Details, Pattern and Proportion

IMG_5219Dressing your best means more than just choosing great styles; it means choosing great styles for YOU.  I have embarked on a live video series called Fashionable Friday to share with you some of the basics of good dressing that I have learned over the years.  I will be re-capping the content of my videos in my blog posts over the next several weeks, but if you want to see how to put these principles into practice, watch the live videos on my Facebook Group Page Fashion Crossroads Fashionistas each Friday morning at 9 a.m.

Details in clothing refer to things like lace, ruffles, embroidery, or stylistic additions that clothing manufacturers add to the style to direct the eye and draw attention.  They can be helpful or harmful to figure flattery depending on your skill in using them.  Keep in mind that wherever you have a detail on your clothing, the eye will naturally be drawn to that spot.  If you have embroidery at the neck of your top, it will highlight your face which is good.  If, on the other hand, you take that same detail and place it around the top’s hemline, the eye will be drawn to your middle.  If you are slim hipped, this would be a good use of detail.  If, however, you are wide hipped, that added detail will work against you rather than for you, making you seem wider. Read more about using color to draw attention to your assets here.

This same principle is true on skirts.  If you have a midi skirt with a ruffle detail that hits you right at mid-calf, the eye will be drawn to your legs and in particular to your calves.  Again, depending upon your body type, this may be a good or bad thing.  You need to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to drawing attention to your figure.  Make sure your clothing is accenting your best feature and not your worst.

Pattern works similarly.  Used appropriately, it can be slimming and help hide figure flaws.   It is important to keep your prints in proportion with your body.  If you are petite or short, you will want to choose small prints.  If you are tall or plus, you will want to choose larger prints.  In addition to knowing the size of print best suited for you, it is helpful to understand the difference between tonal and contrasting prints.  Tonal prints will have different shades of the same base color.  You might have tobacco, chocolate, and tan mixed together, as an example.  Contrasting prints have different colors mixed together, say black, pink and white.  Tonal prints will always be more slimming than contrasting prints.

Placement of prints on your body can draw the eye to your assets.  Wearing a printed top and a black bottom, for example is a good choice if you are small on top and larger at the hips.  The same principle is true the opposite way.  If you are slim hipped but large busted, wear a tonal print on the bottom with a solid top.

One of the prints that seems to cause people a lot of trouble are stripes.  Many women feel they can never wear stripes.  This is simply not true!  If you are smart about stripes, they can work for you rather than against you.  Largely spaced stripes, like those in a buffalo plaid for example, will make you look wider.  If you are small busted, these stripes can actually give the appearance of a larger bust.  If, on the other hand, you are busy or heavy, you will want to avoid largely spaces stripes over the heaviest portion of your body.  Conversely, Thinly spaced stripes, can be very slimming.  These types of stripes work to lengthen your body and are good for short waisted body types.

This brings me to proportion.  Understanding if you are short or long waisted is an important part of dressing your best.  To find out, just measure from the bottom of your last rib to the top of your hip bone.  If the measurement is only a few inches, you are short waisted.  If it is four inches or more, you are long waisted.  To keep your body in balance, you want to give the impression of perfect proportion.  Thus, short waisted women need to elongate the torso and therefore should wear low to mid rise pants.  Long waisted women want to shorten the torso and therefore should wear higher rises.  I will be talking more about this on my next Fashionable Friday live video this coming Friday, December 15th at 9 a.m.  I’d love for you to join me, and feel free to send me a question during the video, and I’ll be happy to answer it!

Use Fit, Fabric and Color to Flatter Your Figure

23122-2-Uptown-Tunic-27141-Jolt-Pant-2295V-2-Pulse-T-27126V-Bravo-Pant-720x1080Great dressing means using fit, fabric and color to lengthen your body, slim your figure and direct attention to your assets and away from your problem areas.  Here’s what you need to know to make this happen.

A good fit means your clothes skim over your body.  When your clothes are too tight or too loose, they add pounds.  You want your clothing to show your figure without clinging to it.  To judge if you have the right fit, all your buttons, lapels, pockets and seams need to lay flat.  If your garment is too tight, pockets will bulge, seams will stretch, buttons will gap.  Conversely, if your shoulder seam is 1/2 over the crest of your shoulder or if you have extra fabric under your arms when you lift them up, those are signs the item is too loose.  You want the shoulder seam to sit right at the end of your shoulder before it begins to slope down into your arm.  Having a poorly fitting shoulder will give the appearance of rounded shoulders.

Another key aspect of good fit is hemlines.  Your shirt sleeves should come to your wrist bone and no further.  When your shirt sleeve is too long, your whole top will look too big.  Similarly, when your pant leg is too long, the fabric will be pushed up from the bottom of the pant, making the knee and legs of the pant fit poorly.  I can’t tell you how many times I have been down on my hands and knees folding pants up so a customer could see that issue was not in the fit of the pant but in the fact the pant leg was just too long.  It is amazing the difference that a properly fitting hem makes.  It is worth the money and the time to get your shirts and pants hemmed to the perfect length.

