Embracing Leggings – Within Reason

The popularity of leggings skyrocketed way before Athleisure Wear was even a term! Their original use may be tracked back to Jane Fonda workouts, but most noticeably over the past decade as bus-stop-wear! The moms that just couldn’t take five extra minutes in the morning to pop on their mom jeans began showing up in stretchy black things that resembled half-pajama / half opaque hosiery. Now they are probably wrangling with their teenage daughters telling them that what they are wearing is too tight, too thin and too-not-a-pair-of pants! What goes around comes around gals!

So now that you are trying to practice what you preach, let’s share all the legging secrets that we ‘young’ adults have come to know. In a nutshell, just like every other category of clothing we own, we must invest the time and the money wisely. They must, as I always say, fit, flatter and function.

They must fit to flatter, not look painted on where they show every divot and dimple known to your butt and thighs. The public really is not interested in too much information about what lies beneath! They must flatter, did I not just cover that? Do you not own a full-length mirror? Do you not listen when I say you must look good when you LEAVE the room?? And lastly, they must function – this is a simple one – they must function as leggings, not hosiery!! Meaning if you think they are too thin – then you are damn right! Remember the old days when we wore slips so you couldn’t glimpse a gander on a sunny day – OMG – the things I have seen when a woman grabs something from the bottom shelf at the grocery store! Perhaps slips should come back in style to be worn OVER the leggings!! But I digress because we could end up like this recent Vogue runway outfit if we were to try to cover all the dimples! No words.

Here are some basic tips to shop by.

First, you have to be quite particular about the fabric, shape and size of your leggings! Don’t just shop by price! This is one category where cheaper is no doubt, not better!

When it comes to fabrics that flatter you want to look for quality, medium weight, with a combination of natural fibers and a bit of lycra or spandex. When it comes to the fabric, thicker is better and skin tight is not always right! Leggings have come a long way baby! The most popular fabric being the ponte knit with many now coming with welting, zippers and other styling details.

Look for high-waisted, perhaps an 8 or 10-inch rise from the crotch seam so that they cover your belly button (aka muffin top). You want to have a smooth midriff under your tunic tops or long sweaters. You want to make sure they are a quality fabric so they won’t pill or get baggy and make sure they are completely opaque. And remember, leggings are not pants! The only real estate that should be showing is about 8-10 inches above your knee where your tunic ends (tunic means your hips and butt are covered)! The asymmetrical tops work for most body types. Remember if the top is already long, you may benefit by trying it on in petite as well so it doesn’t overwhelm your frame. No charge to try!

How do we style these leggings so we don’t look like teenagers?

First pair them with fab flats, booties or riding boots as opposed to stilettos! Remember at our age the legging is only visible less than 50% of the bottom half.

Second, pair the leggings with fabulous tops or sweaters that steal the show. The leggings are just the foundation, like the wheels on a car. It’s what is on the upper body that counts!

Again, look for fabrics that flatter your curves, quality knits with a substantial hand like cashmere, lofty layered silks and jersey knits. The idea of the tunic is that it flows a bit off the hips (a bit I said) to add some fluidity to the outfit to balance off the fitted bottom half.

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Are Pantyhose Still A Thing?

In the last two weeks, I have fielded dozens of inquiries about hosiery. Not that I mind answering endless emails on the same subject, but there are so many other fashion faux pas to be written about, I would like to move forward. With that said, I am resurrecting a previous post that pretty much covered it all – pun intended!

So here we go – the Fall conundrum – hosiery or no hosiery?

During this transitional time of year I am continuously bouncing off questions about tights, pantyhose, stockings, L’eggs Eggs or whatever you call them.

The debate continues and I hear it all. “The millennials don’t wear stockings, why should I?” Hmmm, let me think about that answer before I stab myself in the foot.

To wear or not to wear hosiery remains a contested issue. Changes in fashion and workplace dress codes have caused some women to forgo hosiery for bare legs, while other women claim pantyhose are still essential. So, who is right?

Let’s start with your company and their dress codeIf if is in the rules, you must play by them. Another consideration is well…your legs! If you have a great pair of legs then perhaps you accentuate the positive and bare all. However, if you play co-ed soccer on the weekends and your legs are a tad banged up, the decision seems obvious, let’s disguise the liabilities!

