Tag Archives: Purses

Packing for Our Anniversary Cruise—and How I Wore It All

There’s nothing like the excitement of heading off on a special trip, especially when it is to celebrate a wonderful time in your life. This summer, Barry and I embarked on a 10-day trip to the Mediterranean, which included a week-long cruise in celebration of our wedding anniversary. It was a most magical trip where we delighted in the beauty of various locations along the sea, enjoyed the brilliant sunshine of the Italian, French, and Spanish coasts, and experienced the food, history, and cultures of this storied part of the world.

Any time you’re planning to travel for more than a few days, it can be outright tricky to come up with a packing plan that works perfectly for your destination and the duration of your travels. That’s why it’s important to get started on your packing a few days early—so you can decide whether you need to streamline a bit, throw in a few more items, or just start all over again! Taking the time to pack your bags carefully always pays off and allows you to be carefree throughout your vacation.

Here’s what I packed for our trip:

Clothing:

For this trip I chose a black, white, and navy color story that worked very nicely together. I always recommend coming up with a color story so you can effortlessly mix and match your pieces together. And, it never hurts to throw in a surprising pop of color here and there for variety’s sake.

I packed a black pant, white pant, red pant, white short, navy short skirt, red dress, and a print dress. For shirts, I brought a black top, white top, a navy sweater, and an orange cotton long-sleeve sweater. And for a dressy evening I packed a navy sequin top (the very same one I wore on my trip to Paris a few years ago) to pair with a cream crepe pant.

I also brought a white casual shawl, a black cashmere shawl, and three bathing suits plus two cover-ups. And to help block the sun, I packed a big hat and a roll-up brimmed hat. Here’s a helpful tip to remember when packing your swimwear items: Consider bringing both a one-piece swimsuit and a bikini when you travel. The one-piece will be perfect for walking along the beach or splashing in the pool, while your bikini is great for lounging comfortably in the privacy of your own balcony.

Shoes: For sightseeing, exercising, and more, I took AGL black flats, black sandals, muted gold flat sandals, black heeled sandals, Nike workout sneakers, walking sneakers, and flip flops. And in Rome, I bought a cute and comfy pair of white sneakers.

Purses: I brought a Tumi cross-body lightweight nylon bag, a small black bag for evening, and a small gold bag for evening. I also brought a backpack because it’s comfortable to wear all day long.

Accessories: Accessories have the power to really bring a great outfit to life. I brought an assortment of jewelry, including a cheerful turquoise bracelet and earring set; a black cord necklace with a silver oval, silver hoops, a silver ring, and pearl earrings; and a crystal cuff to wear on a dressy night with large crystal and iolite earrings. Finally, my very favorite jewelry pieces for travel are my crystal on a long gold chain coupled with an Alexis Bittar lucite and gold bracelet and gold hoop earrings.

I want to share an invaluable piece of advice: Take extra care not to overpack! Somehow it’s always harder to pack up a suitcase at the end of the trip—plus you’ll want to have a little extra room for souvenirs or new clothes you buy while you’re traveling.

Now, on to how I wore the clothes I packed, and some sightseeing and shopping highlight photos from our trip!

Arriving in Rome

 On day one of our trip, we arrived in Rome and enjoyed some shopping until our room was ready. Our hotel was one block from the Via Condotti, the Spanish steps, and streets lined with nice shops. I bought a pair of fun white sneakers that were very comfortable to wear on the remainder of the trip, as well as a red-and-white-striped t-shirt.

On our first night, I wore my red pants with a white eyelet top to dinner.

Day 1, Boarding the Ship

We boarded Seabourn’s brand-new Encore midday and took a look around. The gym was great, and the coffee bar was located on our deck so Barry got me a cappuccino every morning before we went to breakfast.

That night there was a cocktail welcome party before dinner. It provided the perfect occasion for my postcard print dress with gold accessories.

Day 2, Corsica

We toured in beautiful Corsica and took in the sights. After having lunch on the ship, we relaxed on our deck and enjoyed some reading before dinner.

That evening was the “dressy night” on the ship. Some of the women wore gowns, and there were also men in tuxedos. I wore my navy sequin top with ivory pants and a black shoe, paired with crystal jewelry and a small black bag.

Day 3, Cinque Terre

On day three we toured three of the five towns in Cinque Terre, in what ended up being a ten-hour day of sightseeing! The towns were very pretty and we enjoyed roaming around. I wore white shorts with a pale orange t-shirt and the white sneakers I bought in Rome. I also wore my brimmed sun hat, and even bought another hat the same day.

That evening on the ship I wore my red pants again, this time with a dark navy and white sweater with black accessories for dinner.

