Archive of ‘Fashion Basics’ category

Fashion 101- Piece by Piece

This is the last installment in Fashion 101.  You should now know what your style is, how to find colors that look good on you, what your shape is and what fit your body was made for and how to edit your closet.  Our last item on the agenda is probably what most of you find the most difficult- putting together the pieces- or creating outfits.
First and foremost, remember that opposites are your friends.  Just like in real life, you may be attracted to people who are more outgoing than you are or who will drag you out on the dance floor when you’ve only been able to down one beer… You will also find that clothes are thusly matched.
What does this mean?  It means that if you’re wondering what goes with a maxi skirt, it won’t be your long cardigan.  Or if you’ve got the legs for those fabulous shorts, you probably won’t be wearing a crop top with them.  The only except to this rule that I can think of is when you wear capris.  I’m not a big fan of capris (shortened pants) with something long on top.  It’ll only make you look choppy, especially if you’re petite.
Another thing to remember with opposites attracting- it also applies to loose and tight.
Now, when choosing pieces in your closet, don’t forget the basic fours:
I can’t say them enough.  They are what make an interesting outfit.  For more information on them, visit this post- The Four Rules of Fashion.
Also, please remember that fabrics have different pedigrees.  For example… where are you going in this outfit?  You wouldn’t wear a jeans and cotton top to a black tie event.  The same goes for pairing fabrics.  Keep casual fabrics together and vice versa.  For example…brocade needs to be paired with something like silk, an equally rich fabric.
Lastly, don’t forget your accessories.  Items like jewelry, shoes and bags are where the outfits start to really become your own.  I heard once that you should always wear ten accessories per outfit.  Shoes, wedding rings, bags, coats, nail polish all count.  Are you getting close?
I hope that we’ve at least scratched the surface that is fashion for beginners.  Or reminded those of you who know the basics that these are surefire ways to create an awesome wardrobe that works just for you.
Congratulations graduates!


Fashion 101- Style Quiz

Okay, you want to talk frustrating…!  I wrote an entire post only to have it not save.  Ack!  I’ll try to remain patient while I write tonight.
Back to our exploration of fashion…
We all have our own personality. And therefore we should all have a personal style. But all kinds of things get in the way- trends, what our friends wear, getting stuck in time warps, etc. And we all get a little lost as to what clothing speaks to us.
Style’s scope is as varied as there are shoes on my wish list.  But so many of us find ourselves gravitating towards one or more labels.
Why is it important to know your personal style?  It’ll be easier on your wardrobe.  Even if you’re like me and don’t really stick to any particular label, we should make purchasing decision based on what we feel most comfortable in.  You can be a combination of different labels too.  But knowing what you like should also be a reflection of who you are…
Here’s your quiz about the more popular labels out there.  And maybe you’ll start to see what your personal style is!
Answer with what you think the correct letter is!
a. Classic b. Bohemian c. Modern d. Preppy e. Retro
1)  You love Katy Perry’s style.
2)  Your favorite maxi skirt is in the wash so instead you don a crochet top and wide leg jeans.
3)  You wouldn’t be caught dead without your red lipstick and peep toes.
4)  Audrey and Katherine Hepburn are your style idols.
5)  Your closet is full of cable sweaters, jeans you roll, Sperry’s, madras and plaids.
6)  You love neutrals in basic shapes.
7)  Anything Tilda Swinton wears is inspiring to you.
8)  Cate Blanchett’s Oscar dress in 2011 was your favorite.
9)  You’d rather wear a printed scarf on your head than around your neck.
10) You could easily be in a Tommy Hilfiger ad.
1) e 2) b 3) e 4) a 5) d 6) a 7) c 8) c 9) b 10) d

