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Dressing Tips for Short Waist Figures

Have you been told by someone (maybe your mom?) that you're short-waisted? Or maybe you figured it out yourself just by the way clothes fit you.

There's not a body type out there without inherent challenges when it comes to getting dressed. We are all born with certain inherent body proportions and none of them are "right" or "wrong". The key to looking our best in clothes is creating the illusion of balance and proportion, even when it isn't really there;)  The good news is that clothing is a tool that can help us look and feel our best and I'm here to help you use it to your best advantage.

So, if you were born with a torso that is short relative to your lower half, here are some tips to help.  And if you aren't sure whether you're long or short-waisted, or neither - I give a simple 5 second trick for finding out in the beginning of the video. 

 Tips to Help Elongate a Short Torso:

  • Make sure you have good bras that are lifting your girls up off your waist!
  • Bypass the waist altogether with longer jackets and cardigans. The longer layer elongates and pulls attention away from your short waist.
  • Avoid cropped tops and cropped jackets that are shorter than your hipbone. They make your top half look squat relative to your bottom half - exactly what we are trying to avoid. Instead, choose tops that hit in the Magical Hipbone Zone - 2 to 3 inches below your hipbone.  You could always layer a shorter jacket over a longer top if you love that layered look!
  • You don't have to wear low-riders but you may want to avoid the oh- so- popular high-rise trend.  Instead, opt for mid-rise pants and jeans. They will give the illusion of the high-waist trend on you without having to wear pants that go up to your boobs:) Mid-rise pants generally have a rise between 7.5-10 inches and hit 1-3 inches below your belly button. My advice is try many different rises until you find you sweet spot. Mirror selfies are the best way to tell how well an item fits.  And feel free to ask for my advice over in the free private #justgetdressed Facebook Group.
  • Avoid high contrast colors between your top and bottom as that just draws attention to the issue. Monochromatic or similar hued tops and bottoms create a longer-looking torso. Add a jacket or cardigan in a brighter, lighter, or more eye-catching shade than your pants and top -- another way to detract from a short a waist. 
  • Vertical lines, stripes and seaming are your friend!
  • Look for tops with some shape at the waist (vs. boxy or wide) that fall within the Magical Hipbone Zone. Avoid lots of ties, wraps and belting at your midsection as these just cut you off.
  • Avoid boatneck tops that create a horizontal line across your shoulders...this will visually shorten the area between your neck and waist - the opposite of what you want! If you have a boatneck top you love, you can reduce this shortening effect by adding a long scarf or necklace or a jacket or cardigan that creates a vertical line down your torso.  Make sense??
  • Tops with vertical zippers, button-ups and V-NECKS are your friends!!
  • Don't tuck in shirts! You can however, play with a half tuck, especially an off-center half-tuck that creates a flattering diagonal line. 
  • If you want to wear a belt (I.e. leopard belt with your jeans that peaks out of a half-tucked shirt) go with a thin to medium width.  Wide  belts are not your friend!
  • Accessories are magical!  A long pendant or lariat necklace creates a torso enhancing  vertical line - and is an outfit maker to boot! Oval hoops and longer earrings are another great trick! 

Do you see yourself in any of these tips? I hope you found it helpful! 

Now go #justgetdressed;)

Your Clothing Budget: When to Splurge, Spend, and Save

Usually when we struggle with our wardrobe, it’s not because of a lack of clothing. In fact, many of us have way too much stuff cluttering our closets, and the sheer volume of random clothing makes it difficult to focus and #justgetdressed.

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We’re constantly bombarded with images, special sales and can’t-pass-up deals that make it easy to acquire more and more stuff.

Heck, I go to Target to buy light bulbs and end up with a cart filled with everything from bananas to new pajamas.
Instead, what we need to do is shop with a plan,  a purpose…and a well-defined list (hint: this is just one of the features included in the  B.Styled Style Systems.

