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While it was almost 100 degrees outside, I received five fall catalogs in the last few days with pictures of cuddly sweaters, wool jackets, layered looks and leggings. Ugh! Who can think of fall when it is so hot!!

Makeup? I don’t know about you, but mine melts off before I even get out the door. And that is with the air conditioning on. This is where your bright lip colors come in handy. A stroke of powder on your lids, touch of mascara on your lashes and a tinted lip balm or plum lipstick. You are good to go!

Monday I wore a white pencil skirt (similar to this one from Old Navy) and a hot pink and white sleeveless top. I don’t go sleeveless often, but since I don’t work in an office and I am running in and out all day, a jacket isn’t practical. White, you say. Gasp! It’s after Labor Day. Everyone knows that you can’t wear white after Labor Day or before Memorial Day.

nordstrom_white_jeansWrong. Wear clothing that is appropriate for what you are doing and the weather. When there is three feet of snow on the ground, wearing white isn’t practical, unless you enjoy doing laundry. So grab those white shorts, white jeans and white skirts and get those final wears out of them this week. Before long the temperature will drop and you can cuddle up in wool.

Until then, enjoy leafing through the various catalogs. Chico’s catalog for September 2013 shows 23 items of clothing with animal print! Hmm, I wonder if animal print will be in vogue this season? Coldwater Creek (right next door at Coral Ridge) didn’t show any animal print. But they show a lot of skirts.

chadwicks_leather&jeansChadwicks is bringing JG Hook back into the fashion scene.  Their clothes tend to be traditional and work appropriate. But they aren’t afraid to take on red! They also have two-piece suiting, which is very helpful for top heavy or bottom heavy women. Only two animal prints in the entire catalog. But Chadwicks has a great leather blazer. I showcased this jacket at my Fall 2012 gathering. They carry it in five colors and besides regular Misses sizes, they also carry it in Petite, Tall and Women. It’s a $99.99 jacket, but there is a coupon for 20% off. Too bad you can’t get free shipping!

landsend_animal_shoesLand’s End comes in with four animal prints (three in shoes!). And, as usual, they carry great timeless sweaters sets, cable knit sweaters and the requisite down coats.

Overall, the one thing I am noticing about this fall’s catalog is color. This year they have gone beyond olive green and boring beige to bring vibrant pinks, purples, red, bright greens and blues. No falling asleep on the job!

Have you ever watched What Not To Wear and hear the poor girl say, “But I found it in the stores!” when Clinton and Kelly tell her the attire is not appropriate. Well, just because it is in the stores or you see in a catalog doesn’t mean it is appropriate or flattering.

Here are some examples:

  1. talbots_refined_collectionTalbot’s is showing work attire and this image was in their recent flyer. The black skirt length is great. The pump is work appropriate. The bright, bold color of the top is great and even the necklace is nice. But can you see what is wrong? No matter how think you are, cleavage is not appropriate for the workplace. With a wrap top, this can often be a problem. If you see a top you like with this sort of wrap neckline, try and see if it will stay closed with the neckline not as low. A little trick I use is the pin the under piece to my bra at a high enough point so no cleavage is showing. If the over piece is cut properly it will lie flat against the under piece and you will be set. I do not suggest trying to pin both pieces of fabric as it usually pulls as you move throughout the day and calls more attention to the area!
  2. chadwick_blouson_dressWhile Chadwick’s isn’t calling this a work-appropriate outfit, it is shown on a page that contains other office attire. So what’s wrong with this dress? The length is fine. The neckline is fine. The problem is the dress overwhelms her. The top is too voluminous. Even with a tied waist, this dress makes her look too top heavy. You may recall that patterns also add bulk. The bigger the pattern, the bigger the bulk. This dress is too much, whatever way you look at it!
  3. chadwick_border_printI also have to comment on Chadwick’s border print dress. You may recall I reviewed a dress a few months ago that was also a border print dress. That dress was considered “right” because it was well balanced. This dress is not balanced at all! Note all the attention goes to the bottom portion of the body. If you are top heavy, this might not be a bad thing. Another problem is the decoration that seems to top out at the abdomen. If you have flat abs, this is great. The rest of us probably don’t want anyone staring at our abdomen. And don’t get me started about where the largest print of the pattern sits!

May you always look great!

lands_end_button_downI was looking through the Lands End catalog I received a few days ago and found some basic button down shirts to replace those that are showing wear. I jumped on line and order 5 shirts in less than 15 minutes. The on-line ad said if I spent more than $50, I’d get free shipping. When the order showed shipping, I found the code for the free shipping and entered that to save $6! So far so good . . .

As soon as I submitted my order, I went to recycle the catalog and noticed that there was a 30% off plus free shipping coupon in the catalog that I initially missed! Dang, dang and double dang! I quickly called them, gave them my order number and they adjusted the price. My new savings–$67.20. Whoo-hoo!

