… But it looks so… *Wrong*

Not every trend is for every body

Shopping for clothes can be confusing. You want to look stylish, but also remain in alignment with who you truly are, right? You see items in stores that seem to be *the* fashion this season, yet you just can’t see yourself wearing them,… leading you to wonder just what you’re doing wrong, or not “getting.”

If you wonder what you’re not getting, I want to congratulate you. While it’s easy to fall into the trap of: “I should buy this (insert “x” in-fashion item) if I want to be stylish,” the uplifting alternative is to choose to buy clothes that suit your nature and your body. (If you feel you’ll look ridiculous in a skirt made of feathers, it’s pretty likely you’ll feel ridiculous wearing it.)

A delightful client, Carol, asked recently about one particular trend of Spring 2022. She wondered how she might wear the oversized jackets she’s been seeing everywhere. You may have seen them, too.

Carol has worked with me, so she knows her body type. She knows that this garment style is not in alignment with her body, so it wouldn’t be particularly flattering or comfortable in its constructed form. Carol wondered if there’s a way to modify how she wears it in the event she wants to add something like this to her wardrobe for the sake of expanding variety.

What Carol knows:
A body is naturally more comfortable in clothes that are in harmony with the body wearing them. It means the wearer doesn’t feel constricted or contorted into something that is counter to nature. These oversized, boxy jackets relate well to a body that is rectangular in shape (I use a baguette-shaped gem to demonstrate this shape):

Carol also knows that her own body is more curvy than the baguette-shaped jacket:

Forcing her curves into a straight and angular garment like this could be uncomfortable for Carol. Yet, with a bit of creative modification, she can wear this jacket style to positive effect.

Take a look at this variation:

Voila! We can now see the waistline of a curved body beneath the rectangular jacket. With enough length (you won’t be able to achieve this with a boxy jacket that’s cropped), you can give the jacket more shape by cinching the waistline. By the way, the less rigid the fabric, the better to accomplish this technique.

And if your body is naturally the shape of the baguette and has an angular quality? Then you were made for these oversized jackets. Enjoy the trend!

Will you try this?  Does the oversized jacket suit you?  Let me hear your thoughts in the comments below.  I read them all.

Not sure of your body type and which clothing shapes suit you? Let’s work together!

 

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 (normally), and… well, now on Zoom! To get your FREE copy of Patty’s eBook “The Wardrobe Simplifier” visit Refined Images or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

Connect with me! ic_fbk_36ic_twit_36

Posted in Over-50 Style | Leave a comment

Feeling Your Best in 2022

Ditch the Resolutions and Embrace Your Awesome-ness Instead

A new study has shown that the average American bails on their New Year’s Resolutions in just 32 days. So by February 1, it’s all over (68% admit giving up even sooner).

The survey showed that the top reasons for not holding to our intentions are: 1) a self-aware lack of discipline (52%) and, 2) busy schedules & lack of the proper time to see them through (43%).

Sound familiar?

Often, New Year goals include some version of self improvement around exercise and eating plan changes.  It can be disheartening when those goals don’t materialize fast enough, or when the February 1 break point rolls around without any encouragement to continue.  Here are 5 ways to keep yourself on track by feeling and looking attractive while on your way to your resolution outcomes.

1) Keep your style uplifted

Clear your closet of clutter and any clothing that makes you feel “Less than.”  Poorly fitting, outdated, and unflattering clothing will dampen your spirits and confidence.  So will clothes that have negative association to them (purchased as a gift by someone you’ve fallen out with? Negative experience while wearing an item?). If you don’t have positive reactions when you look at an item, it won’t support your psyche in a beneficial way while wearing it.  Do yourself a favor and set up a closet that you love to open in the morning.

2) Wear colors that energize your features

If you’ve been with me for even the littlest while, you know I’m a big advocate for identifying and wearing your personal-best colors for a brighter, more energized, and healthy appearance.   Let others see the sparkle in your eyes, and allow yourself to see the most vibrant version of yourself in your mirror image.

3) Practice Body-Positive Dressing

For so much of history women have been directed to the currently fashionable or “ideal” body type to emulate in their dressing (You know the story. The magazine headline tells you how to create the “perfect hourglass” shape in your outfit combination.)  There are healthier approaches, and thanks to the body-positive movement, more freedoms are now celebrated and fewer rules are asserted.  When you dress in alignment with your own body, you’ll feel more comfortable and attractive.  If you’re not sure where to start, check out my program, The Figure Friendly Style Formula.

