Over 50 Style: How to Dress a No-Waist Body

How to Dress When Your Waistline Leaves Without You

Okay, let’s face it: shift happens. And it doesn’t always happen where you might plan, given a choice, when it comes to body matter.

If you face the mirror one day muttering in bewilderment, “What the heck happened to my waistline?!” you’re not alone. According to the International Menopause Society (yes, there is such a thing), we women experience a shift in our “fat stores” after menopause. That rearrangement of stuff targets our midsection whether we gain weight, or not, say the folks at IMS.

So with physics being what it is, acceptance may be a beneficial response. Embracing a new figure variation, however, doesn’t automatically translate to a desire to highlight aforementioned body particular. If flaunting your recently-acquired middle isn’t your cup of tea, try on one or more of these strategies for a lower-key tummy presence.How to dress a no-waist-body - empire waist tops

  1. Empire-waistlines. Empire waistlines are actually not “waist” lines at all. They feature a horizontal seam just below a fitted bust and no actual waistline seam. The feature of empire waistlines that’s relevant here is that they accentuate the narrow part of your midsection –– that small-ish zone between tummy and bust.

A word of caution: If you have a very full tummy The wrong fit on one of these numbers can leave you looking like you’ve revisited your maternity days. If you fear this outcome, or have a full bust line you prefer not to amplify, skip to one of the following alternatives.

  1. Ruched or draped, surplice-front tops. Ruching’s great. Surplice fronts are How to dress a no-waist-body - ruched topflattering. The best of all worlds come together when you snag both in the same top. (If you’re asking “what on earth is ‘surplice’”? It’s that diagonal, faux-wrap neckline thing.) A little draping in the tummy zone can be a girl’s BFF.

A close fit in the hip area offsets the mid-zone fabric fullness and prevents a shapeless look.

  1. Layer a fitted jacket. Fit is the operative word on this one. If you’re struggling to button the jacket, or it hugs your middle, it’s too small.   Like #2, you accomplish shape, without emphasizing waistline How to dress a no-waist-body - layered jacketfullness.

One-button styles are less structured and add freedom of space when the button is placed above the waist. You can create a similar effect with an overblouse: Leave all but one strategically-placed button undone to emphasize a narrow-below-bust space and create a pseudo empire waistline.

  1. Side-panels or color blocking and graphics. How to dress a no-waist-body - side-panel dressIllusion dressing at its finest. Curvy side panels and designs that virtually “paint on” a waistline let you revel in Hourglass Heaven, while kicking waist-cinching shapewear to the curb.

While not necessary with many of these dress styles, shapewear lends an added boost if you opt for it.

  1. Peplums. Use the skirted bottom of a peplum to give your tummy room to breathe. The looser the waist-area fabric, the better.How to dress a no-waist-body - peplums

Many of these tops hug the midriff, so choose one that hugs above the fullest area of your torso. Net effect: the same advantage you gain from the empire waist in #1.

  1. Bypass the waist entirely. Instead of How to dress a no-waist-body - loose cardigansillusion-dressing tactics, you might prefer to ignore the waistline presence v. absence debate altogether. A loose and unshaped, open-front jacket keeps the condition of your waist your own little secret. It’s nobody’s damn business, anyway.

Have special techniques of your own? What’s up your sleeve?  Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below. I read them all. (You just might be the inspiration for my next blog post.)

Want to learn more? Work with me.

Patty Buccellato Image CoachPatty Buccellato is an image coach and founder of Refined Images. She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups.

Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices — and, yes, even in shopping malls! To get your FREE copy of Patty’s “How to Shop Like a Stylist,” visit www.RefinedImages.net or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

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How to dress a pear-shaped body

full hips (pear-shape) dressingSo They Tell You You’re a Pear:  How to Dress It

If this is your body shape, you know just what the “pear” is — you’re fuller below the waist than you are in the upper body. You’ve probably read fashion mag’s that described your body type as the beautifully-curved fruit – the pear. Or maybe a “triangle” (personally, I prefer geometrics over fruit labels when it comes to my body), a “spoon,” “bell,” or perhaps the more scientific term “endormorph.” Either way, you’re in a shrinking minority group. (Oh, you thought this article was about the actual shape, shrinking? Sorry.)

A study by North Carolina State University examined 6,000 women’s bodies and found that just over 20% were the ever-popularly-named “pear” shape. That number is likely to grow smaller, though, as waistlines continue to expand (increasing the rectangle and “apple,” or oval, population), and bustlines continue to be surgically enhanced (increasing the inverted triangle camp).

