The Perfect Little Black Dress

Invest in Your LBD with Smarts

Perfect Little Black DressOne Dress; 5 Ways

By now you’ve likely learned the fashion rule that says, “every woman’s closet must contain an LBD (Little Black Dress).”  What fashion magazine hasn’t told you this?

Here’s the thing, though: wouldn’t you rather buy the LBD that’s an investment, rather than just a purchase?  The one that you can wear in multiple ways for multiple occasions in your life?  I’ve photographed just that kind of LBD.  It’s all in how you style it.  Check it out.

(Note:  The LBD below is a Little BROWN Dress because, for some of us, brown is more flattering.  Your LBD might be red, fuchsia, tangerine,… whatever the color, the concept is the same.)

little black dress - cocktail party1) Cocktail Dress. The most common place you’ll see the Little Black Dress is at cocktail parties.  Here’s one adorned with a beaded collar to take it from “basic” to “bling,” in just one step.  Add earrings, an evening bag, and patent pumps and you’re good to go.  ‘Ready for a cocktail reception, elegant dinner, or holiday party.

LBD adornment

Tasha sparkling web collar, Nordstrom.com

Tip:  Choose an LBD with a clean neckline for versatility in accessorizing.  Add a collar with bling temporarily, when you want the dress to do “party” without commitment.

 

 

2979210-p-MULTIVIEW

Hobo Forrest bag, Zappos.com

Little Black Dress - date night

2) Date Night Dress.  The animal-print makes it sassy; the flare keeps it feminine for just the right balance of tough-’n-tender.  A statement ring, cross-body bag, and boots complete the package.

Tip: Choose a dress in a fine knit fabric so it can go casual when you need it to.  Too elegant a fabric means it’s cocktail-appropriate only.

3) Workday Dress.  Little Black Dress - workdaySwap out animal for an understated tweed jacket and your LBD is now boardroom ready.  A long-strand beaded necklace and simple earrings keep in check for a tasteful and professional wardrobe choice.  (Read more about jackets that go to work here.)

Tip:  Invest in a dress with a to-the-knee hem.  Its office-worthy length will transition to work easily.

 

Little Black Dress - Sunday brunch

 

4)  Sunday Brunch Dress.  A full-coverage jacket and multi-strand pearls take the LBD to brunch (or afternoon tea, a grad party, or theater matinee).  The jacket’s flirty details keep the discreet outfit from appearing stuffy.

Tip:  A sleeveless version of the Little Black Dress allows layering of just about any jacket, cardigan, or shrug.

 

Little Black Dress - GNO

5) Girls Night Out Dress.  Whether a concert, club, or at-home party, this variation of your LBD has “fun” written all over it.  Belted and chain-draped, with a vegan leather jacket for finish, it’s ready for you to Rock.  All.  Night.

Little Black Dress - belted

Cheetah print belt, AnnTaylor.com

Tip: Whether sheath or fit-and-flare, choose a silhouette that’s plain through the middle so you can stamp it with your own signature styled belt.

How do you know if it’s the right dress to invest in?  Visit my blog post Clothes Worth Splurging On to know if it’ll earn it’s price.

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.)

 

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 Rochester 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! 

Posted in Professional Image, Uncategorized, Wardrobe Planning & Auditing, Women's fashion, Women's Image | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Work Wardrobe Hacks Every Professional Needs to Know

5 Clothing Tools for a Tarnish-Free Work Image

work wardrobe - professional presentingA critical meeting is on your morning agenda.  It involves a presentation delivered by none other than… you.  It’s okay.  You’ve prepared well.  You know your material like the back of your hand.  But you look down and notice that at some point between leaving your apartment two hours ago, and this very moment, your trouser hem has come undone.

This presentation means a lot to your team and your firm’s newest client.  The last thing you want to be worrying about while in front of the group is a distracting wardrobe malfunction.