4) Plan Ahead

This is no doubt a tip you’ve heard many times before.  Think in advance about the activities your next day holds.  Choose your clothing (and accessories) the night before so that you waste no time at the start of your day figuring out what you’ll wear.  You’ve likely got more important things to focus your fresh, decision-making energy on at the start of a new day.  Minimizing stress with preparation can go a long way toward minimizing stress, which in turn, helps you feel a whole lot better!

5) Replace Resolutions with Intentions

New Year’s resolutions nearly beg to fail with their arbitrary start date, and history of loss and broken self-promises.  Consider, instead, making plans and intentions that work on your timelines.  Try these tips for more-successful outcomes and a happier 2022!

Want to learn more? Work with me.

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 (normally), and… well, now on Zoom! To get your FREE copy of Patty’s eBook “The Wardrobe Simplifier” visit Refined Images or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

Connect with me! ic_fbk_36

Posted in Body-Type Dressing, Personal Color, Personal Image, Professional Image, Uncategorized, Wardrobe Planning & Auditing, Women, Women's Image | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Dress for the Holidays Without Breaking the Bank

The New Holiday Outfit You Already Own

You’ve been invited to a holiday gathering at the home of an old friend.  She’s included an intimate group of friends and has said the dress code is “festive.”

“What the heck does that mean,” you wonder, and…

“What on earth do I buy?”

Before you grab your keys and head off to the shops, consider repurposing some items from your own wardrobe.  A holiday outfit can be festive – even “glam” – without needing to be a dress covered in sequins.

Often, a few sparkly accessories added to everyday clothing makes a classic item come to life in a very spirited way.

Remember those black velvet pumps with the ankle straps that you wore to your sister’s wedding last winter?  Won’t they look great with your black wear-to-work trousers and the bodysuit you normally wear with jeans?

Add a glittery accessory or two and you’re good to go for your neighbor’s holiday open house.

It doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult to create party-worthy outfits.  A truly balanced wardrobe contains everything you need for any occasion, simply by mixing separate pieces — and that holds true for festive holiday outfits, too.

If your wardrobe isn’t yet at that place of balance, below is a list of useful items to collect now for this season, and others to come.  Pick and choose from the list to build a selection of pieces that are easy-at-hand to dress up everyday clothes, so they’re transformed to something extraordinary (in a snap!).

What to look for:

  • An evening shoe in a hue that coordinates with your wardrobe’s base color theme (if you don’t yet have a color theme, reach out to me so we can chat about defining yours).
  • Glittery neck scarf (or shoulder wrap, bolero, shrug, etc.). It might be sequined, covered in paillettes, or made of metallic fabric.  It might not be glittery at all, but instead, made of a rich fabric like velvet, or adorned with feathers or fringe — some embellishment that takes it above “everyday” status.
  • Sparkly rhinestone earrings or necklace (diamonds will do, too!).  Something that glistens, naturally uplevels an outfit and brings it to party mode.
  • A dinner ring (aka, cocktail ring; statement ring) sets the tone in a bold way.  It’s generally, large, sparkly, and not anything you’d wear to the office or WFH.
  • An evening bag that clearly expresses that you’re on holiday time.  It can be in an elegant fabric (e.g. velvet or moire taffeta) or it may be dressed up with special effects (fringe, sequins, feathers, etc.)

Peau de soie handbag from Black Rock Galleries

Swarovski Lucent Ring

 

 

 

 

 

 

Need to get ready, but low on time?

If you’re going out on a workday, plan your 9-5 outfit for some easy accessory swaps.  What can you change in jewelry, footwear, and hosiery?

Set out your items the night before and plan a bit of time to upgrade your makeup for the occasion.  You can be heavier handed with products for evening so that your makeup stands up to the strength of the bold accessories.

Transform a workday outfit to party-wear with a few accessory swaps.

How have you modified everyday clothes to make them party-ready?
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.

Who is Patty?