Here’s the upside: no matter the size of the female demographic that sports the triangle shape, there’s no shortage of fashion options to play it up, or down, as your fancy dictates.

If you’re in the mood to de-emphasize your curvy parts these are for you:

  1. Peplums. This body-friendly design feature treats most figures well. Whether the skirted hemline is at the lower edge of a top, or added to a dress, it camouflages the width of the hips beneath it.full hips (pear-shape) dressing: dresses
  1. Halter style necklines. That throat-framing, shoulder-baring neckline style brings attention to the width of your shoulders, visually broadening them. The result is a perception of balance between the hips and shoulders, in essence, causing the hip/thigh area to appear smaller than it actually is.
  1. Diagonal design lines. They tend to confuse the eye by breaking up space, visually. So when the diagonal design is used around the hip and thigh area, it has this magical effect of making the zone appear slimmer
  1. Fit & Flare dresses. A torso-hugging number that unfurls below the waist is a no-fail method to highlight your small torso and conceal a fuller hip-and-thigh zone. It’s an on-trend style that can carry you from office-to-party, to an afternoon tea, or an “after five” engagement when chosen in an elegant or high-glam fabric.
  1. Full hips (pear-shape) dressing: neckline focus Elevated touches. Accents around the face keep attention up there, instead of at the lower body. A statement necklace does the trick. So does an eye-catching scarf around the neck, or interesting details at the neckline of a top or dress.
  2. Simple, clean bottoms. Pants, skirts, and shorts
    full hips (pear-shape) dressing: clean-line bottoms

    Avoid hip-level embellishments

    that are free of embellishments at the hip are your friends if the intent is to downplay bulk. Things to avoid: cargo pockets, horizontal zippers, pleats and draped fabric (i.e. harem pants).

  1. The alternative: Embrace your unique body particulars to full-on celebrate those natural curves. Here’s how to show ‘em off:

Full hips (pear-shape) dressing with emphasisWear form-fitting skinny jeans with close-to-the-ankle hems. The skinnier the bottom edge, the wider the hip zone appears. Contrasting opposites always command attention.

And in defiance of #6, above, choose hip-zone details that Full hips (pear-shape) dressing emphasizedamplify fullness. It goes against common advice, but if highlighting is your game, it helps to know the rules.

Body-type trivia: That widely-coveted hourglass figure you’ve been taught to covet? It’s only possessed by 8% of real-life women. There. Now you can relax and embrace the body nature gave YOU.

What do you think of the “pear” label?  Do you have special techniques of your own?  Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below. I read them all. (You just might be the inspiration for my next blog post.)

Want to learn more? Work with me.

Patty Buccellato Image CoachPatty Buccellato is an image coach and founder of Refined Images. She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups.

Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices — and, yes, even in shopping malls! To get your FREE copy of Patty’s “How to Shop Like a Stylist,” visit www.RefinedImages.net or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

Connect with me! ic_fbk_36ic_twit_36

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Success Dressing for the Work-at-Home Professional


working at home in pj's
5 Good Reasons Not to Wear Your PJ’s to the Office

 

Did you start your workday at the computer in your snugglies this morning? Convenience is probably one of the reasons you started working at home in the first place. You can stumble from bed, to coffee maker or kids’ room, to your office in less time than it takes most workers to plan their morning commute. It goes to follow that comfy clothes are a regular workday temptation. But like many temptations, giving in is not always in your best interests.

Just as having a clear-cut workspace delineates the separation in mental focus from personal to business, “getting dressed for work” can shift you into a more purposeful mind space for the professional goals you’ve established.  A well-put-together personal appearance boosts results in tangible ways.

Consider the impact on these five success-boosting qualities:

  • Confidence. In a study of 100 women ranging in age from 21 to 64, a whopping ninety-six percent majority “believed that what they wear affects how confident they feel.” (Most of us are aware that we’re judged significantly by appearance. Whether you’ve been ignored at a store in favor of a better-dressed customer, or passed over for a promotion in the workplace, it’s likely you’ve had some direct run-in with the effects of appearance and dress.)

When you’re in clothes that make you want to hide from others, it’s going to come across in your interactions – phone calls, emails, even your work product. If you in any way feel inferior, your behavior will reflect it.  Let your brightest energy lead your workday choices by beginning each morning in top form.

