The advertisement for a sexy off the shoulder tunic boldly claimed, “The Must-Have Top for Spring.” I might wear that top once, and then it will just hang in my closet because it is so memorable. It isn’t for me! I have learned that trendy items do not make me look younger and stylish; they make me look like I am trying too hard, and they waste my money. A well made classic tee in a solid neutral color with a scoop neck and three-quarter sleeves would be a better choice for me. I can wear it a hundred times in many different ways by adding accessories. I will look appropriate and true to myself each time I wear it.
Styling classic pieces in a more modern way can bring new life to what you already have in your closet. A current styling tip that is difficult for some of us to embrace is the shorter outer garment over a longer base item. I have several cute short jackets, but if I wore them with an equally short top or one that is tucked in, it would show off the fact that I have a thick waist and a very flat behind. When I wear those short jackets over a longer top and slim-fitting pants, it gives the appearance of a better figure than I have. The 1/3 over 2/3 rule comes into play here. If I had left off the jacket, the hem of the green tank would have cut my body in half visually, making me look shorter and broader. Wearing a shorter jacket over a longer top also creates the illusion of a better waistline.
Over the years, I have identified several guidelines that help me decide for or against things when I shop. I know in three seconds if something might work for me. These guidelines always help me get dressed quickly and without a lot of frustration. It might be helpful to you to share my Styling Points. (Yours may be completely different, but I am sharing mine as an example.)
1. Simple V-neck or scoop neck tops are best with my roundish face shape and ample bust.
2. Define the waist or wear a top that stops between the waist and the hip to show the full length of the leg.
3. Longer billowy tops should be avoided, but sleek tunics with uneven hemlines can work in warm weather with slim-fitting pants.
4. Cropped, Capri-length, or shapeless pants do nothing for me.
5. Always try to wear a third piece such as a scarf, jacket, or vest, to give the illusion of a better shape.
6. Add a bright color, interesting necklace, or a vividly patterned scarf near your face.
7. Shoes need to have a pointed toe, a low (not flat) heel, and match the color of my skin in warm weather or my pants and socks in winter.
8. Handbags should be structured, classic styles.
9. Your best colors are black, white, gray, blue, red, or any vibrant clear color with no yellow or gold mixed in. Muted colors or prints wash you out.
10. Jackets need to have sleeves that can be pushed up and should be nipped in at the waist or belted.
Part of my exasperation with shopping has always been the difficulty in finding sources for classic, simple, affordable clothing and accessories. For example, after visiting countless online shops and more than twenty bricks and mortar stores just looking for a silk scarf one summer, I thought, “There has to be an easier way!”. I found lots of scarves in $400 to $1,200 range, but those prices certainly won’t fit into my budget. There were more than a few three-season pants and tops that were hundreds of dollars, but those items were rarely in classic, simple styles that weren’t memorable.
The green knit tank worn above is by Misook. The Ponte Moto Jacket is by Armani Exchange from Dillard’s last season. The pull-on black pants were from Chico’s a couple of years ago. The necklace is an antique. The bag is a couple of years old. The shoes are also a couple of years old from Sam Edelman.