Category Archives for "Fit Tips"

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Wardrobe Basics by Body Type

Wardrobe Basics

These pieces are the building blocks to your wardrobe and without them it is really hard to #justgetdressed. Everyone's basics will be different though and unique to you - based on you style, taste, lifestyle and body-type.  In the seasonal Style System Planner Program I make recommendations to members based on their individual needs, but here are some guidelines for the main categories - top and bottoms.  Access the shopping catalog for all the items here

1. CHAMBRAY SHIRT


TIPS:

Pear: Look for flowy material that can be worn tucked, half-tucked or untucked, that hits at your hip-bone zone (within 1-3 inches of hip bone). Go with the classic button-down style or one with a ruffle collar. Bell sleeves and scoop necks also look great on a pear body type.

Rectangle: Anything goes, but if you have a large chest and don't like a button-up, consider a popover style and flowy fabric that drapes over your curves. Look for one that can be tucked, un-tucked, half-tucked or tied at the waist. 

Inverted Triangle:  Flowy material that fits your shoulders but isn't too big in your waist. You may need to have a tailor take your shirt in at the waist and add darts to give it shape. Avoid ruffles or details that add visual weight to your shoulders and opt instead for an angled neckline (which is automatically created with a button-down or split neck  shirt.

Hour Glass: Stay clear of button-downs that pull at the chest, but don't go oversized either. Look for something that is tailored that skims over your curves  with an open neck. Split neck tops or popover button-downs in a soft material that has some shape are great. If it is too boxy looking, accentuate your waist with a loose half-tuck. 

Round: Wear shirts that flow under your bust, or peplum styles that expand at the waist. Wear open necks - i.e. scoops  and V-necks -  as they can lengthen your body.   Tops should fall lower than your hipbone. AVOID: Avoid high necklines and boxy, baggy or formless tops are not ideal as they make you look larger.  

Adding an open cardigan or jacket over the chambray shirt creates a vertical line down your front...a great trick for many body types. 

Click here to access the Essentials Catalog.

2. BLACK PANTS

TIPS:

Pear: Look for pants with a curvy cut or lots of stretch to accommodate  your smaller waist and curvier hips and thighs.  Straight leg , flares or wide leg are best, with straight leg ankle pants being the most versatile  - and they work with more types of shoes from flats to heels to booties. 

Rectangle: Anything goes....The key to creating a proportional look is to make sure your pants complement the silhouette of your blouse or T-shirt. If you’re going voluminous on top, balance it out with something fitted on bottom, and vice versa. High and mid-rises are generally best.

Inverted Triangle:  Wide-leg pants will balance out your wider shoulders and straight leg ankle pants are an easy go-to and so versatile and shoe-friendly!

Hour Glass:   Skinny and straight leg and bootcut pants with a high waist will elongate your legs and highlight your curves.  Look for a curvy fit with stretch to flatter your smaller waist and reduce "gap in the back".

Round: Straight-leg ankle pants are your friend! fitted bootcut/flares are great too. 

Click here to access the Essentials Catalog.

As you can tell from above, I'm a big believer in the power of the universally flattering straight leg ankle pant for all body types...It's a matter of finding the right pair for your particular needs and body. Here are some suggestions: 

3. TOPS & BLOUSES

TIPS:

Use these tips as a general guide for your white and black tops as well as all others! And see below for some suggestion for tops to hide a belly/midsection.

Pear: You want to draw attention up and create visual fullness on top to balance your fuller bottom half.  Look for tops with patterns and interesting details, higher necklines work on you, especially if you have a smaller chest. Avoid deep v-neck which will make your upper body look smaller. If your shoulders are narrow, consider boat necks, puff sleeves and shoulder details. Peplum style tops will accentuate your waist and glide over your hips.  

Rectangle:  Create the illusion of curves and a waist with scoop necks, puff sleeves, v-necks (not too low if your chest is small), sweetheart necklines, ruffled collars, split neck tops and the use of a half-tuck to create a waistline. 

Inverted Triangle:  Minimize the size of your upper body with v-necks, scoop necks, and use peplum style tops to define the waist and create more balance on your lower body. 

Hour Glass:   Wrap tops, v-necks and peplum tops will accentuate your balanced figure as will half tucking less structured tops. Avoid oversized, shapeless tops that hide your curves and make you look bigger. 

