Weekly Style Tips

Fall Trends 2017
Fall Trends 2017
In September, we start longing for coolness as we anticipate new fall fashions. So, whether you love to dive into new trends, or at least incorporate a few, here’s what’s in store for you. Red is the color of the season in every shade and hue, from your lips to your toes. Dark romantic florals are definitely in. This fall, look for pieces representing Americana folklore and heritage, including pullover sweaters in lively colors and vivid patterns. In contrast, shimmery gold or silver in glorious fabrics are also making statements. Booties are in, as are soft hobo handbags. For office wear, we’ll see modern suiting with sharp tailoring. For date-night, look for blazers paired with denim or a dress. Luscious velvet will be everywhere, and there will be feathers and fringe galore. Discover what works best for you, and have fun!
All Buttoned Up
All Buttoned Up
Here’s a secret and easy way to update or refresh a beloved jacket, blouse or other piece of clothing. Just swap out the buttons. You’ll be amazed how quickly and relatively inexpensively you can change the feel or style of the piece. A few years ago I switched out some “too young looking” silver buttons on a gorgeous black, short-waisted leather jacket I’ve had for thirty plus years. I replaced them with quality black leather buttons, and the jacket was literally transformed into a sophisticated piece that felt new again. So before you consign or donate pieces you haven’t worn in ages, consider whether a button fix will do the trick!
In Vogue
In Vogue
When it comes to being aware of new trends, and ideas for how best to style them, look no further than the most trusted fashion magazine, Vogue. The magazine has been in existence for nearly 125 years, starting out as a weekly high-society journal in New York. Today, Vogue is an influential American fashion and lifestyle magazine covering fashion, beauty, culture, lifestyles and runway couture. I’ve subscribed to Vogue for decades because it helps stretch my boundaries and keeps me current on style trends. I always look forward to the runway section. Even though runway clothes, and how they’re put together, are “over-the-top” you can still glean style ideas if you take the time to ponder each photo. The September issue of Vogue each year is considered the “fashion bible,” so pick up a copy and consider new fashion possibilities.
Fashion Feedback
Fashion Feedback
When it comes to fashion, nothing makes us feel better than getting a compliment on a new outfit or a newly styled look. But beyond making us smile, a compliment tells us something about what looks good on us and what we should probably wear more often. Sometimes though, we need to dig a little deeper to gain value from the feedback. For example, if someone tells you they love your new blouse, take a moment to say, “thanks so much, but I’m curious to know what you love about it.” The answer will give you more detailed information such as “ the color really brightens your face” or “the neckline gives you a really nice, balanced look.” Both of these follow-up comments will help you make better fashion purchases in the future. Conversely, when you give a fashion compliment, try to be specific about what the piece or look does for the wearer, as it will be much appreciated.
Face It, Skin Matters
Face It, Skin Matters
Our style is about how we look and feel from head to toe. We dress to accentuate our best attributes and downplay what we like least. Whether we’re selecting the perfect color to wear or dressing in a piece with the right neckline, it’s all about brightening and highlighting our face. This is where a licensed skincare professional comes in. I’ve recently been getting “Glow & Lift Illumination Facials” from Debbie Davis at Sleekskin Aesthetics in Scottsdale, and I could not be more pleased with how my skin is responding. This facial not only feels good, but more importantly, it’s therapeutic for your skin because it uses a blend of microcurrent and LED light, two modalities with superior products that give you amazing results!
Shop High-End Sales
Shop High-End Sales
One of the best ways to find great value when you want quality pieces is to take advantage of the twice-yearly sales at high-end department stores such as Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. These sales happen in late summer and after the holiday season. Put these dates on your calendar becaue discounts range from 30-66% off. Be sure to go early during the sale to get the best selection. This is also a good time to consider pieces that are not what you typically wear, and that stretch your boundaries a bit so that you can continuously evolve your style. In addition to clothing, don’t forget to shop for belts and handbags, as they can provide the finishing touches to a great look.
The Black & White Look
The Black & White Look
For most of us, black clothing and accessories are staples in our wardrobe. But in the summer, we need to lighten up our look. A great way to do this is by combining black with lots of white. Consider a monochromatic look of a white skirt and top with a black waisted belt, black sandals and some black and white bangle bracklets. Now the black pops. A lightweight, long black vest is also a wonderful piece to place over white ankle length pants and a white cotton blouse. Both looks are clean, crisp and simple, which is what we strive for in the warm summer.
