabrics such as tweeds and shiny fabrics, they only make you appear larger.
  • For women wear your tops and shirts outside the skirt or pant to camouflague the stomach.
  • For both men and women (and even if you aren’t size 14 or above) avoid front-pleated trousers if you have a tummy. Go for plain front pants instead.
  • Go for structure in your clothing selections. This incorporates straight lines that balance out the roundness and creates a proportioned appearance.
  • Make sure that jackets cover the derrier.
  • In accessories focus on straight, long shapes in earrings and necklaces. Avoid short necklaces, rather ones that emphasize length. Scarves should be long and worn as such. For men, if you have a 17 or above neck size, buy the extra long ties.
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Dressed to Tech

In just the past five years the world of work has changed as well as the clothing we wear for it! Of particular importance is how the tech industry changed the course of business wear as we know it. What was once considered “Business Casual” is simply business as usual. Inasmuch as we want to dress down, it’s still important to look good and communicate instantly our expertise and professionalism. Although suits are definitely not a requirement with tech firms, options might include a jacket and maybe jeans; but there is a right and a wrong way to approach these.
Here are some basic tips for communicating your expertise and position instantly to others:
• Focus on classic styles that have endured such as tailored notch collar shirts and blouses, blazers, A-line skirts, cardigans, trench coats, and shirtwaist dresses.
• Keep the look simple and clean accessorizing for impact with gold, silver, pearls or jewel tones to add sparkle and affluence to your best asset – your face.
• Incorporate fabrics that have body such as cotton/poly blends and heavier knits that are opaque.
• Create a slimmer appearance by wearing darker colors such as navy, burgundy, charcoal and black.
• If in the field, realize that you are communicating the brand image so dress professionally yet comfortably, if the environments vary widely. If jeans are permitted they should be a dark wash, fit at the natural waist, and be hemmed not dragging.
• Build your wardrobe around the neutrals such as black, taupe, navy, camel, gray and olive and add color in tops, scarves and belts.
• When meeting with a prospective client, consider a jacket with a fitted shirt and trousers. Also consider tunic tops with pants and a short jacket for interest. If you want to go sleeveless do so but wear a jacket or cardigan.
• When dining with clients consider simple pants or skirts with interesting tops and jackets. Consider a dark colored dress with a shawl around the shoulders. As well consider a fitted shirt worn out with black pants and a blazer or a mid calf skirt and an over blouse or tunic belted.
• Consider unstructured jackets such as jean jackets and cargo pants with limited detailing but avoid “hoodies,” hats and sweats. Pants and skirts need to land at the natural waist or a little below but avoid hip-hugger styles.
• To create a slim line and add height, incorporate vertical lines either decoratively in the fabric pattern or structurally as in vertical darts, princess seams, or a placket down the front. Also consider incorporating long chains or scarves around the neck, as well, as three quarter length sleeves. When wearing a jacket put the collar up.
• Avoid tight clothing rather introduce simple angular lines such as A-line skirts, tailor-notched collar shirts and blouses and tailored jackets to offset the roundness of the body and bring it into balance. Plain front pants and skirts are recommended over pleated varieties.

Bottom line – realize that your appearance counts at work no matter what you do!

Check for Quality and Save Money for Back-to-School!

As we approach Back-to-School buying season, spending money on clothing for your children should not be wasteful.  Your kids will want certain brands yet be vigilant, no matter the name on the label be sure to check for quality.  Most clothing is made in an overseas factory with very little over sight.  Fabrics are not checked for color transfer and seams are not finished.  Moreover, buttons have very little thread attaching them to the outfit and stripes do not match up at the seams.  Here are some other tips in making your dollar go further when buying your children’s back-to-school wardrobe.

