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13 Ways to look like a million for under $10

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13 ways to look like a million

 

You don’t have to have a million dollars to look like you do! Here are 10 quick tips to have you looking your best…for just $10 or less.

 

1, Wear clothes that fit. You wouldn’t believe how much of a difference this makes- and how many people wear ill fitting clothing. Wearing clothing that fits your body shape is incredibly important and sometimes that means getting clothing altered. (Not sure what your body shape is? Take the quiz here) Many men’s stores will hem pants for free and do other alterations for minimal cost. Nice department store might also offer this service. Going to a tailor to bring in a button down shirt will cost around $15 while changing hemlines averages around $10. If you know someone who sews, they might be willing to do it for free or for an exchange (did anyone say wine?) Cost= $0+ depending on the alteration. 

 

2. Be picky when you’re buying second hand. You can save a lot of dough by buying clothing and accessories second hand, but beware of purchasing items that look too rough. Make sure that you actually love the items you are about to purchase and that you aren’t just buying them because ‘they are so cheap!’ Garments still need to fit and be a flattering shape and color. (Hint: here are the top 20 basic garments every woman needs in her wardrobe- plus the perfect fit for your body shape) They should also be in good condition. Pretend like you’re in a high end store where everything is $500 plus. Would you buy the same thing in that situation? This will prevent you from having a closet full (cha-ching!) of mediocre clothes that look okay on you. Cost= $10 or less for second hand clothes. 

 

3. Fill in your eyebrows. As we women get older, we often lose our hair (sorry guys, who didn’t know this), which is why thick locks are a sign of youth. Filling in your eyebrows is one of those changes that can make you look younger without being blatantly obvious. Make sure you choose the right pencil for your hair color and, if you are in a beauty store like Ulta, ask one of the salespeople to teach you how to use it. Cost= Eyebrow pencils on Ulta.com ranged from $1.99-$24. Want more tips on how to dress your age? Here’s how to dress in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s (coming soon!)

 

4. Improve your sleeping habits. Sleep looks good on everyone, and it’s free (Win-win? I think so) The biggest enemy of good sleep is your cell phone. Avoid looking at your phone (or any other screen) one hour prior to sleeping. I also use the ‘do not disturb (silence except for emergency numbers that I dictate) until my next alarm’ feature. Even if you don’t realize that your phone is glowing and beeping all night long, your REM cycle might. Getting a couple of extra Z’s will improve your complexion and save you money on cucumbers (or all those costly cremes and cover-ups). Cost= FREE!

 

5. Tuck in your shirt. My husband works in a factory setting and this tip works just as perfectly for factory workers as it does for top level executives. Why? Well, tucking in a shirt creates a waist (or any body definition) where there was none which looks better on any body shape. It also looks more pulled together and generally less sloppy. You didn’t just throw on a pair of pants and a shirt, you carefully manipulated your clothing to look more professional. Watch how much of a difference it makes here. Cost= 10 seconds. 

 

6. Take care of your shoes and/or handbags. I have a friend who cleans her shoes off after every wear. It doesn’t matter if they were $300 or $3, she simply takes a clean cloth and wipes them down before putting them in back into her closet. The result is that she always looks polished and sharp, not to mention her shoes last forever. We may be able to fake a million dollar look, but shoes and handbags usually rat us out by looking slightly tattered. If you’re like me and don’t have time to daily clean your shoes, try doing it once a week while you watch tv or talk to a friend. Cost= FREE!

 

how to dress like you have money

 

 

7. Exercise. Another freebie that makes a big difference. When you look at people in upper class society, you’ll see that they look more healthy than their lower socio-economic counterparts. Additionally, clothes look and fit their best when the wearer is at a healthy weight for their body type. You can blame cheap fast food, expensive gym membership access, or a multitude of other things on why this rich/poor healthy/unhealthy paradox exists…or you could do something about your own body. Planning out your meals will save you money, calories, and time. Parking further from your destination, getting off the bus a stop early, or going on an evening after dinner stroll in your neighborhood are all simple ways to start living a healthier life. Cost= FREE + a little time.