Cool Summer Skirts
Cool Summer Skirts
Summer skirts, at any length, provide great airflow for your lower body. They are totally feminine, have interesting designs and detailing, and come in lightweight fabrics for keeping cool in the summer. Think beyond traditional pencil skirts or voluminous A-line skirts. Contemporary summer skirts are more flattering to the body, some of which hug the hips first, before falling gently downward to the knees, calves or ankles. Some have multiple layers of super lightweight fabric to provide a sophisticated layered look. Others have open-weave insets, either horizontal or vertical, to create more interest and airflow. All of these options are great paired with a clingy T-shirt top and a flat sandal. Oh, and they go great with margaritas.
Avoid Being Overwhelmed
Avoid Being Overwhelmed
My clients frequently lament about feeling overwhelmed in department stores. These large stores promote more purchases by forcing customers to roam from area to area. Savvy shoppers avoid feeling overwhelmed by having a plan. Start by being clear about what type of clothing you’re looking for. Decide in advance, for example, to focus on very casual, basic casual, dressy casual, or dressy. Each of these categories is located in a named department of the store (posted high on the wall), and each department has specific brands at a particular price point. Recognizing this layout helps you be a more productive and discriminating shopper. By knowing a few brands that you love, and that fit you well, you can then identify other brands in the same department with similar price points.
Identify Your Style Icons
Identify Your Style Icons
To best develop your individual style, seek inspiration from other people to find out what you like and dislike. Think about style icons, celebrities, work colleagues or girlfriends whose looks stand out to you. Then pick a few words to describe the vibe of the looks you’re attracted to. Are they feminine, modern, edgy, classic, bohemian, etc? Next time you go shopping keep these words in mind to help you select pieces that capture some of that vibe while expressing your personal style.
Does Your Bra Fit?
Does Your Bra Fit?
I’m betting it doesn’t. That’s because nearly every client I’ve worked with was wearing a bra that was one size too big across the back, and one to two sizes too small in the cup. This is understandable because bras stretch out over time and fit is greatly affected by weight changes. But. we keep wearing the same bras and don’t replace them often enough. The rule of thumb is that you should rotate wearing your bras so that you don’t wear the same one day-after-day, and they should be replaced every 9 -12 months. Consider using a trained bra fitter, employed at every department store or specialty lingerie store, to ensure being in the right size.
Try a Monochromatic Look
Try a Monochromatic Look
Monochromatic simply means variations of a particular hue or color. Wearing a monochromatic look from head to toe adds elegance and elongates the body. Softer colors such as gray, cream and tan work well because tones and shades of these colors blend well together rather than clash. Adding more layers to your outfit such as a vest, scarf or jewelry helps you extend the monochromatic look. And don’t overlook a handbag and shoes within that same color palette that will serve as the finishing touches to an elegant look.
Hair & Makeup Essentials
Hair & Makeup Essentials
Are you still wearing the same hairstyle you wore in high school or college? If so, it’s time for a change. Your hair may be compromising your overall look because it hasn’t kept up as you age and styles change. It’s important to update your hair and make-up to look contemporary and age appropriate. A great hairstyle is one that frames your face and softens your look. The best hair color for you is one that looks natural. Make-up is less about ‘face painting’ and more about creating optical illusions, whether it is the shape of your brow or the fullness of your lips. Subtle adjustments to hairstyle and make-up help us look and feel more beautiful.
Extend the Velvet Season
Extend the Velvet Season
Whether you purchased a great piece of velvet clothing this past holiday season or many years ago, don’t hang it in the back of your closet just yet. Velvet can be worn during the colder fall and winter months, and when styled correctly, looks everyday chic rather than holiday. Try pairing your velvet jacket with a white or cream silk tank, jeans and ankle boots, or wear velvet leggings with a crisp white blouse and a long sweater vest. The key is to combine velvet with more casual fabrics and omit the bling from other accessories to create a sophisticated yet understated look.
Clarity About Lip Color
Clarity About Lip Color
Lipstick is a make-up essential because it can brighten your face, add a touch of color to your overall look, or balance the impact of light or dramatic eye make-up. Try pairing dramatic eyes with a neutral lip, or use ‘barely there’ eye make-up with a brighter lip color. The color of the lipstick, or lip gloss, should complement your clothes but they don’t need to match exactly. For instance, if you’re wearing an outfit that has some pink in it, try a darker or lighter shade of pink lipstick, rather than red or coral. Also, too much red can look harsh so, if you’re wearing a bright red dress, a neutral lip color will tone down your overall look.
