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White-Hot Picks for Your Summer Wardrobe

July 16, 2015 in On style

I admit it…I love an all-white look. It’s not only fresh and clean but it’s also a color trend of the moment. What’s more it’s a welcome departure from all of the dark neutrals we usually wear. But let’s face it.  Regardless of what’s trending, a head-to-toe white can be tough to pull off. For starters it’s tough to keep white, well white. (Can you say stain-magnet?!) Plus an all-white ensemble can end up looking a bit bland. Also depending on the shape, an all-white ensemble can make us look larger since lighter colors magnify the areas on which they are placed. With that in mind I’m of the mindset that “just a dab will do you” and I usually recommend using white as a “pop” color…When mixed with other tones and shades in your closet white can provide a wonderful seasonal update and help to lighten your look. If you’re looking to add just a few pieces this summer, check out a few of my favorite picks.

   Lauren Blazer - Lord & Taylor Blaze on: If ever there was a time to give up your black blazer, the time is now! (I’m hot just t-h-i-n-k-i-n-g about a black blazer.) That said, there’s no need to give up a polished look. Top off your skirts, dresses and trousers with a wonderful white counterpart. This shorter, cotton pique option is perfect for these hazy, hot days – not to mention a go-to for an over-air conditioned office. What’s more, with the addition of a simple white tank it migrates easily from workweek to weekend. And for those of us who are a bit bigger on bottom, wearing a lighter color on top creates a balancing effect.

The Bucket List: Who doesn’t love a bucket bag? It’s structured, but Marc by Marc Jacobs Bucket Bag - Nordstromslouchy; classic, yet on-trend. Best of all it’s a style that is available at all budgets. This one has a small footprint but is large enough to carry life’s little necessities. What’s more, an adjustable cross-body strap clips on when you prefer a hands-free carrying option. Whether you wear cross-body or effortlessly slung over your shoulder, I think you’ll agree that this bag carries a carefree nonchalance that’s prefect for these warm weather- months.

DKNY Blouse - BloomingdalesPleats please: Nothing says summer quite like a pretty white blouse. But with the warmer weather comes an ease in both our demeanor and dress. So instead of reaching for a crisp, white button-down blouse, why not opt for this breezy, summer-ready style? Part prim, part polished this is an easy add to any wardrobe and effortlessly works back to any bottom you have. I love the sliming elements of the vertical pleats – not to mention the additional touch of trend with the high low hem.

A cut above the rest: I’m not sure why, but white shoes get a bad rap. It 9 West Shoes - Zapposcould be that we associate them with nurses or brides or what little girls wear on Easter. But I say white shoes for anyone that is looking to make a style statement. An all-over cutout details make this sandal a glam and sexy addition to your collection. What’s more, on lighter skin tones they can elongate the leg-line – the same way that a nude shoe can – but look infinitely more interesting.

Lafayette Gauchos - BloomingdalesBack to the Future: You may have resisted this trend and so did I (at first) but this season’s “midi-pants” are nothing like the gauchos from yesteryear. The fabrics are more polished and the cuts are ‘crisper’ which makes for a chic (and current) alternative to a classically-tailored pant. Temperature-wise they are just as comfy as a skirt or dress but have the ease of pants. Let’s not forget the width of the pant balances any width – perceived or otherwise – at the hips and thighs. Just make sure to tuck in your top to define your waist and add a heel to balance the width and you’ve got a piece that’s as easy as summer itself.

So go ahead and whiten up! But just a word to the wise – you may want to keep your favorite glass of red – not to mention your morning cup of joe – far, far away.

Spring 2015: Fashion Trends Worth a Try

April 7, 2015 in On style

After a few false starts, spring has officially sprung. Many of us thought it would never come and had gotten used to planning our outfits around warm and waterproof items. But now it’s officially time to say goodbye to our Heattech T’s and tall boots and welcome what’s new for the season. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, you are not alone. There are a lot of new shapes, styles and colors to choose from. I’ve shared a few of the most wearable and pairable trends that will give a fresh update to any wardrobe. Read on for six trends that are worth a try.

Asos Flare Pants $54Flare-up: This season it’s time to step away from the slim and skinny and embrace a whole new pant silhouette. Be it the 70s boho trend or just the need for something new, we finally have a choice of wider pant widths. Less exaggerated than bell bottoms, flared pant fit the leg and flare out below the knee. The great thing about this silhouette is that it is often accompanied by a higher waist (good riddance to the muffin top!) and balances wider hips or shoulders. You can pair it with one of this season’s platform sandals for more of a 70s vibe or keep it sophisticated and chic with a pointy-toe pump. (Available online at ASOS.)

Gingham Girl: The past few seasons we’ve been mad for plaid but now weDvF Gingham Shoe $375 move past the tartan to embrace a lighter, brighter and more whimsical check option. The new gingham goes well beyond the traditional (and your favorite picnic tablecloth) and is reinterpreted in happy colors, sheer fabrications and exaggerated (and mixed) sizes. Have no fear – it’s also available in sophisticated black and white for those who don’t like to stray too far from a neutral palette. Not sure about this print? Try it on only one half of your body or in an accessory.  (Available online at Saks.)

