Archive for the ‘Advice’ Category
Make sure each garment fits
- Don’t get hung up on size – fit is more important.
- Not too tight, not baggy.
- Make friends with a tailor and have clothing altered.
- Wear a properly-fitted bra. Gravity is not our friend.
Pair classics with trendy items
- Invest in basics – suits, dresses, jackets, skirts, trousers. Pick classic styles that stay in fashion.
- Express trends through accessories – an easy way to freshen any look.
- Get rid of outdated clothes and mom jeans.
- Athletic wear is for athletic activities. Period.
Be bold with colour and patterns
- Don’t wear black near the face – it’s too harsh.
- Don’t wear monochromatic pastels. Choose an anchor piece in pastel and pair with solids, prints or neutrals.
- When mixing patterns, scale is critical. Pair small patterns with large-scale ones.
- Understated is better, so avoid too many sequins and sparkles.
Avoid these fashion no-nos for mature women
- Holiday and theme sweaters and souvenir tops.
- Short shorts and rompers.
- Cargo pants or shorts.
Tips for hair and make up
- Change your hairstyle. It’s ok. Hair grows.
- Avoid pearl or frosted eyeshadow, which can emphasize wrinkles. Use matte instead.
- Pick one feature to highlight at a time – a bold lip or dramatic eyes, not both.
How many times have you looked in your closet, heaved a heavy sigh, frustrated that you “have nothing to wear?”
Fact is, you literally can’t see the outfits for the tees. An overstuffed closet is worse than actually having nothing to wear, because you’ve clearly invested a small fortune into its bulging racks.
The kindest cut
The best thing you can do is cull your wardrobe. Pull out everything and lay it on the bed. One by one, TRY ON each piece. Do you love it? Is it in good repair? Is it the right colour for you? Is the style still current? Does it fit you today (not some day when you’ve lost 10 lbs)? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘no,’ then set the item aside to donate or discard.
(A word about donations: just because people in need may receive your items for free doesn’t mean they have to accept crap. Please do NOT use your local charity as a garbage bin. If the items are ripped, worn out or stained, throw them out!)
You’ll feel better once your wardrobe is reduced to a manageable size, containing just the items you love and wear. You will be able to see components of outfits at a glance and will likely end up making new combinations right before your eyes.
I haven’t posted for a while – it seems the day job has been keeping me busier than usual! A flurry of social events, meetings and client activities means my wardrobe has been put to the test.
In the past two weeks alone, I will have been to a couple of cocktail parties, a black-tie gala, a book launch, donor recognition event and an auto show (for a client).
Having a flexible wardrobe means having the ability to shift gears (no pun intended) quickly and still be suitably attired for each event. What works for me:
- A couple of go-to cocktail dresses that work in all seasons. That means sleeves or a bolero jacket to cover up, plus a couple of stylish wraps.
- A formal gown for the one or two times a year we attend black-tie functions. See my earlier post on the challenges of finding a suitable evening gown that isn’t either Princess Barbie or Queen Mother in style.
- Lots of separates that can be combined – jackets and trousers or skirts provide a great range of possibilities.
- Dresses – because they are a complete outfit. Just add shoes and accessories and you’re good to go.
- A few great suits, for business meetings or more conservative events.
- A large range of shoes – gentlemen, in case you’re wondering why we have so many, it’s because we have to not only be appropriately attired, but also seek some comfort and the ability to change them up after a long week.
What works for you?
When considering options, nothing compares to the style and comfort of a dress. Dresses come complete. Top and bottom, perfectly cut, matched and coordinated. Dresses always look more chic than anything else a woman can wear (in public). Dresses are cool when it’s hot. And, with tights, dresses are comfy when it’s chilly.
Dresses hide a multitude of issues. Tuck a tummy, hide your hips, lengthen your legs. Dresses are appropriate for work, play, special occasion, picnics, dances… Dresses are flexible – worn with a jacket for day, a wrap for evening.
A dress with pearls is sophisticated. A dress with a wooden bead necklace is bohemian. Blingy costume jewelry adds sparkle.
Ballet flats or stilettos, boots or booties. Ah, a dress. Is there anything it can’t do? Tomorrow, slip into a dress and see how it instantly makes you feel better.