Here are 5 keep-at-your-desk solutions for work wardrobe emergencies:

lint shaver, ready for the job

The tool (clothes shaver)

1.  Clothes Shaver  (aka lint shaver, fabric shaver)  No matter how much you pay for a sweater, or how high quality it is, there are times those little fiber fuzzies called “pills” are going to show up.  Very seldom are they indication of a sweater beyond repair.  Often it just needs a little bit of grooming.  Enter: the clothes shaver.  Very much like a battery-operated shaver for the skin, this little device, when moved over the surface of your knit item, trims and sucks those pills right up!  (Use a light touch on delicate knits and test on an inside edge before tackling the outside of your sweater.)

Sweater, pills removed

Like new, after a good shave.

Sweater with pills

Sweater, before shaving

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Lint Brush  If you’ve got a cat or dog at home that sheds, you’re probably intimately familiar with this tool.  Even those of us who don’t use one on a daily basis can benefit from having a lint-remover on hand for the occasional “oh-my-gosh-what-did-I-lean-on?” moments.  A lint roller works well, too.  The roller offers the convenience of disposable, tear-off sticky sheets that pick up the loose “stuff” that doesn’t belong on your clothes (lint, hair, threads, etc.).  The lint brush does the same job in an environmentally-friendly form (no disposable elements), though it does require periodic cleaning to remove lint accumulations.

3.  Knit Picker  Despite its cutesy name, this tool does some serious fabric rehab.  Those long threads that pull away from your sweater after getting caught on a sharp object?  Call in the knit picker to salvage what might appear a total loss.  (Don’t let the step-by-step below intimidate you.  The whole process is done in less than 3 minutes.)

Knit picker how-to, before use

1. Pulled thread from a snag

knit picker how-to, step #1

2. Insert knit picker from back side of fabric close to base of the pulled thread

knit picker how-to - Close the hook with thread caught in loop

3. Close the hook with the thread caught inside the loop

 

 

 

 

 

 

knit picker how-to - pulling through to backside of fabric

4. Almost done: Pull knit picker back through to reverse side of fabric, taking thread along with it.

knit picker how-to - complete

Repair complete — in under 3 minutes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

work wardrobe care - hollywood tape

HollywoodFashionSecrets.com

4.  Hollywood Tape  Not just for celebrities, and not just for over-revealing clothing openings.  This double-sided tape is your quick fix for fallen hems, overgrown linings hanging from your jacket’s bottom edge, or cuffs that don’t lie smoothly in place.  In other words, it’s a temporary substitute for needle-and-thread. 

work wardrobe care - seam ripper

Dritz.com

5.  Seam Ripper  A seamstress will use one of these to rip seams open, just like the name implies.  For everyone else, it’s the perfect tool to gently remove a sewn-in garment label.  You know the one:  it’s at the neck of your new shirt that, 45-minutes into your workday, you realize is sewn in with thread as sharp as knife.  Don’t use regular scissors for a job like this — they’re likely to catch fabric right along with the tag’s irritating thread.  The seam ripper’s tiny point allows you to manage the matter with care.

With these items in your emergency tool kit, you’re ready for on-the-spot repairs that’ll return your professional attire to top form in no time.  You’ll find them at your local sewing supply store or sites like Joann.com.  (Consider adding to your kit a set of spare shoelaces for the unexpected break, and clear nail polish for hosiery repairs, and you’re prepared for nearly any wardrobe mishap.)

(To read more on caring for your work wardrobe, visit this post for 6 Quick Tips to Protect Your Wardrobe Investment.)

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 Rochester 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!  

 

Posted in Dressing for Success, Professional Image, Uncategorized, Wardrobe Maintenance | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What to Wear to Work

What You’re NOT Wearing to the Office:  How it May be Holding You Back

Wear-to-work - "Working-Girl"Once upon a time, in an office not so far from you, workers arrived at their desks each day in clothing called “suits.”  They wore outfits of matching pants (or skirts) and jackets.  It was standard workday uniform, and none of the workers questioned this.  They went about their days, accomplishing their tasks, and paid no mind to the regulation office dress….

Then one day, someone uttered the term “Business Casual.”  Behold!  “We could leave our ties at home?” said one man.  “I wouldn’t wear a jacket with my skirt” a woman asked?  And workplace attire was never again the same.