Joe Fresh Baseball Sweater $39Get in the Game: If there was ever a time to embrace the “athleisure” trend, the time is now. From sophisticated (yet comfortable) jog pants to mesh tops and sweaters to fashionable slip-on sneakers, there’s something for everyone. Rather than sport a head-to-toe look, you’ll want to add no more than one or two athletic touches to each look. Details that give a nod to athletic wear include racing stripes, zipper pulls or drawstring waists. The lightweight sport sweaters (tennis, baseball and so on) are a great transitional item and easily pair back to jeans or a walking short. (Available online at Joe Fresh.)

Pretty in Pastels: Easter may have come and gone, but not its Combining Pastelscotton-candy colors. Pastels offer a great way to visually ‘lighten up’ for spring and introduce a splash of color into a mostly-neutral wardrobe. To minimize the sweet n’ girly factor, you’ll want to avoid things like ruffles and lace. Instead look for items with clean lines and sharp details. It’s never wrong to pair pastels with other pastels, as the soft and light qualities of these colors will visually link them together. But for an edgier look you can combine a pastel with a bright, accent color or a darker neutral.

Zara Denim Shirt  $59.90Denim Redux: Denim seems to be having a moment – and I for one couldn’t be happier. No longer reserved just for jeans and jackets, both high-end and mass-market designers have used it for everything including tops, skirts, dresses and jumpsuits. Even though blue predominates, you’ll be anything but bored with interesting shapes, ombre washes and distressed details. Note: you’ll still find denim items with an even, darker wash and clean lines which may work well in certain office environments and give even more utility to this wardrobe staple. (Available online at Zara.)

Cute in Culottes: Culottes not only add a trendy touch but they provide a Vince Camuto Culottes $89great option for those who don’t wear skirts or dresses but want to keep cool. Because it’s easy for these shorter, wider pants to be less-than-flattering, you will want to add a heel to balance the width. The best shoe options will be tonal to your skin to elongate your leg line. To accentuate your waist remember to tuck in your top. Alternatively you can opt for a wider, crop top that ends right at the waistband. This will define the waist and balance the width. By adding a longer necklace you will further streamline your look.  (Available online at Vince Camuto.)

No sure what makes sense for you? One of the best tips I give my clients is add only those trends that they would still want to wear long after the season – or the trend – is over.

Sexy is a State of Mind

February 9, 2015 in On style

With Valentine’s Day almost here, there’s no shortage of articles about how to look sexy. Higher heels, shorter skirts, tighter jeans…the list of sometimes formulaic and uncomfortable options goes on and on. In contrast, articles about how to f-e-e-l sexy are in short supply. There is a difference between the two.

Looking sexy is all about the external (how you showcase the body), while feeling sexy is a state of mind. Looking sexy may be – at least in part – for others, but feeling sexy is all for you. One might argue that, you cannot look sexy unless you feel sexy. Hmmm. While you may or may not agree, suffice to say that feeling sexy means exuding a certain confidence and loving yourself – no matter what you are wear.

For some of us this comes quite naturally. For others it takes a bit of effort. No matter which camp you fall into, here are a few easy ways to honor yourself…and feel sexier in the process.

Making Friends with the Woman in the MirrorMake friends with the mirror. We are all unnecessarily hard on ourselves. I’ll never understand why we compare ourselves to others or to pictures in our favorite fashion magazines. It only leads to self-doubt and insecurity. Be that as it may, I suggest that you take the same energy and try this exercise instead. For the next week, stand in front of the mirror each morning and say – out loud – one thing that you love about yourself.  Write it down and compile your ‘love list.’   Make sure to post it where you can see it on a daily basis to reinforce how truly fabulous you are.

Pamper yourself. Whether it’s a bubble bath, massage or a manicure, just do it!  Pamper YourselfChances are that you run around and do so much for others, you forget to honor and give yourself a little TLC. There may be many reasons why you feel you shouldn’t (I’ve heard them all) but two very good reasons why you should – because you love yourself and it f-e-e-l-s good. After all…Isn’t that what sexy is all about?

Scented LotionBe scentsational.  Is there a certain scent that just does it for you? Make sure to incorporate it into your daily dressing routine. But instead of spritzing on the perfume, opt for the subtlety of a scented soap and/or moisturizer. Wearing fragrance in this way means that you may be the only one that can smell it, but isn’t that the point? You are doing this just for you.

Wrap yourself in luxe fabrics. Make no mistake here. I am not suggesting that you Woman Wearing Luxe Fabrics Hugging Herselfshould change your style or dress provocatively. Instead I am encouraging you to look at whatever items you love to wear and make sure they are made of fabrics that feel good against the skin. Think soft cottons, yummy cashmeres, sumptuous silks and the like. Make it a point to wear only those things that feel delicious – and that you feel delicious in.

