Spring Sip & Shop at Chico’s

I am SO excited to announce a night of fashion, food and fun with Chico’s of La Fiesta Square.

On Saturday, May 4th, I will be hosting a Spring Sip & Shop fashion show and mini FIM Workshop!

As many of you know, I am big fan of Chico’s and they have graciously offered to sponsor this event for ONE NIGHT ONLY!

So mark your calendars and stay tuned for instructions on how to register later this week. You won’t want to miss the AMAZING discounts off all clothing, FIM coaching and styling packages, jewelry, accessories, books, EVERYTHING!

One lucky guest will get to be personally styled by me and I will also be available for questions and guidance while you try on the new spring styles.

This is a private event. The doors will be closed to the public and space will be limited. So mark your calendar’s now and Stay Tuned!!!

Chico's Spring 2019 tie-front, flutter sleeve blouse
My latest Chico’s purchase – their tie-front, flutter sleeve blouse

7 Steps to Closet Zen

Woman in closet staring at items.

Standing there staring into the mass of fabrics and colors, I heard the Netflix’s “Ba-BONG!” go off in my head.  Not One. Not Two…or Three…but Four. FOUR! Four closets jam-packed with clothes!

And over half of them I hadn’t worn in years. 

I had read her book a couple of years ago and truly appreciated her philosophy, but simply couldn’t (Wouldn’t? Didn’t?) find the time to focus on making things happen.  But this time, watching the television program, her concepts in action and not just mentally visualizing but seeing the beautiful results in real life technicolor, it made me want to get up and get started.

I realized in that moment 2019 was the year I would de-clutter, get organized,  reclaim space and obtain….Closet Zen.  

Organization Inspiration

As someone who helps clients organize their closets, I couldn’t believe that it was time for me to organize mine

Initially, I considered contacting California Closets to have a custom closet built, especially since we’re empty-nesters and have the space; however, I realized that many of these once cherished items were no longer my style. (Again, I hadn’t worn half the pieces in years.)

And, after watching several episodes of “Tidying Up” (Oh, the beauty of binge watching),  I was inspired to try out the KonMari Method created by Marie Kondo.   I made the commitment.   It was easy once I looked at a few pieces, asked the joy question and quickly realized my priorities had changed.

My clothes have always been my “friends” since they make me feel and look great. I truly enjoying coordinating outfits and colors along with making a piece look original every time I wear it with different accessories.  Clothes can reflect your personality, your creativity and change your prospective on life.  Clothes can also provide people a sense of who you are and reflect your objectives, your mission, your goals.  When done correctly, the right outfit can make you look like a work of art.

But now it was time to say good-bye to some long, cherished friends.  They had served their purpose and made me happy during their reign, but no longer. And that is o.k.  I’ve come to terms with this. 

So, with inspiration from Ms. Kondo, here are the steps I took to de-clutter, de-stress and start the new year with a clear, clean, organized space filled with joy and calm energy. 

May you find the same refreshing sense of Closet Zen that I did by using this 7-step process.

1. Decide How to Solve the Problem with Your Closet

[This is a very important step and will guide you throughout the process so don’t skip!]

Before you start breaking down your closet and throwing clothes away, decide what the problem really is.

Are you doing this because you have too many clothes you don’t wear? Can’t wear?  Won’t wear?  Do you have clothes you haven’t worn for years? Do you want to organize your clothes by category and color?  Are you tight on space? Has your style changed but you hate getting rid of pieces because of the money spent? Do you have too many casual clothes and not enough business or work wear?  Do you have clothes in your closet that don’t fit right or are not styled for your body type?  Whatever the problem is, figure out your goal before starting.  Recognizing the problem and having a defined goal, will help you stay on track.  It also helps make speedy, efficient, decisions and prevent donation or consignment regrets, later.

2. Make A Game Plan

Closet cleaning can take a morning, an entire day or a full weekend or two, depending on how many closets you are tackling; so, make certain to carve out enough time to tackle it all, otherwise you could get discouraged by having an unfinished project staring at you each time you walk in the door.

Gather boxes, bins or bags for the items you plan to donate, consign or trash and put in the room next to whatever you will use to help organize, such as a bed, a sofa or a table.  I suggest having something to help hold clothes to review and analyze and to not throw everything on the floor, if it can be avoided.  With realistic expectations and a plan, you will see results and remain inspired to the end, versus being overwhelmed, becoming frustrated and stopping mid project.

So take a deep cleansing breathe (pun intended) and begin. 

3. Categorize, Set Aside & Analyze “Yes” Pieces

Start with your larger clothing pieces, for instance; dresses. Take them all out of the closet and pile, per type (dresses, coats, pants, skirts, blouses, etc.), on your organizing platform (bed/sofa/table).  Once the closet is empty and you’ve organized the piles by type, then let the analysis begin.

Designate three additional sorting piles or bins and either mentally note each one or label with a sheet of paper  “Yes”, “No”, “Maybe”.  [NOTE:  I do recommend bins because you can go faster by tossing things into the bin or box. Bags tend to slow things down by having to open and stuff items in each time.]

Ask Analysis Questions

Starting with one pile at a time, pick up a piece and ask yourself these questions:

Do I still like it?  Yes? No? Maybe?  Put in the designated bin/pile/bag.  Go quickly.  Too much pondering and you may lose your nerve.  Many suggest the hard and fast rule:  If you haven’t worn in a year, GET RID OF IT. Some even use 6 months as the cutoff; however, I don’t adhere to this.  For me there were clothes in my closet I completely forgot I owned since I couldn’t see them!  So the 6 month rule didn’t always apply.

Once everything has been sorted in the three Yes-No-Maybe piles, turn your focus to the “Yes” items. 

Try On “Yes” Items

Now is the time to try on each Yes item to make sure it fits well, you feel good in it and it gives or sparks joy. Also, make certain it’s in your color palette and gives you confidence.  If you don’t feel any of these things, then it may not be a “Yes” item.  Toss to the Maybe pile. 

