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Modest Dressing: Stay cool without baring all

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Many women choose to dress more modestly, whether it’s for religious reasons or simply personal preference. Motives aside, most modest dressers face the same fashion issues. That is why I’m so excited to bring to you a series of blog posts all about dressing conservatively…starting with this one!

 

Since it’s still hot in many parts of the country, I want to give you my top 5 tips to staying cool- without baring it all.

Tip #1: Choose fabrics wisely

 

Searching a garment of clothing for a fabric content tag isn’t something we necessarily do when buying clothing- but it should be if you’re trying to stay cool.

 

Generally, natural fabrics like cotton, linen, flax, bamboo (usually in the form of rayon), etc. tend to breathe more than synthetic (or man-made) fabrics. The exception to this being performance fabrics that are specially made for exercise (spandex and lycra) and wool (which is natural but very warm!).

 

So, what exactly do I mean by breathe more? It means that natural fabrics allow air to pass through the weave of the fabric, thus allowing the sweat to evaporate and cool your body. Materials like polyester, acetate, and acrylic (synthetics) don’t allow for air flow, leaving the sweat to pool on your skin under the fabric (ugh).

 

Choosing garments with the right fabric is one of the most important parts of regulating your temperature! All of your essential wardrobe basics (click here to read more about choosing the best basics!) should be chosen in the appropriate fabrics for the climate where you live.

 

Here’s a little cheat sheet on fabrics and which work best for hot weather!

Did you know? Legally in the US, garments must have a tag identifying their fabric source. The tag is required to be in the back neck or left side seam of all garments. 

 

Tip #2: Lighten up

 

Darker colors absorb light while lighter colors reflect light. This means that a black shirt is going to absorb the sun’s heat and a white shirt is going to reflect most of the sun’s heat.

 

This is why you always see the same types of colors pop up every spring/summer and fall/winter! A light pink will be cooler in the summer while a burgundy red will be warmer in the winter- if you’re exposed to the sun.

 

This seems really obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how many people chose to wear black in the summer and don’t understand why it’s making them hot!

 

Tip #3: Less isn’t always more (cooling)

 

Most people’s first reaction to hot weather is to take off as much clothing as possible. If you prefer to dress in a modest way, stripping down isn’t an option for you. AND- you’ll be happy to hear- it isn’t always the best option.

 

The sun’s rays are extremely powerful and can be very damaging to the skin. Keeping your skin covered is a great way to decrease the chance of skin cancers and other negative dermatological sun affects. Even walking from your parking spot to your work may result in sun damage- so it’s a good thing to cover up!

 

Lightweight fabrics are good options because they, not only help prevent sun damage*, but efficiently transfer sweat off your body and into the air, thus creating a cooling effect. Lightweight fabrics also dry faster, so you won’t be walking around with a soaking wet shirt all day.

 

The main point? Keep fabrics lightweight and make sure you have air flow (see tip #4)

 

*Clothing is usually not 100% effective at blocking all the sun’s harmful rays. Make sure you always wear sunscreen (even under your clothing!) when you are exposed to the sun.

Tip #4: Airflow is key

 

I’ve already said this a couple times, but it’s really important, so I’ll say it again. This is how sweat works: Your body senses that it’s hot and starts sweating. The sweat then evaporates into the air and the process of evaporation cools the body.

 

Obviously, this means that the less air exposure, the less evaporated sweat (making you hot and wet) while the more air, the more evaporated sweat (leaving you dry and cool).

 

Long story short: airflow is good AND the more airflow the better.

 

When you are putting together outfits, make sure there is plenty of air flow, and specifically, as much air as possible in between your skin and any garment. This is why loose tunics, skirts, and wide leg pants are all great options.

 

If you live in an area of the world that is hot most of the time, take potential airflow into consideration whenever you’re shopping for anything- but most importantly- those basics that make up your wardrobe (see more about the 20 essential basics here).

 

Hint: Want to tuck in a shirt or belt it? Choose a shirt with wider sleeve holes or a more open neckline. This ensures that air can still come enter through some other access point than the bottom of the shirt.