Day 4, Santa Margherita and Portofino

On day four we toured and shopped in Santa Margherita and then attended an olive oil tasting and lunch at the Splendido Hotel, which overlooked the harbor in Portofino. I wore my new red-and-white-striped t-shirt, navy skirt, and sneakers, along with a hat.

That evening for dinner, we had a reservation at the Thomas Keller restaurant aboard the ship and enjoyed a fantastic dinner. I wore my orange/red dress with a black sandal and black bag, paired with gold jewelry.

Day 5

We visited a small French island on day five and strolled through their weekly market. There was lots of fun food to look at, and I bought a small straw bag. For sightseeing, I wore white shorts, a striped t-shirt, sneakers, and carried my black Tumi bag.

That evening at dinner, I wore my fun “postcard” dress—that’s what I like to call it. I accessorized with gold jewelry and wore gold sandals. That night, we had a special treat when we were asked to dine with the head engineer of the ship! We heard many interesting stories about how this state-of-the-art ship was built and how it is maintained.

Day 6, Palamós

The highlight of our day in Palamós, Spain, was taking part in a cooking class. It was great fun, and we got to prepare and then eat delicious seafood dishes.

That evening, back on the ship, I dressed for dinner in my black off-the-shoulder top with white pants, black heeled sandals, and carried my black bag.

Day 7, Mallorca

In Mallorca, Spain, we went shopping, and I wore my white shorts with a green t-shirt and sneakers, plus my sun hat. There, I bought a lovely Majorica pearl necklace, which I wore later on the trip.

That evening there was a “farewell” cocktail party on the ship and I repeated my outfit from our first evening in Rome: red pants with a white eyelet top.

Day 8, Barcelona

After the cruise, we spent our first day in Barcelona sightseeing. We viewed breathtaking architecture by Antoni Gaudí, Spain’s most illustrious architect. Along the grand boulevards of this beautiful city, we visited the Loewe leather store, as well as a fun shoe shop that sells only ballet flats in many different fabrics and colors. (Sadly, I was in between sizes and just couldn’t make it work.) We had lunch on the rooftop restaurant of our hotel, The Majestic. That day, I wore white pants, my red-and-white-striped top, sneakers, and a hat.

That evening, I wore my black off-the-shoulder top and black pants with my new necklace that I bought in Mallorca.

Day 9, Barcelona

On our second day in Barcelona, we were out most of the day with our guide, Marta, and our driver. We visited the stunning Gaudí Sagrada Família along with some other beautiful churches, as well as one of the venues for the 1992 Olympics. In the Born area, our guide told us of a particular bakery that was known for its mascarpone-filled croissants. Barry went running in and bought three immediately! I have to say, it was delicious and worth every calorie! I wore my navy skirt, white t-shirt, blue sneakers, and wore my orange cotton sweater around my neck in case it got cold.

That night for dinner, I wore a black tank, black pants, cardigan, and a black sandal. I also carried my small black bag. The very next morning we set out toward the airport for our flight home. This was truly a trip to remember forever!

 Here’s what I would do differently next time: Overall I feel good about my packing choices for this trip, as I wore nearly everything I brought with me. However, next time I would make a few small changes. First, I would likely add another short or skirt for daytime touring, and a cotton hoodie or zipfront jacket in white for daytime wear. I would also add another bottom for daytime wear.

Finally, I would bring only one or two bathing suits and a single cover up; I didn’t actually spend that much time lounging at the pool because we went out touring every day instead. Still, this is a great example of how a little planning can go a long way. You don’t need to overstuff your suitcase to be able to craft lots of different outfits for a variety of events. When done right, you can bring a great assortment of clothing and accessories and still have plenty of room left for the treasures you find along your journey.

If you have a favorite packing tip, send it along to marla@marlatomazin.com and I will share it with all of our friends around the country.

 

 

 

 

 

Packing for London and Morocco

It’s summer—officially vacation season. When I talk to my friends and clients about traveling, many of them mention what they believe is one of the most stressful parts of the whole experience. It’s not traffic jams, or long security lines, or trying to navigate an unfamiliar place. You guessed it: For many of us, the actual planning as well as the packing is the most stressful part of traveling.

There’s something about leaving your home with only a small slice of your closet that makes us anxious. What if I need a heavier jacket? Do I have the right scarf? What if these shoes aren’t comfortable enough? What if I stain my most versatile pair of pants? It’s tempting to mitigate the risk by shamelessly over-packing, but that comes with its own set of issues. Who wants to pay extra baggage fees and lug 100 pounds of luggage over a long distance? (In London, the hike from the gate to the baggage area went on for what seemed like miles.)