As you’re trying on the Yes items, ask yourself these questions:  Have I worn it in the last 12 months? (Marie says 6 months).  If the answer is No, then ask Why? Is it style?  Color?  Size?   Is there something other than time that could make me love it again?  If it’s not in your color palette, then I suggest you not keep it, even if you do like it.  In my case, I no longer wear colors outside of my palette and don’t find them complimentary to my skin tone nor the primary pieces in my wardrobe, so why keep something I will rarely wear, but this is up to you.  (Click here to find out about Color Analysis).

Once you’ve tried on all the Yes pieces and confirmed they truly belong in the Yes pile, move to the next step. 

4. Bag Up the “No” Pieces

Be sure to purchase strong trash bags or heavy-duty boxes to bag up anything that’s stained or ripped beyond repair or to give away. Label so you know where they are going.

I highly recommend that you donate or sell any wearable pieces to a thrift or consignment store. You can also donate to “Dress for Success” organizations that help unemployed women interview for jobs.  I volunteer and donate clothing to Wardrobe for Opportunity in Oakland, California, a nonprofit organization, where women can shop for outfits for the interview process. You should find organizations like these in your areas to donate. Once your No’s are bagged, take them out of the room and start a new bag for any future “No” pieces.

You may find duplicate clothing pieces, for example the same color shirt or dresses that look similar. Do you really need all of them? Donate or get rid of duplicates.

5. The “Maybe” Pile

The remaining pieces should be your “Maybe” pile.  Assess the feelings that you have when evaluating each piece and ask the following questions with each piece in order to decide:

#1: Does this piece help me reach my goal (i.e. work attire) or my personal style?

#2: Have I worn it in a year?

#3: Does this piece fit my body (and if not, can it be tailored)?

#4: Does this item bring me joy, make me feel confident or good, when wearing it?

If you answer No to to even one of these questions, it should go into your “New No” bag.  You should only keep items that serve your purpose and solve your closet problem.  

6. Separate Your Final Piles

Separate the rest of the clothes into the following piles:

  1. “Yes” pieces that need tailored or dry cleaned
  2. Pieces to donate or sell
  3. Stained, ripped, or unwearable pieces

7. Organize Your Closet

Now you can put your final “Yes” pile back into your closet, but make sure to organize by color to find pieces easier and faster. Also, categorize your tops, bottoms, outerwear, dresses, accessories, etc.

For items that need to be folded and put into drawers, I highly recommend watching Marie Kondo’s video on folding, found here.  It is a simple process that makes it so easy to find things in your dresser drawers.

Congratulations! You have officially de-cluttered your closet. You should feel an amazing sense of accomplishment and hopefully, peace and calm.  To help maintain the consistency and flow of your closet, I suggest incorporating the “One-for-One Rule”: When you add a new item to your closet, you MUST donate, sell or give one away. I promise, this will help you maintain you Closet Zen and be filled with joy.

Would you rather have someone help you obtain Closet Zen? Check out our closet organization options.

5 Must Have Winter Accessories

(This Winter Be BOLD, Not Cold!)

Winter doesn’t officially start for another 10 days, though the cold weather has many of us thinking it’s already here! 

Whether you plan to spend time outdoors or just want to stay warm and toasty while walking to work, in your office or relaxing at home, these winter accessories will get you through the season with style. 

I’ve highlighted this year’s top accessories to help you be fashionable bold and not cold, this winter. 

Ponchos

Ponchos are one of my favorite items to wear when the weather gets colder.  I love, Love, LOVE, ponchos!!  Why?  Because they hide all the “icky bits” (i.e. the weight around my waist), while providing warmth and style.  Most of all, ponchos are an easy layer piece to wear that can also be the focal point of your outfit. 

A true classic never goes out of style (see below)

If you make a poncho the focal point of your outfit,  make sure to find the right poncho for you body type, so it will balance your shape accordingly. 

Ponchos are available in all shapes and sizes ranging from big and bulky, long and draping, to lightweight and body skimming.  Fortunately, you can wear any type.  The key is know how to wear each particular poncho to compliment your silhouette. 

Poncho & Necklace from Marla Wynne @ HSN.com 

For instance, if you wear a draped style (as pictured to the left) then you must balance the silhouette by creating a slimming effect on the bottom.  Do this by wearing skinny, straight-legged jeans or leggings and your favorite leather bootie or suede, over-the-knee boots.  A good rule to remember is that when you wear bulky or flowy items on your upper body, wear straight and narrow on your lower body.  This creates balance. 

Additionally, you can belt a long poncho if you want to create the illusion of a waistline or accentuate one.  Though be certain this works for your shape, as it will also bring attention to your tummy area. 

Try bright colored hues according to your color palette that consists of prints, paisleys, stripes or checks.  

Ponchos for Plus Sizes

Chiffon Poncho by Marla Wynne

Ponchos work for curvy ladies too. 

It is cozier than the summer kimono and can be used as a layer piece or light jacket, especially if found in a fabric like the chiffon shown in the photo. 

A poncho is actually ideal for a plus size lady who feels a little insecure, as it help cover areas she may consider a “flaw”. 

No matter the reason, you should definitely get a stylish poncho to complete your winter wardrobe and feel good when you wear it. 

Winter Hats

Hats are great for fall and winter and this year they are everywhere and available in a variety of styles including knits caps, felt berets (pictured below right) or a wool fedora. 

Color continues to be all the rage this winter, so look for fun, colorful hats to spice up your wardrobe.  As you can see, I have a teal, wool fedora (pictured below left) and I absolutely love it.  I feel great when I wear it, which is often as it can be dressed up or down. 

Winter Fedora in Teal
Wool Fedora in Teal

When selecting a hat to add to your accessories, you want to take into account the shape of your face as well as the color of your hair, eyes and skin.  For example, most oval faces shapes (like mine) is better served by a hat with a brim versus a small beret.  Why?  Because of balance.  Oval faces are longer so having a brim helps to bring attention to the eyes by adding width and creating balance. 

Try on several different styles to learn what looks best on you. 

Boots or Booties

Comfortable & Stylish

There is such a variety of boots and booties this year.  Why not try something you’ve never considered;  you may be surprised of the outcome! Also keep it simple and base your decision on your style and color since there are so many choices this winter.  