Round: Look for tops that accentuate your shoulders, neckline, or bust. Wrap tops, faux wrap tops, tunics with a rounded hem, straight tunics that can be half-tucked or that have a high-low design, v-necks, scoop necks are both better than high neck or crew.  

Click here to access the Essentials Catalog.

Regardless of your shape, extra weight in the mid-section is a common struggle so here is a collection of items that can camouflage extra belly weight: 

How to Wear Wide-Leg Pants

Wide-leg, lightweight pants are a great-looking and comfortable option in the summer. They are also a cool alternative to shorts and a more stylish option than traditional "capris".  (See more Casual, Cool Alternatives to Shorts here.)

And best of all, they'll take you into the fall as well, and can be worn casually, dressed up and to the office. 

BUT, they are one of the trickiest bottoms to pull off because the success of the look is entirely dependent on balancing proportions and wearing the right top, not to mention the shoes and accessories.  

So let's  break down how to wear wide-leg pants, with several outfits that can take you pretty much anywhere this summer and well into the fall too. 

How to Wear Wide Leg Pants

 Shirt, $49 |  Blazer | Chambray Shirt, $78 |  Budget Option,  $39.50 | Tan Sandals, $48 

Loafers, $48  | Straw Crossbody Bag, $29  | Straw Earrings (lightweight!), $10 

Coin Pre-layered Necklace, $52  | Cognac Bag, $199 | Wrap Bracelet  | Stretch Bracelet


We're all used to full length wide-leg pants, but the crop style is another story. And I hear some of you saying, "no way, Beth - it's not happening." If you're dead set against the style, you can substitute slim ankle pants like these and still create the looks below.  But remember, a style that seems crazy to you at first will start to look normal the more it's around, and this one seems to have staying power. I included some more pictures of them on various shaped and sizes at the bottom of post. 

First, let’s talk about what you should look for in the pants. The pair I'm wearing above is from Peach but no longer available.( I show lots of similar options at the bottom of the post.)  

I was able to find some great-looking navy crepe trousers from Nordstrom. They're on sale for $59 in sizes XXS – XXL in navy and white, and black for $30 here

Looking for plus size? This option from Lane Bryant in a similar crepe are great looking.

Another alternative is this pair from Lands End, also in crepe, pull-on with less fabric. Available in regular, plus and petite sizing. If you're afraid that the others will be too much fabric or add bulk to your frame, these are a great alternative. 

Like many wide-leg pants, the pair in the examples below is high-waisted. In general, the high-waist gives the illusion of longer legs and is most flattering when worn with a shorter or tucked /half-tucked top.

👉If you're short-waisted you'll want to look at pants with more of a mid-rise. Or wear your top untucked and slightly longer (to add length to to your torso).  Click here for Dressing Tips for Short Waist Figures. 

With regard to pant length, you have options. Because it's summer, I'm featuring a crop pant. If you want full length instead, the wide-leg pants need to be hemmed perfectly for your height, meaning that when you’re in a shoe, they need to be just about a half inch off the ground.  

Here's a pair of wide-leg, full length trousers from Banana Republic that come in petite, regular and several colors (including navy).  Long, wide-leg pants like these can make your legs look longer and they look best with a heel, even a low one.  If you get yours hemmed, make sure you do it to suit the heel height you'll be wearing. They'll look best with a heel that is either pointy or shows your toes.  

In the summer especially,  I love the look of wide-leg crop pants.  Generally, the area around the top of your ankle to the bottom of your calf is the ideal length. Once you start cutting through the middle of your calf, you enter capri territory, and you know I'm not a fan of capris. 

👉Remember...you don't want to put a horizontal line across the widest part of your calf - and this what the traditional capris of yester-year do. 

Depending on your frame, the width of the pant may be overwhelming. If that's the case, you can have these easily altered. If  they fit in the waist and hips/rear but are too voluminous in the legs, you can have them hemmed to your most flattering length and ask to have a little bit of fullness taken out. It’s an easy fix and well worth it. 

👉Tip for Petites: Instead of opting for a true wide leg with a leg opening between 22-26.5″, go for a pant with a leg opening of 17-20″

The outfits below are ideal for the office, a date, or a small get-together. As always, you can shop this post full of practical recommendations OR go to your closet and plug in similar pieces....keeping in mind proportions! 

