By: Sharon Mosley
It’s back in the saddle again. Time to round up those fresh jeans and head into a new season of denim — a favorite in our wardrobes, year after year. The stars of this season’s fashion rodeo lineup are extra relaxed, playing like a modern Western with more options than ever. Here are some ways you can ride high and get in the denim spirit right now:
—Shimmy into skinny. The slim silhouettes are still going strong, so if you love the skinny look, you can easily update it, dressing jeans up by tucking them into a pair of new boots this fall. Opt for straight legs if you’re tired of squeezing into those tighter jeans. The newest way to top off slim jeans? An oversized poncho or swingy cape.
—Relax with fuller silhouettes. While skinny jeans may not be going away, fuller silhouettes are coming on strong, giving us alternative, roomier styles that we can wear for all kinds of occasions. Cropped jeans with raw hems are ultra-chic when worn with heels; cuffed “boyfriend” fits are fun, too, and cute with casual flats.
—Go for jeans with flare. Seventies fashion continues to influence designers, who have taken the high-waisted wide-leg jean to a new level this year. This is probably one of the most versatile denim silhouettes out there now. Wear darker washes with high heels to work and whiskered, distressed washes with flat boots on the weekends.
—Do denim in new ways. Yes, we all want that perfect pair of jeans in our closets, but how about trying a tailored denim shirtdress, a great new midi skirt or a pair of funky overalls? If you don’t have a classic jean jacket in your wardrobe, add one this season. It will become your “go-to” piece to wear with everything.
—Fade into fall. We’ve always been used to denim lightening up in the spring and summer, but this year, the faded stuff washes right on into fall. Lighter blue denim pieces are a great way to make the transition from summer into cooler weather. Pair your chambray shirts with darker jeans and vests. Another traditional summer denim classic showing up for fall? Shorts! Pair them with tights and boots in chilly weather.
—Think accessories. It’s a lot easier to fit handbags and boots into your life than it is to wiggle into a new pair of skinny jeans. Check out studded denim clutches by Chanel, denim cross-body bags by Pucci or knee-high denim-and-leather boots by Tom Ford.
—Wear it with everything. Blue denim plays well with other pieces in your closet. Pair it with creamy neutrals, classic leopard prints, luggage-brown accessories or black leather. Or wear denim head to toe. Denim is one of the most versatile fashion must-haves, whether you’re a boho rocker or a tailored professional.
—Embellish it. From artsy prints to patchwork to fringe, denim gets detailed this fall with more and more surprises. Designers have decided that this sturdy classic is not going to ride off into the sunset, even as leggings continue to gain ground. After all, our wardrobes are plenty big for all of it — and there are plenty of new ways to wear our favorite denim duds. Hee-haw!
COPYRIGHT 2015 CREATORS.COM
Back to School on a Budget: Shopping Tips for Parents
BY SHARON MOSLEY
Editor’s Note: The following column was originally published in 2009.
Let’s talk about the biggest “B” word this fall. It may be time to head “back” to school, but for many parents, the biggest “B” in their bonnets will be “Budget.”
“It’s evident that parents are more financially conscious than ever before, budgeting for groceries, family trips and now back-to-school shopping,” says Katherine Hurley, vice president and general merchandise manager for Lands’ End Kids. “As a result, smart moms are using a variety of shopping strategies to be sure kids are ready to head back to class.”
In a recent survey of moms conducted by Lands’ End and Parents Magazine, more than 63 percent of respondents stated that when it comes to back-to-school shopping and spending, they are more anxious this year compared to last year.
But getting your kids ready for school in style doesn’t have to be an anxiety-ridden, budget-busting experience. Here are some basic shopping strategies to help ease the back-to-school budget blues:
—Have a Family Meeting: That’s right, pick a time where you can all sit down and strategize. Don’t wait until you arrive at the store and your kids start whining about why they can’t have the $150 sneakers or hoodies in 10 different colors. Talk about your budget concerns before you go shopping, and let your kids be involved so that they understand the spending parameters.
—Clean Up Your Closets: This is a no-brainer, but many of us forget to do it. Help your kids clean out their closets before they buy new clothes. Separate what fits from what doesn’t. You never know how many pairs of jeans may be lurking in the deep dark recesses of those closets, buried underneath layers of unseen T-shirts and towels. Donate anything that doesn’t fit to a charity.
—Make a List: Another often overlooked necessity. But you probably make a list when you go grocery shopping, don’t you? Why not use the same procedure when shopping for back-to-school clothes? Check off the list as you’re shopping. You can even duplicate lists so that every child has a copy. Then, when you get to the store, stick to your lists.
—Allow for a Treat: Shopping for back-to-school clothes may not be every child’s dream come true, but you can make it more appealing to kids. Set aside a small amount of money so they can pick out one “special” item — a cool pair of shoes or a special headband — to wear on the first day of school. And that’s only if they stick to the original budget!
