Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Had Any Good Belts Lately?


Had any good belts lately?  No?  Well, belly up to the bar, girls, and grab a cold one as we dish the skinny on belts.  The following are some guidelines to keep in mind when deciding whether you should or should not wear a belt, and, if so, what kind.  Notice I say “guidelines” rather than rules.   I’ve been in this business long enough to know that what should work sometimes doesn’t, and what should not work sometimes does.   My only Rule is:  Give it a try; you never know….

The purpose of a belt is to accentuate and highlight a woman’s waist.   So, if you’ve got a waist, you can wear a belt. 


However, I’ve also been in this business long enough to know that there are a lot of you out there who do not have clearly defined waists.  In fact, Rectangles and Tubes (the Rectangle’s slightly rounder cousin) are the body shapes of most high fashion models.  The fashion industry prizes them for their youthful, boyish bodies, because there are no curves to distract the eye from the shape and flow of the clothes they are wearing. 

So, if you are a Rectangle or a Tube and don’t have a clearly defined waist, can you wear a belt?  Absolutely. 
Here are two suggestions: 
1)      You can bypass the waist issue entirely by wearing a big, bold belt slung low on the hips. 

Ladies Home Journal
2)     You can create the illusion of a waist by adding some bulk to the top and/or the bottom, as this model has done.  Here, she has added a bit of bulk on top by choosing a blouse with a collar and great detailing on the sleeves, then left the blouse unbuttoned over a tank or cami giving it a blouson effect.  The blouse flows out from under the belt like a peplum, which gives the illusion of hips.  A wide belt is essential to pulling this look together. 

Who should not wear a belt?

If you are an Apple or have a little too much tummy, you do NOT want to draw attention to your waist with a belt.  Instead, you want to wear tops and jackets that have darting on the sides, giving you a nice nipped-in look. 
So, you’ve got a waist.  Congratulations!  Now, what kind of belt would look best on you? 

At this point you need to know whether you are short-waisted, long-waisted or right in the middle. 

Here’s how to determine that: 

1)      Take a tape measure and measure the distance from your armpit to your waist. 

2)      Then, measure from your waist to your leg break (where your hip ends and your leg begins at top of thigh). 

3)      These two measurements should be roughly within 1 inch of each other.   

If the distance from your armpit to your waist is shorter than the distance from your waist to your leg, then you are Short-waisted. 

If the distance from your armpit to your waist is longer than the distance from your waist to your leg, then you are Long-waisted. 
If you are long-waisted, chose a wider belt, as there is more space between your bosom and your waist.  A medium-width belt looks better on a short-waisted woman, as there is less space between her bosom and her waist.   Got that?  



Ladies Home Journal
Wearing a belt in the same color as your top is a great way to visually lengthen a short waist.  Matching your belt to your skirt or trousers has the opposite effect, if you are long-waisted. 

Narrow belts work best if you are wearing a body-hugging dress.  Otherwise you can look as if you are wearing a sack tied in the middle. 

Can You Wear a Belt if You’re a Plus Size?  Yes, yes, yes!! 
Stylish Plus-Sized Belts
Plus-sized, curvy girls look absolutely fabulous in belts, provided they have a waist.  Never go skinny.  Go big and bold or don’t go at all. 
Fashion Plus
This sexy lady has maximized her curves with a body-hugging knit top, a slim pencil skirt and a great, black belt that does what a belt is supposed to do…..draw attention to her waist.  She looks fabulous. 

Well, I guess that’s really the long and short of it on belts.  Let me leave you with

One Final Thought:

Avoid the peasant look (puffy top, full skirt, with cinched-in waist) UNLESS……………..
Sophia Loren
You are holding a platter of delicious food and look like the magnificent Sophia Loren.  Or…………
You are going for the Beer Mug Carrying Record at Oktoberfest. 