Clean and Simple: Navy & White

Wide Leg Pants, $60  |  Shirt, $49 |  Sandals, $120  |  Bag, $34  |  Earrings, $42  | Sunglasses, $15

Short Necklace, $42  |  Long Pendant,  $84


This is one of my favorite looks because it’s elegant yet casual and cool at the same time.  It's the perfect use for a quality white tee that looks especially great knotted on the side or half tucked.  The outfts I'm wearing above were insprired by this look. 

👉TIP:  I use a clear rubber band like these to easily tie a knot without stretching out the top.

This slub scoop neck tee has a great structure which is important.  Because the pants are so full, you need a top that will help create balance.  If you wear a full, flowy top with wide leg pants, you will just look wide everywhere like a square....not a good look unless your name is Bob (i.e. Sponge Bob... Get it?? 😉 

The key to the top is that it be shorter or tucked/half-tucked or fitted and somewhat structured. It DOES NOT have to be skin tight (although a bodysuit would look amazing with these pants) but it also shouldn't be voluminous.

👉Remember, loose and flowy on the bottom means fitted on top.  And loose and flowy on top (a tunic top for example) means fitted on the bottom (i.e. slim fitting pants, skinny jeans, etc). 

The statement earrings add a splash of color and I like that they are a contrasting shade of blue, adding interest rather than "matching".  A long, simple pendant necklace works with the earrings without being too much and provides a visual vertical line down the middle that is always flattering.

You could also wear nude shoes, wedges, flats (especially if you're tall) or block heels. Stay away from kitten heels or very dainty sandals, as the wide leg of the pants would overwhelm them. Again, proprotion is key! 

Fresh Floral

Wide Leg Pants, $60  |  Blouse, $49 |  Sandals, $59  |  Bag, $29  |  Earrings, $42  | 

Double Necklace, $64 |  Cuff Bracelet, $52


Next, this patterned sleeveless top (from Banana Republic) is another pretty option and works well with the wide leg pants because it gathers at the waist, creating a beautiful shape. It's a pretty top for summer but could also be worn under a jacket this fall, or in the AC this summer.  If you don't like sleeveless, I saw this navy floral blouse....the Banana Republic tops  come in regular and petite up to  XXL, and are on sale.  

I just ordered the Cole Haan sandals shown. They are so comfortable and the heel is moderate in height so still flattering but easy to walk in.   And don't forget your jewlery ...it makes the outfit... the finishing touch.  See how I show mixed metals above? Have fun and play around with accessories.

Monochromatic Chic

Wide Leg Pants, $60 |  Peplum Top, $40  | Blush Sandals, $48  |  Chain Link Necklace, $42

Cognac Bag, $199 (sale)  |  Leather Wrap Bracelet, $64


Last but not least...a gorgeous navy monochromatic look - always a winner for looking taller and slimmer. I added accents of blush and tan, and accessories with texture to keep it from looking flat. The blouse has some texture and adds interest with the buttons and sleeve details...the key to monochromatic dressing. And the peplum waist provides shape and structure too. 

That's it! I hope you found this informative and maybe you're willing to give wide-leg pants a try. They are yet another option if you don't like wearing shorts or leg-baring skirts....And, they still let you stay cool and stylish....and are so much better-looking than dated capris! (Here's another post with more ideas for alternatives to shorts).

Below are some more shopping options for them - and the sales going on these days are crazy!  Let us know in the comments if this is a style you'll try and go #justgetdressed. 😉

I'm Here for You....My Readers! 

My clients and followers inspire all of my content, and this post is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant.  My goal is to wade through the ocean of retail confusion for you,  and currate ideas to help you simplify fashion and look and feel your best so you can  #justgetdressed.  

I work with real women with real bodies and smart budgets who want to look chic and feel confident, but can be confused and overwelmed by what retailers and the fashion industry put out there.  

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via my site, I receive a small commission, but the prices you pay are no different at all.  I am aslo a brand ambassador for Peach, Stella & Dot and Beautycounter, so I'm available to provide personalized attention and help with those brands  - drop me a note any time with questions. .  