In some industries, the suit still remains a core element of professional protocol (think law and high finance), but this has become the exception in offices, rather than the overall rule.  Workplaces now run the gamut of so many varieties and levels of “casual,” that a suit seems like a museum artifact to some, especially younger professionals.  And as a result, something has been compromised with its disappearance:  the message of influence the suit’s jacket represented.

The business suit's early daysThe good news?  You don’t have to wear a suit to benefit from the credibility of its jacket.  The impact-making component of the suit isn’t the trouser, after all.  The “suit of clothes” that was the forerunner of today’s business suit, debuted following the European revolutions of 1848, reflecting the seriousness of the age.  To this day, the suit jacket maintains it’s long-standing reputation of importance and credibility.  Why not infuse your own professional message with that time-honored reputation?

Imagine yourself and a colleague, equal in talent and competencies:  You’re dressed in your favorite jeans and golf shirt; your counterpart is in casual trousers, sweater and a relaxed, but stylish blazer.  Which one of you are invited into a meeting to represent your department with your firm’s newest client?

Here are six occasions a jacket can boost your career:

You have an important presentation.  Say you’re teaching a breakout session at conference.  You want your audience to recognize you, as the expert, amongst the sea of business casual attendees.  Wear a jacket.

You’re being interviewed (job, media, internal committee, etc).  It’s not any ordinary day, and you’re on review.  Your goal is to come across with confidence and authority.  Remember that the suit has meant “serious business” for 400 years.  Wear a jacket.

You’re meeting a client for the first time.  “You never have a second chance to make a first _______.”  (You know the drill.)  Wear a jacket.

Jacket in business = credibility boostYou’re a petite woman, and those you’re doing business with are not.  Diminutive size can often suggest youth and inexperience.  A tailored jacket takes up physical space (think of the structured shoulders).  Wear a jacket.

You want to amp up your professional brand.  You work in a business casual environment, but want to project your discerning judgment and standard for excellence.  Lean on the suit’s impeccable signature.  Wear a jacket.

Will a jacket guarantee that next promotion?  Maybe not.  There are some opportunities, though, that you’ll never know you missed due to someone’s impression of your too-relaxed demeanor.  Only you know if you can afford the risk.

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 Rochester 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!  

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

Fall Transitional Dressing

How to Transition to Fall Gracefully

A little over a week ago, I took an early-September dip in the pool on a near 90°F day. Later that week, my husband fired up the furnace for a different kind of dip (overnight temp’s in the 40′s). If the weather’s as eccentric in your neighborhood this time of year, you might be reluctant to commit to your fall wardrobe just yet. After all, you might be wearing those cold-weather styles for several months.

Fall Transition Dressing - jumper

Consider a summer sheath worn as an early-fall jumper. (Image source: Popsugar.com)

In my own wardrobe world, which resides in Michigan, I get plenty of time to wear my cold-weather clothing. I’m quite weary of those pieces come March, so I don’t begin wearing them earlier than necessary.

A savvy way to shift gently into autumn dressing is by incorporating one. piece. at. a. time. Meaning: carry some of your summer pieces into fall outfits. “Transition” seasons like this (the other one comes between winter and spring) offer opportunity to get creative with outfit combinations you won’t wear any other time during the year.

Consider the v-neck sheath dress you wore to work this summer. Layer a menswear-style shirt or long-sleeved t-shirt beneath to convert to fall. (The more luxurious the fabric, the dressier. Think: “silky.”)

Fall Transition pieces.

A whispy-weight skirt in warm color tones transitions well from summer to fall. Seasonal accessories make it timely.

Ways to make transitions work right now:

  • Keep colors autumn-ish. Choose those from your own wardrobe’s color palette that are a bit deeper than the rest.
  • Opt for light to medium-weight fabrics. Save the heavy-weights for true cold-weather times. Combining lightweights and medium weights in an outfit matches the “in-between” quality of the season.
  • Make sure footwear is weather-appropriate. A suede shoe or smooth-leather boot replaces a sandal for fall-worthiness.
  • Accessories complete the package. Lightweight and airy works well with light, summer fabrics. As you add bulk with clothing, choose jewelry and other accessories with more substance.