After 25 years of working as an image consultant, I have learned to walk the fine line between over- and under-packing. Yes, I think that no matter how well prepared you are there will always be a few “what if I need XYZ?” worries. But by curating a versatile, interchangeable capsule collection, you can see the world in attire that is appropriate for the locale you are visiting, and that makes you feel comfortable and confident. (And remember, if you do forget something, there are stores and shops all over planet Earth!)

Last fall, I wrote a blog post detailing what I packed for a brief trip to Paris and got great feedback. Multiple people told me that they referred back to my packing list when preparing for their own travels. So when my husband, Barry, and I traveled to London and Morocco in late May for our anniversary, I decided to share what I packed once again. Packing for this trip was challenging because London is cooler and rainy, while Morocco is hot. But after giving it some thought, I pulled together a group of multifunctional pieces that worked well. In hopes that you’ll find my packing list helpful on your own travels, I’d like to share what I brought to London and Morocco.

Shoes

As you can see, I took more pairs of shoes than I did to Paris last year, but the London/Morocco trip was longer—and these shoes are mostly lightweight. I wore the beige-and-black flats on the plane. The Nike workout shoes were perfect for our hike into the High Atlas Mountains, while the blue pair of Clarks are light as a feather, slip on, and are good for walking. I brought the flip flops for the pool at La Mamounia hotel in Marrakech, the black sandals for dinners, and the nude sandals with turquoise embellishments for a pop of color.

LondonPacking8Clothing

I wore dark denim jeans and my navy Armani blazer (which you may remember from my trip to Paris) on the plane, and took my St. Laurent raincoat in case of inclement weather in London. For fancier occasions, I packed two dresses, one black cardigan, and a cream stole. (You might recognize the animal-print dress and matching cardigan as some of my purchases from Paris! The black dress was purchased in Martha’s Vineyard seven years ago—a classic.)

LondonPacking3

Here’s my packing list:

  • 1 navy ankle pant
  • 1 pair of dark denim jeans (worn on plane)
  • 1 tan cotton cropped pant
  • 1 tan/cream seersucker ankle pant
  • 1 navy/white striped cotton dress (worn with clear belt)
  • 1 animal-print dress
  • 1 black dress
  • 1 navy cotton/cashmere sweater (worn on plane)
  • 1 black cardigan
  • 1 white linen sweater
  • 1 cream stole
  • 1 navy blazer (worn on plane)
  • 1 orange Worth Favorite t-shirt
  • 1 turquoise cotton sweater
  • 1 beige/white striped t-shirt
  • 1 Worth white linen top
  • 1 black bathing suit and cover up

LondonPacking2

Jewelry and Accessories

I mixed neutral pieces with those that would add a pop of color to some of my outfits.

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Here’s the list:

  • My go-to long lucite necklace
  • Gold hoop earrings
  • Turquoise earrings from Bounkit
  • Turquoise bracelet by Alexis Bittar
  • Carnelian/citrine bracelet and earrings from Bounkit
  • Crystal cuff from Bounkit
  • Crystal earrings by Alexis Bittar
  • Pearl earrings by Jennifer Miller
  • Lucite cuff by Alexis Bittar
  • Gold earrings by Ted Muehling (These are about 20 years old and a standby. They were a birthday gift from my girlfriends.)
  • Pearl ring (My mom bought it for me in Portofino, Italy. It has great sentimental value and I love wearing it.)
  • Hat I wear in the Hamptons
  • Hermès scarf from Paris
  • Clear belt

Bags

After some consideration, I decided to take a neutral animal-print Bric’s tote bag, a Brighton lightweight tech fabric purse (which besides being super-light, has lots of pockets inside and out), and my Longchamp wallet, which holds my passport. I love the color—it makes me happy. I also packed a small black leather bag for evening, which can be seen next to my clear belt in the photo of my clothing above.

LondonPacking12If you’re wondering about my luggage, here’s a true confession: I took my larger suitcase, which I almost never do. But for a trip that lasted almost two weeks, I don’t think this was excessive. Neither Barry nor I brought a carry-on.

Final Impressions

Looking back at my trip, I’m happy with my packing choices. I wore every article of clothing at least once. The only shoes I could have eliminated are the sandals with the turquoise embellishment—though I did wear them. By far my favorites were the Clarks slip-on tennis shoes. They remained comfortable through a LOT of walking.

LondonPacking10Soon, I’ll post some photos from the trip to show you how I wore it all. Stay tuned!

To Buy or Not to Buy: Shopping in Paris

After an hour or so of browsing the racks in a fabulous store, you head to the fitting room with an armload of garments to try on. Some things are a definite, immediate “no.” And when you see others in the mirror, you know you’ll be returning home with them.

