Effortless style

Reading fashion magazines, listening to Nina Garcia or Diane von Furstenberg, “effortless style” is the most desired state to achieve. It is hailed as perfection.

But, exactly what is “effortless style.”

If you are thinking about it from pure semantics, “effortless” means without effort. In the context of fashion, it means looking pulled together and chic without looking like you tried to hard. While this advice may be clear to fashion insiders, interpreting it for the every day can be confusing.

I believe effortless style is about ensuring each element of your look is simply and stands on its own without a lot of embellishment. Let’s take a look at this, from head to toe.

anne hathawayHAIR

Soft, easy styles that don’t need a shellac of hairspray to hold in place. For many French women, for example, this means a chic bob or mid-length hair, loosely styled with movement and shine.


The natural, no-makeup look is polished and clean. Too much foundation, heavy eyeshadow or liner, or bright lips (or, worse, all of this together!) is overdone. Not effortless. Anne Hathaway, right, shows what this total look is all about.

Marc Cain navy blazerWAIST UP FASHION

Tops and blouses should fit easily, with shoulder seams in line with shoulders, buttons done up without pulling or stretching the fabric, and sleeves that hit at the wrist. Jackets should be able to button easily, be fitted through the sleeves, and suit your silhouette.


Trousers and skirts should accent the silhouette. Knowing your body type is critical to choosing lines that make the most of your shape. Skinny pants on women with wide hips just make your hips look bigger. Women with tummy bulges should never wear pleats. Always go for clean lines.


Some women feel naked without earrings (I’ll admit, I do). Tiny earrings paired with a statement necklace can work, but large or dangly earrings with a statement necklace is too much. Add a cuff bracelet and a large watch, and now you’re way beyond “effortless.” Also consider your nail polish in your total look. Go for balance, and use a light touch.


I have said this before, but shoes make the outfit. Jeans with athletic shoes look very christianlouboutin-militante-3151010_bk01_1_1200x1200_1434712192casual and should only be worn outside of work. Those same jeans with high heels and a blazer are acceptable in most workplaces. Pumps are dressier than sandals or open toes. I actually own these Louboutins, at right.


Here’s how you can shine with effortless style. Either of these looks show a polished work look, with options for accessories – you may not want to wear them all, but there some choices to consider. Simple is best.


pink and greenpulled-together


Transitions in life

The other day, I helped a client who is moving from full-time employment to retirement. It’s a life-changing time, and part of it involves transitioning your wardrobe.

This made me think that, every day, there are women who are facing the same challenge.

Here are some tips to think about if you are changing your lifestyle. You don’t need to throw out all your work suits and buy an entire new wardrobe.

  • Choose a few blazers to wear with jeans or casual pants.Marc Cain navy blazer
  • Pair skirts with casual blouses or t-shirts as a way to keep cool in summer. I prefer skirts and dresses to shorts in the summer.
  • Keep a couple of high heeled shoes, but slowly change over to lower heeled wedges and sandals, and lots of ballerina flats and smoking slippers. You’ll need a solid pair of winter boots – and you may want booties with lower heels.
  • Pare down your handbag collection to smart, versatile options. Great basics are a structured handbag, a cross-body bag and an evening clutch.
  • LV Genuiine speedy handbagTry tunics with leggings. I know many mature women say they’re not comfortable in leggings, but they have improved over the years. Look for a heavier fabric if you feel “naked.” And, make sure the tunic hits at least your mid-thigh. Pair this look with ballerina flats or booties in the winter.
  • Choose a colour palette that works with your skin and add pieces over time. This will help you mix and match and greater wear out of your wardrobe.
  • Don’t neglect outerwear. You’ll probably need to keep a dress coat, but you should have a range of casual coats to fit all seasons. A rain jacket, a fleece-lined jacket for spring and fall, and a good winter coat are essentials.

And, my last piece of advice – change your hairstyle. Nothing ages uhelen-mirrens more than wearing the same hairstyle for years. Retirement is like a fresh start, so take advantage of this time to update your look.