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.)

 

Image Consultant Patty BuccellatoPatty 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 Rochester 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!  

Posted in Personal Image, Wardrobe Planning & Auditing, Women's fashion, Women's Image | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What to Wear in Early Fall

5 Tips to Dress Rationally on 3-Season Days

September:  the month with a personality crisis.  One day it feels like picnic & swimming pool season, the next, you want to bundle up in flannel and ear muffs.  Even more, it’s autumn chilly on the morning commute to work; fresh and fragrant like spring at lunch time, and summery-warm by mid-afternoon.  It’s tricky to dress “season appropriate,” and maintain comfort when temperatures swing in a 35-degree range.  Not to mention fluctuations with indoor heating and cooling systems in many office buildings and restaurants.  But you can look fabulous and be comfortable at the same time.

The Key:

Layering.  That’s it.  No complicated fashion codes to crack.  What’s important, is knowing how to combine pieces.  Can you wear summer’s white cotton gauze shirt under your new wool tweed jacket?  That depends.  Here’s a checklist to help you decide:

  1. Choose fabrics in moderate weights.  With the exception of heavy-weight sweaters or jackets for outer layers, keep other garments in light-to-medium weights.  They’ll co-mingle better when they’re not at opposite ends of the spectrum, and keeping things on the lighter side eliminates bulk.
  2. Opt for more-fitted silhouettes.  When layering garments, maintaining
    Source:  Goodhousekeeping.com

    Source: Goodhousekeeping.com

    shape is important.  Close-fitting under layers help to keep things on the lean side.  Use your natural shape as a guide, and if you’ve got a pronounced natural waistline, belt your outer layer for shape definition.

  3. Mix textures.  All smooth surfaces are boring, and too much texture complicates an outfit.  Consider layering texture over smooth base pieces.  For example, a cashmere cardigan over a silk blouse or camisole.   When you venture outdoors and discover a rise in temps, simply shed the sweater to quickly climate
    asos.comtweedshort

    Image source: asos.com

    adjust.

  4. Harness the power of accessories.  Hosiery and neckwear make an autumn style statement in gradual moves.  A dark-colored walking short or pencil skirt worn with opaque tights provides coverage and an update from your summer outfit version.  Scarves add “finish” and coverage in one easy step.

 

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.)

 

Image Consultant Patty BuccellatoPatty 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 Rochester 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!  

Posted in Personal Image, Uncategorized, Wardrobe Planning & Auditing, Women's fashion, Women's Image | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

End-of-Summer Style

Dog Days of August – What to Buy Right Now

Dressing for Dog Days of SummerThe phrase “dog days of summer”  generally makes us think of steamy-hot, lazy days.  There probably was a time when August was reserved for the final stretch of summer — enjoying the last days of free-style schedules and beach or backyard gatherings before the school bell made it’s first ring of the season.  Now?  For many, it’s a frantic race to buy school supplies, clothes, and dorm essentials.  What on earth happened to the “lazy”?

Maybe you’re fortunate to be enjoying one last vacation “hoorah” before fall.  If you’re on the beach or at the pool, save this post for later.  If you’re ready to shift your summer outfits into gear for cooler nights (and days ahead), here’s your best ticket for right-now shoppingThe Jacket.

The jacket in its many forms:  jean jacket; cropped jacket; motorcycle (“moto”) jacket,… you pick!  Here’s how they work right now…

Wearing a maxi dress at end of summer.

Lane Bryant maxi.

Jean Jacket.  Top your favorite summer maxi dress with a jean jacket, sleeves rolled up, for a casual, almost-fall look.  When the dress colors are deeper, like the one at left, the combination goes well into fall.  (Swapping out sandals for a ballet slipper, or other closed-toe style, makes it cool-weather suitable.)

