Tag Archive for 'Fashion Tips'

Don’t Sweat It

images-3It took until July for the dog days of Summer to finally arrive, but it’s here!! Waking up to sunshine makes me smile.  But, with hot weather comes perspiration. Admit, you sweat.  We all do.  Some of us have genetic dispositions that mean we only sweat when we’re at the gym or when it’s 95 degrees and we’re sitting on a beach with no umbrella and no breeze.  But I think we’ve all suffered from overactive arm pits at one point or another. Those genetically pre-disposed not to sweat are few and far between.

Sweating allows the body to regulate its temperature.  Evaporation of sweat from the skin surface has a cooling effect due to the latent heat of evaporation of water. Hence, in hot weather, or when the individual’s muscles heat up due to exertion, more sweat is produced. Sweating is increased by nervousness and nausea and decreased by cold.  Ok, so it’s natural but pit stains don’t look so natural when spreading out from underneath a beautiful blouse, dress or shirt.

images-1Aside from resorting to botox injections directly into your armpits, there’s very little one can do to stem the flow of perspiration.  However, my grandmother and many ladies like her back in the day, relied on something called dress shields.  Some were attached to slips and some were arm contraptions that provided a barrier between your skin and your clothing.  While not necessarily glamorous, they worked.

With the ensuing heatwave, two clients in the past week asked me to help them figure out how to prevent pit stains.  Like Hollywood Fashion Tape, dress shields are something you should have in your arsenal just in case.  There should be no shame in your game!  I’m partial to Fashion Forms, but there are a ton of brands on the market.  There is absolutely no need to worry about having pit stains this Summer!

Good Things Come in Small Packages

Petite is defined in Webster’s as “one having a small trim figure – usually used [to describe] a woman.”  Petite-sized women account for 56% of the female population. Isnt it ironic that the fashion industry seems to based on tall thin women when a larger portion of the retail buying population is the exact opposite of the illusion created by the fashion industry? Well I guess if we learned nothing else from The Devil Wears Prada, we learned that fantasy rules the retail industry, not reality. In the retail world, manufacturers consider anyone under 5’4” petite, whether you are a size 2 or a size 16. Petite sizes aren’t just smaller than Misses sizes; if made well, they should be proportioned differently with shorter neck-to-waist and waist-to-hip measurements. Kim Williams Dahlman, a petite fashion industry expert, says, “[t]he most common misconception about petite fashions is that they are designed strictly for the diminutive woman whose size is in the single digits. Petite sizing actually is based on height, not weight. People mistakenly perceive petite as being for small women. There are a lot of women who would get a better fit with petite sizes, but they don’t realize it.”

Half the battle for those of us smaller in stature is finding clothes that are made with the proper proportions. Some manufacturers do a better job of this than others. If you find a retailer or a designer whose clothing proportions fit you perfectly, count yourself lucky and buy as much of their clothing as your budget will permit. If you’re like me and find that even though petite sizes essentially provide a better fit, but not a perfect fit, you may still need to have even your petite-sized clothes tailored. I’ve learned the hard way that it’s much easier for my tailor to tailor a petite-sized item to fit my frame than it is for her to tailor the same item in a Misses size. My motto is: The petite woman’s best friend is her tailor, not diamonds! I’m on a first name basis with my tailor, she’s one of my BFFs. Whether tall or short, thin or a bit thick around the middle, having your clothes tailored to your physique really can make all the difference.

Shopportunities!

Shopportunities!A Shopportunity is a shopping opportunity.  A good deal.  One of those deals that makes you think that tomorrow or 6 months from now I’ll regret not having purchased this dress, pair of shoes, handbag , you fill in the blank.   A shopurtunity equals beautiful clothes that fit you well at a fraction of the retail price. It’s not a shopurtunity if the price is right but you don’t love the look or the fit. Remember to keep this little nugget in mind as you hit the racks or the online sales. Our economy has taken a turn for the worst, but the economic downturn is a fashionista’s paradise.  