  • Readiness. It’s 9 a.m. Your competition gets an invitation to pitch new business work at home styleat a prospective client’s office in an hour. It’s a client you’ve wanted to work with for months. Your competitor is out the door and enroute before you’ve figured out where you last stowed your mascara.

Starting your workday with a ready-for-anything appearance puts you in the power position. Own the role. Your client roster and bank account will thank you.

  • Consistency. Your business’s brand is more than your logo or glossy brochure. YOU are the living, breathing version of all that your company stands for. That impressive photo of you on your website is only valuable when it, and the “you” that shows up in real life, look like both might in fact be the same person. (In this arena, the word “consistency” can easily be swapped for “credibility,” which is quickly lost when you’re not diligent with your personal brand.)
  • Excellence. Casual is as casual does. A state of mind has a ripple effect. A body of study called “enclothed cognition” has documented as much. Dr. Adam Galinsky and his team at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University concluded, in their 2012 research that “clothes systematically influence wearers’ psychological processes.”If a high-quality, successful appearance can manifest successful thinking and results, why not take advantage of such an easy-to-mange tool?
  • Boldness. It’s how risks are taken and successes won. It’s elusive, though, whenwork at home you feel shame around how you look. You weren’t born yesterday; you know others draw conclusions based on appearance (and, now, science supports your instincts). Will you be proud and confident to tell the person behind you in line at the coffee shop what you do for a living? If you’re feeling less than stellar about the impression a stranger will get from you, you’re not as likely to put yourself out there and seize the opportunities when they present themselves.

Choose the gainful version of a guilty pleasure next time you’re tempted to don your old college sweats in the office. Go casual with a professional edge. Like switching from milk chocolate to dark, you get to indulge in the yummy, comforting treat, but with future-reaching rewards.

Want to learn more? Work with me.

Patty Buccellato Image CoachPatty Buccellato is an image coach and founder of Refined Images. She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups.

Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices — and, yes, even in shopping malls! To get your FREE copy of Patty’s “How to Shop Like a Stylist,” visit www.RefinedImages.net or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

Connect with me! ic_fbk_36ic_twit_36

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Leap Year Style

You Won’t Have this Chance Again for 4 Years

It’s leap year and that means (thanks to Julius Caesar), we gain an extra day this month – February 29, to be precise. Without this added day, we’d lose six hours from our calendar each year, and the world would cease revolving around the sun. (‘Made that last part up.)

To commemorate the upcoming special day, here’s a gallery of Vogue fashion models leaping through time (1992-2011) and space (magazine covers, ads, articles, and more). Check them all out here.

My personal favorite:

Leap Year: Models Leaping

This photographer’s not asking anything of his model that he’s not willing to do himself. “Jump”!

What will you do with your bonus day? Call an old friend? Read a good book? Treat yourself to a new look?

You won’t get this chance again until 2020, so make the most of it — Happy Leap Year!

 

Want to learn how to find your best look? Work with me.

Patty Buccellato Image CoachPatty Buccellato is an image coach and founder of Refined Images. She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups.

Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices — and, yes, even in shopping malls! To get your FREE copy of Patty’s “How to Shop Like a Stylist,” visit www.RefinedImages.net or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

Connect with me! ic_fbk_36ic_twit_36

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Over-50 Style: What Not to Wear

Age-Appropriate StyleWhy Dressing Appropriately Has Nothing to do with Age

“At her age,… wearing THAT?”

Maybe it’s an under-the-breath muttering the child version of you heard from Great Aunt Betsy; perhaps it’s something you overheard behind your back last month; or possibly a phrase you caught going through your own mind. It’s a timeworn belief: women over a “certain age” are entitled to mature style or elegance, but leave current fashion to the youth.

Allow me to be the bearer of good news: your birth year may determine your Chinese zodiac sign, but it says nothing about what the contents of your closet may look like.

Here are 3 don’t-wear-this-after-a-certain-age dressing rules, DEBUNKED.  If you can say “yes” to each test question, the style is a green light for you. (Even two of three puts you on pretty solid ground).

Women over 50 should never wear….

Mini Skirts & Mini Dresses
(Leather, tweed, lace, whatever)

Test:
Checkmark your “yes” responses.

____ You’re proud of the shape your legs are in

____ You love your tights and opaque hosieryOver 50 style: Diane Keaton

____ You’ve got the long-over-short silhouette thing
down pat

Tip: Wear ‘em with a rear-end-covering tunic or long jacket for a grown-up version of “mini style.” Adding that third layer gives your outfit a finished look, anyway. (Suggestion: When going short, forego the micro mini in favor of a still-fashionable, but more sensible, mid-thigh length. Baby-doll length micro’s make it hard to take a woman over 35 seriously.)