Your choice of fabric will also make a difference in how your clothing flatters your figure.  You want the fabric to fall smoothly over your body.  Stiff fabrics will hold their own shape, and can add pounds.  Too soft of fabric will cling to every lump and bump.  Ideally, you want a fabric right in the middle of these two that is soft but beefy.  Heavier fabrics will drape instead of cling.  Remember that you get what you pay for in fabric.  The better quality fabric, the nicer it will look on your body.  It is helpful to understand cost per wear when you are considering more expensive fabrics and clothing.  Read my blog post on that topic here.

It is also helpful to understand how to combine colors for optimum figure flattery.  Anywhere you create a line of contrast between one color and another will draw attention to that area.  For example, if you are hippy and wear a colored jacket that rests right at your hips over black pants, you will be drawing attention to your problem area rather than away.  Monochromatic dressing (or wearing the same color head to toe) eliminates this issue and creates one, long, clean line from head to toe.  This will slim you and make you seem taller.  You can play around with adding two tones of the same color like black and charcoal, as this will still allow you to have the long line without having to dress in all the same color.  Dark colors absorb light and make you look slimmer, so wear them over your problem areas.  If you do create a contrast line by pairing a top and bottom of different colors, make sure the line is in a flattering place on your body.

You can join me for live videos on the topic of figure flattery each Friday at 9 a.m. on our Facebook Group Page Fashion Crossroads Fashionistas.  Just join the group, and you will be able to see the videos live as well as ask questions during them.  You can also view previous live videos on our website.

Throw kindness around like confetti!

 

What Is Style?

I read something this morning that resonated.  Fashion and style are not synonymous; while one definitely informs the other, they are decidedly different.  Let me explain.  Fashion refers to the trends of the moment – the styles, fabrics, cuts, and themes that inform what is trendy and what is dated.  Fashion, by nature, is a moving target.  It constantly changes from season to season, year to year.  Style, on the other hand, is constant, transcending the moment.  Style is the distinctive way we act, dress and talk; style is the persona we put on for the world around us.  

I think there are some inherent themes that determine personal style.  Are you classic, tailored, bohemian, organic, sporty, funky, utilitarian, or edgy, for example? If you’re not sure, the style you gravitate toward in clothing, is probably also reflected in your life style, attitudes and decorating.  Would you, for example, choose a leather couch with clean lines (classic) or an overstuffed couch with an ethnic feel (bohemian)?  Or maybe you are more of a futon person (utilitarian).

Whatever your choice, personal style will affect every clothing decision you make.  How you wear a trend will have much to do with your inherent style.  A classic, for example, might take a trend like a velvet kimono and pair it with a collared blouse, belt it at the waist, and wear it with sleek black pants.  A funky would take that same kimono and pair it with ripped leggings, military boots and a tee.  Therefore, having a clear understanding of your style preference is the first place to start in your journey to dressing well.  

If you’d like to learn a little more about this idea, join me Friday, November 17th at 9 a.m. for the first in a series of Fashionable Friday live videos.  I’ll be discussing all of the elements of personal style like how to choose the best colors for your skin, how to use style to direct attention to your best assets, how to evaluate fit, how to dress your body type and more.  The very first live video in the series on November 11 will delve into this issue of personal style: how to determine yours and how to use it to make good wardrobe buying decisions.  Join me on my Fashion Crossroads Fashionistas Facebook Group Page at 9 a.m. next Friday morning to begin your journey to becoming a well dressed woman.  

We all want to feel beautiful, so always remember, you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

How Do I Wear Raw Edge Jeans

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A new and important jean trend is raw edge jeans.  If you are unfamiliar with this term, it simply means the bottom edge of the jean where there would normally be a hem is left unhemmed and has a raw edge.  All of our jean companies are jumping on this trend band wagon, so to speak, from our young contemporary jeans like Silver Jeans (pictured above) to our more missy jeans like Jag Jeans and Not Your Daughter’s Jeans.

In fact, let me stop right here and digress a bit.  Ladies, here is a great fashion tip that will serve you well.  Every brand has a target demographic.  You can get a sense of this by looking at the age of the models that the company uses to picture their product.  The missy lines will generally target women aged 45 to 65.  You will see this reflected in both the way they picture their product and in the features.  For example, NYDJ and Jag Jeans make their jeans with a regular rise (comes all the way to the waist), something that appeals to women over 40 because of our tendency to have a muffin top.  So, if NYDJ and Jag are producing a trend like raw edge jeans and they target a missy customer, you can feel secure that you can wear the trend without looking like you are trying to be a teenager.  This is a great tip for age appropriate dressing.

Once you have determined if a trend is something you should wear, the next hurdle is to figure out how to wear it.  If a trend is new to me, I pay close attention at market to see how other buyers and vendors are wearing it.  If I want to see pictures of the trend in action, I will google “how do I wear….”  and then click the images tab.  A search like that will usually lead to a plethora of pictures answering my question.  In fact, a search like that just might lead you to this blog!