—Mix It Up: One of the best ways to obtain the most for your fashion dollar is to purchase mix-and-match coordinates. This is a great way for kids to express their own personality in putting their clothes together, and it provides for many more outfit choices.
Take your daughter’s favorite denim skirt from summer. With an additional pair of leggings, you can extend the skirt’s wear into fall. Those same leggings can be added to other knit dresses and tunics for even more wearable looks.
—Look for Quality: Beware of buying the cheapest clothes you can find. If clothes can’t withstand multiple washings, recesses and play days, then they are not great bargains. And if you want “hand-me-down” potential, stick to quality clothing.
Look for reinforced knees, adjustable waistbands, double-stitched seams and pre-washed pieces that minimize shrinkage and hold color. You never know … hopefully you’ll find some of the new clothes will actually make another appearance this time next year.
COPYRIGHT 2015 CREATORS.COM
Fall Ahead: Fashion Trends to Check Out Now
By: Sharon Mosley
Don’t let the warm temperatures fool you: the season’s next fashion finds are arriving online and in stores daily now. It’s not too early to think about taking a break from the heat and cleaning out your closet to make way for some cool new looks that you can wear now and later. Check out these trends:
—’80s Club Chic. Yes, we are back to the ’80s, moving right along from those ’70s-inspired rock ‘n’ roll looks that were so in style last year. Think Madonna and her groupies, flashing back to fishnets, fingerless gloves and anything ripped, torn and held together with safety pins. The spiky-haired punks are back, but all grown up this time around, with oversized menswear blazers, asymmetrical hemmed skirts, animal-print coats and, of course, tulle skirts. Lingerie comes out from undercover. Refresh your memory and watch Madonna in “Desperately Seeking Susan.” But you don’t have to be all that desperate to try out this trend. A hint of lace and leather will do. A little goes a long way.
—In the Abstract. It’s all about painterly prints this fall. And these prints are meant to be seen — from far away! Huge, oversized geometrics (the bigger, the better) in bright colors are splashed on clothing canvases from dresses to tops to bottoms. The hit of the season? Head-to-toe checkerboard prints. And the more these graphic prints and colors clash, the better, too. If you’re not quite as bold as those ’80s club kids were, then stick with one piece of wearable art at a time!
—Modern Vintage. The bohemians from last year are marching back in time with a slightly more dandified approach. We’re talking velvet in lush jewel-tone colors that have a fairy-tale effect, creating a romantic fashion twist that borders on the Baroque and glistens in gold metallic prints. Go with the flow in ’60s-ish floral dresses, long skirts and high-necked blouses. Add some tassels and fringe. Pull on your gloves and pin on the brooches. Get ready to strut your stuff in those velvet Victorian lace-up booties, girls!
—Sporty Leisure. The popular trend that combines athletic wear with casual wear will continue to have a big influence on our wardrobes, because, let’s face it, we all love comfortable clothes. The baggy sweats of yesteryear have morphed into lean leggings, long tunics, zip-front jackets and jumpsuits. We are knit-wits about these kinds of sporty outfits that can be worn to the gym and beyond. Look for pajama-inspired clothes to become even more popular this fall. After all, it will be time to get cozy and hibernate soon!
—Coat Craze. If there’s one thing to put at the top of your fall/winter shopping list, it’s a coat. And not just any ol’ coat. Look for a statement piece. After all, you wear your coat over everything else, day in and day out. Why not make it special? Whether it’s a knockout color, an over-the-top shape or a fabulous faux fur, this is the year to find that one-of-a-kind outerwear that stands out in a crowd.
—Block Party. Accessories are always key signals that a new fashion season has arrived. This fall, the newest shoes are stepping out with square heels that give footwear a mod ’60s touch. And if you really want to get a foot up on the latest trends, buy a pair of block heels or ankle boots in white. The stark contrast of white shoes in the winter will put you at the head of the fashion pack this year. Step out and be bold!
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Rethinking Jewelry: Instant Updates
By: Sharon Mosley
Go big and go bold. It’s the mantra of jewelry designers everywhere this year. The bigger the bauble the better. From pearls to pendants, jewelry is once again making a big fashion statement — popping up not only on celebrities strutting their multimillion-dollar sparklers on the red carpets, but in the accessory wardrobes of women who are scoring great finds from local artisans and vintage flea markets.
It’s time to rethink your own collection of jewelry. Here are some quick ways to update your decorative treasures right now:
—Make a statement. It’s all about impact when it comes to jewelry trends. Don’t be afraid to be bold with your choices whether it’s fine jewelry loaded with semi-precious stones or 1950s costume jewelry that you picked up at your neighbor’s yard sale. The oversized statement piece is one of the best investments you can make in creating a wardrobe that has lots of personal style.