Don't Buy Clothes Too Big
Don't Buy Clothes Too Big
I have noticed that many women buy clothes that are really too big for them. In general, clothing should skim the body without being too clingy or too loose. Women often buy larger clothes to hide a body shape or size, or because they don’t understand what constitutes ‘fit’ in a fashion world of over-sized tops, blouses and tunics. The fact is, the greater the volume of fabric you wear, the bigger you will look. To avoid tops that are too big, even those with an over-sized design, ensure there is no extra fabric across your shoulder blades or upper back. If there is, then the top is too big. The rule of thumb for any body shape or size is that your clothing should accentuate at least one part of your body such as shoulders, bust, waist, hips or legs.
What to Wear with Black
What to Wear with Black
You’ve probably heard well meaning sales people or friends tell you that anything goes with black. This is mostly true, but sometimes not. Black and white look great together any time of year, as does black mixed with other neutral colors such as cream, beige, tan or gray. But wearing black with vibrant colors such as tomato red, bright pink or deep blue can look harsh, and frankly a bit matronly. To avoid this, add even a touch of a neutral color to the outfit in a print scarf or a chic necklace to soften the overall look, or consider toning down the vibrancy by wearing charcoal gray instead of black.
Beware of the Mannequin
Beware of the Mannequin
As we know, mannequins are styled to draw us into the store and entice us to buy. They might give us ideas for putting together a chic fashion look that we might not have considered. But, beware. The look we see on mannequins can be misleading. Often, the pieces of clothing on display are pinned, clipped or belted in such a way as to show a great body shape, when in fact, the individual pieces don’t fit. A shopper looking for style inspiration might buy those same items only to be sadly disappointed when they don’t look as good as they did on the mannequin. So, don’t fall victim. Clothes that fit a mannequin might not flatter you. If you need advice, ask for assistance in creating a look that flatters your body shape.
Dressing Age Appropriate
Dressing Age Appropriate
A critical aspect of style and fashion is looking great in clothes that are age appropriate. The key to dressing age appropriate is to style your clothes and accessories to communicate that you are youthful and vibrant, without looking younger than you are or, unwittingly, dressing in ways that make you look older or matronly. Youthfulness and vibrancy can be achieved in an eye-catching shoe, an edgy piece of costume jewelry or a simple piece of clothing with fabulous detailing. On the other hand, wearing lesser quality clothing, showing too much skin, or wearing pieces that are overly cute (think sparkles or tops with sayings on them) can quickly look too young. Last but not least, if you think a particular item or style looks too young on you, it probably is!
Stretch Your Style Palette
Stretch Your Style Palette
If you want to evolve your style to suit your changing age, lifestyle or perspective, a great idea is to try something that might be a stretch from what you normally wear. For instance, if you tend toward a more subdued fashion palette, try a bold patterned dress from a boutique like Kiss Me Kate. If your style is more classic, consider an architecturally interesting pant and flowy top look from a boutique like Objects. You might even go for a new make-up look or a chic hair-cut and style. Surprisingly, stretching your style palette to try something a bit out of your comfort zone may express more of the real you than what you’re currently wearing.
Necklace Considerations
Necklace Considerations
Here are some simple guidelines to consider about necklaces. The length of the necklace is equally, if not more important, than the actual piece itself. Essentially, you aim for two targets with necklaces. You either want a necklace to fill the spot revealed by a V-neck or scoop neckline, or conversely, a necklace that ends just above the waist when an elongated look is desired. Necklaces that fall between these two lengths don’t serve much purpose, unless they are multi-strand pieces to add interest to a round or boat neckline. Necklaces in neutral tones, whether they include mixed metals, beads, stones, coins or other interesting objects, are more versatile and therefore you need less of them. By keeping these considerations in mind, you can get by with fewer pieces.
Black Cotton Care
Black Cotton Care
Tired of seeing your black cotton pieces fade and look old after only a few months of wear? The probable cause is that you are washing them instead of having them dry cleaned. Truthfully, any item that is 100% cotton, or mostly cotton, fades in the washing machine, even with cold water. Hand washing is a better option for retaining color, but, even then, the water in the sink turns somewhat black. The solution is to dry clean. I’m not expert enough to explain why dry cleaning works, but it does. Of course, then there’s the cost consideration. Many women are reluctant to pay the price for dry cleaning especially for items that were relatively inexpensive to begin with. On the other hand, when the black color stays black, you don’t need to re-purchase the piece, saving you time and money in the long run. My suggestion, your choice.