  • Check for proper labeling:  In addition to the brand name, the law states that there should be a label attached to the garment that identifies the fiber content and the care of the garment.  This information will help you in picking clothing that have easy care properties.
  • Do the plaids and stripes match?  It takes more fabric to line up the stripes and plaids at the sides, back, front and shoulders.  This is your indication of a better made garment.
  • Interfacings should lie smoothly:  If the interfacing is too stiff or is pulling away from the placket of a shirt or waistband of a skirt – walk away.
  • Check for flaws and stains:  Some fabrics by their very nature have flaws and this is noted in the labeling.  However, if there are rust or any other stains – walk away – you can’t get it out and it shouldn’t be your job to try.
  • Is the top and bottom of the outfit the same color?  Fabrics absorb color differently even if its the same fabric on another bolt.  Some of the finest brands of suits have been guilty of the top and bottom being slightly different shades of the same color as a result of irregularity in color absorbtion.  When a suit or two piece outfit seem a bit different – you are probably right and need to walk away.
  • Will the seams ravel apart after the first washing?  Most seams are not finish today.   Clothing termed as fast fashion, often found at H&M and Forever 21 are that – fast and not meant to last.  Check the seams to see if they are finished at all, this will allow them to last a least a few washings.
  • Do the seams pucker:  Usually if the seams are puckering it was sewn with the tension too tight on the machine.  You cannot fix it so walk away.
  • Check buttons for secure attachment:  Since there is very little thread attaching the button to the garment make sure that additional ones are provided.
  • Do your pockets tell all? Does the fashion fabric go far enough into the pocket not to reveal the lining?  Better check and see.
  • Check the inside as well as the outside:  With the limited dollars available to purchase clothing for back to school, make every dollar count and check for quality before you buy.  You will be glad you did!

Want to Move Up – Time to Dress Up!

In many career paths moving toward the C suite also requires a change in dress.  Take a look at Sheryl  Sandberg of Facebook, Janet Napolitano of Homeland Security or anyone in Congress or the CEO of Citicorp, you will often see them in suits, dresses and skirts.  Although, many CEO’s in the tech field are a bit more casual, in most fields if you’re looking at joining the C suite then you will need to take your wardrobe up a notch or two. 

Although business casual dominates many corporate cultures, moving to a director, VP or President’s position requires a return to classic business dress.  For women and men, suits, sport coats, skirts and dresses are more the order than jeans, pants, jean jackets and T-shirts.  Here are some guidelines to help you move to the next level.

For Men:

  • ·         If you choose a plaid pattern in a jacket, suit or pant, make sure that they match up in the back and side seams as well as the sleeve and shoulders.
  • ·         When trying on pants the waist should land right below the navel.  Pants are cut normal or long so find the best fit for you.  If you want them cuffed or plain that’s also up to you.
  • ·         For blazers and jackets you have so many choices; however, you’ll want the jacket to cover your derriere.  Consider raw silk, linen blends, in plaids or tweeds with solid colored slacks.
  • ·         For shirts go for long sleeved varieties and consider as well pin- or chalk striped but avoid plaids. Make sure that the shirt fabric is of medium weight so it doesn’t show everything underneath.  Most times undershirts are worn underneath dress shirts for a clean look so make sure it doesn’t show when the collar is open.  Consider V-neck styles for a clean look with dress shirts.
  • ·         With dress shirts there are also a variety of styles to choose from.  If you have an athletic build go for fitted ones.  Regarding the collar, consider the shape of your face and neck.  For example, if you have a short wide neck and a full face consider traditional convertible, tab, or button-down collar styles to balance out the shape.  If you have a long neck and an angular face consider a spread collar.
  • ·         Regarding accessories you’ll be tucking your shirt in and want your belt and shoes to match in color.  Consider brown, cordovan or black.  Regarding shoe styles consider wing-tip, oxford, tie, slip-on, loafer styles with good soles and stable leather uppers.  Save the deck shoes for you time and please, no athletic shoes or sandals.
  • ·         Regarding ties, if your work requires a coat AND tie remember that it is one of the key accessories for men.  Moreover, the power tie is still in full order so consider including it as a part of your wardrobe.  The width of the tie needs to complement the width of the lapel
  • ·         Regarding socks choose dark colors with subtle patterns and make sure that they stay up on your leg.  A leg exposed when crossed is not pretty. 