 

Tip #5: Add excitement with jewelry

 

For a lot of us, adding a scarf or creative layering clothes can be a great way to add interest to an outfit. However, in the heat of the summer, a scarf seems out of place (unless it’s a hijab) and layered clothes are too hot.

 

So, how do you keep your outfits from being too blasé? Let jewelry have its moment!

 

Long necklaces easily replace scarves and spice up outfits without trapping any heat. The also visually act the same as scarves as they tend to elongate the body making you look more slim and tall.

 

Earrings, bracelets, and rings are a great way to add in the dark colors you love- but maybe don’t want to swath yourself in this time of year.

 

Bonus: summer jewelry is an inexpensive and easy way to experiment with new colors and trends with minimal commitment.

 

LASTLY, here are just a few outfits to give you a little warm weather inspiration!

 

modest outfits for warm weather

What is your favorite outfit to wear when the weather gets hot? Share in the comments below!

 

Cheers,

Leslie

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The Best Clothes for Teachers

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It’s that time of year again! Can’t you just *smell* the crayons??

 

I remember back to school as one of my favorite times of the year- not because of the school part- but because I could get new clothes for the upcoming year. While I’m sure it’s just as fun for a lot of other kids, now that I’m an adult, I see a whole different side of back to school. Specifically speaking…the teacher’s side.

 

I’m going to be honest. I didn’t really understand how tough it was to dress as a teacher until I started having teacher clients and my friends became teachers. All of a sudden I understood the delicate balance that is teacher clothing: stylish but not (anywhere near) sexy, functional but not frumpy, easy to wear but not sloppy….and the list goes on.

 

To help you make that balancing act easy, I’ve written out the three most important steps to choosing a wardrobe that will work for your career as a teacher.

 

Step 1: Choose the right basics

Putting together outfits (no matter what job you have!) is going to be difficult if you don’t have the right basics.

 

The basics are foundational pieces of your wardrobe (think: black pants and white tees) that are the building blocks for all your outfits.

 

The two key attributes about foundational basics of any wardrobe are that:

1) they work for your body shape and

2) they work for your lifestyle.

 

To see my suggestion for 20 basics every wardrobe should have (and what styles are best for your body shape!) click here.

 

It seems pretty obvious, but it’s very important that your basic pieces look great on you and cater to your lifestyle because they are the key players in every outfit you put together. Just like a house, if the foundation is off, then the rest of the building (or in our case- outfit) won’t work.

 

 

Step 2: Embrace the capsule collection

Maybe you’ve heard of capsule collections. They are essentially a small number of clothing items that can all be interchanged with each other to create as many different outfits as possible.

 

There are several benefits to a capsule collection that make it appealing to teachers:

  1. Getting dressed is easy. With a capsule collection, every top works with every other bottom. Getting dressed in the morning is as easy as pulling a top and a bottom out of your closet and putting them together to create an outfit.
  2. Capsule collections save you money. These types of wardrobes are perfect for people on budgets because you are getting the most possible outfit combinations out of the least amount of clothing. That translates to more bang for your buck.
  3. You’ll always look appropriate. Teachers are people too and they *gasp* have lives outside of work. Because of this, not everything in your wardrobe may be appropriate to wear in a school setting. When you have a capsule collection of items for work, then you already know that everything in that collection is approved for work. You won’t have to stand in front of the mirror in the morning wondering if that one shirt is just a little too low.

 

Creating a capsule collection can be daunting. That’s why I wrote a style e-book (shown below) just for teachers! The book includes: an entire capsule collection of 20 items, 12 weeks of outfit ideas from that collection, helpful dressing for your body shape hints, and a practical step by step guide to creating your own teacher wardrobe. Click here to check out the book and learn more.

Step 3: Have fun with your accessories

Capsule collections tend to be more on the neutral side (although they don’t have to!). If you’re looking to spice up your outfits, try experimenting with different accessories.

 

Not only are accessories like jewelry, scarves, and bags fun, but they are also much cheaper than buying a whole new outfit. Bonus: scarves can be a great way to hide that coffee you just spilled down the front of your shirt.

