Archive | March, 2008

Shirt Dress

28 Mar

Simply titled because they are simply so.  Shirt dresses are my personal favorites in the summertime. They are effortless, universally flattering. They morph from work to fun.  With the flick of a couple of buttons they can be sexy or tidy.  The best part, there are limitless options for fabrics, colors, and patterns.  

Similar to my opinion on the wrap dress, the shirt dress is the woman’s answer to “I have nothing to wear.” They give a waist where there is none, they float away from your lower-half to provide ample coverage and mystify others about your body proportions. They are comfortable, washable, and seasonless.

My favorites:

Isaac Mizrahi for Target: Pleated shirtwaist dress, navy. $44.99. Casual enough to be a Sunday brunch or shopping throw on with some brown leather flip flops.  But if you want to wear it to work, simply put on some heeled sandals or wedges,  and add a neck scarf and you’ve transformed yourself to summertime, office casual (as long as you’re not a banker!).

Isaac Mizrahi for Target® Pleated Shirtwaist Dress - Navy

Banana Republic: Silk Paisley Shirt Dress, $130 (but you know it’ll be on sale in a month). Fabulous for those of us who want to create some fun drama with a pattern. It’s silk, so it’s upscale enough for work and can easily be worn to a weekend affair.

Club Monaco: Sleeveless trench dress. $189.  Certainly, this one is a splurge for a day dress, however, the color and iconic shape of the trench is timeless. This will never go out of style. Caution to busty ladies, however. Double-breasted tops can add bulk without adding much of anything else. This is “sit in a convertible with sunglasses and scarf in your hair” chic, “first date hot”, and “Get compliments at the coffee machine at work” perfect.

 shirt-dress.jpg

Vive la shirtdress!

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Mimimal with big impact

27 Mar

A book was brought to my attention called, “Not Quite What I was Planning”.  It’s a book filled with six-word memoirs by known and obscure writers as well as some celebs.  The challenge is to write your memoir in only six words.  That said, I came up with a ton that describe my life from probably a dozen different angles.  

I thought I’d share some descriptive ones about myself that are in fact significant in the arena of my image, my style, my body, and my life as it relates to them.

Personal or not, it’s my style.

Funky, professional, playful…run the gamut. 

Change your clothes, accomplish your goals.

You live once, please look good.

Eat too much, clothes don’t fit.

Ate too much? Wear different clothes!

Where’s my money? On wooden hangers.

Black or pink? Always choose both.

Nothing to wear? Buy something new.

Buy something new, trash something old.

Feeling down, fake it and smile.

Fashion isn’t shallow…if you’re not.

Speak volumes by not saying anything.

Life is like dress-up…play!

I invite you to contribute. If you comment and give me your own I’ll put them in my next post.  Tell me about your personal image and style and how it plays a role in your life–using only six words.

Short torso? No problem!

26 Mar

I got a question today…

“How does a 5’5″ woman with a short torso appear to be longer and leaner?”

Answer:

Create the optical illusion of a long, lean, vertical line through length and color.

Option I:

Tops should hit her between her waistband and her hip to create length where there isn’t any in reality.  If the top hits her at her waist band, she’s now created a horizontal line, cutting her body in half and thus, emphasizing her short torso. But, if the top extends further down and is a smooth, clean fabric, she’s created a longer, leaner torso.

Example:

long-tank-top.jpg

Option II:

Further, if she wants to tuck the top into her pants, a low-rise trouser is best for this. More of the shirt will show when tucked into a low-rise pant, again, creating the longer line.

Example:

low-waist-tucked-in.jpg

 Option III:

Wear a longer top with a wrap feature or create a waist with a belt that hits at her high-waist (just under the bust line) or with empire seaming.

Example:

empire-waist.jpg

Option IV:

Lastly, (and easiest of the options) is to wear the same color from top to bottom. This alleviates any interruption between the top and the bottom; it starts at her neck and ends at her feet creating one, long line. A dress or a top/pants combination is the best wait to do this.

Example:

dress-monochrome.jpg

Girls from Around the Way

21 Mar

Last night I met with my new book club at a neighborhood bar in Brooklyn.  Eight women showed up ready to meet other ladies who have a voracious appetite for literature.  What did we end up doing?  Giving our topline thoughts on the book and moving onto other topics (the usual: sex, men, Project Runway, work, hometowns, and various jokes, grievances, and the like). It was great. 

The organizer of the group commented on my outfit and said, “Zovig, you’re so trendy!” I immediately thanked her and of course had to say something about my journey to become a full-fledged image consultant.  While I came to talk Pulitzer Prize winning prose, I left the gathering offering my services to any one of them.

Why?  Because I realized I was among a group of women about which I knew nothing except their email addresses and their Brooklyn neighborhood of residence.  That said,  I got excited at the thought of new closets I could help rework, the color palates that we could enhance, and any opportunity to help and have fun by way of fashion. 

I got an email today from one of those ladies asking me if it was okay to pass along my info to some of her friends.  Um…yes it’s better than okay!  I need the practice and they want some help – bring it! 