The variety of boots includes cowboy or western style, precious metal mules, pointed toes, snake skin, leather or python, (which is considered the new natural).

I’ve never considered myself a cowboy boot person, but I recently tried on a pair of western inspired booties and they were so comfortable!  Not like the stiff leather of yesterday.  Things have changed (thankfully) and you can now find low heels with so much style.

Suede Knee High Boots in Taupe

Another option to consider is the over the knee boots (pictured right).  They have 2” inch heels, pointy toes, a zipper on the side for easy access into the boot along with a stretch grommet in the back, allowing for larger calf sizes, leggings and jeans.  

I love these boots as they too are super comfortable, even with the heel.  I can walk long distances and be in them all day.

Over-sized Scarves

Bold over-sized scarf for Winter
Bold, Warm & Versatile 

Another popular accessory this winter is a big scarf.  Again, the key is finding the one that you really love and looks good on you.  By having your palette colors on the scarf, you will feel even better wearing it.  

The scarf I’m wearing captures both prints and colors found in my palette:  teal, red (a blue red), cream and a leopard print, all of which I absolutely love.   

With the weather already cold throughout the country, find a scarf that will keep you warm and that also coordinates with your coats and jackets.  

Another benefit of a bold, over-sized scarf is that it can also be worn as a shawl or wrap. 

                                                           Tassel Earrings

This year will be remembered as the winter of BOLD jewelry! 

tassel earrings make a bold statement
The “it” earring 

Tassel earrings are one example of this fresh, new creativity in fashion.  The earrings are designed with simple, colorful threads or beads and come in numerous shapes, lengths and sizes, though the overall design is still the same.  Tassel earrings make a strong style statement, so step up your game this year and buy a pair.  

The trick is to make certain the length and width are appropriate for your face shape.  Sometimes this style can make an extremely bold, larger than life statement, so take some time to find the right fit for you.  

About Me…

Where to Buy….

Year-End Check-Up! 2017 Style Tips

Since our mid-year check up blog post was highly popular, we decided to refresh your memory with some of the highlights. Can you believe it’s already mid December? But before we move on to a new year, let’s go over some style tips we learned in 2017.

The end of the year is the perfect time to check in with yourself. It’s time to look back on your outfits and style choices of the year and figure out if this is the personal brand you’re trying to showcase to the world.

Here are 5 ways to analyze your personal style choices and revamp your outfits.

It makes a great difference in how you feel. You can start with one simple change.

DO YOUR CLOTHING CHOICES MATCH YOUR LIFESTYLE?

First and foremost you must have the appropriate clothing in your closet in order to have something to wear on a daily basis.

Organize your closetDo you sometimes pass over new jeans, morning after morning, in favor of an old pair?  Only 20 percent of the clothes in the average person’s closet are worn on a regular basis, according to a survey from California Closets. Another survey by Voucher Cloud revealed that the average woman has $550 dollars of unworn clothing in her closet. Most commonly unworn items in her closet are shoes and coats.

Decide what type of clothing you need to have in your closet. For instance, if you are working a full-time job, then you should have over 80% of your closet filled with business clothes. The other 20 percent could be casual, sporty, casual chic, and a few items for evening wear, depending on what you need.

Sort through pieces you haven’t worn in ages and get rid of the ones you’re not likely to wear again.  Once your wardrobe is filled with pieces you love to wear, you will never say you have nothing to wear again.

Wear colors that compliment your skin tone

I was surprised to find out how little people consider their skin tones when picking out color choices. In my opinion, it makes a world of difference to your look.

Examine your closet and experiment with different colors to find out which hues work best with your complexion. Ask a close friend (one whose fashion opinion you trust!) what colors look good on you and work best with your skin.

It will also be beneficial for you to understand your skin surface tone, which is the color you’d describe yourself (light, medium, tan, dark, etc). Your skin’s undertone is the color underneath the surface. You can have the same skin tone as someone, but a different undertone which is as follows:

  • Cool: (pink, red or bluish undertones)
  • Warm: (yellow, peachy, golden undertones)

If you have cool under tones, colors that look great on you include:  mint or kelly green, teal, lavender, purple, navy, hot pink, rose pink and burgundy.

For warm toned skin, colors that look good on you are:  peach, yellow (lemon and mustard, which has more brown tones), brown, red, lime green, orange, kelly green, and mint green.

Are you wearing the appropriate clothing for your Body Type?

Do you know your body shape? This is the first step in feeling good in your clothes and building your personal style. It’s important to make sure your clothes fit in proportion to your body shape.

Knowing your body portions and what you need to adjust or camouflage will make you self consious of your body and can lower your self-esteem.

Explore the 5 different body shapes and identify your body type.

Hourglass, Rectangle, Apple/Oval, Pear/Rectangle, and Inverted Triangle.

HourglassCurves, curves and more curves!
Your shoulders are relatively as wide as your hips/thighs and your waist is distinctly narrower than your shoulders and hips/thighs.

Rectangle– Shoulders are as wide as your hips/thighs. Your waist is as wide as or just narrower than your shoulders and hips/thighs.

Apple/Oval – Shoulders are narrower or as your hips/thighs: from the front view, your waist appears the same width or wider than your shoulders/hips.

Pear/Rectangle – Your hips are wider than your shoulders with a round, sloping shoulders, a well-defined waistline (and might even have killer abs), your buttocks and thighs are full and round. Pear body shapes gain weight on their thighs.

Inverted Triangle – Your shoulders are wider than your waist and hips/thighs.

Complete your outfit with accessories

Accessories complete the outfit and have the power to instantly make you comfortable in your own skin and boost your confidence. Here are a few accessories you can try out in different seasons:

  • A pair of comfy sandals, flats or heels – I’m always looking for style and comfort and I think the designers finally got it right. There are so many stylish and comfortable selections out for recently including Birkenstock’s, slide-in mules or heels with ankle straps and snug boots.
  • A sassy handbagTry a color like coral, blue or yellow. You’ll be surprised how much the handbag adds a pop of color and updates your outfit.
  • Statement sunglassesA classy pair of sunglasses can take you from drab to fab, instantly. You will also beat the heat, in style, during the hotter months.
  • Hats – They protect you from the sun and in colder months, warmer hats are good accessories that also cover your ears.