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 (normally), and… well, now on Zoom! To get your FREE copy of Patty’s eBook “The Wardrobe Simplifier” visit Refined Images or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

Connect with me! ic_fbk_36ic_twit_36

Posted in Accessories, Over-50 Style, Personal Image, Shopping, Wardrobe Planning & Auditing, Women, Women's Image, Women's style & fashion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Know if Your Necklace is Right

Does this Necklace Look “Off” to You?

My once-client and now dear friend, Diane, reached out to me recently with a style question.

“Does this look okay?” 

She was getting ready for an evening out with her husband and some friends, but was questioning her new necklace.  She liked it, but for some reason, it didn’t seem to be working.

The answer  to her question was “yes.” It looked O-k.  BUT, it could look better.  (We’d all rather look better than “okay,” right?)

As you can see, it’s a really great necklace…. a lotta chain action goin’ on with this number, and it’s got the potential to be a “wow” piece in Diane’s jewelry collection.  Yet, it could be better.

The important tweak
When it comes to necklaces, length can be the difference-making element that gives your own outfits a look of completion — or even impact, when that’s desired.  The distinction between a necklace that’s “good enough,” and one that creates a winning look, boils down to how it relates to you, its wearer.

Proportion is key to a balanced, harmonious look, and when you get this right, you show up in the world making a statement that has “savvy style” written all over it.  It can be a very subtle and almost imperceptible adjustment to make, yet the result is truly powerful.

In Diane’s case, the length of the necklace itself was great.  The vertical space of the featured chains related to the length of her face beautifully.  That wasn’t clear, though, since a significant gap  of hollow space existed between the base of her turtle neck top and the top edge of the necklace’s focal area.  The result is that we see a lot of black before we get to the chains, throwing off the balance between Diane’s face and the necklace.

After we chatted, Diane made a simple adjustment to the necklace’s position, and voila!
It was an easy fix, and allowed her to make a style statement with finesse (and erase any doubt around her solid accessory purchase).

Do this at home.
Get these kinds of questions answered for your own outfits:
Join my Style Clinic for Comfort and Joy on December 4.

I’ll review your outfit photos and provide the impact-making tweaks so you can show up with style, ease, and confidence — just in time for your holiday gatherings.  Get more info and register here.

Diane’s Before and After
It’s useful to note that Diane could wear her necklace at the original position to fabulous effect if she were wearing a button-front blouse with the top button or two open. Depending on the neckline, modifications in length will make the necklace more (or less) flattering.

Here’s the side-by-side, truth-is-in-the-pudding comparison:

 

 

 

 

 

Join me in the Style Clinic for your own winning-look tweaks!

 

 

 

 

 

Who is Patty?

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 (normally), and… well, now on Zoom! To get your FREE copy of Patty’s eBook “The Wardrobe Simplifier” visit Refined Images or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

Connect with me! ic_fbk_36

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

Use These Quality Hacks to Uplevel Your Look

‘Know that feeling…. when you walk into a room wearing the dress that always earns you compliments?  The suit you’ve signed multiple deals in and won several positions wearing? You feel invincible, right?  Like everything will go well on this day.  (Or even if it doesn’t go “well,” at least it won’t rattle you.)

And then there’s the opposite experience.  “‘Cause Cheap is How I Feel,” goes the song by the Cowboy Junkies.  Cheap. Not a place of power or confidence, but a place of compromise and mediocrity.  Sometimes clothes just look chintzy.  And when they do, they don’t put you in that rattle-free state of being.

Clothing choices are a form of self expression, and how a garment presents and feels on your body has the power to change your disposition, all the way down to your toes.  When an item feels “cheap,” as many do in this age of disposable fashion, your confidence around how you visually show up takes a hit.

What can you do to maintain a presence of quality and style?

You have more control than you might realize.  With a bit of insight and a willingness to follow a hunch or two, you can uplevel the style quotient at most any clothing price point.  It’s all in the details.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Buttons. If it’s an inexpensive, painted-plastic button made to simulate

    Painted “metal” buttons replaced with shell buttons for a polished finish. Pants tailored to fit.

    a natural material, chances are it’s going to fail at replicating a quality look.  Plastic buttons are one thing on a man’s dress shirt, they are quite something else on a suit jacket intended to make a strong, positive statement.

    Easy fix: swap the buttons out for a version made of natural materials like shell, nut shells, metals, or ceramics.

