Expanding Your Style Comfort Zone

By | style

Expand your comfort zone. I love how that sounds.  My friend Keith gave me that fresh perspective when it was time to take the next step with The Wright Fit.  The same can be said when it comes to our Personal Style.  While I totally believe in having “go-to” personal uniforms, unless we venture outside our comfy-style confines, we may never know what we’re missing.  My sister Val recently did just that, and as you’ll see, it can pay to seek the road less traveled.

Val and her husband were invited to a cocktail event in the DC area a few weeks ago.  She had a perfectly lovely LBD in her closet, but she wanted to take a risk and wear something different.  After a day or so of shopping and not finding what she was looking for, Val scheduled an appointment with a stylist she’d worked with before.  She specifically requested the stylist not bring over any sleeveless dresses.

So much for that! (haa)  Val fell in love with 2 sleeveless dresses her stylist had picked out.  And if she hadn’t been open to expanding her comfort zone more than she’d originally intended, Val  would’ve missed out on looking and feeling incredible!  Notice how the flowy, two-toned Grecian style dress shows off her toned arms and shoulders.  And how about the asymmetry of the whimsical bird dress? It’s extremely flattering.  Val called this one the “20 lb dress” because as soon as she put in on, she felt like she’d lost 20 pounds.

So if you’re tired of the same ole same ole, follow my Big Sis’s lead…. and expand YOUR comfort zone.

Clothes Shopping Strategies

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Raise your hand if you’re not fond of clothes shopping. Yep, that’s what I thought, lots of hands went up. Hey, I don’t like to empty the dishwasher, but if I haven’t timed it just right so that Will ends up doing it, I have to do the honors. The same goes with clothes shopping, sometimes we just have to do it.
Improve your shopping trip by wearing a stylishly, comfortable outfit. Wear makeup. Wear a supportive bra. Bring shoes and shape-wear to try on with the outfits you’re shopping for. Case in point: you’re looking for a cocktail dress to wear to a friend’s wedding and you head out directly from the gym. You have on sweaty workout clothes, a ball-cap and running shoes. There’s no way you’ll be able to get the true picture of how you’re going to look in that killer dress if you’re donning socks and clunky athletic shoes.
More sage advice…..don’t shop hangry, but watch the fiber intake before shopping too. Nothing is much worse than being totally bloated out while trying on jeans! (LOL) Do grab yourself a fun coffee or tea while you’re out-n-about.
Now that we’ve established how to get started, please read my Style File Side Bar in the current issue of Harford’s Heart MagazineClothes Shopping  – Learn To Love It. Give these strategies a try because they can make your clothes shopping experience way more productive and enjoyable.

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!