Then of course, we need to talk about weather and peep toes. I don’t know about you but when it is 32 degrees, naked skin is painful and the last thing I am thinking about grabbing are peep-toe shoes. Those babies need to be packed away for the winter.

If you are on the hosiery side of the fence then it is seasonally time to incorporate those babies into your fashion statement either as a quiet canvas or a trendy statement.

Once you decide to wear or not to wear hosiery, the bigger question is where to buy them –CVS, Amazon, Lord & Taylor, Nordstrom, Costco, even the train station. The options are endless and are based on what is convenient and what is in your budget. Do the homework to find the best option, then you are good to return to that particular retail shop throughout the season.

What should you pay? Women seem to be at a loss when it comes to defining, selecting and purchasing hosiery. Some think they should pay $2.99 and some think they should pay $40.99. Yes Lucy, the prices are all over the place – navigate the choices within your budget. I have clients who only shop at Neiman Marcus for their clothes and then go to Target for their hosiery. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the selection process. Ladies are way more adept at choosing a bottle of wine.

Here are a few informational tidbits. We’ll go from minimal to ultimate bondage and include a few other textile finishes in between.

Ultra Sheer
Features: Made of fine nylon, ultra-sheer hosiery requires extra careful handling. These nylons are the best choice for allowing your natural skin tones to shine through.

Day Sheer
Features: Made from stretchy nylon that clings gently to legs. Less sheer, more durable than ultra-sheers. Perfect for everyday office wear.

Opaque Tights & Pantyhose
Features: The main difference between opaques and tights is the weight. Tights are typically heavier and less sheer than opaques. Tights are usually made of cotton, wool, or nylon/Lycra. Opaques are usually nylon/Lycra or microfibers.

Regular Pantyhose
Features: Made of nylon and available in various style options, typically with either a sheer or opaque brief.

Control Top Pantyhose
Features: Made with spandex, the control top adds compression, which provides you with mid-section and hip control. Several levels of control top choices are available including light, medium and turbo!

Body Shaper Pantyhose
Features: The full monty! Made with spandex, body shaper pantyhose offer a longer line control top which covers thighs in addition to the mid-section, bootie and hips. Like control tops, body-shapers are available in varying levels of control.

Control Top & Support Hose
Features: You have the torso control and the leg support that you may need.

Need more help with the office dress code issues? Join us next week! Early bird pricing ends tonight!

Executive Image Styling Workshop

Does your wardrobe carry you through the work week, the seasons or the promotions? Are you dressing for the job that you have or the job that you want? Join us for this image branding workshop designed to empower you to take your style, and possibly your career, to the next level.

EARLY BIRD PRICING THROUGH OCTOBER 12TH
USE THE CODE – doreen10 – TO REGISTER FOR 89.00

 

 

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How to Swap Out Your Seasonal Wardrobe

We just completed the first in a series of Fashion Workshops
last night and I felt compelled to share the ‘first steps’ with all of you in light of the recent spike in temps. (Global warming is fake news? Give me a break – get a grip!)

We fashionista’s are always anxious to embrace the new seasons – what’s better than a seasonal wardrobe swap where even the old stuff once reintroduced, looks new again.

WAIT – PULL THE BREAKS!

That is not necessarily true, which brings us to the beginning of the seasonal swap. You MUST assess your spring/summer inventory now while it is front and center, top of mind. Do not, I repeat, do not just haul all your summer stuff to the off-season closet without doing your due diligence!

Let’s be honest with yourself – start with a few yes or no questions:

Were there not summer items you hauled out last April that never made it onto your body?
Were there summer items that made the cut but now that you see photos, never should have?
Were there past years trends that you realized obviously were not trending anymore?
Were there items that ended on the morning discard pile, then magically reappeared in your closet?

Let’s begin…

  1. Assess the passing season’s inventory
    1. One category at a time
    2. Fit, flatter, function
  2. Make the decisions
    1. Keep or donate
    2. Keeping? Then prepare for storage
      1. Clean, tailor, repair
      2. Decide location / type of storage / swap hangers
    3. Now assess the current closet inventory – that would be what’s left
      1. One category at a time
      2. Fit, flatter, function
      3. Clean, tailor, repair, swap hangers
    4. Bring in the new season’s inventory one category at a time
    5. Perform the fit, flatter, function, clean, tailor, repair, hanger change
    6. Hang in your closet in an intuitive, organized way
    7. Once visible, take mental stock by category
      1. Email me for the 20 Essentials List  doreendove.com/contact/
    8. Create a precise shopping list
    9. Shop online first to see what the big picture options are
      1. Drill down specifically within each category
      2. Price shop, use coupons, search for free shipping
      3. Order 2 sizes – or use in-store hold options
    10. Make sure you love it, you want to see it in your closet for several seasons – it fits, flatters, will function and makes you feel pretty!