—Mix classic with contemporary. Have a favorite pearl necklace you inherited from your grandmother? Add a modern twist to it by teaming it with a leather cord lariat or a detachable pendant or brooch. Mixing materials is one of the best ways to update old jewelry. Don’t be afraid to combine different metals and gemstones, as well as gold and silver. Mix, don’t ever match. It’s called “coordinating”!
—Layer, layer, layer. More is more when it comes to accessorizing with jewelry. Layer necklaces, combining long and short for more impact and creative style. Stack a dozen thin slivers of bangles in an artful mix of silver and gold, some dangling with your favorite charms, for a delicious dose of arm candy at its best.
—Change up your chains. Wear solid link chain bracelets with snake chain or beaded chain bracelets. Combining different textures is a quick way to make your jewelry much more interesting. Chunky chain cuffs are another way to pump up the glam factor.
—Buy local and personalize. Necklaces or bracelets that sport various words or slogans continue to be a popular way to express a special occasion. But necklaces and bracelets dangling with pendants and charms can also be a creative way to tell your own personal history. Check out local jewelry artisans in your area to find unique pieces that can be customized just for you.
—Go for the “multiple” experience. There are plenty of ways to get creative when it comes to accessorizing with jewelry. In the spirit of “more is more,” consider wearing multiple rings on your hands, whether it’s one ring across several fingers or two or three rings on one finger. Ditto for long necklaces, earrings or bracelets.
—Try a new trend. Perhaps it’s tassels dripping from a hand bracelet, feathers fanned out over a brooch or a single earring dangling with stones. Whatever you decide to try, the latest jewelry trends are a fun way to indulge your fashion fantasies. This year, the “arts and crafts” look will update your wardrobe of basics. Also on the jewelry trend radar: tribal-inspired designs, mirrored metals and geometric shapes.
—Make it versatile. Think about wearing a piece of your favorite jewelry in a new way. Pins and clips can function as fasteners on dresses and blouses as well as an accent on scarves, belts, hats and shawls. Scout out special clasps that allow jewelry to be worn in different ways. A hinged “oyster” clasp is one of your best bets. And if you’ve got a drawer full of old mismatched pieces of jewelry, think about creating a whole new life for your memorable treasures — decorate picture frames; cover pillows; create a “bouquet.” Remember: think outside the jewelry box!
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What Not to Wear to the Class Reunion
By: Sharon Mosley
You’ve put the date on your calendar — but you’ve still got time to change your mind about going to that dreaded class reunion. You’ve already decided you’ve got nothing to wear anyway. But before you RSVP “no way,” why not change your attitude and get ready to reconnect with old friends and party like it’s 1999? Here’s some help on the fashion front: tips on what not to wear.
—Workout clothes. Leave the yoga pants at home, please. Ditto with the hoodies and the leggings. The “ath-leisure” trend may be having a big moment in fashion right now, but class reunions (or any other special occasions) are not the time you want to show off those abs you’ve been working on ever since you got the save-the-date. You can still be casual and wear a stylish tunic paired with capris or sleek jeans and heels.
—Office wear. You may be the president of an up-and-coming new tech company, but wearing a very tailored menswear suit like the one you wear to the office every day may not attract the kind of comments you want your fellow classmates to make when you enter the room — even if you were the biggest nerd in the class of ’95. If you insist on wearing a suit, loosen it up a bit with a fancy lace blouse and strappy sandals. Make sure your accessories are standouts.
—Over-the-top fashion trends. This may be the one party of the year when you will want to go all-out and show off one of your trendiest outfits, but try to resist. And if you do work in the fashion industry and just can’t stand not to look like you’ve just strolled down the runway, then stick to one trendy item that adds that individual flair you’ve always been known for: an oversized big-brimmed hat, a pair of chic wide-leg pants or a poncho dripping with fringe. Keep the rest of your outfit simple.
—Blasts from the past. Never make the mistake of trying to re-create any look from your former “glory” days. The ’70s may be back in a big way, but those crocheted vests and taffeta prom dresses from days gone by were not all that attractive then, and they sure have not aged well as fashion must-haves. And never recycle anything that screams “bridesmaid’s dress.” Try updated separates and dresses that have a little sparkle to them. Think subtle beading or sequins on skirts or tops paired with elegant pants or jackets.
—Excess makeup. There may be a few things we all want to cover up — wrinkles included. Remember, all these classmates are the same age as you (and, yes, some have aged better than others). Stick to a youthful look and don’t go overboard with obviously fake eyelashes, clown blush or lavender hair. Use this special occasion to put on a fresh face. Book an appointment with a makeup artist weeks in advance. Talk to your hairstylist about updating your hair. Don’t forget pedicure and manicure appointments.