 

Stilettos
(Optional: ankle straps, embellishments, peep-toes etc.)Over 50 Style: Stilettos

Test:
Checkmark your “yes” responses.

____ You walk in them without teetering

____ You manage to wear them and not end your day with an aching back or painful, scrunched toes

____ You drive a car, but don’t mind kicking your shoes off to do so

Over-50 Style: Stilettos

 

Tip: Choose a heel height in relation to your body dimensions. For example, 5-inch platform heels tend to look out of proportion on a 4’11” frame. (When 20% of your leg length is made up of heel, your natural leg tends to appear short, relatively speaking.)

Low-Rise Jeans

Test:
Checkmark your “yes” responses.

____ Your waist is in the same position that it was in your 20’s/30’s (this requires that you had a waist in your 20’s/30’s)

____ You never bought into the fashion rule that one should only wear a trend during one of its incarnations

____ You recognize the subtleties that separate the vintage variety and today’s off-the-rack version (hint: seams are frayed at time of purchase these days)

Tip: Show off a revived trend with finesse by wearing it differently than you did in Over-50 Style: Jeansprevious decades. Keep the bell-sleeved Pucci tunics in the storage chest for now. Opt for a lean turtle-neck sweater or crisp menswear shirt and a jacket – it’s adaptable whether your style is Chanel or biker-chick.

Mid-life women ask me all the time how they should dress to look age appropriate. They’re concerned about looking too young – appearing as if they’re trying too hard to defy their age. Appropriate style suits your body, psyche, and lifestyle, not a date on the calendar. The secret is in the attitude (as my 1983 design professor evangelized, “presentation counts.”). Call it hutzpah,… swagger,… moxie,… whatever you’re wearing, wear it with confidence. If you believe you belong in it, it’ll show.

Have a comment? Question? Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below. I read them all. (You just might be the inspiration for my next blog post.)

Want to learn more? Work with me.

Patty Buccellato Image CoachPatty Buccellato is an image coach and founder of Refined Images. She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups.

Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices — and, yes, even in shopping malls! To get your FREE copy of Patty’s “How to Shop Like a Stylist,” visit www.RefinedImages.net or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

Connect with me! ic_fbk_36ic_twit_36

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Is My Office Too Casual?

mans_legs_dog_dressed_123rf_26893889_m-©damedeesoManagers:
Has Your Office Image Gone to the Dogs?

You’re walking through the office on a normal Monday morning and you see the sights of, well, any other workday:  hoodies; leggings (as pants); ragged jeans, and (wait,…. are those pajama pants?). You wonder how it ever came to this. Your team is talented, committed, and engaged, yet they look like they just rolled out of bed and came to the office as an after ripped-jeans-123rf-8307831_s-© John McAllisterthought.

If your people aren’t client interfacing, you might have no problem. The fact that you’re reading this article, however, suggests otherwise. If you hesitate to invite clients to your site for meetings, isolate prospective customers to a single zone in the office to limit employee exposure, or feel inclined to make “dress up tomorrow” announcements when visitors are expected, consider the following practices:

Give credence to your appearance policy
Publish it. Post it. Refer to it.

When no one knows you have a policy, conformance is a far away fantasy. Let your people know why the code exists (i.e. “we desire to send a positive and consistent brand message to our clients, prospects, peers, and community at large”), and help them interpret it.

No policy, you say? There’s your first action step.

When expectations are unclear, haphazard results ensue. Develop a written document that staff can reference when questions arise around what is appropriate. Provide examples, preferably visual, of what is office-worthy, and what isn’t. Human beings, by nature, better support a program they’ve had a part in creating, so consider forming an internal committee or task force to develop the policy.

Special note: If segments of your staff work outside of the office in client settings, or entertain customers, it’s valuable to address protocol for those environments as well.

Lead by example
If the CEO arrives to work looking like he’s on the way to his kid’s soccer game, all bets are off. Expecting to uplevel your staff’s image is futile when the Big Kahuna sends an opposing message.

Rally the support of your entire leadership team when striving to raise the bar on workplace professionalism. When not all departments or business units back the company’s goals and equally enforce guidelines, dissention may result from finger pointing and perceptions of favoritism.

