If you’re going to classic:
If you prefer more whimsical:
Or you would like to be more elegant:
And for those who are bohemians:
Happy Holidays from The Tastemaker Strategy!
It’s that time of year again, party after party after party. And not just with your nearest and dearest friends and family, but with your coworkers, bosses, and more distant (and sometimes more judgmental) relatives. I don’t know about you, but these kinds of events give me serious anxiety, usually because I have little to no context as to what to expect, especially about what to wear. Even if I am told what to expect, “Just dress casually!” I still have a million more questions; what if their idea of casual is my idea of dressed up? Like, “casual” as in yoga pants and a hoodie or “casual” as in jeans and a real top with buttons and stuff?
After some time of stressing and worrying about what to wear, I developed a question to help guide my clothing choices to find an outfit I can feel comfortable and confident in. The question could be asked before picking something out or applied to an outfit idea you already have in mind. The question is this: What would I be comfortable in this if other guests were really dressed up and if others guests were dressed down?
The sweet spot is choosing an outfit right in the middle. I know this sounds impossible, but once you think of the event in this perspective, you start to realize that there can be a happy medium. So, if you have no context to the event, think of an outfit fancy enough to fit in with a dressed up crowd but casual enough if guests showed up in jeans and a tee shirt. The same method can be applied to a designated “dressy” event, because there are hundreds of options in this scenario too. You can show up in a elegant top and dark wash jeans or a full-length gown. If you ask yourself the aforementioned question and still feel comfortable in one of those options, great! If not, perhaps a cocktail dress is the perfect compromise.
In all honesty, most of the time there is a mixture of people in their Sunday’s Best and others who wore the same sneakers that they walked the dog in earlier that day. But if you take this situation into account, you dress to feel confident no matter what the anyone else is wearing. And there’s no better feeling than being comfortable in your own skin. So, party on, people!
One of the things I love about a change of season, along with the change of clothes, is updating my makeup choices. Makeup can play an integral part in finishing your outfit, really completing the “look.” As much as an outfit can determine your makeup (such as wearing a fuchsia lip to coordinate with a fuchsia handbag), the seasons can also help or hinder your look. Think about it, how would face shimmer and candy pink lips look with a thick maroon sweater and black jeans? Looks like your face didn’t get the memo that it’s not summer anymore.
So, that brings us to Fall, with its earth-tone hues and chillier temperatures. My favorite make-up for this season are lipsticks and blushes in varying shades of berry, mauve, and nude with matte textures. Now I love shimmery cosmetics, but I save these for the Spring/Summer months, when it makes sense to look a little dewy in the hot sun. If you simply can’t live without your highlighter, choose one with a cold-colored shimmer, such as a neutral shade, instead of a warm, bronze one. I suggest NYX Duo Chromatic Illuminating Powder in Snow Rose.
For lips one of my favorite products is matte liquid lipstick, it goes on smooth and even, making it easy to apply with precision. I highly recommend L’ORÉAL Infallible Pro-Matte Liquid Lipstick for it offers a bunch of great shades for Fall.
I would also suggest investing in a lighter/colder shade of foundation, since your tan will quickly fade away. L’ORÉAL also offers True Match Super Blendable Makeup foundation categorized by cool, warm, and neutral shades, to make the selection easier. A paler face makes a dramatic backdrop for deep berry or nude matte lips, as well.
I encourage you to shake things up and try a new shade of lipstick or blush this season, you’ll instantly feel updated. New season, new face (plastic surgery is not advised…)
With last Friday officially starting the autumn season, it’s time to take a look at the best trends for Fall. This year is the year of classics, from menswear-inspired suiting, to timeless plaids, to always-popular denim. Sure, there are some other obvious trends. like Americana/Western and 1960’s Go-Go Girl metallic, but the top trends are wardrobe staples and will stand the test of time (okay, I may have thrown in a few wild cards in here, too).
Suiting & Plaid
Whether you decide to go full-throttle in a coordinating suit, blazer with jeans, or take a more feminine approach with a skirt, the suiting trend is one that I can get behind. What makes it even better? How about a county-club inspired herringbone or Glen Plaid? LOVE. Plaids are reminiscent of boarding school uniforms and horse-back riding, what more appropriate way to signal the Fall season? Not to mention they only get better when wintertime rolls around.
A wonderful combination with plaid this season has been velvet, whether in a simple ribbon wrapped around the waist of your blazer or a floor-length gown, it’s not only a gorgeous sheen but a great weight (does that rhyme?) material for the season. It’s instant luxury, but don’t hesitate to wear a little velvet tank with a distressed pair of jeans either.
Denim is always big, c’mon it’s denim. So break out your Canadian Tuxedo!