 

Here are a few accessories that I love (with a price that anyone would love!):

 

Matte Bead Layered Necklace, RED, hi-resLina Splatter Tassel Oblong Scarf, , hi-res

Matte bead necklace $18 (left), Tassel scarf $15 (middle), Palm tree brooch $19.97 on sale (right)

Twig & Arrow Embroidered Parrot ClutchOpen Work with Faceted Stone Ring Set 3ct - Universal Thread™ Gold

Parrot clutch $12.97 on sale (left), Stackable rings $9.99 (middle), Floral neckerchief $9.99 (right),

 

Wishing all the teachers out there a wonderful school year!!

 

Cheers,

Leslie

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What to wear to work in the summer

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Ah, summertime.

 

Love it or hate it, you still have to go to work and look like a decent human being no matter how hot and/or humid is it outside.

 

Although I am definitely in the #lovesummerhateeverthingelse camp with Leandra Medine, I realize that looking professional in the hot hot heat isn’t always the easiest accomplishment. That’s why I’ve decided to come up with a couple simple steps to getting dressed for work in the summer.

 

 

summer work 2

 

Step 1: Choose the right fabrics

Did you know that some fabrics can make you hotter than others? It’s true! Here’s a breakdown of what materials you should be wearing (and which you shouldn’t)

 

WEAR THIS:
  • Cotton, bamboo, and linen natural fibers. Natural fibers are ‘breathable’ meaning that they let air pass easily through them. The more air passing through the fibers, the more your body is cooled down (not to mention all the hot air isn’t stuck right next to your body). BONUS: they also dry fairly well.
  • Performance fabrics. These are specific fabrics that are designed to wick (aka: pull) water away from your skin and transfer it through the fabric letting it evaporate into the air. Think: your fabric yoga outfit. The tricky part is to make what is essentially work out clothes work appropriate (no fear though, I’ll show you some examples below!)

 

NOT THAT:
  • Wool. Wool’s specialty is trapping body heat which is why it’s so effective at keeping you warm in the winter. Even if you are opting for a summer sweater, be sure to choose cotton.
  • Anything plastic (that isn’t a performance fabric). Plastic fabrics are the worst in hot weather. Not only do they allow NO air flow, but they also take forever to dry out…meaning that you’ll sweat a lot and everyone will know. I use the term ‘plastic’ to describe these fabrics because they are literally made out of plastic (fun fact!). The most popular plastic fabrics are: polyester, acetate, and nylon. (IMPORTANT! Technically, performance fabrics are made from some of these same materials. The difference is that PF have been specially modified for athletes. A button down shirt from your local department store made from polyester IS NOT a performance fabric).

 

Step 2: Work around your classic wardrobe

Just because it’s summer, doesn’t mean you have to neglect your entire wardrobe. The first step to putting together a great summer work outfit is to have the right basics. (Not sure what the basics are? Click here to learn more about the 20 basics every woman needs in her closet.)

Once you have the right basics, you can build off of them for summer. Here’s an easy formula to doing just that:

1. Start with a skirt or pants (or tailored shorts if your work allows)

2. Add an undershirt (this soaks up most of the sweat, if you’re a sweater)

3. Choose a blouse that is sleeveless or short sleeve (you can stop here if you aren’t required to cover your shoulders)

4. If your dress code requires you to cover your shoulders, wear a light cardigan instead of a blazer

5. Top with fun accessories. Since you aren’t wearing as many layers, use accessories to make your outfits more interesting.

 

Keep reading to see outfit ideas using this formula!summer work 1

 

Step 3: Know the tricks of the trade

 

When you live in a hot place, you develop ways to work around the heat (and still look professional).

 

Here are my favorite tips:

 

1. Wear an undershirt.

I know I already said this, but it really does work! There’s a relatively new company that makes ‘sweat proof’ undershirts. I have never tried them, so I can’t vouch for whether they work, but if you have tried NUMI, leave a comment below and let us know!