Never again leave the house feeling uncomfortable about your style choice

If you don’t feel 100% confident about your clothing choice before leaving the house, then don’t wear it. Try this quick trick — take a full-length picture of yourself and see how you look. The camera doesn’t lie. I always do this when I’m trying on sunglasses and want to select the right style. I can always tell which ones I should buy based on the picture and how I feel in them.

You will be able to recognize the right outfit at the moment you look in the mirror and feel nothing but pride, satisfaction, happiness, empowerment and confidence in what you’re wearing.

 

By doing all of these things you will continue to feel better about how you look and present yourself to the world. Its starts with how you feel about your style.

The end of the year is always a great time to evaluate what has been working for you. It helps put things in perspective for the new year.

To your beauty,


For a complete Color Analysis, including a FREE color palette of your customized colors, contact Brenda at brenda@firstimpressionsmatter.com or call (707) 648-7991 to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

Thinking Outside the Box, Clothing Subscription Shopping!

Clothing subscription boxes are the latest buzzwords in the apparel industry. Since I wasn’t very familiar with the concept, I decided to dig in a little more and now I can share what I learned with you. Keep reading to find out what all the hype is about and whether you’re missing out!

Do you hate the experience of shopping in stores? Maybe you’re tired of spending countless hours trying to put together a creative outfit? Or you like to shop but you’re not sure what styles work for your body type? If you answered yes, then fashion subscription box services could be the solution for you.

I never thought this type of subscription box service was meant for me, since I love to go into the department store and feel fabrics, coordinate colors and outfits and try on clothing to see if it works for my body type. But I’ve been hearing more about these subscription boxes, whose services are rising off the charts and becoming very popular. I got curious to learn more about this latest fashion trend.

I’m currently working on a consulting project with four other people on my team. Two of these women have subscribed to clothing box services or usually shop for their clothes online. I found this very interesting and wanted to hear more about it. I interviewed one of my teammates Karen, to get a better understanding of what she calls “convenient shopping”. You’ll hear more from Karen as to why she uses the service, later in the article.

Recent data shows that 79% of Americans shop online and the growth continues to rise with the fashion apparel industry. Currently more than 2,000 subscription box services exist in the United States. Apparel is in the top 20 of the most popular stubscription services. Visits to subscription box websites are over 21.4 million and rising daily.

SO…What EXACTLY is clothing subscription shopping?

It is an online clothing shopping service that delivers handpicked items right to your front door.

How does it work? You begin by registering for the clothing subscription box. You then fill out a questionnaire of sorts that narrows down your style, fit and price preferences. Based on the input you provide, a personal stylist will create at least 5 outfits (each company might vary) which will then be sent to you to try on at the comfort of your own home. Simple enough, right?

What happens next is the most interesting part! After you’ve tried out the subscription box outfits sent to you, you pay and get to keep the ones you like and you simply send back everything else. And the best part? If you didn’t end up liking any of the options sent to you, you are not obligated to keep any pieces! You may return all the items without being charged for any of them.  The company only bills you for the pieces you keep and except for a small fee ($20 on average), there are no other costs. You can even sign up for automatic deliveries or set a schedule on demand.

Why sign-up for the service?

This is Karen. She is a busy, working career professional with limited leisure time on her hands. She explained to me why she signed up for Stitchfix clothing subscription box services.

  • She wanted to dress differently from her usual traditional, classic look consisting of a sweater set, crop/ankle pants and a blouse. She decided to switch up her style but didn’t know what to do about it.
  • She found the subscription box service to be helpful and a lot of fun. She provided them with information regarding her body type and style and the stylist gave her a fashion board with various outfits to select from. She set her price preferences according to her budget and indicated to them what kind of clothing pieces she was specifically looking for.
  • She’s been using the services for over 6 months now and she says it has been an awesome experience for the most part. She enjoys getting fashionable trendy things to try on and according to her, the quality has been great too.

“The service saved me”

Karen continued to explain how the subscription box service saved her from not having anything to wear to a special event. She informed the company that she planned to attend an outdoor wedding and wanted to wear a dress for the occassion. Because she usually had a hard time finding a dress that looks good on her, she wasn’t hopeful. Fortunately, they sent her three dresses that she loved and she picked out one of them to wear to the wedding. The biggest benefit of the service for Karen was the convenience of having the dresses delivered straight to her home, where she got to try them on privately without others being around.

What types of clothing do you receive?

Karen said the outfits from the clothing subscription box service she used consisted of some name brand companies  including; Not Your Daughters Jeans, Market and Spruce, Laila Jayde and 41 Hawthorn. All of these were great quality pieces.

How much does it cost?

On average Karen spent approximately 150 dollars a month. Sometimes she switched up the subscription to deliver every two months instead of monthly. The sign up fee is $20.00, which ends up being a stylist fee that is credited toward your first purchase. So you don’t really pay any upfront costs, which sounds like a sweet deal to me.

Future use of the service

Karen also admitted that after 6 months she decided to discontinue the service she was using. The clothing box company she was subscribed to, started sending her outfits from their own clothing line and the fit and quality did not meet her expectations. Going from receiving fashionable high quality pieces that fit her style during the first six months to this, she was disappointed when things changed. Even though she canceled the service with Stitchfix, she is  looking into other clothing subscription box services because  she doesn’t want to let go of the convenience of getting clothes delivered for her to try out at home.

Where to find the services

Google “clothing box subscription services” and you will find a list of companies. In researching additional fashion shopping services, a couple of my suggestions include:

  • MM LaFleur– They cater to women over 40 and  women in the workspace. Their clothes are classic and of great quality.
  • Trunk Club – This subscription service is provided by Nordstrom. They are following the steps of other retailers and  are also jumping on the subscription box band wagon
  • CHC Vintage Dress – If  you can pull of a vintage style, then this box is most definitely for you.
  • Chic Style Box – This is an accessories subsciption box service to pair with your outfits.

