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Most of us don’t think about texture in our wardrobe when it is 80 degrees at 7:30a. But texture adds interest to a wardrobe and can be used all year round. Lace is a good place to start since it also gives the impression of a light airy feel. I know, I know, I’ve said lace isn’t a good idea at work. I stand by that statement when it comes to your basic clothes. Lace dresses, tops or skirts say “see through” which implies something other than a “get down to work” attitude. But lace as an accent is another story altogether.

savannah-guthrie_lace_accessoriesThis basic white sheath dress is something that will never go out of style. There is nothing flashy about it. The neckline is appropriate and the length is appropriate. But without accessories, it can look so boring. Women don’t want to be boring. A black lace belt takes this from something simple to something fabulous. The lace adds texture without heaviness and the dark color emphasizes her waist. The neutral shoes keep the attention where she wants it. This can also be done with a dark dress and a bright bold lace belt in, say, hot pink!

There are other ways to add texture, as show in these outfit selections.


  1. Stitched Waist Dress adds simple stitching to give it some texture without bulk. While this doesn’t call as much attention to the waist, it adds interest to the outfit.
  2. Mesh Pullover. I normally don’t recommend mesh or anything sheer. However, if the top underneath the mesh is one that can be worn without the mesh, it would be acceptable.
  3. Side Ruched Dress adds texture throughout the bodice, calling attention to curves without being too tight, too short or too low.

Alas, while patterned tights add texture, they rarely add professionalism. Fishnet stockings, although airy enough for summer, are too tantalizing for the office!

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!


Yes, getting in shape and eating healthy are great resolutions. But, let’s take a look at a few that you can do today that will start helping immediately:

  1. lipcolorsWear a lip color every day. I say this over and over again, but lip color is really the most important makeup tool you have. It brightens your smile, your eyes and lights up your face. If you don’t normally wear lip color, try L’Oreal’s Peony Pink, Burt’s Bees Rhubarb or Avon’s Mad for Mauve. These colors are soft and a good starting point. If you are already wearing lip color, think about kicking it up a notch with L’Oreal’s Blushing Berry, Maybelline’s Madison Avenue Mauve or Avon’s Divine Wine. Check out your local Walgreens for the L’Oreal and Maybelline products. Contact me if you are interested in the Avon colors.
  2. Stop chewing gum. I used to be an avid gum chewer. I once had a contest with another woman (both of us over age 40) to see who could snap their gum the loudest. I am ashamed to admit I won. But I’ve seen people chewing gum at work, in church and even as part of a bridal party! If people kept their mouth closed while chewing, it might not look so bad. However, once they get going, the mouth starts opening and the sound effects start! (Think about opening your mouth when you chew food. Same thing.) Don’t believe how bad it looks? Try looking at some on YouTube. I could only watch a minute of this video before I had to turn it off. If you have dry mouth, try a Tic Tac.
  3. barretteDo something with you hair. I don’t mean it has to be cut in the latest style or needs to be permed or straightened or even color treated. I mean do more than just wash and air dry. Dry using a blow dryer and a brush for a bit of lift at the crown or a bit of body on the ends. It may not be much, but it communicates to people that you are willing to put some effort into your looks. Even pulling it back with a barrette can look sophisticated if your barrette has any sort of style to it.
  4. Smile more. As we age, the effects of gravity start to show. Not only do we have wrinkles and sagging skin, but the ends of our mouth start to droop. Eventually you can look like you have an eternal frown on your face. Not a very good image. You don’t have to paste a fake smile on your face. Just stop, right this minute, and do a little smile. Just enough to get the lip line straight or the beginning of a smile. Keep practicing, it will become a habit.
  5. Leave your name and number. I know we have a lot of technology out there, but really, not everyone has the same phone options you have. Do not assume anyone has your number automatically. Some people don’t have cell phones (gasp!) and don’t have caller id (another gasp!) and would like to call you back but don’t have the info. Make it easy for people to reach you. Always, always, always leave your name and number.

What are your do-it-right-now resolutions for 2013?

There are so many interesting things to find on the internet and I recently have been playing around with With so many products, you can create so many looks. Here’s one I pulled together that is trendy, yet still work-appropriate. I think the bag is the star of this outfit.