Fashion 101- Body Conscious

I’m going to postpone Beauty Shop Saturday and Sundays With Lloyd until later this week so we can finish our discussion of Fashion 101.
Knowing your body is also important to your wardrobe.  Our bodies all fall into one of these categories: the pear, the tomato, the rectangle, the hourglass.  Knowing where to put the focus can help us buy clothing that flatters.  Remember, the goal is a good shape.  And the best shape, the hourglass.
So let’s start there.  If you have an hourglass shape, you are busty and hippy but you have a small waist.  Think Marilyn Monroe.  Congratulations.  We are all jealous.  You look great in anything that makes your waist the focus and shows off your curves.  The only thing that I wouldn’t recommend for you…something shapeless.  It makes the rest of us wonder why you are hiding under there?
The rectangle is for those of us girls that never really “bloomed.”  You have a more athletic build, your shoulders are about the same size as your hips and your waist is almost equally proportioned.  While this may seem like a curse, you have an enviable quality- because your shoulders and hips are about the same size, you look balanced.  Finding clothing that fits isn’t quite so difficult.   The best way to “create” a waist is ignore it.  Yup, that’s right.  By wearing empire waists and ruching around your middle, you’ll give the illusion that its there.  Clothing to avoid- belts that sit right at the waist.
Then there is the tomato shape.  This simply means that you carry your weight around your waist and your limbs tend to be slender.  This means that if you’re a tomato, you should be wearing skirts and shorts and skinny jeans a LOT.  Show off those slender gams!  Items for you to avoid include things that are tight around the waist.  It is more important to let shirt fall loosely to your hip.
Last of all, the pear.  The pear shape carries the weight in the hips and generally the shoulders are narrower.  Pear girls should emphasize the tops of their bodies.  Show off how tiny you are on top!  To balance out those shoulders, you get to wear anything you want for details on them.  You’ll look great in boat necks and puffed sleeves.  What to avoid…pencil skirts.
We could definitely get more complicated than these simple and basic shapes.  But these are the general ones.  Keep in mind that when you gain weight, you can change shapes.  You’ll never grow a longer torso or broader shoulders, but you can gain and lose in the breasts, the tummy, the hips and the tush.  So while you may have been a hourglass as a teenager, now that you’ve had a few kids, maybe you’re now a tomato.  Ah the joys of motherhood.  Just remember to assess your shape for what it is now.  And keep conscious of it!

Fashion 101- Getting Fit

This is one aspect of my wardrobe that I struggle with the most.  And you want to know why…because generally I buy things that are inexpensive!  And IN GENERAL, you may give up fit for price.  I am also not a fan of hiring a tailor for every piece in my closet (like a celeb would).  I just can’t afford it, nor do I have the time for all that running around. 
Reason number two, I don’t get a chance to try it on!  Normally if I’m just picking up a few things here or there, I have to do it with the kids.  And that means not running into the dressing rooms.  I know you moms can relate!  All kinds of things are said in the dressing room by your kids that probably no one needs to hear.  “What is that mom?” ranks right up there.
The best way to know if you have the right fit on something is to make sure your shape looks good.  Thus, muffin tops, flesh belts, plumber pants and anything too loose or too tight isn’t going to make your shape look…well, good.
Now I realize that us ladies have another struggle, one with weight.  If you’re like me, you yo yo up and down and it leaves you with several sizes in your closet.  On good days, everything fits.  And on bad days, you better only wear those skinny jeans around the house!
So I have a little grace for the wrong fit.  But it really does make a difference in how you look.  So do your best.  Try to find the right fit so you look your best!
A few tips to remember:
1) Forget about sizes.  They are different in almost every store.  Wear what fits.  No one knows what the label says but you and who cares if you look fabulous?
2) Buy a full length mirror.  You need to see the whole look and your shape in it.
3) Look for a small percentage of spandex in your pants, especially jeans.  They’ll just fit your body better.
4) Let your clothes do the work for you. Look for clothes with seams and shape all on their own. Shapeless pieces require a very shapely body beneath.
5) Don’t forget to give yourself a waist.  The goal is always an hourglass figure.

Fashion 101- What Do You Look Good In?

Hang with me, this could be a long post.  We have a lot to cover.  Remember we are building a wardrobe here!
Yesterday I gave you a few “must-haves.”  These are just general guidelines.  What types of clothing you choose is up to you and your lifestyle.  As for building a wardrobe, here are a few tips.
1)  Figure out what colors you look good in.  You don’t have to do some crazy color analysis.  And I am a believer that you can’t rule out one whole color as a rule.  e.i.  I look terrible in red.  Maybe you don’t look that great in a blue red but maybe an orange red you look awake and alive!
Start to buy those colors.  If blue makes your eyes pop like crazy, you should have some blue shirts and sweaters in your closet.  Find the opposite color of your eyes on the color wheel and most likely you look good in that color too.  There’s another color to invest in. (Brown eyed girls- if you are more light brown, go with violet, darker brown, most likely blue or green.)  Now, with the additions of some neutrals (again, stick with only two to start, the two you look best in) and you are beginning to create pieces you can mix and match. 
2)  Don’t forget patterns!  A wardrobe built upon solids alone will not have the visual appeal that one with a variety of patterns will. 
3)  Don’t forget pants other than denim!  So many of us get stuck in the denim game.  And there are so many other options.  If you want to be able to really stretch your closet, you have to be willing to wear a skirt, a khaki pant or a striped trouser.  Even if you stay-at-home.  Even if you have babies.  Even if you are most comfortable in denim.
4)  Don’t forget a variety of shoes. 
Here’s a basic list:
*nude pumps (even more versatile than black)
*tall boots (makes your skirts winter friendly)
*wedges (for those pants that need something with some weight on the bottom to balance them out)
I hope this is making sense.  Tomorrow- finding clothes that fit!


