Archive | June, 2008

Nip/Tuck/Tailor

28 Jun

Per special request, a word (or few) about tailoring.

The truth?  Most clothes aren’t made ready to fit perfectly to everyone woman’s body. The apparel industry has to rely on norms, estimates, and best guesses when creating clothing and their relative sizes. Dependant upon the designer or store, sizes can vary as much as….well, a lot.  A size 6 in some stores can be a size 10 in others or a size 2 in yet more. That said, it’s important to know that tailoring is crucial. So rarely does something fit perfectly right off the rack.

Examples:

PANTS

Petite women such as myself have to contend with a lifetime of shortening pants. The pants will fit wonderfully from the ankle up, but then I’m left with a pool of fabric flooding my feet.  If they’re good pants or jeans, never mind the length…just get them hemmed.  I sometimes hem my pants for heels and now, I’m shortening them for flats.  Since I don’t care for cuffs ( they interrupt the long line of a pant leg and create a cut-off at my ankles), I will have cuffs removed when I get them tailored.

Length isn’t the only thing that may need to be altered.  For women who are pear-shaped, they must buy the size that will accommodate their curvy hips. The downside is that this often leaves a gap in the waistband. Since they can’t go a size down (lest the pants be too tight), the waist is a simple fix with a nifty nip from your expert tailor.

SHIRTS/SLEEVES

I also often have a problem with sleeves – they’re too long for my arms!  Over the course of the last year, I’ve taken in many of my blazers to get sleeves shortened. You can have a fabulously fitted jacket but if the sleeves are too long, the look is ruined.  The cuffs should hit just above your first knuckles when your arms are at your sides (and to your wrists when your arms are held out in front of you). If they go past this point, they’re too long!

If it’s tops you have troubles with (i.e. you can’t get them to button around your chest…which is a good problem to have), buy a size up and have a nip/tuck in the back to get the shaping corrected. No one wants gaping button holes.  While I’m sure your lingerie is lovely, no one should be seeing it due to malfunctioning buttons.

………………….

Here are some other potential situations where some tailoring is needed.

–When getting your new jeans shortened, ask for the original hem (you paid good money for that fraying)

–Skirts should hit you at the knee or just above (that’s a good rule of thumb for 99% of women). If they hit below, you’ll look like a librarian (not the sexy kind). If they go above, depending on your age and your legs, they could run in the dangerous-non-flattering-miniskirt territory.

–If your new pencil skirt is riding up, that means it’s too tight around your hipsBuy a size up and tailor the waist to fit.  It should be fitted but you shouldn’t look like a real-life Jessica Rabbit.

–If the arm holes in a sleeveless day dress are too big (as in, I can see the side band of your bra), but the rest of the dress fits like a glove, have the shoulder seams taken up to close up the hole.

–If you love the design/pattern/color of a pair of your cropped pants but they look more like high-waters (side note: cropped pants are dangerously unflattering because they make too many of us look cut off and stumpy), have them shortened to the knee for chic walking shorts.

–Likewise, some things need to be let out.  I have a dress that is perfectly fitted everywhere except for a slightly snug waist. If I bought the larger size, the entire dress looked like a potato sack.  So I bought my true size and had a fabulous tailor let out the back seams a couple inches, et voila! I was wearing it the next day.

Bottom line/Golden Rules:

Buy clothing to fit the largest part of your body…your hips or rear, your bust or waist and shape everything else around it.  If it’s a quality piece that’s part of your working wardrobe, it’s worth it. There’s nothing worse than a fabulous suit that looks sloppy.

OR…

If every part of the garment fits you well except one (like my dress), consider having that one piece altered to your body

This post was specially requested by my friend, Janai who feels that tailoring should be acknowledged and recognized as a consistent and necessary part of our wardrobes.

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Balance–It’s not just for ballerinas

22 Jun

Whether you’re putting together an outfit for work or a party, or trying to construct a “look” for a special occasion, you can never forget the importance of balance. Again, dressing and wardrobe is all about following natural lines and direction that are provided by your body. Showcasing your best features, camouflaging the lesser favored parts. The key to creating this harmony and fluidity in your appearance is by using balance. Here are some examples:

Say you’re wearing a voluminous skirt complete with ruffles and lace. Super pretty! You may be tempted to follow the theme of that skirt with an equally ruffled blouse. Instead of highlighting the gorgeous skirt, the specialness is now lost because there is ruffle and texture and all kinds of things going on from top to bottom. Instead of looking chic, you run the risk of looking costume-y. Each piece (though both pretty) has lost its uniqueness. And your body is now carrying volume on top and bottom adding bulk and weight to your frame. Instead, try a simple t-shirt in a pretty color and a sweet ballet flat to balance and truly show off your skirt. The same rule applies if your top has texture and volume – wear a simple pencil or a-line skirt on the bottom.

Think about balancing different styles of dress as well. Perhaps you’ve dared to don the uber-chic slouchy pants/crops or (now that we’re in summer) slouchy shorts. These can be a little more industrial and casual in style. Instead of carrying that theme forward with a plain T or tank, you can balance out this industriousness with a silky blouse or rouched knit top. Keep this going with strappy sandals or even classic pumps and you’ve elevated the slouchy, comfy bottoms to a fashion forward, compliment-worthy ensemble.