Now head out and look fabulous while toting your pumpkin latte!

Need more help? Grab a copy of my book,  Confidence Is Always In Style, where I will walk you through your own DIY closet edit and help you assess your wardrobe by category! Be sure to use the coupon code BA50  to reduce the price by 50%! Now that’s trending!

Check out our next workshop!

Executive Styling Workshop – October 19th
Use Early Bird code – doreen10 – to check out at a discount!

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How to Buy the Perfect Fall Handbag

When was the last time you performed a bag assessment? A purse is more than an accessory – it is a statement, an investment, and a daily companion.

Seriously, what do you hold more often than your bag? You carry it every day, so it has to be versatile, comfortable and good looking. It has to be able to endure being hung, dropped, stretched, stuffed, occasionally tossed in the backseat, and thick-skinned to take verbal abuse when you can’t find something inside.

Out with the old and in with the new? Are you ready to rumble?

Head on in your closet, take all your bags out, fish through for cash, line them up by type, step back and say ‘holy moly’ and then get a garbage/donation bag!

Now let’s start shopping with purpose. Shopping for the right bag can be painful. Totes, hobos, clutches, satchels, cross-bodies, messengers, duffles and more, where’s a girl to start?

Start where you most likely start each day – in the mirror! You must try bags on to make sure they fit! I mentioned to someone that I was writing on handbags today and she said – I love my handbags – they always fit! After I chuckled I realized that that is not always the case.

Here are some tips to ponder!

Let’s consider what a day in the life of your bag might entail. Placed on the seat of the car, or forced to the floor? Placed on the hook in the bathroom or gripped like cash while you use the facilities? Thrown in a file drawer at the office or nicely displayed on your desk as a status statement?

Would you like your bag to be proudly standing and waiting for you so you can easily reach in and find your priceless things lined up in an orderly fashion? Would you like said bottom of bag to stay relatively clean? Then consider grommets on the bottom of your bag.

Are you looking to spend an arm and a leg on one bag and carry it everyday for the next decade to get your cost per wear down? Or are you looking to have a few bags so they actually can be styled along with your seasonal outfits?

Choosing a handbag is not to be taken lightly. Speaking of weight, you need to consider the weight of the empty bag before you add your 40 pounds of stuff. Just ask your mail carrier how much it sucks to haul around a bag that is too heavy.

Let’s talk details:

HANDLES:

  • Do you like the straps over your shoulder or do you prefer the hand straps? Remember you still have to carry your latte.
  • Are you large breasted? – if so, let’s skip the dreaded cross-body boob splitter.
  • Ever owned a bag that the handles fall off the shoulder? I do – it’s totally annoying – it’s like a full time job configuring the handles. Wish I had read this article before purse shopping.
  • Try them on with and without your coats. Be sure if it is a shoulder bag it will fit over your jackets when the weather requires outwear!

SIZE:

  • Buy a bag that is in proportion to your figure. The right bag can accentuate your assets – the wrong bag – well we all know that accentuates the liabilities!
  • Are you tall and thin, then buy rounded or slouchy.
  • If you are curvy, opt for rectangular or sleek.
  • Think the 3 bears, too small, too big, just right:

-Too small – no place for your stuff.

-Too big – you are just going to pile in more stuff.

-Just right – lots of benefit to that! The right size and style can knock pounds and years off your frame!

COLOR:

  • Buying a basic bag? Consider buying basic colors, but opt for basic color blocking! Consider something that incorporates black and navy, brown and tan or gray and cobalt.
  • Color blocking has been the rage for years now – keep up ladies, it is not just for clothing but also for shoes and handbags as well.
  • Think versatile, but also think pop of color! Your purse is a great place to make a fashion statement.