If you enjoy my content and would like to help me grow, please consider following b.styled Instagram and join my Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

Thank you! 

5

The Blazer: Finding your perfect fit.

I’ve talked in the past about the Power of the Fitted Blazer and how magical they are for adding structure and polish to any outfit. In fact, I ​wrote this post back in  2014 and not much of the message, if any, has changed.  Last year at this time, I also crowned the fitted jacket the MOST POWERFUL of the 10 Wardrobe Essentials. You can check that out here.

 And there's no doubt that of all the 3rd pieces I talk about, a fitted jacket or blazer is my top pick. And they are NOT just for you working girls. They finish off a casual outfit beautifully as well. 

The problem is, they can be very tricky too.

Very few women — no matter their shape or size — can find an off-the-rack blazer that fits just right. If it’s a very structured blazer, chances are you’ll have to take it to the tailor.

Best to start out with one that fits as well as possible to reduce those alteration fees. Here’s what to look for:


1. Shoulders first

Shoulder alterations are complex and expensive. Find a style that fits your shoulders and you’re already ahead of the game.

The shoulder seam of the blazer should hit right where your own shoulder ends. If it falls closer to your neck, it’s too small. If it goes past the spot where your shoulder starts to slope downward, it’s too big.  I see too-big jackets all the time...from blazers to jean jackets. Do yourself a favor and if the shoulders don’t fit...put it back on the rack! 

When trying it on, give yourself a hug while wearing the blazer. If it pulls a little, that’s fine. If it pulls a lot, it’s probably too small. Pass on it. 

2. Sleeves next

Sleeve alterations are pretty simple, though they can be expensive if the blazer is lined or has details like trim or buttons.

What to look for? First, consider the style. Blazers with three-quarter sleeves offer some handy leeway (and is a cool, on-trend look), whereas the ideal fit for full-length sleeves is very specific. A full-length blazer sleeve should always hit just above the top joint of your thumb when standing with arms at your sides. Your wrist itself should be covered. 

3. Then chest

Every woman has a unique set of challenges. Women with larger breasts may experience pulling. A small chested woman may have bunching and rippling.  A blazer that fits properly in the bust will cover about half of each breast and skim the covered area without bunching or wrinkling. In a perfect world, the blazer should fit well both buttoned and unbuttoned (but in my opinion, the look it has unbuttoned is the most important, giving it the most versatility).  

A blazer that fits properly in the shoulders, bust and torso but cannot be buttoned all the way without some pulling is not a deal-breaker — unless you’re a lawyer or professional suit-wearer and need exquisite fit both buttoned and unbuttoned. But that’s just my opinion. Mary would disagree;) 

4. Don’t forget torso

Generally speaking, the blazer should follow the natural curves of your body without pulling or sagging. You don’t want lots of extra fabric around your midsection. The idea is to provide shape and structure to your figure.   

Length

Longer lengths are in style this year, especially with the popular “boyfriend blazer”.    Shorter cuts work well too, especially with dresses and skirts. A shorter jacket also looks great over a longer top, creating that chic and flattering layered look.  The length of your jacket will depend on your figure and your preferences, but a good rule of thumb is to have the jacket hit in the hipbone zone (same goes with the top if you’re wearing a shorter jacket over a longer top, have the top hit around the hipbone zone. Remember the golden rule - don’t put a horizontal line across your widest point.  Instead put it just above or below.  

Buttons

“Stance” describes the highest point where the blazer buttons. Blazers with higher stances tend to have more buttons — at least two or three. Lower stances are frequently one-button designs.

To be honest, a high stance can look a little dated and matronly. It’s a style that was all the rage decades ago but now looks out of style.  Lower stances with fewer buttons appear more sophisticated and modern.

Bust size, however, can complicate the matter. Busty women may find that low-stance, single-button blazers open awkwardly at the chest. Meanwhile, other busty women find high-stance blazers a problem to button without uncomfortable pulling.  This is why an open blazer in a soft, stretchy, knit fabric may be best. If you have a blazer you're unsure about, snap a selfie and  post it in our private group to get advice.

Length and shape

Beware: Length and shape are the other factors that can make decades-old blazers appear dated or frumpy.  I refer to my hunter green shoulder-padded, double-breasted blazer from my job at AT&T in 1988-90's.  This is NOT what they're talking about when they refer to a slouchier, longer blazer. 