End of Summer Style - Anna Singleton

Anna Singleton’s patterned jacket. (Source: FlynetPictures.com)

Patterned Jacket.  A jacket print mixing light and dark color values suits the in-between-season time perfectly. Over a tank and jeans, or over a cocktail dress on Girls Night Out, it gives lightweight coverage when the final days of summer spring a little bit of chill on you.

Cropped Jacket.  The versatile cropped jacket in a moto style like this one (J. Crew Factory) serves equally well over a red sheath dress to work, or a brightly-colored capri and floral blouse to dinner.  Your accessories (a little bling in your jewelry and a heeled pump) dress it up when you want it a little more formal.

End of summer style - transition jacket

J. Crew Factory cropped jacket.

 

Leather Moto Jacket. 

End of Summer Style - Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren – Dolce & Gabbana gown & leather jacket. (Source: Dave Hogan – Getty Images-Europe)

Though you’ll see photos of celebrities donning leather jackets mid-summer (maybe they’re only removed from an a/c environment for a 5-minutes sprint to Starbucks), you might find it less than practical on an 85-degree day in your own life.  But as the temp’s dip, it’s the perfect transitional piece to make your summer dresses seasonally correct.  Wear your own version of biker chic over a strapless maxi, an eyelet sundress, or combine with a ribbed tank and chiffon skirt for a take on the tender/tough  look.

 

(Read this blog post for hot-weather wear-to-work tips.)

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.)

 

Image Consultant Patty BuccellatoPatty 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 Rochester 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!  

Posted in Personal Image, Shopping, Uncategorized, Women's fashion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do Pantyhose Make Me Look Old?

It’s Bare-Leg Season:  Dare You?

old fashioned pantyhose?When the hosiery vs. no-hose controversy comes up in my workshops, a woman or two inevitably resists with an earnest, “No! It’s not professional (insert: proper, hygienic, tasteful, comfortable).”  Usually, she’s a woman in my own age group.

Whether it’s tiny spider veins that start creeping in after 35-ish, a history of sun over-exposure, or any other skin imperfection, some women simply don’t love exposing their legs.  Yet, we’ve crossed the time threshold from when the “bare legs look” was a passing trend, into the realm where panty-hosed legs are labeled “unfashionable.”

If it’s any consolation to those who prefer we’d blast back to the days of suntan-colored pantyhose, I’m with ya in the “my-legs-are-not-my-best-asset” camp.  In my case, time has been of little consequence.  I’ve been the whitest girl on the beach for as long as I’ve been going to it.

If you want a little help before going bare, and don’t like the fuss of sunless tanners, see below for two solutions that make summer’s bare-leg season a bit kinder & gentler.  (Note:  I’m not compensated for promoting these products.  Just offering “Image Consultant-Tested” options!)flip flops to the office?

Visit this post for more tips on how to avoid an image meltdown in the summer heat; or this one for more on the Great Hosiery Debate.”

 

Right to bare legsStudio 35 pantyhose in a can

The Studio 35 product (left) can be purchased at Walgreens, Drugstore.com, and other retailers via Amazon.  It acts like a bronzer, evening out skin tone with a slight glow-sheen.  (Application tip:  Spray on your palms to apply and avoid bronzing your bathroom floor.)

The Joan Rivers product (right) adds no color, but acts much like a facial concealer, covering small spider veins, blemishes, and other skin discolorations.  I paid $22.50 from a catalog retailer, then later found it here for $9.99.

To your rockin’ awesome legs!

Patty Buccellato http://refinedimages.net/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 Rochester 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!  

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

Seasonal Clothing Storage

Smart Care for Your Off-Season Wardrobe

seasonal wardrobe storageA client recently asked (believing it was finally safe to put her family’s winter coats away), how best to store them.   If you had your own winter wear in “ready mode” for so long you wondered if you’d be able to stow it at all, your coats & sweaters may have landed in an unfortunate heap in the corner of your bedroom floor or laundry room.  It’s time now.  School’s out for summer; your dark colors and lofty woolens can take a rest.  As you send them to their proper location, use this tip list to make sure they’re in top form to serve you another season come fall.

