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.
My favourite fashion show these days is @NBCFashionStar – a competition-style ‘unscripted’ show that pits designers against each other… with a twist. It incorporates the need to have one of three retail chains purchase designers’ clothes to ensure the contestants make it through to the next round. Further, viewers can buy the selected clothes online from the retailers within minutes. Clothes available as part of the show often sell out at either Express Macy’s or Saks Fifth Avenue. This high-low empire dress by designers JesseRay Vasquez and Garrett Gerson is already sold out at Macy’s:
What I love about this is the rounded view the show gives viewers of the fashion industry. Designers are given a challenge each week and have to create ‘saleable’ fashions that the store buyers want in stock. It’s not just about fashion as art. It’s not about out-of-range couture creations. It’s about the fashion industry as a business.
The show offers a glimpse at not only what it takes to create great fashion, but also what buyers look for when considering merchandise. When a designer’s piece is selected, the successful buyer explains what made the item so marketable. And, when a designer fails to sell his or her piece, the buyers identify why the item was not picked up. This is a fascinating look at the business of fashion, from concept to sale. It is further validated when the successful designs are sold out at the retailers.
No other unscripted show gives viewers such a complete look inside an industry. If you’re interested in fashion, you should check it out. Fridays on NBC.
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!
Elegant or casual? Sophisticated or sloppy? Fashionable or frumpy?
How you present yourself to the world is a reflection of your inner self. Self esteem plays a huge role in how people pull themselves together each day.
Consider this. In many cities around the world, work attire is expected to be a suit and tie, pant suit, dress or jacket and skirt. No jeans. No flip flops. No yoga pants.
So why do people come to work dressed like they are on vacation or ready to weed the garden? When you’re dressed for the gym, what makes you think you are projecting a capable, competent attitude?
Chic is an attitude – but it’s also a reflection about how you feel about yourself. Well, here’s an idea: why not get dressed to honour yourself and others with whom you will work today? Why not demonstrate that you’re worth the effort to look polished, instead of looking like you just rolled out of bed.
I know lots of people who look sharp every day. Sadly, I know more people who look like they’ve given up the will to live. You don’t need to wear expensive designer clothes, but you owe it to yourself and others to wear appropriate attire to work – and that means clothes that are clean, neat and in good repair; clothes that are reflective of your inner spirit and attitude; and clothes that reflect your confidence and competence.
After all, to quote a major brand of hair colour, you’re worth it.
Here are some great looks to inspire you>
Why are we so judgmental? It’s amazing to me how hard we are on each other. Every where we go, people are being judged – the way they look, how they dress, what size they wear.
No wonder we’re all a bunch of walking insecurities! I’m not just talking fashion, although it’s an easy – and highly visible – target.
How many times have you overheard (or said) something snarky about a total stranger walking down the street? It’s ironic. We cavalierly deliver such comments, yet would be devastated to be on the receiving end. We’d sure hate for the person to hear what we just said. So why do we do it? We need to be nicer to one another, and, well, cut a little slack.
So here’s a challenge. Today when you walk down the street, enter an elevator, stroll the shopping centre or attend a meeting, try to find something nice to say to the people you encounter. Brighten someone’s day. Be positive. And hope that others will do the same for you. Because we all could use a break.
In recent years, I’ve been fortunate to acquire some very special pieces. Some are classics. Some are fashion-forward. Some, however, are beyond my reach – so I’ve created this wish list if that lottery win ever comes in:
- Chanel handbag. I love the classic style quilted handbag with the chain strap.
- Burberry trench. The iconic trench would be an amazing addition to any wardrobe.
- Louis Vuitton carryon luggage. I would NEVER trust a full set of luggage with an airline, but having a carryon bag (that I would protect and keep my eye on) would be amazing.
- Carolina Herrara dress. Having had the opportunity to see the workmanship, detailing and tailoring, I would love to own a CH dress. Her collections are always very wearable.
What’s your dream collection? I’d appreciate hearing from you.
Ever since Simons (@SIMONS_eng) opened in November at West Edmonton Mall, I have been a huge fan. There’s a sense of service that harkens back to the golden age of retail – and yes, I mean Woodward’s.
(For those of you who shop in the US, it’s equally reminiscent of experiences you enjoy at Sak’s Fifth Avenue or Nordstrom.)
The Edmonton store is over-staffed by Alberta retail standards. That means that lots of helpful, friendly staff are located in the departments and at the plentiful cashier desks. What a treat! This level of service is a hallmark of the Simons brand.
At the recent unveiling of the spectacular art installation, Simons Aurora, I had a chance to catch up with CEO Peter Simons. Mr. Simons is pleased with the way the store is progressing and he feels they are getting their service levels up to the Simons standard.
PHOTO: the stunning art installation, Simons Aurora, by Philip Beesley.
“We have a lot more service hours here than anywhere else,” said Mr.
Simons, “We’re working hard to get our services levels up to top notch.”
Mr. Simons acknowledges it takes time to develop the Simons service culture in a new location. It starts with hiring the right people.
“We have interviewed lots of people but I’m more interested in their values and commitment than their retail experience,” said Mr. Simon.
“You can’t teach values. Staff have to want to help customers, solve their problems and enjoy the pleasure of serving people.”
This culture of customer service is evident as you wander through the
store: in the abundant staffing, interesting and diverse merchandise, ample cashier desks and generous supply of fitting rooms.
“The store is doing well; we’re earning our place in the market,”
commented Mr. Simons.
If you haven’t been, do yourself a favour and stop by Simons soon, and often.
Footnote: While I was at the store I found an on-trend nautical striped jacket (on sale for $39.95) and a lovely blouse, also $39.95.