Wow! It's been way too long. While I have been very busy, I have also not made the time to stop in and post as I should have. Tsk, tsk. I will try to do better. In my absence, I whipped up a list of style tips for a family friend who asked me to speak to a group of women who were looking to polish up their image and transitioning from unemployment to the workforce. I couldn't speak to the group because I was out-of-town but I did send her the list of tips below to distribute to them as a takeaway. Although I have shared most of these tips here on PPT before in some capacity, it is still pretty useful and timeless info and I thought it was worth reposting in this comprehensive list.
Bsquared's Top 10 Tried and True Style Tips
A trench coat is typically a staple in the wardrobe of most working women.
1 - Start with a good foundation.
The right undergarments are key to ensuring everything else falls and lays the way you ultimately want it to. Bumps and lumps are distracting. One last word: Spanx.
2 - Wear the size that fits and stop obsessing over the physical number.
Self-explanatory. Calvin Klein’s 6 is not the same size as Banana Republic’s 6 anyway. Everything looks more polished when your clothes fit properly.
3 - A tailor or seamstress is your friend.
Now in order to pull number 2 off successfully, chances are you will occasionally need to have things altered for a perfect fit. If everything you wear always fits perfectly off the rack then skip to number 4. That’s rarely the case for any of us. Men understand the importance of a tailor, women are late to the game. While it might seem costly initially, just remember that investing in a good tailor will more than pay for itself in the long run.
4 - If you take care of your clothes, they will take care of you.
Okay, I got this one from my southern mother. It seems like a no-brainer but so many people don’t do it. Wash the whites with the whites and the colors with the colors. If laundry isn’t your thing, send your clothes to the dry-cleaners. Too costly? Invest in a steamer. It makes a world of difference in your overall look when garments are crisp and clean.
5 - Know what looks good on you.
Once you learn that wrap dresses are a flattering silhouette on your hourglass figure or that emerald green compliments your cocoa skin-tone, it all becomes a lot easier. While it is certainly fun to experiment occasionally, everyone should have her go-to pieces that she looks and feels confident in without a lot of guesswork.
6 - Back to basics.
I strongly suggest that every woman own the following items. They are timeless and virtually seasonless and excellent basics to build any wardrobe around.
· A classic suit (pants or skirts) - Try pairing a traditional suit with a simple tank or even a lacy camisole to mix it up a bit. For those working in a traditional corporate setting, a less bare top would probably be more appropriate. For starters, black, navy, grey or chocolate brown are probably the best colors to invest in.
· A "crisp" white shirt/blouse - My mom has always said you can never have too many and I now have to agree. Whenever you’re in a bind, pop one on with a black pencil skirt or trousers and you’re bound to look professional and pulled together.
· A sensible pair of pumps - Classic black pumps are a wardrobe staple for any woman. Period.
· A substantial bag (that can hold resumes, recco letters, a portfolio, etc.) Since we are in the midst of the digital age this might not be a big deal to some but there is something so authoritative and professional about walking into an interview or important meeting/presentation with a portfolio case or tote bag versus a purse. (Is that sexist? Shrugs shoulders...) The choices are endless as the handbag market constantly grows. I suggest sticking to something in solid leather.
· A trench coat - The trench is so ideal in the spring and fall. It too is a classic. While it always says "I mean business," something about cinching the waist with the belt screams femininity. It is always disappointing to see someone wearing a dressy suit under a casual bubble jacket to a professional occasion. A trench in khaki or black is ideal but use your judgment when picking the best color for you.
7 - Your time to shine.
The above items might seem stuffy but you can always let your jewelry display a hint of personality. Accessories in general are an excellent way to inject individualism into a look without compromising professionalism. Don’t be afraid to pair a vintage brooch or colorful scarf with your traditional black suit.
8 - Be a denim diva.
An effortless way to go from day to night is with a pair of trouser cut indigo jeans. They can be dressed up for a date with strappy heels and a sexy but tasteful top or worn with a tee shirt and sneakers to run errands. Helpful hint: Wash dark denim with a capful of vinegar to maintain color longer.
9 - Quality over quantity.
Money can’t buy style. It is more important to own ten timeless items that you love and look great on you than to have fifty that are trendy and ill-fitting. Remember, people don’t remember how often you wore something as much as they remember whether you looked good in it or not.
10 - It’s a wrap!
A wrap dress is the quintessential clothing item for the modern woman. It is a one item wonder since the waist cinching silhouette flatters all body types. You can wear it to the office, to church or on a date. Try to own at least one with a ¾ sleeve so that you can wear it all year long.