Women

  • Suits and suit separates are going to be the mainstay for your wardrobe but today you can kick it up a notch or two.  All the restrictions that were apparent in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s as well as in the new millennium have vanished; however, it is still imperative to look professional. Being sexy and looking it doesn’t fly for work (unless you’re applying for a pole dancing position). Here are some pointers for when jackets are required:
  • ·         Consider fabrics and fabric blends that give easy care and provide comfort, such as wool blended with Lycra or Spandex, linen polyester blends, Tencel, and cotton/Lycra blends are comfortable and easy to take care of.  Consider woven fabrics over knits for your key pieces; however, double knits that are lined can be very stable and hang well for work.  Choose from solids to prints yet keep the prints subtle. 
  • ·         Choose from traditional blazers with a tailor-notched or shawl or mandarin collars when selecting suit separates.  As well consider Chanel style or military styled jackets.  Besides blazers and short jackets consider longer ones that hit below the hip; however, in any choice seek tailored styles that allow you to switch them out and coordinate with other pieces of your wardrobe. 
  • ·         For shirts and blouses consider tailored shirts or feminine blouses in cotton, silk or polyester blends.  Cowl, jewel, tie or ruffle styles in silk or a fine synthetic soften the face and work with jacket styles; however don’t mix totally different styles like a ruffled shirt with a military styled jacket.  Make sure that the fabric is not too revealing and there isn’t any cleavage.  Choose from long, to short, to sleeveless; however, if wearing sleeveless wear your jacket at all times.  Consider sweater sets as an alternative to blouses and jackets.
  • ·         Regarding pants and skirts, consider plain front, or pleated with or without pockets that land at the waist or high hip.  Pants and skirts, with a waist band or not, are suitable but if they have a waist band and belt loops a belt is needed if the shirt or blouse is tucked in.  Regarding pant legs, straight or flared is best.  Fabric choices include tropical weight wools either in a plain weave or gabardine that have a great drape.  Skirts land at the knee or no more than two to three inches above.  Longer skirts keep to about mid calf.
  • ·         Tailored dresses are an easy option for work in this category.  Consider simple silhouettes with interesting designs such as princess seams, or necklines like a cowl.  
  • ·         Regarding accessories consider jewelry in gold, silver or pearls for the most part.  The design is up to you; however, keep it conservative perhaps a round or angular shape or small or medium size hoops are fine but should be in proportion to your size. Have an abundance of scarves to wear at the neck, waist, or over the shoulder belted.  Accessories are to tie the look together and draw attention to your best asset, your face.  Belts are great for long jackets and at the waist for pants or skirts.  Also try belting a sheath or two piece dressing.  As well, belt a tunic top and wear it under a jacket.  Think about putting a silk kerchief in the breast pocket of your blazer either with the points out or tucked in.  Add a broach or pin to the lapel or right above the breast to bring the eye up and to add shine to the face.
  • ·         For shoes there are lots of options; however, avoid sandals, very high heeled and platform styles , and flip-flops. Consider classic pumps with or without an open toe, loafer or slip on, and tailored boots.  Seek comfort as well as style with classic designs tailored for your professional image.

Looking Good in High Tech Fields

In just the past five years the world of work has changed as well as the clothing we wear for it! Of particular importance is how the tech industry changed the course of business wear as we know it. Whether you’re an engineer or a programmer, what you wear can add or detract from your career aspirations.  What was once considered “Business Casual” is simply business as usual.  Inasmuch as we want to dress down, it’s still important to look good and communicate instantly our expertise and professionalism.  Although suits are definitely not a requirement with tech firms, options might include a jacket and maybe jeans; but there is a right and a wrong way to approach these.  Here are some basic tips for communicating your expertise and position instantly to others:

•    Focus on classic styles that have endured such as tailored notch collar shirts and blouses, blazers, A-line skirts, cardigans, trench coats, and shirtwaist dresses.

•    Keep the look simple and clean accessorizing for impact with gold, silver, pearls or jewel tones to add sparkle and affluence to your best asset – your face.

•    Incorporate fabrics that have body such as cotton/poly blends and heavier knits that are opaque.

•    Create a slimmer appearance by wearing darker colors such as navy, burgundy, charcoal and black.

•    If in the field, realize that you are communicating the brand image so dress professionally yet comfortably, if the environments vary widely.  If jeans are permitted they should be a dark wash, fit at the natural waist, and be hemmed not dragging.

•    Build your wardrobe around the neutrals such as black, taupe, navy, camel, gray and olive and add color in tops, scarves and belts.

•    When meeting with a prospective client, consider a jacket with a fitted shirt and trousers.  Also consider tunic tops with pants and a short jacket for interest.  If you want to go sleeveless do so but wear a jacket or cardigan.

•    When dining with clients consider simple pants or skirts with interesting tops and jackets.  Consider a dark colored dress with a shawl around the shoulders.  As well consider a fitted shirt worn out with black pants and a blazer or a mid calf skirt and an over blouse or tunic belted.

•    Consider unstructured jackets such as jean jackets and cargo pants with limited detailing but avoid “hoodies,” hats and sweats.  Pants and skirts need to land at the natural waist or a little below but avoid hip-hugger styles. •    To create a slim line and add height, incorporate vertical lines either decoratively in the fabric pattern or structurally as in vertical darts, princess seams, or a placket down the front.  Also consider incorporating long chains or scarves around the neck, as well, as three quarter length sleeves. When wearing a jacket put the collar up.

