Well, ready or not……….here it is! With a nod to the past and a wink to the future, I’m ready to take on 2016.
But first, a toast to you, my dear Readers. May 2016 be a year of fulfillment and inspiration for all of you, as indeed your comments and e-mails continue to be for me, for which I am truly grateful.
My New Year’s Eve was spent with old and dear friends. No matter what I wear on the outside, I always see in the New Year in red lipstick and red satin underwear. It’s one of my little traditions. Mme Mère always said that life does not trifle with a woman wearing red lipstick, and red satin underwear is just my way of adding an extra soupcon of insurance to the deal.
My New Year’s Day evening was spent sipping champagne as we enjoyed the annual telecast of the Vienna Philharmonic welcoming in the New Year from the Musikverein in Vienna, Austria, hosted by the incomparable Julie Andrews. In my opinion, there is no more beautiful or elegant way to begin a new year than by enjoying a Strauss waltz in the company of Julie Andrews, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Lipizzaner stallions of the Winter Riding School, the Vienna State Ballet and the Vienna Boys Choir. Of course, the only thing better would be to be there in person, but the tickets are in such demand that I doubt that will ever happen. Still, I can dream -- in ¾ time.
Fanfare, please!!!! The Pantone Color Gods have declared the following two colors to be the “IT” colors for 2016……….
Normally, I wouldn’t even mention spring colors in January, but Rose Quartz and Serenity are already popping up on retailer’s racks across the country, so I thought you should know.
Zara is showing this rose quartz (They call it pale pink.), faux fur jacket, which, let’s face it, is really adorable.
And this ModCloth necklace in Serenity, which they call “Dew,” is a great statement piece at a very reasonable price.
My advice would be to incorporate the “IT” colors of the season, should you choose to do so, into your classic wardrobe of neutral pieces by adding them as inexpensive accessories. It’s a great way to give your wardrobe what we call a coup de jeune, a touch of youth, without being head-to-toe trendy or breaking the bank.
And while we are on the subject of the classic wardrobe, now might be a good time to revisit THE ESSENTIAL item that should be in every well-dressed woman’s closet – the Sheath Dress.
Bateau Neck Sheath - Anne Taylor
The sheath dress is designed to show off your curves by lightly skimming over them. It’s your body proportion that counts here, Ladies, not your size.
If you are larger on top or on the bottom, choose a sheath with a straight, rather than fitted, skirt, which skims over the hip and thigh area, thereby balancing a larger top or camouflaging a larger bottom.
Your sheath should never be too tight. As Mme Mère always said, “A dress should be tight enough to show you are a woman, but loose enough to show you are a lady.”
V-Neck Sheath with Removable Belt - White House Black Market
I own seven sheath dresses in different fabrics, all of which fall between 1” and 4” above my knee, the best way to avoid the dreaded dowager effect when going classic. Here’s what’s in my collection:
1 Sleeveless V-neck in Black
1 Sleeveless Round Neck in Black
1 Sleeveless Mock Turtle Neck with attached fabric belt in Black
1 Sleeveless Round Neck in Navy Blue
1 Sleeveless Round Neck in Moss Green
1 Short-sleeved Round Neck in Light Camel with Embellished Hem
1 Short-sleeved Round Neck in Black-and-White Tweed
Classic Round Neck Sheath - Jones New York
While they all get regular workouts, without a doubt, my sleeveless, round-neck sheaths are the hardest working items in my wardrobe after my jeans, and I never go on a trip without one or more in my suitcase. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. It’s the perfect “dress me up”/“dress me down” place to start for day or evening.
Mock Turtle Neck Sheath - White House Black Market
Add a beaded or lace jacket, ropes of gold and pearls, a snake-skin clutch and a great pair of d’Orsay pumps and you will look and feel so-la-la chic at your next cocktail party.
Lunch with the girls or a client requires something a bit more casual chic – perhaps a denim or tweed jacket, bright scarf and kitten heels.
On my recent trip to the Philadelphia Museum (see “Risking the Wrath of the Gods and Other Treats”), I wore a silky, long-sleeved, black Tee over my green sheath, a long pearl and gold filigree necklace, a multi-colored scarf with black and green in it, black hose, green suede pumps and carried a burgundy suede satchel with black leather trim.
I sometimes just add a long, over-sized blouse. I have one in pale yellow that is slightly transparent, which is one of my favorites. I roll up the sleeves, unbutton the blouse to the waist, add a chunky gold chain belt over the blouse and either a statement necklace or scarf and one of my Hermès cuffs. So easy!
The trick to adding layers to your sheath is to make sure that the sheath is not in a bulky material and fits perfectly. Also, don’t forget that you can add interest by varying the length of your layers. I call this adding levels. For example, over the long yellow blouse, I might add a cropped denim jacket. You get the idea.
So, Ladies, if you don’t already have the essential sheath in your wardrobe, there’s no time like the present, with all those lovely post-holiday sales, to run right out and find your perfect sheath dress.
And here’s a little musical motivation from the New Year’s Day concert in Vienna to get you started. If the Radetzky Waltz doesn’t make you want to march right out and shop, then I don’t know what will……
Happy New Year !!