Pretty UnderwearChoose underwear that’s fun to wear. Regardless of the clothes you sport, it’s what’s underneath that counts. Look through your lingerie drawer and throw away anything that’s torn, faded or loved-to-death. Replace those items with others that make you feel special. Nothing makes you feel sexy like a well-fitting bra – especially those of the push-up variety (smile). While we all know that thong underwear adds a certain allure, don’t underestimate the playfulness of boy-short cuts.  Even if you stick with the basics, opt for a lingerie or specialty store instead of a larger department store for the prettiest versions of your wardrobe staples.

Engage in a little harmless flirting. Whether you are in a committed relationship or Harmelss Flirtingnot, you can’t deny the ego boost that can accompany a little extra attention. So go ahead. Play with your hair, bat those eyelashes and give a strategic smile here or there. After all, a little innocent flirting can make you (as well as the other person) feel more attractive. Just make sure to keep it easy-going, brief and out of the office.

With February being the unofficial month of love, there’s no better time than now to honor and embrace your sexy self. If you think that feeling sexy is not your ‘thing,’ you may be ignoring this playful part of your personality. Why not embrace it… not for someone else’s benefit, but for you own?

A colleague once shared a quote from Dita Von Teese (a contemporary burlesque performer and fashion icon) that I never forgot. Dita said: “It’s not about seducing men, it’s about embracing womanhood.” I couldn’t agree more.

Style Discoveries that Stand the Test of Time

January 13, 2015 in On style

You never know what will pop up in your inbox. Last week I received an email from LinkedIn congratulating me on my work anniversary of 17 years.  Talk about cause to pause!  I remember when I first started in the image industry.  No one had a clue what an image consultant was or did.  Back then these types of services were available only to politicians, celebrities and others in the public eye.  (How exclusionary!)  Boy have times changed.  And Lord knows styles have changed!  How wonderful it has been to be a part of such a dynamic, fast-paced and ever-evolving industry.  More importantly, how lucky I am to love what I do and work with such amazing clients and students!

While the years may be many, I’d prefer to count the wardrobes I’ve transformed – and the lives I’ve touched – along the way.  For me it’s always been less about the fabulous clothing and accessories I’ve helped my clients select and more about how these pieces have changed the way they see themselves; given them the confidence to make positive changes in other areas of their lives and empowered them to achieve more personally and professionally than they ever thought possible.

While it’s hard to condense what I’ve learned over the years into a few paragraphs, I’d like to celebrate this anniversary by sharing some of my most important style discoveries with you.  May they always allow you to look your best, feel your best and be your best!

Ready-to-wear is a myth. Somehow we’ve gotten it in our heads that a garment should be a perfect fit right of the rack.  AND if it’s not, there’s something wrong with us.  Let’s set the record straight, shall we?  Only Tailoring - Hi Res5-10% of the population walks into a store, tries something on and it fits perfectly.  The rest of us need to alter.  The reason is that no two bodies are alike.  We all vary in height, weight and distribution.  Yet garments are sized using one fit model.  See the problem?  Tailoring means that mass-produced garments will better fit and flatter your unique physique.  Bonus: Once you open yourself to the idea of tailoring, you will greatly expand your clothing options.

Trend is not a 4 letter word. Granted what’s in today can be so yesterday by tomorrow. But regardless of your age or fashion style, Spring Trends - HI Resthere’s something to be said for looking current and relevant.  Truth be told, people will connect the dots between one’s clothing and their ideas (i.e. she is current in her clothing, so she is probably current with her thinking).  Each season we are given a potpourri of trends to choose from.  I recommend that you select the one or two that resonate with you and add a few, well-chosen pieces appropriate for your age, body type and lifestyle.

A bargain is only a bargain if you wear it.  Otherwise it becomes the Just Say Nomost expensive article of clothing in your closet.  Believe me…I get it. Clothing is an investment.  But shopping by price tag alone isn’t the answer.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself when considering your next bargain purchase.  A) Would I have paid full price for it?  B) Does it look like it will survive the first few cleanings?  C) Does it represent me at my best?  D) Does I love it – or at least like it?

When in doubt, dress up.  There is nothing worse that arriving at an Dress Upevent, function or every day occasion only to realize that you’ve misjudged the situation and under-dressed.  Whether it’s a job interview or a birthday party, when in doubt err on the side of caution and dress up. You can always bring your look down a notch by removing a jacket, pushing up your sleeves and/or relaxing your body language.

Don’t minimize the importance of foundation garments.  I read something in a home décor magazine awhile back about the importance of priming a waFoundation Garmentsll before painting it.  (It allows for a better application of paint and a smooth finish.)  Getting dressed is no different…it’s what’s underneath that counts.  An ill-fitting bra can add 10 years and 10 pounds.  And a peek-a-boo bra strap or VPL is nothing short of a distraction.  Why sabotage your look?  As a side note, I prefer to use foundation garments to minimize the appearance of an extra bump or ripple rather than skip dessert (smile).

Black is not always the answer.  There are a few reasons I say this.  A) Black is the color that commands more visual authority than any otherDress in Color BUT it is also the least welcoming.  So if you’re out and about, looking to meet people, I’d leave your chic NY black in the closet and opt for a friendlier color.  B) As we become more “seasoned,”black becomes less kind to our skin tone and visually aging.   Wearing a bit of color close the face actually gives us a fresher look.  C) Black is ubiquitous. Why not stand out instead of blend in?

