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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It Doesn’t Happen Over Night

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What a beautiful young woman.  I had the pleasure of working with Jana on a closet-edit last year.  And let me tell you, she’s going for it.  Jana is currently an actress and Production Assistant in New York City. Go Jana! Go Jana!  But let’s back track to Jana being beautiful.  You probably assumed I was speaking of her physical beauty?  That was part of it, but I was mainly speaking of her authenticity and inner beauty.  Notice how even with subtle hair and makeup tweaks, we are automatically drawn to the “After” more polished Jana.  It’s okay, it’s human nature, and I believe we respect the effort put into looking nice.  Here’s the thing and it’s important; Jana’s “After look,” will open more doors for her.  She looks approachable and competent, all without losing her sense of identity.  Jana is discovering her authentic style at an early age.  She’s smart. The knowledge and the confidence that comes along with it, will enrich her life and career.  I wish I had had that foresight.

View More: I think about how my style has evolved over the years, I just chuckle.  Let’s see, in my early 20’s there was the bodycon (form fitting) dress phase.  Next we entered the dreaded stirrup-pants/large sweater phase.  Now that was a doozie.  I pretty much ruined a family Christmas trying to make that trend work.  My poor Mama.  From there we sashayed into the Rocker phase. This often consisted of prairie-type dresses with cowboy boots….don’t ask.  I don’t get it either, I just wore it.  Next was the “I’ve gained a little weight so I’ll wear the ultra flattering mom-jeans” phase.  No doubt you get that not-so-pretty picture.

What styles are you attracted to?  Do they work for your body-type? Do they work for your life? Are you projecting an authentic and polished image that will help you thrive?  These are all important questions to ask yourself.

If you need a little help in this area, please see How To Find Your Authentic Style Workshop flyer at the bottom of this post!

These days I feel more at ease with my style than ever before.  I’ve developed personal-uniforms I feel comfortable in and they allow my personality to show through.  Yep, it has taken a while, and my style will continually evolve, but the ride is quite a trip!

Jana’s hair and makeup by: Nicole Nikitaras of Coco Leigh Hair Boutique




HOW TO FIND YOUR AUTHENTIC STYLE– September 29, 2016, 6-7:30pm at FULL HEART SOUL~UTIONS on Main Street.


Style Guidelines, Not Rules

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When I first started personal styling, I was a “by the book” kind of gal. This absolutely lead to a few frustrating client/stylist shopping trips.  As with many aspects of life, the rules in style, often need to be broken.

You’ve  probably heard these little ditties before :

*don’t wear white after Labor Day

* no one over 50 should have long hair, it weighs you down

* if you’re petite, don’t wear maxi-dresses or crop pants

* everyone should own a white button down

*everyone should own a cashmere sweater

* don’t dress too old

*don’t dress too young

* if you’re plus size, stick to classics

WHAAAT??? If we followed all those rules many of us would have to walk around in our birthday suits, and personally I find the Maryland winters a bit too chilly for that.

So take the style rules with a grain of salt.  Use style “guidelines” to your advantage and then let your personality take over.  I will use myself as an example.  I have an hourglass/triangle body type.  If I followed the rules, I would typically highlight my waist.  But my body has, shall-we-say, redistributed a bit more around my waistline of late (insert sheepish grin).  So unless I’m feeling particularly fit, I probably won’t want to highlight my waist, because it can make me feel self-conscious and fidgety.

Therefore I’ve fallen in love with airy shift and swing dresses.  They bypass the waist and can work on any silhouette.  The summer-fall transition season is a perfect time to take one for a test drive.  They are everywhere from Bel Air’s Main Street to most of the chain stores.  Pair them with booties, leggings, tall boots, fashion sneaks, flats, jackets, scarves…the sky’s the limit.  Have fun, look stylish and be comfy! Hey, that sounds pretty good, maybe it should be TWF’s newest motto!

Here’s a 30 second video and pic-collage to help you find your swingy-shift dress style!

swing dress

Terry MCGill, owner of The Jordan Thomas Salon and Spa looks amazing in her swing dress.  Terry is very petite, so the dress hitting above her knees keeps the look in proportion to her small frame.

Val purchased this shift dress at Urban Pearl.  Here she models a great summer-fall or winter-spring transitional outfit.  And she’s my cute, much- older- sister.. heeehee

The lavender shift dress from Street Boutique can also be worn as a tunic…. and it’s scrumptious!

Thanks for your time,