Fashion 101- The Beginning of a Wardrobe That Works

This isn’t a simple job.  But building a wardrobe can start simple.  We all have clothes in our closet.  Whether or not they are the “right” clothes for us is one thing.  And I’m a girl on a budget.  I don’t intend for you all to throw away every piece of clothing you own and start new.  What we’re going to talk about tonight is weeding, analyzing and setting some rules- all for your closet.
First off, weeding.  I am a self admitted clothes hoarder, or close to it.  So this can be difficult.  I have a hard time with the rules “if you haven’t worn it in a year, get rid of it.”  Surely there will be a time when that white dress shirt will come in handy?  So my advice is just this, try to let go of the ones you just don’t even LIKE.  There’s most likely a reason.  Is it stained?  Faded?  Gives you muffin top?  Then it is just weighing your closet down.
Secondly and, most importantly, we need to determine what you’ve got.  What do you need these clothes for?  Are you a stay-at-home mom with a closet full of work clothes?  Are you a working mom with only casuals?  You need to determine what type of clothes you need.  I’m not saying that the stay-at-home mom can’t have a fancy dress or lots of skirts.  But be sure that your closet works for the activities that you spend your time doing.
Now it’s time to find the holes.  Piece by piece go through each item (this takes some thought- perhaps an activity for a rainy Sunday or when the kids are in bed).  Do you have something in your closet that it goes with?  If you could pair it with anything, what would it be?  If you are missing it, write it down.  You are now beginning to make your shopping “list” that you can carry in your wallet for when you get some time to shop.  I like to put mine on an index card so that it is nice and sturdy.  It will help with impulse buys and this way you won’t forget what you’re missing!
Here’s a start on my list of “must-haves” for any wardrobe.  But you’ll have to tune in tomorrow for more help building a solid wardrobe!
Holly’s Must-Haves (from a previous post):
10) Flared leg jeans
9) A printed skirt
8) A white dress shirt
7) Basic heels
6) A scarf that brings out the color of your eyes
5) Boots
4) A blazer
3) A trenchcoat
2) A LBD
1) Khakis


Fashion 101

I’m feeling the need to back up the truck a little this week.  After talking with a few ladies this week, I’m realizing that covering the basics of fashion 101 will and can help those of you that struggle with the whole fashion world.
I don’t claim to know everything there is to know about high fashion.  But I can keep you covered for real life.  I speak fashion.  And I think one of the reasons why is that it is one area of my life that I approach with fearlessness.  If I like it, I’ll wear it.  And I don’t really worry about what other people will say. 
So this week, we’ll focus on the basics.  And if you have anything specific you need help with, ask! 
Tomorrow- building a wardrobe!

Creating an Outfit 101

Back to reality from my brief fling with spring breaking.  (Stay tuned later this spring for a series on city specific outfits.)  And now back to this month’s random randoms.
I was trying to create the ultimate easy to follow, how-to-put-an-outfit-together process.  Imagine if you will I’m in A Beautiful Mind writing formulas all over the library windows.  When suddenly I came across the following on Pinterest. Why should I try to reinvent the wheel?  This is the simplest way I know of putting pieces together and another man’s genius!
Pinned Image
(From via Pinterest)
Print and post on your closet door.  This is a simple mantra that if used daily will result in fabulous attire.
Oh dear, I truly love it.  I’m off now to decode some top secret projects for the government.

4 Rules of Fashion

I’m not sure where I remember hearing these first.  It could have been one of my favorite shows (What Not to Wear, of course!) or perhaps in a magazine.  But these four rules will help you put any outfit together and help “idiot proof” your style.
Four Basic Fashion Rules
The following help build an outfit:
1) Color
2) Texture
3) Pattern
4) Shine
If your outfit has one or all four of these basic rules, it is going to help create visual interest.
For an example of a model wearing all four, here’s a picture from the Loft-
She has color in her corduroys and belt, texture in the fur collar and cabling of the sweater vest, pattern in the shirt and fur and shine in her shoes and jewelry.
You definitely do not have to have all four in one outfit like this, but you should try for at least one.
I find that us Midwestern women tend to overlook number three, for whatever reason.  Maybe it’s because so many of us had hated 80s prints that we vowed never to be caught dead in them again when the 90s black and tan minimalism rolled around.  That combined with how hard it is to find patterns that you like.  Do some web browsing right now at your favorite store and you’ll see how many plain shirts you will see.  They are just easier to find and easier to buy.  When you pick up a basic black t-shirt, you know the countless ways you can use it.  But a printed blouse?  A little harder.
My focus lately is to try and buy more prints.
They just expand your wardrobe.  Now you can take all of those basic colored items you already own and make a visual stimulating outfit.  You will instantly look more pulled together.
This goes for accessories too.  How many solid colored scarves do you own?  I bet more than the printed ones?  What about coats?  I bet you have black or red or white, but do you have tweed?  Do you have an orange one?
Think of clothing in new ways to help expand what you already own.  And use these four rules to broaden your mind when it comes to your wardrobe.
It isn’t as hard as it looks!
p.s.  Tune in tomorrow for the start of 25 days of Christmas!