Sunday, February 04, 2007

Women's fashion: how to build a professional work wardrobe

A Consumer guide to Wardrobes for a Women in the Professional Workforce. Information on suits, skirts, shoes and color advice.

You’ve either landed a new job in the office world, or you’re planning on doing so soon. Either way, you’re trying to beef up your wardrobe that consisted of some jeans and t-shirts, maybe a few clubbing outfits and a dress for special occasions to include attire suitable for the office world. Luckily, the definitions of professional clothing for women have gone through some changes in the past decades: no longer are high heels and pantyhose a necessity, just a possibility.

A good place to start is at the bottom, working your way up. As such, one of the most important parts of any outfit is a good pair of shoes (and this doesn’t change all because you expect to find yourself behind a desk for a good portion of the day). In all likelihood, as an entry level office worker, you’ll be required to make copies, assist walk-ins and maybe perform a few runner duties – otherwise known as getting up, moving around and sitting down throughout the day. You need a pair of shoes that will look nice, but won’t have you desperately seeking out a foot massage at the end of the day.

If you’re not used to heels and don’t feel any particular desire to start wearing them, don’t worry. A simple, flat pair of shoes will do. Regardless of heels or flats, unless you’re vegan or a form of vegetarian that is opposed to wearing animal products, you want to go with a pair of shoes whose upper is made of leather. Leather breathes a lot better than manmade materials and, therefore, helps keep your feet from feeling too cramped in their professional confines.

As for the actual aesthetics of your shoes, there are a few things to watch out for. Suede has a lovely look and feel, but it gets dirty far faster than a pair with a bit of shine to them. As well, unless your personality calls out for bright yellows and pinks when buying shoes, your best bet is to go with something dark. If nothing else, every woman should have a pair of professional, comfortable, black shoes somewhere in their closet. Not only do black shoes go with most every outfit, they take a lot longer to get noticeably dirty.

Another important note about shoes is what to wear with them. You don’t want to be caught walking into your new office with a pair of beautiful dress shoes over white, fluffy exercise socks. Not only would that be a tight fit, but it would look rather silly. However, unless your employer is more liberal or less observant than most, you don’t want to wear your shoes over bare feet. Other than dealing with the struggle of getting on a pair of pantyhose in the morning, you can try nylon knee-highs or thin cotton socks. As with the shoes, darker is generally better. If the darker colors don’t agree with you, choosing nylons that are flesh colored is a safe bet. It’s still noticeable that you’re wearing something, but not so noticeable that you might find yourself not matching the rest of your outfit.

With a few pairs of shoes back home in your closet, your next step is to find some bottoms for your outfit. Again, you don’t want to limit yourself to anything that is going to make normal office duties uncomfortable or, at worst, embarrassing. For that reason, unless you’re used to wearing skirts that go above your knee, wait until you’re used to your office before you show up wearing a miniskirt. For that matter, if you’re a recovering tomboy, don’t even think about skirts at all until you’re willing to wear ones in a more casual setting. While office attire is generally changed out of as soon as a person gets home, you don’t want to be so uncomfortable that you want to change out of it during your lunch hour.

Going back to positive points of the changing standards in professional attire, the best way to beef up your professional wardrobe is to buy some slacks. Not just one pair of slacks, but several. Good color choices include black, navy, pinstriped and, if your office is casual enough for it, khaki. Again, these choices might not be the best if your heart cries out for fuchsia and teal and mauve. However, they are easy to find and even easier to play mix and match with once you’ve gotten the appropriate tops. One thing to pay attention to when buying slacks is how they fit. While wearing pants tight enough that you can see your panty lines might be a good idea when you go clubbing, doing the same at work may line you up for a quick chat with your boss about appropriate attire.

Well, you’ve got your shoes and you’ve got your slacks, now you just need some tops. This is where you’ve got the most leeway in your outfit. Not only is there a wide array of blouses and sweaters that can be considered professional, their exact style and color are more varied and better suited to meet your own personal look. Of course, on both the upside and the downside is the fact that they’re likely to be the first and last thing a person sees when speaking to you. In general, one addresses the top portion of a person rather than the bottom and, therefore, is more likely to remember the pattern on your blouse rather than the color of your slacks or the style of your shoes. Therefore, if your blouse isn’t quite appropriate, it’ll be more likely to cause a stir than if you snuck in wearing tennis shoes.

