Style Discoveries that Stand the Test of Time
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 5-10% 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, there’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 most 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 event, 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 wall 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 other 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 have. 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!