Written by Diane McLelland, our resident Fresh Start Fashionista!
Take an inventory of your lightweight blouses and dressier T-shirts or tank tops (non-logo or sports team related) that you may have worn this summer. You can wear those under a blazer or sweater for a layered look, keeping in mind that most anything goes with the staple colors black or gray. If you’re choosing a tank top, know that slipping your blazer or sweater off mid-day probably won’t be an option.
In a previous blog, I wrote about color blocking, which is wearing two solid and often contrasting colors together on separate pieces. Wearing the darker color on the bottom serves to minimize large hips or derriere. The color you wear on top can accentuate your narrow shoulders or waist, for instance. If you own black slacks or a skirt, wear a brighter color blouse or knit top (or jacket or blazer on top). Of course, reverse the color blocking if you are attempting to minimize an ample bust and accentuate slim hips, for example.
When shopping, look for dresses (big this fall/winter season) that feature interest along the sides; such as a panel of black running down the length of the dress (or shift, as my mother’s generation was fond of calling them). This will visually draw the eye away from the hips or thighs, and create a leaner look. According to In Style magazine, some styles can appear to make one look as though you’ve taken off 5 pounds! The publication refers to it as a ‘Secret weapon’- The Contrast Panel. Vertical lines offer a slenderizing effect, and help to minimize not only the hip area, but the tummy as well. Don’t be hesitant to try a knit material; just ensure that you are choosing the correct size, and incorporating shapers for a streamlined look and fit. Many times, we’re tempted to wear last year’s sweater dress that fits a bit snugly- however, we may have forgotten that we have jumped a size (or two!) since that time. Get the fit right, slip on a blazer, opaque hosiery, boots or a flat or heeled comfortable shoe (no sandals unless you’re in a very warm climate and it’s acceptable) and you’re ready for the office.
Dresses are also being featured with all-over prints that distract the viewer’s eye; the benefit being a camouflaging effect of those pesky bumps and lumps that many of us women try desperately to hide.
If your dress is more than two to three inches above the knee, you may wish to consider opaque tights (available in many colors) as an alternative to bare legs, as bare legs in an office setting can be too casual. With the cooler temperatures upon us, boots are becoming a viable option as well. Most dresses can be paired with a dress boot, and still look appropriate for the workplace. Be sure that your boots are appropriate-last year’s thigh high suede boots or faux fur lined short boots are fine for the weekend, but can be seen as too casual for most business environments except perhaps for ‘casual Fridays’.
Diane McLelland has been called a ‘fashionista’ from a young age, acquiring her love of a fashion after enrolling in Sears Charm School as a young girl. After earning her degree in Fashion Merchandising and Business, she gained experience by appearing in movies, commercials, and magazine layouts in the Phoenix area, and worked as a flight attendant for over 15 years. Diane considers herself to be a personal shopper as she shops for family and friends whenever possible. She has written for a travel publication and numerous newsletters and currently works as a Career Services Advisor, assisting students find viable work in their chosen fields. She has two grown sons, and along with dog Cooper and ‘his’ two cats, resides in the Valley of the Sun - Phoenix AZ.