—Too “too” clothes. You know the ones: too tight, too bare, too low-cut, too short. Steer clear of the current crop of cropped tops that bare your stomach. No one wants to see how toned your stomach is even after three kids and thirty years. Try too hard and you’ll look too desperate. Instead concentrate on looking your best in colors and styles that flatter your body, no matter what shape it is in. Then have fun, and don’t worry about what you’re wearing. After all, everyone else is usually thinking about one person: themselves.
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Secrets of Stress-Free Vacations with Kids
Family vacations can be either delightful or disastrous — it depends greatly on your attitude and the care you devote to research and planning.
Adjust your attitude. Here is the first rule of family vacations: Parents on vacation really aren’t on vacation. If you can unload personal expectations that you will be relaxed and refreshed when it’s over, you won’t be disappointed when you’re not. And if you do get a little R&R along the way, consider it an unexpected bonus.
Be realistic about cost. Decide ahead of time how much cash you have for this vacation. If you have, say, a family of five and $500 to spend, don’t even think about a couple of days at Disney World. Always consider the money you have first, and then design a vacation that will realistically fit within that financial boundary.
Be realistic about time. Don’t try to stretch your available cash to cover the maximum time you have to be away from home. Divide what you can spend by a reasonable daily budget to determine how many days you can be gone. Carefully consider all the costs, not only the admission fees and overnight accommodations. Instead of full weeks, consider day trips or a weekend vacation. When it comes to family vacations, quality is considerably more important than quantity.
Single parents. It is really tough to go it alone. If you have more than one child, full vacation responsibility can be overwhelming. You need help, so consider staying with relatives or travelling with a group. Sharing the trip with another single-parent family with kids the same age can reduce costs significantly. It will relieve your anxiety and stress, too.
Involve the kids. If everyone is involved in making the plans and saving the money, you will prevent lots of problems. Let the kids have a say in where you will go. Talk about how much money you have to spend. Show the kids what it costs to eat in a restaurant, spend the night in a hotel or buy tickets for the amusement park. Look at travel guides to find the best bargains for the amenities you agree on. Also, take a look at a brand new resource, “Planning Successful Family Vacations: A guide for traveling with kids.” Encourage everyone in the family to think of ways to cut back to allow more money for activities or what you have decided is top priority.
Envelope method. There’s nothing like a good visual to keep a vacation based in reality. Large colorful envelopes are ideal, one for each day to hold that day’s allotted cash. Design the outside for the spending record so you can keep track of where the money is going.
Living-history museums. There are at least 2,000 living-history museums around the country, where the past seems as real as the present and learning is a joyous adventure. Spring and summer are the best times to visit because there are so many special children’s programs and family events. Many can be seen in an afternoon, while others might require the entire weekend. I suggest you start with a virtual visit. Go to www.alhfam.org, the site of The Association for Living History Farms and Agricultural Museums located in every area of the U.S. and Canada, where you can take a virtual tour of wonderful places like the Jamestown Settlement in Williamsburg, Virginia, The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan and Conner Prairie in Fishers, Indiana, to name just a few. You can find hours of operation, entrance fees as well as the programs they offer currently.
Whether you plan to travel this summer or design a stay-at-home vacation, it’s not too early to start planning. Besides, half the fun is the anticipation!
Mary invites questions, comments and tips at email@example.com, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website and the author of “Debt-Proof Living,” released in 2014.
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Seven Signs of Spring
By: Sharon Mosley
Let the vibes from the Age of Aquarius be your guide when you shop for your spring wardrobe this year. There’s a retro inspiration to the clothes you’ll see all reinvented this spring for a whole new generation — and maybe even for a few of us who lived through it all.
Here are seven signs that you’re on the right path:
—Let it flare. The legs have it this season. Whether it’s cropped culottes, washed jeans, flared jumpsuits or high-waisted trousers, the wide-leg pants are striding into the 70s spotlight. They’re perfect to wear with all the chunky platforms. Think a little “Saturday Night Fever” and “Dancing in the Moonlight.
—Go boho with tunics. Whether they’ve got lots of flower power or embroidered and crocheted with Moroccan designs, the “peasant” tops are once again proving that this is the top to top it all off this spring and summer. Wear them in a gauzy explosion of color in loose flowing cotton, or make them work for you at work when they are more like longer shirts, all tailored and belted.
—Skirt the issue. The wrap skirt was a 70s fashion hit, thanks to designer diva Diane Von Furstenberg, and it’s once again twirling around in trendy circles. But skirts this season are also going long and longer. From midi to maxis, there really is something for everyone — unless, of course, you are a Katherine Hepburn, who loved wearing her beloved pants!
—Swing in the trenches. OK, so the trench coat didn’t exactly originate in the 70s, but in new loose and swingy shapes and lightweight colorful suede, it’s the perfect coat/jacket for chilly spring days and nights. Worn over cropped pants and platform shoes, it’s a great segue way into warmer weather.