STRUCTURE:

  • Never buy a purse without compartments. Trust me, you need them!
  • Dump everything out onto the counter (this could be scary).
  • Line up your bag essentials, items you carry everyday, no matter the bag – wallet, phone, glasses, makeup bag, keys, pens, notepads, etc. Now envision being in a store and your phone rings or you need your glasses to sign the American Distress charge slip. How long would it take you to find those items in a slouchy hobo bag, in a satchel, in a cross-body?
  • Your bag needs to be purchased with the contents in mind. Kind of like having the kids in mind when you buy a car, well not quite, but close.
  • Be sure your bag stays upright when you put it down as opposed to flopping over like a rag doll.
  • Be sure it has zippers or clasps for security – can you spell pickpocket?

QUALITY:

  • Seriously, what do you hold more often than your bag? Go for the more expensive bag – you are worth it.
  • Plus how many times have I preached about cost-per-wear? Say you pay $200 for a bag and use it for one season, half a year, a/k/a 182 days a year. Okay I’ll do the math for you. $200 divided by 182 equals $1.09 per day. How much do you pay for your coffee dear? Pay the $200 for the bag! Too pricey? Cut the math in half – a $100. bag will cost about 50. cents a day!!
  • Opt for leather.
  • Shop for known brands, Cole Haan, Coach, Tory Burch, etc.
  • Check the stitching and the seams for quality craftsmanship.
  • Opt for grommet bottoms to keep it clean.
  • Shop on sale or at off-price stores for name brands.

SCALE:

  • When it comes to scale, the size of the bag should be in proportion to your frame.
  • If you are tall or fuller size, you don’t want to be carrying a teeny-weeny bag – that makes you appear larger.
  • If you are of a tiny frame, carrying a large slouchy bag will overwhelm you.

Overwhelmed by the thought of bag shopping?

Call me – I am a great bag lady!

Need more help? Join me at an upcoming workshop.

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Stay on Trend With the Pantone Fall/Winter Color Palette

Keeping up with the latest runway looks, catalogue styles and featured store promotions can be confusing, expensive and a full-time job. Trust me,
I work at it daily!

What’s a busy wanna-be fashionista to do? Simple – update your Fall wardrobe by color!

Ever heard of Pantone? They are the leading color analysts in the industry. The company is best known for its Pantone Matching System (PMS), a proprietary color space used in a variety of industries, primarily printing, though sometimes in the manufacture of colored paint, fabric, and plastics. It has become known for creating the color of the year standard by which many of today’s designers create their fashion lines.

The following ten hues have floated to the top at Fashion Week 2017. Here are a few ideas for you to incorporate the palette into your sassy style. These are not links as this is not a shopping post, these are ideas! If I show a burgundy necklace, maybe for you it might be a burgundy bracelet because you prefer arm candy. Pick a color or two and begin noticing those colors as you peruse through the stores and watch how many items you see in those colors. It’s like noticing a white car, and then seeing them everywhere! Another way to search for the color is with your online search tools using the color options drop-downs – burgundy boots, burgundy cardigans and so on. Happy color searching!

Red – Want to rock a room? Wear red!

Grenadine

Merlot – What says warm and toasty more than a deep glass of Merlot!

Tawny Port

Pink – Ever heard the saying pretty in pink?

Ballet Slipper

Warm Caramel – Werther’s Originals, need I say more?

Butterum

Navy – The new black

Navy Peony

Gray – Softens the dark neutrals

Neutral GrayGorgeous Green – This color looks good on everyone!

Shaded SpruceYellow Green – When it’s right with your skin tone, it’s a great pop of color.

Golden Lime
Almost Periwinkle – A cool and refreshing blue

Marina
Rust – The perfect Fall tone

Autumn Maple
Need more help?  Join us at one of these fun and informative events!

FALL WARDROBE PLANNING WORKSHOP

EXECUTIVE IMAGE STYLING WORKSHOP

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It’s Time To Shake Those Booties

Seems like the minute that August arrives, so do the chilly feet!  It’s easy to throw on a sweater, grab a sweatshirt or don a shawl on a chilly afternoon, but the challenge of defining the footwear is so much more cumbersome. We get so used to the freedom of spreading toes, that we cringe at the thought of locking them in leather, especially if that also requires the buffer of socks. And seriously in mid-August it’s all too much, too soon, for us to deal with.Let’s smooth the transition and add a pair of open toe booties to the mix! They are all the rage, totally stylish, come in all heel heights, leather, pleather, suede, studded, strapped, textured or embellished. You name it you can find it and your toes can still sport that pedicure, but be sure to darken the polish to a merlot or navy blue!Here are a few favorites to choose from…
Vince TressaToms Majorca

Vince Lavette

Vince Kensa

 

Now go find a stylish sweater, sweatshirt or shawl to don with your new favorite booties!

