Sweet, Sweet Sunday

National Dress Gaudy Day

Today is National Dress Gaudy Day, a national “holiday” inspired by the TV show “Three’s Company”…a day that gives us an annual excuse to wear the most unstylish things that we can find.

But sadly there are people every single day wearing terrible clothes who have never gotten the message that dressing “gaudy” is only acceptable one day per year, not all 365.

Sadly, you find people…

  • Showing up to PTA meetings in cut-offs…
  • Wearing “hooker” clothes to church…
  • Finding themselves on websites such as “People of WalMart”…
  • Being nominated for TV shows such as “What Not to Wear”…

And as for me personally, I don’t care to be the latest “talk of the town.”

Nowhere has the fact that many of us have very little, if any, knowledge when it comes to fashion..even though most of us have enough sense to actually wear clothes to Walmart?…been more noticeable than when “business casual” and “casual Friday” became part of the work world.

So what exactly does “business casual” mean? And how can you add a “business casual” to your budget?

Obviously, “business casual” will mean different things from job to job, industry to industry, office to office, and state to state.

And even though there is no “official” rulebook for dressing “business casual,” there are basic principles such as…

First of all, when starting to create any type of wardrobe, you should strive to…

  • (1) eliminate the amount of time spent folding, organizing, buying and washing clothes
  • (2) fill your closet only with clothes that actually make you feel fantastic, that you absolutely love, and that make you happy
  • (3) keep you from mindlessly shopping despite the fact that you clearly have tons of clothing already
  • (4) keep you from staring at a closet full of clothing each morning, and yet feeling that you have nothing to wear

(5) weed out those pieces that you actually never wear now, and probably never will wear again

1. Face the Facts…Be completely honest with who you are now…not the person you used to be, the person you hope to one day become, or some other type of person that you honestly are not.

Don’t think about what you wish you could afford, wish you could fit, and wish you had the lifestyle to wear.

Dressing professionally means dressing to do your job in a well-groomed and non-distracting fashion.

Never wear denim, shorts, miniskirts, crazy makeup, or anything vinyl or sequined.

Get tips from your coworkers.

Ignore the “dress for the job you want” thing. Dress for the job you actually have and for what is right for you. You don’t want to look like the geek who is trying way too hard.

2. Fewer But Better…Quality pieces, taken care of properly, will generally last much longer than cheap pieces It makes sense to invest in things you know you’ll actually wear often…such as black trousers, pencil skirts and blazers.

Buying fewer clothes will allow you to purchase higher quality, longer-lasting pieces that would otherwise be too expensive.

Establish a color palette.

Invest in a few keys pieces. Add other items slowly…. It’s much better to have a smaller wardrobe full of great pieces than a closet full of junk. Don’t try to build a wardrobe all at once. First buy the bare minimum pieces, and get a sense of what your office is like and what feels right on you in that environment. Then you will have time and money to make better choices.

Sell old clothes to offset the costs….Selling old clothes on eBay or at consignment stores will help the people currently needing that item and provide you additional cash for the new items you need.

Shop online….Even though shopping online means that you obviously will not be able try the clothes on before buying them, you can often find really great deals.

Stay away from full-priced department store items….Great pieces can be found much cheaper at stores like T.J. Maxx and Ross, and consignment and thrift stores.

3. Figure Out What You Actually Need..Having a list of what you already have and getting rid of those things that are simply occupying space enables you to actually see what you already have, figure what else you need, and create different outfit combinations.The following list of items might give you some idea of what your wardrobe might consist of.

  • Tops…1 trench…2 blazers…3 dresses…1 cardigan…2 lightweight sweaters…5 blouses…a layering tank…4 T-shirts
  • Bottoms..1 skirt…2 pairs of shorts…1 pair of white linen pants, full length…3 pairs of cropped pants (one colored, one khaki, one black)…1 pair of boyfriend jeans
  • Accessories…2 scarves…3 necklaces…1 set of bangles…1 cocktail ring…1 pair of sunglasses…1 neutral handbag…4 pairs of shoes

4. Find Your Favorites…Your capsule wardrobe should consist only of those items Thad you absolutely love…Notice what gets the most wear and why. This can help you figure out what NOT to purchase in the future.

Dress comfortably…Feel free to be yourself…If you feel uncomfortable, you won’t look very professional.

Choose slightly more structured versions of what you already like to wear.

