Aug 122010

At one time or another we’ve all asked the question. Does this make me look fat? It might.

Is it:

1) The wrong silhouette, or shapeless altogether?

2) Too small?

3) Put together in such a way that it creates a focal point where you would rather not have one? Like the wannabe glamourous young lady in black pants and black sweater, swath of white lace encircling her hips & derriere?

(A friend of mine used one of these long shirts with the lace hem to create a much more flattering look: matching the lace to the color of her skirt, she created the effect of a coordinating lace belt, and wore a contrasting top over.)

If creating a slimmer appearance is your foremost fashion concern, the book Does This Make Me Look Fat?: The Definitive Rules for Dressing Thin for Every Height, Size, and Shape, may be worth investing in. Read a lengthy excerpt at her website.

Aug 042010

The Triumph of Individual Style coverIf you were to own only one “what (not) to wear” book, this is the one to buy!  It is a college art text.  Formerly no less than $68, Amazon now has sells it for quite a bit less.   Here is their book review:

Book Description
This text aims to teach the reader how to assess her body type and then choose clothing that looks good on her. The process involves what the authors call an individual’s “design pattern.” This pattern is made up of lines, shapes, proportions, body particulars, scale, colors, and textures. How they fit together in harmony and how an individual infuses them with her innate creativity is what authors call “style.”Text Features:

1.Principles of art as they apply to understanding and enhancing the female body
2.Art reproductions from museums such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Musee du Louvre, illustrating women’s body forms and surface features
3.Hundreds of line drawings suggest contemporary wardrobe strategies
4.Two color wheels and pages of charts for skin, eye, and hair color.
5. Provides color swatches to create a color wheel

Personally, after studying this book, I have found that there is a way to figure out any “what-to-wear” problem “from scratch”, providing freedom from the legalism of following somebody else’s list of “shoulds” and “how-tos”.

If you’ve been considering taking the plunge, now could be the time! (My copy was a birthday gift from my hero.)

Jul 302010

dressing-the-man.jpgHere’s a tip borrowed from the guys:  If you are going to buy a blazer this fall, or a sweater or a vest, your best color option is — drumroll please — your haircolor. Picture it. Your hair and your jacket working together to form a frame to flatter your face, making it the focal point of your outfit.

(Since I am not likely to find a silver suit, I have bought two brown tweed suits – one with trousers, one with a skirt -to wear this fall.)

Jul 232010

In the Dressing Room with Brenda (Kinsel). Don’t I wish!

After seeing what books I was going to need for my fall classes the other day, I headed to the used book store. There, I picked up this little book for some light summer reading. 🙂  If you click on the picture of the cover, you may find an offer from Amazon for you to get the book for even less than I paid for it.

Under the header “The ‘Me Glorious Me’ Notebook”, Brenda describes several of what I would term idiom identification exercises, including “Moving Away From, Moving Toward”.  Because for me wardrobe development is such a process, this particular exercise described alot of what was going on in my head anyway.  So I decided to write it down.  Some of these trends in my wardrobe are several seasons old, others are fresh thoughts.

Moving Away From                                  Moving Toward

turtlenecks                                                 scarves
vertical & horizontal lines                             diagonals & tight curves
heather gray                                                pewter
v-necks                                                       scoop necks
sweaters                                                     vests
green                                                          purple
matte                                                          shiny
cool colors, esp. black                                 warm colors, esp. peach

Here’s the beginning of my list.  This is a great time of year for this kind of thinking.  What are you moving away from and moving toward?

Nov 182009

While I’m cooking on the innovative approach Dressing Your Truth represents, perhaps a pictorial example or two are in order.  To learn your “energy type”, read the book It’s Just My Nature!

A flat boot selection for each energy type:
1. light, upward movement
2.  fluid, flowing movement
Steve Madden - Tyller (Grey Suede) - Footwear
3. active, reactive movement
Sporto - Patch (Chestnut Suede) - Footwear
4. constant, still movement
Bandolino - Paschel (Black/Black Synthetic) - Footwear

BTW, see boot #1?  Those are my newest footwear!  They are Puma’s and my hero bought them for me (for $45) from an online liquidator.  Light colored footwear is generally a no-no for me, as is a mid-calf height boot, but for whatever reason, and I’m sure it’s more complicated than energy movement, they work for me.

Any insights?

Nov 102009

Is it possible that an Artist-Creator intentionally included hints of our personality on our faces?  That is the kindest, gentlest, and most theologically correct way for me to introduce the idea that Carol Tuttle (proponent of “The Law of Attraction” and other extra-biblical spiritual teachings) may have produced a helpful wardrobing tool in her system  Energy Profiling.

Her premise is not unlike DISC, in that she divides everyone into four groups. Based on the “movement” of a person’s energy, her Types are noted by:

  1. light, upward movement
  2. fluid, flowing movement
  3. active, reactive movement
  4. constant, still movement

(I’ll leave it to you to decide whether or not those correspond roughly to disc designations or not.)  The part that’s hard for me to buy is this:  under the resulting Dressing Your Truth system, literally everything is suggested by one’s primary energy movement.  Fabrics, prints, colors, career choices, all depend on the which of the four Types of energy expression predominates in you.