Overall, I have talked to others who really like the service and the convienence of receiving clothing in the mail to try on at home. Most people are tired of the time involved in sitting in traffic to get to the store, finding a parking spot and walking to the department store. Time is precious and more of us are finding out another way to shop for clothes.

 

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While you’re still here, I wanted to remind you of my special fall offer. Treat yourself to this fabudiscount special on our event packages we have going on. Is your wardrobe ready for your upcoming holiday event or job interview? Check out our event package that promises to help you look and feel good, boost your confidence and make that great first impression!

FALL SPECIAL EVENT PACKAGE

We also have some exciting posts on our Facebook page that you don’t want to miss out on! Make sure you’re  following us on there to keep up with our updates

How to Use Photos to Build Your Personal Brand

I recently went to Birmingham, Alabama, to visit my daughter and had the pleasure of meeting Gretchen Birdwell, who is a photographer in the area. Gretchen did a photoshoot of my daughter and me, which was such an inspiring and wonderful learning experience. I decided to share some tips so you all can learn the importance of using photos to build your personal brand.

The music playing in the background helped me relax and Gretchen made sure I was comfortable and feeling beautiful and special in front of the camera. I learned the many ways of camouflaging certain parts of the body to look my best. For instance, positioning my chin in an outer motion to create a younger appearance, as well as standing in a way that makes my body look long and lean. I also posed in my own natural ways to show the real side of me, instead of restricting my poses in the photos. Of course, lighting and background is important in any shoot, so Gretchen was prepared with the correct backgrounds that would work with our skin complexion.

It was totally a rewarding experience. The best part is that I felt so beautiful and she made me look even better. You can see the behind the scenes video of our photo shoot here.

All my personal brand photos online and in my newsletter were taken by Gretchen Photography.

You can check out more of her work and information about her here.

I decided it was time to take new photos since my style has recently evolved. I wanted to show a different, more fun and business casual chic side of my personality. My main style has been a classic and professional look and I decided to extend my brand to a different side. The clients I serve not only include professionals but also non-working, work from home and retired women.

Photos tell your story better than any written word. People want to see what you look like or what you do before they contact you. It helps them connect to you better. They can even get a glimpse of your character from photos before they talk to you. Did you know you can sense a natural or a fake smile just by the picture and whether you are trustworthy or not? If you are an artist, you should also show your painting or photos of you in the studio. All of these techniques help to build your brand. Make it easy for your audience to see you at a glance and learn what your brand is all about.

Studies also show 43% to 75% of employers check social media prior to hiring and everyone should invest in putting his/her best foot forward online.

If you are no longer in the job market, but are running a business and sell any type of service or product, it’s critical to have your website with a picture included.

You will know it’s time for new photos when your current ones don’t represent all of who you are anymore as well as your core values (which is your total brand). You should have a mixture of headshots and candid photos that represent your brand. But headshots are typically the images you will use as profile photos. If you’re one of those that tried to crop a friend out of your picture to use for your profile or you’re still hanging on to that old school photo wearing shoulder pads and teased hair, you don’t need me to tell you it’s time to refresh it up!

It all boils down to people are being exposed to 5,000 marketing messages daily. Everyone is trying to figure out who they can trust and photos help answer the question. Looking at a picture will project who you really are.

What your photos say

Profile pictures provide both “open” and “hidden” hints.

“Open” hints are the messages that you deliberately choose to communicate in the picture, in other words, the impression you project. If you take a picture with a hat, this could be your signature style and project that you are a hat person.

“Hidden” messages are the ones where people see the underlining image of what you cannot hide. For instance, if you take pictures at distance it may give a hint of security. If you are tilting your head and smiling, you project dependence. When you stand with your hands crossed below your chest area, you look like you are in a position of power. Make sure to take the photo in a pose that represents your brand to project the impression you want to present.

I recommend taking getting professionally photos that are not staged but reflect your personality and brand. If not, the desired impression will be weakened and not trustworthy. Show movement in the photo, for example, looking away from the camera or standing and shifting leg movements to show the real you. Photos that are too staged do not represent the real you. You want to show your business and fun side in the photos. People are looking for others who are authentic and they can trust. This is the real bottom-line of why photos are so important.

In conclusion, here a few simple do’s and don’ts to building your personal brand with photos:

Don’t do:

  • Photos that are badly lit, or out of focus or of poor quality
  • Don’t use stock photography

Do:

  • Tell your story with professional photos
  • Post regular content with good quality images
  • Post photos that will start a conversation with your audience
  • Invest in a good quality set of photos that build your personal brand (a professional photographer)

Join the conversation! I want to hear from you. Respond to any of the questions below.

Are your current photos due for a refresh? If you are planning a photo shoot, do you know what colors look good on you? Do you know what type of photos and poses to take that represent your brand?

 

 

5 Stylish Clothing Items You Can Wear After 60… Even if You Think You Can’t!

leggingsAs a woman over 60 interested in looking and feeling good, you’ve probably asked these questions at one point: Can I wear that? Will I look good in that? Am I too old to wear that? Do I have the right body type to wear that?

Designers are creating the same stylish trends for mature women as they do for the younger generation. The difference is that mature women have a more grown up look and appeal. Therefore, the clothes are not as tight, but still fitted to the body. The fabric is quality, and provides more coverage.

The clothes may also be loser in the waist and hide particular flaws on a woman’s body that may not need to be hidden on a younger female.

Here are 5 stylish clothes you will love when you find the right look and fit for your body type.

Leggings

Recently, Women’s Wear Daily reported that leggings’ sales have officially outpaced denim sales online in the US. Leggings orders have increased by 41 percent in the last year – by comparison, denim orders rose three percent in the same time frame.

Why do you think this happened? It’s because leggings are so comfortable and versatile to wear. You can wear them in the winter or in cooler weather, and they give you good coverage for your legs.

I have suggested to my clients to wear leggings as a supportive element for the rest of your clothes, rather than the main garment. For instance; wear tunics and long blouses that fall below the waist. This will make you look long and lean. Add a long necklace and you are good to go.