P.S.:  While we're on the subject of belts, which is one of my favorite accessories, let's not forget the Queen of accessories............the fabulous chapeau

You MUST stop by The Style Crone, where my beautiful friend, Judith, is having a massive HAT ATTACK. 

Join in the fun and post a picture of yourself in your favorite millinery creation.  

Olivia and I made an appearance as #16. 

For more information on Olivia, click on "What I Wore on Derby Day."

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Snippets of French Style for Summer

If you don’t know “My Little Paris,” you should.  It’s one of those Blogs I file under “MUST-READ-AS-SOON-AS-IT-ARRIVES-IN-MY-INBOX.  It never fails to intrigue and inform about everything le tout Paris needs to know.  I get mine in French, but the English version is just as beautifully done. 

Recently, they introduced me to “La Robe Idéale” (the ideal dress), for that chi-chi summer occasion, such as a wedding, and I fell hard.  

The Nina is in bronze-colored silk with delicate lace (dentelle de Calais) sleeves and is currently on sale for 264 Euros. 

Ladies, forget the young model with endless legs who’s wearing it.  While I would definitely lengthen the hem a bit, I do believe this is a dress that can be worn by real women like us, and here’s why. 

The wrap waist camouflages that little tummy and the lace sleeves cover any upper-arm issues with a touch of femininity.   Lace can be difficult to wear for those of us d’un certain âge.  Too much can make us look as vintage as grandmother’s faded tablecloth.  But this dress gets it just right. 

Oh, and BTW, it also comes in black and royal blue, perfect for that fall or winter special occasion. 

The designer of “La Robe Idéale” is a lovely young woman named Laura Foulquier, who designs in her Paris atelier under the label “lorafolk.”  Foulquier creates high end, ready-to-wear clothes for women using delicate fabrics and strong, clean lines.  Her clothes are ultra-feminine, and beautifully finished.  The word “soigné” comes to mind every time you look at one of her creations. 

Here are a few more selections from her spring/summer 2013 collection that I just loved. 

The Manteau Esha is a ¾ length jacket in embroidered jacquard with an acetate lining. 

Don’t be distracted by the skimpy “undies” the model is wearing underneath.  This is a stunning jacket that would take anything from a pair of skinny jeans to black, silk evening pants to the next level. 

Gorgeous!  And that color!!  Like a pink petit-four.  Delicious enough to eat!

Love this beautiful silk top, Adesh, in a peachy bronze.  

 And this fun party dress, Ouma, in embroidered silk and lined in pure silk, will definitely get you noticed when you make your fashionably late entrance at the next, beautiful-people soirée

Yes, Ladies, summer is no time to let down our sartorial side.  We can and should still dress up and look our best whenever possible. 

Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of adding a beautiful scarf to an otherwise casual summer outfit. 

Oh, I heard that…you think scarves are only for fall and winter.    Well, think again. 

How about a scarf from Maison Boucheron made of pure gold and adorned with 116 diamonds?  Now THAT'S a scarf for all seasons. 

 The pleating of the gold in the Delilah necklace transforms it into a soft-as-silk fabric. 
The question is….is it a scarf or is it a necklace? 
The answer is…..who cares!!!  Whatever it is, it’s gorgeous!!

There’s also a fabulous Mosaïque version, which contains diamonds, sapphires and an array of colored stones. 

Just takes your breath away, doesn’t it?  Definitely an OMG moment on steroids.   

Oh, and if you’re wondering how much the Delilah collection costs, well……… know what they say…………..if you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it, n’est-ce pas? 

I hope you enjoyed our little trip into the luxury stratosphere.  Time to come back to earth now, and I know just where to drop you off. 

Next stop….. Anne Touraine Paris…..where you can find the most beautiful, luxurious scarves at incredibly down-to-earth prices.  In fact, I’d say they’d be an absolute steal at twice the price!! 

