Make Anything Look More Expensive

The February 2015 issue of Lucky magazine, amid a display of fashions that unmistakably target a younger demographic than the readers of this blog, contains a piece entitled “Stylist Confidential:  Make Anything Look More Expensive.” Drawing upon the expertise of four top stylists, the magazine highlights “cost-saving fashion tricks” that elevate the perception of one’s personal style.

0115 Stylists Tips Look More Expensive REV

From Kate Young: “Be careful with prints, as they can look inexpensive more easily. Instead, opt for items in bright solid colors or black, which is always a safe bet.” Not only can prints look expensive, they tend to be memorable and can be a look you tire of after multiple wearings. I would amend Young’s advice to suggest also generally avoiding bright solid colors, unless you know that they flatter your coloring. Generally, complex and subtle colors are more expensive to produce than brights and have nuances and shading that is more flattering to most complexions.

From Kathryn Neale:  “A good tailor can be a game changer. Hemming pants or cuffs to fit you perfectly costs less than $20 and adds polish.”  Unfortunately, the photo of Neale shows her in a skirt, not pants, so there is no visual representation of her tip. Image consultants, like stylists, will tell you that proper tailoring of your garments is the single most important way to upgrade your look. Good tailoring is worth every dollar you spend.

From Karen Kaiser:  “Elevate your basics–like a white shirt, structured blazer and wide-leg trousers–with splurge-worthy accents. I always invest in shoes, outerwear and a great pair of sunglasses.” She is wearing wonderful sunglasses, but her shoes are hidden by ground-dragging pants that might benefit from hemming. Since the point of the exercise was to provide “cost-saving fashion tricks,” “investing in” expensive shoes seems beyond the intended scope of the article. And, of course, there’s the issue that shoes must be kept in perfect condition, which can be expensive, as nothing makes an ensemble look more unkempt more than poorly maintained shoes.

From Jessica De Ruiter:  “Go timeless, not trendy.” Great advice, if you are able to sort out what is timeless and what is trendy. I would characterize the short-sleeve blouse she wears as trendy, although the skirt is classic. Pumps would be much more timeless than bright blue T-strap open-toe wedge shoes. I would have liked to see De Ruiter wearing what she considers a timeless ensemble.

The take-away from all this advice:  Buy classic styles in flattering solid colors or black, and have them tailored to fit. Know the style rules, and then feel free to break them to express your own personal style. Having your own unique personal style is priceless.

Rethinking the Pop of Color

Sometime over the last year or so, a new catch phrase became a fashion favorite for professional and would-be stylists: add a “pop of color” to an ensemble to make it interesting. The catch phrase became the stylistic rationale for adding shocks of color to otherwise coordinated looks, and typically justified the inclusion of a vibrantly hued accessory such as a pair of shoes, a belt or a bag.

Suppose you find a bag that you absolutely love in a vivid shade of lemon yellow, a fabulous red belt, or shoes irresistible in Kelly green. How can you make the pop of color work?

The addition of a hue to an ensemble works best when it is repeated elsewhere in the ensemble, because repetition provides a pleasing sense of visual harmony. Reds, pinks and corals often coordinate with lipstick. Nail polish this season is all about bold color, and can easily repeat or approximate an accessory’s hue. Gemstones set in jewelry also can be selected to coordinate with the favored color.  This season is all about prints, and finding a print that repeats the color is easily accomplished.

If you are determined to utilize a single pop of color, consider its visual effect. Where does the pop of color draw the eye?

Illustration:  From the July 2012 issue of Lucky magazine, here’s a photo of Leighton Meester in a dress from BCBG Max Azria in neutral hues with a pop of color that draws attention to her waist.

Shoes draw all eyes downward, so  if you’re thinking about a pop of color via your shoes, consider whether your feet is where you want people to be looking. If you have great legs and want the eye to sweep down over them, great. Otherwise, the effect suggests fashion victim rather than creative chic. A vivid belt accents a waistline. A bag, since it is held, is the most flexible pop of color, since it is entirely independent of your body. However, the bag should have the same level of refinement and coordinate with the overall style aesthetic of your ensemble, or it will just look as though you forgot to switch out your purses.

Quite aside from the styling advice, it’s time to let the phrase “pop of color” go. When a laundry detergent picks up on a fashion catch phrase, you know it’s well past its “use by” date.

Vogue Gets Real

If you’re one of the fashion magazine fans who has felt that Vogue magazine has little relevance to the real-life needs of the vast majority of women, you may be intrigued and delighted by a new feature that the magazine introduced with the August 2012 issue, “What to Wear Where.”

Here’s what the magazine says about the new content, calling the development “Keeping it Real”: “we introduce WHAT TO WEAR WHERE, a new monthly feature of practical solutions to those SPECIFIC SARTORIAL CHALLENGES we encounter in our WORK LIFE (slick envelope clutches and portfolio bags transport papers and iPads with EFFICIENT PANACHE) and our everyday family ménage.”