Less is more. We all have way too much hanging in our closets.  You don’t believe me?  Ok – just for fun count the number of black pants you Less Is Morehave.  And then ask yourself, do you wear all of them with the same frequency?  With clients I like to play the game of “good, better and best.” Let’s say you’ve got 10 pairs of black pants.  Invariably some are going to better options than others.  In that case, why would you settle on “good” (or in many cases, less than “good”) when you’ve “best” hanging in your closet?  I’ve heard time and time again that people like to save things for a special occasion, but I would argue that every day we’re alive and well is a special occasion.  (Good point, eh?)

Here’s to more style discoveries and another glorious 17 years!

How to Survive a Shopping Diet

April 9, 2014 in On style


Shopping Diet - Final
I’ve got a confession to make. I’m on a diet.  No, not that kind of diet, although I think it would be easier to lessen my intake of chocolate.  I’ve put myself on a shopping diet (gulp).  You may wonder why someone, who makes a living helping others make smart additions to their wardrobe, is curtailing on her own shopping activities? Well for the seven weeks I’ll be doing some home renovations which has meant shift in priorities.  (Think paint, tile and cabinetry instead of clothing, accessories and makeup.)  And since my apartment is now filled with workmen and materials – not to mention that most of my wardrobe is now in boxes – I honestly don’t have the room for much more.

Does this mean I have not/will not add anything to my wardrobe in the next two months?  Not a chance.  But does it mean I have implemented ways to stretch my budget and shop smart? You bet.  Here are some shopping tips that have helped me – and may help you – stay on track.

Expensive Coffee - Final

Review and reprioritize your budget. When going on any kind of diet, the first step is a look at the big picture.  With a food diet, you’d look at the amount of calories you intake vs. the amount of energy you expend.  With a shopping diet, you’ll want to look at your overall income vs. your expenses. While your income may be fixed, your expenses are probably not. In certain instances you may have the option to reallocate.  For example when I looked at my budget and how much I was spending in coffee and metro cards, I made a conscious decision to opt out of Starbucks and leave enough time to walk to my appointments, rather than take a subway.  I have allocated these savings to some new wardrobe additions without increasing my overall bottom line.

Girl Looking in Closet - Final

Re-tool and re-invent. When you need to cut down on new purchases, the first place to shop is your closet.  Consider those items you haven’t worn in forever or wear all the time and are tired of.  Is there a way to repurpose them so they feel more exciting and enticing?  For example, maybe you wear a crew neck pullover over a dress to give it the look of separates?  Or belt a dress and pair it with leggings to give it the look and feel of a tunic?  Perhaps you chop the bottom off of a blouse to embrace the new shorter, crop top trend?  Get creative and have fun.

Gap Flap ClutchAdd impact, not investment pieces. If you are counting your shopping dollars, it is not the time to splurge on too many investment pieces.  Instead opt for ‘impact’ pieces…those little goodies that won’t break the bank but add variety and visual interest to your existing investment pieces and ensembles.  I have given myself a budget of $50/each for these little wardrobe pick-me-ups.  One of my favorite finds has been this leather flap clutch.  It may be small and hold only the essentials (phone, credit card, lipstick & mints), but it’s big on personality and echoes some of the design details found on more expensive bags.

Woman Considering a Purchase

Take time and carry on. When you’re on a budget, every purchase counts so think about the mileage and utility of an item.  Can it be worn multiple ways, for multiple occasions and thru multiple seasons?  If you’re unsure for any reason, walk away and give it some time (I recommend overnight).  If you wake up the next day and are still thinking about the item, that’s one thing.  If on the other hand, you’re not even thinking about the item the next day (aka, out of sight, out of mind)…well, enough said.

Remember to set yourself up for success.  Try not to shop when you are tired or feeling a little blue as retail therapy is not part of this diet.  Also you will want to avoid shopping with your group of gal pals, as often it is easy to get talked into buying things that are not in your budget or that you might not have purchased if you were alone.

The good news is that by cutting back on your shopping, you’ll enjoy more space in your closet – and money in your pocket (smile). What’s more, with fewer purchases you will savor each and every one that much more.

Shop Like a Pro

March 21, 2014 in On style

Author: Long Island Pulse | Published: Friday, March 21, 2014-
See the full article at  lipulse.com

carol_2013You are itching for spring and you are ready to shop. We asked the pros to tell us where to find the best deals on the latest trends. These five masters of their craft have scoured thrift stores, racks and showroom floors to provide the intel needed to spruce up a stale wardrobe, work in fads with no remorse and blend vintage with new at home. Follow these words of wisdom and be prepared to start hearing,  “Where did you get that?” A lot more often.

Carol Davidson is president and chief style officer at StyleWorks of Union Square, an image consulting company. She teaches others how to use their visual identity to influence the image they project. For the spring shopping list, she suggested adding a touch of trend:

Floral prints, colored stripes, boxy cropped jackets, collarless coats and pattern matching. Spend on the investment pieces…a great trench, fabulous black pants and signature accessories. Add a bit of “cheap chic” for the trendier items from Zara, Michael by Michael Kors and Vince Camuto. For chic pool, patio or beachside looks, Calypso St. Barth. Shop on Friday—most stores do the bulk of their business on the weekends and the store is fully stocked.

