Dressing for Work

Looking good at the office is priority one for many of us, and yet office dressing can look like the Wild West of fashion sometimes. What can people get away with wearing? How casual is too casual? Where are the official rules for office attire?! Well, here are my some thoughts and suggestions on dressing at work. First of all, cultivate a style for yourself. I am so tired of seeing women who put no effort into their outfit because they are “going to work”….as if work does not require a deliberate style or image. No matter where you work, the way you dress makes a difference in the way you are perceived. Make no effort in your outfit and you risk the consequences of being perceived as lazy and unmotivated. Secondly, you should dress based on your career, not on the current trends. The rules for office dressing do not necessarily change from year to year. They change from occupation to occupation. More conservative lines of work, like finance or law, really do demand a stricter dress code. Whereas a graphic design or architecture firm may allow, or even encourage, a creative style in the work place. Another suggestion is wear pieces that fit your figure and colors that flatter you. These pieces make you FEEL happier. Always have these pieces tailored. And lastly, never show too much skin. Low cut tops, crop tops and mini-skirts are not appropriate…unless you work in a strip club. We spend most of our day at work, why not use that time to show your style!!

Your Wardrobe: The Movie

No, this is not a movie plot, but a good way of working out what you should wear. With every good movie there is always a hero, there is always a villain, and to make the story cohesive and understandable, some there are supporting acts. So what does this have to do with your wardrobe? Let us look at each category.

Heroes
A hero is a garment or accessory that has enough interest or detail to draw attention to it and make the whole outfit look more exciting. It might be an unusually constructed skirt or jacket, it could be a white shirt that has a ruffle down the front, it might even be a gorgeous pair of strappy sandals, or a big statement necklace. It makes the outfit less plain and creates a focal point for us to look at. It might also be a talking point, or become a signature of your appearance. Without these statement necklaces, your outfit might be deemed boring, but with the hero necklace, it creates action and excitement.

Villains
Villains are those pieces in your wardrobe that do not fit, do not flatter, or are just plain worn out, stretched, baggy or pilled. The villains are dragging your overall appearance down. They are not flattering and they will not give you confidence or a boost in self esteem. Nobody wants real villains living in their wardrobe, let alone following them round all day, so remove them from your life and cupboards so there is no temptation to wear them.

Supporting Acts
The actors make the meat of the movie possible, they are the clothes that hold together the outfit, your hero will not shine if everything you wear is a hero – too many heroes spoiled the plot. Keep your heroes to one per outfit, otherwise people will not know where to look, and you will probably appear too busy, with too much going on. They are the pieces like the little camis that stop that wrap top appearing too low so you do not kill them with your cleavage, the bootcut jean in a dark denim that works with so many tops, and the plain scoop neck t-shirt that sets off your patterned skirt. You might not get excited about them but they make your wardrobe work, and without them you would have difficulty getting dressed.

When friends come to me and say they are stuck in a rut, are looking boring, or loss their style, it is because they are only wearing supporting acts and villains. They have forgotten about their hero jewelry, and have not bought anything other than a very practical shoe for some time. When you bring the hero back into your wardrobe, you can see the value in taking the thirty seconds in the morning to choose some jewelry to make your outfit pop. So, what movie would we be filming with your wardrobe?

What Gretchen Wore

Here is yet another dress from gwynniebee.com, the clothing rental site I have mentioned in the past. Check out my blog from December 9th, or email me for more information. This red / pink sweater dress is super comfortable. I opted not to add accessories, so the dress detail would stand out. I added my Nine West nude sling back pumps and a leopard print clutch I bought on justfab.com for $39.99.
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Style Mistakes That Make You Look Heavier

In order to look and feel your best, you have to know how to dress for your body. While women have many different bodies, these clothing choices should always be avoided if you want to appear slender.