Elevate “Jeans Style”
Whether Friday is jeans day, or every day is casual at your office, there remains a difference between workday jeans attire and weekend jeans style. Communicate that difference to your team. And, at every turn, demonstrate it (see: “Lead by Example,” above). Share the following tips for office-worthy jeans wearing:

  • Dark wash jeans (dark, indigo blue or black) vs. pre-worn/faded jeans uphold higher professional decorum in a casual office.  In other words, they look new.
  • Pair jeans with long-sleeved shirts and sweaters for a more office-appropriate impression.  casual-couple-jeans-and-jacket-123rf-8747148_s-©nyulThe more skin that shows, the less formal the message.
  • Shirts with collars support a more polished appearance than those without. Imagine a t-shirt and jeans at the far left of the casual-to-formal dress continuum. Collars serve as a key point in moving toward the more buttoned-up end of that scale.
  • Take the office blue jean to the highest level of neatness and professionalism by wearing it with a jacket or blazer. A cardigan sweater over a shirt or blouse is a more relaxed, but still pulled-together, approach to 3-piece dressing.

 

Have the conversation
When things aren’t working, address the issue. If another system in your office is off-kilter, you talk about it. You look for solutions, and you get a handle on it. Your organization’s brand is no exception. A problem ignored is a growing problem, and denial about your public image can cost you projects, clients, and ultimately, money.

Make sure everyone understands that this is an important (and highly visible) success factor for your firm. A company-wide training initiative to raise awareness around professional presence assures that each and every member of your team receives the same brand-boosting message.  They learn the value of impression management, not only to the company, but to their own advancement potential as well.  Contact me to explore how an impression management training program can bolster your company’s brand.

What strategies have you found to support a professional atmosphere in your office?  Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Want to learn more? Work with me.

Patty Buccellato Image CoachPatty Buccellato is an image coach and founder of Refined Images. She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups.

Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices — and, yes, even in shopping malls! To get your FREE copy of Patty’s “How to Shop Like a Stylist,” visit www.RefinedImages.net or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

Connect with me! ic_fbk_36ic_twit_36

Posted in Business Professional Image, Dressing for Success, Men's Image, Personal Image, Women's Image | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Over-50 Style – How to Rock it!

What You Don’t Have in Common with a 20-Something Style Maven

COVER-PHOTO-Favim.com-fashion-blogger-street-style-267223-Image-Source-Stylescrapbook.comWhat’s the one thing over-fifty women have in common with their younger sisters? They want to look FABULOUS.

‘Doesn’t matter what our calendar age, we all want to look our best. As we become more “seasoned” in life, there are a few new tricks to pull out of the style bag. They’re easy, though. Natural, in fact. It very simply boils down to using the adult sensibilities that are part of our wise and experienced nature.

Consider kicking these old-school style strategies to the curb:

Follow the latest fashion trend to a “T.”  Of course not. Copycatting a fashion magazine’s look head-to-toe is a tactic best left to Helen-Mirren-cheetah-Image-Source-express.co.ukfashion slaves of the striving-to-fit-in youth. Over-fifty women are too savvy to settle into “mimic mode.” A cheetah-print handbag is style smart. A leopard-print dress, shoes, and turban (all in one outfit),… not so much.

Tip: Integrate a style trend one piece at a time for a grown-up expression of style (see Helen Mirren’s cheetah shoes, right). Consider a statement necklace against a classic sheath dress, or a quirky-patterned jacket over a solid-color pant and sweater for tasteful balance. Bold watch? Why not – just go subtle in other elements of your ensemble.

Take advice from your bestie while shopping. Probably not. She’s got her style; you’ve got yours. The most well-meaning friend is going to lean to styles that she relates to. Make decisions based on your current body shape, natural coloring, and unique personality.

Tip: If you haven’t been shopping in a while, take a quick browse of online shopping sites to get the lay of the land and identify the season’s looks that appeal to you. You’ll be less likely to get slammed with a case of “overwhelm” once in the mall. Consider going it alone and meeting up with your BFF for an after-shopping lunch date.

Never buy boring underwear.  Never use the word “never.” Racy lust-have-slimming-teddy-pSPXNA-MS2441_BLACK_main_v275-Image-Source-spanx.comlingerie does, as a matter of fact, support a sexy self image. That said, a maturity-perfected body often craves undergarments with support and smoothing power.

Tip: Put support first, then shoot for the moon. Why not go for sexy and bump smoothing? The Lust Have Slimming Teddy by Spanx offers a “cheeky cut that flatters rear” and “back ruching that prevents uni-butt.” Why settle?