Rev Up Your Wardrobe with Red

February 12, 2014 in On style

If ever there was a month to wear red, February is it. Not only is it the color we associate with love and Valentine’s Day, it’s also the official color of the Go Red for Women® campaign.  While red is often perceived as exciting, assertive, stimulating, dramatic and passionate, it is also a power color that encourages action and confidence.  So if you or your clients are looking to add some excitement to your wardrobe or simply looking for a few, fun ways to embrace this month’s favorite hue, read on for some of my favorite picks.

InfinityScarf

It’s a wrap.  Baby it’s cold outside…and there are no signs of it warming up anytime soon. What’s a girl to do?  Bundle up in style, of course.  The infinity style makes this scarf easy to wrap around your neck, while the chunky knit keeps you cozy and warm. In addition to adoring the scarf itself, I’m smitten by the company – Paula Bianco.  The company helps give young designers a voice by hiring up-and-comers from a fashion school to design products that are in keeping with their aesthetic.  (A win-win for all!)  No wonder they are a favorite amongst chic shoppers and celebs alike.  ($59.50 at shopbop.com)

nordstrom

Stay a step ahead. It’s hard to believe we will ever be out of snow boots, but I know that day is coming.  And when it does, you’ll want to be ready with footwear that easily bridges the seasonal transition.  Cue this wonderful bootie.  A bit retro in feeling, yet definitely of-the-moment, this peep-toe bootie can easily be worn with textured tights now and sans hosiery come spring.  The bootie beautifully pairs with everything from a slim ankle pant to a full, midi skirt or sheath dress.  What’s more the suede and tortoise-toned-heel give it a luxe look and feel. ($149.95 at nordstrom.com)

CalvinKleinDress

Say ‘yes’ to the dress. Chances are you already have (at least) one LBD.  And while it’s always right, sometimes you want to move beyond the tried and true.  Enter the LRD. Curved seam detailing gives a fluid, feminine effect to this vibrant sheath dress, plus the little bit of stretch makes this beauty every bit as comfortable as it is flattering.  If that weren’t enough, is that this is a dress that gives back. Until February 28th Macy’s will donate 10% of each sale to the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women® movement. Think about it this way…why just look fab when you can also feel fab about doing something good for others? ($89.98 at Macy’s)

Valentino

It’s time for cuff love. The cuff bracelet trend began a few seasons ago and continues to be an important accessory going forward.  This one, with its bold red color and tough girl embellishment, adds a bit of edge to any outfit.  (And Is it just me, or does everyone think that the signature Valentine “pyramids” are really cool?) What’s more the leather band not gives the bracelet a sumptuous look, but it also offers a great way to participate in the leather trend without having to go all-out. ($345 at Neiman Marcus)

narsredPucker up.  There is, quite possibly, nothing more sexy than a red lipstick…unless it’s one that has a patented blend of conditioners and antioxidants to hydrate, nourish and protect lips.  Nars lipsticks are enriched with vitamin E to increase wearability and keep the “true color” intact. While their rich, vivid shades range from neutrals to high-fashion hues, this month I’m all about “Red Lizard” (though there are other fabulous reds to choose from).  Trust me, it was no accident they were voted Best Overall Lipstick by InStyle (2011). ($26 at www.narscosmetics.com)

Whether you embrace red in a big or small way – with one of these products or with something you already own – please don’t forget to wear red on February 7th to Celebrate National Wear Red Day®.  To learn more about the movement or to get involved at any time, check out www.goredforwomen.org.

How to Wear Sheer Fabrics

February 12, 2014 in On style

It’s been a few seasons now, yet sheer fabrics continue to be a strong part of the equation for Spring. Elegant and chic, this transparent trend gives a feminine and flirty vibe to any ensemble.  While adding a little sexy to one’s wardrobe can be a beautiful thing, it is important to remember that any peek-a-boo piece can easily transition from tasteful to tawdry.  The key lies in knowing when and how to wear it. If your or your clients would like to add a touch of this alluring accent without bearing all, read on for some helpful tips that are nothing short of sheer genius (smile).

Modesty

Modesty may be the best policy. I’d first encourage you to think about the situation you find yourself in and what’s considered appropriate.  For most work environments, you’ll want to keep your sheer statement to a minimum.  Think about sheer sleeves or transparent panels instead of sporting an all-sheer blouse or skirt. Alternatively you may want to cover up with a jacket or cardie for day.  On the other hand, you can easily tick up the amount of transparency for social events, as long as you stay within your comfort zone and can wear it with confidence!

BGAlice&Olivia

It’s what’s underneath that counts. Choose your undergarments carefully. For those more modest amongst us, you might choose to wear a cami and/or boy shorts instead of a bra and panties.  Regardless of the coverage, for the most elegant execution opt for opaque undergarments that match your skin tone or the color of the item.  All-lace underwear amps up the allure and is probably best saved for evening wear.