Need more Fall wardrobe help? Join us at one of our Fall Workshops!

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The Top 5 Steps to Conquer Closet Chaos

How many times have we heard that we wear only 15% of what is in our closet? Okay then, let’s tackle the other 85% once and for all!

Follow along with me for a moment. I want you to close your eyes and visual your closet. Visualize the space, or the lack thereof, the assorted Target hangers, the shoe boxes, the piles of workout clothes, dog walking clothes, laundry and dry cleaning.

Imagine entering your favorite boutique only to find that it was set up like your closet! Filled with random plastic junky hangers, completely disorganized, with cramped clothing and plastic dry cleaning bags fighting for space. Pretty sure you would leave!

I am certain you understand the visual difference between how a retailer displays their inventory and how your clothing is displayed in your closet. It should be one in the same: organized, shop-able, and pleasing to your eye so you are enthused and inspired when you swing open the doors. It is completely possible for your closet to be an intuitive, inspirational source of joy. You should look forward to throwing open those doors and selecting all things that fit, flatter, and speak to your authentic style.

If this is not the case in your space, then let’s get started.

Step 1 – Schedule Closet Time

Grab your calendar. You need to schedule closet time on your personal calendar. If this is something you have never done and just the thought of it overwhelms you, then do not plan to get it done in one day.

Mind you, I can whip through your closet in several hours, but alas, I am the expert and have been doing this for decades. I can spot an outdated, out of style, ill-fitting piece of clothing in an overcrowded, chaotic closet a mile away. You, however are the student now, so let’s do this in stages! Schedule 3 two-hour blocks of time over the next week or so. Knowing what you’re doing is half the battle, learning as you go is the fun part. Once you have gone through a few categories, the balance of the work flows smoother and quicker.

Step 2 – The Ground Rules

You should be able to close your eyes, reach in and select anything (yes anything) and be happy with the choice because it fits, it’s flattering, it’s in season and it’s in style! If there are items in your closet that don’t fill those requirements, they are a waste of real estate and they need to move out!

Use the 3F rule to decide which items get the boot!

Fit – Does the clothing fit the body that you have now, or the body that you used to have? Are the items looming in the hope section of your closet for the body that you hope you will have? If you have fluctuating weight, keep only one size above your current size and one size below and donate the rest. You need to look and feel pretty today, and stop waiting to feel that way tomorrow or six months from now. You may need to hone your shopping skills and take practical steps towards buying the right type of clothing for your body and your current weight so you always look fabulous.

Flatters – Flattering means does it fit, does it need tailoring, is it age appropriate, does it even match who you are right now or who you want to be?

Function – If it has not seen the light of day in 10 years then I certainly don’t think it is going to be the first thing you pull out for your next important event. If it is not functioning, it is just a waste of space.

Step 3 –  Sort It Out

It’s hard to see what you’re keeping when there is a lot of clutter so grab some shopping bags and label them – donate, consign, tailoring, and have a collapsible rack for out of season clothing so you can move it to another closet. Warning – If you don’t sort out the unwanted’s right away by putting them in another area you may just find they have migrated back into your closet! 

Step 4 –  Conquer By Category

No doubt your closet is filled with fabulous things, as well as a few not so fabulous. By breaking your wardrobe down into the following categories, it will become very manageable for you. I recommend to work in this order – pants, skirts, dresses, tops, sweaters, jackets, shoes and then accessories. You could process one category per session and it will become faster and easier because you will be familiar with the fit, flatter, and function parameters. For a detailed description by category refer to my book, Confidence Is Always In Style, where you will find an entire chapter dedicated to closet editing.

Step 5 – Reintroduce In An Intuitive Manner

It’s time to reintroduce your garments to your closet in an intuitive fashion, left to right. Let’s assume you have the basic closet set up with 2 split rods, top and bottom. Set your clothing up like your body is set up – tops on the top and bottoms on the bottom. Work from left to right starting with sleeveless, short sleeve, long sleeve silkies, long sleeve wovens, light weight sweaters, and then jackets. All clothing should run white to black within each type, within each category. Be sure to use the velvet soft-grip-hangers which are seemingly available in every store in America because they are kind to the clothing and are amazing space savers.