—Print it. Nothing says 70s like giant paisleys, graphic flowers, sweet ginghams and abstract blocks of color, and, of course, psychedelic rainbow watercolors, patchwork and tie-dyes. What a way to wake up your wardrobe! Add at least one of these new prints to your wardrobe this season and see how much you want to sing. Come on, get hippie!
—The wedge platform. Yes, there are lots of names for the footwear that is strutting its stuff down the runway this spring — call them clogs, mules, wedges or platforms — they come in all heights and in all kinds of designs. From the tall and sublime to the flat and fabulous (that is, comfy Dr. Scholl’s style), these shoes are typical of the 70s, when the wooden heel ruled.
—The fringed handbag. Another classic from the decade when fringe was flying on everything. Whether it’s a hobo satchel or a cross-body leather bag, a handbag trimmed with this bohemian detail will instantly update your wardrobe. And yes, you too can get hippie, even if you’re on the fringe of this fashion trend.
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Investing in the Classics for a New Season
By: Sharon Mosley
As a new season slowly begins to peek out above the snow and the daffodils, and closets get cleaned out in preparation for sunnier days, it’s time to separate the classics from the trends. Think about new ways to take those basic pieces that we return to year after year and mix them up for a whole new lease on fashion life.
“Trends now cycle so quickly that forgotten dry cleaning is considered ‘vintage,'” says Kendall Farr, one of my favorite fashion stylists and author of “The Pocket Stylist.” However, Farr reminds us that there are some common themes that consistently recycle in every new fashion season.
“They resurface with frequency in new guises,” she says, “because they give designers and us an accessible way to mix pieces, to add contrasts to a look, to expand conventional ideas about masculine and feminine attire, or to add surface interest to an outfit.”
So before you get too busy clearing away the clutter, check out a few of these “classics” that you can count on keeping in your closet this spring:
— A Lace Skirt: A great basic, especially in black or an unexpected color, a lace skirt can be dressed up or down, according to Farr. “Pair it easily with a turtleneck and boots and a leather jacket as well as a soft knit top and sexy heels for cocktails.”
— Slip Dress or Skirt: Another year-round piece that pairs well with textured cardigan sweaters and as underpinnings with all weights of tailored or tough jackets and coats.
—Camisole: The ultimate layering piece in soft silk, cotton or lace, camisoles have become a must-have basic for all seasons of the year. They are also a great way to add a pop of the latest color to any outfit.
— The Leather Jacket: As classic as a good handbag, leather jackets with a nipped waist or refined sporty shape in black or dark brown will go with just about everything in your closet.
—Military Looks: Whether its inspiration is Army, Navy or safari, the military-inspired jackets and coats have stood the test of time, particularly if they are classic in style and don’t have an abundance of exaggerated details, i.e. huge lapels, cuffs or buttons. However, wearing military-inspired pieces head to toe is not too much of a good thing.
—Sheer Tops: Another great layering classic to have in your wardrobe, especially the solid chiffon shirt in pastels or primary colors. Layer these over stretchy camisoles in a tonal color combination. Or wear a sheer top under a jacket for work. And remember the “bra-under-sheer” thing is passe, says Farr. “It has a kind of American-Idol-contestant quality that is best avoided. Not to mention the visual miscalculation of slicing your upper body into thirds. Keep the line underneath long, unbroken, and fitted by wearing a stretch camisole with an underwire bra cup built in.”
—Metallics: A great way to make your wardrobe shine. Farr’s best bets for longevity: A skirt in a classic shape such as a pencil or slight A-line, a seasonless coat, a fitted jacket, sweater knits, and accessories. And of course, be sure to go subtle with the metallic. “Keep the tones understated and they’ll pair better with day-to-day staples like jeans, white shirts and lightweight knits that will give the look its daytime edge,” she says.
—Textured Knits: If your wardrobe is full of solid colors, then add some texture to perk up your pieces. But beware of getting too bulky with chunky sweaters, says Farr. “The more heft to the texture, the more volume it will add to your body. Pair your knits with smooth, lightweight wool, silk, linen or denim.”
—Prints. Add a touch of the latest fashion news with a trendy print. But again, pay attention to the scale of the pattern. “Good bets for all body sizes,” says the stylist, are “midscale prints in tonal color combinations on medium to light-hued grounds, graphic black and white combinations like blown-up houndstooth or geometric patterns.”
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Turning Style Inside Out
By: Sharon Mosley
“Now that we’ve all turned the pages over to a new year, and hopefully cleaned out a closet or two, it’s time to make another commitment — a commitment to yourself,” says Bobbi Thomas, an NBC style editor and author of “The Power of Style.”
