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

Blazers and Jackets

 

Blazers are a basic wardrobe staple that can be worn as a casual light jacket or as a part of a more conservative business outfit. But finding a blazer that provides the best fit or that flatters you as well as it could can be a bit confusing.

The wide range of styles, cuts, and colors that women’s blazers are available in makes it possible for any woman to find a blazer that can provide an effortless finish to almost any outfit and  any event

There are several factors to consider when shopping for the perfect blazer.

Bust

Bust…Finding a blazer that is not too tight or loose across the bust area  can often one of the most challenging steps in finding the perfect blazer.

If the blazer is too tight, it will be difficult to button…if the blazer is too loose, you will end up with an overly draped look and a significant amount of bunching.

Look for a blazer that goes across half of a breast on each side of the blazer.

Buttons

The number of buttons on a blazer will affect both the blazer’s fit and form.

The “stance,”. the highest point where the buttons are, should be considered when shopping for the perfect blazer.

Each type of “stance” looks different on each of the different body types. For example, if you have a larger bust, choose a blazer with a higher “stance”-a blazer that has two or three buttons.

The higher the “stance,” the more buttons you will find…A blazer that has a high stance might have three buttons..A blazer that has a low stance might only have one button.

When shopping for the perfect blazer, consider your body type and the drawbacks and benefits of each type of blazer.


Open-front blazers, like the one above from Orvis, have a draped looked and are very flattering for women with larger bust sizes. Belted blazers, also have no buttons, but create a more structured straight or peplum look that adds more definition to your waist.

  
One-Button Blazers...One-button blazers are more casual, but also the trickiest to wear. The single button must sit perfectly at the narrowest part of your waist. A one-button blazer that fits poorly can look awkward and be  uncomfortable. An example of a perfectly-fitted one-button blazer would be the one above from Tahari.

  
Two-Button Blazer...The two-button blazer, like this one from Varani Formal Wear will fall more smoothly and is more appropriate for work.

Three-Button Blazers...Three-button blazers, like this one from Sears, are best for taller women because the buttons sit higher on the blazer.The more buttons the blazer has, the more likely that the blazer will hold you in and stay in place.

  
Four- and Multi-Button Blazers…Women’s blazers, like this one from Alie Express, often have four or more buttons, with a higher “stance.” open too much at the bust as you go and are the better choice for large-breasted women.

Color and Pattern

There are all sorts of colors and patterns available—ranging from classic colors like black, gray, and navy blue to crazy colors like purple and neon yellow…from neutral stripes and plaids to bright floral prints and wild animal patterns.

Since our goal is to create a minimalistic practical wardrobe, focus on the basic colors first.

 

Lapels

The style and fit of the lapel can also affect the overall look of your blazer. Larger lapels create more bulk on top and shorten the overall look.

The size of the lapel should be in proportion to your figure. Petites generally look better in blazers with smaller lapels.

Length

Women’s blazers can vary greatly in length. The most common and classic length stops at your hipbone…but depending on your figure, you may look better in slightly longer or slightly shorter jacket lengths.

Cropped Blazers
…Cropped blazers that are an inch or less above your waist are extremely casual. Cropped lengths look best when paired with pants or skirts that have a higher waist, .with longer tops, or with a well fitting dress.

Waist-Length Blazers
…Waist-length blazers are more casual than slightly longer blazers and are very flattering on all body types because they draw attention to your waist.

Hip-Length Blazers…
Hip-length blazers are the most traditional length and are very flattering…but women with very wide hips should avoid this cut.

Long Blazers…
Longer blazers look best paired with a more fitted bottom, such as slim fit jeans.

Material

The fabric that makes up a blazer will greatly affect the blazer’s quality and the blazer’s price. Each fabric will have its own characteristics, so it is important to be familiar with each type of material.

  • 1.  Blends…Blended fabrics are very common for blazers because the natural fibers make the fabric of the blazer feel richer and breathe better, but the synthetic fibers help cut down the cost of the blazer.
  • 2.  Corduroy…Corduroy is typically velvet fabric woven in small, parallel rows. Corduroy blazers are typically seen as being very academic and are great for daily use.
  • 3.  Cotton…Cotton blazers are best for warm weather.
  • 4.  Knit…Knit blazers are usually designed to fit snugly like a sweater. Knit blazers are less formal than the standard blazer and are great for petites.
  • 5.  Lace…Lace blazers can be are a great choice for weddings or other special events…but as a minimalist, are you ever actually going to wear it?
  • 6.  Linen …Linen is typically associated with summer blazers. It is lightweight and very breathable. Most often, it is used in its neutral, beige color although some women’s styles used dyed linen. While linen has a crisp, refreshing feel, it wrinkles very easily, and some women will find it difficult to take care of.
  • 7. Satin…Satin usually has a shiny, smooth finish that isn’t appropriate for work…so cross that off my capsule wardrobe list.
  • 8.  Silk…Silk blazers are expensive, but can be worn year round. Silk is incredibly soft and “breathes” very well.
  • 9. Synthetics…Blazers made from synthetic fabrics, such as nylon and polyester, are usually much cheaper than blazers made from natural fibers, such as wool. These blazers are are actually affordable, not investment pieces like wool Blazers and cashmere sweaters. option.
  • 10.  Velvet..Velvet can be made from many different types of fibers. The fibers ar woven so that one side is made up of many short, soft threads called the “pile. ” Velvet is extremely soft and has a slight shine.  Even though velvet blazers aren’t gonna be worn to work, they are still a smart buy because they can be dressed up for holiday parties or dressed down with jeans for a night on the town.
  • 11.  Wool…Wool blazers and suits are very professional-looking. Wool blazers are always a smart choice.

Pockets

Pockets can make or break a blazer. Small pockets do not distract from the silhouette of the blazer as do larger pockets.. Bulky or patch pockets add bulk to the hips.

Shoulders

All blazers have at least a little bit of  padding at the shoulder, because this padding is honestly what gives the blazer its shape.

Removing the shoulder pads can change both the fit and drape of the blazer. Remember, you can always replace the shoulder pads if you need to.

The seams of the shoulder should be as close to the end of your shoulders as possible.

If the shoulders are too wide, you will look too broad-shouldered and the sleeve will begin too far down your arm, possibly causing restriction in arm movement and causing your shoulder bag to start pulling your blazer down from the shoulder.

If the shoulders are too small, you may not be able to raise your arms or move around comfortably.

When trying on a blazer, stand near a wall and slowly lean against it.

If the shoulder pad hits the wall first and scrunches up, it’s too big.

If the shoulder pad and your natural shoulder Both touch the wall at the same time, it’s a good fit.

If your natural shoulder rests against the wall but the shoulder pad does not, it’s too small.

Reaching across your body with one arm to grab the opposite arm can also give you a good idea as to whether to go ahead and buy the blazer or not.

 

Sleeves

The sleeves of your blazer are also important to take into account when shopping for a blazer.

Ideally, the sleeves of your blazers should end at the joint where your thumb connects at your wrist.

Sleeves should also run close to your arm for a slim, sleek look. A wide sleeve can look bunchy and make the blazer look boxy.

 

Types of jackets and blazers worth investing in are…

  • Blazers for work
  • Denim jackets
  • Safari jackets
  • Tuxedo jackets