The bottom bar will house pants running left to right – dress pants, casual pants, jeans –  again white to black within those parameters. Then your skirts, same theory. Use the 4-tier skirt hangers to save even more space!

Dresses, as well as some of our cardigans and toppers, are often a challenge because they require long hanging spaces. Within that space line up those items in a similar fashion, separating work dresses and special occasion dresses but trying to keep them lined up by sleeve length within.

Now add some lavender sachets and a florescent light if you do not have one as you need to be able to see what you are shopping for.

Your new system should make sense and make getting dressed every day stress-free. Remember – you are pretty so make damn sure there is a full-length mirror in your bedroom.

Need more help? Start here and I’ll meet you in your closet!

 

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Styling Something Old Into Something New

How does something old becomes something new again? It’s all in how you see it and how you style it.

This is the perfect time of year for you to take a few key pieces and start to transition them from the summer season into the fall season.

Some of your spring/summer items have a higher cost-per-wear simply because you don’t wear them as often during the short seasons.

We tend to wear our winter clothes, at least here in New England, seemingly for about eight months of the year so naturally the cost-per-wear on some of your more expensive fall/winter items can crank down quite a bit. Let’s pick a few key spring items that you might want to fall forward with in order to lower the CPW.

One obvious item would be your white jeans. Now if we lived in Los Angeles, we would see white jeans all year long, perfectly styled and in season no matter what month of the year.

On the East Coast if we saw a woman in white jeans beyond Columbus Day, well let’s just say that I’m sure there’s an emoji for the expression on your face 😱!

Check out a few of the photos below to see how you can add a fall feel to your summer whites and even a bit of a southwestern flare just to mix it up a little. Remember fashion is supposed to be fun if you wear the same thing every day you look the same every day.

Another category of changeover, a.k.a. style it up, is the work to casual or sophisticated to sassy change up.

If you’re a frequent reader you know that I like to have your closet set up by categories simply broken down by bottoms, skirts and pants, and tops organized by sleeveless shells, long sleeve blouses, sweaters, jackets and then of course dresses.

In addition to those category breakdowns, often my corporate clients have one area of the closet dedicated to their casual wear because quite frankly the red plaid flannel shirt doesn’t hang so well next to the 100% silk corner office blouse.

So, this exercise will allow you shop from two sections of your closet and pull together something sexy, sassy and sophisticated, including some otherwise boring work blazers!

Take a look at these photos from Lafayette NY.

Note that this is not meant to be a shopping expedition, this is meant to be just a lesson in how to style something, so don’t shoot the messenger that I selected very lovely pricey items to show you (hard to not find the pretty stuff in my line of work). The lesson is the same whether you’re shopping at Nordstroms or you’re shopping at Macy’s or you’re simply shopping in your closet.

The idea is to take something corporate, AKA conservative, or something sophisticated and style it so that it looks sassy, AKA maybe even a little bit sexy. I personally can’t wait to rock up my boring white blazer!

So throw open those closet doors with abandon and if you have brought wine to this party make sure it is white!

Need more help? Join us!

FALL WARDROBE PLANNING WORKSHOP

Date: September 27, 2017
Time: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Location: Studio On The Common, Winchester MA

Join us for The Fall Wardrobe Planning Workshop
This workshop will help you zero in on the 20 Essential Pieces that
will make your Fall transition sassy, sensible, stylish and budget friendly.
Wednesday, September 27th
6 – 9PM

Studio On The Common 22 Church Street, Winchester, MA
Workshop price $99.00
Limited to 12 Attendees
Register – http://doreendove.com/fall-wardrobe-registration/

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Is Your Weight Forcing You to Wait?

Are you hovering in the dreaded W’s?
W E I G H T & W A I T 

I meet new women every day. It’s just the business that I am in and I am in it because I am a people person. I guess you could say ‘people’ are my business.

Recently while talking with a business associate, I was sharing the transformation results of a client and she remarked, “You are so much more than a personal stylist, you are a coach, a mentor and an inspiration.

And she is right. When someone lets you in, as a professional you need to be ready to navigate the landscape and go on the journey wherever your client takes you, wherever they need to go. And it is always about the journey, as oftentimes they haven’t yet decided on the destination.