French women are famously chic. It starts with their self-confidence and the way they are always appropriately dressed for every occasion. They are effortlessly elegant, perfectly poised and always au courant. Their mannerisms are refined; their deportment is flawless. And, I find them inspiring. If they have a certain je ne sais quois, it’s because of the time and attention they pay to their appearances.
Having recently done a little research into the stylish French, here are some things I’ve learned:
- Quality matters. Always buy the best clothes you can afford. It’s better to have fewer clothes of higher quality, than an overload of cheap or poorly made clothes.
- Wear clothes appropriate to the event, and when in doubt, it’s generally better to be overdressed than underdressed. (Although black tie is only appropriate for black tie events.)
- Pull together your entire look thoughtfully: top, skirt/pants, shoes, hose, handbag, jewelry, belt. Always check a full length mirror before you leave the house.
- Dress ‘up.’ Never leave the house in yoga pants or sweats unless you’re on your way to work out. Throw out all your old, misshapen, oversized t-shirts. Even if you’re just going to the mailbox or corner store, wear jeans or trousers and a nice top. You never know who you’ll see.
- Be neat and clean. Throw out anything ripped, stained or damaged. Make sure your clothes are clean and pressed. Use a lint brush. Shine your shoes.
- Accessorize judiciously. A scarf or statement necklace can complete an outfit. Wear one or the other; not both. Balance is important. Resist the urge to wear too many pieces at once.
- Put your best foot forward: shoes complete your look. Pumps, booties, wedges, platforms or penny loafers… choose the right shoe for the right occasion. Never wear flip flops (even bejeweled ones) to work. Match your socks to your shoes, not your trousers. Wear hose with pumps, and bare legs and a cute pedi with strappy sandals. Match your shoes and your belt – but it’s not necessary to match your shoes and your handbag.
Find your personal fashion style – and own it!
It’s the age-old question, and I’m not talking about what you think. Clothing size is intimately linked to most women’s self esteem. Clothing manufacturers figured this out years ago with the invention of sizes 0-6, which didn’t exist in the 70s when I was in high school. What this did was allow sizes 8-12 to become larger without the number going along for the ride.
Consider this. A 1960s size 14 would be a size 8 today. Anyone today who tries to purchase a wedding dress or vintage clothing takes a huge hit to the ego, has to swallow her pride, and slide into a dress that is numerically several sizes larger than she’s used to.
Chico’s clothing store in the US has tried to combat the size-self esteem issue by creating its own sizing system: 0, 1, 2, 3. However, if you’re in store and don’t know what to do, the sales associates often have to relate Chico’s sizes to common sizes found in other clothing stores. I do have to give them props for their valiant attempt to save our delicate psyches.
In my life, I was a size 10 in high school (1970s), a size 0-2 in my mid thirties (1990s) and I have been as high as a size 12…. 14 in some designers like Burberry. I have been an XS, S, M, and L. And, these days, I’m often a combination of several sizes depending on the lines of clothing.
This confusion – combined with our aversion to buying larger sizes – results in many women walking around in ill-fitting, too-tight clothing. And nothing looks worse. So here’s some advice: try everything on and only purchase clothes in the best size for your body. Find a tailor and have clothes adjusted to fit your figure.
Remember – you don’t wear the size number on the outside, so steel yourself to buy the right size…. then cut the tag off.
I recently had the opportunity to review four Marcelle products targeted for women aged 50+. The Marcelle Revival line is a comprehensive collection of skin care that rejuvenates and refreshes. I tested:
-Revival Intense Anti-Aging Day Care: $35.95 for 50 ml
-Revival Intense Anti-Aging Night Care: $35.95 for 50 ml
-Revival Intense Anti-Aging Eye Care: $35.95 for 15 ml
-Revival Firming + Brightening Cream Serum $35.95 for 50 ml
Together as a regimen, I found the products to be light and non-greasy. The Night and Day Care creams, especially, were lighter and more translucent than others – something I appreciated. I have found that heavy creams can lead to skin break-outs: the irony of being 50-something. Lighter creams, however, such as the Marcelle products, did not create any issues for me.
The line is fragrance free and I will admit that I’m not really a fan of unscented products in general. Give me a hint of citrus, mint or lavender for a more luxurious experience. That said, I know that having fragrance free products is important to many women, and the Marcelle line certainly fits the bill.