  • Belts.  Often, a dress, sweater, or other item is sold with a “self belt” attached to it.  A self belt is simply one that is made of the same fabric as the garment.  This works

    A purchased belt, matched to skirt color.

    just fine when the belt is a fabric, tie-on sash version.  When it’s a buckled belt, it may not be your best choice.  Manufacturers of moderate-priced clothing will often craft this kind of belt with inexpensive vinyl backing (that cracks with use), and low-quality hardware to save on production costs.

    Smart fix:  Purchase a coordinating belt of quality construction that adds finish to the garment, while linking to your other outfit colors.

  • Hems & seams. If a hem is buckling or puckering, it’s going to deliver a less-than-stellar message about your attention to detail.  This one can be tricky.  If the garment is sloppily made, the fabric grade may be compromised as well, making the item difficult to save from a quality standpoint.

    (Almost) easy fix:  If the fabric is deemed to be of good quality, then it may be worth having a tailor re-do the hem so that it shows more neatly.  Not so much with seams:  they’re often finished in such a way that your tailor may not have enough fabric to work with.
  • Fit.  Speaking of a tailor, find yourself a good one. They can be your best style partner, assuring that the clothes you wear look like they were made just for you.  Nothing makes a smart style statement like “custom made,” even if you do fake it a bit.
  • Color.  Color value makes a difference in how clothes of lesser quality appear.  When selecting from inexpensive items, darker colors are generally more forgiving with the quality flaws inherent in lower-grade products.

How have you modified clothes to improve their appeal? 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 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 (normally), and… well, now on Zoom! To get your FREE copy of Patty’s eBook “The Wardrobe Simplifier” visit Refined Images or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

Connect with me! ic_fbk_36

Posted on by Patty Buccellato | Leave a comment

How to tell if your outfit works

 

Your Mirror is Deceiving You.

Why your bedroom mirror won’t tell if your outfit works.

What’s the first thing you do in a store’s fitting room when you’re trying on clothes?  You look in the mirror, of course.  That’s how you determine whether you like the way an item fits, if the fabric bunches up in unattractive ways, or if the color lacks harmony with your own.

With more of us shopping online than ever before, our bedroom mirrors are often taking the place of those in a retail fitting room.  And like those in the stores, they’ll do the same job of telling if  an item of clothing is a solid contender for our wardrobe budget. (Learn to shop online with savvy.)

What they won’t do as well, is tell if you’ve made the best match-up when coordinating separate outfit pieces.  For one thing, it’s natural to look at just one area at a time when standing in front of a mirror.

The problem:
It’s common for a woman to place her focus on the zones she’s most self-conscious about when looking in a mirror; the areas that are the hardest to fit; or the part of the outfit with the most-dominant design feature.

What gets missed is pinpointing whether the proportions of your top and bottom pieces are flattering to your body (more about this in Part II, to come); if the colors of each piece are balanced with the others; and if the full ensemble gives the “vibe” you want to give off.

The solution:
Get a one-dimensional vantage point.

When I assess a client’s proportions for her, I ask to see a full-body photo, even when we work in person.  While I’ve got vast experience in evaluating body types, the physicality of a body can interfere with a truly clear view.  The one-dimensional nature of a photo, whether printed or digital, overcomes the distractions of personal characteristics.  It allows a clear, “birds-eye” view of the whole person.

If you apply the broad-view perspective when sizing up your outfits, you’re able to see how they relate to your body in the way other people would see you. (Imagine them noticing you at a distance, as you enter a room.  They get a view of the whole picture, rather than its parts, one at a time.)

So grab your phone or camera and take your best shot.  You may actually use your mirror to get a selfie reflection, but you won’t be relying on that mirror’s limited frame of reference for your outfit evaluation.

The Mirror’s Redeeming Qualities
While a full-length mirror won’t deliver  the best big-picture perspective in reviewing an outfit, I do recommend every woman keep one in her dressing area.  To go without is like picking out your pedi color in the dark (heaven forbid!).

Here’s what that full-length mirror still does for you:

  • Assures you haven’t neglected to remove a tag from your new purchase before wearing it in public.
  • Reminds you to secure that zipper and button in the back. (It’s happened before, right?  You do up the button, so it feels like everything’s in place, then a kind female coworker lets you know something else is amiss.)
  • Confirms that no hems have fallen since you last wore the item.
  • Helps select the right shoes for your outfit.