Lastly, and most importantly, balance is the key to camouflaging and accentuating. If you’re a pear-shape, think about adding some dimension to your top half to draw the eye up. Do this with details like ruffles, pattern, or layers from a blazer or cardigan. Likewise, you can ensure that your pants are boot-cut or have a slight flair which will counterbalance your hips.

These are just a few examples but hopefully provide some insight into how to keep your body and your ensemble balanced and not overpowering your frame (and others’ eyes!). But if you still aren’t sure, just ask me

Website coming soon...www.callastyleco.com

Chic Girl of the Day-Me

19 Jun

I kind of felt chic. Not because I was wearing some fabulously expensive clothes. Rather because I felt great in what I was wearing. I felt comfortable and fashionable, sexy and sporty at the same time.  I loved the bright neon green, extra-long t-shirt (Express)  with my super comfortable jeans by Chip & Pepper. And, the swing jacket was a cool navy blue with embroidered flowers. It was my favorite outfit of the week for myself.  And that’s why I was chic – because I felt like I was.

Some Sparkly Silver Rules

18 Jun

I’ve devised my own set of (not golden) Sparkly Silver Rules for shopping in the form of questions that I will ask. Since options are limitless and our budgets are not, there are some ways to whittle away the superfluous choices and get to the meat of the true finds and good purchases.  Below are the questions I apply regularly that help me separate the “I want that!” from the “I want that and I really do need that and I really can use that…for a while.”

1) Does this item go with more than 5 things in my closet? I try to make sure that garments will go with several different items – if it’s shoes, they should go with jeans and trousers. If it’s a top, it should look good with slacks, a skirt, and maybe even leggings.

2) Does this item pinch, pull, tug, gape, bunch, or wrinkle easily?  Try it out. Sit, squat, lean and dance if you have to. But if it does any of these crazy behaviors, put it back.

3) Is this item the best quality that I can afford in my budget? Always buy the best of what you can afford. Buy a $75 pair of jeans rather than a $35 pair if you can. They’ll fit better, look better, and last longer. This rule especially applies to your wardrobe staples (black pants, black dress, jeans, etc.)

4) Can I wash it or is it dry clean only?  If you don’t like to spend extra money on cleaning, then put it back.  Dry cleaning is great but it does come with a price. So check the label to make sure you can “manage the management” of your new purchase.

5) Is this my color?  It pays to know a bit about your own personal color palate.  The garment could be a beautiful Ella Moss dress but if it’s in moss green, I have to put it back.  There’s no point because everytime I put it on, my skin will look yellow and I won’t look my best.  Make sure that the item is your best color and/or pattern. Otherwise, buy it as a gift and admire it on your friend.

6) Is this trendy or is it fashion forward? These are two different things.  Trendy is current, ephemeral, and guaranteed to have a shelf-life.  But fashion forward has a longevity that is worth every penny you’re able to spend on it.  I have boots that are in their third season (and good for two more) because they’re basic black, round toe, with no fancy embellishments.  I spent $300 on them.  The champagne colored strappy flats that my girlfriend bought, however, are a bit more trendy and she paid under $50.  Smart decisions considering the two items.

The bottom line: I get uber-overwhelmed by all the flash, color, sparkle, and shimmer in my favorite stores. I load up my arms and then go to the dressing room. I apply my rules and come out with 1, 2 or sometimes 3 good pieces that I know will enhance my wardrobe and are perfect for me in my life. 

What’s in a wedge?

15 Jun

A wedge is not only one of the simple machines…it’s the savior to the concept of women’s shoes. Wedges can come in the form of platforms, pumps, sandals, espadrilles, and boots. They can be flat, they can be mid-height, they can be high-heeled. For the sake of the season, let discuss the applicable shoes for the summer months. The diversity is endless and the fashion statements to be made and the fun to be had is abundant. Let’s see just what I’m so excited about.

For Work:

We work in a diverse group of industries with a range of appropriate office attire. Ultimately though, if you’re polished and your clothes fit you well, most any type of business casual is appropriate. Try a patent leather wedge or a close-toed woven wedge. Both are more work-appropriate options that will pair with your slacks or pencil skirt and even your finest of designer jeans if you’re office allows it.

For Weekend

The choices are endless and are really only limited by your sense of style and comfort. Wedges don’t always have to be high-heeled. Some of them can be low and just offer a little 1″ oomph, still be fashion-forward and uber-comfy. If you still want some “pump” and were born to strut in heels, try a hot little espadrille. It takes the essence of the wedge and gives it a woven sole, often times with straps that tie around the ankle. Espadrilles are for the sexy mama in all of us with a touch of boho-chic.

For Evening/Cocktail

Wedges can be a great alternative to strappy sandals. I am in a wedding very soon. The dress is a hot cocktail dress that would normally require a strappy heel. The kicker? The wedding is on grass and stilettos would sink like it was quicksand. So I did some strategizing with the bride and we came up with the idea of a bejeweled wedge. I will get the high-heel effect and my pedicure will shine…and I won’t sink. And one other pot o’gold as an example that shows you that a little bit o’metal can go a long way. Not only would I wear these with a black or brightly-colored cocktail dress, I’d sport these with jeans.

Hopefully, this has opened your eyes to the beauty of the wedge and deep well of ways they can be worn. I say it all the time but damn, I love being a woman.