Leggings look good on all body types and depend on what style of tops and tunics you wear with them. The ponte knit fabric is thicker and hides dimples in the thighs and, overall, provide nice coverage. Your long tunic or top covers your belly, and the leggings show off your fantastic legs. You will be able to hide any tummy flaws.

In the winter, any body type can wear leggings with boots or Uggs. In the spring and summer, wear sneakers or sandals. You will feel stylish and comfortable, along with looking great.

Capris or Crop Pants

Capris are cropped pants that stop above the ankle but usually well below the knee.

This trend is hard to wear, and you have to be very careful. Depending on your height, the capris’ length can be different on everyone. Once you find the length that works for you, you will be all set.

It’s unusual that this trend has been around for so long, especially since they can be so unflattering for many women. Capris shorten the legs and also highlight chunky calves.

They are popular and so on trend due to the following reasons:

  • They can be sexy with revealing the ankle bone.
  • They look great with booties, which are much on trend.
  • They also highlight another shoe trend: shoes with straps and lace ups.
  • They are associated with fun.
  • They keep you cooler in the summer.

Here are some suggestions for successfully wearing capris and looking great at the same time:

  • Choose capris with a higher waist if you have short legs. The high waist will draw the eye up and make your legs appear longer.
  • Wear capris with a tapered or straight leg to create the longest and sleekest look.

The capris or crop pant is a comfortable summer option. Just make sure to create your own look to maintain a long leg and sleek silhouette.

Skinny Jeans

It’s not about age; it’s all about the fit when it comes to wearing skinny jeans. You just need to adjust the style to your changing body shape. As you get older, your body is constantly changing.

To get the correct fit, look at the waist rise, the upper leg and the lower leg. Use this combination and you will get the perfect pair of jeans every time.

Things have changed since we started wearing jeans. The waist height, or rise as it is called now, used to have one height, but now there are many. The waist rise can now start from the naval to the low rise, below the waist and almost at the hip area.

Skinny jeans do not make you look skinny but can make you look leaner depending on how you wear them. It also depends on how they are cut and fit your body type.

You can find specific designers who cater to the more mature women. For instance, Diane Gilman, a.k.a. The Jean Queen, makes jeans specifically for mature women. I have tried her jeans, and they are an excellent fit. The jeans are not tight and concentrate on hiding flaws like the tummy area.

Cold Shoulder Tops

If you haven’t noticed, cold shoulder tops have been around for a few years now. The reason is that the cold shoulder shows the best focal point of the body. It is also easier to wear than the off-the-shoulder top.

This trend is for everyone and is versatile enough for both day and evening wear. Cold shoulder tops can be quite feminine. They have attractive sleeves, and the bonus is, they are very comfortable and cool when the weather is hot.

Wear these tops with almost anything, especially jeans, when the top is loose and flowing. All you need to do is find the right style and fit for you.

Jumpsuit

Jumpsuits are all the trend this season.

They are not for everybody, but if you feel you can pull it off, then why not? The body fit makes all the difference. Making sure to look long and lean is the trick, and you will know if you have the right body type for it.

Choosing darker shades helps. Black and navy are chic and versatile, and they immediately slim down unwanted curves.

If you find you have tummy flaws, a jumpsuit that has material in the middle instead of being fitted is ideal.

You should also find a style that is somewhat tailored but not tight. Most of all, stay away from clingy fabrics. Sometimes they tend to rise up at the front and back if they are too tight, creating a “wedgie” effect – try on a few styles to find the most flattering fit for your figure.

The big thing about the jumpsuit trend is that you must feel really good and confident about yourself. If you are unsure about wearing it, then don’t. Your lack of confidence will show on your face and nonverbal communication.

If you aren’t wearing one of these pieces of clothing and you’ve always wanted to, try something new. Go to the store, try them on and find out if they are for you. You might be surprised and love the new you!

 

How would you describe your style? Do you currently wear any of the clothing mentioned above? If so, how do you feel? Do you have more stylish clothes that you didn’t think you could wear, but look fantastic on you? What are they? Please join the conversation!

To your beauty,


For a complete Color Analysis, including a FREE color palette of your customized colors, contact Brenda at brenda@firstimpressionsmatter.com or call (707) 648-7991 to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

5 Simple Tips to Feel More Confident About Your Style After 60

ConfidenceDo you sometimes feel uncertain about your outfit selections and not sure how to boost your confidence? Real confidence comes with accepting your personal quirks and working with them. In this way, you can dress with confidence by knowing your look and playing to your personal strengths. Here are five “feel good” style secrets.

Style After 60 Tip: Dress for Your Body

To feel confident in your clothing, I suggest embracing your best body features and strengths. All of us have body parts that we want to conceal. Maybe you love your legs and hide your mid-section.

Even if you don’t love your arms, the majority of women at any age can wear the cold-shoulder top. It’s been popular for over a year and keeps showing up for all the seasons. The great part about it is that is shows off the most beautiful part of your body and doesn’t accentuate any flaws.

Regardless of your size, shape or favorite body feature, here are a few key rules:

Fit is the key, no matter what your dress size is.

Everyone is a critic about what you wear, so dress for you.

A tailor is your best friend, next is fit and this is the key.

Don’t be afraid to play with patterns to enhance and camouflage areas of your body.

Be Comfortable with Your Style Choice

If you don’t feel 100% confident about your clothing choice before leaving the house, then don’t wear it!

Try this quick trick: Take a full-length picture of yourself and see how you look. The camera doesn’t lie. I always do this when I’m trying on sunglasses and want to select the right style. I can always tell which one I should buy based on the picture along with how I feel in them.

You will be able to recognize the right outfit during the moment you look in the mirror and feel nothing but pride, satisfaction, happiness, empowerment and confidence in what you’re wearing. The most important thing to remember is to make sure the outfit feels comfortable in the way you present yourself to the world.

Know Your Colors

Examine your closet and experiment with different colors to find out which hues work best with your complexion. Ask a close friend what colors look good and work best for you.