How do you assess your outfits? 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 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 (normally), and… well, now on Zoom! To get your FREE copy of Patty’s eBook “The Wardrobe Simplifier” visit Refined Images or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

Connect with me!   ic_fbk_36

Posted in Over-50 Style, Personal Image, Women, Women's Image, Women's style & fashion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What to Wear to Work in Fall 2021

Re-mixes for Your Unworn Work Wardrobe

Don’t toss those sleepy suit pieces just yet!

What to Wear to Work in Fall 2021 - jacket sleeves made casual

Sleeve roll (Banana Republic washable wool blazer)

There’s no debating it’s a more casual world when it comes to work style since March of 2020.  Even in more-traditional organizations, “business formal” style parameters have been nudged to the business casual zone, if not full-on casual.  Comfort, in a generally stressful era, becomes a priority wherever and whenever it can be found.

A change of seasons is an opportunity to reassess our wardrobes and identify where that comfort lies, among other things: What fits/what doesn’t?  What’s in fashion/what’s outdated?  What needs repair, and what can be donated?  All good questions during a typical closet review.  Now, a new question:  Will I return to my previous style of dress for this to be useful?   For many professional women who wore suits to work, the answer remains elusive.

If you’re on a team that’s back to working in a traditional location, or you’re planning for a return in due time, there’s a place for those skirts and jackets,… whether or not you’ll wear an actual suit.

Try these suit-piece remixes:

Suit Jacket
Use your suit’s jacket as the completing element of a casual outfit:

What to Wear to Work in Fall 2021 - jeans with blazer

A casual sweater makes a jacket less formal. (J. Crew Bristol blazer.)

  • Pair your suit jacket with a polo sweater or menswear-inspired cotton shirt in place of a traditional dressy, blouse.  Wear a coordinating pant, vs. the matching suit pant, for a relaxed, “unmatched suit” look.
  • Wear the jacket with jeans to create a full-on casual look (dark-wash  jeans say “business” more loudly than worn-in or pre-washed/faded jeans).
    • If the jeans are lean (e.g. a “skinny” jean), create a bit of fullness with an untucked blouse to maintain balance.  It’ll also minimize the body-con effect of a
      What to Wear to Work in Fall 2021

      A dressed-up hoodie keeps a suit casual (Banana Republic plaid double-breasted blazer)

      jean that hugs closely.

    • With a full jean,  like a trouser or boyfriend jean, keep tops & jackets leaner on top to avoid fabric overwhelm.
  • Layer a hoodie beneath your jacket for an uber casual vibe. (A sweater-knit version v. a common fleece hoodie keeps this professionally savvy.)
  • Make the jacket casual in its own right by rolling sleeves to the elbow (extra points if the sleeve lining is in an interesting print or a contrasting color).

Suit Skirt
Give the skirt from your suits a new lease on life with more relaxed companions:

What to Wear to Work in Fall 2021 - skirt w/boots

Subbing boots for pumps. (Eloquii sweater pencil skirt)

  • Boots (high or low) in place of pumps give your skirt an “unsuited” personality.
  • Swapping your dressy blouse for a relaxed sweater brings the
    What to Wear to Work in Fall 2021 - vest replaces jackets

    A vest replaces a formal jacket. (Eileen Fisher vest, Neiman Marcus.)

    whole look down to a more easy feel.

  • Think about bringing a vest into your closet to keep skirts company in a low-key way.
  • If your environment is casual enough, a jean jacket with a traditional skirt is a fun way to mix opposites.  (Use caution: if denim wasn’t sanctioned at your organization before, this is best worn only after seen on a member of the leadership team to show its acceptance.)

Helpful tip: To ensure your suits are wearable as a joined unit at a later time, consider getting them dry cleaned together, whether you’ve worn both pieces, or not.  Giving them the same cleaning treatment means the fabric color of both pieces continue to look matched.

By the way, don’t rule out wearing these outfits even when you’re not going to the office. Dressing up has the ability to raise your spirits and confidence in a way a pair of joggers and hoodie could only wish to. (The compliments sure don’t hurt.)  Give it a go on your next errand run!

Is comfort in style something you’d like more of?  Check out my self-study Figure Friendly Style Formula.  You’ll never again question if a style is right for your body.