We also need to allocate our clothing budget in a way that makes sense. To help, I created this graphic showing where to spend your money, and where to save.  And see below for the live video I made on the topic:

spendsave

WHEN TO SPEND:

    • Jeans: Cheap denim is tempting I know, but it also loses its shape and fades much more quickly than premium brands. I think everyone should own at least one pair of high quality, perfectly fitting jeans. When you find a brand you love, keep a look out for sales. I’ve even bought my favorite Paige jeans on eBay!
    • BRAS: Don’t skimp on the foundation. Invest in perfectly fitting bras – and get undies that show no VPL’s (visible panty lines). While only a few people will see them, their effects are obvious. 😉 I recommend going to a favorite, dependable department store’s lingerie department (Nordstrom is my top pick) and ask for their most seasoned, experienced bra-fitter. You can even make an appointement in advance. Or, if you are local to me in MA, I highly recommend the ladies of Jo-Karen in Acton.  Tell them I sent you;) they will hook you up – literally;)  
    • Jackets/Blazers: Don’t underestimate the power of a fitted blazer. It can complete a work outfit and gives shape to your casual looks, providing a polished finishing touch.
    • Shoes: Fabulous shoes can transform and upgrade a $20 dress.  On the flip side, cheap shoes can instantly downgrade an otherwise fabulous outfit. Shoes (and handbags) are an area where quality over quality rules (my apologies to you shoe collectors out there;)
    • Coat: Your coat is something you may wear every single day and it makes a statement as you enter and exit. Invest in a coat you love that has classic staying power so you can resurrect it year after year.



WHEN TO SAVE:

    • Statement Jewelry: If you know me, you know I love a funky necklace. Take your wardrobe foundations and transform them completely with the  jewelry you add. The options for fabulous, affordable jewelry are endless. The key is to find pieces that are inexpensive without looking “cheap”. After years of resisting it as being “too expensive”, I am now  a firm believer in Stella & Dot jewelry, and chose to represent them as a stylist too. I love their high-end looking designs, incredible attention to detail and quality and phenomenal customer service. I have pieces that look exactly as they did they day I bought them, several years ago.

      So, while you don’t have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on 18k gold,  diamonds, and other expensive gemstones – quality, on-trend costume jewelry gives your wardrobe a huge bang for the buck. 

    • Occasion Items: Special Occasion = Infrequent Use. Don’t spend a fortune on glitzy bags, earrings or metallic heels when there are plenty of inexpensive options out there. Instead invest in a fabulous dress that’ll be ready for you when the invitation arrives. Or, borrow from a friend or rent those rare special occasion dresses.
    • Tee, Tanks & Knits: Premium knits made from fine, soft fibers often get holes and stains (think armpit) quicker than their bargain alternatives. It’s a good idea to have a couple of quality cashmere sweaters, but for tees and layering pieces, make sure they fit and flatter — but go for the bargains.
    • Scarves: When you see a scarf that speaks to you and it’s a good deal, grab it. Like statement jewelry, scarves are a fantastic and affordable way to add color and pattern to your wardrobe essentials….and display your individual personality.

In a nutshell:

  •   SPLURGE AND SPEND: Frequent Use • Durable • Classic  • Essentials • BRA’S & COATS  • Signature Items
  •   SAVE: Delicate • Low Use • Trendy •  Accent Pieces

Now, go #justgetdressed 😉

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Guide to Pant Lengths and Shoes: Simple Tips to Get it Right

I get a ton of questions about pant lengths and what shoes to wear with different style pants. The good news is that there are many options out there to suit various body types and tastes, but with all the options also comes lots of confusion.

For our purposes, I'm going to focus on the 4 main pant styles my clients tend to wear, and attempt to simplify things and give you some good rules of thumb and guidelines.

In the end though, the important thing is to wear what YOU like and feel best in.

If you are unsure, take a mirror selfie -  "The selfie doesn't lie" -and is a better way to see if something works vs. just looking in the mirror.  I don't know why that is - but it's true; trust me. 

If you have specific questions, shoot me an email, or better yet, head over to the free #justgetdressed Facebook group and ask. It's filled with likeminded style-oriented (but not fashion-obsessed) women who are eager to share tips and advice!