I have always referred to my friend, Anne, as la reine des foulards (the queen of scarves), for the simple reason that there is nothing Anne does NOT know about the care and feeding and elegant wearing of scarves.  It was only a matter of time before she launched her own line, and voilà, Anne Touraine Paris is off and running. 
All of Anne’s fabulous scarves are made from the finest Lyonnaise silk and each hem is hand rolled. 

And, the best part is that every scarf arrives with Anne’s personal CD that shows you how, with a few clever twists and folds, you, too, can look as chic as any parisienne.  This gorgeous homage to Haute Couture in vibrant violet blue comes in three sizes (starting at $170), and the silk chiffon stoles ($110) are an absolute necessity for any woman’s wardrobe. 
Yes, Ladies, scarves are NOT just for fall and winter; they're for all seasons. 

Have a wonderful summer, and make it a stylish one!

Dear Readers, Please know that I do not profit in any way from any site or product that I recommend, beyond the pleasure of sharing them with you. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Travel Tips and Must-Haves

Courtesy of Vintage California Girl
Remember when flying was fun and exciting?  I do.  Sadly, those days are gone, never to return. 

Today, instead of being treated as a valued customer, the passenger is now treated as an annoyance at best and a potential criminal at worst. 

If I can possibly get to my destination without flying, I will; but, there are times when there’s just no other way to get where I want to go. 

The New Yorker
And, so, every summer, I, like millions of Americans, suffer the indignities of airport security, put up with surly staff and doze fitfully in filthy lounges waiting for delayed flights.  And that’s just on a good day!  

Packing for the trip can be a real challenge for us gals, too.  Choosing the right outfits to pack used to be our biggest problem.  When in doubt, we just threw it in.  Today, travelling light is a necessity, not an option, and when it comes to those non-solid, personal care items (such as our potentially-lethal moisturizers), we have to decide whether or not to put them in that tiny zip-lock baggie that goes through security or whether to risk packing them in a checked bag that may not show up ‘til we’re ready to head home. 

Answering the following 3 questions should help you make the decision. 

1)      Will I need it during the flight? 

2)      If my checked bag gets lost, can I live without it for a few days?   

3)      If I can’t live without it, can I replace it easily?   

a.       Is it something I can find at a local drugstore? 

b.      Is it something that comes from a specialty store (i.e., Sephora, bluemercury, etc.) that I may not have access to when I arrive? 

Take my 1.5 oz. tube of Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer, for example.  It goes into the plastic bag that goes through airport security, because I use it every day, and it’s not as easy to replace as a tube of lipstick from the local drugstore. 


Remember when people dressed up to fly?  I do.  Sadly, those days are gone, too, never to return. 

However, contrary to popular belief, you can be stylish AND comfortable when you travel.  They are NOT --- I REPEAT!!!! --- They are NOT mutually exclusive.  (HELLO, OUT THERE.  IS ANYBODY LISTENING?) 

The trick to pulling this off is to choose natural fabrics.  My favorite travel fabric is jersey.  It’s lightweight, drapes beautifully and does not wrinkle.  You can sit in it, even sleep in it, and it always looks great. 

Should you brush against or (yuck!) sit in something nasty at the airport or spill something on yourself on the plane, you’ll be glad you opted for a dark-colored travel outfit; but, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stick to basic black. 

The whole flying experience is depressing enough without dressing as if you’re going to a funeral.  I just love wearing navy blue when I travel.  There’s something wonderfully crisp and nautical about navy blue that lifts my spirits.  Navy blue is a wonderful color that comes in warm and cool tones to suit everyone’s color palette. 

Airport Quick Tips:   

1)      Wear brightly colored shoes, so when they come through the security scan in those dreary little, grey plastic bins, you can spot them instantly.     

2)      Don’t forget to bring a lightweight pashmina for the plane.  Temperatures can often be chilly, and airlines rarely supply blankets these days.   

3)      And, if you have some room in your tote bag, a travel pillow is so comfy to have. 

Now, let’s pull all this together in a great travel outfit. 

Airport Chic

When it comes to my favorite travel Must-Haves, here are three new favorites and one oldie, but goodie I think you’ll enjoy. 