“Remember, work on manifesting a healthier image,” says Thomas, who has shared her style advice on hundreds of segments on the Today show. “Don’t approach a mirror on a seek-and-destroy mission. Use the mirrors around you like your friends, your home, the way you carry yourself to brilliantly reinforce and reflect your best qualities.”
Thomas understands that style often begins on the inside. Here are some of her tips to get us started with a new attitude in the new year.
— Act the part. “Body language is the only constant form of communication,” she says, citing the fact that over 90 percent of communication is nonverbal, so be aware of what your body language and overall style is saying about yourself.
— Appearances matter. “Make sure your verbal and nonverbal messages are in sync. Pay attention to how people react to you when you first meet them and what they are reacting to. Use nonverbal communication to reinforce, not compete with your personality, goals and interests.”
— Speak up. “Your style is a layer of language you wear, communicating on your behalf and being perceived by others,” she reminds us. “Consider yourself a brand worthy of accurate promotion, and understand who you are and what you want to say. Use your style-speak to pinpoint your message based on your goals and intentions.”
— Know your worth. “Make sure you place your value in constant, intrinsic qualities that can’t be taken away,” says the style editor. “Accept yourself and know that you’re worth the time, energy and effort it takes to invest in yourself and your packaging.”
— Put a plan into practice. “You are your own priority, and input equals output, so put effort into committing to your own style journey. Set a style budget, find time for fittings and conjure up an ideal version of you as your goal.”
— Package yourself. Thomas suggests finding our favorite color upon which to build a flattering wardrobe. While most of us fall into one of two categories — warm colors (browns, reds, dusty yellows and earthy greens) or cool colors (sea colors like blues, emerald greens and purples) determined by our skin tones, there are hundreds of variations of undertones that play a role in determining what colors look best on us. A skilled makeup artist at your favorite boutique or department store can often help you find what color palette will work best.
— Consider body shape. We often think in terms of size when it comes to making choices about what to wear, says Thomas. But it’s all about determining the shape of our bodies, not size, and then creating an illusion best suited for each individual. Petite frames should concentrate on clothes that lengthen the body — vertical lines, low-contrast color combos, up-and-down prints, long necklaces and scarves, shoe colors that blend with skin, hosiery or pants and shorter hairstyles. Slender or tall body types look best in clothes that create curves and minimize height: horizontal lines and patterns, separates and contrasting colors, larger-scale prints, tiers or ruffles and bold accessories.
“People say that when you feel good, you look good,” says Thomas. “While the exact opposite has also become somewhat of a cliche, I say that when you look good, you at least feel better. Life doesn’t have to start five pounds from now, and it didn’t end five years ago.”
She reminds us that in the new year to be sure “you are using fashion as a way to reflect the best version of who you are today and every day.”
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Man Up: Menswear’s
Okay guys … you can breathe. After several seasons of skintight sartorial trends, menswear designers are loosening up. While the slim and trim silhouette is still a major look, there’s more room to grow into fuller trousers, slouchier jackets and oversized coats. So relax, here are a few ways you can ease into this holiday season in style … and you may even get a few ideas to put on your gift list.
—First, pick a color. The traditional colors of the season — red and green — are the colors of the year. But these hues are anything but traditional. The crimson tide rolls in with a twist of reddish brown tinge that makes dark burgundy a hit, in everything from velvety blazers to rugged belts and shoes. Green is another menswear favorite this season, in shades ranging from rich forest greens to military olives to cool teals and mints. Think about picking out a new suit in mossy green instead of your go-to navy.
—Red and green can all be teamed with the neutral of the year — gray. Gray balances out the more dramatic jewel tones to give them masculine appeal. Brown, which is always a fall favorite, is another neutral that plays well with the reds and greens of the season, especially when done in accessories.
—Pick a layering piece. Lightweight layers — T-shirts, shirts, jackets and coats — can provide an interesting way to add new colors and textures into your wardrobe and also experiment with new ways to wear the clothes you already have in your closet.
—The layering piece to buy this fall is the lightweight knit roll-neck top or turtleneck. Wear them under hefty sweaters for an instant update. You can also team these knit tops with vests for another easy layering option. Wear them over corduroys for an update to more casual jeans.
—Pick a pattern: it’s all about graphic design this season. One new shirt or sport coat in a colorful plaid can transform those everyday jeans, workaday suits or jackets. Brighten up your basics with a bold check in teal green or rich rusty red. Then add another pattern with your tie. This can be tricky, but stick to the same color palette for best results if you choose to layer patterns on top of patterns.
—Pick a new pair of pants. If the slimmer pants of the past few seasons haven’t been your look, then you’re in luck this fall. The slightly baggier trousers reminiscent of the ’40s and ’70s are making a comeback with lots of new alternatives. Don’t be afraid to at least try on a pair of higher-waisted pants or trousers with flared legs. And if you really want to relax, go for a new pair of jogger pants or flannel pajama pants.