1. Menswear that is made for MEN. Celebrities have really popularized the feminine menswear look with suits, tuxedo pants, and boyfriend jeans. You cannot just go to your boyfriend’s closet, pick out a suit, and expect it to look awesome. You need to buy men-inspired clothing for women. If you are going to try this trend, make sure you have an awesome tailor.
2. Skinny Jeans. Every girl deserves a pair of jeans that she can rely on. While skinny jeans look great on some girls, sadly, they will only accentuate large proportions for others. If you are have to struggle to get into your jeans, then chances are they are going to make you look larger.
3. Puffy Coats / Vests. It is no surprise that puffy coats are not really doing anything for your figure. Of course, in the cold months, you will have to wear a big coat pretty often. Luckily, there are some puffy coats that are cinched at the waist that can show off your figure while keeping you warm.
4. Cropped Pants. Avoid pants that end between the knee and ankle at all costs. They can look good on rare occasions, but much more often these cropped pants will make the thigh area of average weight women appear larger.
5. Trying to HIDE your body. Women who are insecure about how they look will often wear as much fabric as possible to cover up their bodies. That is only making you look like a blob — show off your shape! Even if you have a large waist, put a belt on it and show everyone your hourglass shape.
6. The Wrong Bra. So much of your look relies on what you’re wearing underneath your clothes. A lot of women are wearing the wrong bra, and that can really mess with how you look. Decide if your bra is stretched out, and if so, it might be time to go shopping for a new one.
7. Too Tight Clothes. Tight pieces that hug your body can be showstoppers but when they are too tight they accentuate all the flaws and hug all the curves the wrong way. It is better to get something a little too big and get it tailored down, that to try to squeeze into something that is too small. Just because it zips, does not mean it fits.
8. Baggy on Baggy. The loose fit is very in right now, and can look so chic when it is paired with the right things. A baggy piece has to be paired with a fitted piece can look great. If you want to wear an oversized sweater, wear leggings or skinny jeans.
9. Printed Pants. If you are in love with the printed pants trend, please be careful. Prints add dimension and volume to the body. So if you see a size 00 model wearing the cutest printed pants and you are a normal size 16 with a booty, be prepared for the possibility that the pants will not look the same on you as on the model.
10. Too Many Layers. There is a fine between flattering layers and bunchy, frumpy layers. Just like the rule with baggy clothes, you need to balance fitted layers with loose layers. If you want to wear a loose kimono, wear a tight tank underneath.
11. Jersey Material. Jersey fabric is light and stretchy but does nothing when it comes to highlighting your curves. Jersey shows everything, and I mean everything. It is just not a flattering fabric unless you are a size 0 model. Go for thicker fabrics for fitted pieces and a flowy fabric, like rayon for looser ones.
12. Chunky Shoes. Fat heels and platform shows add unwanted heaviness to the bottom half of your body. Try something sleeker and thinner. A pointed toe is the perfect shoe to lighten up your legs. If heels are not your thing, do not worry, there are pointed toe flats and boots.
13. Tea-Length Skirts. While tea-length dresses and skirts can look very classy, sometimes the length of the hem hurts you appearance, as a whole. A skirt that hits around the ankles tends to make women look wider. Instead try a skirt that hits right above or below the knee.

Shopping Tips for Petites

If you are 5’4 or shorter, you are probably familiar with the perils of shopping for clothes. Between too long pants hems, too big armholes, and skirts and jackets that make you look like you are a kid playing dress up in your mom’s clothes, being petite can certainly present some challenges on the fashion front. Which is why I am shocked that more retailers have not jumped on the issue and hustled to create clothing to suit small women. I found this checklist on Pinterest to make sure you are always buying pieces that suit your small frame.
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New Ways to Wear Sequins

Sequins are a seasonal go to this time of year for parties, dinners, or even the office in moderation! Believe it or not, sparkles are more versatile than you might think. Here are some simple tips to follow to get your sparkle on this holiday season. First of all, you need to create contrast. Pairing something uber-glam, like a sequined jacket, with something totally casual, like distressed jeans, is a modern way to do sparkle. Also remember that less can be more!! Sure, you want to shine this holiday season, but do not forget that there are plenty of subtle ways to do it. Your old LBD will look sassy and brand new with the addition of a pair of sequined tights, a sparkling clutch, or the perfect ruby red heels. You definitely do NOT want to impersonate a disco ball. It should go without saying, but sequins make a major statement and need to be used carefully. If you are going to bite the bullet and go for a dress covered in bling, from top to bottom, opt for one that a.) Does not have an overly trendy silhouette, like this one-shouldered super-mini b.) Sticks with one color (black, gold, and silver are all classically gorgeous) or a small color family that is definitely complimentary c.) Fits you perfectly. Everyone is definitely going to be looking at you when you are covered in sparkles. You just do not want to get carried away with the glam factor. Resist the urge to bedazzle with abandon!
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Wanna be the Cool Girl at the Party?

The coolest girl at the party knows the secret….perfectly done is overdone. You see this girl at every gathering, the one whose hair is a little tousled, whose shoes do not seem to hurt her feet. She is not tugging at her skirt or sneaking peeks in shiny surfaces to see if her Spanx are showing. The secret ingredient is ease, in the way she moves and in the way she wears her clothes. And even if she is going out on a limb, taking a stylish risk — it is a little one. Cool girls often play up contrasting elements. So, if you are wearing a feminine dress, add a tailored jacket. If you are wearing a bohemian blouse, add a structured pencil skirt. If you are wearing a mini-dress, wear it with a maxi coat. If your look is too polished, then shake out your hair. Another way to pull of this look is pockets. Pockets are awesome — in pants, a full skirt or a relaxed dress. You look more comfortable when your hands have a home. Avoid anything skin tight. It is impossible to project confidence when you cannot sit down or breathe. You need to breathe – physically and metaphorically. But the best advice of all: do NOT try to be perfect. Confidence comes from embracing our imperfections. When you look too perfect, it is kind of scary because it means you spent way too much time getting ready. Imperfection makes us more human and more intriguing.