The price point for the collection is also unbeatable. This affordable line offers a quality product and for significantly less than other skin care lines.
I give the Marcelle Revival Line 4 stars out of 5.
NOTE: Thanks to the fine folks at Marcelle for supplying the products.
It’s that time of year when people make, and (briefly) keep, New Year’s Resolutions. Courtesy of the fine folks at The Body Shop, here are some beauty resolutions to consider:
Resolution #1: Start to take care of your skin… really.
Many of us “dabble” with skincare, but with more and more environmental factors affecting us, it’s time to take skincare seriously. No more “raccoon eyes” when you wake up. No more quick splashes of water as you run out the door. Find a skincare regime that works for you. The first step is to discover what kind of skin you have. Visit The Body Shop for a free Skincare consultation in store, or find your perfect skincare regime online at www.thebodyshop.com.You’ll feel and see the benefits, and your future self will thank you for being smart with your skin.
Resolution #2: Find a beauty best friend – for life.
The more beauty trends come and go, the more profile natural ingredients get for their established and effective approach to skincare. Just think about how many jars of unused skincare products haunt you from the back of your bathroom vanity. The latest “miracle wrinkle cure” may have seemed great at the time, but in reality, it didn’t fit the bill. A safe bet for 2013: choose products with ingredients that have been time-tested and nature-approved. The Body Shop Nutriganics Drops of Youth ($36) is a great example. It’s certified organic and also uses Community Fair Trade organic babassu oil from Brazil, renowned for centuries for its intensive moisturizing properties.
Resolution #3: Moisturize. Moisturize. Moisturize.
Let’s face it – winter is here. Now’s the time for moisture to become your best friend. Dry, itchy skin can be uncomfortable and if not treated with care, will only get worse as the winter wears on… and on… and on. Try The Body Shop Shea collection and say “bye-bye” to dryness with a moisture-filled approach to body care. Creamy Shea Shower Cream ($8), indulgent Shea Body Butter ($19) andexfoliating Shea Body Scrub ($19) all work to drench winter-weary skin with moisture and help you get your glow on.
Resolution #4: Chocolate! Wear it, love it, but don’t eat it!
Your new year diet may dictate that you lay off the chocolate, but there’s no reason why you can’t smooth it on instead! The Body Shop Chocomania range, including Chocomania Body Butter ($19), smells divine and goes on silky smooth for extra long-lasting moisturizing benefits and a healthy feel all around.
Resolution #5: Fruits and veggies are your friends
Our sense of smell is one of the most powerful tools to lift our mood and our outlook. Breathe in a little therapy with The Body Shop body care products featuring fabulous fruity flavours like Satsuma, Pink Grapefruit and Strawberry. Even in the dead of winter, the fresh fragrances bring brightness to your bath and body ritual. Try these fragrances in our Shower Gel ($8) format; it’s like a bit of sunshine in the shower.
Resolution #6: Start fresh
January is a time for new beginnings. A time to de-clutter and organize your life. Start with your make-up bag. Get rid of those “fun” shades that you only wore once (or maybe never), and instead of just buying more, buy smart. Try new all-in-one products like The Body Shop All-In-One BB Cream ($20) that combines a moisturizer and foundation. Pigment-filled capsules transform for an even finish that suits your skin tone, and 24-hour hydration keeps you looking fresh. Now that’s smart!
Resolution #7: Turn winter blahs into ooohs and aaahhhs
Winter blahs can make you want to hide under a blanket and escape from the world. This year, face them head on by embracing winter and finding a new look to add some sass to the season. It’s amazing how we all get stuck in make-up ruts, and how a small change in colour or technique can brighten your look and your world. Come into The Body Shop for a free make-over and let their make-up artists share the latest tips and tricks. You’ll blast those blahs into ooohs and aaahhs in no time flat!
Resolution #8: Know when it’s time to say “goodbye”
Make-up doesn’t last forever and as much as we all hate to throw things out… there comes a time to say goodbye. The new year is a great time to sort through your make-up collection and discard any “questionable” items. Mascara is the big one – it should be replaced every three months to avoid eye infections and ensure bright-eyed beauty.
Resolution #9: Look Spa Fit… every day.
