Monday, February 6, 2012

Manners Monday – “Dressing Appropriately for the Occasion & Beyond”

My daughters are eight and ten and they are slowly beginning to grasp the concept of dressing appropriately for the occasion.  After years of hearing me rant and rave when they attempt to leave the house in shorts and a t-shirt in the dead of winter or wear a miniskirt that exposes too much leg to a birthday party, they are finally beginning to listen.

Dressing should be equal parts common sense and individual style.  I think if you have one without the other, you get into trouble.  One should be able to determine when to throw on a scarf to keep warm and when to go easy on the cleavage to avoid becoming a distraction.  It is also imperative to learn how to dress for your particular frame.  Fashion stylists drill this rule into our heads and it is truly the first step to consider when dressing appropriately for any occasion.

This issue of what is appropriate and when to wear it has been popping up on our radar with more regularity. Most recently, we have been working with our clients going into their closets to streamline their wardrobes and establish which key classic pieces to add and our work has not been limited to just the United States, as I was recently contacted by a young women in the Philippines eager to learn what outfit to select for the woman on-the-go. 

You may not love Posh personally, but you gotta give it to the gal, she sure knows how to dress.  She rocks a drop-dead figure, but she never crosses the line of indecency.  She is always fashionable and polished looking and strikes a careful balance of makeup and accessories to enhance every look.  Whether you are an ideal size zero or a more realistic size six, heading to a job interview or dressing for a night out on the town, our guidelines below will ensure you avoid any missteps in the wardrobe department.

For Success. The perfect suit can land you the perfect job and the office is the number one place to err on the side of formal.  Go with something that has classic lines and choose a neutral color such as black, navy, brown, grey or beige. It can be a skirt suit, pant suit or dress suit. You can add a bit of color with your blouse, some accessories or a scarf.  The only time you can get away with dressing down is if you are interviewing with an Internet company and you are convinced that their corporate culture is casual.

To Impress.  When courting someone, we always want to make sure we are presenting our best self, not our best slutty self.  It is much more alluring to leave a few things for the imagination, so don’t feel you need to bare all.  Your hidden assets are best kept hidden.  A stylish dress paired with elegant heels that enhance the leg or a dark pair of jeans, a cute top and classic blazer are looks that can take you anywhere.  Less is definitely more, especially on the first date.

For Comfort. Rather than reaching for the washed out raggedy yoga paints and faded comfy tee. Invest in relaxing attire that you could wear not only to yoga, but to breakfast afterwards. You don’t have to break the bank by buying Lululemon, although they are a personal favorite, Target offers a similarly trendy selection. Purchase a pair of black (because they look the most slimming) stretch pants and pair it with a colorful tank and zip up jacket and you’ll be ready to go.

For Weather.  There are certain items that every girl must have in her arsenal.  A few scarves, a pair of gloves, a couple of hats (one for the beach and one for the snow), a nice trench coat for rain and a nice ¾ length coat for cold weather. I am a coat fanatic so I actually have plenty of coats on hand for all occasions.  When it comes to weather, it’s quite simple, dress accordingly. When it’s cold, put on a sweater, take a scarf and coat to keep warm. When it’s warm out, wear lighter clothing that breathes so that you are not sweating threw your silk blouse. Not a good look on a lady by the way.

Based on Age.  There is a company called Not Your Daughter’s Jeans for a reason. Moms, it just doesn’t look right to have your butt crack showing on the preschool playground.  Madonna may have gotten away with sporting black leather over-the-knee boots in her 50’s, but that was for Super Bowl, this is not what a 50+ year old should be wearing in real life! You can still look smart and totally put together dressing for your age.  In fact, you may even look more chic than you did in your 30’s. The key again here is classic lines with good tailoring. The more tailored an item of clothing is, the better it will fit on your frame.

The bottom line with dressing is that we want our outer beauty to reflect our inner attributes and paying attention to wardrobe selection helps to communicate the right message.  For an easy to comprehend list of wardrobe staples every woman cannot afford to live without, read here and then run, don’t walk to the stores!

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