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 (normally), and… well, currently on Zoom! To get your FREE copy of Patty’s eBook “The Wardrobe Simplifier” visit Refined Images or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

Connect with me! ic_fbk_36ic_twit_36

Posted in Business Professional Image, Personal Image, Professional Image, Uncategorized, Wardrobe Planning & Auditing, Women, Women's Image, Women's style & fashion, Workplace Style | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Wear a Dress with Pants

Dresses with Pants — Really?

Maybe you’ve seen photos of models or celebrities wearing dresses over jeans and you thought, “Oh! I’m so going to do that.” Or, maybe not.  Perhaps, instead, you’ve thought to yourself that it’s a silly concept that doesn’t have a role in a real woman’s wardrobe.  I get it.  Many of the runway versions really wouldn’t have a place in your closet, especially if you’re finding your dressing preferences are uber casual these days.

Still, the pants-with-your-dress trend carries a few practical qualities with it. If you’ve ever worn a long sweater with leggings and boots, it’s just a small stretch to reach dress-with-pants territory.  Here are a few scenarios where you might like to experiment with the look in your own wardrobe:

  • Dress as shirt. If you miss wearing your dresses that have been out of rotation the last year or so, use them as shirt replacements.  Sure, the dress/pant trend
    how to wear a dress with pants: long shirtdress

    Anthropologie Dress

    can be styled for cutting-edge impact, but there are simple ways to integrate the fashion into your everyday lifestyle. A shirtdress is the easiest way to do this.  Unbutton the bottom to show a jean or legging worn beneath.  If you have a naturally-defined waistline, belt the dress for emphasis.  If your shape is more rectangular, wear it loose and straight.

  • Dress as sun protection. Long day at the beach?  The coverage of a dress protects your sun-drenched skin from further exposure.  It might be a coverup dress that originated as part of a swimsuit ensemble as purchased, or it might be one that you adapt from your
    How to wear a dress with pants: Petit Pois

    Petit Pois by Viviana G

    closet.  For this purpose, think fabrics that are light, breezy, and loose in style (and machine washable if you’re at the beach or pool!).

  • Dress as jacket. Cooler weather, but you don’t want to don a jacket?  The long-sleeve dress worn  over your jeans or slim pants keeps you warm. Whether it’s a sweater version, or a button-up that you
    how to wear a dress with pants: sweater dress

    Peruvian Connection

    wear open, duster-style, you’ll get the benefit of an added layer in a very on-trend style. Like the shirt scenario, wear this belted, or not, depending on your own body’s silhouette.

  • No-effort version. If figuring out “which-dress-with-which-pants?” feels intimidating, take the
    how to wear a dress with pants: jumpsuit

    New York & Company jumpsuit

    How to wear a dress with pants: jumpsuit

    Nordstrom jumpsuit by Kay Unger

    shortcut route: Lots of jumpsuits and rompers are designed with the look of a dress or skirt layered over a pant.  With these, you get a pre-made ensemble with no style-muscle required.  Choose the silhouette in relation to your silhouette.  The variation with fullness below the waist is great for figures that are full in that same zone. A straighter version is well suited to a body that is more rectangular in shape.

    By the way, to keep your look current, go low-key with the accessories.  It’ll allow your dress to stand as the focal point.

Want to learn the best way to wear this trend with your own body’s shape? Check out my on-demand style course, the Figure Friendly Style Formula.

Or for my one-on-one coaching, work with me.

What are your thoughts about wearing dresses over pants?  Have an idea or question? Leave me a comment.  I read and respond to them all.

 

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 (normally), and… well, currently on Zoom! To get your FREE copy of Patty’s eBook “The Wardrobe Simplifier” visit Refined Images or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

Connect with me! ic_fbk_36 

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

How to Find Clothes that Fit

Why Does Nothing Fit Me Right?

“What the heck is wrong with my body?  I can try on 15 things when
I’m shopping, and maybe two will fit me.”

Clothes-that-fit-jacket

Could these words have come out of your mouth?

I’ve heard so many women lament about this.  And they all think it’s them.  Something is wrong with them.  

I get it.  You see other women looking great in their clothes and they’re shopping the same places you are, so it must be your body that’s wrong.

First thing to know:  you’re not alone.

Second thing to know:  it’s not your body.  You have permission to let go right now of any of those not-good-enough stories.  They don’t belong in your psyche.

