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Baby, it’s getting cold outside!

Time to start thinking about warming up and vests are a great way to do that. They aren’t as bulky as a coat because the sleeveless design gives you more freedom of movement. But all vests are not created equal.


These three vests are all from Coldwater Creek. They all cost about the same price (approx. $100 for regular women sizes). While they are not all made of the same material, just a visual look can tell you a lot of things.

The Diamond Quilted Vest on the left gives the illusion of length because the eye will see the length of the diamonds before seeing the width of the diamonds. The princess seams tell the observer that there is, in fact, a woman’s body underneath, and the shiny snaps create a vertical element, again giving the illusion of length.

The center Ponte Perfect Vest has less bulk. While the zipper is the same color as the vest, dressing this up a bit, the vertical element is slimming. The diagonal lines keep your eyes moving toward the center of the body, emphasizing the feminine shape. Again, this vest has the princess seaming to keep it feminine.

The Puffer Collar Print Vest also has princess seaming. However, the seaming isn’t as effective as the seaming on the other bests because there are other elements that add weight. Horizontal lines add weight because they cause the eye to stop. The extra bulk with the flap over the zipper adds even more weight. What about the collar? Actually that does help offset some of the weight of the rest of the vest, bringing the eyes up. If you have a long neck, this might work well. If you have a tiny head or a short neck, it will get lost in all this fabric.

Where could you wear these? I would keep the puffer style as a coat option. Brisk fall days will be more comfortable, especially with the puffy neckline to keep the wind out. Add a turtle neck sweater and you are good to go! The diamond quilted vest is a more casual look best suited for jeans or other casual pant. The ponte vest if worn in a casual office environment would work with just about any bottom: denim skirt, dress pants, or corduroy pants. Paired with t-shirts it is casual; paired with collared shirts or blouses will dress it up. Because it is thinner in material, it won’t look like a coat and can even be worn under a coat, which would probably be difficult for with the puffer vest!

May you always look great!


I was recently surfing through the Nordstrom on-line site and saw lots of beautiful summer dresses. Than I saw the prices! Sure those of you who are in the corner office can afford those, but the rest of the world doesn’t have to look dumpy just because they haven’t reached the corner office, yet. Or, maybe you are looking for something a little less structured for the company outing. So, I surfed over to and found a few summer dresses for that savvy shopper.


A = Mossimo Peplum Knit Dress let’s them know you are a woman–just make sure that the dress isn’t too tight. For $27.99 you can afford to give it a try in a variety of colors. Pair it with the Multi-Row Necklace to help balance out the fullness of the peplum.

B = Merona Boat Neck Side Ruched Dress for $29.99 in a choice of 5 colors. One of them is black in case you are looking for a LBD (little black dress). With the plain neckline, add this Irregular Silver Necklace for just the right amount of bling.

C = Merona Sateen Belted Dress, on sale for $20.99 and in a choice of 6 colors! I’m partial to the plum because this is a good color on most women. You will look fresh and bright while everyone else is melting from the heat. With the high neckline and the belt, don’t try to add jewelry, just a simple Ostrich Envelope Clutch will do.

D = Mossimo V-Neck Cap Sleeve Dress is a more tailored look. Pair it with a statement necklace like this 3 Row Stone Necklace and you are good to go! Because of the cut, you need to make sure it isn’t too short when you sit down, so practice in the dressing room before you lay down your money ($27.99). On average, a dress will ride up 2″ when you sit down.

It might be difficult to find these in the store in the right size. When that happens, I go to the on-line store and make sure I order enough to get free shipping. Target requires $50. No problem, try two of them or order one in two sizes. Target is so close to everyone that returns are fairly simple. Just make sure you have your receipt and return it according the the return policy.

Maxi dresses can sometimes be difficult to wear. The long column of fabric can certain hide a multitude of sins! While these images were taken from Lane Bryant, which specializes in plus size clothing, the concepts are really the same–whether you are a size 2 or a size 22.