SheerBlouse

Maintain a sense of balance. If you decide to go sheer in one area, cover up another. For instance, if you wear a sheer top, team it with a pair of trousers or midi-skirt to limit the exposure.  Or if you are wearing a skirt with sheer panels, think about a top with ¾ sleeves or one with a higher neckline.  Wearing sheer allover may not only send the wrong message, but you could run the risk of looking like a bathroom or kitchen curtain!

StyleBopMMissoni

It all goes back to our ABC’s. Let’s face it…there are certain areas of the body that we went to accentuate, others that we want to balance or camouflage.  Think about “strategic” sheer placement.  Do you have toned arms?  Look for a blouse with sheer sleeves. Love your shoulders?  Choose a top with a sheer front panel that runs from the shoulders to the top of the bust line. Are you blessed with shapely legs?  Consider a skirt that’s sheer from the knees down.  Transparent fabrics are one of the many tools in our dressing toolbox that allow us to highlight a particular area – and as a result – draw attention away from another.

SheerBlousewAccessories

Keep it simple. This trend is worn best when it’s done in an understated and elegant way.  With that in mind, you’ll want to KISS (keep it simple) with your accessories so that they convey the same vibe and aesthetic.  Less is more here so you’ll want to downsize a bit on the quantity and scale of your jewelry.  Similarly you’ll want to stay away from chunky heels and over-sized bags.  Instead try a thin, kitten heel or strippy, strappy sandal worn with a small cross-body bag or clutch.

Take care. Transparent fabrics are often delicate and require special attention when handling.  Make sure to remove all jewelry when taking a sheer item on or off.  While hand-washing in a mild detergent is best, with certain less fragile fabrics you also have the option of laundering them in a lingerie bag.  If your item is sheer at the shoulders, it’s best to hang it on a padded hanger or fold in a drawer.

Whether it’s for Valentine’s Day or any day, why not go ahead and dare to bare…at least a bit!

Radiant Winter Pick-Me-Ups

January 22, 2014 in On style

radiantorchidWhat’s in a number? Plenty if it’s number 18-3224 – otherwise known as Pantone’s 2014 Color of The Year, Radiant Orchid. You may wonder, what’s is the big deal? It’s a fair question but I assure you, making this selection is no easy undertaking.  Pantone combs the world looking at every conceivable color influence. Everything from the entertainment industry to art to technology and socio-economic conditions is carefully considered so that the ‘chosen one’ reflects the world we are living in. What’s more, its selection influences countless industries such as art, accessories, apparel, beauty, interiors, paint, home goods, lighting and so much more.

Building on the messages of Emerald Green (a.k.a the 2013 Color of the Year) which symbolized harmony, renewal and prosperity, this year’s selection has been dubbed by Pantone’s executive director Leatrice Eiseman as, “an invitation to innovation encouraging enhanced creativity and originality.” I very much like the sound of this, especially at the start of a new year. But while Radiant Orchid has already been seen all over the runway for the spring 2014 shows, I’d rather not wait to enjoy this hot hue. So with that said, here are some of my favorite Radiant Orchid picks to perk up your wardrobe right now.

asosradiantorchid

Carry on. The easiest way to add some Radiant Orchid into your otherwise neutral closet is by way of an accessory. This one, by Cambridge Satchel Company, offers exceptional craftsmanship in a bag that marries fashion and function. The front pouch pocket offers a great way to stay organized, while the design echoes school girl chic. What’s more, the design can take you from work week to weekend in a wink. ($149 at asos.com)

Patagoniapuffer

Get down with it. Admittedly, I’m not a fan of the cold weather. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy a wardrobe of coats and jackets – especially those of the brightly colored variety. This one is fully padded with 800-fillgoose down for warmth, yet it’s fitted to the body so it keeps you protected without looking bulky. It boasts double water-repllent properties which means snow flakes slide right off. Plus you can count on the color to lift your spirits as the temperatures plummets. Wear this winter must-have in the city or après-ski for a chic, yet sporty look. ($299 at Nordstrom.com)

radiantlush

Pucker Up.  This one-stick wonder offers rich, matte color in a dazzling Radiant Orchid hue that’s flattering on a variety of skin tones. Infused with orchid essence for nourishment and collagen for a subtle plumping effect, the creamy formula glides on and provides all-day wear that rivals the staying power of your favorite lip stain. Since this hot hue it’s a limited edition, you will want to stock up. Note: to prolong the life of extra tubes, store them in your refrigerator. ($18 at Sephora.com)

Plushshort

Purple and plush.  I’m not sure why, but many people are willing to make a concerted effort on their work and social attire, yet ignore their loungewear. That’s one approach, but I believe you have the right to look (and feel) great no matter what you’re doing – even if it’s just cozying up at home. Let 2014 be the year that you make this part of your wardrobe a priority, even if you’re the only one that sees it. Why not start with this yummy robe? The heathered hue and cropped cut make this hooded, plush robe an easy addition to any at-home wardrobe. ($49 at Nordstrom .com)

alexisbittarearrings

Ear candy.  The holidays may be over, but who says you can’t still enjoy a bit of bling – especially when it frames the face?! These earrings are demure enough to be worn for day, yet have enough movement and visual interest for a night on the town. Hand-painted lucite details the radiate at the center, while Swarovski crystals create a shimmering outline. They have an art deco vibe that gives them an almost “collectible” look and feel. ($98 at Shopbop.com)

So while this winter you may be tempted to reach for the dark neutrals in your closet or accessory drawer, why not invigorate your wardrobe with a few well-chosen pieces in this gorgeous hue?

