Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I know I've been 'missing in action' but the challenges of overseeing our website, handling consulting work and writing my blog can sometimes be overwhelming! That said, it's good to be back and I'll be writing more often :-)

I've been putting off writing about this topic for some time now, but feel compelled to finally share my thoughts. In some ways, I feel like a traitor. Like I've turned my back on an old, dear friend who's fed my passion for fashion and helped me create a life around it.

Sure, I've said things in hushed tones, and behind her back when I thought she wasn't listening. But I haven't had the nerve to confront her face to face... until now.

So, here it is. Time to spill my guts. No turning back now...

I work in an industry that I absolutely love! But in many ways, I don't feel that she loves me. I am in my 40's, a size 8 and sometimes 10 and she makes me and so many other women feel absolutely invisible.

How is it that most American women are size 14+, yet the fashion available is so extremely limited for this segment of the market? Doesn't anyone care that the majority of women have a nightmare of a time finding fabulous clothing in their sizes?!

It's not even a good business decision. Why let so much buying power slip through your fingers? Why make so many women feel like they don't count?

I will admit that at a size 8, I don't have as much of a hard time as some of my clients that are curvier. But even at a size 8, I'm made to feel like I'm lucky when I find an odd piece here and there in my size at the designer shops. This is crazy!

In addition to the plus-size market that is horribly underserved, there are also tall women and petite women who have an equally hard time finding fabulous fashion in their sizes. Why is it that so many women are being overlooked? Who is it that the designers are designing for? Why is it okay for so many designers to overlook us? Are we invisible in their eyes?

So, I ask, anyone reading this today. Please email me with your thoughts. I really want to know if others feel like I do - invisible. Or do you have some understanding of the industry that will make this make sense somehow. Whatever your views are, whatever insights you may want to share - I want to hear from you.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Can I Pull Off Wide Leg Trousers?

Wide Leg Trousers are hot this season. Don't get left out in the cold because you're not quite sure how to carry this look off. Check out our Do's and Don'ts for this 'must have' trend.

  • Do wear with a softer top to give this masculine look a feminine touch.

  • Don't pair with tight tunic styles, opt for a slightly looser style instead.

  • Do create a streamlined look with monochromatic tones from head to toe.

  • Do wear with a loosely fitted, belted sweater or tunic.

  • Do balance a petite frame by pairing with a fitted shirt with minimal details.

  • Don't forget to have fun - step out of your comfort zone and try something new!

Check out some of our favorite looks......

Monday, September 17, 2007

10 Steps to Accessing the Power of Your Personal and Professional Image

The moment we see people, we make judgments about them. Our initial, split-second contact with a person is eye-to-body. We look at their face and clothes first, and evaluate them on a scale of attractiveness and whether we consider them friendly or threatening; but it doesn’t stop there. Immediately after that, we start making evaluations about their character, temperament and professional abilities. Whether we like it or not, our appearance speaks volumes about us before we say a word. Hence, your image needs to say that you are professional, credible, trustworthy and likeable. Here are 10 tips to help achieve this:

1. Your verbal and non-verbal communication styles must be consistent. Your appearance is your most powerful non-verbal communication tool. Consistency breeds trust; make sure that your body language and appearance are consistent with your message. Unless the language of the body synchronizes with your words, you will convey a hollow message at best, and an uncomfortable, dishonest one at worst.

2. A pantsuit adds instant authority and easy elegance to every woman’s wardrobe. Pair it with a classic white shirt and pumps for the boardroom or with a tank top and heels for a more relaxed look.

3. Don’t wear clothes that are uncomfortable or do not reflect your personal style. Regardless of your personality and lifestyle, there are options available in building a professional wardrobe. Fashion-411 has an easy to use fashion personality quiz to help you make these choices. Email us at to request your copy.

4. As a businesswoman, you should project an image of professionalism while maintaining an updated and modern appearance. Purchase Trend or Trend-Classic combination garments that have been around long enough not to look faddish, yet create a current and fashionable image. If you wear all classics, you run the risk of appearing old fashioned. If you wear nothing but the latest fads, you appear to be victim to the whim of fashion. Trend or Trend-Classic styles will stand the test of time and are worth the investment.

5. Adding trendy accessories to an outfit is an inexpensive and simple way to convert a traditional classic look into a conservatively fashionable one.

6. Use the 8-count rule when choosing accessories. If you count the number of points of interest you have on your total outfit, the number should not exceed 8. Include belts, decorative buttons, rings, earrings, watches, glasses, pins, necklaces, embroidery, bracelets and shoe ornaments.

7. Invest in the right jacket. Every woman needs at least one great jacket that she can wear with jeans, slacks or a skirt. Even in a more casual work atmosphere, a high-quality casual jacket looks professional and works well for that last minute meeting when worn with a nice pair of trousers or over a dress.

8. Your hairstyle is the most important accessory you wear each day. Invest in an attractive, basic design and weight distribution, a professional color and cutting technique. A good haircut will pay off in easy maintenance and a polished appearance.

9. When available, purchase all three pieces to a suit – jacket, skirt and pants. This interchangeable set will make packing for a business trip much easier.

10. When visiting a company, find out what their dress code is so that you can dress accordingly. If the company has a casual dress environment, and your dress style is too corporate, you may be judged as formal or stuffy. If, on the other hand, they have a more traditional dress environment and you come dressed too casually, you stand the risk of not being taken seriously.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What is Investment Dressing?