Since most women tell me they don’t like their abdomen, I’ve chosen these dresses to discuss how to camouflage that area. View these dresses and see which one(s) you think are the most flattering:



  1. Flowered Maxi: Large patterns tend to make people look larger. Thus, it is difficult for me to understand why a designer would design something for large women that makes them look even larger! Not that large women shouldn’t be able to enjoy patterns–they certainly should. This patter would overwhelm just about anybody!
  2. Strapless Maxi: Notice how the pattern is much smaller and more subtle in the main body of this dress. This keeps the eye moving to the bold pattern on the bottom. The empire line of the dress calls attention to a small part of the female anatomy. Usually a change in the pattern would make the person look heavier. But the horizontal stripes below the knee help to offset the open shoulder area.
  3. Striped Maxi: Gray is rarely anyone’s best color, rounded necklines tend to add fullness and horizontal strips usually make us look much wider. The only person I could see getting away with this is someone with a very large chest who wanted to draw attention away from the chest (and I would definitely add a necklace). But no matter who is wearing this, it had better not get caught on a rounded rump, causing the stripes to “wave.” Not a good look!
  4. Tru To You Maxi: Bright colors, diagonal stripes and an asymmetrical hemline all make this dress stand out over the rest. Anytime you want to minimize an area, put a diagonal stripe over it. Even with the rounded neckline (they claim it’s a v-neck), the attention goes to the pattern and the result is more slenderizing. While I can’t be 100% sure, I think this model is the same as the first model. They look quite different!

Which one is your favorite?

When I teach classes at Kirkwood Community College, it is often difficult to find comparisons to show people the concept I am trying to portray. Skimming through the Chadwick’s catalog, I noticed this model wearing several different dresses. Since it is all the same model, it is easier to see how each dress impacts her overall look.



A: Poplin Sheath Dress: This dress has an “overall small pattern.” This basically means that the eye doesn’t stop anywhere and keeps moving. This can be very helpful when trying to minimize a large stomach–as long as the dress is not pulling in that area. Office-appropriate rating: A- The neckline is great, the length is great, but the sleevelessness isn’t appropriate for all people and all work settings. If you put a structured jacket on on this it would be great for the office.

B: Lace Sheath Dress: This dress is a “tone on tone” meaning that the lace and the undergarment are the same color scheme so it is more subtle. Notice how the pattern on the lace dress is larger. The larger the pattern, the heavier the person looks. Office-appropriate rating: C+ The neckline is good but the length is a bit questionable. Your dress will ride up a bit when you sit down so this is pushing it. The jacket adds a bit of professionalism, but lace is generally not considered office professional as it implies a sexy nature.

C: Tank Top Dress: The neckline is acceptable but the shoes definitely have to go. This is more of a sundress because, although you can’t see it, the back is crochet material, thus others would be able to see your bra.  Now let’s compare the overall look. The tiers are not aligned so the pattern stops every time there is another tier. Tiers create horizontal lines and thus make this model’s middle section appear larger than in the sheath dresses. Office-appropriate rating: C- If you wore it with a jacket–and didn’t take your jacket off–it might work, but you have to wear better shoes!

D: Ombre Maxi Dress: We again have tiers which create bulk; the ruffles also add bulk. The changing colors are a fun and casual look. There is a pattern within the ombre effect and even though it is an “all over” pattern, it isn’t small. Thus, the model looks heavier in this outfit. Office-appropriate rating: D The neck is too low, the length is too long and flip flops are never appropriate for the office.

Compare the dresses. Which do you think look more slimming?

You may recall a couple of weeks ago when I touted the wonders of self-tanning lotions. Well, I got myself into a bit of a “mess” with it the other day. In preparations for an upcoming cruise, I started to use self-tanning lotions on areas not usually seen when wearing my business attire. The next day I awoke to streaks on one of my hands! The streaks were in the web area between my fingers and on the fingers of my left pinkie and ring finger. No one else would probably even notice the slight streaks, but I did! I then checked the area I was tanning to make sure no streaks were there. Relief, no problems there (remember I use the lightest color and massage it in carefully).

This was a surprise to me because I am not a new user to these lotions and I always wash my hands after application. But apparently I was in a rush and forgot to do this step. A quick internet search brought up some of the favored ways of removing the stains/streaks. The first one was to soak the area in baby oil for approximately 30 minutes, then exfoliate using a scrub or loofah. No way can I sit for 30 minutes and do nothing. (This is one of the reasons I never did well with sun worshiping. Way too boring to just lay there.)

The second suggestion was using the juice from a lemon. Not something I keep on hand. I do however keep ReaLemon (from concentrate) on hand, so I thought I’d give that a try. I soaked a cotton ball in the juice and started to rub the area between my fingers that had the stains/streaks. I could actually see the color coming off and on the cotton ball. I washed my hands and then let them dry for a few minutes to see where things were at. I needed a second application before the streaks were barely visible. The process took about 15 minutes. Gotta love that Google!