Ok, here we go...

Pant Style: SKINNY

Skinny jeans and pants  fit snugly from the hips all the way down.  They look best when the hem hits right at the ankle bone. The beauty of skinny pants is that most types of shoes will work with them without having to adjust the length.  This is probably why they've remained popular for so long. 

Everything from booties to loafers, heels to ballet flats, sandals to wedges and tall boots all work with skinny jeans. Skinny jeans are easy to cuff too, allowing you to play with the length and adjust it to your shoes.  With booties, they look best when they hit the top of the bootie shaft.  This style is easy to wear tucked into tall boots too.

Not everyone has embraced the skinny jeans, which is fine.  They tend to look best on women with a more balanced shape and those with thinner leges, but this is not a hard and fast rule. If you have thicker legs or are heavier on the bottom (i.e. a pear shape) you may look better in a straight leg style that will give the similar appearance as a skinny and with the same shoe flexibility.  But don't be afraid to try a quality skinny jean. When styled correctly (I.e. with a longer top or layer) skinny jeans in a sleek, dark wash, can be a very versatile and flattering option.

Pant Style: STRAIGHT LEG

Straight leg pants aren’t as tight to the body as skinny jeans, instead they they skim the legs from hip to hem.  Straight leg styles should hit just below the ankle. However, you'll see lots of current straight leg jeans with frayed hems cut to or just above the ankle as well.

Like their skinny cousin,  you can wear straight leges with all shoe styles, and they are flattering on most body types. As mentioned earlier, straight leg styles are great for pear and hour glass body-types who prefer the looser fit of straight leg jeans vs. skinny. 

The key to wearing straight leg jeans with booties is that the pant leg needs to be wide enough and the boot shaft narrow enough that the pants don't bunch or get stuck on the boot. Cuffing the jeans is an easy way to get this to work without having to hem them. 

With trousers especially, it is important that straight legs don't puddle on the top of your foot. Hem straight leg pants to fall just below the ankle bone, giving you the most flexibility with shoe styles: pumps, loafers, booties and heels.  Take the shoe you plan to wear with them to the tailor with you!

Pant Style: Bootcut and Flare

Bootcut pants or jeans are fitted through the thighs and flare out slightly from knee to hem (the degree of the flare varies from baby bootcut to wider flares.) They should hit  ¼” to ½” from the floor so it's important to take into account the shoe you will wear with them. Unlike the other styles, there is really no flexibility here.

Bootcut styles look best with a heel -  try heeled booties,  open toe booties and heeled sandals and wedge or block heels.   If you wear bootcut pants or jeans with flats, I recommend a shoe with a pointed toe to visually elongate the line of the leg, but this is not ideal, unless you are very tall.

And I'm laying down ONE hard rule here (take it or leave it) but please, no sneakers with bootcut jeans. 

Bootcut pants and jeans are flattering on many figures and help to balance out a heavier lower body.  When  you wear them with heels and have them hemmed to the correct length, they can make your legs look a mile long. Remember to keep your top shorter or tucked/half-tucked to balance out the longer, wider pant silhouette. 

Pant Style: Ankle 

I think the most modern, versatile and easiest to fit and style pant length is the ankle pant. Showing some skin at the slimmest part of your leg is universally flattering and a very current, on-trend look.

Ankle pants should end just above or below the ankle bone depending on where the thinnest part of your lower leg is.  If you have thicker or shorter legs, you may look best with your ankle pants hemmed near the bottom of the ankle bone. If you have longer, thinner legs, you may prefer them above the ankle bone.  

The best part about ankle length pants is that they can  be skinny, straight, or bootcut/flare and , you can wear just about any type of shoe with them without having to change the length.

I hear you cold-weather girls though...What to do when it's too cold to bare your ankles?