But then, there are always those pieces you just aren’t sure about. You pose in front of the mirror, looking at the garment from all angles. You really like A, B, and C about it, but you aren’t sure about X, Y, and Z. Do the positives outweigh the negatives? Are you worrying too much? Is it just the fitting room lighting? Or will you still have the same concerns when you look into your own mirror at home?

We’ve all been there. Even with over two decades of experience as an image consultant, I still find myself spending a lot of time deliberating over potential outfits. Over the years, though, I have honed my “fitting room instincts.” I’ve gotten much better at deciding what I’ll actually wear and what will hang unworn in my closet.

When my husband and I took a trip to Paris in October, we spent some of our time shopping. (Who wouldn’t?) While I was trying on clothes, I asked Barry to photograph some of the outfits I was considering so that I could share my thought processes in a blog post. So without further ado, here’s a look at my Paris shopping experience. I’m sure some of the considerations I share will sound familiar—and hopefully, the final decision I made about each piece will be helpful to you the next time you just can’t decide whether to buy or not to buy.

RedDress2RedDress1

I loved almost everything about this red dress. But the final decision was that it was just a bit too short for me, although Barry gently disagreed. The bottom line is, if something about a piece will make you self-conscious or uncomfortable (even if others love how it looks on you), it’s better to pass. The first rule of creating a fantastic image is feeling comfortable and confident in what you’re wearing.

BlackDress This great dress and the sweater top with the cool cuffs did get my approval. The pieces I tried on in Paris weren’t a perfect fit, though, so I had alterations made. (As a reminder, always invest in alterations if a garment’s fit isn’t ideal—and don’t reject a piece you love if alterations can be made. Good tailoring always takes clothing from “okay” to “outstanding.”) I bought this particular dress one size too big in the hips so it would fit my chest and had it taken in. The store also sent a larger cardigan for me.

BlackDressAltered1This photo was taken after alterations were made. Notice the ruched fabric on the sleeves of the cardigan. It matches the dress. Cool, right? I think the cardigan with its fabric cuff is a younger, more modern way to top off a sleeveless dress instead of wearing a jacket. This combination will be a timeless classic for my closet.

BeigeDress1 BeigeDress2

I am a beige lover at heart, and this outfit now belongs to me—including the Rex Rabbit scarf. There really wasn’t anything I disliked about it. An immediate “yes”!

BeigeDressCoat BeigeCoat

I considered this beige jacket as an alternative to the jacket above with the ruffled hem. If it worked, I thought, it could be worn with many items in my wardrobe in addition to the dress. However, this was a classic case of liking an item in theory more than in practice. I just didn’t enjoy the shape of the jacket on me or the bulkiness of the tie belt, so I passed.

BlackCoatI tried on this coat because I liked its unique design featuring asymmetrical ruffles, but decided against buying it because once again, it was a little too short for my taste. It’s usually easy to alter a garment that’s too big or long, but much more difficult to tailor something that’s too small or short.

BWDressThis dress was interesting because of its diagonal color blocking, but after much thought I decided it wasn’t for me. There’s a lot of black in my closet, so I am trying to buy less black unless I absolutely love a particular piece and don’t have anything like it already.

HermesScarfA stop at Hermès led to the purchase of this fabulous classical scarf, which goes with everything. I particularly liked it because of its oblong shape, which is new at Hermès. (I’m not a huge fan of the square.) In addition to the great colors, I also liked that the scarf incorporated four of Hermès’ most popular designs. All in all, it’s a wonderful piece of Paris to add to my accessories collection.

UltraseudeCoatI didn’t take pictures of these items in Paris, so Barry snapped this photo at our home. This unlined ultra suede jacket will be perfect in my wardrobe. The reddish brown color works well with my color palette. The necklace, which is a brown chain link with golden pearlized circular stones on top, is unique and works well with the brown and golden tones I wear often. After I tried them on, there was no doubt that these two pieces would be coming home with me.

I originally looked at the purse in a larger size, but ultimately decided to purchase this smaller version. It holds a file for business and all my personal items and doesn’t become too heavy. The bag works as a neutral and meshes well with my wardrobe. And I think all three pieces in the photo above work together nicely!

So there you have it—a quick look at how I made my shopping decisions in Paris. Ultimately, my advice is, if you love it (or think you love it) and it fits (or can be altered), buy it—just make sure to double-check the store’s return policy in case you change your mind. However, if you’re having doubts in the fitting room, it might be best to wait, because in my experience, they won’t disappear after you get the garment home.

Happy shopping!

Virtual Worth: High-Tech Shopping At Its Best

As you may know, I am a consultant for Worth New York, a luxury clothing line based in New York City. While I love helping my clients select pieces they love, I’ve often wished that there was a way for me to work with women for whom it isn’t convenient to come to Worth’s showroom.