The first installment features six looks and  “six supersleek, superchic handbags” that “speak to how efficient and modern you can be,” whether you’re dealing with a job interview, television pitch, lunch with investors, or other work duties. Some of the looks shown are so fashion-forward as to be more appropriate for creative fields rather than conservative businesses, but none of the looks push the inappropriate overt sexiness that sidetracked Marie Claire magazine in its efforts to create an “@ Work” spin-off supplement.

Here’s a skirt look from Sacai worn with a leather bag from Derek Lam, pumps from Calvin Klein Collection, and a statement cuff bracelet from Abraxas Rex by Paris Kain. About the bag, Vogue states: “An earthy, neutral bag (no hardware, no nonsense) sends an elegant but warm message when you’re making the sales pitch. . . .”

A jacket and pants ensemble from Max Mara, worn with a calfskin bag from Emilio Pucci, a statement necklace from Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci, and a pair of rings–a signet ring from Mannin Fine Jewelry and a Hoorsenbuhs ring from Barneys–create a blueprint for success, says Vogue:  “Akin to the scarlet power ties of the 1980s, royal-blue accessories today are a clear statement of confidence–just the right tone when you’re asking the CEO for a promotion.

These descriptions are spot-on, as if vetted by, if not actually written by, an image consultant. This is genuinely practical advice, the difference between pushing trends and helping women find fashions that meet their needs. I am eager to read more in coming months.

Terrific Turquoise – Colors That Work – Guest Post by Babe Hope

It’s not accidental that the background color of my blog is turquoise blue . I chose the color because turquoise is a serene color, reminiscent of tropical lagoons, a color that invites one to relax and stay a while, and at the same time a color that has a vibrancy that energizes and encourages engagement.

Today I’m pleased to offer my readers a guest blog post from Babe Hope, who blogs for the web site www.ullapopken.com. Ulla Popken’s mission is “to offer plus size women exclusively-designed, stylish merchandise of finer quality with the most consistent fit” and, at the same time, to “exceed customer expectations making women look and feel their most beautiful at a fair price.” In her guest post here on www.trulybecoming.com, Babe provides her take on a key reason that turquoise is a perennial favorite.

Please enjoy Babe’s post and read on for a special giveaway that may enable you to enjoy a bit of the color turquoise, or whatever is your favorite hue.

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Colors That Work – a Guest Post by Babe Hope of UllaPopken.com  

Do you select colors that you love to look at or colors that flatter your face? Well, how about a color that does both?

Check out Ulla Popken’s Embroidered Beaded Tunic,#22435, terrifically turquoise. The color is absolutely gorgeous and it is a universally flattering color. How can this be so?

Colors on opposite sides of the color wheel enhance each other, which is why strawberries pop and look so delicious packaged in green containers. This shade of turquoise is just about the ‘color-wheel opposite’ of pink–playing up a healthy blush in the skin, regardless of your complexion tone. Both light and dark, warm or cool skin tones have underlying or obvious shades of pink. That is why this color flatters everyone. Furthermore, this color is also versatile, it works for three of the four seasons and can be paired with all neutrals, black, brown, khaki, white and of course jeans.

Oh, and did I mention the fabric? The fabric is richly textured, 100% cotton, so soft to the touch but has enough weight to drape well. The notched neckline and sleeve hem are intricately embroidered with bronze-toned beading. The fit is relaxed and the length is 32 inches. Ahhhh!

Wrap yourself in turquoise, day or night, and bring out the blush in your cheeks.

About Babe Hope:

Babe Hope is the author of Pretty Plus: How to Look Sexy, Sensational and Successful No Matter What You Weigh. She has written numerous articles, appeared on dozens of radio shows and videos and consulted to several specialty apparel retailers, sharing her tips on how to feel good in what you wear. A plus size woman all her life, Babe turned the ‘pity party’ into a ‘pretty party’ fifteen years ago and has been a stylist and personal shopper for women of all shapes and sizes. She is currently a blogger, stylist and model for Ulla Popken and fully embraces Ulla’s spirit: ‘Feeling beautiful is empowering.’

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Ulla Popken’s Tunic Giveaway to One Lucky TrulyBecoming.com Reader:

Ulla Popken has beautiful tunics in sizes from 12 to 38 and will give away a tunic to one lucky reader of the TrulyBecoming.com blog who posts a comment to this blog post during the month of June, 2012. To enter the contest, please visit ullapopken.com. Choose the tunic you’d most like to have and make note of its name and item number. Then come back to trulybecoming.com and tell us in a comment to this blog post how the tunic would expand your wardrobe options and why you’d like to have it. Be sure to include the name and item number of your choice in your comment.

Please post your comment below and be sure to provide your name and email address as requested. Your last name and email address will not be published with your comment, as all comments are moderated. All comments are subject to being edited for length.

The contest runs through 11:59 p.m. on June 30, 2012. Comments will be judged based upon the thoughtfulness and clarity of the comments posted.. The lucky winner will be contacted via the email address provided, and the winner will have ONE week to claim the prize, after which time it will be awarded to another entrant. If the winner’s choice of tunic is no longer available in her size on ullapopken.com, the site may substitute a garment of similar value.

This giveaway is open to persons 18 years of age or older living in the United States, and is void where prohibited by law.