Here’s what I know about what weight loss can do for your confidence. Let me take you down what has become a familiar path for me.

The relationship starts the minute I meet a fabulous new woman through networking, referrals or even just at the grocery store. (Side-note – I know I have told you that you just might meet your next client, new girlfriend or maybe your future partner at the grocery store, so always be sure to dress the role).

She schedules the 30-minute phone consult, which triggers an online questionnaire so that our time together will be well spent. Oftentimes, she will reference weight gain right away as one of the challenges she is having. Other times she will skirt the issue and wait until we are on the phone together and then the conversation becomes comfortable and familiar and she will share that she just doesn’t feel like herself anymore. She has noticed as she approaches the 50-something cliff that her body has a mind of its own and quite frankly it is literally gaining on her.

I specialize in creating a safe zone where we can work on teaching her how to get to know her body, like her body and THEN we can dress her body. I am a firm believer in empowering you to like the body you are in, as long as you like yourself at the same time.

However, I find many women start out being ‘okay’ with weight gain and then they realize that it is making everything else more difficult. Health issues start to pop up such as hurting knees, blood pressure, a general increase in stress and lowering of self-esteem.

They talk about dressing to conceal, also known as draping, which only makes them look and feel bigger. They don’t shop for pleasure; they shop out of frustration because what is in their closet is now ill fitting. They feel guilty that they have a closet full of clothes that don’t fit and now they must go and buy more.

Oftentimes they will shop at deep discount stores, buying bulk instead of quality which turns into a vicious cycle because the clothing doesn’t fit well, doesn’t last long and doesn’t look flattering. It is a slippery slope and many times the women feel alone and frustrated.

The first step is acknowledging that it is challenging and not something that we are naturally adept at.

I have worked with clients at the height of their weight gain and made them look and feel fabulous! That has resulted in increased confidence, activity, enthusiasm, engagement and lo and behold, healthier eating habits and subsequent weight-loss.

You may ask, what is the point of spending money to make yourself look good in clothing that won’t fit 6 months from now? Well the answer is obvious, without that boost of self-esteem the motivation to change may not have come.

So, if you are living in the world of the dreaded W’s – W.E.I.G.H.T and W.A.I.T, it’s time to make a change. Now is the time for you to achieve all your dreams that you have put on hold for everyone and everything else.

Now is the time for you to move your stuff to the top of the list and do something for you.

By defining the checkpoints that may motivate you personally and then taking action, you can get from one side of the mountain to the other in a very short time.

I want to leave you with one final thought from Arthur Ashe.

“Start where you are, use what you have and do what you can.”

Need more inspiration to tackle those few extra pounds? Grab a copy of Confidence Is Always in Style, a sassy guide for taking strategic control of your image. Click the link here and enter discount code BA50 to purchase the printed version at 10.00.

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The Top 6 Fashion Mistakes That Make You Look Older

I often use the phrase, “You have your whole life to look old.” Think about it. Dressing too old is just as bad as dressing too young. How then are you supposed to navigate the median strip when it comes to your style?

Again, think about it! I am pretty sure if I asked you to name the top 6 mistakes women make when dressing too young, you could easily spit out a list as you closed your eyes and envisioned one of your most recent spottings. Mine was last week at the Mall where a mom and daughter were dressed like summer twins. My head was spinning as I was thinking almost out loud – quick give that mom a bathrobe!

Here’s a quick too-young list to get your juices flowing –

  • Too much cleavage, yes Mildred, there is a limit
  • Jeans with too low a rise, exposing even more cleavage
  • Wearing 6-inch heels with your boyfriend jeans at a backyard barbecue
  • Sporting a crop top, any kind of crop top
  • Thinking Victoria’s Secret is just the cat’s meow
  • Wearing a ponytail, since forever

In my line of work, I find that more women dress too old than too young, meaning that their wardrobe choices are better suited to someone one to two decades beyond where they are. Oftentimes we will pull something out of the closet and our eyes roll as we envision her accessorizing the dress with an afghan.

The reasons why these lovely ladies have spiraled down this path abound. The short list includes weight changes, foot issues, what they define as comfortable, a lack of time and/or interest in keeping up with what is current, not budgeting for their wardrobe and even peer pressure – yes, peer pressure still exists for grown-ups!