Maybelline’s Illuminating Concealer pen.  It’s inexpensive, comes in 6 shades (I wear Ivory.) and it does wonders to brighten tired eyes.  Just dab a little in the inner corner, or wherever else you need a bit of brightening, and you’ll look as bright as a new penny when you reach your destination. 

And Maybelline’s Dream Bouncy blush (again, inexpensive) will put the bloom back in your travel-worn cheeks in an instant.  (I wear Candy Coral.)  A cross between a powder and a cream, it has the glow of a cream and the staying power of a powder.   Simply press with your finger and apply directly to your cheeks.  The more you apply, the more intense the color. 


DevaCurl Mist-er Right is a heavenly, lavender-and-mint-scented spray (not a dry shampoo) that can be used in between shampoos to revitalize your curls and give them a fresh, clean smell and feel.  The travel size slips perfectly into that silly, little zip-lock security baggie.  I never travel without it.  Developed for curly hair, some of my straight-haired clients tell me they love it, too. 

And here’s my favorite oldie, but goodie. 

Yes, Ladies, good old Vaseline Petroleum Jelly.  Surprised?  Don’t be.  Marilyn Monroe slathered on a layer of Vaseline before putting on her make-up.  You may not want to do the same, but, trust me, it has the potential to be the hardest working beauty product in your medicine cabinet, and I never travel without it. 

At night, I use it as an eye cream – under my eyes, in the outer corners, on my eyelashes and eyebrows.  It keeps my lashes lubricated and helps prevents breakage.  It can also be used to gently remove eye makeup. 

After brushing my teeth and exfoliating my lips with my toothbrush, I dab on some Vaseline to keep my lips soft. 

It also smooths rough spots on hands and feet overnight. 

My Mother would take a small, stiff lipstick brush and run a bead of Vaseline around her cuticles before putting on her nail polish.  That way, any stray polish lines could easily be dabbed away with a Q-tip. 

Want to make your perfume last longer?   Just rub on a bit of Vaseline first and then spray on your perfume.   The scent will linger longer. 

Got lipstick on your clothes?  Pre-treat with a dab of Vaseline and then wash. 

Need a quick shoe shine?  Rub on a little Vaseline and buff. 

Get the idea?  You’ll never look at a humble jar of Vaseline Petroleum Jelly again in quite the same way.   
All packed?  O.K. -- deep breath, shoulders back, head high.  The “not-so-friendly skies” await. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

From Poolside Casual to Clubhouse Chic

It’s late afternoon.  The kids left for summer camp this morning, and you’ve just settled in by the pool at your Country Club for some much needed “me” time.  You have everything you need – sunglasses (check); straw hat (check); Arizona cooler (check); the latest romance novel (check). 

Page 1, Chapter 1……….  You just get to the part where the heroine meets the man of her dreams.  He’s extremely rude to her at first (aren’t they always?); still, she can’t seem to get him out of her mind (can they ever?).  Suddenly, someone taps you on the shoulder.  It’s your friend, Caroline.  She sits down in the empty chair beside you.  “I’ve got someone I’d like you to meet,” she says with a grin.  Oh my, the siren call of those words is hard for any single woman to resist.  “Can you meet us in the Clubhouse at 5:00 for cocktails?  I hope you brought something fabulous to change into.”    

As luck would have it, you decided to throw a few extra things into your tote bag before you left the house, just in case something (someone?) interesting should turn up.  Call it feminine intuition.  Let’s see what you brought -- a great bathing suit cover-up (check); an elegant pair of sandals (check); rose gold earrings (check); statement bracelet (check); pink Ray-bans (check); a fashionable ivory turban for après-pool hair (check); a bright YSL lipstick to light up your smile (check); Hermès Eau d’Orange Verte (check).  Yes, I think you’re all set to make the transition from poolside casual to Clubhouse chic. 

Now, let’s just hope he’s worth it.