If you've cuffed your straight leg or skinny jeans to ankle length, you can simply uncuff them to get more length and wear them with your booties.  Or opt for a higher shaft sock bootie to get the coverage you want and create an unbroken, sleek, flattering line. (See the pic in the Straight Leg section of blogger Jo-Lynne Shane wearing ankle length, straight-leg jeans and sock booties).

For a fun, casual look on cold days, I love the look of socks showing with your booties too. Be sure you are intentional with your choice of socks.  Your safest bet is black or charcoal socks with black booties and gray or tan with neutral booties. I love to wear tan or gray marled socks with my taupe suede booties.  Image below by un-fancy.com.

Hopefully this was helpful! Remember these are guidelines, not hard and fast rules. In the end, wear what YOU like. Play around with different hem lengths and shoes and try new combos using the selfie as your guide.  

A great way to get ideas is to do a pinterest search, for example "booties with straight leg jeans". You can get a lot of inspiration that way and see what looks are currently on trend.

And,  if you're unsure,  I encourage you to head over to my private and  free VIP Facebook Group. and ask away! We are here to help!

Or...simply post your questions or comments below. What's your favorite pant length to wear?

Now, go #justgetdressed.

Cheers,

Pattern Mixing for Beginners

 

 

Pattern mixing?  Do a search on Pinterest and you will see it everywhere, and somehow these bloggers and fashionistas make it look so fabulous and effortless.    I’m drawn to mixed patterns when I see them, but when it comes time to pulling it off in my closet, I confess, I’m a bit of a novice.

Lately I’ve attempted to incorporate more pattern mixing into my look, but my closet is a sea of solids so it can be a challenge.  Not to mention the fact that  I was brought up by a (gorgeous and stylish) mom who never, ever, in her wildest dreams, would pair stripes with plaid.  But, I’m all for adventure and trying new things, so let’s start with baby steps and some easy rules of thumb.

1.  Keep it in the family. As in color family. Different patterns within the same color family is an easy start for us mixing rookies. It’s not quite so in your face, but still a statement and look how fabulous her pairing of navy and white stripes and dots looks:

image: Cape Code Collegiate

image: Cape Code Collegiate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Faux Solids.  Sometimes small prints act as if they’re the solid.  It’s a slight identity crisis because they’re very much a print, but they can totally stand in as a neutral solid.   A tight geometric print or pin stripe, a small consistent polka dot, a leopard print, even camo.  Let them act as your solid.

stripes_plaid polkaplaidstripesleopard

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  Opposites attract.  This is pattern mixing 101. Pair together a floral and a stripe, a plaid and a polka dot, floral and geometric, animal print and polka dot, a big print with a tiny print…  Your options are really only limited by your imagination.  The key is to remember to keep a your  colors consistent, and remember proportions.  Pair a tight stripe with a larger floral, a wide stripe with a tighter floral.  Make sense?

geo_floral largepattern prints1

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope this helps demystify the pattern matching challenge and inspires you to try something new.  Experiment, have fun, and…#justgetdressed.

signature_beth

 

 

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5 Fashion Mistakes That Can Make You Look Older

The term “age appropriate” has become a standard line when talking about how to dress, how to wear our hair, and even the polish we pick for our toes. In fact, I bet if I asked you to list the dressing “don’ts” of women over say 40-ish, you’d have a pretty easy time:

  • Too much cleavage
  • Jeans with too low a rise, exposing even more cleavage (ouch)
  • Wearing legging as pants (and not to work out)…..with a top that doesn’t cover the crotchal region
  • Wearing stilettos with jeans and a plunging neckline…too much vavoom is never a good thing and looks like you’re trying too hard.
  • Donning a crop top, any kind of crop top
  • Showing VPL’s (visible panty lines)
  • Wearing a ponytail, every day, all day (guilty here)

At B.Styled,  the problem I see more often is the opposite one.   I find the fashion mistake women tend to make is dressing too old rather than too young and  It is so gratifying to help women find a personal style that is just right for them.

The reasons many women spiral into the rut of dressing beyond their years vary. The short list includes:

  • weight changes
  • foot issues
  • what they define as “comfortable”
  • a lack of time and/or interest in keeping up with what is current
  • letting themselves fall to the bottom of their priority list.

