Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize!
The key to looking what fashion consultants call “pulled together” is to learn how to accessorize and create a balanced look. If you overdo this, you look “fussy.” If you don’t accessorize enough, you just look plain. Accessories are not just jewelry and shoes and hats and handbags–it’s also the different clothing pieces that go together to make an outfit. Men wear suits, so all they worry about is ties and shirts that don’t clash–mind you, some of them have to be carefully instructed in these matters. And for casual wear, well, a nice light blue cotton-ramie sweater and some black jeans and they’re done. For whatever reason, women are expected to shift their look like chameleons for every occasion. And sometimes we just don’t know until we get there what kind of an event we’re getting all gussied up for. Just what is worse, being overdressed (the red satin evening gown at the backyard wedding reception) or underdressed (chinos and a sweater set for an awards banquet) for an occasion? Of course, we’re all confident women who don’t let such things worry us, but it’s not a bad idea to try and dress in a way that will be appropriate even if the unexpected occurs.
Let’s say you want to wear some dark blue jeans out to a club (assuming their dress code allows jeans). It’s important to pair them with some feminine, dressier items to downplay the casualness of denim. Try a tailored jacket in a good fabric, either a cropped length, or one of the long Edwardian lengths if you’re sensitive about your bottom half (and let’s face it, some of us are). But don’t wear baggy, shapeless clothes in the evening–wear shapes tailored to flatter your body and show off what’s good: your curvy waistline, your pert breasts, your shapely shoulders. And try for a bit of sophistication to go with those jeans. What about a sheer white blouse over a black lace tank, with a black wool vest or long black cardigan? Or how about a soft-knit merino wool sweater in a subtle, sexy color that brings out your eyes, like dove grey or lilac? Silk shimmers and catches the light when it moves, especially satin and charmeuse silks, so this is a nice choice at night. And don’t be afraid to show some skin. A subtle application of shimmer dust in the right place (on your breastbone, or shoulders, or a bit at the temples) can add a touch of mystery, but leave the real flamboyant body glitter for the teenagers. Jewelry should not overpower your look, but should enhance it. Chokers are sexy, and one chain looks better then several. If you want to wear a lot of one piece, say, three rings on one hand or an armful of Mexican silver bangles, or an elaborate watch, or a rhinestone brooch that will glitter under the colored lights, then choose one of these, not all of them! Less is more.
Shoes completely alter your silhouette and a medium-height heel with jeans looks great. So do cowboy boots, or engineer boots, but shine them up if they’re scuffed–once you’re out of college, scruffy shoes and evening wear (even evening jeans)just don’t cut it. Chunky shoes like Doc Martens can actually look very sexy on some women, especially those who have short legs or small feet, because they balance your look and add some proportion. And always wear shoes you can walk in comfortably–practice in them at home if you need to! Do you want to be remembered as the woman at the party who was mincing her steps or refusing to dance because her feet hurt?
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