Crop, Ankle, Capri….What’s the Difference?

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Nothing like accosting friends for a self-serving picture! Well, I did just that to Laura Musser at a recent CPWN meeting and to Cheryl McComas by the Peeps at Wegmans.  Poor things, but I couldn’t help myself, they were the perfect models to help me differentiate ankle-crops from capris.

A cropped pant is actually anything that’s shorter than a regular/standard hem.  They make casual, summer dressing stylish and easy, while also crossing over into year round business attire. The characteristic that distinguishes them is where they fall in-between the bottom of your knees and the tops of your feet . Time to make some sense out of all of this:

  • Ankle pants(typically referred to as cropped pants) – hit right above the ankle.  They are often tapered or straight, though we are also seeing a lot of flared-cropped jeans this year.  Pair dressier ankle-crops with sharp booties, regular and/or pointy toe pumps for a modern-classic look.
  • Capri pants– typically more casual and they fall about halfway between the knees and ankles. Therefore, they are obviously shorter than ankle pants and also a little trickier to wear.  Why? Because they can shorten the look of the leg if you aren’t tall. But don’t let that stop you, just avoid the hem hitting at the widest part of your calf.  Instead, try to find capris that fall where your shin indents.  A good tip is to pair with wedge sandals to add height and lengthen the legs.   And unless they’re culottes, look for slim and skimming fits.
  • Cropped Flare Jeans– are a big trend this year.  A friend said they remind her of Cpt. Kirk pants, so it’s a good thing I love all things original Star Trek, including Cpt. James T. Kirk! (haa)  Throw on a light-wash pair with blush colored fashion sneaks and a slouchy, front tucked tank and you’ll be set for a spring day of shopping or sightseeing around the Baltimore-Washington area.  Full disclosure, I don’t own a pair of these yet, but I’m on the lookout!

Many people have strong opinions on whether the above pants are flattering or not, but those people are not you! So give em’ a try and see what you think.  My bet is there’s a version out there for all of us!

You as Art

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I’ve been called a piece of work, but a piece of art? Guess that depends on the art. Visions of  black-velvet paintings of dogs playing poker are popping into my head (LOL).  But last week as I read a blog titled “How Early Childhood Shapes Our Self-Image and Style” by Carla Mathis, it got me thinking about this subject.  Carla is a world renown Image Consultant and owner of The Style Core in CA. I received my Styling Certification through her company. One of the first assignments I had to complete was to send Carla my favorite pictures of art, nature and architecture.  I had forgotten how powerful this exercise was.  The thought is that when you are describing why you like your favorites, you are describing yourself.   As you can read in her blog highlighted above, the client she was working with had a disconnect between his everyday image/look and who he truly is and who he’s meant to be.

I challenge you to think about your favorites or even better, go round them up and take a looksie.  What does your art say about you? Are you elegant, sophisticated and classic? Maybe you’re quirky, colorful, funny and independent? Does your current look/style represent what is depicted in your favorites? If not, why not?  How can you get there?

The first thing you have to do is get really clear. Life Coach Stacey Andon and I would love to help you do just that with our “Find Your Authentic  Style” workshop on Saturday, March 18th. We want you to not only fall in love with your closet, but to think of yourself as a beautiful and unique piece of art.  If you plan on joining us, please bring a favorite picture of art, architecture and/or nature so that we can help you find and share your own beautiful shine!

What’s Your Idea of Age Appropriate?

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You could ask 50 people this question and get 50 different answers.  My job is to help my clients not only find their signature style, but also a style that will help them succeed in business and life.  Keeping that in mind, I will answer this question as honestly and straight forward as possible.

Age appropriate dressing is knowing who you are and what you want to project to attract the right stuff into your life.  It’s knowing you can dress youthfully without dressing young.  It’s knowing you can be sassy without overdoing sexy.  It’s knowing you can be more creative than in the past, while being considerate of the industry in which you work.  It’s definitely NOT dressing a certain way because you have reached a certain age…

So here are my suggestions:

  • Avoid extremes on either end of the too young or frumpy spectrum

Example – You have great legs and a current trend is a micro-mini  – then opt for a shorter skirt a few inches above the knees! Keep your shirt/top a bit more conservative because you’re showing a little leg.

Example – You’re self conscious about your weight and you wear everything 2 sizes bigger than you actually are – STOP THAT RIGHT NOW!! This will make you look frumpy.  I challenge you (if and when your budget allows) to purchase several staple pieces (you wear often) in your actual, true size. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Example – Your Mom gave you several dresses she doesn’t wear anymore.  They’re in good condition, but your Mom’s body shape is different than yours and she’s 4 inches taller.  As wonderful as your Mama is, wearing these dresses will most likely not be in your best interest.  Things could get frumpy.