That’s why I’m pleased to share that I’m now able to book virtual consultations. This is a great option for women who might not have time to go to the showroom, or who don’t live close by.

When you choose to shop Worth’s collections virtually, I’ll curate a presentation just for you, based on your preferences and the image you want to create. Then we’ll “meet” virtually whenever it’s convenient for you. On your iPad or desktop screen, I’ll show you pieces in which you might be interested and give you the opportunity to browse Worth’s online “closets.” You can zoom in and see each piece up close before placing your order. And if you receive something that you don’t love, you can send it back free of charge.

So far, I’ve received very positive feedback from clients who have shopped virtually with me. Virtual consultations, they say, are easy and fun—high-tech shopping at its best. If you’d like to book a virtual consultation or have more questions, please get in touch with me. I would love to help you create the best possible look, no matter where you live!

WorthVirtual

The Evolution of You: Seven Tips for Kick-starting an Updated Image

Do you know what it’s like to look in the mirror each morning and feel ambivalent about what you see? You don’t hate the way you look, but you don’t get excited about it either. If so, you’re not alone. We all get so caught up in other aspects of our lives that we let our images evolve (or not, as the case may be) on autopilot. And as I’m sure you know, when you don’t give a task your full attention, you usually can’t expect spectacular results.

One thing I’ve learned as an image consultant is that spending some focused time and attention on updating your look every once in awhile is well worth the effort. Not only will you love what you see in the mirror every morning, your image can also affect how confident, energetic, and balanced you feel throughout the day.

The best news is, you don’t have to totally revamp your wardrobe, your hairstyle, and your makeup to reap these benefits. Here, I’d like to share a list of tactics that can help you kick-start an updated image. Some of them will apply to you; others you may be “on top of” already. Just mix and match, then say hello to the new you.

*Schedule a closet cleanout… The messy closet problem plagues millions of women all over the world. If you’re one of them, your closet is probably a primary cause of your lackluster look. After all, if the state of your closet stresses you out, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, or if you can’t easily see many of the pieces you own, you won’t be able to maximize your wardrobe.

Make a serious commitment to go through your closet, determining which pieces honor you for who you are right now. That means you’ll need to remove clothes that don’t fit; pieces that are worn, stained, or out of date; colors that don’t make you look your best; things that don’t match your current lifestyle, etc. Be sure to try on everything as you go so that you’re making an accurate assessment of each piece. It might be a good idea to hire a professional or to ask a trusted, non-judgmental friend to help you with this task.

*…then restock your wardrobe. This task goes hand-in-hand with cleaning out your closet. As you discard pieces, make a list of items you’ll need to build complete looks with the clothing you’re keeping. For example, perhaps you discarded a blouse because it was damaged or didn’t fit anymore. Or maybe you need a new sweater or jacket to go with a skirt that you love, but with which you have nothing to wear. Once your list is complete, head to the store! Again, you might want to hire an image consultant or bring a friend along to ensure that you’re making wise choices. (Look back at this blog post for more ideas on how to clean out and restock your closet.)

*Figure out what flatters you. I’m sure you know that different colors look better on different people. The same thing goes for various clothing styles. The question is, do you know which colors and styles look best on you? If not, you might be unintentionally sentencing your look to “average” instead of allowing it to be amazing! It’s a good idea to revisit this topic every few years as both fashions and your body change. Get clear on colors and styles that are most flattering, and stick with those guidelines whenever you make a new purchase.

If you’re not sure where to start, many fashion magazines and websites offer general advice regarding what colors and styles tend to look good on various complexions and body types. You might also want to ask a trusted friend for honest advice. But if you want more personalized results, I recommend working with an image consultant whose trained eye can help you to look your absolute best.

*Do a handbag and shoe review. A good pair of shoes can transform how you look, how you walk, how you feel, and how other people perceive you. And a great handbag can have a similar impact on your comfort level—not only because of how it looks, but because it’s not too heavy while holding everything you need. Sometimes, though, it’s easy to ignore both shoes and handbags if you’re too focused on clothing.

Take some time to review your shoes and handbags. Which ones do you use on a regular basis? Which colors and styles do you need to complement your clothing? Are heels or flats better suited to your lifestyle? How high of a heel are you comfortable wearing? How large of a handbag do you need? Is a certain type of handle most comfortable for you to carry? Write these criteria down and refer to them when shopping. Don’t come home with ten pairs of black shoes!

For this season, nude or muted metallic shoes and bags make clothing look fresh, and can be carried throughout the year. Other neutrals (that category includes black and animal print!) are also good long-term investments. But don’t be afraid to spice up your look with a brightly colored pair of shoes or tote when the spirit moves you.