The current trend of “boyfriend”-blazers is very popular.  But today’s long-and-boxy looks are  different from the long, boxy numbers from the ’80s. A modern boyfriend or long-line blazer will typically have a hint of waist shaping and a natural shoulder line. These look best with a fitted bottom like slim pants or straight leg or skinny jeans.  The blazers we wore back in the 80’s should go, if they haven't already. They aren't coming back. 

When in doubt, a tailored, fitted blazer that hits around the hip-bone zone will give you the most bang for your buck.

My personal favorite and go-to blazer is a less structured, more comfortable but still well-fitting and tailored ponte knit blazer. It has stretch, is as comfortable as a sweater, but still has the chic, polished look of a blazer. The beauty of this year-round jacket is that it works as well in the boardroom as it does with jeans and a t-shirt. Versatility, my friends!

Can blazer fit be complicated? Definitely. Worth the effort? YUP.   My advice is to focus on buying a style that suits your hardest-to-fit area, enlist a tailor to help with the rest, and you’ll look chic, sleek and polished.  

Now, go #justgetdressed.

Fyi, here are my blazers I showed you today "in action". Currently available styles are linked. My white blazer is only still available in size large here.

Peach Ponte Blazer (and trailblazer white button-down)

Knit Blazer, several colors

Black Moto Jacket, Helmut Lang

Peach Faux Suede Moto

Boyfriend Knit Blazer

Plaid Boyfriend Blazer

2

Weight and Wardobe

What do you think the #1 roadblock is that keeps most women from having a wardrobe they love?

Is it Money?  Time?  Desire?

No, no and no.  

When I ask women  the  #1  why they  don't have the a wardrobe they love, most answer something along the lines of their weight or body image. 

It's the (mistaken) belief that you can’t have the wardrobe you want until you have the body you want.  

Disclaimer…..This post is not about weight loss or how to dress different body types.  I’m not a weight loss expert, and the body-type dressing lesson is part of the Style System Planner program. 

Instead, this is about building a wardrobe you love regardless of the number on the scale or the size of your pants.  

It’s about valuing yourself enough to care for yourself. Today.  As is. 

That’s what I mean when I say #justgetdressed.  

It means dressing the body you have right now, in clothes that make you feel great right now, without waiting until you’re happy with the number on the scale.  

It means buying great jeans, even if they’re a size bigger than you’d like them to be. 

And, by the way,  it also means some days leaving the house in sweats and no makeup because you know you don’t need to #justgetdressed in order to feel good about yourself. 

But Instead, you #justgetdressed (most days;) because you enjoy it, it makes feel more confident, and it’s become a habit.  

One of the main "why's"  behind B.Styled is my desire to give women the freedom and joy that comes when they #justgetdressed today,  not putting it off until they’re the “right” shape or size. 

I’ve never met a woman, either through my business, or in my life, who doesn’t have body image “issues”. Never.

The closest I’ve come is Mary, my 95-year-old mother.  I’ve never heard her beat herself up about her body, or even really put it down. The only exception is that my dad used to lovingly tease her about having “thick ankles”. This makes him sound like a jerk, but trust me he wasn’t. He adored Mary and I think it was just an inside joke they had because in his eyes she was perfect.  

She also had (and still has) an irrational obsession with her ears...She thinks they stick out. Whatever. I don’t see it...but she does, and always will.

Now, I know, both Mary and I are blessed with genetics or metabolisms that keeps us pretty thin. And some would say I have no credibility on this topic because I don’t have weight struggles.  Believe me, both Mary and I count our blessings for this. We also work at it and take steps to maintain our weight and stay on track. Some days are harder than others too. 

But the fact is, unlike Mary, I do have body image issues. I grew up with a body that looked more like a boy's (with the lovely nickname of "Bones")  and I was so envious of the more developed girls.  Then in college, I gained weight and was heavy for the first time in my life. I felt awful in my own skin for many years.  I spent some time digging out old pictures - which brought up some VERY fun memories --but I also vividly remember how yucky and self-conscious I felt.

Here's just one doozy I found.

Can we ignore the dress for a moment (it was a loaner) and focus on the awful tan, ridiculous make-up, not to mention the hair?