It will also be beneficial for you to understand your skin surface tone, which is the color you’d use to describe yourself (light, medium, tan, dark, etc.). Your skin’s undertone is the color underneath the surface. You can have the same skin tone as someone, but a different undertone, which are cool or warm.

If you have cool undertones – pink, red or bluish undertones – colors that look great on you include mint or kelly green, teal, lavender, purple, navy, hot pink, rose pink and burgundy.

For warm toned skin – yellow, peachy or golden – colors that look good on you are peach, yellow (lemon and mustard, which has more brown tones), brown, red, lime green, orange, kelly green and mint green.

Define Your Personal Style

Combine your personality into a wardrobe to help you define what is unique about you and in turn you will always feel good about your outfit choices and style. Here are seven descriptors I use to help you identify your personal style:

Sporty

Causal, relaxed fit and likes natural fibers such as cotton, denim and corduroy. Christie Brinkley wears this style.

Traditional/Elegant

Classic and high-end luxury with preferred fabrics such as woolens, tweed, raw silk and gabardine. Dianne Feinstein and Angela Lansbury wear this style.

Feminine

Romantic look and prefers fabrics such as lightweight sheer silk, soft linen, lace, eyelet and chiffon. Princess Diana wore this style.

Casual Chic

Professional and classy casual look and prefers double cotton, designer denim and lambskin leather. Cameron Diaz wears this style.

Creative/Artistic

Free spirited look and prefers layering with different fabrics including tweed, textured cotton, polka dots with paisley floral, and geometrics. Madonna prefers this style.

Dramatic

Bold look and fabrics include linen, leather, double knits and gabardine. Diana Ross wears this look.

Alluring

Hourglass figure and shows off different parts of the body and prefers an animal print fabric. Sharon Stone and Cindy Crawford prefer this style.

Once you can define your style you will be able to personalize each outfit with accessories and save time deciding what to wear each day.

The Power of Accessoriesfun hat

Accessories complete the outfit and have the power to instantly make you comfortable in your own skin and boost your confidence. Try a few of the following accessories for the season.

A pair of comfy sandals, flats or heels – I’m always looking for style and comfort, and I think the designers finally got it right. There are so many stylish and comfortable selections out for the season including Birkenstocks, slide-in mules, or heels with ankle straps.

A sassy handbag – Try a color like coral, blue or yellow. You’ll be surprised how much the handbag adds a pop of color and updates the outfit.

Statement sunglasses – A classy pair of sunglasses can take you from drab to fab, instantly. You will also beat the heat, in style.

Hats – These protect you from the sun as well. I noticed hats with writing on the side of them this year, like “Bon Voyage,” “Off to the Beach” and “Dear Summer.” What fun conversation pieces as well!

Look Great in the Morning

We are all busy and to take an extra few minutes to look great in the morning will make you feel more confident. Try putting your outfit together in the evening so you will know what you are going to wear in the morning. This will save you at least 5-10 minutes or more of time the next morning.

Try spending more time getting ready by making sure your make-up is on properly and hair is in order in the morning. I had a client who applied her makeup in the car at stop signs. Needless to say, she never felt entirely good about the way her make-up looked. It just takes a few extra minutes in the morning to complete your look and feel good about you.

 

How would you describe your personal style? Which tips are you using or plan to use to feel more confident about your style? Do you have others that you can suggest that are working for you? What do you think is the essence of style after 60? Please join the conversation.

To your beauty,


For a complete Color Analysis, including a FREE color palette of your customized colors, contact Brenda at brenda@firstimpressionsmatter.com or call (707) 648-7991 to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

Mid Year Check-Up! 5 Ways to Look and Feel about your Style in 2017

Feel GCan you believe we are already half way through the year?

It’s the perfect time to check in with yourself to make sure you are on track with how you are feeling about yourself.

Here are 5 ways to feel and look good about your style this year. It makes a great difference in how you feel. You can start with one simple change.

DO YOUR CLOTHING CHOICES MATCH YOUR LIFESTYLE?

First and foremost you must have the appropriate clothing in your closet in order to have something to wear on a daily basis.

Do you sometimes pass over new jeans, morning after morning, in favor of an old pair?  Only 20 percent of the clothes in the average person’s closet are worn on a regular basis, according to a survey from California Closets. Another survey by Voucher Cloud revealed that the average woman has $550 dollars of unworn clothing in her closet. Most commonly unworn items in her closet are shoes and coats.

Decide what type of clothing you need to have in your closet. For instance, if you are working a full-time job, then your closet should have 80 percent business clothing. The other 20 percent could be casual, sporty, casual chic, and a few items for evening wear, depending on what you need.

Decide what you need in your closet and you will never say you have nothing to wear again.

Wear colors that compliment your skin tone

Examine your closet and experiment with different colors to find out which hues work best with your complexion. Ask a close friend what colors look good on you and work best with your complexion.

It will also be beneficial for you to understand your skin surface tone, which is the color you’d describe yourself (light, medium, tan, dark, etc,). Your skin’s undertone is the color underneath the surface. You can have the same skin tone as someone, but a different undertone which is as follows:

  • Cool: (pink, red or bluish undertones)
  • Warm: (yellow, peachy, golden undertones)

If you are cool under tones, colors that look great on you include:  mint or kelly green, teal, lavender, purple, navy, hot pink, rose pink and burgundy.

For warm toned skin, colors that look good on you are:  peach, yellow (lemon and mustard, which has more brown tones), brown, red, lime green, orange, kelly green, and mint green.

Are you wearing the appropriate clothing for your Body Type?

Do you know your body shape? This is the first step in feeling good in your clothes and building your personal style. It’s important to make sure your clothes fit in proportion to your body shape.

Knowing your body portions and what you need to adjust or camouflage will make you self consious of your body and can lower your self-esteem.

Explore the 5 different body shapes and identify your body type.

Hourglass, Rectangle, Apple/Oval, Pear/Rectangle, and Inverted Triangle.

HourglassCurves, curves and more curves!
Your shoulders are relatively as wide as your hips/thighs and your waist is distinctly narrower than your shoulders and hips/thighs.

Rectangle– Shoulders are as wide as your hips/thighs. Your waist is as wide as or just narrower than your shoulders and hips/thighs.