It can be so frustrating.  You see things you love when you shop, but they seem not to love you back.  You order what seems like a truckload of clothes online, only to pack all of it right back in the box to return for credit.  (At least you saved money, you tell yourself.) Yet, You wanted. New. Clothes.

Usually when the ill-fit jester comes to call, there are one of 3 things going on at the root:

  1. The clothes are poorly made.  It looks really attractive on the model at the website: She’s smiling,… happy and confident (usually on a beach location somewhere), her skirt is flowing in the breeze, and everyone around is looking at her with admiration.  (Good marketers know how to romance a product!) You only need one ounce of that scene to be true when you put the dress on but, instead, it’s a disaster. Was it really that great on the model?  Perhaps her happy and drop-dead -gorgeous looks distracted from a few inherent design flaws in the dress
    Clothes-that-fit-dress

    Realistic expectations: If a garment is baring skin on the model, it will bare skin on you as well. Be sure you’re ok with where that’s happening.

    Look closely when you’re attracted to a clothing item.  If anything looks the least bit “off” when it’s on display, you can bet that’s going to be a problem when you put it on your body in real life.

  2. The clothes are fine; they simply need alterations. Many women I hear from are frustrated when clothing doesn’t fit them correctly, out-of-the-box.  They don’t realize that most clothes continue to be designed for the classic “hourglass” shape of 1950’s female film stars like Sophia Loren and Liz Taylor. (This matches only 8% of the female population.)  That means, very simply, that the clothes aren’t designed for most women’s bodies. So even if you land in the size range that a manufacturer has designed for, odds are there will still be a particular element of your body that doesn’t fit the mold exactly.  And that, My Lovely, is what tailors are for!
    Clothes-that-fit-sleeve

    Too-long sleeves can be shortened with alterations. (Universal Standard jacket.)

    When a man shops for a new suit at a men’s clothing shop, he expects that once he makes his selection, the salesperson will call the tailor in to make adjustments.  It’s assumed that a made-to-measure appearance is desired, and the tailor will make alterations to achieve that look. Even though it isn’t custom-made to fit, that suit will be made to appear as if it were.

    Women, on the other hand, have grown to expect that they’ll wear clothes right off the rack.  (How often have you had a tailor called in to the fitting room to look at your new outfit selection?) The truth is, proper fit can make all the difference in the world when it comes to presenting a positive impression in the clothes you’ve chosen, and that fit won’t come straight off the rack. Here’s where a good tailor can be one of your best style allies.  Maybe your arms are a bit short proportionately, and sleeves need to be made shorter.  Or maybe your hips are proportionately larger than your waist and you need that trouser taken in at the waistband.

    Note: Keep in mind that many elements of a clothing item can be made smaller or shorter, but making a store-bought item larger is rarely an option.

  3. The clothes are the wrong shape for your body. Not all clothing styles are made for all bodies.  Your own body type will have certain clothing silhouettes
    Clothes-that-fit-body-types

    Body shapes respond differently to varying clothing silhouettes.

    that relate to it, fit it well, and flatter it.  Trying to contort your body into an unnatural shape of garment can be an exercise in futility in some cases, and at minimum, an uncomfortable fitting room experience.

    Determine your own natural body silhouette and choose garments that mirror its shape for maximum comfort and personal attractiveness.  Choose clothes that  your body is at home in, and you’ll have less pulling, tucking, and feeling confined.  If you’re unsure about your own body type, my Figure Friendly Style Formula program includes, among other treats, the guidelines to specifically identify your type and eliminate guessing.

Getting a good fit is simple to achieve when you know what to expect and what to shop for.  Assessing clothing for its relevance and worthiness to you is at the core of all your best shopping selections.  Make informed choices about a garment, secure the called-for fit adjustments, and stand proud in your new outfit! 

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 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 (normally), and… well, currently on Zoom! To get your FREE copy of Patty’s eBook “The Wardrobe Simplifier” visit www.RefinedImages.net or contact Patty.

Go here to claim your FREE eBook!

Connect with me! ic_fbk_36ic_twit_36

Posted in Body-Type Dressing, Business Professional Image, Dressing for Success, Fit & Proporion, Investment clothing, Personal Image, Professional Image, Shopping, Women, Women's Image | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Build an Eco-Friendly Wardrobe

6 Tips for Sustainable Style

Chalkboard: "We are one with nature"

Our precious Mama Earth provides sustenance to us in ways that are often taken for granted. Our waters, land, and clean air are not guaranteed, and a smaller environmental footprint can have a positive impact. No news there. You know it, and you’re likely mindful of recycling plastic containers and paper bags. Have you considered the ways your wardrobe can be more sustainable?