Exercise is the key to a healthy mind and body. You can also give your body an extra boost with New Spa Fit Firming & Toning Gel-Cream Massager ($20) from The Body Shop. A pure pleasure to use, this new Gel-Cream is enriched with 100% natural-origin active ingredients like citrus and caffeine. Combined with its exclusive built-in spa-massager for extra toning action, it’s like getting all the firming and toning power of a trip to the spa in just minutes. The entire Spa Fit collection will make you feel great and will give you a “leg up” at the gym.
Resolution #10: Make the world a better place!
We all want to do our part to help others whenever we can. Through Community Fair Trade, The Body Shop is committed to trading fairly with suppliers and seeking out the finest quality raw ingredients available from the four corners of the globe, to offer the very best in product composition. We harness the skills of artisan farmers and add our expertise to create effective products that are wonderful to use. What started at The Body Shop in 1987 is stronger than ever, positively impacting the lives of 300,000 people around the world, every year. Stop by The Body Shop and see how your purchase can make you feel great – inside and out.
When the festive kissing is over, take some time to renew your mind, body and spirit for the year ahead. Whether you’re looking to enhance your daily routine or embrace a totally new approach, The Body Shop can help you face 2013 with a fresh new outlook. Drop by the stores or check it all out online at www.thebodyshop.com.
Are you feeling the pressure of Christmas? Stressed about trying to find just the right gift? Or, are your friends and family asking you what you want… and you can’t think of a thing?
As we get older, it’s getting harder to give and receive. Our ‘instant gratification’ society means that people buy whatever they want, whenever they want it. There’s precious little left for people to truly amaze each other with. Should we change this? Can we change this?
Clothes are a standard gift at Christmas. Who hasn’t unwrapped a sweater or blouse on Christmas morning? If you’re giving clothes this year, here are some tips to help you choose, and improve the odds of getting that ‘wow’ reaction:
- Do a brief lifestyle assessment on your special person. How do they spend their time? If they have special activities, such as yoga or snowboarding, are there items or accessories that might work?
- Brand names can have a ‘wow’ effect – but only if the recipient appreciates labels. So if a Kate Spade bag or Dior scarf appeals to you, remember that it might not appeal to your recipient the same way. Save your money and find something else to impress with.
- What about unique pieces that are hard to find? Try vintage stores or online – although, buyer beware when it comes to purchasing vintage fashion or accessories.
And, if your friends and family are bugging you for ideas, suggest this list to them. Might help solve their giving stress, too. Merry Christmas, everyone.
Ok, folks. You have a wife, mother, sister or aunt to shop for and have no clue what to get. You want something useful… or significant… or memorable… or fun. But you don’t know what she wants.
I do. You see, I am a wife, mother, sister and aunt. So here are my suggestions to help you choose the perfect gift for the woman in your life.
- Tickets to a concert, ballet, opera or symphony. Festival passes. Art show admissions.
- Salon gift card for mani-pedi, cut and colour, day of pampering.
- Brunch. With you.
- Gadgets – Samsung Note 2, iPad Mini, Kobo or Kindle.
- Skincare products – Be a detective: check out her vanity shelf for her favorite brands. Don’t just randomly pick a bunch of bath products. Instead, what’s her favourite skin regimen? I love Estee Lauder and Kiehl’s products – and you can find them on my vanity shelf.
- Charms and bracelets – if she collects Pandora, Thomas Sabo or Tiffany, choose a charm carefully and thoughtfully to reflect your special memories with her.
- Scarves – every woman loves a luxurious scarf. Indulge her with a Hermes or Chanel scarf.
- Small leathers – a beautiful wallet with matching key fob is a lovely gift. What colours does she wear predominantly in her wardrobe? Choose colours in small leathers to match or coordinate.
- Magazine or newspaper subscription – for the news hound in your life, choose magazines that reflect her special interests. Those who love politics may enjoy a subscription to the Globe and Mail, National Post, New York Times or Washington Post.
SOME GENERAL NOTES:
- Sue’s basic rule: if it plugs in, it’s a household item not a gift. (Gadgets notwithstanding) This is what women mean by “it’s the thought that counts.” Make it personal.
- Research the woman on your list. How? Does she have a Pinterest account? Polyvore? What does she talk about on Twitter or Facebook? Is there a shop she loves to frequent?
In other words, with just a little effort you can easily find special gifts for all the wonderful women in your life.