Investment Dressing is the principle of methodically selecting your wardrobe pieces so that they are of good quality AND they compliment the items you already possess. There are two key components to Investment Dressing.

The first component is the Wardrobe Capsule. This is a grouping of clothes that can be mixed and matched and worn together with minimal effort. Capsules should be built according to: a color palette, styles that work together and fabrics that are compatible. For optimum results, select 1 or 2 ‘anchor’ jackets to serve as the starting point for your capsule, choosing dresses, skirts, pants, etc. that match as additional pieces for the capsule. Versatility is the key to creating a successful capsule.

Once established, a capsule can be expanded and pieces added or replaced very easily. When considering a new addition to your wardrobe, make sure that the piece matches at least three to four existing garments. This will reduce the ‘cost per wearing’ of each piece in your wardrobe – leading us to the second component to Investment Dressing – Cost Per Wear.

Cost Per Wear is a calculation used to show the relative cost of a garment based on what you paid for it, how many other items you can wear it with and how long the garment lasts. If you buy pieces that match several other items in your wardrobe, are of top quality and timeless as far as trends are concerned, you will get maximum use out of the garments, bringing down their effective cost.

Here’s an example:

Take a $300 jacket
Divide it by the number of garments in the capsule (ie: $300/10 = $30)
The $300 jacket has been reduced to costing $30
Divide $30 by the number of times worn per year (ie: $30/15 = $2)
The $300 jacket has been reduced further to costing $2
Divide $2 by the number of years the jacket will be worn (ie: $2/5 = 40 cents)
The $300 jacket has been reduced to a 40 cent jacket with careful upkeep.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Shopping feeds my soul!

I’ve always loved to shop and I take the term ‘shop until you drop’ quite literally! I love shopping so much I’ve turned it into an occupation J There’s something very special about the way I feel when I find that perfect gift or that pair of shoes that make me look like a million dollars AND they’re comfortable. I find the same joy helping other people shop. As long as I’m shopping – I am happy!

I’m not quite sure when my love of shopping began. Maybe it started at the age of 12 with my yearly trips to downtown Manhattan with my girlfriend Robin during the Christmas season. Every year we’d travel on the subway downtown to shop for gifts and then stop for dinner at one of the local restaurants. It was the ideal ending to a day of shopping for the perfect gifts for our families.

Or maybe it was the influence of my Aunt Mary, who I affectionately call ‘Tia’. She shares my passion for strolling through aisle after aisle in search of the one shirt that calls my name… ‘Monet, Monet’. Tia has been my partner in crime on many a shopping spree and I must admit - I think she can actually outlast me. We have closed many malls during her yearly visits to Georgia during Christmas. She, like me, won’t settle for anything less than that perfect gift that will bring a smile to the face of a loved one.

My mother on the other hand has never shared my enthusiasm for shopping. She often gets frustrated with my inability to run in and out of a store. She just doesn’t understand that I feel like I’ll miss out on a great bargain or the perfect necklace for the dress I just bought, if I don’t peruse the ENTIRE store. However, a recent experience brought her a little more appreciation for my shop-aholic ways.

Last year, my mother was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. She was living in Alabama at the time and would have to stay with us in Georgia during her treatments. It was hard watching her go through chemotherapy and radiation as well as several operations. She swiftly dropped down from a size 12 to a size 2, looking like skin and bones. My mother, such a strong woman, now seemed so frail. But her spirit was strong and carried her through her recovery like a stallion and she is now cancer free!! Part of her recovery was to allow me to help her pick out a new wardrobe. Her old clothes were much too big and made her look even smaller than she actually was. What a blast we had shopping hours on end. The final result brought joy to my heart seeing her look so beautiful again. Now she has become quite the fashion diva and feels good about her new body.

As it turns out, shopping is not only good for my soul, it’s been good for hers as she continues to celebrate life! So, whatever you are celebrating, whether it’s surviving cancer, finding new love or getting rid of an old one… shop therapy works wonders!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Who is that woman in the mirror?

I remember some time ago, reading a great joke about growing older. I'm terrible at telling jokes, so I won't put you through the painful ordeal of hearing me stumble over the punchline, but basically it ended with a middle aged woman (MUCH older than me :-)) looking in the mirror and asking 'who is this stranger?!'

It was funny then; it's not quite as funny now :-) While my career as a fashion editor often requires me to keep my look updated and fashionable, I'm having some issues with the new face and body I now see in the mirror - who is this imposter?!

I just have to tell myself, what I preach to my clients - you can look good at any age and size, it's a matter of knowing the tricks. I must admit that the tricks I've learned in my profession have served me well. No one else seems to notice the changes that I'm having a mini crisis over! So, if you find yourself trying to get to know the new you, in your new body - here are some of my secrets to continuing to look like a hottie:
  • Thank God for black! I know we all have heard it before, but it is truly a charm. I don't suggest you go totally gothic, but a few classic black pieces will go a long way when you sprinkle color in with your accessories;
  • Heels are better than flats. While I long for comfort, my flats are no longer as flattering as they once were. Sure, there are times when they work, but more often than not a comfortable heel is my shoe of choice. The added height takes off at least 5 lbs of my extra weight :-)
  • Make up. I've never been one to wear a lot of make up and I never will, but there's a lot to be said for a little mascara, blush and lip gloss. My new favorite is my 'Sassy' lip gloss by Smashbox - it looks good on everyone!

Take my advice, these three tips work. Ask my husband - he recently confessed that after our lunch date last week, his buddies wondered how he scored such a hottie!