So, did I learn any lessons from this. Will I discontinue using self-tanning lotions? No, I’m going to continue using the lotions (always the lightest tone, always using a small amount at a time). But I am probably going to be more careful about washing my hands afterwards. If I have the same problem in the future, now I know how to handle it!

Any other solutions for self-tanning streaks?

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

Click here if you were trying to get to Let’s Polka. There was a glitch in my e-blast! Sorry for the inconvenience.

I received an e-mail from Amber O. wondering whether these shoes (by Kobi Levi, Israeli shoe designer) are a “do” or a “don’t.” My response was:  DO wear to a mardis gras party or any gathering with family members whom you never want to invite you back!

I’ve named them myself.

A: Banan-A-Peel E: Say Ahh
B: Walk the Dog F: Double Trouble
C: Scottish High Roller G: Rockin’ Gold
D: Venus H: Slides
I: Devil Wears B&W

Vote for your favorite or suggest a better name.

May you always look great!

Pat Roland, CTIC

WONDERING WOMAN: Can a professional woman cry at work?

ANSWER: It really should matter whether you are a man or a woman, crying in the workplace is considered inappropriate because it brings too much attention to the person crying and causes others to be uncomfortable.

Crying at work, whether you are a man or a woman, sends the message that you are not in control of your emotions. If you are not in control of your emotions, upper management may wonder whether they can depend on you in other stressful situations.

We all know there are people at work who have bad days and unexpectedly vent their anger on innocent bystanders. Your emotions might kick in because you are taking the display of anger personally. As a former HR professional, when a manager vents on a co-worker, it is the manager who is acting inappropriately. Keep this in mind the next time your manager, or another co-worker “dumps” on you and this should help you keep your emotions under control. Many find that clearing their throat or coughing helps provide a distraction while they regain control.

Many years ago a co-worker suddenly died. She was at work one day and the next morning we received notice that she had died. There were tears in many eyes—both men and women. In this type of situation, co-workers can help each other deal with their grief. Similarly, receiving notification at work of a tragedy can bring the onset of tears. The best thing to do in this type of situation is to remove yourself to a private area (office, restroom, parking lot) until you can regain control over your emotions. Rarely will this type of emotional display negatively impact your professional image.

What are your thoughts? Are there times when it is acceptable for a professional woman to cry at work?

Pat Roland, CTIC

It happens to everyone. Yes, even fashion models (only they get to have theirs air-brushed out). The rest of the world is stuck with trying to hide it. Of course, it is best to avoid them in the first place by making sure you:

  1. Drink lots of water as it flushes out toxins.
  2. Cleanse your skin daily/nightly to remove dirt and pollutants from the environment.
  3. Gently exfoliate on a regular basis. You will notice a difference!

Still, it happens. They feel golf-ball sized and look like you have a third eye or a blinking light on your chin. Since breakouts often appear bright red, neutralize them with a concealer. Dab it directly onto the offending area before applying foundation. When adding foundation, apply carefully around the affected area so that you are blending the two together.

This is also a good time to take care with the rest of your makeup. Define your brows, eyes and lips so you are telling people where to look. Megan Fox has the right idea by making sure her eyes and lips are getting the attention.

May you always look great!

Pat Roland, CTIC
My Everyday Image

Berry Lips! Oversize Bags! Patterned Stockings! Who can wear this look?

Berry lips look good on most people, as long the color has more pink than brown (not cotton candy pink!). The first time you try a berry lip color (these are from Mary Kay Cosmetics) you’ll say “Oh, I can’t wear this; it’s too bright for me!” If you’ve been working the nude look for a while, wearing berry will be a shock to your system. Push past this fear. It will take you a week to get used to the look, but only one day to get used to the compliments!

Oversize bags (like this one from are fun and casual. If you are a tiny person, make sure your hobo bag isn’t overpowering you. Large hips? Adjust the straps so your bag doesn’t hit at the widest point (adding more bulk). Many oversize bags have one large compartment that makes finding a pen frustrating. Try using smaller bags inside the larger bag–different textures, sizes and colors–for quick identification.

Are patterned stockings (available through right for you? The first rule of dressing well is body balance. Textures and patterns call attention to themselves and may make your legs look heavier. If you are striving for a professional look, leave the patterned stockings for date night. If you simply must wear them in the office, make sure the pattern is very subtle. A general rule (and even more important in a professional setting) is that patterned/textured stockings should be worn with solid neutrals.

May you always look great!

Pat Roland, CTIC

To view other postings on the My Everyday Image blog, click here.

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