What’s right about this:

  • The blazer is a great color! It’s fitted and the lapels are structured, but the second set of lapels tells everyone that this is not traditional.
  • The pencil skirt is always a go-to and will remain timeless. The black-on-black texture helps offset the extra material in the jacket.
  • Booties with a skirt might seem a bit of a stretch for some traditional offices. But the black tights minimize the trendiness. Notice that the heel high is reasonable. The company calls it a “kitten heel,” which I would have said is much lower, but it’s less than 2″, so it works in the workplace.
  • Love the animal print bag. Yes, the bag has texture, as does the skirt, but the textures are different so they can play well together.
  • The necklace is a statement piece, but it isn’t too loud. Great for the office because it is simple and not fussy.

Give a try. See what outfits you can come up with!

InStyle Magazine always puts out a BIG issue every September and this year’s volume has 652 pages (I didn’t count them so I’m taking their word for it). This year Jennifer Lopez graces the cover, as she did in 2009. InStyle is fairly devoted to higher fashion or date-night clothes, but I saw several of things that caught my eye in just the first 200 pages. Some of my reflections:

Page 139 White House Black Market Color Block Pencil Skirt ($88), Silvertone Stretch Belt ($58), Ladylike Seasonless Jacket ($148). Love the color blocking and the metal belt to add a bit of edge. The length of the skirt is appropriate (not many in the magazine are). I might disagree with the height of the shoe’s heel and the length of the earrings, but love the overall look.

Page 146 Swarovski Nirvana Cuff: $200. Probably not in my price range, but it did catch my eye. Cuff bracelets are great for work when you want to add a statement without adding a lot of noise. Yes, they may make a bit of noise as the hit the desktop, but it’s usually a one-time noise. Bangles on the other hand make noise every time you move your arm. Way too distracting for the workplace.

Promotional Insert, Ann Taylor Tie Back Sweater ($58). I loved the femininity of the big bow and the hot pink color is very striking. The ad didn’t show the front, but I checked online and it is a jewel neckline. There is a touch of wool for those of you who can’t wear it, but the price is right!

Busted Report: Calvin Klein red dress (approximately page 24) advertises that it is available at Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s. I checked online and didn’t find it on either site. I even went to and couldn’t find it! But if you can find something similar, it’s a great dress: a-line, mock turtleneck, buttons at the shoulder (military style is trendy now) and princes seaming.

Did anything grab your eye?

Traditionally, companies relax their dress codes during the warm summer months, starting on Memorial Day. But don’t let summer be your downfall. You can still present a great image while fitting in with your colleagues during the summer casual season.

  1. Stripes are really “in” this year and just because it’s a trend doesn’t mean you can’t wear it. The navy and white stripe blazer against the pop of red keeps you looking  fresh. While I don’t encourage jeans in the workplace, these dark wash jeans will keep your image on the professional side.
  2. While sweaters don’t have as much structure as jackets, they can still say “professional” with power jewelry. This necklace continues the color scheme, but don’t let that keep you from trying a pop of contrasting color–green, turquoise, yellow. Just make sure the necklace is strong enough to make a statement. A patterned scarf can often do the same thing!
  3. If you can wear jeans to work, a skirt is the best way to go. The crisp white top with the collar and the shaping shows you are a woman and you aren’t a slouch.
  4. Speaking of skirts, just because it is warm outside doesn’t mean that your skirt length rises with the temperature. This is the shortest your skirt should be in a work environment. Remember, when you sit down, the skirt rides up. Always test this before you make your purchase.
  5. This look says casual without using jeans. The safari jacket is soft but the drawstring waist still gives you structure, along with the lapels. The light pants are offset by the multiple pockets on the top, keeping this person in balance.
  6. Horizontal stripes are always more casual than vertical stripes. Lots of color going on here, which also makes it more casual. It is important that this look is belted. Otherwise, we would not be able to see the shape. A woman should not flaunt her shape, but she doesn’t try to hide that fact that she is a woman, either. With an open neckline make sure you don’t have any cleavage showing.
  7. Take your standard black jacket and turn it white; take your standard black pants and turn them beige–instantly a more casual look. None of the pieces match, but by using soft colors they coordinate.
  8. A polo dress, with its horizontal stripes always says casual. Note that the horizontal lines are closer together. The closer together they are, the less wide you will appear.

Which one of these summer looks would you wear? What’s your “go-to” summer look?

Tired of the dark dreary colors of winter and ready for a splash of freshness? Keeping your clothing timeless and adding modern jewelry makes you feel like you have a new wardrobe. Remember the essential white shirt/top? Get the red out and turn it into a celebration!

Add bulk to your upper body with rounded shapes or clusters of beads such as these from JC Penney, Esty and Macy’s.