5. Find Your Niche…Your lifestyle, tastes, job, budget, and even the climate will all play a role in defining what works for you. Define your own “personal style” and color palette. This will allow you to be more specific and selective when shopping.

Create a “uniform.” This takes the work and the panic element out of getting dressed every morning. Two examples of “uniforms” would be almost always wearing A-Line skirts, low heels and blouses…or wide-legged pants, Oxfords and a sweater.

Know your brands and what you’re looking for.

6. Fit the Puzzle Together…..Never buy anything if it doesn’t go with at least two to four other pieces. .Look for those retailers who best fit your figure, your budget, and your lifestyle.

Don’t worry too much about what everyone else is wearing. Business casual runs the gamut in any given office.

7.  Forget Following the Trends..Forget following trends that will be gone next year and replaced with new trends. Classics, such as a white buttondown and khaki pants, are the basics

8. Forget the Forty…Forty is not some magical wardrobe number. No dress, skirt, or perfect 40-piece capsule wardrobe will magically transform your life or make you look ten years younger and twenty pounds thinner. What matters is that you have a wardrobe of clothing that you absolutely love and can’t bear to part with.

Getting Dressed

Sweaters


Cardigans are perfect for layering your clothes, adding texture and interest to outfits, and keeping you warm. Cardigans are also easy to throw over on a basic dress or top.

Cardigan sweaters are fabulous for layering with your tops, multiplying your outfits, and dressing down a flashy outfit.

to add contrasting color, to mute a loud pattern in a dress or blouse, or add a color to a drab ensemble

In fact cardigans are some of the most flexible sweaters available.

It is important that you first fill your wardrobe with timeless,  can’t-live-without essential in solid neutrals such as black, navy, and cream. Then you can start adding more trendy items.

Basic sweate colors include purple, blue, green, mustard yellow, and  fiery red.

You will most likely wear whatever sweaters you purchase for years, if not decades. So this is one item that you should be willing to invest more money in.

I highly recommend you to invest in at least four high-quality cardigan sweaters that will work with the rest of your wardrobe.

1.  Possible fabric options include…

Cashmere
. A cashmere sweater is the ultimate in softness and  luxury. They are available in a wide array of price points, qualities and styles.

Cashmere/wool blend..
. These sweaters are more reasonably priced than cashmere sweaters. They still have the soft and luxurious feel of cashmere and are less itchy than wool.

Cotton…
Cotton sweaters are soft and comfortable, but will not keep you as warm as a wool sweater. Most cotton sweaters can be worn all year round.

Wool…
Wool is perfect for cold winter days because it is not only soft and comfortable, but also works as an excellent insulator to keep you warm. There are several  different types of wool, including…

  • Alpaca…stronger than other wool types, but still soft
  • Lambswool…fine and soft, cost-effective, durable, stretchy and breathable, itchy
  • Merino…a finer fiber if you don’t like itchy wool, offers near the softness of cashmere but with substantially more durability, cost-effective, durable, stretchy and breathable…thinner and not as warm as lambswool
  • Mohair…lustrous and long-wearing
  • Shetland…made from coarser fiber

 

 

Style


A few types of cardigans to consider are…

1.  Boyfriend cardigan…casual and long, great for keeping warm, might look or feel a bit like a doctor’s coat…great paired with straight pants, pencil skirts, and simple sheaths…and long necklaces

2.  Coat cardigan…makes almost any jeans and tee outfit look polished

3.  Cozy knit cardigan...for that effortless, vintage look

4.  Draped cardigan.... looser than typical cardigans…have more volume than a boyfriendcardi, but are just as long.

5.  Oversized cardigans…needs to be the right cardigan in the right shape…not big slouchy sweaters that have no shape and just plain out look sloppy…never wear them with oversized pants because this makes them look way too frumpypair it with a more form-fitting outfit. That means skinny or narrow pants, leggings, skirts, or dresses with a tapered waist or belt.

Oversized cardigans are not simply cardigans that are a size or two bigger than you are…or cardigans actually borrowed from your boyfriend… Shop with your correct size in mind, and make sure that the shape of the sweater itself doesn’t swallow you up. Sleeves should hit at the wrist or just slightly cover the hand.
6.  Simple cotton cardigan...light and thin, excellent for layering over a t-shirt or dress

 

 

Length


Typically cardigans hit just below the hip and can be as long as mid-calf. If you are short, keep the length right around the knee or above.