Apple/Oval – Shoulders are narrower or as your hips/thighs: from the front view, your waist appears the same width or wider than your shoulders/hips.

Pear/Rectangle – Your hips are wider than your shoulders with a round, sloping shoulders, a well-defined waistline (and might even have killer abs), your buttocks and thighs are full and round. Pear body shapes gain weight on their thighs.

Inverted Triangle – Your shoulders are wider than your waist and hips/thighs.

Complete your outfit with accessories

Accessories complete the outfit and have the power to instantly make you comfortable in your own skin and boost your confidence. Try a few accessories for the season:

  • A pair of comfy sandals, flats or heels – I’m always looking for style and comfort, and I think the designers finally got it right. There are so many stylish and comfortable selections out for the season including Birkenstock’s, slide-in mules or heels with ankle straps.
  • A sassy handbagTry a color like coral, blue or yellow. You’ll be surprised how much the handbag adds a pop of color and updates your outfit.
  • Statement sunglassesA classy pair of sunglasses can take you from drab to fab, instantly. You will also beat the heat, in style.
  • HatsThey protect you from the sun as well. I noticed hats with writing on the side of them this year, like “Bon Voyage”, “Off to the Beach”, “Dear Summer”, make fun conversations, as well.

Never again leave the house feeling uncomfortable about your style choice

If you don’t feel 100% confident about your clothing choice before leaving the house, then don’t wear it. Try this quick trick — take a full-length picture of yourself and see how you look. The camera doesn’t lie. I always do this when I’m trying on sunglasses and want to select the right style. I can always tell which ones I should buy based on the picture and how I feel in them.

You will be able to recognize the right outfit at the moment you look in the mirror and feel nothing but pride, satisfaction, happiness, empowerment and confidence in what you’re wearing.

 

By doing all of these things you will continue to feel better about how you look and present yourself to the world. Its starts with how you feel about your style.

To your beauty,


For a complete Color Analysis, including a FREE color palette of your customized colors, contact Brenda at brenda@firstimpressionsmatter.com or call (707) 648-7991 to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

5 Easy Ways to Make Your Summer Wardrobe Sizzle

Summer is the season for being outdoors for events such as bar-b-ques, vacations, reunions, music festivals, weddings, graduations and sports.

But one of the major challenges to being fashion forward is the cost. The average family spends $1,700 dollars on clothes annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It accounts for 3.5% of a family’s expenses, on average.

In 1930, the average American woman owned 9 outfits; today the figure is 30 outfits, one for every day of the month.

However, changing seasons doesn’t mean you need to completely overhaul your wardrobe, just make a few bold statements. Adding accessories will instantly update your wardrobe.

The styles for the season are all about updated classics, easy shapes, and unexpected combinations.

Try these five easy ways to reboot your wardrobe for summer, and make your wardrobe feel more current.

Choose light floral, print fabrics

Keep cool and wear lightweight, breathable fabrics such as linen, cotton, rayon, georgette (which is similar to chiffon), silk, and jersey.florals

Brighten up your wardrobe with florals, prints and color. This can inject some of your personality into your wardrobe. At times, you may need to tone down the big and bold florals and prints. You can do this by wearing either floral on the top and solid on the bottom, or vice versa.

Make sure that the scale of the floral pattern aligns with the frame of your figure. A large floral pattern can overwhelm a petite woman. A miniature pattern can look too dainty on a woman with a larger frame.

Other factors to consider are the placement of the patterns and the contrast of the colors. The colors should compliment your skin tone.

Try something different this season with florals, prints and lots of color!

Wear a fun hat

fun hatThe thing is, hats are for just about everyone; you just have to find the right shape that flatters your face. There are so many types of hats from mild (narrow brim) to wild (wide brim). You can look for cool banded fedoras, structured Panamas, striped floppy hats…basically, every style under the sun.

At the top of the list, and as a fashionable way to protect yourself from the sun, try a wide brim or floppy hat.

The latest and newest trends for the summer are hats with words written on the brim. Wear one and then watch out for compliments and conversation!

Statement sunglasses

fun sunglassesSunglasses are now considered the best accessory to have. It can change your entire look without a lot of effort. You can have a make-up free day and still look gorgeous.

Italian designers including, Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Prada, Miu Miu, Dolce & Gabbana and Versace, sell over 7.6 billion Euro of eye-wear a year (including prescription). This is big business since more and more women have several pairs of sunglasses these days.

Have you noticed Oprah wears glasses with almost every outfit? Glasses are her main accessory standard.

Slides, slippers, high heeled mules and sneakers

This season’s mood is casual and easy, and shoes that just slip on strike the perfect chord. fun sneakersSome of this season’s favorites–such as slides, backless loafers, slippers and high-heeled mules–don’t have an ankle strap, which helps lengthen the leg. These casual designs offer some sturdier heels and feature elegant, clean lines. Expect a few fun surprises – like velvet slides for summer.

Sneakers are all the rage this summer, and it is stylish to wear them with pants, skirts, and dresses. You will also find them with a bit of a wedge as well as decorated in floral and metallic colors. Comfort and style is in this summer.

Statement earrings

Statement earrings continue to be big this summer, but in new materials and styles. Boho-styles use fringe and tassels from organic materials. Designers are creating bold, structural earrings by playing with graphic metals to develop new ways of doing hoops and long drops. Statement earrings are a great, inexpensive way to change the look of an outfit.statement earrings

If you’re going to wear big earrings, pay attention to the shape of your face. Keep everything around your face simple – avoid necklaces and go for a more natural hairstyle. These earrings are a nice compliment to the off-the-shoulder top trend – especially the longer earrings that are almost shoulder length. Lean into your own sense of style: the style really has to be authentic and what your brand represents to you in order to make it work.

How do you plan to update your wardrobe this summer? Do you have another tip not mentioned in this article? Join the conversation below.

 

To your beauty,


For a complete Color Analysis, including a FREE color palette of your customized colors, contact Brenda at brenda@firstimpressionsmatter.com or call (707) 648-7991 to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.