A paranthetical word about four division systems:  when Carole Jackson came out with Color Me Beautiful, it worked for enough people to become a phenomenon.  But it didn’t really work for me, or many others, until the twelve division system was introduced, adding chroma (color saturation) to temperature and value.  With Carol Tuttle’s Energy Profiling system, I look forward to seeing further refinements.  Will she describe how to incorporate a second-strongest “energy movement”?  Can the four groups be somehow subdivided to be more specific?

The creepiest thing about this system is the assertion that one’s “energy type” is visible in one’s facial features.  (What if my face doesn’t look like what I know I’m like on the inside?  See this post’s opening question.)  For the purpose of this review, the Dressing Your Truth professionals invited me to send in a photograph.  Lo and behold!  They agreed with my assessment of myself as a Type 1.

Applying the principles:

  • over and over, the point is made:  it’s okay to be yourself.  How much of my wardrobe trauma could be done away with if the only voice I listened to in my head was my own?
  • most of the specific recommendations for my “energy type” I could have worked out “longhand”, applying the principles taught in The Triumph of Individual Style : A Guide to Dressing Your Body, Your Beauty, Your Self. But it’s nice to have it in “big picture”.
  • the color system just doesn’t work universally the way it’s layed out.  However, for the person who’s truly had it wrong, it may present an improvement.
  • the big, BIG deal:  HAIR CUT AND STYLE!  I truly have not found anything better at suggesting hair-style, hair-style which has such a profound impact on one’s appearance.

Now, go back to the list of descriptive words for the four types.  Most of the “types” suggest hair-style in the two-word description.  Does one of those appeal to you?  Personally, I am going to specifically instruct my stylist to make sure my hair never looks neat and tidy, ahem, that is, constant and still.   And I’m planning on going a little shorter.  Or upward and light. 🙂

Oct 082008

Brenda Kinsel's Fashion Makeover cover“Accessories are also the infrastructure of a well-designed outfit.  If you don’t have it, your outfit will crumble.”

Brenda Kinsel, from the book Brenda Kinsel’s Fashion Makeover

In the course of focusing on my own comeback, I have finally come to the place in my wardrobe life where I recognize my need for a basic assortment of accessories.  Serendipitously, I am also reading this book.  Allow me to go out on a limb here and suggest that if you, like me, are an accessory retard, this book could change that.  The author does a fabulous job keeping accessories in their proper role, suggesting pieces which support your personal coloring and relate to the scale of your facial features.

She also suggests, after going through what you have and deciding what to keep, but before shopping, that you play with your accessories, grouping them by color (including metals).  Take photos.

Without even doing the project I know what I need:  necklaces.

  • silver to support my hair color (I already have pearls),
  • pink to add color near my face when wearing a neutral outfit, and
  • brown to enhance my eyes and complete the infrastructure effect of brown buttons and belt.

Often when getting dressed, I know I need a third color near my face.  Without a necklace (or scarf, but I don’t like them) my options are limited

Knowing that I don’t like to spend money AND I my stamina for accessory shopping is limited, where would you recommend I look for accessories and costume jewelry?  Have you found any good deals lately?

Sep 242008

Believe it or not, I took off for Seattle in such a big hurry that I didn’t even grab a book.  Not even my Bible.  (That would be even more embarrassing if it weren’t for the fact that a skinny little New Testament is a permanent resident of my purse.)  I did take a little stack of bills, thereby averting the disaster that late fees can pile on top of emergencies like these.  And I took my ipod, but forgot about it most of the time.

I found the quiet (in my head) rather therapeutic.

However, if I had thought of it, I would definitely have taken Brenda Kinsel’s Fashion Makeover: 30 Days to Diva Style!, which my sister and I are reading at Imogen’s recommendation.  Would you care to join us?

In the meantime, blog reading (I’m trying to get caught up on my blog-reading, but if I missed your fall wardrobe post, please send me the link):

And Yikes!  Has the weather turned suddenly in your neck of the woods?  It’s been wool all week for me.

Aug 282008

sisters-thanksgiving-2007.JPGMy sister and I last Thanksgiving.

Here’s the link to her “before” post: This is what 43 looks like. Recently she also posted a book review of Staging Your Comeback (the Christopher Hopkins book), discussing whether she should change her hair color.

Hair today, which she thinks is too square and I think is too golden. Before we started all this, I emailed Christopher with my suggestion that she take her hair back to it’s original dark brown. He agreed that would be more “gorgeous and sensational” and suggested she had about 20 minutes left to do it. 😉

For background, other posts she’s pictured in around here:

Her last known natural hair color, in a cut I remember thinking at the time was stunningly cute and stylish for a young mom.   And, to the right, another look that she calls “something in between”.

In my view, my sister has always super photogenic and fabulous. Pop over, take a look at her pictures, and share your suggestions.

And be thinking about joining us in blogging our comebacks!

Aug 202008

In celebration (???) of my upcoming 45th birthday, I have a notion to stage my own comeback of sorts.  Of course, I am referring to Christopher Hopkins’ fabulous book (which I highly recommend you purchase if you are over 39, or maybe even if your mom is over 39), Staging Your Comeback.

Sort of a DIY makeover, I plan to address topics like:

Would anybody like to join me?  Either for fun or for linkage.

Besides turning 45, here are some other times to consider taking a fresh look at your image:

  • when entering the work-force, either after high school or after college
  • about 7 years later, when all those clothes begin to look really dated  😉
  • after your second (or any other number) baby
  • when your kids leave home
  • a career change, actual or desired

Anyone besides me feeling adventurous?