—Pick a new coat: now is the perfect time to add a new piece of outerwear. Don’t settle for boring and basic. You probably already have plenty of those kinds of coats in your closet. Instead, check out the new slouchier silhouettes in soft shearlings, wool pea coats or leather moto jackets — or try a colorful puffer vest to wear over shirts and sweaters.
—Pick a great new accessory. Of course, the holidays are always a great time to scout out some extra additions to your wardrobe … a velvet scarf in a jewel tone color, a matching bow tie and pocket square, a soft knit beanie with matching scarf, colorful novelty socks, a pair of Chelsea boots or maybe a packable down jacket. Buy them for yourself or put them on your gift list — your picks, your way!
To find out more about Sharon Mosley, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2015 CREATORS.COM
Fashion Flash: Proceed with Caution
Want to get a leg up on one of fashion’s hottest trends? Then kick start your fall wardrobe with a new pair of leggings that will have you zooming in and out of the fast lane in a flash. However, there are definitely a few roadblocks to this trend ahead. Here are some tips from the fashion police who have taken note of a few fellow fashionistas crossing the caution line.
Don’t mistake leggings for pants. I hate to start off on a negative note, but this violation can be critical. Not all leggings are created equal, and there are dozens of fabric weights and finishes to choose from — however, they all have one thing in common: They are slim-fitting, if not downright tight. The thin, cotton leggings that are borderline tights that you may wear to yoga class are NOT suitable to wear to the office unless you are perhaps wearing them under an ankle-length maxi skirt.
Do check out new textures and trends. The newest leggings go way beyond the gym-class variety. From nubby twills to heavy ponte knits to leather and suede, these leggings are much more forgiving of the “jiggle” factor often associated with skimpier versions. Ditto for jeggings that combine denim jeans with the look of leggings. Some of the newer, thicker leggings can actually do double duty as pants in some cases. (See the next rule.)
Don’t forget to layer, layer, layer. This is the best way to avoid getting a major fashion fine. Cover, cover, cover your … yes, butt. Now, I know they come in all sizes and shapes, but this is a no-brainer. The longer your tunic top, cardigan sweater, jacket, etc., the better. And there are many ways to CYB: Layer close-fitting finger-tip camisoles under cropped sweaters; team bomber-style jackets with long, sheer tunics or pair short dresses and skirts with leggings. Keep your head-to-toe look in tonal colors, layering solid colors on top of patterned leggings, and vice versa with solid leggings and patterned tops.
Do allow for shrinkage. Since many of us have been wearing leggings for a few years now, it’s tempting to just keep recycling them year after sweaty year of workouts and washes. Then you get leggings that shrink up to your knees and dingy ones that have faded way past their prime. Leggings are not like denim that gets better with age and wear. But the great thing about the new roundup of leggings is that you can find very affordable alternatives that will automatically update those old favorites that desperately need replacing.
Don’t underestimate the shoes you wear with your leggings. Footwear can make or break the long lean line of this fashion statement. For fall, leggings can be tucked into flat knee-high or ankle boots for one of the best looks around. A word of caution about wearing high heels with leggings: proceed with care — save the stilettos for the party scene. You definitely don’t want to get a tacky ticket for this one.
COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM
Flips and Flops: Summer Shoe Trends
Step up your shoe game this summer and try on a few of these trends for a quick style change. Here are some of my picks for the hottest (and not so hot) ways to put your best feet forward this summer:
—Get Sporty. Sneakers are hot, hot, hot fashion picks right now. Take your cues from the fluorescent hues showing up on the soccer field. From tropical bright florals at Puma to neon leather lace-ups at Nike, there are plenty of ways to stand out in these spirited athletic shoes. Even sporty sneakers at Chanel get their kicks from Day-glo colors.
And you can’t beat the old favorites like high-top sneakers and canvas slip-ons that just keep getting better and better with updated styles. Check out the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star in vintage pop-art prints or the classic canvas slip-ons at Bucket Feet designed by artists from around the world. Tres chic.
On the flop side, sky-high wedge sneakers. They may be a “high” fashion design, but they don’t seem much like comforting soles to me. I like my sneakers a little more down to earth, thank you.
—Sing the “Thong Song.” Thongs are definitely part of the summer shoe scene. From the lowly rubber flip-flop to the jeweled kitten heel, they are the staples most of us turn to when we want to beat the heat. The newest flip-flops are anything but boring. Check out the kaleidoscopic prints on my favorite — Havaianas.
The flops? Jelly thongs. Dressed up with bows and baubles, they may be the cutest things ever, but in steamy weather, you get steamy feet. Talk about slip-sliding away.