Yes, I know it’s Spring, almost Summer, but now is the best time to get great deals on things like furs, cashmere and leather boots because designers and stores are trying to get rid of inventory to make room for their warm weather merchandise. Right now, buying a pair of snakeskin boots when you’re thinking about those reasonably priced JCrew t-straps seems incongruous. But, when you’re at the store ask yourself , “When November hits will I regret not having gotten those boots?” Right now they’re a steal for $125.  This Fall, a similar pair might be as much as $775.  Think about it …  

So, while you’re surfing the net or doing a little window shopping, don’t forget to look for the shopurtunities!

How To Be Enduringly Chic

ChicJackie O. Catherine Deneuve. Kate Moss. Iman – they all have that certain je ne sais quois. No matter the moment, dressed up or dressed down, these women are all enduringly chic. What is it about them? Essentially, they’re all classic dressers who can make a white t-shirt and jeans look like a million bucks. What do they know that you don’t? They know that when building a wardrobe, it’s important to invest in quality pieces that will be long lasting. Shopping for the thrill of the deal can be intoxicating, but the high wears off when January’s steal of the month still has the tags on it in September. Additionally, deciding that you will never spend more than a certain dollar amount on one item, may mean that you limit yourself from buying some truly great pieces that will stand the test of time and take your wardrobe from good to great. Focus on fit and quality over price. 

To create an enduringly chic wardrobe, you need to:

(i) Build a great foundation with classics;

(ii) Invest in an array of shoes and boots to help to dress up or dress down an outfit; and

(iii) Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize!

Before you go to the store, do a little shopping in your closet to help you figure out what you really need versus what you’ve decided you would like to have. Shoe shopping is a great way to illustrate my point. How many times have you found a great pair of shoes, worn them to death and wished you’d bought a second pair? If you find a pair you like, let me repeat this, if you find a pair you like (unless it’s a classic for the maker and you know they’re going to issue it next year), buy 2 pairs. It may seem like a lot up front, but I promise you this will save you a lot of headache on the backend. Shoes are an accessory and accessories can make or break your outfit!

It’s A Wrap

 

DVF Julian Dress

DVF Julian Dress

What goes around comes around … Wrap dresses, need I say more?  Diane Von Furstenberg’s iconic wrap dress took the fashion world by storm when it hit the stores in the early ’70s. DVF’s wrap dress was such a success that it landed her on the cover of Newsweek in 1976 where she was proclaimed to be the most marketable designer since Coco Chanel.  Almost 40 years later, her wrap dress is more popular than ever. To be enduringly chic, every woman should own at least 1 wrap dress. What’s great about wrap dresses is that they wear well and pack well.  You can dress them up or down for just about any occasion.  The genius of the wrap dress is that they’re sexy, stylish and look great on every figure.  In the winter months, wear your wrap dresses with black opaque tights and boots, funky wedge heels or platform sandals.  And as it gets warmer, pair them with your wedges, platforms or flip-flops depending on your mood and the occasion.  Although, DVF is the Queen of the wrap dress, there are many many designers out there making great wrap dresses.  Remember Kara Janx’s kimono wrap dress (she wore it on an episode of Project Runway and Michael Kors told her the design was better than anything she’d shown them on PR)?  Heading to St. Barth’s or the Hamptons, check out Calypso’s Julia dress.  Looking for something that will work in a more conservative work setting, try DKNY.  And if you have a figure more suited to custom-sizing and styling but a budget more befitting an off-the rack purchase, try eShakti.

Trust me, if you don’t already own a wrap dress or two, this is one purchase you will not regret!

 

 

 

 

Navigating the “Trends”

imagesWebster’s defines “trendy” as ‘very fashionable’ or ‘up-to-date’. Some take this definition to heart and believe that in order to be fashionable each season, and there are now four seasons — Resort, Spring, Pre-Fall (these clothes hit stores between May and July, filling the gap left when Spring runs dry and Fall is still being produced) and Fall — they must buy the latest and greatest. Keeping up with the trends, like keeping up with the Joneses, is not for the faint of heart. Many who follow the trends believe they must incorporate all of the latest trends into their wardrobes; it’s a never ending pursuit. Unless you’re born with a bank account like the Rockerfellers and a bounce-back figure like Heidi Klum, maybe just maybe this not the best line of thinking to employ. Don’t fret if your ability to keep up with the trends is a little more Ugly Betty than Carrie Bradshaw – you can still wear the latest trends without depleting your bank account each season … How? It’s simple, be picky. Flip through a few catalogues and the Spring books (that’s what the publishing industry calls magazines) to figure out what the new trends are and what tickles your fancy. Identify items that will work with your figure and can easily be incorporated into your wardrobe. Maybe it’s that new pair of deliciously high 5” heels or maybe it’s that fabulous necklace made of silver chains and beads that will upgrade even your most basic t-shirt. Whatever it is, it should make you feel good when you put it on. If it looks great in Vogue but not on you, leave it at the store and find something that makes you feel like a million bucks. The worst thing about the changing seasons is that the latest trends aren’t for everyone. Don’t buy something just because it’s in, buy what you love. And if you don’t fall in love during a given season but feel the need to purchase a few items, shop sparingly at stores that wont charge you an arm and leg. So without further ado, check out my tips to find out what’s HOT for Spring 2009.

What’s HOT for Spring 2009, part 2

6. What’s great about a lot of the clothes coming out this Spring, is that there’s detail, detail detail – beautifully intricate blouses, sequin embellishment, ethnic accents, coral and turquoise stones on the t-straps of high and low sandals, ruffles, you name it.  You can find this sort of detail from high-end to low end designers – Anne Fontaine, Caroline Herrera, Jason Wu, Tracy Reese, Malene Birger to the Gap, Ann Taylor, JCrew and Banana Republic.

 

 

7. Bling-a-ding-ding!! If you like metallics – this is your season to shine – silver, gold, bronze … they’re all over the place.  Dresses, tanks, anything that glimmers and catches the light.  If bling’s not up your alley, or if you’d prefer to tone it down a bit, add a bit of “WOW” with your accessories.  Find a great metallic clutch, a pair of strappy sandals or some beautiful bangles to take your uniform of dark jeans and a white t-shirt from good to great.  Metallics are here to stay – and you can always put a good metallic clutch to use!  Designers like Prada, Yves St. Laurent, Lanvin, and Zac Posen have some absolutely fabulous to-die for bags out.

 

8. April showers bring May flowers and this Spring is no exception.  Florals are all the rage and can be found on just about everything.  The most popular floral print items are dewy romantic dresses, but there are blouses, and jackets, skirts and even Capri pants.

 

9. Add a POP! of color to brighten any outfit.  Look for hot pinks, bright yellows, beautiful corals, neon greens – think of the new Louis Vuitton Tribute collection to Steven Sprouse (the Punk Glamour God who did the original graffiti bag collaboration with Marc Jacobs in 2001) with the bright roses or orange/fuchsia/neon green graffiti.  The traditional brown monogram canvas takes on a whole new persona with the bright pops of color – and so will your wardrobe with a bright pink cardigan,an  orange bathing suit or patent leather green wedge sandals.

 

10.  This Spring there’s a trend that appeals to the taste and budget of just about everyone.  If color’s not your thing, neutrals and metallics not in your budget this Spring, florals a little too girly for you and lace – even the edgy kind – isn’t to your liking?  No worries, because the staples black & white are going to be more popular than even this Spring.  If you want to look polished, chic or sophisticated and don’t have the time or wherewithal to navigate the hot new trends, you can’t go wrong with classic black and white combinations.

Don’t fret if your ability to keep up with the trends is a little more Ugly Betty than Carrie Bradshaw – you can still wear the latest trends without depleting your bank account each season … How? It’s simple, be picky.  Flip through a few catalogues and the Spring books (that’s what the publishing industry calls magazines) to figure out what the new trends are and what tickles your fancy.  Identify items that will work with your figure and can easily be incorporated into your current wardrobe.  Maybe it’s that new pair of deliciously high 5” heels or maybe it’s that fabulous necklace made of silver chains and beads that will upgrade even your most basic t-shirt.  Whatever it is, it should make you feel good when you put it on.  If it looks great in Vogue but not on you, leave it at the store and find something that makes you feel like a million bucks.  The worst thing about the changing seasons is that the latest trends aren’t for everyone.  Don’t buy something just because it’s in, buy what you love.  And if you don’t fall in love during a given season but feel the need to purchase a few items, shop sparingly at stores that wont charge you an arm and leg. 

 

 

What’s HOT for Spring 2009, part 1

The 60s, the 70s and the 80s are all making a comeback in Spring 2009.  Think about the suits from the characters on Mad Men – legendary chic, great tailoring, high waists, simplicity at its finest.  If the ladies from Mad Men are not your cup of tea but the idea of “love, peace and happiness” appeals to you more, go for a Hippie Chic look and channel your inner BoHo.  Think Kate Hudson and go for a jetset  sun-kissed look paired with interesting sandals, an oversized slouchy satchel, beautiful romantic blouses and a pair of fantastic jeans.  Or, take things in a different direction and look to the 70s for inspiration from Charlie’s Angles – find a modern day jumpsuit that says retro chic.   And, if neither of those decades are speaking to your inner muse, go back to the days of Madonna’s Material Girl and update your look with a chain handle purse, belt, necklace or bracelet – chains are making a big comeback in a variety of forms. This season offers a numbers of looks to choose from, there’s something to tickle just about each of our fancies.  To help you sort through the Spring collections, here’s my list of Spring 2009 must haves:

 1. Bold Baubles.  Gold and silver chains, chunky stones and beads, long or short, big necklaces are in this season and can literally transform an outfit.

2. Sexy High Heels.  Heels keep getting higher and higher – ladies, these shoes are not for walking!  Fendi, Yves St. Laurent, Louis Vuitton and Giuseppe Zanotti to name a few have all produced beautiful beautiful shoes for you to trip around in while enjoying the May flowers.  Fret not, many designers are adding a nice platform to make walking just a tad bit easier.

 3. Romantic Dresses.  If you’re tired of wearing black from head to toe, as chic as it may be, tune into your girly-girl feminine side with a beautiful tiered dress that flows like a cloud around you.  Look for dresses in nudes or neutral colors like beige, cream, and taupe.  Romantic ruffle blouses will help to soften your look too.  Pair these with metallic accents to create an opalescence glow about you.

4.  A FAB Belt.  Belts were all the rage this past Fall — wide, skinny, textured, patent leather, snakeskin, chain and metallic.  This season is no different.  Find one that speaks to you and use it to cinch everything from your favorite sheath dress to blazers, sweaters and trousers. 

5.  Lace.  This Spring is the season to let your inner girly-girl shine.  This season’s lace, eyelet as well as embroidery, is not like anything your grandmother would’ve worn – it’s sophisticated, eye-catching and edgy all at once.  Look for beautiful dresses and tops or fun accent pieces (bracelets, belts, hair accessories and the like).

 6. Snakeskin. – Snakeskin is the IT textile this season.  Slouchy hobos, slick clutches, totebags, strappy sandals and belts are great pieces to buy in snakeskin to add that extra va va va voom to your Spring look.  A snakeskin accessory is a great investment piece because it’s sophisticated and hip all at once. 

 

Stay tuned for more Spring 2009 Trends …..

 

What Can a Stylist Do for You?

If you’re looking to take your game up a notch, you know do a true overhaul of your wardrobe, you may want to hire a stylist.  Stylists aren’t just for celebrities – a stylist can help you hone your sense of style and teach you how to edit and refine your wardrobe.  Think about the best-dressed person you know – She’s not particularly trendy.  He’s not flashy. But they are well put together, their clothes make them seem polished and poised before they even open their mouths.  And we all know that first impressions are lasting impressions.  Someone once said, you dont get a second chance to make a first impression … Those who stand out from the crowd are people who’ve created consistent signature looks for themselves. Some just have a natural flare for it. Others hire folks like me to help them get there; it doesnt matter – well dressed is well dressed, right?

The biggest complaint I hear from clients is that they have a closet full of clothes but never have anything to wear.  Unfortunately, too many of us find ourselves in this dilemma on a regular basis.  Having too much to wear is almost worst than having nothing to wear.  There’s nothing wrong with a little retail therapy every now and again, we’ve all engaged in from time-to-time. Having new things provides a momentary high, but shopping for the sake of shopping often leads to a closet full of clothes, not a wardrobe.  I teach my clients to shop strategically so that they have exactly what they need for just about any occasion.

I cant speak for all stylists, but the goal is to help you out by providing you with the tools you need to look good on a daily basis.  My Wardrobe Evaluation is nothing like what you’ve seen on TV, or at least I hope it isn’t!  My job is to take away your anxieties and worries about getting dressed in the morning.  I want to learn about you and who you are so that I can help you make the clothing decisions that are going to be best for you.  I view this as a collaborative process.  So, I ask my clients to be open to the possibilities of new styles and to contemplate stretching their comfort zones a bit … all in all, my intent is to make this a fun and positive experience.  It’s just clothes after all, not rocket science.  I’m successful when a client calls to tell me they followed my advice and achieved their signature look on their own.

On November 13, 2008, I had the opportunity to work with SheFinds.com’s Guy Friday.  Check out what he had to say about my Wardrobe Evaluation at:  http://www.shefinds.com/blog.

To learn more about my Wardrobe Evaluation go to www.kalynjohnson.com/services.html. Questions? info@kalynjohnson.com

Making Fall Fashion Trends Work for You …. (Part 2)

If you don’t want to break the bank this fall, but you do want to up your game … Think about updating your wardrobe with the following items:

6. Anything Purple.  Purple is my fave color and it just so happens to be the color of the moment.  Just a touch of eggplant will root you squarely in Fall 08; add a pop of color to your favorite charcoal or black outfit with an eggplant sweater, suede or patent clutch bag, or platform heel.
7. A Fur Vest.  This Fall is about luxurious fabrics and textures in beautiful neutral colors and shades of brown.  A fur vest, real or faux, is a great way to re-invent a chunky turtleneck or black sweater.
8. Wedge Heels.  A wedge heel is a key item that will help transition some of last year’s Fall purchases into Fall ’08 easily; they look great with skirts, dresses, trousers and jeans.
9. Skinny Black Pants.  Anything goes this Fall in terms of pant legs, but the narrow silhouette is making a comeback.  A pair of skinny black pants are a great way to get some of this Fall’s narrow silhouette into your closet without breaking the bank.
10.An Interesting Belt.  Belts are out in full force this Fall — wide, skinny, textured, metallic — find one that appeals to you and use it cinch the waist of last Fall’s coat or favorite dress.  I’m craving one of Ann Lansing’s belts, the buckle and strap combo are so 80s but she does them in a cool funky ’08 way.

Making Fall Fashion Trends Work for You …

If you don’t want to break the bank this fall, but you do want to up your game … Think about updating your wardrobe with the following items:

  1. A Sweater Coat.  A chunky knit sweater coat is perfect for this all because it’s a great transition piece for the changing fall temperatures — it’s more interesting than a shawl, and not bulky like a heavy coat.  Kier+J has some great sweater coats out this season.
  2. A Kimono Sleeve Sweater.  A kimono sleeve sweater is great for fall because its shape will instantly update anything you wear it with (i.e., last year’s jeans, trousers, and skirts). 
  3. A Jewel-Toned Patent Leather Purse or Tote.  Patent leather and large bags are the rage this fall.  Find one that fits your budget as well as complements your wardrobe.  
  4. Suede Mukuluk Fringe Boots.  Texture is in this fall — fringe, fur, leather.  A pair of suede mukuluk fringe boots fit the bill and will make any weekend outfit look Boho chic when tucked into your skinny jeans.
  5. Statement Jewelry.  Everything is bold this fall — bright colors, big jewelry, super high heels.  Find a large funky interesting ring, necklace, or bracelet that will add the right bold detail to just about any outfit.   

Check in Monday for Part 2 ….

STYLE Tips

  • Buy accessories that make your heart leap! Invest in pieces you love and enjoy wearing – who knows, that fantastic vintage watch or really cool ring may become a signature accessory for you;
  • Get to know your tailor well. Have pants hemmed, waists taken in, pockets cut out and slits sewn, sleeves shortened, ugly buttons changed, whatever needs to be done to make something you love work for you;
  • Underarm Sweat Stain Removal. Mix baking soda & white vinegar in a small dish to create a paste. Coat stained area with mixture & let sit for a few hours. Rinse mixture off and launder as normal; and
  • Very few of us are our ideal size or weight. Don’t get hung up on size, buy clothes that fit you well and if you have to cut the tag out, cut it out and move forward. Vanity sizing has run amok!
[image courtesy of Phillipe Audibet]