Friday, July 25, 2014

Isn't It Time for a Change of Uniform?

Juicy Dreaming Diva

The cultural divide between Mom and her teen-aged daughter may be wider today than in previous generations, but there is at least one area in which they have found common ground.  They both love and live in their sweats.



While there are still sightings of casual chic on city streets, there is no denying that sweats have become the unofficial official uniform of the suburban American woman.    

I understand the need for comfort, but when did comfy and frumpy become joined at the hip? 

O.K., O.K., I know I’ve been on this soap box before on this very Blog; and I know I’m fighting a losing battle, but, hey, I’m French.  It’s not about winning; it’s about fighting for something worth fighting for, and I believe the sartorial soul of the American woman is indeed worth fighting for. 

And so, to that end, I teach all my clients how to put together a wardrobe based on casual chic pieces that can be dressed up and dressed down in the blink of an eye.  Other than a formal affair, with the right pieces in your wardrobe, you’re pretty much ready for anything at a moment’s notice. 

 
Here’s what I mean. 


This is a great example of a casual chic outfit that can go seamlessly from day (lunch with the girls) to evening (dinner with spouse/significant other).  Here, the details make the difference: 

n     Cropped, fitted blazer with embellished collar;
n     Velvet-trimmed top;
n     Dark wash, boot-cut jeans; and
n     High-heeled, pointy-toed boots.

 
Now, let’s dress it up for a special dinner.

Dress Me Up




  We have kept the cropped blazer, but have

n     Changed the top for a silk blouse with embellished shoulders;
n     Changed the jeans for a pencil skirt;
n     Added a rose gold choker and garnet cocktail ring;
n     Added a great evening clutch; and
n     Changed the boots for a pair of sexy, sling-back heels.

 
Now, let’s dress it down for a day of shopping and antiquing.  


Dress Me Down




 Here we have

n     Changed the jacket for an embellished cardigan;
n     Changed the top for a striped Tee-shirt;
n     Changed the boot-cut jeans for skinny, tapered jeans;
n     Added a statement watch and tote bag; and
n     Added a cute pair of ballet flats

  
And there you have it.  How easy is that?  Come join the casual chic army and help us fight the frump. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

My Little White Tee

White House Black Market

Among the hardest working pieces in a woman’s wardrobe, along with the perfect pair of jeans and the perfect LBD, is the perfect LWT – Little White Tee – especially in summer, when it becomes her favorite go-to piece. 

But it often seems that finding the perfect LWT is even harder than finding the perfect LBD. 

It should be a no-brainer.  We should be able to just order it on line or grab one off the rack without even trying it on.  After all, it’s just a simple white Tee -- nothing special, right?  Wrong. 

Finding your perfect LWT is a bit more complicated than that.  It is essential to try it before you buy it to determine the following:
 

FABRIC

The fabric should feel soft and comfortable to the touch.  I prefer a light, silky Tee with a bit of stretch to it; however, the silkier the fabric, the more transparent it is likely to be, so make sure to check that out.  Personally, I’m not into totally see-through Tees (M-T Note:  Make sure to wear a nude bra, rather than white, under your white Tee, unless you want people to focus on your bra.). 

 
White House Black Market
NECKLINE

If you are larger on top, a V-neck will be more flattering than a round or crew neck.  V-necks create diagonal lines which break up any roundness.  You never want to repeat the same shape in your neckline.  For example, if you have narrow shoulders, a bateau neckline will make them seem wider.  For the pear-shaped woman this adds width at the top to balance a wider bottom. 

 FIT      

A large, shapeless Tee will make you look the same.  It doesn’t have to fit like a second skin, but it should hug the body enough to show some shape underneath.  If you wear a loose-fitting Tee, wear skinny jeans or a slim, straight skirt to create a more flattering proportion. 

 LENGTH

How long is the Tee?  Is it too long/too short?  Does it hit you at the right spot?   Here’s where trying it on is crucial.  Here’s also where you determine whether or not the Tee can be worn over (Does the zipper on my jeans poke through?) or under (too bulky?) your bottoms or both – valuable information to have. 

Once you’ve found your perfect LWT, I always advise getting two (or three).  You’ll be glad you did when your one perfect LWT is in the laundry.  If it comes in other colors that the store doesn’t have in stock, that’s the time to go on line and order it in black, navy or coral.  After all, you already know it works. 

And to those of you who don’t wear white well, no problem.  The color “white” is not in my autumn color palette either, so I always make sure I have a flattering color near my face in a scarf, necklace or earrings.  It’s the color nearest your face that counts. 

While we’re on the subject of accessories, you don’t have to stick with the tried-and-true LWT, skinny jeans and scarf. 

How about this to shake things up a bit? 
   
My Little White Tee and Me


Monday, July 14, 2014

Simple Summer Chic

Summer has meant a bit of catching up for me chez moi.  But, I have not forgotten about you, my lovely Readers.  I've got something in mind for my next post that I think you will enjoy. 

In the meantime, make it an eeeezy, breeeezy summer.  Keep it simple and chic.

Simple Summer Chic


Vintage sweater
nastygal.com



Forever 21 romper
forever21.com


AX Paris shorts
$43 - axparis.com


Django Juliette leather loafer
$140 - styletread.com.au



Floral throw pillow
threadsence.com



Wednesday, July 2, 2014

EKE!! I Had That Swimsuit Nightmare Again!

Let’s be honest, Ladies, the older we get, the harder it gets to find a flattering swimsuit.  Even if we’ve only gained a few (relative term) pounds since college, things start to shift, drop and jiggle. 
 
For my plus-size clients, just the thought of trying on swimsuits in the harsh glare of a fitting room bulb makes them break out in a cold sweat.  Not gonna happen. 
 
And, then, the grandkids want Nana to take them to the beach or the pool this summer, and Nana can’t look those sweet little things in the eye and say, “Darlings, Nana would rather stick a hot poker in her eye than be seen in a swimsuit.”   
 
So, Nana has to find a swimsuit that won’t make her want to stick a hot poker in her eye.   Fortunately for Nana, they’re out there, and here are five of my favorites. 




Think you need to avoid prints and stick with solids?  Think again.  This adorable halter swimsuit in a bright, multi-colored print has cutout sides, a lightly padded bust and a slim-fit mesh lining to smooth and control all those little lumps and bumps.  And the best part is….it’s on sale for $18.00. 




How about this basic black print dotted all over with delicious red cherries?  The fabric stretches (20% spandex) comfortably with you.  The wider straps provide support, the front is lined, the bust padded and there is light boning on the side to smooth and control.   Esther Williams (1921–2013), Hollywood’s favorite mermaid, knew a thing or two about swimsuits, and her designs for plus-size ladies are always beautifully executed and very flattering. 



This is one of Esther Williams’ most flattering plus-size suits.  This sassy, retro suit has the same figure-flattering features as the previous one, with low-cut legs and a bit of ruching across the front……….and we all know the benefits of a bit of ruching strategically placed. 



This color-block suit in black and white has all the previous features mentioned with slightly higher-cut legs and a tacked sash that wraps from white to black on a diagonal.  Diagonal lines that cut across the body, particularly at the waist are universally slimming. 



You can’t beat this little black suit.  The sweetheart neckline peeking through a sheer overlay gives this swimsuit a classic and classy sex appeal.  And, it’s got tummy control.  Don’t we love that? 

So, Nana, put on that dishy new swimsuit, grab a plastic bucket and take your grandkids to the beach.  You look fabulous!
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