*Sort through your jewelry and scarves. Sometimes it’s the small things that make an outfit really pop and that help you—and other people—fall in love with your look. Do you own pieces that make you feel beautiful and excited when you get dressed? Or are your accessories an afterthought? Especially if you’ve owned the same things for years, this may be a good time to invest in a few key pieces of jewelry and/or scarves that will give you a distinctive look. Keep in mind that spending a little more money on fewer statement pieces will set your look apart. And the dollar-per-wear ratio will be in your favor over the long run!

On the jewelry front, I’m currently enjoying Alexis Bittar’s acrylic cuffs, which are accented with silver, gold, and crystal. (I wrote about them a few months ago as well!) They’re beautiful and unique, but because they’re clear, they match any outfit. I also recommend larger Majorica pearl statement necklaces and/or earrings as well as colorful jewelry of all types from Bounkit, which can be customized to complement your wardrobe.

*Face yourself. Your look isn’t all about what you wear. Your face is one of the first things that people notice when they meet you, and it’s also what they primarily look at as they interact with you. Unfortunately, beauty rituals pertaining to the face are one of the easiest ruts for women to get stuck in! Think about it: When was the last time you changed your hairstyle? Have you updated your makeup this century? And when was the last time you switched your glasses frames?

If you haven’t addressed any of these areas in awhile, it might be time for a change. Plan a visit to your favorite makeup counter, your hairstylist, and/or your optometrist. Explain that you’d like to update your look in a way that’s fresh, stylish, modern, and that plays up your natural beauty. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the right makeup, hair, and glasses take years off my clients’ faces!

*Take your clothes to a tailor. Many people I know are reluctant to visit a tailor because they assume the service is too expensive, or not worth the money. I promise you, that has never been my experience. The fact is, when your clothes are properly tailored and fit you perfectly, you’ll look great, you’ll feel even better, and you’ll get more wear out of the pieces you own. And guess what? When you love what’s in your closet, you won’t feel compelled to shop as often, meaning that the cost of tailoring will pay for itself.

Even if you don’t typically have trouble finding clothes that fit, I encourage you to visit a tailor. Almost everyone needs alterations to take pieces from “fits well” to “fits perfectly,” no matter what size they are to begin with. A few seams, tucks, and hems can take your look from okay to WOW!

If you’re familiar with me and my philosophy, you won’t be surprised by the last piece of advice I’m going to give you: When it comes to updating your image (or making any change in your life, for that matter), avoid things that make you feel uncomfortable, negative, or fake, no matter how trendy or in style they may be. Regardless of what you wear or how you style your hair, the best accessories are always a confident attitude and positive outlook that come from being authentic and true to yourself.

Interview Attire 101: Seven Suggestions to Help You Make an Impression…and Hopefully Get an Offer!

One of the most stressful rites of passage in an adult’s life is the dreaded job interview. There’s so much to worry about: how to make a good impression on your interviewer(s); how to present yourself as the absolute best candidate for the position; and, of course, what the heck you should wear!

The clothes you wear to a job interview are a big deal, because the image you present to your interviewer can sometimes make the difference between getting and not getting a job offer. Whether you want to admit it or not, your appearance speaks volumes about the kind of employee you might be. Are you sloppy or put-together? Are you flamboyant or appropriate? Do you pay attention to details or not? Remember, in this situation the wrong kind of attention is worse than no attention at all.

Whether you’re a soon-to-be graduate looking for a first job or a seasoned professional who’s eyeing a new position, read on for seven of my tried-and-true interview attire tips:

Focus on quality, not quantity. Always, always choose interview clothing in the best fabric you can afford, even if it means starting out with only two suits or outfits. (You can build on that base later once you’re receiving your new paycheck!) Quality clothing looks best, holds up longest, travels well, and doesn’t need to be dry cleaned as often. I recommend investing in wool suits and skirts specifically, since wool is durable and easy to maintain, and can be worn at least 10 months out of the year in most climates.

Make sure your clothes match you. In addition to choosing high-quality pieces, it’s also important to make sure that your interview clothes are the right color and shape for your age, coloration, body type, and career. Ask a friend, sales associate, or image consultant for advice if you’re not sure what works best for you. Specifically, avoid pieces that are too short, too tight, or (for more mature applicants) too young. Remember, a flattering, well-tailored outfit shows attention to detail and makes a good first impression about you and how you will do business.