—Resort to sandals. Another classic summer footwear basic, sandals come in all shapes and sizes this year. There really is something for everyone. If you’re into comfort and style, you’ll love the newly designed sport sandals. Teva, an old favorite developed by a Grand Canyon river guide over 30 years ago, has reintroduced the “Original Universal” nylon webbed sport sandal in a host of colors. Birkenstock, another classic company that’s been in the shoe business for 230 years, has spruced up its iconic comfort brand with colorful choices that still go easy on the feet with their cork footbed sandals.
Some of the “hottest” sandals of the season are hybrid styles — half boot/half sandal. But to me, these booties need to be worn in the cooler months. Even though wearing biker boots to the beach with your miniskirt may seem to be the cool thing to do, it makes me sweat just to think about it. Not much breathing room there — definitely a “hot” flop.
—Shine on. The metallics are brimming over in summer shoe news. From Vans metallic leather slip-ons and sequined napa leather espadrilles at Jimmy Choo to glittering high-tops at Gucci and mirrored leather pumps from Alice and Olivia, shimmer is stepping out for all occasions — both casual and formal.
And while you may want to try these sparklers out at work, be warned: wearing those designer stilettos to an outdoor wedding can be treacherous. You can sink to all kinds of new lows fast, and you don’t want to get stuck with that shoe flop, now do you?
COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM
Top 10 Spring 2014 Style Picks for Men
By: Sharon Mosley
“Spring fashion for men is all about dressing to fit a certain lifestyle,” says Tom Julian, men’s fashion director for The Doneger Group, a merchandising and retail consultant group based in New York City. “Men continue to shop for themselves and realize that there are many ways to dress, whether they are a CEO-type, traveling road warrior, a bookworm student, a reality show wannabe star or a traditional Dad.” Here are Julian’s top 10 style picks for the upcoming season:
—Slim-fit printed shirt/printed T-shirt — Think of the sport shirt gone artful with prints that range from tropical florals to kitschy to geometrics. Pair with updated classics like chinos or summer staples like Bermuda shorts.
—Chambray shirt/shorts — The utility fabric that works on top or bottom. This lightweight fabric is soft, easy and great for layering. This season, there is more denim on denim — a range of blues from light to dark.
—The fashion polo — The country club classic goes modern with new shapes and different details. We have seen the polo receive designer touches, such as contrast sleeves, button-down collars and pocket variations. Our top pick would be the color-blocked shirt that allows more of a graphic focus on the chest or shoulders. This can help to de-emphasize a stomach or torso.
—The fashion sweatshirt — Fashion designers have embraced the old-school sweatshirt and have turned it into a modern must-have in a wide range of fabrics and prices. We like the idea of the French terry sweatshirt that has accents or some type of artful touch. Maybe it’s the contrast trim at the collar and sleeves, or maybe it’s the fabric piecing in cotton at the back or side seams. Many young men are wearing the sweatshirt in unexpected ways, including teaming it with seersucker pants, embroidered cotton trousers or with casual colorful cotton three-fourths length pull-on pants.
—Nautical-inspired separates — No longer limited to navy and white, many of the men’s specialty brands and shops have taken a new look at nautical and turned it into tongue-in-cheek fun country club dressing, using nautical stripes and patterns in a mix of natural or earthy colors, as well as kaleidoscopic and bright hues. The cotton knit jacket is perfect for wearing on a yacht, but also fine for stylish evenings when paired with a v-neck T-shirt and pastel-colored trousers.
—Swim trunks — A range of shapes and fabrics has allowed this beach item to act as a street item. Look for a fully constructed waist with a zip-fly front and inset (elastic for more comfort), or go with the retro-inspired surf trunk. These bottoms are also printed and graphic and available in florals, geometrics and foulard prints, which are almost like a necktie pattern. After looking at recent photos from the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, the tank will be the layering item of the season.
—White stories — From the blazer (inspired by this year’s men at the Oscars) to the jean, white is a tonal story that many men may embrace, especially because of the ease in wearing natural hues and having lots of layering options.
—The jogger — The newest item, a must-have for the contemporary dresser, is a cross between a jogging pant and some type of cargo bottom, especially because of the pockets and utility features, like elastic and buttons. The best way to wear these pants is loose, with a casual jacket and a simple T-shirt. Some directional men like the drop-crotch style that mirrors the MC Hammer pants of the ’80s.
—Linen sport coats — The past few years have been about the cotton sport coat, but now we see emerging an unconstructed one, preferably in shades of blue. The style should be a two-button single or four-on-two double-breasted. We also like that linen jackets are being designed with a single or double pleat. I prefer the double!
—The bomber jacket — Outerwear has become a category with lots of options and many stylish concepts. The bomber was always military- or fall-focused. Now the bomber can work with bright colors. Prints allow the jacket to become the key focus, especially when worn with light or dark denim jeans.
—Don’t forget accessories. Key extras this season include the bucket hat (reversible print to solid), designer high-top sneakers and a braided wristband or bracelet.
COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM