Is Your Style Missing the Element of Surprise?

Come on ladies, I know we just indulged in Valentine’s Day, but we are not talking about lacy red thongs or purple negligees.

We’re talking about styling elements that set your clothing apart from the same old, same old.

They don’t have to be styling elements that are at the top of the heap when it comes to a new trend (think open-shoulder shirts that are now deads-ville).

But rather surprise elements that can take a basic item out of the darkness, so they can possibly become one of your favorite go-to’s.

I recently updated some of my personal athleisure-wear while shopping at one of my favorite stores, Athleta.

Nothing really varied when it came to a top and a bottom that made them so out of line with my more classic style, but it certainly set me apart in the gym and on my to and fro errands. Still covered, still comfortable, still functional, but with a bit of a flair.

The first is the necessary coverup to shield my sleeveless tank in case I don’t want to reveal my upper arms darting to and fro. A basic, but with a sassy split back. I’m not showing my bare back or my derrière because this is the second piece to the layering look that adds a bit of interest to my backside. And as I always say to my clients, you need to look good when you leave the room because people gaze at you longer as you are walking away than they do when you are approaching.

The second piece is the workout aka yoga pant. They are still high-rise, comfortable, fully contained workout pants, but they have this sassy styling element down the sides. That sassy styling element comes in so many options it’s hard to choose. You could have open criss-crossing, mesh panels or printed fabric inserts that can whisk you away from your boring black yoga pants.

How do you take the styling elements from your workout-wear to your work-where? Pick the category first. One of the easiest categories to add a bit of edge to, are blouses. For two reasons, one they tend to not be the most expensive item in your wardrobe, unless of course you’re still a 100% silk girl, who’s having an affair with her dry cleaner. The second reason is that blouses, considered a soft element, are matched back to your basic hard elements such as pants, skirts and jackets. Think of it as the frosting on the cake. Add flare with cuffs, sleeve shapes, collar adornments, beautiful buttons, pleating, backside interest, color-blocking, again the list is endless. The point being, don’t just buy a boring button front blouse!

The other category that you could infuse some zing into would be your sweaters for the same reasons that I just stated for blouses.

Lastly, at the other end of the spectrum are your shoes. As much as I tout that you need to have a black flat, a black heel, a black booty and maybe a black knee-high boot, if that’s the only color you have in your personal shoe department, then your shoes are downright boring.

Spring is the perfect time to experiment and introduce some freshness into your wardrobe. Need more inspiration? Sign up for my blog and receive a free chapter download of my book, Confidence Is Always In Style – www.DoreenDove.com/blog

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Are You Bored With Your Winter Wardrobe?

Sorry ladies, Punxsutawney Phil says we still have another six weeks donning woolly winter clothing.

It was reported that Phil communicated in “groundhogese” that he had cast a shadow. According to legend, that means the weather will be wintry for the next six weeks. If Phil didn’t see his shadow, it would have been an early spring.

Even I am sick of my clothing and this is what I do for a living!

However, my discerning eye will not allow me to buy the leftover sale crap which is literally all the stuff that nobody wanted. So, despite the $5 price tag it’s not worth the real-estate that it will take up in my closet.

As I often say, just because it is on sale doesn’t mean it is right for you!

What is the solution? Shopping the 85% of the wardrobe that you never wear and sprucing it up with color, texture and shine!

Yes it’s true, I probably also have maybe 40% my wardrobe that I just never reach for. Why? Because I really like the other 60%, it fits well, it’s comfortable, it’s easy, it’s flattering, it makes me feel confident and I am meeting with different clients every day, so no one really knows I’m wearing the same pants, jacket and boots that I have already worn twice this week! Well, now you know too! Don’t share that statement publicly because I will deny it.

Let’s take a deep dive into three categories within your 85%, and figure out what you could change up that could add a little sparkle to your dreary winter wardrobe.

As many of you know I like to get women dressed from the bottom up because our shoes literally carrying us through a 10-hour day, so they must serve us well. That is one of the three categories that I would consider purchasing on sale because the quality of the boot or shoe hasn’t changed in the box, and if you’re not going for the platform wedges filled with floating daisies, I’m pretty sure whatever you buy this season will be in style for the next few years.

If you are going to splurge for something in the shoe or boot category, let’s try a pop of color because no doubt you already have six black pair of each.

Not much needs to change in the pant category because you certainly have your standbys to get you through the rest of the winter, one being your dark wash jeans the other being your fabulous fitting black pants and then possibly a black pair of leggings to wear with your riding boots.

Moving up the body, I don’t really recommend buying sweaters on sale right now because of the fact that you probably have 100 sweaters in your wardrobe. When I am performing a closet edit, audit or full blown assault with my clients, they begin to pull sweaters out of everywhere, bins under the bed, bins in the attic, hope chests, (do they still call them hope chests) and then of course the top shelf of the closet which hasn’t seen the light of day since, well, the light of day. And the sale sweater selection at this point is most definitely undesirable for one reason or another, a few big wrap sweaters that would fit the Statue of Liberty or patterns that bring you back to the Britney Spears schoolgirl video!

Getting closer to your beautiful face, we come to the second category that I would consider spending money on – your accessories. Accessories can easily add color, texture and shine to any boring black outfit. Let’s face it, jewelry is jewelry, whether it’s full price or on sale, it sparkles, it shines, it lifts your spirit and it is the center of attention whether it’s on your neck, your ears, your fingers or your wrists!

Look for department store sales in the fine jewelry category first, because again the costume jewelry category may be picked over, but the fine jewelry category may be just sitting there waiting for you to pick up a special piece at 60 to 80% off. Whereas you may not have wanted to spend one hundred to two hundred dollars on a necklace at the beginning of the season, you can now pick that up for a song. This will be an investment piece that will serve you well into the future thereby getting your cost-per-wear probably right down to the costume jewelry price.

The other favorite accessory is scarves. What adds a pop of color better than a new scarf? When it comes to scarves, I want you to practice one in, one out, because that’s another category that just seems to multiply in the dark. When I ask women why they have 80 scarves, their answer is usually because they all fit. My answer to that is just because it fits doesn’t mean it flatters. Take your scarves out and assess them as if you would be buying them today. Are you attracted to florals or geometrics? If you find you prefer geometrics, then go plant your florals in the giveaway bin. If you find that all your scarves are summer colors, then it’s time to pick up some winter colors.

Recapping here –  if your winter wardrobe is boring to you, it’s boring to others. I recommend you go online or head to your favorite store and only look at those three categories this weekend – shoes/boots, scarves and jewelry.

You will be amazed at the new combinations that you come up with that can stylishly bring you to the pending Spring weather.

As always, if you need help sprucing up your dreary winter look just raise your hand here.

And of course please comment below!!

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Is Your Wardrobe Keeping Up With The Changes In Your Life?

Changes are inevitable. Time stands still for no one. As time changes, so do circumstances. In any given year we may have career changes, family changes, weight changes, responsibility changes and even personal preference changes.Often times clients seek me out because something has changed, and they feel like they are left a little bit behind the eight ball. They don’t know where to begin to update the things that have been pushed aside as a result of the fact that there are still only 24 hours in a day.Challenges that can pop up in a flash include:

  • Weight loss or weight gain resulting in a closet full of nothing to wear.
  • Financial changes where suddenly your clothing is not included in the family budget anymore.
  • Job changes where perhaps you received a promotion from a very casual environment to a more corporate dress code.
  • Family dynamic changes where you find you have taken on a new role in the sandwich generation and free time is a thing of the past.

That has been the change for me. I have been very lucky that my parents, now 85 and 87, have been, for the most part, pretty independent and living just a 2-hour drive from me. 2017 brought some pretty major health changes for both of them simultaneously, and with the death of my brother 26 years ago tomorrow, I am the sole caretaker.

I have witnessed firsthand what multitasking every hour of every day can do to my household, my business and even my health. Being an A-type personality, I always had to make sure every single thing was finished before I laid my weary head on the pillow but I’m here to tell you, sometimes you have just got to loosen the reigns a bit and let it go.

However, as I often say, life is challenging but we have to get dressed!

Subsequently, we need to make sure that our wardrobe is going to be a well-supplied toolkit that will serve us well when we need to fix our family’s health, work on our own bodies, deal with financial challenges or even just handle transitions in the work environment.

So, step back for a moment and take a look at what has changed for you or what may be about to change and get yourself rocked and ready. As Audrey Hepburn once said, “I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong.”

I stayed strong, focused, resilient and of course well dressed (meaning I was warm, comfortable and ready to turn on a dime). Everyone is feeling well and both old and new routines are now in place.

With that said, when it comes to you, we are in the middle of a change of seasons where you may be realizing that much of your winter garb is worn-out or wasn’t serving you well for the past four months. Now is the time to make a list by category of what you might be looking for while everything is on sale. In another two months, your winter wardrobe is going to be packed away and you’ll be pulling out your spring goods. That is also a great time to assess what you’re bringing out and decide whether, amidst your busy life, your spring wardrobe is going to make life easier or more complicated for you on a day-to-day basis.

With everything that you have on your plate, the last question you should be asking yourself is, “What am I going to wear tomorrow?”

Let’s make sure we’re prepared for all of our weekly tasks whether it’s meetings, appointments, networking, eldercare, medical visits, school functions or even that long awaited vacation that may be on the horizon.

Now is the time to get ready for the future, even if it is only one article of clothing or one pair of shoes at a time.

Life is full of changes; your wardrobe needs to keep up! As always if you need help, raise your hand!

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How To Navigate the Length of Your Pants

The headlines are full of stories about gaps these days, budget gaps, government gaps, generation gaps and surely, you’ve heard about the ankle gap – even if it’s only in your coffee clatch. But if you haven’t had a conversation about how to navigate this style challenge, then now is the time.

The style magazines are full of photos of 7-foot tall models with beautiful skinny ankles, wearing cropped or ankle-length pants, with no hosiery and accessorized with 5-inch stilettos. What’s not to like?

Then there’s the reality that the mall is filled with fabulous everyday women, who may or may not have skinny ankles, who may or may not want to wear hosiery and who may or may not enjoy driving through the carpool lane in 5-inch stilettos.

Now that we know the gap between the media and the mall, let’s begin by defining the options.

We’ll start with at athleisure-wear.

The three lengths of your Yoga pants (AKA running around town 8-hours a day) are as follows, with most of these pants being best matched back to some sort of sassy sneaker because it really indicate that at some point during the day you have worked out. Wink wink.

Capri Length

Midcalf – which is different for everyone depending on the length of your legs. For those with wide calves, this may not be the best length for you with the horizontal line hitting and accentuating your widest point. You may want to consider going a bit longer.

The  7/8 Length

This takes the capri length down a bit more, but not quite to the ankle.This is a great length for exercise as well as a flattering length out about town.

The Full Length

With 50% of the country having experienced negative temperatures this past month, I’m pretty sure the full length may be the best way to go. This line comes right down at or below your ankle bone and leaves little or no gap between your athletic socks or your sneakers.

Now onto every-day-wear, work-wear and evening-wear.

This is where it gets really tricky because not only do we have to navigate the pant legs, we also have to know what shoes to match them with. Let’s stay with the winter season because obviously any of the lengths that I’ve just mentioned could be styled with some sort of sassy sandal during the warmer weather.

It’s the cold weather that leaves women floundering and asking, “ Am I supposed to leave the house with two pair of shoes just to wear these pants? Should  I wear one shoe to get to my destination and then another one once I get there to make these damn pants look good? Well there goes my tidy little handbag because now I have to carry a hobo satchel just to keep up with the trends.”

Let’s start with the Capri Length again

If the term pedal-pushers and or culottes come to mind, then you are spot on with the same opinion that I have about Capri length dress pants. They are best left to the runway for the models who have a 3-foot long calf.

Let’s just move on to the Ankle Length

This has become a consistent drop-down when it comes to the search bar in regard to pant lengths, so it is probably here to stay. Full disclosure, because it is an offering, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s right for you.

If you are going to proceed, proceed informed! You need to know two measurements before you shop for these pants.

Number one – what is the desired inseam length for you, in order for these pants to hit you at your true ankle and or sweet spot? Just get out the trusty little tape measure that I constantly talk about and lay down your favorite ankle length pant on the bed. Measure them from the inside crotch seam to the bottom hem and voila, there is your magic number! What that means is that any other number is just going to feel odd to you and it’s not going to hit you in the perfect place, requiring a trip to the tailor so they land exactly where you want them to land!

The next number that you’re going to need to know is what is your favorite width for the bottom of your pants? Visualize with me what an ankle pant that has a 12-inch-wide bottom is going to look like on you? Flood waters rising? Maybe not a good look, so now you fully realize that your ankle pant is going to be a narrow pant and if it’s a dress pant, we’re not talking leggings. That was the previous conversation in regard to athleisure-wear.

Now that we’re on the same page, the most common width of a dress-ankle-pant is 8 inches, when lying flat on the bed that would be a 4-inch-width on each leg panel. Yes, you can go down to a 6-inch width on the bottom so long as they don’t get stuck on your calves when you sit down forcing you to do that un-named exercise of using your right foot to push down your left pant leg and then your left foot to push down your right pant leg. I have often wondered if that exercise counts on the Fitbit!

The Full Length

Lastly the stand-by tried and true full length pant. Again you could purchase a slim, a straight or a trouser fit. Just make sure they are properly tailored for either a flat or a heel!

Yes, lots to think about but it’s best that you think about it before you add these items to your wardrobe otherwise we’re not only going to have to think about them when I get into your closet, we’re going to have to take action on them too!

Need help navigating the ankle gap? Let’s start with an online shopping tutorial where I can show you how to drill down to perfection for every category in your wardrobe.

Now share your savvy comments below and be sure to let me know what style challenges you would like me to write about in the upcoming weeks!

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Conference Dressing Without Stressing

If you are a working woman or a woman who likes to network, then no doubt there is a conference of some sort on your calendar.

As a stylist, this is one of my busiest seasons because so many of my corporate clients are conference attendees, keynote speakers or breakout session leaders.

Often overheard on our pre-prep consult call is the fact that they’re not nervous about their role as attendees or speakers, they are instead nervous about what to pack and what to wear.

They begin panicking about two months in advance, tending to over-think, over-shop and definitely over-pack!

Here are few tips that can allow you to ease into the conference and enter the room with confidence.

The most important word in the planning process is AGENDA. Secure the agenda, post the agenda and plan all of your outfits based on the exact agenda. There really is no way to over pack if you make sure that every step of the way, based on the agenda, you have something to wear.

Listen up! Conference day is not the time for new shoes. I could just end this section on that sentence because no doubt you’re picking up what I’m putting down when it comes to dogs barking. So, if you know you’ve got a conference in March, June or even next September, now would be the time to pick up some new shoes and break them in a bit so that you will not be asking the concierge for Band-Aids.

Additionally, accept the fact that your fabulous four fundamental essentials are going to be repeat performers over the two or three days. Those will be obviously be your perfect fitting pair of black pants, your classy black skirt, your little black business dress and your comfortable sassy black heels. Now is the time to tune up those fab 4 to make sure they are ready to work for you and they look polished and professional – don’t lug along your old worn out black essential standbys, they won’t measure up to the task!

The next piece of advice? Don’t get stuck in the black zone. Too much black is boring for everyone and it tends to look harsh in photographs. Be sure to pack a pop of color, perhaps a statement piece, that can go a long way to bump up your style. Plus, everybody knows you’re probably repeating those black pants or that black skirt or that black dress because you are no doubt not the only one in the room doing that. So, by infusing some color in the soft pieces such as blouses and scarves, or necklaces, earrings, bracelets, brooches and even a rock star pair of colorful shoes, this will leave your compadres wondering how many suitcases you arrived with!

Be sure to remember that conference centers and hotel meeting rooms are usually either too hot or too cold. Don’t take it personally, just know you have to go well prepared to be in control of your own temperature destiny. The key would be layers! Consider wearing sleeveless blouses or dresses that you can top with a shapely sweater or a power jacket.

Lastly, if you are one of the lucky women to be onstage either as a speaker or panelist pay close attention to the length of your dress or your skirt. Be sure to sit seated in front of a mirror so that you-can-see what they-can-see well before they see it! Also make sure if you’re going to be mic’d for volume, that your outfit or your jewelry doesn’t interfere with the wiring, forcing you to completely disrobe for the sound guy just before you go on stage.

The final detail is in the bag, literally. We all like to make sure that we have every possible thing in our bag knowing we’re leaving the hotel room for an eight-hour day, but you really don’t need to look like a carpet-bagger. Be sure to bring a structured bag, one with the flat bottom and a good-sized handle with a zipper closing so that when you’re forced to place it on the floor under the conference table, your 200 items don’t fall out on the floor. Be sure your bag has inner sections so that you can keep your belongings organized so that finding your phone, your pen or your American Express card doesn’t take 20 minutes. Be sure to know the weight of your new bag before you fill it because if it weighs 10 pounds empty, you will then be toting around 20 pounds on your shoulder – all day, for three days! Read more here on how to shop for the perfect handbag.

Need help dressing for the role? Are you a speaker looking to up your game? Let’s talk – there’s no time like the present! Remember the words of Arthur Ashe, “The key to success is self confidence, the key to self confidence is preparation.” Let’s get you prepared to succeed!

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Dressing With Photo Ready Confidence

 Are we talking selfies?Daily photo opps? No darling, I am talking job opps – forward motion opps.

When I speak to corporate groups, it is always a mixed crowd as far as experience and even pay scale. But once in the room, it is a level playing field as we are all there for more than my humor and wit (although stand-up comedy is something I do as I sleep!)  As we settle in, I tell my audience to look around the room and realize that there is not a woman in the room who doesn’t feel her skills could be better, that is why we are here.

Where do I begin is the most common question asked by professionals looking to improve their brand and advance their career. And sometimes it is just a matter of getting your ‘ask’ in gear.

But trying to get women to use their voice oftentimes goes against the core of their upbringing and it is something they have to be taught or empowered to do. Obviously, times are changing!

All of you have talent, passion and fabulousness within, but often it’s one of your best-kept secrets because you fear that by asking for help, advice or counseling, you are exposing a tiny crack in your resume. I want to encourage you to look around, there is not a person in your inner circle who doesn’t think their skills could be better. Skills being defined as – the ability coming from one’s knowledge, practice, aptitude, etc.,to do something well. If you have skills that need tweaking, I want to encourage you in both your personal life and your professional career, to be sure to ask for help, seek out advice, look for a mentor and, just as important, look for someone who may need mentoring but seems afraid to ask.

How often have you heard someone say, how does she do it, how does she put herself together so well, how does she exude such confidence? Perhaps this is a skill that could be fine-tuned.

One of my favorite quotes is from Arthur Ashe, one of the best tennis players in history.

The key to success is self-confidence and the key to self-confidence is preparation.

As an image consultant, I often find myself in a room filled with smart, talented, motivated professionals. I recently brought a client to a breakfast where Arianna Huffington was the keynote speaker. Once seated I asked my client to take note of the next 8 women to enter the room and tell me which ones entered looking confident and which ones entered looking uneasy.

She was spot-on with the same observations that I had. The confident women had dressed for the occasion, were well tailored and well appointed, they looked good, so they felt good and they entered the room with a positive attitude. The less confident women had for whatever reason put something together that morning that they thought would pass. They no doubt struggled from the minute they opened their closet doors and as a result, they entered the room uneasy, with eyes down, shoulders lowered and they looked around for a seat where they could just blend in.

If you’re a professional, every second counts, from the interview to the daily job, the networking, the meetings, the potential for advancement. Research indicates that people are more likely to hire, promote or do business with us if we present as polished and well put together.

Working on your image in 2018? Try modeling yourself after someone you admire or respect. I was touched by a video I watched yesterday by Kellie Frederickson – My Year of Whittling. She encourages you to think about someone you admire and then define what it is about them that you admire and write down their traits.  Take the time to watch this video and then create your ‘I am’ list. Then peruse your wardrobe, assess your daily visual message (to yourself and others) and take action to make some changes, even just mini tweaks to make you personally feel better about yourself, to personally up your level of self-confidence.

Let’s prepare for the photo opp every day. Don’t assume people are not noticing. They are, whether it is at the office or the conference or even Whole Foods. People notice how you package yourself and make judgements about who you are initially just off of that first impression. Who doesn’t want to feel confident and well dressed? And we are not talking about glamming it up just to secure a jug of milk. We are talking about looking in the mirror on the way out and saying – I look and feel damn good today, onward and upward!

Need help opening the door to self-confidence? Start here:  Confidence Is Always In Style

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5 Ways To Take The Winter Chill Off

Feeling a tad spent this week? Unless your holidays have left you on a deserted island with temps in the 90s, I’m pretty sure you’re feeling a bit of chill in the bones as well as a potentially empty gas tank.

The below-zero temperatures, snowstorms, dark afternoons and literally dead batteries all around can do a number on your emotional stability. The last thing you want to read right now is someone making you feel guilty about not having any New Year’s resolutions.

Here’s the bottom-line – it’s damn cold out there and it has left most of us exhausted, our furry friends included. The holidays are taxing on everyone with endless to-do lists and chock-full calendars.

Let’s call a weekend moratorium and just relax!

It’s time to treat ourselves right!

One of my favorite Arthur Ashe quotes is,

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

Here is a list that you can actually check off starting right now.

  1. Treat yourself to an at-home spa experience.
    • Draw a warm soothing bath adding some essentials oils
    • Eucalyptus – an anti-inflammatory
    • Peppermint – relieves anxiety
    • Lemongrass – relieves muscle pain
    • Lavender – provides a feeling of serenity
    • Scented candles – make them the only light in the room
    • Rolled towels for the back of your neck
    • Cucumber water to stay hydrated
    • Download the most popular Apple app of 2017 – CALM – and play the sounds that sooth your sole. Be sure to shut off all other phone sounds so no one pings you!
    • Be sure to have your big fluffy robe and slippers ready to don
  1. Turn your bedroom into a warm, toasty relaxing zone.
    • Cozy up your bed. Take out some of those extra blankets you have stored and plop them on the bed – build a nest!
    • Take out a few of your favorite books and stack your nightstand – be sure to bring bookmarks because who really reads a book in one sitting?
    • Add some ambience around the room in unexpected spaces by buying a few small aloe plants and lighting some candles.
  2. Rev up the post-holiday detox!
    • While stocking the fridge for the weekend storm, stay away from the milk and bread aisles.
    • Buy fresh ingredients for heartwarming soups and refreshing fruit smoothies to give your body the cleanse and jumpstart it needs right now.
  3. Hit the refresh button on your closet.
    • Not a major overhaul, save that for me! But a tweak to clean out the unwanted and unused. Be sure to include any gifts that you received that are just ‘not quite your style’.
    • Now is the time to spark your charitable giving and pull together warms coats, sweaters, gloves and scarves and drop them at your neighborhood shelter or donation bins. This will warm your heart and help some very special people at the same time.
  4. While you are in your closet, function like a stylist!
    • Pull a few outfits together for the upcoming work week – reducing one of the stresses of getting back to the grind. Who knows, with a relaxed soft focus you may even come up with new, creative fabulous combos!

Ready for a total refresh? Let’s start with a free consult so we can figure out how to get you from one side of the mountain to the other with the least amount of checkpoints! I look forward to sharing your 2018 calm journey with you.

http://www.doreendove.com/freeconsult

 

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I look forward to staying connected in 2018

From my home to yours,

As we bid adieu to 2017, I would like to send a sincere thank you for subscribing to my newsletter, attending my events, welcoming me into your homes and sharing your thoughts, challenges and well wishes with me.

It is an honor to have you in my circle of friends, a privilege that I do not take lightly.

Many of you know that this past season my life took on new challenges as the sole caregiver for my elderly parents, a responsibility that I feel grateful to have, as being in their late eighties has provided me with many wonderful years together.

We were able to share our holidays in our happy place, Sunapee, NH. Despite the frigid temps we were blessed with a few feet of fluffy snow, a never-ending fireplace, home cooking, laughs and many more memorable moments.

Wishing you all continued good health and happiness in the New Year.

I appreciate each and every one of you and look forward to staying connected in 2018.

Sincerely,
Doreen

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What Women Want for the Holidays

What an amazing community the Better-After-50 crowd is!

I am honored to have been a friend/reader/writer and supporter for over 5 years now and the content and camaraderie just keeps growing!

I took a memory stroll back through my BA50 holiday archives and sure enough, as I sat with my glass of Merlot and reread them all, they were all still relevant! My main motivation in writing to all of you is to teach, share and empower you with the knowledge to dress with confidence, no matter your age, size, style or budget. Yes, I could be a true fashion blogger trying to sell, sell, sell product, but it is much more rewarding to teach you how to shop wisely on your own. Teach you how to dress by body style, what the essentials should be, where to shop for them, what size to buy, what to pay and more. And of course, there is always the occasional deep dive that I take into your closets because the reality check is that is usually where the problem lies. If we can fix what is in your tool shed you can build a better wardrobe and you can rock not only the holidays in style but every day of your life.

With that said I have created a collection of my top five holiday posts to inform and inspire and hopefully add a few chuckles to your evening as you pour another shot of brandy in the ever-so-fattening eggnog! Cheers to you all.

WHAT WOMEN WANT AS GIFTS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

What Women Want sounds a bit like a fantasy romance. Well actually it is – it was a movie about 16 years ago with Helen Hunt ( a fan favorite) and Mel Gibson (not so much), where a fluke accident gives him the ability to read women’s minds. Well now – wouldn’t that be telling in real life!

Here’s a little non-fantasy help with what women want that you could actually forward to your significant others, BFF’s, siblings and children.

STOP STRESSING ABOUT HOLIDAY DRESSING

The truth be told, many women stress daily about dressing. If you are a repeat reader you know that I spend my writing hours trying to de-stress the situations. I give advice on closet editing, building wardrobes, how to accessorize, how to dress by body proportion, how to accentuate the assets and disguise the liabilities, what the best undergarments to buy are and what shoes can comfortably carry you through the work week – to name a few.

10 TIPS TO PARTY IN STYLE

Tis the season to be jolly? Bah humbug! Tis the season to be stressed and frazzled might seem more like it. The holiday season can be a whirlwind of errands – shopping, wrapping, cleaning, baking, decorating, and more shopping, all of this on top of a 40-hour work week.  As if that isn’t exhausting enough, you are expected to attend a number of seasonal soirées where you can toast the holidays with friends, co-workers and family.

ARE YOU WEARING THAT UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER INTENTIONALLY?

Which came first, the Ugly Christmas Sweater or the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party? Now before you go hopping all over me for using the term Christmas, simmer down as the title could certainly have been ‘Are You Wearing An Ugly Holiday Sweater Intentionally’, but seriously, it just doesn’t have the same pop does it? It does however inadvertently point out that an ugly sweater is an ugly sweater no matter the holiday and no matter who wears it! Ugly is just ugly and it could be for all the opposite reasons that I give for something being a closet keeper or a wardrobe wonder – does it fit, flatter and function?

WHY YOU MIGHT WANT TO GIVE A GIFT CARD THIS YEAR

To give or not to give…I did a bit of interviewing for this piece. Over the past few days I have asked teachers, hairdressers, UPS drivers, shop owners, fashionistas and friends to share what not-so-fabulous past gifts they would gladly have exchanged for gift cards. They also shared specific gifts that show up year after year, usually from the same source! I share these tidbits in the hopes that as you shop in the next few weeks, you will consider ‘shopping with purpose‘ and opting for gift cards.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy holiday season!

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What To Wear To Your Office Party

Today’s dilemma – you are invited to an after-work party and you are a commuter!

You really don’t want to show up at work with three Whole Food bags just so you can change your clothes for a free cocktail!

There are easier ways around the styling challenge.

Let’s start by simply dropping a dress!

Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, we can get back to normal shopping, meaning taking advantage of the store sales on the items that we actually want and the items that will personally serve us well. Case in point, I purchased 2 new vacuum cleaners on Cyber Monday, one for my home and one for my parent’s home. Not exactly festive-wear!

Let’s begin by perusing the dress department. This week I was with a client in Lord & Taylor Burlington showing her how to break down the dress department to make it manageable and maneuverable for her personally.

Let’s break it down for you.

When you think office-wear vs. evening-wear, hopefully two different images come to mind. However, everyone’s situations are unique, so let’s just talk about you and what’s right for you.

As you approach the sea of dresses, decide ahead of time whether you are looking for a patterned dress or a solid dress. For this crossover event, I recommend buying a patterned dress that has black within the color palette because there are many options for you to ‘makeover’ that dress again and again.

Next, decide on color. Do you want a favorite festive color or do you want a sassy LBD? Note to self, if you have six sassy LBD’s in the closet, try and think outside the box and shop for color.

What is your favorite festive pop of color –  the deep winter tones of dark jade, burgundy or perhaps purple?  Or the statement making ruby red, crushing cobalt or shimmering emerald?

Now you are on a roll and perhaps taking a pass through the dress department or shopping online only looking for a patterned dress in a certain color. You have brought down the options from maybe 1000 to 200!

Next, decide your sleeve length. You might want to opt for sleeveless for this particular shopping challenge so that you can be dressing down the look with a jacket at the office, and can then pop on some shimmer lotion and a bit of arm candy to change the look decisively and check your jacket at the door.

If you opt for sleeves, decide on the length and shape. Perhaps a bell sleeve may be an appropriate on-trend splurge for a holiday dress.

Decide on the neckline. Many round neck dresses come with sewn-on embellishments thereby negating the need for a statement necklace. Do you prefer your necklace sitting on the skin of your décolletage, then opt for a V-neck. Do you prefer your necklace to lay on the fabric of the dress, then choose a round neck or a high neck.

So far you are still not carrying anything extra to the after-hours soirée!

Here’s what you should carry, a bit of bling in the form of chandelier earrings, a statement necklace or even a cocktail ring. Then throw a sheer scarf or wrap in the bag in case the winter chill enters the room.

Lastly, pack a party shoe and a demure evening clutch. BTW – preparing to carry just a clutch in the evening, may take some morning preparation as you may have to ditch the extra (mostly unnecessary) 45 things you usually stash in your daily satchel. That way if you lock your bag at the office overnight all you will need to have with you in your evening clutch are your wallet essentials, your phone, your lipstick and your car keys.

On a side note – once you have that overstuffed satchel cleaned out, take note whether or not you really need to carry all that crap every day and also take note whether or not you may actually need a new bag that serves you well AND looks fabulous!

Now is the season to shop for a new bag. I’ve broken down all the necessary bag-shopping-essential-tips in my book, Confidence Is Always In Style, to help you shop with purpose right down to the grommets on the bottom, the size of the handle, the shape of the bag, the price point and even the color. It’s all in there!

Pop on over to this link to grab a few copies of my second edition now priced at $10. The perfect gift for you, or as a stocking stuffer for your girlfriend or even a Yankee swap item that’s bound to get the conversations going! Now go drop that dress and enter the party with confidence!

Where’s Doreen?

Join me Dec 4th for The Women In Business Chamber Event

Join me Dec 6th for Opening Night at The Mass Conference For Women

Join me Dec 7th for the full day at The Mass Conference For Women

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