Sustainable clothing efforts go beyond taking outcast clothes to your nearby parking-lot clothing collection bin. In fact, most of these are owned by for-profit textile recycling companies. Often, the processes used to recycle the materials are not at all environmentally friendly.

What can you do to minimize the environmental impact of your style choices?

Here are a few tips to consider:

Repair
Think twice before tossing “broken” clothes from your closet. Missing buttons; unraveled hem stitching, and loosened seams can all be fixed. If you don’t feel skilled or teachable in the needle/thread department, make a fun barter with a friend who sews. Simple mends can put a solid garment back into your closet rotation for some fab outfits.

Rewear
If you wore the shirt for a minute, it likely doesn’t need to be laundered. You’d be surprised how much water can be conserved, and detergents or dry cleaning chemicals kept out of groundwater. Think about the great blouse you put on for the 1-hour Zoom call. That one can go back on a hanger in your closet.

(Bonus tip: hang that once-worn item inside-out so you know it’s been on your body for a period of time.  At the end of the season, you can do a visual scan to assure all those once-or-more worn items get a good cleaning before seasonal storage when stains can set in.)

Repurpose
This can take multiple forms. Yes, a sock can become a dog toy. Also, a sweater can become a throw pillow cover or any number of things. Consider donating career clothes that are in good-condition, or planning a clothing swap with friends to exchange items you’re not wearing. (One woman’s “trash,” is another’s treasure.)

Revolve
Put forgotten clothes into rotation. Most women are wearing 20% of their wardrobe 80% of the time. Are there items you’ve forgotten about? Perhaps that cherry-colored tank top shoved to the back of your closet shelf has new potential when layered with the floral shirt you just bought. Explore new options that exist with old stand-bys.

Revive
You’re bored of that classic white shirt? Give it a fresh color to spice up its life. Use low-impact dyes that are Oeko-Tex® certified to minimize environmental effect. If you can benefit from an ecru color, put a good ole’ fashioned tea bag (or 3) in a bucket of water as a dye “color.” I do this myself from time to time, as pure white is not a flattering option for my personal coloring. I might find a great cotton top that’s white, then I make it “mine” with a black-tea fashion potion.

Re-think
Consider your buying choices. Some fabrics are more sustainable than others. While synthetic fibers do break down over time (it can take 20-200 years in a landfill), natural fibers are overall more environmentally friendly. Still, take care not to assume that just because a fiber is natural that it’s your best choice. Manufacturing processes used to create fabrics from natural fibers can come with their own hazards. Shop styles and quality in garments that lead to longevity in your wardrobe. A slightly higher price tag now can translate to an investment that pays you back and does a world of good over time.

Small actions add up to big impact when multiplied by humans.
Put one new idea into practice this month, and share this list to inspire a friend!

For alternatives to those parking-lot collection boxes, check out this article from the archives: How to Keep Clothes Out of Landfills.


Questions? Comments? Let me know what’s on your mind. I read them all!

Want to learn more? Work with me.

Patty Buccellato, AICI, CIP

Patty Buccellato is an image coach and founder of Refined Images. She brings extensive knowledge and expertise to her work with private clients, 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 (normally), and… well, currently on Zoom!
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! 

Posted in Uncategorized, Wardrobe Maintenance, Wardrobe Planning & Auditing, Women's style & fashion | Leave a comment

The Wardrobe Simplifier

5 Essential Pieces for Every Woman's Closet

The Wardrobe Simplifier eBook Get my FREE eBook plus tips by email to look your non-stop best! Build the foundation to your perfect wardrobe with these can't-lose staples including:

  • The one, must-have item that triples as belt, dress, and swim cover (plus, more!)
  • The all-purpose top that suits every body shape with style and grace
  • The universally-flattering skirt that comfortably flows over curvy bodies, yet magically lends balanced fullness to straight figures

"YES, Patty! Please give me a copy of your eBook, The Wardrobe Simplifier, and be sure to keep me up to date with free image tips and news by email!"

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