The View from Paris
The View from Paris
Paris is a great vantage point to share some fashion observations for looking chic. One thing about style stands out: Keep it simple. French women tend to be classic dressers. This Spring they are wearing ankle length pants with pointy-toed flats, solid color silk or crisp cotton blouses with tailored jackets, and lovely designer handbags. The more contemporary look includes skinny leg jeans rolled up (one large fold only, please), chic sneakers in metalics, and leather jackets. These women also go for wide leg pants, long sweater vests and beautiful scarves perfectly placed around their neck. In terms of grooming, short finger nails, left natural, seem in vogue, while muted or red lipstick and subtle eye-makeup convey the look of elegance.
Style on the Riviera
Style on the Riviera
Wow, I’m at the French Riviera, the inspiration for what the stores call “resort wear”. In Nice, the style is minimalist, romantic and chic, with light fabrics and colors. A touch of the nautical look, with stripes, and off the shoulder pieces, also are on display. Denim disappears as the Spring weather warms, and white becomes the go-to color of the season. Designer sunglasses are a must, and the larger the frame the better. Heels are gone, replaced by sandals in neutral tones, paired with light airy dresses, flowy skirts, and capris. Summer straw bags are on the horizon. The azure blue of the Mediteranean is the backdrop for all this casually chic style. Let’s go shopping!
Pant Leg Options
Pant Leg Options
No matter your body shape, height or fashion preference, there is a trendy pant leg to suit everyone. From a wide flowy leg pant, to straight leg and skinny leg, and from full length to ankle length and capris, you can confidently dress for your shape and be stylish too. Choose what best enhances your body shape, by giving you the longest, leanest and most balanced look possible. For most women, this means wearing a moderate width, straight leg pant that will visually minimize your hips and elongate your legs. Whether or not you have curves, if you’re tall, you can wear a fuller leg pant. For those more petite in stature, you’ll look your best in a full length or ankle length pant vs. capris. So take advantage of all the pant options out there today to look and feel your best.
Lighten It Up
Lighten It Up
Summer is the time to lighten up what you wear. Whether you live in dry or humid summer conditions, light-weight, breathable fabrics in light colors are the perfect way to stay as comfortable as possible, and look stylishly in-season. The best fabrics to keep you cool are cotton, chambray and linen. Cotton is great because it allows air to circulate. Chambray is a type of cotton, similar in look to demin, but much lighter. Linen is known for its exceptional coolness and wrinkling, which is part of it’s luxurious beauty. Rayon, which is a synthetic fiber, also is great in dry heat, whereas, synthetic blends are best in humid weather to wick moisture away from you. Whatever fabric you prefer, select light colors such as white, cream or pastels that don’t absorb sunlight.
Size of Prints
Size of Prints
While it may seem obvious to some, many women don’t seem to realize that it’s best to gear the size of a fabric print to the size of your body. If you’re smaller in stature and size, select prints that are smaller. You can still go crazy in terms of color if you wish, but you will have a more pleasing look to the eye by staying in proportion. On the opposite end, if you are larger and taller in stature, then you should opt for a larger print that suits the scale of your body. Again, the color or intensity of the print is up to you. And if your size is somewhere in the middle, scale the print accordingly to get the most appropriate look and balance.
2017 Summer Trends
2017 Summer Trends
Summer 2017 officially starts next week, so try to incorporate a few of these summer trends into your wardrobe:Fashion pieces in shocking pink or bright sunshine yellow • Off-the-shoulder tops and dresses replacing the cold-shoulder of last year; slogan t-shirts • Vibrant stripes • Head-to-toe florals, including the shoes • Iridescent pieces in pinks, blues and greens • Or an update on anklets from the past by wrapping a chain necklace several times around the ankle. Just remember, being trendy is cool, but it’s still more important to dress for your body shape and to be age appropriate.
Comfort Shoes with Style
Comfort Shoes with Style
Let’s face it, shoes can make or break a fashion look. But, for many of us who struggle with some type of foot issue, comfort becomes a priority. So, how do we choose when faced with comfort or style? Some of us choose shoes for style over comfort, and others go for comfort over style. I think you can have both. Start with brands that are known for combining comfort and style, and be selective within that brand. Two of my favorites are Paul Green and Munro, both of which can be found at Nordstrom. Another option is Kenneth Cole’s Gentle Souls also at Nordstrom. The style I love looks like a Roman gladiator flat and comes in four great colors. So, don’t succumb to the traditional comfort-only shoes such as Ecco and Mephisto, when you can have your cake and eat it too!