While typing this I looked at the coupon again and it actually expired on 1/15/13, which was yesterday. And they still honored it! I just love a company that understands customer service.

I might have pretty traditional taste in clothing, but I love a good buy as much as the next gal.

What great buys did you pick up during the post-holiday sales?

A recent article appeared on Forbes.com called “The Seven Ways Your Boss Is Judging Your Appearance.” While this is no surprise, I wanted to expound on some of the areas:

  1. younkers_structured_jacketGrooming: The article refers to looking “polished” or “pulled together.” Of course it means that our clothes are clean and pressed. But a “pulled together” look is more than that. You need to put together an outfit that is pleasing to the eye. Jackets are a girl’s best friend when trying to look pulled together. Statement jewelry that is not distracting (too flashy, too noisy) gives one a polished look.
  2. Posture: Sitting tall adds to your height (see No. 5). If you’ve gotten into the habit of slouching realize that it is adding years to your look and tells others that you are not proud of yourself. Think about keeping your chin parallel to the floor. If you can push your shoulders down and back, your posture has room for improvement.
  3. Physical Attractiveness: This is where a lot of people just throw in the towel. But it doesn’t mean that only the most beautiful people will succeed. It means you do the best with what you have. Wearing cool bright colors will make most people look alive and energetic, keeping the attention on your face. People only see your flaws when you don’t tell them where to look. Take charge of your image!
  4. Slimness: Yes, some of us aren’t in the best of shape. But dressing appropriately for your shape will make you look slimmer. A black tent dress doesn’t solve all your problems. Wearing monochrome clothing does cause the eye to glide over your silhouette, but structure is still important. We need to know where your waist area is, where your legs start and stop, that you have shoulders that don’t slouch. A structured jacket will solve this problem for most people.
  5. younkers_pumpHeight: While we can’t change our height, we can add a few inches with the right shoes. Adding more than 5” heels, however, is overboard and causes you to look like you are more interested in being trendy than getting to the next meeting in one piece. I recommend no more than a 3” heel for the workplace. Again, that posture will help!
  6. Expensive Clothing: This area can be overwhelming to those with a limited budget. But it is the way the item is made and the material that is being used that is important, not the actual price tag. Recently I saw a pair of plaid pants at Von Maur where the plaid didn’t match up on the sides. This is distracting and a sign of poorly made clothing. Conversely, I saw a similar pair of plaid pants at Sears where the plaids were matched properly. Wearing items that are appropriate for your body shape will also help less expensive clothing look more expensive because they drape on your body properly.
  7. Youthful Appearance: Should all of us over the age of 40 just give up? Absolutely not! Wearing clothing that makes you look vibrant and energetic will help you look and feel more confident. When people see vibrant, energetic and confident people, they don’t even think about age. Again, cool bright colors will achieve this. A pop of lip color will also wake up your face.

So don’t be disheartened by these studies. When you are in control of your image, you are in control of your career. Don’t get left behind by being a wall flower.

Do you feel your boss is judging you by your appearance? In what ways?

About a month ago I noticed a hole in one of my winter sweaters! Then I noticed that my black denim skirt was looking a bit tired. If your basics start to look drab, it’s time for new ones. You would think basics would be fairly easy to find. Alas, this is not true.

My Kohl’s coupon (30% off) arrived in the mail and I went on-line rather than fight the racks at the store. Out of the seven items I ordered (free shipping) from Kohl’s, I kept two. One of them is a black gored skirt in corduroy. The skirt is a great basic for the winter as it looks great with boots and pairs well with jackets.

I also tried Coldwater Creek on-line. My order was a total of $431.21 (free shipping). Alas, nothing worked and I had to return everything! Since I wanted to check out Coral Ridge Mall, the return didn’t cost me anything. After two hours at the mall, I left empty-handed. Even an image consultant can get frustrated at the lack of options!

As I was headed to Chicago soon, I shopped on-line at Macy’s. Order $144.94 worth of merchandise (free shipping) and kept one item–animal print top. Although not great for the winter, I’m headed to Florida in January so it will come in handy.

Speaking of heading to Florida, I still hadn’t found a black denim skirt so I checked out Beall’s–free shipping and a no-deadline return policy. I picked up a black denim skirt along with a dark denim skirt. If I decide I don’t like them, I’ll return them when I go down there.

Back to that sweater with the moth hole–I finally found cotton blend v-neck sweaters at JC Penney and picked up two: black and “verve-violet.” These can be worn alone or with a blouse under them.

Land’s End (also free shipping) had some short-sleeve shells in basic colors (dark cobalt blue and rich raspberry). They aren’t the most exciting things, but worn under jackets, they add a pop of color. One of the items didn’t work and I can return it to my local Sears store for no-cost returns.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find anything unique while I was searching for the basics. But I know my wardrobe will be ready whenever I find it. That’s what basics do. They wait patiently, doing nothing spectacular on their own, until you find something unique that really shows your true sense of style! Christmas is coming . . .

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