Minimize your upper body by adding a vertical element like these from Kohl’s and Macy’s.

Long necks look great with choker style necklaces like this one from Etsy; short necks look better with styles that create a “V,” thereby elongating your neckline, like these from Etsy and Nordstrom.

I found this one on that combines beads and a vertical element. This will definitely get attention!

May you always look great!

Pat Roland, Certified Total Image Consultant

I carry around a lot of “stuff” like most every women: cash, credit cards, cell phone, iPod, reading glasses, pens, tissues, extra business cards (mine and new acquaintances), and a makeup bag.

My makeup bag has a lipstick (today it’s Wild Plumb by L’Oreal), a small mirror, tweezers, nail file, dental floss and a tinted lip balm. I don’t carry a comb, brush or hair spray because my hairstyle is supposed to look messy!

My purse preference is one large container because I  can never remember which divider I use for my wallet. So thanks to my friend Jan W., I sort my stuff into groups of smaller bags. Because I tend to reach for my purse while I am keeping my eyes on the road, I have bags of different textures so that I can easily grab what I am looking for.

  • My wallet is the largest item because it contains my cash and credit cards. It’s pretty easy to find, even in the dark, but just to be sure, it’s leather, closes with a wrap around zipper and has metal studs on it.
  • I have a clear vinyl zip top makeup bag that is my life saver! I can grab that baby and know immediately if I remembered to pack the right lip color. No scrounging around in a dark hole for those tweezers or nail file.
  • Both of those sit inside a purse organizer. Locally you can pick these up in black at It’s Simply Serendipity, a new gift and consignment store on Third Avenue SE in Cedar Rapids. The purse organizer has pockets around the outside where I store reading glasses, extra pens, business cards, tissues, my iPod and my cell phone.

If I want to change purses, I just grab the purse organizer and drop it into another purse. Quick as a wink, I’m out the door.

What’s in your purse and how do you keep it organized?

Pat Roland, Certified Total Image Consultant

Emerald green is showing up in catalogs as the spring fashion comes to stores. And I, for one, am thrilled! Emerald is considered a “jewel tone” and these colors are usually cool and bright. The reason the jewel tones are so popular season after season is that they tend to bring more color to the face. Emerald green is a great color to transition from the dreary colors of drab winter to the brighter colors as the earth begins to come alive again.
If all retailers were consistent, everyone would call emerald green by its correct name.  But retailers like to be creative, so be careful not to confuse emerald green with lime green, spring green or mint green. No matter what they are calling the color, you can tell it’s a cool, bright green when it has no hints of gray and it has more blue undertones than yellow.

I have to admit I’ve been keeping my eye open for a great emerald fashion ring. I want it to look unique; I want it to look real; but I don’t want it to be real. This one’s close, but I’ll keep looking!

May you always look great!

Pat Roland, Certified Total Image Consultant

WONDERING WOMAN: I saw this article and thought I’d share it and gather your input. –Penny S.

ANSWER: Well, this is an amusing look at a serious subject–what professional woman should or should not wear to work! I’m all about the humor, but there are a few areas I would disagree on: shorts are never professional in the workplace; shimmery eye shadow also does not belong in the workplace.

Although the article is rather lengthy. Take a few minutes to read the first page. I think you’ll find it amusing enough to finish the article! Then provide your own input . . .

May you always look great!

Pat Roland, Certified Total Image Consultant

I was looking through a Jessica London catalog recently. Jessica London specializes in clothing for larger women. Their tag line is “We Love Your Curves.” But larger women need to understand that they have to follow the same rules as everyone else. If you want an area to look smaller, don’t put a pattern on it.

This is a great example of the difference between a small, overall pattern and a horizontal pattern. In the picture on the top, the leg on the left looks much thinner than the leg on the right. That is because there is an overall pattern and your eye doesn’t know where to stop. For the leg on the right, every time there is a horizontal line (I can’t count how many there are!) the eye stops and it creates the illusion of heaviness.

The picture bottom picture shows what happens when you put this into action–the Zebra Print tights grab all the attention. If you’ve been following me long, you know that the attention belongs on your face, not your tights! They did have her pose correctly, one leg half covering the other and in pumps with higher heels. But if this model had worn the same dress with the Leopard Print tights, her legs would have been less noticeable (and looked thinner) because of the small, overall print.

No matter what your size, the rules of body balancing don’t change. Most importantly, just because you see it in a magazine, doesn’t make it right!

May you always look great!

Pat Roland, Certified Total Image Consultant

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