A few things to look out for while shopping for blouses: as with your slacks, be careful to notice how tight your top is – if you can see the outline of your bra with it on, it’s probably too tight; if your top is so low cut that you’re worried someone might be able to tell the color of your bra if you move in a particular way, it’s probably cut too low; sleeveless tops may or may not be acceptable in your office, double check before you show up to work in one; colored blouses are easier to clean than white ones since they’re less likely to change colors in the wash if you accidentally drop in a red sock.

At this point, with three to four pairs of slacks, about double that in blouses and a couple of pairs of shoes, you have the makings of an excellent professional wardrobe. Once you get better used to the office world, you may end up expanding your choices to include suits and skirts and pantyhose. However, until then, the above hints and tips can at least get you through until your first full paycheck.

As a final note, make sure you look on the tags of anything and everything that you’re going to buy. Unless you plan on spending a large portion of your pay check at the dry cleaners, stay away from pieces that are marked as being “dry clean only” – even items that say they need to be hand washed can usually be done in a washing machine if it includes a delicates cycle.


Friday, February 02, 2007

Fashion tips: what are the most comfortable walking shoes?

Choosing a comfortable walking shoe may take some time and energy, but it will be well worth the effort when you are able to walk without foot pain or injury.

There is no one magic walking shoe that will be the most comfortable for all people. Finding a comfortable walking shoe, or any type of athletic shoe, is an individualized activity that is more complicated than simply picking a trendy brand, a fashionable style, or a color that “goes with” your workout attire. To find the most comfortable walking shoe for you, you need to do a little research and try on a lot of shoes.

Size Matters

Before trying on walking shoes, be certain you know your foot size. Many of us think we know our size, but we forget that foot size can change over the years, and it’s a good idea to re-check your size. Use a Brannock device, the metal measuring tool at your local shoe store, to determine your true shoe size. Check your foot width too. Shoes are available in different widths, too--so, to get the perfect fit, be sure you know what width of shoe your foot requires. Some athletic shoe stores offer special fitting services to help them help you find the best-fitting shoes for your feet. Regardless of how you find the size, be sure to do this first. Shoving your foot into a pair of the highest-quality walking shoes that are too small will not be at all comfortable.

Surface & Support

Before buying walking shoes, consider the primary surfaces on which you will be walking with your new shoes. Walking on hard pavement may require you have a shoe with more cushion and shock-absorption. You may want a shoe with more support for walking on outdoor uneven nature trails. Some shoes offer thick treads that will last longer on rough surfaces. If you will be walking on a treadmill or on an indoor track, you may not need this feature.

Walking shoes are also designed to support different shaped feet and walking styles. Pronation is the movement of your foot to absorb the force generated while you walk. People with lower arches in their feet or those who tend to overpronate, or roll inward when they walk, may need shoes with additional support. Those who underpronate (or roll to the outside) and those with high arches may need a more flexible and cushioned walking shoe. Checking the wear of the soles of your used shoes may give you a clue of which, if any, of these walking trends might affect your next choice of shoe.

Site check

The Internet houses a wealth of information on walking shoes. Individual shoe companies advertise their brands and the technology they claim makes their shoes the best. Consumer forums offer you a chance to read what others think about the variety of walking shoes on the market. Websites for runners and walkers often offer information about popular walking shoes as well as additional details about fit and support needed for certain types of walking.

Shoe Shopping

The only absolute way to find the most comfortable walking shoe for you is to try on shoes until you find the right ones. Use the information you gained from your research, and try on brands and styles of shoes you understand to be “right” for you. Visiting a shoe store that specializes in shoes for walkers and runners will help ensure that the staff can give you the assistance you need. Often employees at large sporting goods stores have not had the training to give you sound advice on your choice of athletic shoe.

Be sure to try on more than one pair of shoes to get a feel for what you like and don’t like about each pair. Try on shoes in the afternoon when your feet have swelled from walking around on them all day, and try on shoes with the same socks you plan to wear with your new walking shoes. It is entirely appropriate for you to bring these socks to the store with you and use them to try on shoes. You will know when you find the shoes that are right for you. They should feel wonderful on your feet the moment you lace them up. Walking shoes should not need to be “broken in” like loafers to be comfortable. They should be comfortable right away.

Start Walking

Whether you’re planning to walk regularly for fitness or to stroll through the park on a beautiful, day, you’ll be glad you invested time into finding comfortable walking shoes. And by wearing quality shoes that fit your foot size and your walking needs, you will avoid many foot-related problems and reduce walking fatigue. So, do your homework and then hit the sidewalk, the trail, or the treadmill, and have a great time!


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Fashion tips for top heavy woman

A bigger bust line may present a wardrobe challenge but shouldn't limit you to unstylish clothing. Use these tips and tricks to stay in style and within your budget while looking great!

Finding a wardrobe that balances comfort with tailoring, and is stylish, all without breaking the budget can be a challenge for any woman. Add a buxom bust line to the wardrobe and the challenge can be daunting. Try a few of these tips and tricks to keep the best in-style and in-budget look.

Old advice dictated, dress in black or dark solid colors to minimize any part of your body. Though this works, it’s rather extreme and restrictive. If blessed, or cursed, with a large bust line don’t dress in black everyday but do try to avoid wide necklines that make your top look wider, as well as high-waisted pants that exaggerate a full chest. Go for tailored looks rather than boxy. You might be bigger on top but that doesn’t mean you have to be big everywhere – show off your curves don’t hide in a tent.

Select tops with sweetheart or V-necks to lengthen the vertical line of the top portion of your body. Button down tops are more difficult to avoid the boxy look but purchase tops that fit your chest and have darts put in underneath the bust line so it will fit your waist. This is a very inexpensive tailoring job that many dry cleaners offer; it’s frequently less expensive than purchasing a tailored shirt and will have the same results. Avoid sleeves that end at the bust line as they just hold the eye at that level. Match tops with low-waisted pants to place attention on your hips and lengthen your entire body. Boot cut or flared pants will help balance your top and tie the ensemble together.

Suits, pants or skirts, look best if they are tailored. Boxy is just that, you’ll look like a box. Try a suit jacket that cinches in at the waist and doesn’t have a large lapel, it just adds weight to the top portion of your body. Select lighter textured fabric, no thick tweeds or nubby wools, as they add mass just hanging on the hanger. Remember a slight flare at the bottom of a skirt or pant outfit will balance the top with the bottom.

Dresses are your best friend. Any dress, especially those with V-necks can look flattering. Aim for a skirt hemline at or below your knee to slim and lengthen your look. Strapless dresses can play up your shoulders and neck, just be certain bust line support is built in or you’ll be pulling “up” all night. Accentuate your hips, waist, tan or legs with the style of your choice.

Don’t be afraid to break the rules. Never wear lightweight fabrics, large patterns, or pockets on your shirts – just toss those aside. Go ahead and layer a light fabric see-through or chiffon shirt over a form fitting camisole – add a large pattern to the chiffon and you’ll break two rules in one. Small patterns minimize and distract from the bust line and pockets, as long as they don’t shine or light up are perfectly acceptable.

Finally, try fabrics with Lycra that stretch as you move without popping buttons or bunching. Fabrics shouldn’t cling to your body but include enough weight to drape nicely. When trying clothing on, be certain to stretch, move, reach and bend – if it doesn’t work in the fitting room, it won’t work in the office.

Whatever body type you have, stout, long-legged, thin or just right, a large bust line requires creative shopping to reveal without overdoing. Though a night on the town may be the right moment to show off a low neckline, other venues are just not appropriate. But don’t sacrifice style for coverage. There’s no need to hide under tents or sweaters that cover your top but don’t add definition to your other curves. Use the above tips and you’ll receive ravishing reviews no matter where you go.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Fashion tips: dress rich on limited budget

Learn how to look wealthy on the most limited budget. Prioritize your wardrobe choices. Shop for the best value.

If you want to dress as if you’re a millionaire, it just got easier. Anybody from any economic background can look as if they have it all, by following the rich way of dressing. Learn how you can look the part on the most limited budget, how to prioritize your wardrobe choices and where to shop to make the most of your dollar.

Dressing Rich Doesn’t Mean Uptight

Just because you’re dressing rich doesn’t mean you have to be stuck up! Some of the wealthiest people on the planet are just out to have a good time and look great (think Cameron Diaz). Choose jewelry that spark interest and conversations. Choose beautiful fabrics when choosing clothes. Don’t forget the designer shoe and bag. And, most importantly find the most expensive clothing in the world on sale. For those of you who may not know, you can find a wealth of designer duds for half the price if you know where to look. Scour stores that sell high-end designer goods and get to know when they have their sales (F.Y.I. – many sales are in January and June), but check your local boutiques, department stores and outlets to see when you can score the designer goods on sale.

Be Groomed

The rich always look great. Their teeth are always white and their hair is always shining. Their bodies….do I really need to discuss how perfect they are! The moral of this story is take care of yourself, your body, your hair, your skin, nails and teeth and you are well on your way to looking the part.

Buy Classy, Not Trendy

You can never go wrong buying the classic brands in styles that will never go out of style. A classic trench, or a strand of pearls or a basic black designer bag will always be chic and you will get the most cost-per-wear out of a classic piece. If you weren’t sure, Cost-per-wear, a.k.a. cpw, is a fashion term that women often use to make clothing and accessory purchases legitimate to their spouses. However, it does make lots of sense. If you think about it, you would get a lot more use out of that handbag or trench coat you’ve been eyeing, than buying in bulk lots of cheap-yet-trendy tops from Forever 21.And, this is how to prioritize your wardrobe and accessories choices.

Save a Budget For Clothes and Accessories

Now that you know how to dress rich and what to buy, you must learn how to save. Everybody has a budget, even the most affluent people. But, if you learn how to weed out certain things in your budget that you may not need, you’ll have more money to dress how you please.

Take a good look at where your money is going. Do you have daily jaunts to Starbucks, for that Grande Mocha Frappuccino? How about excessive ordering in from your favorite Lebanese restaurant? Or that ever-convenient cell phone…Do you really need one if you work from home and have two phone lines already? If you limit your Starbuck’s intake, restaurant outings, cell phone use or whatever else you’re spending your money on, you would be surprised at how much disposable income you can spend on better clothes.

Now that you are inside the world of the affluent, dressing like one will be a breeze. You know what to buy, how to save and most importantly, having that upbeat personality that will set you apart and make you stand out. Now that’s dressing richly.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Fashion: styles that conceal big thighs

Want to invest in some items that will help to conceal your thighs? Here are some clothing items and tips you may have to look into.

About one woman in a million has those type of lean thighs that do not touch. For the rest of us, our thighs are very close friends. One of the most difficult areas to conceal or disguise is the thigh area since they are right there for everyone to see and there are two of them conspiring together to make us feel bad about the lower half of our bodies. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize the appearance of larger thighs through the right fashion choices.

* One major problem women with larger thighs have to face is the difference in the size of the thighs versus the waist. When a woman has larger thighs, her waist is usually smaller, making it quite difficult to find clothes that fit correctly. If we buy pants or jeans that fit our waist, our thighs look like two sausages about to explode out of the casings. The best thing to do is to buy pant and jeans that are one size larger. Sure the waist may be a wee bit bigger, but at least your thighs will have breathing room. Wearing jeans or slacks that are too tight on the thighs only draws more attention to that area, which is exactly what we want to avoid.

* In order to draw attention away from larger thighs, pair a dark colored bottom with a brighter top. The brightness of the shirt or blouse will maintain the focus on the upper part of your body, making you less self-conscious about people focusing on your thighs.

* To maintain the natural flow of the leg, steer clear of jeans or slacks that taper at the ankle. This fashion style will accentuate smaller calves and ankles, giving the illusion that the thigh area is actually bigger than it really is. Instead, choose jeans or slacks that have a wide or flared leg. This will serve to lengthen your legs and make your thighs appear narrower.

* When searching for slacks to wear at the office, opt for pinstriped pants. Pinstriped pants have thin vertical lines running from the top of the pant all the way down to the ankles. These lines will serve to lengthen your entire leg, making your thighs appear narrow. The great thing about pinstripe pants or slacks is that they are classic and never go out of fashion.

* While some fashion experts may dismiss the following idea, others feel it creates a natural flow throughout the body, creating an overall slimming effect. The idea is to use one color for both your blouse/shirt and your pants. By dressing up in one solid color, the eye sees the figure as one long shape, giving the illusion of a sleeker body, including the thigh area.

* Skirts are fantastic ways to disguise larger thighs. Sure, you don’t want to immediately reach to grab your jean mini-skirt, but if you play your cards right, skirts can definitely work for your body shape. Invest in a long and flowing skirt. This will conceal the thigh area. You can also purchase an A-line skirt to give your bottom half the illusion of being sleeker than it is.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Fashion: styles that help breasts appear larger

Have a small bust that you want to make appear larger with clothes? Here are some fashion tips on enhancing your bust.

You may feel that your breasts are not up to par. Sure, magazines may feature models with voluminous-looking breasts and deep cleavage. The reality is that many models often have small breasts and simply wear certain clothes and choose particular styles that help their bust appear larger than it actually is. If you want to do everything in your power to make your breasts appear larger, short of taking bust-enhancing “miracle” pills and having surgery done, then be sure to use the following tips and choose the following styles.

* There is no shame in adding a little extra faux padding to the bust. Invest in a good quality padded or push up bra. A padded bra has a small padded insert in the cup that adds a little extra volume to the bust. A push up bra has an underwire that helps to lift the breasts and push them together, in effect, creating cleavage. For a more natural look, stick with a bra that adds only minimal padding. Remember, a little goes a long way.

* To enhance your bust, stock your closet with v-neck shirts and sweaters. A neckline that slightly plummets creates the illusion of cleavage by putting the focal point in the middle of your chest.

* Wear shirts and blouses that have a small or decorative print in the middle. For example, summertime is the perfect time to invest in those vintage-looking baby tee cotton shirts that have a small logo emblazoned across the chest. These types of shirts work great to give a small chest more depth. For a dressier look, choose blouses that have decorative appliqués on the chest area. When going to the office, blouses that have pockets also work to enhance the bust.

* To help maximize small breasts, wear bottoms like skirts and pants that are dark-colored. When you pair them with tops that are bright and colorful (or simply white), the look helps to make your bust appear larger.

* If at all possible, tuck in your shirts and blouses. While it may be tempting to keep your tops loose or untucked, this will make your body appear frumpy. An untucked shirt elongates the body and hides a woman’s natural curves, so go ahead and start tucking. Tucking also makes the waist appear narrower, which will make the chest appear more voluminous.

* Pick a top that has ruffles or decorative accents. This will help pull the focus towards the chest area which will appear bustier with stylish ruffles. Peasant tops are perfect shirts for enhancing the bust.

* Jeans that have a slight flare will cause the waist to appear narrower which, in turn, will maximize the bust.

Many women with a small bust try their best to downplay this part of their body. They will wear dark shirts or large frumpy sweaters to cover up their top. However, as you may have noticed, the key to making a bust appear larger than it actually is is to actually make the chest area the center of attention. You will be amazed at what bright colors and the right tops will do to give the illusion of a larger bust.


Friday, January 19, 2007

Fashion tips: dressing up basic black clothing

To keep your black clothes looking more chic and less like a uniform takes a little work. With a few cheerful accessories and spectacular shoes, you'll look great.

Your basic black clothing doesn’t have to be boring. There are so many great things about black clothing. It’s slimming for one and elegant for another. Is simple to pull together and can be worn for day or night.

For some women black clothes save them for special events, those long mornings standing in front of the closet deciding what to wear and from the battle of the bulge. To keep your black clothes looking more chic and less like a uniform takes a little work. With the right look, a few good colorful and cheerful accessories and spectacular shoes, your basic black is not basic at all. Here are many ways to dress up your black clothing.

For Work

Looking professional for work in all black clothing is simple. To dress up a basic black suit, opt for a colorful shirt in hues such as blue, green, reds or yellows. Carry a tote that has a strong shape, which guarantees professionalism and functionality. Try a fabulous shoe in a metallic tone such as gold or silver. Spice up this basic work ensemble with bold jewelry such as dangly earrings, a bold bangle or ring.

For Day

The perfect black ensemble for day is the perfect button down shirt and Capri style or long black pants. It’s sophisticated and easy to pull together. To dress up this look for day, go for interesting accessories in bold shapes and intriguing colors. Try a beautiful colorful coat in yellow or red to give the outfit an extra punch.

For Night

Dress up that little black sheath dress a la Jackie O. style. Throw on gobs of pearls, dressy shoes any fashion diva would die for and create a beautiful smoky eye and a darker lipstick for night.

For a Gala Occasion

If wearing a long black gown for a gala event, keep all eyes on the gown by keeping hair, jewelry and accessories very simple. To dress up the look for high-impact glamour, try a faux fur stole.

There are several essential black pieces that every wardrobe should have. Here’s the list of must-haves:

The Black Blazer: You can pair this with just about anything from jeans, to dress pants to trousers. It gives your look instant polish.

The Little Black Dress: This can take you from day to evening events. And, when dressed up right it can look incredibly sophisticated (think Audrey Hepburn).

The Long Black Dress: This is perfect for that just-around-the-corner gala event that you just haven’t planned for.

The Black Trouser: Goes with everything and is every woman’s must-have, whether you need them for work or special events. Pair with your black blazer or colorful shirts.

The Jewelry: For each look try different jewelry. This will change the look of your basic black clothes. One day, try pearls and for the next do necklaces with semi-precious stones. Go ethnic by wearing a beautiful Indian necklace or something from another culture that will sure get lots of attention.

The Shoes: Go for special shoes with character. Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Kate Spade or Guess is perfect examples of shoes with pizzazz. Note: Budget minded babes: watch for sales, which can be spectacular from these designer giants. You won’t break the bank and you’ll look incredible. When dressing up your basic black, remember to be unique and go for a look that fits you. And, that makes for incredible dressing – basic black or not.