In the picture above, you can see me wearing my raw edge jeans from Silver Jeans.  All the raw edge jeans that we have in the store are cut to an ankle length (an inch above the ankle bone).  This length works great with ballerina flats or Converse tennis shoes in the summer and perfectly with shoe boots in the winter.  When wearing shoe boots, you want the raw edge of your jean to hit the top edge of your shoe boot.  If the jean goes inside the boot, you not see the edge, defeating the whole point of the trend.  If the jean goes outside the boot, it may be too long for you.  Getting the right length is one of the most challenging things about the ankle length trend, but it really matters, so hold out for the right length for you! Too short looks odd.  Too long looks like you are preparing for a flood.  Smile.

Get out there and try some raw edge jeans this season.  No telling how long the trend will last, but it’s a fun twist on your basic jean and will make you feel trendy, a confidence booster to be sure!

How To Wear Velvet In The Day

One of things that trips us up sometimes is when a traditional way of looking at a fabric gets turned on its head by a new fashion trend.  This is the case with velvet this season.  Traditionally, velvet has been a dressy fabric, reserved for special occasions, holiday parties, and lounge lizards…smile.  (Don’t ask me why, but I just had an image of John Travolta singing “ah, ah, ah, ah…staying alive”).

Well this season, velvet has emerged as an every day fabric that can work for cozy weekend, work and date night.  Those of you who still think of  it as dressy only, may be struggling to figure out how in the world to wear this new trend.  The answer is really very simple: pair it with a casual fabric like denim.

Let’s face it, while the head to toe velvet active wear jogger is trendy right now, most of us (uh, um) older ladies are not going to go for that.  We can still do velvet, however, by toning it down and mixing it up.  For example, pair a velvet kimono with beat up boyfriend jeans and shoe boots.  Wear a velvet top with dark denim skinny jeans and boots.  Pair a velvet tailored jacket with a classic button down blouse, black slacks and heels.  Do you get the picture?  You have to re-think your old way of seeing velvet.

The truth is, this luxurious fabric is fun to wear.  What is not to like about velvet, unless you are like one of our employees who is wierded out by the fact that if you brush the velvet one way, it’s soft.  But, if you brush it the other way….yikes.  She is just skipping the trend all together.  If you have texture issues, you might want to join her.  For the rest of us, however, velvet is a wonderful fabric and should find a place in our wardrobes this season!

Amping Up Your Plaid

39Button up plaid shirts were a huge trend last fall and winter, so you probably purchased one – at least I hope you did.  This season, manufacturers have re-invented the plaid shirt by adding new details such as a contrasting back, like the one in the picture.  This one from Tribal Sportswear has a pretty floral print, capitalizing on two trends for the season – florals and plaids.  I also have plaid shirts in the store with solid backs as well as blouse tunic plaid styles with uneven hemlines.  If you didn’t get into the plaid trend last season, jump in now!

So what do you do to amp up your plaid shirt from last year that doesn’t have all these fun details?  I love adding a vest over a plaid shirt.  A basic button down blouse works great with any kind of vest, and plaid will coordinate with many fabrics including fur, leather and down.  The key to combining a vest over a blouse is to choose a complimentary color to your plaid.  A tan fur vest, for example, will work beautifully over an olive green, red, burgundy, or brown based plaid.  A silver grey puffy vest would be great over any plaid that has white in it.  I paired a vintage black leather and fur vest today over my olive green and rust plaid shirt as an example.  22281821_10154937840438085_4171428333840452733_nYou can even choose a vest with a little embroidery.  Keep in mind the rule for combining prints – both prints need to have the same colors.  If they do, you can get crazy and put a paisley printed vest over a plaid shirt.  The Tribal plaid is a great example of how to do this.  Get courageous and have some fun with your clothing!

Discover Sympli – Easy Dressing For Every Body.

What do you get when a woman gets frustrated over the fact she can’t find a simple tee that really fits and flatters?  Well, you get Sympli.  Jan Stimpson’s quest to find a tee led to the creation of a company designed around women’s bodies and fit.  Indeed, the women behind Sympli “shape each garment on multiple women and spend countless hours designing, tucking, pinning and repinning…flattering fit is an evolution and [they] don’t cut corners.”  What is the result of all of this effort?  A garment that fits where you need it to and doesn’t cling where you don’t.  Honestly.

In fact, Sympli is so passionate about creating a product that any woman, no matter what body shape, can wear with confidence, they stand against the unreasonable expectations the fashion industry places on women.  Supporting a Canadian non-profit that helps women overcome eating disorders is just one of the many ways Sympli is taking a stand to encourage women to love their bodies.  The other is creating a product that really fits and flatters, from a size 2 to a size 24.

If you have never tried Sympli, I encourage you to come down to Fashion Crossroads this weekend for our trunk show.  Our Sympli Rep Charlotte has been with the company for over ten years, and will be in the store with the Spring 2018 Sympli samples as well as some in stock samples.  We have stocked the store with new Sympli in preparation for our event, so there are many new items to try!  Best of all, we are having a trunk show party on Sunday from 11-5 p.m. that will be catered by Grant Street Grocery.  Join us for great food, a little wine, and in store modelling from 12-4 p.m.  All in stock Sympli will be $10 off for the entire trunk show, and any Sympli purchase will get you registered to win one of two free Sympli tops to be given away on Sunday.