Fashion-Cover-29157231_s-Image-Source-123rf.com-©Brett-LambSubscribe to multiple fashion magazines and style blogs.  Maybe, but they’re not your style bible. You’ve raised a family, managed a successful career, and traveled the world. The last thing you need is a fashion editor telling you the “Styles to LOVE this Season.” Advice on flattering shapes for a changing body and tips for complexion-flattering color choices, sure. But only you know what you’ll love. You’re way past buying something because it’s the thing to do.

Tip: Take in current fashion trends through a best-for-me filter. Let’s say waist-cinching belts are the must-have item of the season. If Midlife Midriff has left you full in the mid section, a belt will only draw attention to this area of your body. Assuming that’s not your objective, steer clear. On the other hand, if you’ve maintained a naturally-cinched waistline, then this trend is your friend.

Borrow from your sister’s closet.  You’re the outdoors-loving sporty type; she’s a statement-making adventurer. There’s no way you’d even consider painting your closet doors the colors she did; you’re definitely not going to feel natural wearing something from inside those doors.

Tip: Wear what speaks to you. Your wardrobe is a reflection to the outside world of who you are, how you live, and what you believe in. Build the wardrobe that feels good to you – that’s what’s called authentic style.

When we’re young, we choose clothing that builds social acceptance and helps us fit in. After 50, well, we’re done with that. Celebrate the uniqueness you’ve earned and build a wardrobe that validates YOU.

Have a comment? Question? Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below. I read them all. (You just might be the inspiration for my next blog post.)

Want to learn more? Work with me.

Patty Buccellato Image CoachPatty Buccellato is an image coach and founder of Refined Images. She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups.

Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices — and, yes, even in shopping malls! To get your FREE copy of Patty’s “How to Shop Like a Stylist,” visit www.RefinedImages.net or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

Connect with me!ic_fbk_36ic_twit_36

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Tights with open toe shoes?

Open-Toe Shoes & Hosiery:  Yes You Can

open toe shoes and hosiery

©Dovima2010

White sandals with suntan-color-reinforced-toe-pantyhose. Can you see it?  If the image makes you cringe, you may be old enough to have a residual memory or two from the 1980’s fashion police (it wasn’t yet a cringe-worthy look before that decade).  The flashback may have kept you from ever again considering the option of hosiery with your favorite peep-toes.

Your great-aunt who wore seam-toed pantyhose with sandals did it because it was once acceptable “style.”  And then it wasn’t.   Now, we’re given a chance for a new take on an old look.

If you want to take the trend for a test drive, here are some do’s & don’ts to help you out the door:

Do:

  •  Wear shaded, opaque tights for a fresh look with your open-toe or open-back shoes.  (Yes, it works for sling-backs, too.) It’s not only on-trend, but it’s a practical strategy when the weather cools and bare legs just aren’t comfortable.
  • Choose a color that is in the same (or lighter) value range as your shoes.  In other words, avoid black hosiery with white shoes.  There are a multitude of exceptions to this suggestion, but if you’re just starting out, low-contrast colors are a safe choice.print-shoes-shaded-hose-smaller-watermark
  • Consider tights in a color borrowed from your shoe’s print or pattern.  For a bolder statement, contrast the color (i.e. red looks fabulous with leopard print).
  • Match hosiery opacity to the “weight” of your outfit. Tights are the heaviest, often giving a completely opaque finish, so they’re best with tweed wool skirts and sweater knit dresses. Opaque pantyhose have a slight sheerness to them and are a good match for smoother materials like a leather skirt or fine wool suiting.

Don’t:

  • Wear standard-issue pantyhose with your peep-toe shoes. Skin-toned hosiery is for princesses and flight attendants.  More about that here and here.  Now, it’s all about color.
  • Choose color “brights” for tights unless you’re ready for a lot of attention.  Bold hues can work well, but if you’re shy, avoid the head-turning look.
  • Mistake tights, pantyhose, (or leggings, for that matter) for pants.  They’re layering pieces for wear beneath skirts, dresses, pants and tunics.
  • Buy (or DIY) toe-less shaded tights to wear with open-toe shoes. Really, don’t. Lots of instructions online telling you how to do this. Ignore them. Legs and toes are the same color in real life. “Toeless” only works for ultra-sheer (nude-toned) pantyhose.

Have a comment? Question? Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below. I read them all. (You just might be the inspiration for my next blog post.)

Want to learn more? Work with me.