•    Avoid tight clothing rather introduce simple angular lines such as A-line skirts, tailor-notched collar shirts and blouses and tailored jackets to offset the roundness of the body and bring it into balance.  Plain front pants and skirts are recommended over pleated varieties.  Bottom line – realize that your appearance counts at work no matter what you do!

What to Wear if you’re Small or Large

No matter your size, accentuate the positive and minimize the negative.  Strategically dress to truly impress!

Petite Figure

            Do Wear:

·         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

Don’t Wear:

·         Bulky, complicated clothing

·         Cluttered necklines

·         Skirt too long or too short

·         Ankle strap shoes

·         Thick-soled or heavy shoes

·         Plaids

·         Tweeds

·         Double-breasted jackets

Large Figure

            Do Wear:

·         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

Don’t wear:

·         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

Know your Fashion and Get What you Want: Part 1

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

Super Bowl Party (at the Boss’ House) What to Wear?

This Sunday there will be lots of Super Bowl parties that you’ll be invited to.  If one of them comes from the boss to celebrate at their house or at another location what is the game plan when it comes to dress and what to do

BOTTOM LINE: Put your best foot forward because this is an opportunity to shine and market yourself in a subtle way.  Look your best and be your best abstaining from truly downing the liquor as you would if you were home or at your buddies.

If you get an invitation and it has the word “casual” in it here are some of the variations and their interpretation.  Bottom line you will want to make sure that your clothing is clean, pressed, coordinated and accessorized.  If jeans are in the picture go with those that are tailored with a dark wash.  Further, when it comes to events that are for your work sexy attire or fashion extremes are not appropriate.

  • Dressy Casual: Usually means a sport coat and trousers for men and tailored separates for women.
  • Resort Casual: Includes Hawaiian or leisure shirts worn out and trousers, or a sport coat and trousers for men, and breezy tops and pants or day dresses for women.
  • Smart Casual: Usually means a sport coat for men and tailored separates for women.
  • For men, if invited to the boss’ house for dinner, to watch the Super Bowl, whether you are entertaining clients or not, put your best foot forward.  In businesses where jeans are permitted consider dark colored twill’s like Dockers that are cleaned and pressed topped with a dress shirt tucked in, belted with nice shoes.  Even if it’s a barbeque avoid the hoodie, hats, flip flops, and body piercings as you would when you go to work. Consider a good pair of jeans and a sport shirt that is pressed.
    • If you are in a business where jackets are optional, consider dress slacks in a wool or cotton blend with a dress shirt tucked in and belted with a blazer.  Or try a long sleeve dress shirt with a cardigan or sweater over the shoulders and trousers.  If you’re invited for the annual Super Bowl party your good jeans and perhaps a turtleneck with or without a blazer.
    • For businesses where suits are required, a sport coat or blazer will be the order when clients or potential clients are present at the boss’ house.  Consider a button-down pinpoint oxford dress shirt with coordinating trousers in gray or taupe.  If invited over to watch the Super Bowl or to a barbeque, consider denim trousers and a dress shirt with a V-neck sweater or a polo top and blazer.
  • For women if you’re invited to the boss’ house to entertain clients or prospective clients, or for a barbeque or to watch the Super Bowl, consider these options if jeans are permitted at work.  When entertaining clients consider slacks in dark colors with a tunic top belted or a dark skirt with a fitted blouse with a sweater over the shoulder or a nice jean jacket.  Consider acetate spandex tops and bottoms with an over shirt.  Make sure to accessorize for impact with earrings and interesting jewelry; however, keep the body piercings at home.  For the barbeque or to watch the Super Bowl consider jeans or a denim skirt with layered tops or a shift.  Try a turtleneck with your denim bottoms.  Consider boots or sandals but no flip flops.  Try to stay away from strapless sundresses and terry velour fabrics.

Enjoy the Game!!

 

Classics are always in Fashion!

As we come up on the spring season for fashion are you still spending your clothing budget on keeping up with trends?  As a marketer that would make me very happy to have you buying every time a new season is introduced – which by the way is five times a year for women’s apparel.

But as a person that has other payments to make besides keeping my professional wardrobe in shape, trying to keep up with fashion trends is a ball and chain around my ankle that I don’t need. When I was in the fashion business it was my job to be in fashion.  Now that I am not I’ve found an alternative – classics.   And you might consider them too.

Why?  Classics are always in fashion, year in and year out.  Designers always introduce some form of classic styles on the runway each year.  Those that are affluent and influential see the value and prestige of staying with the classics.  What constitutes a classic?  Let me give you some examples and some tips for staying in fashion without busting the bank with classics.