Example – You’re a size 2, same as your 16 year old daughter, but you’re 43 years old.  You borrow her low or high-rise ripped-to-shreds jeans (destroyed) and crop top.  As kickin’ as your bod is, this outfit won’t look the same on you.  You’ll look like you’re trying too hard. Instead, try a mildly distressed jean (not destroyed) with shorter top, but cover your stomach.  No worries, you’re still gonna sizzle.

  • If you’re second guessing your outfit then….

Listen to your gut.  Something is off and you won’t feel comfortable wearing it.

Remember, this is my opinion.  Anyone can wear whatever the heck they want to, but in the real world we are judged on how we put ourselves out there.  So let’s embrace our youthfulness and vibrancy, while ditching the frump or urge to compete with those 20 or 30 years our junior.

40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s represented!

Three Generations ……and a Guy

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My niece Ana took this impromptu picture of my Mom – Pat, Sister – Val (as you may have heard, she’s much older than me), Niece – Carly and Hubby – Will, over the Christmas Holidays.  It made me think about how Mom has influenced our style today (okay, not Will, but you get the idea).  Being the wife of an Army Officer, Mom had to do a lot of entertaining, so much so, I became an expert dish washer.  But I digress.  She always looked great when hosting a dinner for 20+ people. I don’t know how she did it. I get nervous just thinking about hosting a dinner for 4. Mom wasn’t taught about style growing up, it came to her naturally (though I’m gonna throw her a pass on the plaid seersucker pants she wore in the 70’s). People still tell me how pretty and stylish she is. I love that.

Val is 6 years older than me, so I don’t remember what she wore during high school/college. Since it was sooo long ago, bell bottoms were most likely involved. But I must admit, my Sis has great style. I like to call her look smart-modern classic with a bit of sass.  She finds the best deals on really nice pieces and creates color combos that are unique and stunning.  Val is also the master of getting rid of clothes she doesn’t wear. She shops more than I do, but her wardrobe is considerably smaller.

Carly’s style is sporty, outdoorsy, pretty and minimalist. She doesn’t stress over her wardrobe and that’s a good thing because she doesn’t have a lot of closet space in her city apartment.  Whether she’s hiking to the top of Mt. Whitney – yep she did that, or just hanging out, she always looks beautiful.  I think the beauty stems from her inner confidence.  She’s quite extraordinary in the most laid back way.

When I was 12, we moved to England for 2 years.  I went to a British girls school and we wore a rather traditional uniform. When we moved back to the states, I had no idea what the kids were wearing. I had weird shoes, big glasses and had never worn makeup. All of those components added up to one waaaay out-of-place little army brat in a Southern Belle metropolis.  It took a while, but I finally started to find my style (Flock of Seagulls – New Wave influences) and then it was time to move again.  Thank goodness I had already gone through the major ugly duckling phase and had graduated to somewhat-presentable for my senior year of high school here in Maryland.  Since then I’ve gone through many style phases – some horrible, some okay,  but they’ve all helped me figure what works and what doesn’t when it comes to my authentic style today.

So Mom, thank you for letting Val and me find our own way, while setting a beautiful example. xoxo

Hey Skinnies, You Aren’t The Only Game In Town

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I always knew my dear friend Patricia “Patsy” Marks was a trend-setter.  So if you’ve grown a weee bit tired of skinny jeans or you just want to add a fresh look to your repertoire, follow Patricia’s lead because voluminous clothing is a chic option!  And who doesn’t love options?

As this trend becomes more prominent, you may see models wearing volume on the top and bottom, but most of us aren’t 5′ 11″ and we’d get lost in all that fabric. Therefore we need to think balance like Ms Patricia is doing here:

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Full disclosure: Patricia is petite, but she’s also trim and looks great in most styles. While her print top does have volume, it skims over the girls and waist beautifully, offsetting the voluminous pants and creating a most flattering silhouette. Her body does not get lost in the volume.

Another option would be a top that’s shorter and more form fitting (not tight), reminiscent of Katherine Hepburn. Actually Kate Hepburn is the perfect example of some of the voluminous, menswear inspired styles awaiting us.

What if you’re not ready for voluminous pants or don’t think they would work for you, but find them intriguing? Well then, you’ve got to at least try on a few pairs, then make your command decision.  In the meantime you can keep the volume on the top half of your body.  An example would be a menswear inspired voluminous button-down shirt. Pair it with a tailored pant and you’re making the trend work for you.

I find voluminous styles rather freeing.  Let’s have fun channeling our inner Kate…… or even better, we can just follow that trend-setter Patricia!

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