Now, personally I think Christie’s brand of cute hats and light jackets is totally stylish. And I’ve never seen Jana show up looking anything less than perfectly put together. But, from the posts and comments this week, I got the impression some of you were crying out for some fashion tips. Well… ask and ye shall receive. ;)
Okay, here are 5 of the top fashion rules that I live by:
1. The element of surprise.
If you watch any sort of fashion shows, you’ll notice that designers always throw at least one really off the wall outfit into their collection in order to surprise and shock their audience. While I certainly don’t walk around wearing pants made of tin foil or feathered headdresses, I do try to apply the same basic idea to my everyday wardrobe. A little note of the unexpected makes any outfit more interesting. One of my favorite weekend outfits this year is jeans and a black long-sleeve T-shirt. Pretty basic, right? So, I fold the cuffs of the jeans up in a sort of retro fifties style and wear it with a pair of shiny, fire engine red, patent leather Mary Jane heels. Just a little twist. Another look I did this winter was army green cargos, white sweater, pink jacket. Pretty standard stuff. But, I funked it up a little with this really inexpensive light, white shawl I found, knotting it around my neck like a loose scarf. Warm and fun! If you can find one element or accessory that is a little different or unexpected, it really helps to take the outfit up a notch.
2. Casual is cool.
This is a neat little trick. With any outfit I wear, I always make sure there is one element that’s just a little too causal for all the rest. It gives the outfit that air of non-fussiness and “What, this old thing? I just threw it on.” A fitted jacket, blouse, high heels, gold jewelry, but worn with faded jeans. A nice sweater and slacks over a pair of converse sneakers. Pinstriped skirt, heels, cropped jacket over a plain white T-shirt. Dressing just one element down gives the outfit a little more comfortable feel to it. Which brings me to…
3. Comfort is key.
If you’re not comfortable in your clothes, you will not look good. Period. It doesn’t matter how cute it looked on the rack, you’ve got to love wearing it. Myself, I am not a big fan of the business look. Never have been. Even when I worked in an office, I hated wearing the dreaded lady suit. So, I found ways around it that fit my style better. Springy dresses, slacks and sweaters, skirts and cute tops. Even though some of my female colleagues looked totally high powered hot in the suits, it wasn’t ‘me’. So, I think you really have to make sure you feel comfortable in any outfit, regardless of how in or trendy the look is. If you feel silly, you will look silly.
4. Fit your body.
This is one that’s always tough for me – fitting the body I have and not the one I wish I had. There are so many cute styles out there, but not every one will work for every body type. Like Jana pointed out - baby doll tops and big boobs are not a good combo. One problem I have is that, being 5’2”, I have these short legs that make me completely jealous of girls like Kathy and Jana. So, I have a really tough time finding dresses and skirts that a) fit me at the right length and b) don’t make me look like someone chopped off half my leg. So, one thing I do is wear dark, opaque leggings under dresses. In addition to being slimming, the dark color gives the illusion of length, especially if I make sure the leggings end a few inches above my ankle and pair them with some high heels. My favorite cocktail outfit is this very light, clingy, silk, champagne dress over black, lace edged leggings and black heels. Different than your average little black dress, and it works for my shape. So, try to work with the body type you have instead of trying to fit your body into styles that don’t flatter you.
Okay, one last tip. And, I’ll warn you, this one is totally specific, not for the feint of heart and deals with a personal fashion pet peeve of mine…
5. Denim Jeans.
A great pair of jeans can make your outfit. The wrong pair can ruin it. Here’s the harsh truth about jeans: Skinny jeans do not look good on anyone over the age of twelve. Unless you’re Kate Moss, they will not flatter your body type. Yes, they look adorable on middles schoolers, but if you have any sort of hips, they will look HUGE in skinny jeans. Trust me the name is deceptive. Skinny jeans never made anyone look skinnier. Do not wear tapered leg jeans. Ever. Please, I beg of you. If the jeans taper at the end, it accentuates where they started… your hips. Unless pear is the shape you’re going for, skip them. And beware of the so called ‘straight leg’ jeans. If you really are built straight from waist to ankle, they may look good on you. But, if you have hips and a waist, they will not look straight once they are on. They will cling to the hips, pooch out at the waist, and generally give you that same tapered look at the ankles. The most universally flattering style I’ve found is the boot cut. The slight flare at the end helps to balance out the slight natural flare of a woman’s hips, yet they’re generally slim enough through the leg to not add layers of bulky fabric like a loose fit or carpenter’s fit would. But, make sure they are the right length – too short and you lose the flare, too long and you’ve got that gangly bare ankle look going on. I usually try to buy mine so that the hem skims the floor. And be very careful about the rise! Low rise jeans will make you have plumbers butt, plain and simple. Unless you just got a tramp stamp tattoo on your lower back that you’re dying to show off, stay away from the low rise. Conversely, if the waist of your jeans hits anywhere north of your belly button, you are in danger of looking like you should be shuffling to the early bird senior’s special. Try to find something in between, a waistband that tucks in slightly from the hip line, especially for those of us with that hourglass figure.
Okay, that’s my top five. Anyone else have some fun tips they want to share? Questions for Sergeant Gemma of the fashion police?
~Trigger Happy Halliday
Friday, April 04, 2008
Posted by Gemma Halliday at 7:01 PM