Patty Buccellato Image CoachPatty Buccellato is an image coach and founder of Refined Images. She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups.

Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices — and, yes, even in shopping malls! To get your FREE copy of Patty’s “How to Shop Like a Stylist,” visit www.RefinedImages.net or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

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Posted in Accessories, Personal Image, Professional Image, Uncategorized, Women, Women's Image, Women's style & fashion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What to Wear: Entertaining Clients

What to wear when entertaining clients

At-the-Ready Professional Presence

If you’re in a client-interfacing role like sales or consulting, you’re probably accustomed to adapting your business clothing to the client’s environment. It’s relatively simple when visiting their office. Moving into less familiar spaces, however, generally calls for stretching your sartorial muscles. Here are tips to boost your work-style IQ in a few common scenarios.

Ball Game

Admit it, you’re tempted to don your favorite team’s jersey, aren’t you? You’re going to a ball game, for goodness sake. But wait. Are you?

If you’re taking a client to the game, it’s not a sporting event, it’s a business event.

Picture this: You’re in jeans and a baseball cap. The client you’re meeting had a board meeting that afternoon and no time to change out of their suit before heading to the stadium. (Awkward moment for the both of you.) Though you might feel foolishly underdressed, even worse is the client’s assessment that you didn’t consider their comfort, or appropriately prepare for the circumstances.

  • Be flexible. Wear something that allows you to adapt to multiple conditions. What to wear hosting client at a ball gameRemoving a necktie can quickly take things down a notch when your guest is dressed less formally than you are.
  • Look professional. Have a jacket on hand. A pair of well-pressed jeans topped with a blazer or sport jacket is casual enough for a sporting event, but still says “on duty.”
  • Mind your manners. Raised voices at ball games are normal and customary behavior. What you say while at volume matters. Avoid foul language. You’ll demonstrate that you practice good judgment in any environment.

 Cocktail Gala

I’ve seen event organizers get pretty creative with their invitation dress code descriptions. (“Urban Chic.” “Cowboy Vogue.” Really?) Clever or theme-oriented statements about party attire that leave guests confused, serve no benefit. Still, you may be asked to dress “City what to wear entertaining clients at benefit galaSwank” for your next benefit gala.

  • Don’t be shy. If the dress code is cryptic, call the organizer for clarification. It never hurts to ask. (Maybe if planners get enough calls, they’ll think twice before their next witty attire description.)
  • Do some sleuthing. A recent workshop attendee shared that whenever she’s invited to an “annual” event, she browses the Internet for photos of previous years’ party photos. It’s a sure way to see how others have dressed for the occasion.
  • Play it safe. If your best research efforts come up blank, err on the side of conservatism. Follow convention and dress as you would if attending an evening wedding reception (no tuxes or long gowns unless the invitation explicitly reads: “black tie”).

 Networking event

Perhaps you’re not bringing a client as your guest, but may instead be introduced to the what to wear at a networking eventperson who is to become your next client. Networking events can be ripe with opportunity for making an all-important first impression. They can be tricky, though, since they’re so diverse. Like the cocktail gala, you’ll want to do a bit of research. Be mindful that the potential range is broader.

  • Know the venue. An event at a local pub (i.e. a chamber of commerce mixer), might have a considerably different vibe than a gathering at a conference or exhibition hall. For example, a gathering at an animal shelter intended to raise awareness for pet adoption will likely call for more casual clothing — the sort to withstand holding animals with tiny teeth and claws.
  • Consider the crowd. Who’s likely to be in attendance? From what organizations/cultures? What level of authority in the company? Do your best to match their customary standard of dress. If the event is part of a golf outing, consider clothing suitable to the sport. Even if you’re not playing, casual attire will be appropriate.
  • Check the time. In most cases, if your event is during business hours, you won’t go wrong wearing a suit. You can always remove the jacket for a more-relaxed presentation.

Have a comment? Question? Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below. I read them all. (You just might be the inspiration for my next blog post.)

Want to learn more? Work with me.

Patty Buccellato Image CoachPatty Buccellato is an image coach and founder of Refined Images. She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups.

Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices — and, yes, even in shopping malls! To get your FREE copy of Patty’s “How to Shop Like a Stylist,” visit www.RefinedImages.net or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

Connect with me! ic_fbk_36ic_twit_36

Posted in Business Professional Image, Dressing for Success, Men's Image, Professional Image, Uncategorized, Women's Image | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s in a Makeover?