  • If you just love fashion find the one key piece that is common among the new styles being introduced that will update it and get that.
  • Without killing your pay check you can update your wardrobe with key accessories, such as scarves, jewelry, belts and hosiery.
  • Pick classic styles like navy blazers, camel sport coats, pinstriped suits, button-down collared shirts, shirtwaist dresses, trench coats and coat dresses.
  • The suit will never go out of style so choose either double or single breasted suits.
  • Shoes such as pumps and loafers for women and oxfords, wingtips and slip-ons for men are here forever.
  • There are classics in colors such as navy, black, and charcoal grey that are worn around the world all year long.
  • Keep with classic patterns such as houndstooth, tweed, herringbone, regimental stripes, and chalk stripes.
  • Try classic plaids such as tartan, windowpane, scotch and glen plaids.  Glen plaids are also known as bankers’ plaids.
  • For women’s jewelry keep to gold, silver or pearls.  Heck, they don’t have to be real but they do create the aire of affluence that women need to make an impact in a competitive work environment.

Staying up with fashion is work – that is why it is called a business.  Be in fashion all year long by investing in the classics!

Shopping Smart

Shopping is an art.  Like any art, it needs practice.  Becoming a smart shopper takes time and the development of skills – skills to add the right purchases to your wardrobe instead of wasteful catastrophes.  Here are some tips you can use on your next shopping venture that will help clear the jungle in the fashion retail world.
!Set Goals and Objectives:  Being specific is the key.  Once you complete a wardrobe inventory, you will be better able to jot down exactly what you need to get.  This is just like creating a grocery shipping list.  Consider writing down not only what item or items you need but also the dollar limit you would be willing to spend.  This will reduce the chance of impulse shopping or of buying the first item that comes close to what you want – but is priced higher than what you would normally spend.
! Don’t be rushed: Pick a time when you won’t be rushed andwhen sales people will be available to serve you.  Weekends and weekday lunch hours are overwhelmed by shoppers.  Moreover, give yourself enough time to shop.  Haste really does make waste.
! Know Fashion Trends:  Familiarize yourself with specific style names, such as paisley, double-breasted, fitted shirts, sarongs and bolero jackets.  When you can communicate effectively the salesperson will be better able to help you find what you’re looking for.
! Dress Appropriately:If you plan to purchase evening attire, remember to wear or bring along the appropriate undergarments and shoes.  If you plan to purchase a suit, bring the shoes and shirt you’ll be wearing.  When shopping dress comfortably and be sure to wear comfortable shoes with flexible soles so you can last a long time.
! Shop Alone:  This may seem like a difficult task, but it’s the wisest.  When you shop with a friend, not only do you have the friend selling you but the salesperson too.  If, in an relationship where both parties need to have input in the final decision, put the selected items on hold and bring your partner back to ok the purchase.  Men, consider doing your wardrobe shopping yourself so you can determine your own best look and the right fit.
! Try it on:  Since humans make clothing, each piece will vary slightly.  Further, sizes are not standardized in the apparel industry so they will vary by brand as well.   High priced clothing tends to be generous in size.
!Know the return policies: For regular priced as well as sale items at stores.  Most stores have liberal policies when it comes to regular-priced merchandise, but there may  be some limitations for sale items.  Ask the salesperson how many days you have to return an item and whether you’ll get your money back or receive a merchandise credit.
! Purchase shoes in the afternoon: Since feet expand as the day goes on, a better fit is possible in the afternoon.
! Try off priced, second-hand, factory outlets, catalogs, and the Internet for bargains and convenience:  Off-priced stores like Marshall’s, and TJ Max often purchase consolidated sale merchandise from department and specialty stores and pass the savings on to consumers.  These stores also carry manufacturers’ overruns, which are quality goods and great buys for consumers.  Manufacturers’ overruns are apparel items that were over-produced and undersold.  Manufacturers sell these items to discount stores or in their own factory outlet stores.  Catalogs and the Internet offer substantial product information and are convenient for purchasing and returning merchandise.
! Realize that designer, bridge,better and moderate priced merchandise offer value depending on what your needs are:  Be aware of the different levels of workmanship and detail at the different points.  The costliest garments generally offer the most superior workmanship, high-fashion styling, and the best all-natural materials.  However, this is not a hard-and-fast rule.  In some cases you may be paying hundreds of dollars more for the brand name alone – so don’t be fooled.