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Friday, February 17, 2012

Tipping Is Allowed

"I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.” ~ Oscar Wilde

This week’s blog is a tad long.  It’s all tips that I consider the bare bones basic, most general of tips applicable to everyone, and I think they should be kept together, hence the long blog.  I apologize in advance to anyone deeply offended at the thought of such verbose pomposity.  :−)

THE IRON CLAD RULE

I consider this the most important tip of all; remember- in a way it’s all just smoke and mirrors.  For the most part you create the reality of how you’re perceived.  If you take care of yourself, dress with care and respect to your self-expression, not only will you be more attractive but also it’s self-perpetuating.  You see yourself in the mirror looking good and you feel better about your appearance and about yourself in general, then you’ll be more inclined to take better care of yourself, and so on.  See? As they say it’s not what you’ve got it’s what you do with what you’ve got. Not only will you create a better impression on others but also on yourself. Always take care of yourself and your appearance.

ON FIT

One tip I adore; if it’s too big, it makes you look bigger.  If it’s too small, it makes you look bigger. Life just ain’t fair.  This little gem is from ‘Plus Style’ by Suzan Nanfeldt, 1996, Plume/Penguin-  part of my treasured library of books about image.

Possibly the very best thing you’ll ever do for your personal image is to make sure your clothes fit properly.   If you wear a predominantly ‘casual’ wardrobe this may be a simpler goal to achieve- casual often means stretch, and clothes with stretch have an easier fit.  Anything tailored will need alteration if it doesn’t fit, period.  If needed and workable, go up a size and have it taken in where necessary.  If money is a serious consideration then buy less and figure alterations into your budget. If you’re only willing to do one thing for your image, make this it.  Oh- and the one single garment that might just look better a little bit tight on us girls- jeans.  Baggy jeans just aren’t sexy. And if they’re stretch, they’re even comfortable too.

MENTIONING UNMENTIONABLES

Eliminate vpl-  (‘visible panty line.’)  If you WANT your backside to look bigger, or better yet, lumpy, just make sure you’re wearing underwear that shows its lines through your pants or skirt. Especially bikini underwear.  They’re the worst.  Not only a diagonal line across the middle of both your butt cheeks, but also a long, horizontal line (which accentuates width, not in a good way either) at your high hip.   Unless you can find undies that don’t show, and there are manufacturers that claim they make them, (I’ve never had success with this) then stick with a thong or wear a smoothing ‘foundation’ piece over your undies.  (If you decide to simply forgo undies altogether I don’t want to hear about it.  Simply TMI.)

Replace your undergarments as needed.  Nothing ruins an otherwise beautiful outfit faster than lumps and bulges springing out from ill-fitting or worn out undergarments.  If you have a lovely ‘rubanesque’ figure, you may want to consider looking into foundation garments designed to smooth your figure. No need to get a torture device, either- the goal isn’t to make yourself 2 sizes smaller, just smoother. Go up a few sizes if needed to get the most comfortable fit.  It won’t do you any good if it just sits in your drawer, so only get what you’ll wear.

VISUAL TRICKERY

Unless you’re dressing all in one color there will be places where one color meets another color in your outfit- such as where your top and your pants or skirt meet.  This is a ‘line break.’  Pay attention to where line breaks occur; make sure they're where you want to draw the eye.  If, for example, you have a pear shaped figure and you wear a ‘tunic’ style top that ends right at the widest spot on your hips, and you’re wearing a different color pant or skirt, you may be drawing unnecessary and/or unflattering attention to the width of your hips.  Better to tuck in the top so the line break occurs at your waist, accentuating a smaller waist, or wear all one color and keep the contrast in jewelry or other accessories.  Which brings me to my next tip…

Another universal, super easy trick is to wear one color from top to bottom, then add interest and contrast only around your face; jewelry, a scarf, lipstick, hair accessory, etc, drawing attention up to your face.

I almost always use this one myself in my work wardrobe: pick a color or neutral for your ‘base;’ black for example.  Start with a black skirt or pants, with black shoes and add a black top. Now add a different color jacket or cardigan. (Color on the outside.) The other option is to start with the same black skirt or pants and black shoes and add a black jacket or cardigan, then add a different color top under the jacket/cardigan. (Color on the inside.) With either option, along with your chosen ‘color’ you have the black from the very top of your outfit all the way to the bottom, which visually enhances the vertical giving you a very ‘sleek’ silhouette.  It’s a very sophisticated look.  If you really want to play this up, add black tights or sheer black stockings.

Lastly, always, always ALWAYS buy the very best that you can afford. If at all possible, never buy poorer quality than you already own.  If your budget is such that you simply can’t afford what you’d like, you might consider eBay, consignment shops or even thrift shops.  (I myself use all three of these options.) If you find something that you love in said consignment or thrift shop, and it’s new or nearly new, you’ll probably get it for a song and tailoring costs won’t seem like such a sacrifice. And if you decide later on that you don’t like it, you’ve not invested so much that your mistake hurts too badly.

Whew!

Happy Dressing!