Hair & Makeup

Hair & Makeup: Finishing Touches for a Tip-to-Toe Transformation

Ever imagine yourself as one of those women featured in a magazine makeover or reality show?  You know the ones:  in a day, given a new look.  Whisked off to professional stylists for hair and makeup guidance and transformation.  New color; new cut; and new makeup techniques, resulting in an appearance “refresh” like no other.

Cassandra had just such a day earlier this month.  A busy professional, her lifestyle doesn’t generally support indulgent “beauty days,” but her husband surprised her with a gift of image services for her birthday.  The package began with a Personal Image Consultation in which Cassandra learned personal strategies for building the perfect wardrobe.  Armed with the knowledge of her best colors, garment shapes, fabrics, and patterns, she was ready for confident wardrobe shopping.  But, alas, clothing is but one part of the whole.  The best outfits in the world don’t stand alone.  They’re supported with accessories and grooming to construct a complete look.

Choosing a style

Choosing a style

Enter: the Facilitated Salon Day.  This service begins with a conversation between my client and I to identify a hair & makeup strategy that supports her goals & lifestyle.  We review images of hairstyles and discuss color, as well as morning timelines, to find a match to the right look and upkeep plan (for example, a high-maintenance ‘do wouldn’t cut it for a low-maintenance lifestyle).  After a few email exchanges to share visuals, we have a plan and we’re off and running!

Colorist & Stylist, Raji, at work.

Colorist & Stylist, Raji, at work.

Once a strategy is in place, our first stop is to see makeover partner, Raji, at Fiaz Salon.  Raji brings our vision to life with hair color, cut, and style.  He works with us to see that every element is in alignment with our goals for color harmony, flattering style, and daily care.  He coaches with product suggestions & practical styling tips to recreate the effect on a daily basis.  Below is a photo of Cassandra after Phase I of Salon Day.

Cassandra, hair "after"

Cassandra, hair “after”

But we’re not finished.  Next, we see Marla at About Face Beauty Spa.  Makeup artist Marla takes a client’s personal color palette into account, as she creates a look that is polished and professional.  The plan is to use carefully applied makeup for a natural, but finished, no-makeup look.

Makeup artist, Marla, tending to brows.

Makeup artist, Marla, tending to brows.

Research shows that women who wear makeup in the workplace outearn their counterparts who do not by up to 30%, so we strive for the “complete” effect that makeup lends.  The key is to appropriately apply products for a polished, appearance, not one that is dramatic or glamorous.  It’s all about subtlety, and this phase of salon day includes Marla’s teaching in technique so that a client can duplicate the effect on her own each morning as she prepares for her day.

Meet Sharon on her makeover day (right).  A business owner and mom of young children, Sharon-B&A2her goals were similar to Cassandra’s.  Sharon wanted a look that was smart and well put together, yet easy to maintain.  Maneuvering kids’ backpacks, school drop-offs, and client meetings left no time for high-maintenance grooming regimens.  “Great! Let’s design a makeup routine done in under 8 minutes.” Done.

Detail of "natural" makeup application

Detail of “natural” makeup application

There’s nothing like the satisfying sensation that comes with knowing you’ve got your professional presentation pulled together down to the last detail.  Your personal appearance should support you, not enslave you.  A worry-free professional image leaves you free to confidently focus on the business at hand, doing what you do well.

Facilitated Salon Day

Facilitated Salon Day

Have a comment? Question? Let me know your thoughts in the comment box below. I read them all. (You just might be the inspiration for my next blog post.)

Want to learn more? Work with me.

 

Patty Buccellato Image Coach

Patty Buccellato is an image coach and founder of Refined Images. She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with men and women individually, as well as with corporate employee groups.

Patty established Refined Images in 1994, and while her studio is based in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, you’ll find her serving clients throughout North America in their homes, offices — and, yes, even in shopping malls!  To get your FREE copy of Patty’s “How to Shop Like a Stylist,” visit www.RefinedImages.net or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

Connect with me!  ic_fbk_36ic_twit_36

Posted in Business Professional Image, Hair & Makeup, Personal Image, Professional Image, Uncategorized, Women's Image | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Learn To Shop Like A Stylist

12 Must-Do Strategies To Grow Your Wardrobe Like A Pro

Get my FREE eBook plus tips by email to look your non-stop best! Build your perfect wardrobe with these insider tricks, including how to:

  • Never again buy an item to hang, unworn, in your closet
  • Shop for a complete wardrobe -- instead of isolated outfits
  • Know which trends are worth your precious wardrobe dollars

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