If you have read my previous posts, you know that I am a huge fan of this color! All year round, all the time, you can’t go wrong with red.
Who doesn’t want to wrap themselves with the innards of a teddy bear? Not only does shearling serve on a practical level with its warmth and intoxicating coziness, it’s a great texture to add interest to any outfit.
On days off, there is nothing better than a great athleisure outfit; comfortable, practical, and unexpectedly chic. Runway’s this season were particularly taken to a retro vibe, monochromatic leggings and jacket combos in primary colors with striping or graphic detailing. Whether you choose classic black or grey, or your favorite crayon color, you can be sure you’re as comfortable as stylish.
Another one of my favorite colors, yellow, is a perfect shade for Fall in a golden-hue. It likens back to autumn foliage without getting into dull shades of brown and burgundy. It’s serves as a wonderful pop to an outfit, whether in a pair of shoes or blazer. And don’t even get my started on the magical combination of….be still my heart…yellow velvet…OMG!!!
I love bringing in candy-colored, Spring-colored hues for Winter, as a way to brighten up the sometimes dreary atmosphere. Another unexpected style-choice are florals, from jewel-tones to pastels. Fashion is about breaking rules, and there’s no better way to do it than a floral sun dress and a shearling coat during chilly-weathered months.
As I like to call, “Undone” styling is the easiest way to get that “cool-girl” vibe. It’s a half tuck of a shirt, scrunched up sleeves, a button or two more than needs to be undone. But this season the actual garments are taking the same approach, creating a messy, but effortlessly chic look. One of my favorite pieces is this top, with a few buttons left unbuttoned to expose some shoulder (scandalous!).
BONUS: My favorite way to sneak in the glitter trend….
Metallics and glitter are continuing to be big this fall, from silver lame dresses, to well, every other article of clothing. My favorite way to wear this look is with glitter booties, like these. Imagine, a cute top, little jacket, jeans, and then BAM, glitter boots. It’s like literally adding an “!” to your outfit.
In case you need some clarity on what we’re trying to accomplish with this blog, I thought I would elaborate just so you know what you are getting yourself into. This is best illustrated by an example, of which I experienced the other day.
While I was getting dressed for work (my work is very lenient on the dress code, encouraging fashion-forward dressing), I chose a leopard print skirt with a tie-waist in a taffeta-like fabric, and a graphic tee with cute illustrations of iconic symbols of London. I paired this outfit with a pair of strappy nude heels and some arm candy, but felt I was missing something to really pull everything together. I wanted a statement earring, so I started to pick up every pair of earrings I owned and held them up to my ears as I looked at myself in the full-length mirror. As I picked up a pair of statement gold ball drop earrings, I thought these will never “go.” Nonetheless, I held them up to my ears with my outfit and immediately knew my outfit was complete. There was something about the combination of a bold but classic skirt, the child-like tee shirt (in fact, it was child’s tee shirt, size 14) simple shoes, and elegant earrings that made for a interesting, compelling, and comfortable ensemble. Each of these pieces were an extension of a different part of myself, and the mixture of high and low demonstrated, “I like fancy stuff but I don’t take myself too seriously.”
Discovering the magical completion of the outfit with the unlikely earrings, I remembered that this is the joy of dressing. Just taking different items of clothing that you love for different reasons, haphazardly pairing them together, and somehow creating a look that’s uniquely you.
When I purchased those gold drop earrings, I had no intention of wearing them with this kind of outfit. But at the same time, I do not buy items because they will go with one outfit, I try to think of multiple options. If I can think of three or more instances I might wear it, I buy it. And typically I find even more options to wear with this item once I have it in my closet. I cannot stand owning something that I can only wear in one outfit, unless it’s truly fabulous, like a cropped feathery jacket (I’ve worn in three times in four years and I still do not regret purchasing it). Other than that utterly spectacular piece, which you should probably only wear once a year as to not diminish its amazing effect anyway, that’s it. I recently worked with a client who believed if you liked something and did not have a thing to go with it, get it anyway and the right piece to complete will come along. Though this advice has a optimistic appeal, I do not recommend it. How many times can we all re-account of purchasing something because we loved it, only to never wear it because we never had or found something to go with it?
To me, getting dressed should be treated similar to the way you played dress-up as a child. You didn’t pick thing because they coordinated, you picked things because you simply liked them. Like wearing my ruby red slippers with EVERYTHING; dresses, tee-shirts and sweatpants, swim suits, everything. I wore what I loved and I loved what I wore. So what if you built a wardrobe of fantastic pieces and great basics that you love, and could virtually get dressed in the dark and end up with an outfit that surprisingly made sense. That’s what I’m trying to accomplish, and that’s what I hope to help you accomplish. Stick around, and you might learn a trick or two. And if you find place that sells adult ruby red slippers, let me know.