#1 Clean Thoroughly

launder wardrobe before seasonal storageFollow manufacturers’ recommended laundering or dry cleaning instructions before stowing garments for the season.  Even if an item looks clean, when you’re not certain whether it was worn after last laundering, give it a good-measure cleaning.  Stains not visible to your eye now, when allowed to set over time, may surprise you when resurrecting your clothing from storage after a few months.*  Food particles have the added nasty habit of attracting moths.  Fabric softeners and starch can attract insects as well, so avoid these in your laundering process.

* If you notice tiny holes in sweaters or other items, and suspect they indicate moth damage, do this:  put the item in a plastic bag and place in your freezer for 48 hours.  Remove for a day, then re-freeze for another 48 hours to thoroughly kill off any larvae.

#2 Smooth and Press

Make sure items are completely dry before putting them away.  Moisture, locked in over using Jiffy steamer before seasonal wardrobe storagetime, results in mildew.  Take an iron or steamer to laundered items that the are left wrinkled after drying.  Wrinkles can become semi permanent after months in hibernation. (I like Jiffy steamers.  They’re the makers of professional launders’ equipment.  Use the code of “IMAGE225” and you’ll get free shipping at Jiffy’s site.)

#3 Ditch the Plastic

Remove dry cleaners bags before putting your good stuff into storage.  In fact, it’s a good practice to remove plastic from all garments as soon as they come back from cleaning.  Natural fibers like to breathe.  Plastic also locks in moisture, again allowing mildew to form and mold to grow.  This will not make for a pretty reunion with your favorite dress next fall.  Save the paper shoulder covers that come from the dry cleaners — they provide good dust protection.  Alternate protection comes in the form of fabric garment bags like these.  Or, if you’ve got an entire section of closet dedicated to your out-of-season clothing, toss and old (clean) sheet over the whole area.

#4 Pamper Knits

Knit sweaters, tops, and dresses require special care.  Store them folded instead of hanging so they don’t lose their shape during their time in storage.   Hanging them as you do a blouse runs the risk that they will “grow,” or come out of storage with unsightly “bumps” in the shoulder.  The very best scenario is packing your knits in an unused suitcase lined with acid-free paper.  Cardboard boxes can attract bugs and harbor moisture (there’s that mildew issue again), and plastic bins are bulky and, well, plastic. If you don’t have a proper storage container and must use hangers, use this method.  More about protecting your precious wardrobe investment here.

folded sweaters before seasonal storage

Do this.

don't hang sweaters for off-season storage

Not this.

 

 

 

 

 

#5 Repel Unwanted Guests

Once you’ve made wise choices in cleaning, choosing proper containers, and packing, you’ll not want to leave things to chance.  Take the extra measure of insect management by tucking some lavender sachet or cedar blocks into your clothing packages.  (Your grandma might have used moth balls, but we now know how toxic these can be to children, pets, etc.)  Keep your storage area cool, dark, and dry.  And to be sure all is well in the insect department, consider checking in on your off-season wear every few weeks.   A mark on your calendar may help.  Most of us aren’t likely to think about our wool coat and scarf during beach season.

(Read this blog post for help deciding what not to store away.)

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.)

 

Patty Buccellato http://refinedimages.net/

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 Rochester 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! 

 

Posted in Personal Image, Professional Image, Wardrobe Maintenance, Wardrobe Planning & Auditing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What (Not) to Wear to Work this Summer

Avoid an Image Meltdown when the Mercury Rises

flip flops: what not to wear to work this summerWhen the sunny skies of summer roll around, it’s tempting to let a relaxed mood spill over into attire.  Beware when it comes to your work wardrobe.  Whether you’re the receptionist or the CEO, snap judgments are routinely made based on your appearance.  Many smart and talented workers have lost promotions because their look didn’t match the role.  Take the time to dress with intention so you’re sure to earn all you’re due. In most offices, flip-flops are a “don’t” to no one’s surprise, but what about the subtler choices of dressing for work?  Here, some tips to keep you on course.