 

2. Keep things as loose as possible.

A-lines skirts > pencil skirts. Swing dress > sheath dress. Loose blouse > fitted blouse. I think you get the idea. The more air flow you have, the better things will be. To achieve a more tailored and less bohemian look, tuck in shirts, belt tops and dresses, and add fitted clothing once you get to the office. See picture below.

image

3. Layers are just as important in the summer as the winter.

With the summer heat also comes severe air conditioning abuse. Keeping several blazers or cardigans at work allow you to still look professional without the need to walk across the city in a suit jacket.

 

4. Get your hair and makeup to play along.

Wearing your hair in a nicely coifed up do not only looks professional, but it keeps it off the back of your (hot) neck. As for makeup, you need some sort of setting spray or powder. Seriously. If you don’t, your makeup will take an unfortunate pilgrimage down your face as the day goes on.

 

Need some outfit inspo? Check out these ideas:

workoutfits1

(Can you tell which items are actually activewear? I’ll give you a hint: both dresses and two shirts are made from performance fabrics)

 

What do you love to wear in the summer when it gets hot? Tell me below in the comments!

 

Cheers,

Leslie

 

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How to wear shorts when you’re over 50

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How to wear shorts when you're 50+

“I can’t wear shorts, I’m too old for that”

It’s a comment I hear often from women over the age of 50 (and sometimes over the age of 40!)

They feel that hitting a certain number automatically takes away their right to wear specific types of clothing. Well folks, I’m here to tell you that it just isn’t true.

Saying you can’t wear shorts over a certain age is just as ridiculous as saying someone over a certain size shouldn’t wear a swimsuit.

I understand that you want to look age appropriate, but I have a little secret for you. It’s possible to wear shorts at any age and look age appropriate.

Here’s how.

1. Choose the right length

Obviously, you don’t want to wear daisy dukes, but just because you’re older doesn’t mean you have to wear Bermuda shorts. Finding the right length for your body is key to looking age appropriate in shorts. Essentially, you want your shorts to be no higher than where the inside muscle of your leg ends. To find that spot, stand in a superman pose with your legs slightly spread. The inside of your legs will get thinner as they go from your pelvis to your knee. Whenever they stop getting thinner and just go straight down, that’s where the muscle ends. Here are several pictures featuring women of different body types and shapes. The red line is where the inner muscle ends (and where your shorts should begin).

From left to right: Ashley Graham, Goldie Hawn, Julie Andrews

2. Keep it simple.

Leave the bright floral prints, polka dots, and stripes to your kids and grandkids. Opting for neutrals like white, beige, black, and navy are going to look more classy than cutesy. It’s also a good idea to choose shorts from more structured fabrics like thick cottons and canvases. These fabrics don’t wrinkle as easily, they don’t cling to your skin, and they look more pulled together (aka: age appropriate!) than linens and slinky polyesters. Keep it simple when it comes to pockets, too. Cargo pockets look bulky and will make your legs look bigger than they are. The more hidden the pockets, the better. If you need help coming up with a classic wardrobe of clothes, click here.

Washed Chino Bermuda ShortsWashed Chino Bermuda ShortsWashed Chino Bermuda Shorts7" Button-Hem Short Riviera Shorts with 6 Inch Inseam color Coral Blush

From left to right (LLBean, Eloquii, Talbots (other colors available), LOFT (more colors))

how to wear shorts and not look frumpy

3. Choose the rest of your outfit wisely.

If you’re showing more skin on your bottom half than normal, cover up more on top. A cardigan or long sleeve shirt will keep you from looking like you’re baring all. Also, try to pick tops that match the formality of your bottoms. In other words, if you’re wearing gym shorts, wear a t-shirt. If you’re wearing tailored khaki shorts, opt for a nice blouse (like a button down oxford). Pair nice shorts with the same tops you would wear with business casual khaki pants.

Here are several ideas of how to wear shorts:

outfits with shorts

Left to right (Casual daytime look, more professional look, very casual/beach look)

Creating a wardrobe of clothes you love can be hard, not to mention when you’re trying to achieve an age appropriate look. If you’re looking to boost your style (or even start out in the right direction) keep reading here about my classic wardrobe basics (and the 20 items that make up every great wardrobe- no matter how old or young you are).

How do you wear your shorts? I’d love to know! Comment below. 

xoxo, Leslie

 

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