And does this prove that girls have been sticking out their tongues to the camera since the beginning of time?

I'm sure I was having a great time though based on the friends whose faces I cropped out. You're welcome, girls. 😉

I did end up losing the weight in my early 20’s and swore I’d never go back.  Since then (aside from pregnancies) I’ve stayed within a few pounds of the same weight.  I learned that it's easier to take the steps to maintain an ideal weight than it is to lose weight, so I try really hard to stay within a pound or two of my ideal.  That's gotten harder thanks to menopause, but I still get on the scale a few times each week and cut back or change things up if it starts to creep. But I know for many, many women it's not this "easy" and again, I'm not here to give weight loss or health advice. 

What I am here to say is , we're all sisters here, and though our struggles are different, I say let’s just support each other, and not judge or discount one another's experiences.  

Ok, now, back to the connection between weight, wardrobe and style...

Through my business I speak to women all the time about this topic and few themes come up over and over.

The first thing I hear frequently is “I don’t want to invest in clothes at this weight”.

The question then becomes, how long is too long to put off investing in yourself?  A year? 5 years? When the kids grow up? When the kids get married? You get my point. 

Focusing on what “could be” next month or next season, keeps you from enjoying clothes and prevents you from appreciating and enhancing how you look and feel right now. 

Another point about not “investing” in clothes you love until you’re a size you love, is that most of us here aren’t shopping at Barney’s, buying thousand dollar pieces meant to last for "a lifetime". 

Even if you had your dream body, the clothes you’d buy today at Loft, Banana Republic or even Nordstrom, are going to need to be updated at some point. 

Face it, these clothes aren’t going to truly last forever, so no need to wait until you’re a size you’ll be happy with forever

The second thing about weight and wardrobe I hear all the time is, “I have SO many clothes – I just need to lose x pounds to get back into them”.  

And I get this...it’s painful to think about getting rid of perfectly good clothing that may fit someday. 

So, what should you do?  Should you buy clothes now, or just wait until you can wear the things you already own?? 

That’s a tough question, but let’s review what a WARDROBE really is.  

Your wardrobe is NOT all the clothes you own.

Your wardrobe is all the clothes you can wear - right now. 

So, what about all those clothes you love but can’t wear right now?

First of all, staring at those clothes every morning is not an effective #justgetdressed strategy, and will not help you feel good about yourself.  And, I dare say it will also NOT motivate you.

Instead,  try this:  box up everything you still love, is still in style, but that you can’t comfortably wear today. What’s left in your closet is your wardrobe.  

Will this wardrobe enable you to #justgetdressed every day and make you feel confident? 

If the answer is no, then you really don’t have “SO many clothes”.   

Right?

Go buy things that you can wear right now, and that make you feel good right now, and will make it easy to get dressed - right now. 

PSA: My Seasonal Style System will help you do just that, with a step-by-step list and plan, and NO willy-nilly shopping. Click HERE to learn more about the Style System Planner and get it for just $47.

When and if you get back into those beautiful things you boxed up, great. But in the meantime, they won’t be taunting you or taking up valuable real estate in your closet.  

Here’s another consideration. You know that when we feel good and  like the way we look, we are more likely to treat ourselves better as well, right?

Have you ever noticed that when you #justgetdressed, and put a tiny bit of extra effort in...maybe real shoes instead of slippers? Maybe pants with a button instead of elastic? How about a little make-up too? There’s no doubt we feel more confident and carry ourselves differently than when we’re schlumping around feeling like a hot mess.   

Which version of you is more likely to eat healthful, nourishing food? Which one of you is more likely to dig into “comfort food” and a gallon of mint chocolate chip? 

Photo: Steemit

Now, this is NOT to say that the answer to weight struggles is a better wardrobe (wouldn’t that make me rich?)   But I do know that looking and feeling frumpy is never the answer either.

Today is the day to start valuing and appreciating and dressing the body you have.  

Today is the day to give yourself a break and show yourself some self-love (personally not a fan of that trendy term, but it is true;)

And, today is the day to make your closet a boutique customized to YOU and your life, your body and your style. 

I’m here to help!

Ok ladies...Philosophical Beth is done.  

For more, see the LIVE video below where we discuss the topic. 

Now go  #justgetdressed.