New Year, New Approach

January 15, 2014 in On style

weights

If your inbox looks anything like mine, during these first few weeks of January you have been bombarded with dozens of ways to jump start the new year. From hair and makeup techniques, to diet and exercisestrategies, to style and clothing tips, your head is probably spinning with “new” opportunities to make positive changes to your look and your life. Usually I am the queen of New Years resolutions, planning all the ways I’ll change whatever isn’t working – physically, emotionally and psychologically. (The beginning of a calendar year has a way of making us feel more flawed than we actually are – smile.) This year, however, I’ve decided to take a more balanced approach.

Instead of just making a list of areas for improvement, I’ve supplemented it with a second list. I’ve taken a page (literally and figuratively) from Marie Claire magazine and decided to re-create a version of their “What I Love About Me” feature. Have you seen it? Month after month they showcase a handful of women who share what they love about themselves. They focus on appearance but I decided to dig a bit deeper.

If you like this idea of looking at both sides of your personal balance sheet, why not start your own list? Using the ABC’s of image, here are a few categories to help get you started.

womanlookinginmirror

Appearance: I love my __________ (fill in the blank). Even though we tend to focus on our challenge areas, we’ve all got assets. It’s just a matter of owning them. Take a few minutes to objectively and lovingly look in a full-length mirror and acknowledge those characteristics that make your look unique. Do you have sparkle in your eyes, luscious lips, a mega-watt smile, great curves, legs that go on for miles, a a va-va-voom bust line, spirited hair (that’s me), and/or other wonderful qualities? Once you acknowledge your assets, you can make clothing and accessory selections on a daily basis that honor and accentuate the positive.

volunteer

Behavior: l am proud that I __________ (fill in the blank). What do you do that enriches the lives of others? Do you mentor someone at work? Volunteer your time? Donate old clothing? Approach out-of-towners who appear lost and ask if they need directions? Babysit to give friends or relatives some needed time off? Give to a charity? Pitch in before being asked? Think about all of the random acts of kindness you perform on a weekly basis (when no one is watching) and pat yourself on the back for doing something just because it’s the right thing to do.

communications

Communications: People can count on me to be __________ (fill in the blank). Are you a good listener?  Do you hear both sides of a story? Do you have a wonderful sense of humor? Are you an expert problem-solver? Are you willing to challenge the status quo? Are you compassionate and non-judgmental? Do you lend support when needed? Are you respectful in your language? Do you make others feel comfortable? How you interact and communicate with people is an important part of who you are and the effect you have on the lives of others. Treasure those qualities that others have come to count on.

While this list starts in January, I would encourage you to think about your wonderful qualities the whole year long. Who knows – this may be one of the best New Year’s resolutions you make.

 

Last Minute Holiday Gifts

December 6, 2013 in On style

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. So why are so many of us so stressed out about holiday shopping? Well with less than two weeks to go, time is of the essence. And the stores are a wee bit crowded. Also, if your list is anything like mine, it keeps growing with people you’ve accidentally left off (the dog walker, the neighbor that signs for your packages, your hairdresser and so on). If you’re out of ideas (or energy), why not give a ‘taste’ of the season? Read on for some last minute food gifts that are far more creative than the typical Starbucks gift card (or boxed chocolates), but have just as wide an appeal.

hugmugHug Mug Set: Ahhh…the Chocolate Drinking Ceremony. It’s a ritual. It’s when you close your eyes, hug your mug (with both hands) and slowly sip the thick hot chocolate, letting the sweet steam heat your face. The lucky recipient of this gift will relive this moment of joy and again and again with Max’s Brenner’s specially-designed Hug Mugs. This set includes two of Max’s specially-designed Hug Mugs with saucers and Chocolat: European-style, thick, hot chocolate powder. Yum! ($29 at Max Brenner)

Queen Catherine de Medicis Box: MacarOn Café in NYC Queen Catherine de Medicis Boxwas established to pay homage to the delicate French confectionery, the macaron. They have been recognized as connoisseurs of this delicious French pastry because of their wonderful variety of flavors so authentic (not to mention delicious) that they “transport you to Paris with (just) one bite.” This lovely gift box is shipped with 18 flavors of your choosing, plus 2 cocktail macarons. Merci bocu! ($50 at MacarOn Café )

PSnackBarsersonalized Energy Bar Gift Box: Do you know someone who loves protein bars? At YouBar, they believe the best gifts have a personal touch. That’s why their gift boxes allow you to customize the energy bars with any personalized photos, messages and images you like. The recipient then receives a gift box filled with 6 delicious energy bars wrapped in the packages you designed. The NYT said it best, “With these nutrition bars, every order is special.” ($49.95+ at youbars.com)