Be classy and memorable. Every job applicant wants to stand out from the crowd. But during the interview stage, it’s probably best not to distinguish yourself sartorially. Above all, you don’t want to make a lasting negative impression with wobbly too-high heels or an in-your-face tie. If you don’t want to be forgotten because of your “boring” beige suit, focus on setting yourself apart by how you present yourself, your experience, and your potential. Remember, people are making decisions about you from the moment you first meet, whether you realize it or not. So when in doubt, err on the side of dressing conservatively. You can think about moving closer to the cutting edge of fashion after you’ve been hired.

Find a balance between fit and comfort. Another reason to make sure that your interview clothes fit is simple: comfort. Think about it: If your jacket is a little too tight under the arms, for example, you’ll be distracted when it’s most important for you to be on your game. And if your skirt allows for only a narrow range of movement, you’ll be that much more ill at ease. Make sure that your interview clothes are comfortable so that you can focus on the meeting and on letting yourself shine through, not on what you’re wearing.

Tap into the power of the column. Column dressing is a sure-fire way to make sure that you dress successfully for your interview, as long as the color is flattering. Whether it’s a dress, a top and a skirt, or a top and pants, you can’t go wrong. Your jacket can be the same color as your column or an accent color. I promise that you’ll look pulled-together—which will please your interviewer—as well as taller, thinner, more successful, and smarter. What’s not to love?

Don’t forget the details. The details of any outfit are crucially important! Here are some things you should consider before heading out the door to your interview:

  • Your shoes should be polished and in great shape. No scuffed or kicked-in toes! Replace or repair them when necessary.
  • Your hair should be groomed and styled conservatively. If possible, schedule a trim a few days before your interview.
  • For ladies specifically: Invest in closed-toed pumps with a moderate heel height, and wear stockings (it’s best to stick with solids). Also, it’s a good idea to manicure your nails. Go with a neutral color that is easy to repair if chipped while traveling.

Top it off with a tote. Chances are, you’re not going into your interview empty-handed. At the very least, you’ll probably have copies of your résumé, a notepad and pen, and maybe even a portfolio of some sort. If you’re traveling, you might also be carrying your iPad, laptop, and/or other work files. Clearly, you’re not going to look very professional if you’re hand-carrying all of those things! I suggest that you look for a tote—preferably leather—that keeps you organized, looks great, and allows you to have all of your files and accessories at your fingertips. (Just make sure to turn off your phone’s ringer before going into a meeting or interview so you aren’t left digging around in your bag to turn it off!) Remember, a durable, professional bag is an investment, so if at all possible buy one that will serve you well for years.

When you walk into an interview feeling comfortable and confident because you know you’re dressed for the occasion, you’ll be setting yourself up for success. And you’ll also be one step closer to getting that coveted job offer.

 

 

Spring (Wardrobe) Awakening: Four Fresh Accessories That Will Wake Up Last Year’s Wardrobe

As you flip through fashion magazines and keep your eye on the displays in your favorite stores, you’re probably getting excited about all of the new spring and summer styles that are making their debuts. You’d love to go out and completely overhaul your wardrobe so that you’re on the cutting edge of all the latest trends. There’s only one problem: You aren’t made of money, and new clothes aren’t free. (Plus, if you’re honest, most of the pieces in your closet are still really nice.)

Here’s the good news: You can make last year’s wardrobe look fresh for spring by targeting a few key accessories.

I’ve always been amazed by how much of an impact accessories can have. They can really define your whole outfit. So if you want to update your look for spring but don’t want to break the bank, focus on acquiring some versatile accessories that will breathe new life into a variety of outfits. In this post, I’m going to share four of my top accessory recommendations for spring and summer:

Pick up a new purse. A new handbag is a wonderful way to make last year’s wardrobe look fresh—and they can be found at all price points, too, so you can spend as much or as little as you want. Here are some options to consider:

• Neon colors are fresh, in-your-face, and will certainly make you stand out in a crowd. In fact, Chanel is doing green and orange nylon bags this season, which is something completely new for them!

• A white bag will immediately freshen up your whole look. Just make sure to purchase one that’s made of an easy-to-clean material, like leather, since white does tend to show dirt.

• Leopard-print bags might not seem versatile at first glance, but I promise that they are. Leopard works with black, white, and earth tones, and it will also tone down a bright or neon outfit.

• Floral patterns are big this season. Look for a purse in a print you love!

• Mixed media bags (for instance, a leather bag trimmed in raffia) can bridge the gap between classic and cutting-edge. They’re also visually interesting without necessarily being in-your-face.

Freshen up your footwear. There’s nothing like a pair of new shoes to wake up what you’re wearing. Flats are always a good idea since they’re stylish and comfortable. You can take black and white clothes from last year and mix them with floral-print flats to instantly update your look. Metallic flats are also a good idea, since they’re the ultimate neutral: eye-catching and universally flattering. And if you’re feeling daring, look for a colored shoe that can add a bright pop of blue, red, or orange to an otherwise head-to-toe black outfit (you don’t want to wear head-to-toe anything or the fashion police may arrest you!). You can also reverse the look and wear a colored dress with a black and white shoe.