As I mentioned in a previous post (which you can check out here) one of the easiest outfits to make you look like a style guru is through dressing in an outfit all in one color. This strategy can be as bold or subtle as the color you choose to wear, and is effortlessly chic. It can be an unexpected choice, some people stray away from a head-to-toe look in one color for fear of looking like a walking high-lighter. If you’re one of the skeptics, start off with a neutral, such as grey, camel, or the always on-point color black. From here you can work your way up the rainbow, no color is off limits (except nude–eye-catching, yes, but not a good look). Some of my favorite monochromatic looks feature the most surprising colors, like candy-apple red, cotton candy pink, and canary yellow. The drama really comes with amount of a single color, so don’t stop at just your clothing. You can match your shoes, handbag, jewelry, lipstick, everything, in your ensemble.
I will admit there is one obstacle you will most likely face during this endeavor; getting everything to match perfectly. We have all had to change out of an outfit after we take one look in the mirror and discover that our black top and bottom don’t exactly match (I mean really, how many shades of black can there be?!). But I will let you in on a few tips to save your sanity, I’m nice like that. My number one rule, and I cannot stress this enough, is when you are trying to see if two colors match, stand about a foot away from the items. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve worked with clients who practically take out a magnifying glass to two items and try to find the slightest difference between the hues. They always do find a difference, because the chances of two colors matching from two totally separate items of clothing, typically in different fabrics, and sometimes from different manufacturers even, has to be microscopic. Save yourself the antagonizing. No one is going to be that close to your clothing anyway, except maybe your significant other. So, again, look at the items the same distance as if you were talking to a close friend. Still match? Good, moving on. Next, be sure to look at the items in different lighting. I usually just check indoor lighting and take a look in front of a window for natural lighting. If you work somewhere with florescent lighting, you might want to check by that too. But otherwise, if it passes the natural lighting test, you’re good to go.
The key to this strategy is keeping it simple. Like color-blocking, you want the focus to be on the color, not any crazy design feature. That does not mean you cannot experiment with silhouettes and textures, but it is best to keep these to a minimum. And if you’re really uncomfortable with making a commitment to one color, feel free to have a slight break with a nude or neutral shoe or accessory.
Whether you stick to simplistic and neutral, or go bold with vibrant color, monochromatic outfitting is one of the easiest style sticks in the book to look innately chic. Just don’t let anyone get too close to you with a magnifying glass…
If you read my last post, I mentioned a few outfit strategies, one of them being color-blocking. This is usually a bold styling strategy, though it can be as basic as wearing a black top with white jeans. But color-blocking is usually referred to when two or more bright colors are worn together. Like a fuchsia skirt with a cornflower blue sweater. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can add a third color to the mix, like a yellow clutch or heels. Some daredevils even add a fourth color to their ensemble (gasp!). To make this look work you need to be very strategic to look intentional, not like you’re color blind.
The key is to choose colors that compliment each other, that pop off one another. Googling a color wheel is extremely helpful if you’re unsure of what colors compliment each other. You simply pick a color, then find the color located exactly opposite the first color you picked. These two colors are complete opposites of the other, meaning they bring out each other’s hue even more. Now, you don’t have to get all anal with this concept, colors don’t need to be exactly opposites to compliment each other. You may choose a hue that’s slightly to the left or right of the complimentary color, perhaps changing the hue from being more purple-ish to more green-ish. Be creative; let your eyes guide you through the process. We’ve all had a moment where we think of the most brilliant combination, only to find out that our eyes are watering from looking at it for more than ten seconds.
Another tip to rocking this look is to choose simple pieces of clothing, especially if you’re choosing bold colors and stark contrast between them. Avoid lots of detail, or if you do so, then have your second piece be stupidly simple. Like pairing a neon red top with large ruffles across the front with a pair of yellow cigarette pants. But again, sometimes the beauty of the color-blocking strategy is the relationship between the colors instead of the design of the clothing. So, when in doubt, keep it simple.
Color-blocking does not just apply to outfits, but also to accessories as well. Such as pairing an orange heel with an aqua blue dress. The same applies to other accessories, like handbags, jewelry, and hair accessories. Now, if you do choose to color-block an outfit, it’s typically best to keep the accessories neutral, like black, brown, navy, grey, white, or nude. If you are a master at this whole color-contrasting-thing, feel free to add that third or fourth color through your accessories. If you’re a first-timer, I suggest sticking with two bright hues for now, lest you look like you’re an over-sized escapee from kindergarten. Baby steps, dear, baby steps.