Any length cardigan looks good with pants…

A cardigan that hits slightly above or below the hem works best with skirts.

A cardigan that is a few inches above the hem, at the hem, or mid-calf if you are wearing boots works best with dresses.
Note for Petites…

If you are petite or plus size, stick with cardigans made of thinner material. The drop shoulders, length and slight oversized middle of cardigans in these fabrics will not overwhelm a small frame or add bulk to a larger one.

Also, thinner oversized cardigans look more polished than cable knits or other heavier sweaters.


As we approach the beginning of fall and winter… (even though it’s still 95 degrees here in Texas most days)…it’s time to drag out or start thinking about dragging out the sweaters…and probably even buy more.

But there are so many sweaters available that you may find the choices a little overwhelming. How do you know which sweaters look best with your body type, face shape, and neckline?

Let’s take a look at several different styles of sweaters and necklines and consider which ones will be the most flattering based on both the shape of your face, body, and neck.


 

 

 

 

 

1.  Boat Neck


Design……sits near the collarbone and extends horizontally outward onto the shoulders and parallel to the bustline

Best for…

Bustline…makes it seem more pronounced.
Face Type…can enhance the beauty of a heart-shaped face
Head…provides a balancing effect for women with a smaller head
Neck…flattering for women with long necks, can make an overly long neck appear slightly shorter


2.  Cowl Neck 

Design…the collar of a cowl neck sweater  folds over and lies on the shoulders and chest to create a drape around the neck

Best for…

Body Type…excellent for apple-shaped women because they open up the neck area and are not as form-fitting…also great for pear-shaped women because they draw the eye up and away from the lower body
Bust line…excellent for busty women because they open up the neck area and are not as form-fitting

3.  Funnel Neck

Design…similar to a mock turtleneck except that the neck extends upwards from the bodice of the shirt in one piece instead of being a tube sewn onto the neckline…excess fabric could either stand straight up or roll over

Best for…

Neck Type…short neck, as the collar does not normally cover most or much of the neck length


4.  Jewel Neck

Design…a plain rounded neckline that rests near the base of the throat

Best for…

Bustline…makes the bustline more noticeable
Face Type…heart-shaped
Necks… long, because the jewel neck minimizes attention to the neck and


5.  Mock Turtleneck… 

Design…similar to a turtleneck, but about half as long…stands up on its own… gives the appearance of a turtleneck without the extra folded-over fabric

Best for…

Body Type…woman with a slimmer build.
Bustline…makes busty women look confined and somewhat matronly
Neck Type…short


6.  Turtlenecks

Design…have a long tube of fabric that is longer than the neck serving as the collar and draping around the neck…can also be folded over once for a neat appearance at the base of the neck…often form fitting with long sleeves and a hem that ends at the waist or top of the hip.

Best for…

Bustline…large-busted women tend to look even larger in turtlenecks, so care should be taken to choose a finely knit material and add a layer that creates a longer line
Face Type…heart shape…can provide flattering concealment for a double chin
Neck Type…can have a slimming effect on a wider neck and not best on short necks, although older women may like the neck camouflage offered by a turtleneck sweater


7.  V – Neck 

Design…V-shaped neckline with long sleeves and ribbed cuffs and hem…wide at the top and slants inward, coming to a point at the bottom.

Best for…

Neck Type…Since they show a narrowing section of skin, they can have a lengthening effect on the neck. This illusion makes them popular among women with shorter or wider necks visually elongate the neck. They typically give women with short necks a more elegant appearance.Thicker Neck or Double-Chin

Things to keep in mind when shopping for sweaters…

1.  Close-fitting sweaters work well with wide-leg pants and flowing skirts. Bulky sweaters look best with snug bottoms, such as a tight pencil skirt, skinny jeans, or leggings…

2.  Keep in mind the events, occasions, and activities that you might want to wear the sweater…the climate you live in…and any accessories that you might need to go with your new sweater.

3.  Smaller, thinner jewelry works better with light sweaters or those in a fine-gauge knits. Thinner necklaces look even smaller when worn with heavy sweaters.

4.  Thick sweaters look best with longer, thicker necklaces or long, thin chains with bold pendants.

5.  Tying or draping a scarf around your neck and shoulders gives a sweater extra flair.