Many women admittedly lack the expertise to know where to shop and what to shop for. Even though women account for 85% of consumer purchases, approximately 40% of them hate to shop citing feelings of over-whelm and lack of self-confidence leading to dressing room depression.

Commonly heard as I stand in the shadow of a client’s closet is “I recognize my look is dated, but haven’t a clue where to begin.”

Let’s begin with the top 6 fashion mistakes that make you look older

  1. Everything you wear is black – Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 1.07.52 PMYeah, yeah, black has always been the wonder drug when it comes to looking slim and sophisticated, but hello Harriet, your skin color has changed! As we age our skin tone tends to go pale, so you need to brighten yourself up a bit. Wear the black, but not close to the face. Add scarves, jewelry, colorful blouses and jackets for the perfect pale palette pickup.
  2. You are draping – Helloa few pounds do not necessitate a tent. No doubt there is still a body in there but if you are draping, you are actually making yourself look bigger than you are. If you are draping to hide a fuller-on-the top or fuller-in-the-middle proportion you are only creating a more obvious imbalance, making you appear even larger on the top and smaller on the bottom. What we are going for here is the hourglass silhouette so opt for something that follows your curves, not hides them.
  3. You haven’t had a bra fitting in a decade – You'reMyBreastFriendWelcome to the majority! Eight out of ten women are wearing the wrong size bra. Seriously, would you walk around in the wrong size shoes? Talk about an easy fix to make you look both ten pounds and ten years younger, getting those girls locked and loaded! Additional benefits of a well-fitted bra include better posture, a perkier younger looking chest, a classier look in your clothing, the appearance of a flatter and longer stomach and reduced back pain! So get with the program and schedule a bra fitting. Need a referral? Contact me.
  4. Your shoes weigh more than you – Girlfriend, if you fall off the ferry and your cement shoes bring you to the bottom faster than lightning, you should reconsider your footwear. Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 1.10.32 PMBlah, blah for the love of the Dansko’s…get a grip, there are comfortable shoes out there that do not weigh 20 pounds. Your shoes, like your boobs, should not be the first things to enter the room! As an exercise in perusing and exposing yourself to options, use the search bar on the Zappo’s Options include, size, width, style, occasion, color, brand, price, materials, insole, theme, pattern and accents. Phew, a hell of a lot easier than slogging through the Mall. As a test for those comfort lovers out there I simply checked off women’s / flats / comfort and the search offered me 721 options! So be kind to your feet and your fashion sense and let your fingers do the walking!
  5. You have had the same eyeglasses since you started wearing eyeglasses
    Chances are when you purchased your first set of glasses you weren’t exactly thrilled to be wearing spectacles so you probably opted for the least conspicuous. Glasses have come a long way baby. They are one of the most fashionable accessories you can use. The current trends in eyewear have evolved to include an abundance of shapes, patterns and colors with frame materials including lightweight plastics, metals and titanium. The possibilities are endless and are just as important a statement as your clothing and your jewelry and can highlight certain characteristics and personality traits. Here is a bonus tip – if you are trying to conceal circles under the eyes, or wrinkles on the neck, statement glasses pull the focus all up so that people focus on your eyes first.
  6. Your answer to everything is a cardigan –
    If every combo becomes complete with a cardi, then you look the same in every outfit. It doesn’t really matter what you are wearing underneath, it is always the cardigan that enters the room first. If you cannot break free from the cardi at least make it a statement piece. However I encourage you to consider adding a few stylish blazers and jackets to your wardrobe. And no, they don’t have to be lawyer looking blazers if you are not in an office setting. Jackets can be a bit unstructured with soft fabrications, asymmetrical hemlines and even 3/4 sleeves. They can be brights, neutrals, textures, patterns and even mixed media with details like leather, fabulous stitching and buttons. They can pull together your neutral solids and make the outfit pop. Check out my jacket here where I simply styled it with a black pant and a cream blouse. I am pictured with the Lord & Taylor General Manager where I was featured as their guest in-store stylist on their recent L&T Charity Day – the jacket of course was purchased at Lord & Taylor!
    So we have the tip of the iceberg melting now. These are a few actionable ideas to get you going. These tips, and at least a hundred more, are included in my recently published book Confidence Is Always In Style.  Available at a 50% discount – just enter code BA50 at checkout!
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