Green Herbal Tea Set: This holistic tea set offers an opportunity to sip from an teakitarray of nine medicinal herbs and three varieties of eco-certified, organic green tea from Japan, India, and Sri Lanka. From toxin-cleansing rose petals to cholesterol-lowering tamarind, every special herb is labeled with its unique blend of health benefits, making it easy to formulate just the right tea for the mind, body and spirit. The loose leaf teas and herbs are steeped in the reusable tea bags made from biodegradable corn silk. A tranquil gift, if ever there was one! ($40 at uncommongoods.com)

Spoonable Salty Caramel Sauce: Trust me when we say that in this instance, being ‘saucy’ is a good thing (smile.) spoonablecaramelThis salty caramel sauce is soooo good that it’s hard to resist eating it right out of the jar. However the salty-sweet sauce pairs beautifully with both sweet and savory dishes. Featured as one of Buzzfeed’s Best Food Gifts Under $20, this is a gift that any recipient will be delighted to receive. ($8.50 at eatboutique.com)

Himalayan Salt Block: Extremely versatile, this block of Himalayan salt Himalayan Salt Blockimparts a hint of mineral-rich salt to whatever is served on it. It can be used to cook food on a grill or in the oven, chilled and used to serve sushi or frozen desserts or as a serving plate for fruits and cheeses. Says one reviewer, “Food tastes amazing on it!” It makes a thoughtful and unique gift for those who know their way around the kitchen – or those that aspire to. ($39.95 at redenvelope.com)

Do you have some favorite food gifts that you’ve loved to give (or get?) If so, please feel free to post them on my Facebook page: /StyleworksofUnionSquare – and please like it while you’re there.

Holiday Dressing: Festive, Yet Frugal Finds

December 4, 2013 in On style

I know you’re smack in the middle of holiday gift shopping. And buying something for yourself may be the last thing on your mind – and possibly not included in your year-end budget. But ready or not, the holiday invites are ushering in. From after-work cocktails to family functions to New Years Eve soirees, your dance card is probably full. But your closet may not be – or at least not full of party-ready pieces. If this is the case, fear not my friends. You can add a few well-chosen, inexpensive items to perk up your wardrobe basics and take you from day to play. Read on for some festive, yet frugal finds for holiday dressing.

velvetpantsThe Royal Treatment: Nothing says opulent and ’tis-the-season’ like a velvet pant. This one is featured in a rich jewel-tone, which adds a luxe look and feel. What’s more the slim leg pant has a touch of stretch and a more relaxed fit through the hips and thighs, making it every bit as comfortable as it is stylish. Pair it with a ruffle blouse or embellished sweater for a regal, yet festive look. ($98 – available at Ann Taylor)

Glisten Up: Work this show-stopping sequined blazer into your winter sequinedblazerwardrobe and instantly amp up the glam factor. It’s an easy piece that pairs back to absolutely everything in your closet. From your favorite pair of dark wash denim to a black slim pant or pencil skirt, it’s always right. What’s more this piece is actually a classic – it’s a perennial favorite at this time of year. This means you can buy it now and wear it for years to come. Let the sequins capture the light, while you capture the attention. ($89 – available at Joe Fresh)

laceskirtA Case for Lace: Admittedly lace can sometimes have a more vintage, if not matronly feel. But his season we’re seeing lace done in a very contemporary way. With this skirt the illusion lace overlay and slim, pencil silhouette lend a modern touch – and a ladylike boost – to any wardrobe. Wear it with your favorite blazer and silk blouse for an office-ready option. Then swap out the blazer with a sparkly, statement necklace for a holiday dinner or after-work seasonal soiree. ($60 – available at Macy’s)

whitebuttondownFrill Seeker: While holiday dressing is all about pattern, texture and shine, you’ll want to make sure you have a solid, steady-eddy in your closet. Enter the crisp white blouse. This one goes well beyond the basic with three layers of elegant ruffles that adorn the placket of a classic button-down shirt. Wear it with any of the bottoms featured here to lend a tailored, yet timeless touch – not to mention a decidedly feminine edge. ($60 – available at Bloomingdale’s)

plaidpantsClad in Plaid: The Scots may call it tartan, but here on our shores it’s simply known as plaid. Trending for a few seasons running, we continue to be mad for plaid – especially the bold, overstated variety. Worn with a comfy, sparkly sweater or a shrunken blazer, these slim pants offer a whimsical and festive take on a classic favorite. It’s been said that this season’s plaid is less ‘school’ girl and more ‘cool’ girl. I couldn’t agree more! ($60 – available at Zara)

Animal Instincts: If ever there was a time to let animalprinttopyou hair down, the time is now! Why not take a walk on the wild side and add an animal print item to your closet? This one embraces some of the most festive details of the season, with its racy red and black color combo and embellished neckline. What’s more, there’s no need to add a necklace – it’s already built in. This statement sweater makes the perfect party accompaniment to all your celebratory soirees and holiday happenings. ($38 – available at Macy’s)

So while you’re making a list and checking it twice, don’t forget to add yourself – and perhaps one of these festive, holiday picks. Enjoy!