Broad Coveragewear to work in summer - Kasper ruched-sleeve jacket from Macys

Summer fashions, by their nature, bare more skin.  Choose office-appropriate image over fashion flair by opting for modesty at work.  Cover up over-exposed skin on arms, back, or chest to keep professional.  Sleeveless summer dresses with halter necklines are made office-worthy with the simple addition of a jacket or cardigan.  Your clothing can do double-duty from work to social with a few simple tweaks.  It’s all in how you wear it.  (Remember that skirt hems at the office are best at or around knee length.)

Lighten Up

Lighter fabrics & cheery colors give that comfortable summer feel.  A head-to-toe lime green outfit isn’t likely to boost your professional image, but there are plenty of ways to incorporate color in moderation.  Consider waking up a basic black trouser-jacket combo with coral pumps for a color pop.  A bright sheath dress gets down to business when topped with a classic navy blazer and simple jewelry.  Maintaining balance is important.  Remember to keep something “serious” in the mix so your outfit remains work-appropriate.

 

 

Keep Your Coolwhat not to wear to work this summer:  blue shirt

… and avoid the “blue”!  Guys, it’s that classic blue cotton shirt that most shows evidence of your overheated body during summer heat waves.  Avoid an uncomplimentary look with white, or other light color options. (And for your health’s sake, keep hydrated!)

Bottom-Up Focus

With flip flops on one end of the continuum, and fully-enclosed pumps on the other, a variety of foot-exposing options in between are now acceptable in many workplaces.  More-baring shoes beg for an extra level of pedi hygiene.   Wearing open-toed shoes require manicured toenails, and sling-backs mean tending to dry heels. Don’t skimp on grooming details — they, too, are a reflection of your work quality.

More on Professional Image.

Patty Buccellato http://refinedimages.net/

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 Rochester 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! 

Posted in Business Professional Attire, Dressing for Success, Professional Image | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Spring 2014: Floral Prints

Floral Frenzy

Everything’s coming up roses,… and peonies, and daisies, and everything in between.  It’s a season of garden patterns in every color under the sun, and if they’re not yet growing in your yard, you can find them in your favorite clothing boutique.

Patterns can be tricky to wear if you’re not mindful of scale.  A large blossom on your backside is not always a girl’s best friend.  Here are a few ideas to get you in the floral mood.

Floral Variety

Just like in a garden, floral varieties mingle with one another in this spring’s take on prints.  The key to pulling off a pattern mix is having a “link” between your printed garments.  Ideally, the connecting element is a color that’s common to both prints.  In the example above, it’s a color family (the aqua and blue-greens) that links the top and bottom.  This one’s pre-mixed for you in a one-piece dress.

Another key to pairing your prints is choosing them in varied scale (size of the print).  The print on this top is smaller than the allover botanical print of the dress’s skirt, making it work in a quirky sort of way.  The “allover” quality helps, too.  The top has lots of background space, where the bottom does not.  This way, it’s far less overwhelming on the body than full, allover patterns in both the top and bottom.

Floral Pants

The larger the print, the more apparent the body area becomes.  If you’re a bit shy about wearing a loud print on your bottom half, look for one that contains colors that are not in stark contrast to one another.  (A black-and-white mix, for example, is considered “high contrast.”  Ivory mixed with white in a print is not as striking, and thus, “low contrast.”)

Floral Tops

Tops are generally easier to wear than floral bottoms, but don’t overlook scale here either.  If your facial features are small and delicate, you might be overwhelmed by a large-scale print.  Similarly, if your body size and features are large, a very small print tends to look a bit “off.”

Maybe you just can’t envision botanicals hanging in your closet.  If you want to play the floral game low-risk, get yourself a handbag in a fun floral design.  You can flash some flower for minimal investment and look like a pro who’s savvy to the detail of accessories.

 

Patty Buccellato http://refinedimages.net/

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 Rochester 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! 

 

Posted in Personal Image, Shopping, Women's fashion, 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

"YES, Patty! Please give me a copy of your eBook, Learn To Shop Like A Stylist, and be sure to keep me up-to-date with free image tips and news by email!"

I Respect Your Email Privacy