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Friday, March 16, 2012

That Clever, Sexy Mutton

"Dressing is a way of life." ~Yves Saint Laurent
 
Self expression is arguably the most important principle I focus on in my business. I have a great deal of respect for it, and think it's more important than most realize. I think it's important to consciously 'dress to express.' (Sorry. Couldn't resist that.) It's one small opportunity in life to make yourself happy.  When we make ourselves happy it can be contagious, and that's a wonderful thing for everyone in your life. It's a little bit of self-affirmation, self-love. And when you feed your soul you have more to offer the world at large.

If you want to dress in the latest fads, I believe there's usually a way to make it work no matter your age or size or circumstances.  If you're set on being a sexpot, more power to you.  There's ways to do that too, again, whatever your age, size or circumstances.

It can be very disconcerting to see someone dressed in an 'inappropriate' way. This usually happens with 'young' faddish or sexy clothes. So the question is what makes it disconcerting, inappropriate? There's a strange effect that can happen when one wears 'youthful' clothing in the wrong way- you can actually wind up looking older or worse because you highlight your age, size or whatever the issue is, rather than working with or disguising it. Not to mention the risk of looking like a caricature of yourself; that would be the 'you're old enough to know better'  effect. Clearly this is not good, nor the goal of self expression.



Age Before Beauty...

First lets look at the person who loves the new and novel- the one who wants to dress in the latest fashions/fads.

When you're 18 it's just easier to dress. You can get away with just about anything because your body is at it's peak of perfection, your skin has a lovely glow to it, and no one expects you to 'know better.'  This is the time to enjoy being a kid. And at that age it's kinda cute, anyway.  Unfortunately, 'faddish' outfits generally start to look too 'young' past the age of…well…18.  But, as always, there are ways to do it without making a fool of yourself, if I may be so blunt. 

If your ensemble is for the most part understated and sophisticated you can often add a faddish element in and have it work at any age.  For example- say you MUST have the latest silly, chunky shoes in neon colors.  All the 12 yr old models in the fashion mags are wearing them with short-shorts, micro-minis and wild colored body suits (that would get you arrested at any age if you wore it on a city street.) You know you look good in tunic style tops and your best skirt hem length is mid calf- so you wear a tunic top over said fitted, midcalf length skirt, both the same color- one that relates to the shoes but is still 'understated' in comparison. Let the shoes be the only 'fad' item you indulge in with this outfit- keep other accessories fairly understated, and related in color also. Or use the same color scheme and make it pants and a top in the same color, again with simple, sophisticated lines. Rather than shoes it can be a crazy purse, jacket, hat- whatever. Just so long as the rest of the outfit is sophisticated, and preferably 'timeless,' on trend or classic.  Use your judgement to decide if your credibility is on the line if the 'faddish' garment in question is just too silly- maybe it would give you just as much satisfaction to have it hanging on your wall…

Mutton Dressed as Lamb... 

It's a sexy outfit, just not on her.  Why?   Well, as for the fad-lover, what looks fine when we're 18 does so because well, as pointed out earlier when you're 18 your body is probably at the peak of it's perfection, so showing lots of skin is more likely to be ok. Credibility is also not yet an issue. As we get older the issue of credibility does creep in- if you show too much skin it can distract from the 'all' that you are. As we get farther from the perceived ideal of physical perfection whether by age, size or other issues, whether or not this looks good often becomes all about how much actual skin you're showing. Things just aren't where they used to be, either. In short, what will now look as beautiful as ever by candlelight may not stand the test of harsh, midday sun.  Or fluorescent office lighting.  This may also true of our more voluptuous sexpot, at whatever age- again, it's about how much actual skin you show.

There's a very, very easy way to navigate this particular little minefield; show shape, not skin.  Show all- and I mean ALL the shape you want. After all, it's mostly the 'idea' of sexy that's sexy, if you know what I mean. Often what's more important is what you don't show, only hint at. If you know your best colors, and your best design lines- in other words, what colors make you look healthy and what clothing styles 'balance' your proportions, then you should have a very easy time of this- pick fitted clothing that shows only the prettiest skin you've got- and shows your shape everywhere else. If you're more voluptuous you may benefit by considering shape wear underneath to make that shape look as smooth as possible, and as good as possible, and possibly create some illusions where you'd like.  But be sure to pick a size that's comfortable enough to wear the entire time- or I promise you won't wear it. Knits are an inevitable part of fitted, sexy clothes- unless your body is absolutely perfect, avoid cheap knits like the plague. Even a "perfect" body (however you'd define that) can look worse in cheap knits. Invest in the best quality you can afford.  Aside from fitted clothes, possibly the most important aspect of the sexpot look is your hair.  Gleaming, shiny, healthy hair is sexy, whatever the length. I said in an earlier post how important it is to get the best haircut you can afford on a regular basis; this is even more important if you're going for 'sexy.'  Make sure to have your color done on a regular basis, deep condition every week if you need to, etc.  This is where you'll probably spend a good portion of your 'grooming' budget. It's more important than jewelry, accessories, etc. Except shoes…shoes are very important here to, but that's a whole other blog…

Oh, I do love shoes…getting distracted now...

Happy Dressing!