Let yourself sparkle and shine. Jewelry can be a fun and inexpensive way to update just about any outfit. A piece with colored stones or enamel will add a fun pop of color to a black and white or neutral outfit. And with this season’s styles, you don’t have to play it safe—so look for neons and other bright colors. On the other hand, crystals are the perfect neutral when it comes to jewelry, whether it’s an earring, a necklace, or a cuff. There isn’t anything crystals don’t go with, and they can be dressed up or dressed down. Plus, unlike neons, they won’t go out of style as the seasons pass.

Wrap yourself up (in a scarf, that is!). These days, scarves aren’t limited to your grandmother’s bulky, scratchy, cable-knitted wool. They’re full-blown fashion accessories, and they can add a touch of fun, whimsy, or even elegance to an outfit. I think that a metallic gold scarf or animal print in a silk chiffon are great purchases that will give you a lot of mileage since they will go with everything. If you’re looking for more color, then go with a solid. And remember, a larger scarf in linen, silk, or pashmina can double as a shawl if you get chilly in an air-conditioned space.

The best thing about accessories is that—unlike a shirt or dress—you can wear them every day if you want to. Most accessories will work with a variety of different styles and looks, so experiment with your purchases. You’ll probably be surprised—and extremely pleased—by how far they’ll go and how fabulous they’ll make you feel!

Accessible Accessories: Four Ways to Organize Your Personal Ornaments

When it comes to wardrobe organization, you may have your clothing under control. But what if everything else—the pieces that round out your outfits—is a different story? I’ve found that many women’s shoes tend to end up in a pile on the floor while their socks, scarves, jewelry, and more are crammed into various drawers. And that’s a problem! Not only is this storage “system” disorganized (which can tend to frustrate you), it’s also inefficient. You’ll end up wearing the same accessories over and over again, and you’ll also run the risk of buying a new pair of earrings, for example, that closely resembles a pair you already own—all because you couldn’t see the first pair and forgot about it!

Most of my clients don’t hire me just to organize their accessories, but that usually ends up happening whenever I do a wardrobe analysis. Women (and even men!) are always surprised by how much of a difference smart organization makes. The fact is, you bought all of your accessories because you liked them—so make the most of them with a new storage system that allows you to see what you own. I promise, it’s an easy fix! Here are some guidelines to keep in mind as you get organized:

Shoes. First, realize that your shoes will need to be changed out twice a year unless you live somewhere that’s warm for all four seasons. This will keep temperature-appropriate footwear—whether it’s sandals or boots—in the front of your closet and fresh on your mind. (In many areas of the country, April and September are good times for this task.) And make sure that the pile-on-the-floor storage method becomes a thing of the past. Invest in stackable shelves or a shoe rack that hangs from your closet door or clothes rod so that you can see all of your choices. Lastly, make sure that you’re storing your out-of-season footwear properly. I recommend stuffing shoes, especially boots, with plastic bags, tissue paper, or “shoe or boot inserts” made expressly for this purpose. You’ll lengthen the life of your purchases, because they’ll hold their shape in storage even if there is weight on top of them.

Handbags. Like shoes, it’s usually a good idea to change out handbags semi-annually. After all, you’re not going to carry your straw bag or white purse in the winter, or your suede or calf-hair purse in the blazing heat. (That said, there are many bags that are appropriate year-round.) And again, as with shoes, there’s a smart way to store the purses you’re not carrying. I often suggest that clients stuff handbags with other smaller purses or plastic bags.

Accessories. The most important thing to remember when storing accessories is to make sure they’re visible! If possible, clear a space on your closet wall so that you can hang necklaces or put in a belt rack. (Tie racks also work well for this purpose.) Hanging pieces individually is crucial to being able to see what you own. If that isn’t possible, try storing belts, gloves, hats, and scarves in clear bins and stacking them according to color or function. Similarly, break your jewelry into categories and store it within drawers in clear trays (I love Lucite) that you can see to the bottom of.

Socks and stockings. Yes, you may already have a drawer set aside for socks and pantyhose, but I promise you can organize a lot more effectively than that! Sort your stockings and tights by color, and then put each group into an individual, labeled Ziploc bag. Presto—squinting to distinguish between black and navy on dark mornings is a thing of the past! Plus, your hose will also be protected from snags. You can also use this baggie method with trouser or athletic socks.

It won’t take much time or money to make these organizing solutions a part of your closet, but they’ll make a huge difference in how effectively—and quickly—you’re able to accessorize.