It’s important to revel in being a girl.  It’s priceless to be able to sit with other women, commiserate in similarities, compare differences, and know that after all of it, we’re just girls.  And, girls like to have fun and we like to look good.  That’s the best part of this job–seeing the excitement on a woman’s face when we’ve created that “a-ha!” moment. She can visualize herself in a different way, from a different vantage point all because she took the time to make sure she was polished and at her personal best. 

I love being a girl.

The Winning Dress

19 Mar

Okay, while this is a really, truly cheesy picture taken for the sake of my friend, I wanted to share about this fabulous frock that I purchased.  The dress will be worn while I play the role of “bridesmaid” in one of my dearest friend’s weddings in Honolulu, HI this summer. 

The instructions to the “maids” were as follows:

1) Dress must be pink

2) Dress must be a style you love

3) Dress must be non-bridesmaid-looking

4) Dress must be fabulous

5) Go shop!

Well, with such loose parameters, how could I not get excited? I set out to a huge mall in NJ with my friend, Cheryl, and we went huntin’ dresses!  While in Neiman Marcus (and after making a semi-celeb sighting of a past Project Runway designer), I loaded my arms with everything pink I could find. I walked toward the fitting room with an armful of silk, cotton blends, chiffon, and more silk. As I got close to the fitting room and I saw some magenta frill peeking out from behind several inconsequential black numbers.  I flung my arm out, yanked it from the rack, and added it to my pile.  This dress, a Rebecca Taylor, was the last in the lot I tried and of course, it was the keeper.

I will wear this dress as much as I can because it makes me feel like a million bucks, it’s my favorite color (if you didn’t know already), and it’s effortless (as fashion should be).  You can’t see the be-jeweling under the bust line or the beautiful tiny silk buttons that crawl up my back, but they’re there.  And, these details make this frock to be forever referred to as, “The Dress.”  As Cheryl said, “You are HOT.”  (Thank you, Cheryl).

My pink dress

How Industrious

19 Mar

I just bought a new top (see my photo below…certainly modeling isn’t in my career) and wore it today only to have received compliments in the double digits. Why?

Color, (it’s in my ideal palate)

Super-sweet asymmetrical design and collar

And, because it’s a sweatshirt-that-doesn’t-look-like-a-sweatshirt.

For ladies who complain that looking good means being uncomfortable, I reply with, “Pe-shaw! No way, man!” Sometimes, looking good can be as simple as a sweatshirt (if it’s a really cool one like the one I treated myself to).

Kudos to Brooklyn Industries (one of my favorite stores) for being the perfect combination of Industrial meets Girly meets Comfy meets Hip meets Hop meets Of-the-Moment meets Work Appropriate meets Affordable. There are stores all over Brooklyn and one or two in Manhattan. And for those of you outside the city…shop online! Brooklyn Industries, oh how we love thee.

me-in-sweatshirt.jpg

Now you see it, now you don’t

12 Mar

The lesson I learned in class over the weekend about clothes and fashion:  It’s an optical illusion.

Ultimately, I knew this already, but it was good to be reinforced in the notion.  Our bodies don’t change dramatically between outifts. But, the way we look can certainly evolve from one pair of jeans to another. Why? It’s all about lines, curves, and shapes and the manipulation thereof. This is the only kind of acceptable manipulation!

That said…here are some basics:

  1. Lines: Create a long, vertical line to appear taller, more slender. This isn’t so that we can hide our bodies, but instead to maximize them.  A taller, sleeker more statuesque looks is flattering and appealing.  You can do this with vertical stripes (not wide, but subtle), creases down the front of your pants, no cuffs, high-heels, and monochromatic color from head to toe. 
  2. Patterns:  Use them wisely. I love color, I love texture. Patterns create visual texture. They keep the eye busy and occupied. However, there is a difference between a beautiful floral and an obnoxious geometric pattern in primary colors.  Let’s not get the two confused and instead be smart about how we employ this tool.  Use a beautiful pattern up top in your best colors to draw attention up to the luminous face.  Using a thick, horizontal stripe on your lower half if you are curvy is unwise.  If you have small features, choose a smaller (but not overly busy) pattern. If you have large eyes and prominant cheekbones, feel free to experiment with larger patterns that have more space in between the shapes/colors.
  3. Texture: Texture and weight of clothing comes from the fabrics.  Soft, supple silk is smooth, clean and sleek. Wool or tweed is textured, thicker and heavier.  Don’t overpower yourself with a heavy sweater, heavy pants, and heavy shoes. Instead, try balancing out textures – try heavier pants with a softer, lighter top or thin cashmere sweater or all medium weight fabrics from head to toe.  Texture should be in harmony with your body size. If you are a small, petite woman, heavier patterns can overpower you can drown in your clothes.  And if you’re a larger-structured, taller woman, dainty lace will get lost on your body. 

The goal is harmony.

 It’s not just about what we like or don’t like, what’s trendy or not trendy, what’s “hot” or not.  It’s about what works best on us. As much as we may love an item of clothing, if it isn’t in harmony with our given lines, structure, and coloring, it will look all wrong.  All wrong=bad image.  Bad image? Not on my watch.