Many women tell me they are at a loss as to where to shop and what to shop for.  Even though women account for 85{4459afbc2bae7cce36afa98505acda452d7cfe9eff579bae0d40077b3c526282} of consumer purchases, approximately 40{4459afbc2bae7cce36afa98505acda452d7cfe9eff579bae0d40077b3c526282} of them hate to shop, citing feelings of overwhelm and lack of self-confidence. Dressing room depression is real and a very common issue. My goal is to help my client find that sweet spot – a look that is comfortable and easy, while helping her look and feel her absolute best, no matter her age.

Here is my list of the top 5 fashion mistakes that can make us look older and how to easily fix them:

1. Wearing black, black, and more black: Raise your hand if you have a closet full of black clothing and accessories and have the irresistible urge to always “buy it in black”. There’s no doubt that black has always been the wonder drug when it comes to looking slim and sophisticated. But let’s face it ladies, as we age, our skin tone tends to go paler, so we need to brighten ourselves up a bit. Go ahead and wear black, but not so close to the face. Add scarves, jewelry, colorful tops and jackets to accent your black foundation and provide a needed palette pick-me-up. Not only will this allow you to show your personality, it will take years off your looks and improve the image you are projecting.

2. Over draping: Weight gain and weight “redistribution” is probably the #1 issue I hear from clients as a reason for getting into dressing ruts. They want to cover up and hide the added pounds, but adding more volume with clothing is not the way to go. If you are draping to hide a fuller-on-the top or fuller-in-the-middle proportion you are only creating a more obvious imbalance, making you appear even larger on the top and smaller on the bottom. Instead, opt for something that follows your curves, not hides them. This is where a great fitting, tailored, (not stuffy) jacket is your secret weapon. Don’t believe me? Let me help you find one and you’ll see for yourself;)

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A fitted jacket is a game changer. It adds structure to this flowy blouse, and the espresso color is softer than stark black. (Say “hi” to Tessie the photo bomber;)

 

3. Shoes that weigh more than you do: I am the (former) owner of clunky dansko clogs. Yes, they are comfortable. Yes, they are great for nurses and new moms and working in the garden. No, they don’t look good. If you insist on wearing them, please stick to long wide leg jeans or long boot cut yoga pants. Anything else is just wrong. Find a cute flat or pair of comfortable,  low heeled booties instead.  I will get hate mail for this one I know, but I’m standing firm. Sorry, Dansko.

dansko

I speak the truth.

4. Outdated eye glasses: Glasses are an accessory – and an area to have fun and show your personality. They are also a focal point, so you want to make sure that you pick a pair that doesn’t age you. You want to avoid boring and outdated frames and frames that droop downward.

Go to a reputable optometrist with professionals who can help you find the best pair for you.. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing eyewear:

  • Try to add warmth and softness to your face. Translucent colors are often better than hard metals.
  • Add color: one of the easiest ways to add a bit of hipness to your style.
  • After 40 you want things to go up not down, so choose frames that are horizontal and have a slight tilt at the outer edges. You will want the eye to be drawn upward!
  • Get glasses that suit your face shape.
    Great glasses are the most functional and important accessory you will own.

    Great glasses are the most functional and important accessory you will own.

5. The sisters need a new bra: Eight out of ten women are wearing the wrong size bra. Seriously, would you walk around in the wrong size shoes? This is an an easy fix to make you look ten pounds lighter and ten years younger. A well-fitted bra will also help you have better posture, a perkier looking chest – and you will just look better in all your clothes. Clients who have had their first professional bra fitting swear by it as a real game changer. Need a referral? Contact me.

 

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So, there you have it….Conquer these 5 issues and take 10 years off your look;)

Seriously, growing older is a blessing and I know I wouldn’t want to go back in time (well maybe to college…but just for a weekend or two). You deserve to look and feel your absolute best at every stage of life, so make yourself a priority, and rock your best personal style. I’m here to help!

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