 

8. Learn how to barter. You may not have the financial resources it takes to buy the best clothes and purchase the best haircuts, but you might have something else. Think about what talents or services you provide and then use those to barter for what you want. Maybe you are great at social media. Ask a local salon who’s struggling with their online presence whether you can help them with their social media in exchange for haircuts/colors. This usually works best with friends and acquaintances. Just make sure that you are good at the service you’re offering and that you follow through on your end of the deal. Cost= FREE (or the cost of your services). Here are some quick tips on bartering from RealSimple.com

 

9. Straighten up. Standing up straight can visually make you look 5 lbs lighter and years younger! There’s nothing more aging than a hunching posture. Look at any wealthy business person and you will see someone who carries himself or herself (upright!) with confidence. Practice sitting up straight while at your desk, typing, or even browsing your phone. Cost= FREE

 

10. Break out the blush. Our cheeks naturally flush when we are excited or aroused. This almost always reads positively by the person viewing you, because they subconsciously connect your excitability to being with them. Luckily, all it takes to fake this effect is to throw on some blush. A little bit of blush will immediately make you look fresh, vibrant, and youthful. Cost= $2.99+ from your local drugstore. 

 

11. Choose colors that flatter your skin tone. Everyone has a certain color or set of colors that really bring out their best features. Work on identifying your colors (I dedicated a whole lesson to this in my e-course: The Ultimate #STYLE Guide!) and then start wearing them! Cost= nothing if you have clothing in your ‘good’ colors. If you don’t? Try buying a scarf. It’s a lot cheaper than buying a whole new shirt and you can pair it with items you already have.

 

12. Smile. I know it sounds cheesy, but have you ever hung out with someone who has a resting bitch face? Even if they’re saying nice, friendly things it’s hard to not think that they are constantly judging you, or are unhappy about hanging out with you, or are just plain uninterested. Cost = some face exercises.

 

13. Discover the many uses of coconut oil. Coconut oil is incredible. It will make your hair shiny and strong, your skin smooth as a baby’s butt, and your teeth several shades whiter…to name a few. Beauty gurus have been touting the positive beauty affects of coconut oil for years! Check out a whole list of things you can do with the magical stuff here. Cost = $7.99 usually for a jar.

 

Above all, remember to take control of the things you can, and don’t worry about the things you can’t! Money can’t buy attitude, manners, kindness, or presence.

Cheers,

Leslie

 

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The art of layering clothes

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The formula to layering clothes

 

Layering clothes– it’s what makes an okay outfit an amazing outfit. It’s where personality and creativity take off.

 

But it isn’t always easy.

 

If basic outfits are simple 1+1=2 arithmetic, then the art of layering is algebra. There are formulas and ways to solve for x and make a great outfit, but you have to know them (by instinct or learning). With that said, I would argue layering is considerably more fun than algebra.

 

Here’s your general formula for layering clothes:

 

Base garment + accent garment(s) + accessories = layered outfit.

 

Your base garment is the simplest version of your outfit and basically whatever is needed to keep you decent. In the below example, the base garment is jeans and a t-shirt. Nothing fancy, just a top and bottom so you don’t get in trouble for public indecency. There are 20 pieces of clothing that I consider base (aka the basics) garments and are the ultimate foundation for any wardrobe.

 

Your accent garment or garments (for the more seasoned layerer- not a word, but stick with me) consists of any extra pieces of clothing that you are wearing aside from the base garment. This could be anything from a cardigan to a vest or even a blouse. Accent garments are a great way to incorporate trends into your outfit. Check out the top 8 trends of Fall 2018 here.

 

Your accessories are the sprinkles on the cake. They fill in ‘visual holes’ (places on your outfit where you need more visual interest) and add the last little bit of personality.

 

Here’s the formula at work:

 

How to layer clothing

 

The basic jeans and t-shirt above layers various garments to create three very different outfit ideas. Some of these outfit examples are more casual and some are more dressed up. See if you can identify each part of the formula: base garments + accents garment + accessories.

 

It’s also important to note that it is easiest when the formula goes in that order: base + accent + accessory. Most people have trouble visualizing an entire outfit all pulled together. However, most everyone can add pieces one at a time (something I talk about in this free webinar). Even if you have to take off part of your base layer (like a dress) to add an accent garment (like a blouse), it’s still mentally easier to put the outfit together in the order of the formula.

 

That brings us to my next very important point. Layering can be done OVER or UNDER (or sometimes both!)

 

We usually think of layering in terms of putting a cardigan or blazer over a shirt. We are not wrong to think that but, but we are wrong to assume that that is the only way to layer! Putting a blouse under a dress is layering. Putting pants under a mini dress (thus making it a tunic!) is layering. Putting a dress under a pair of pants is layering. It may not all look good, but don’t limit yourself! Some of the best outfits are made by thinking out of the box.

 

Look at how this dress (as well as the example above) is layered both over and under.

 

How to layer women's clothingHere we see one outfit that is layered under (the blouse is under the dress) and two that are layered over (the sweater and blazer). Just like the jeans and t-shirt example, the formula applied to this little black dress completely transforms the whole outfit.

 

How to layer women's clothing

 

There really is no rule to how many pieces you can layer, so have fun experimenting and deciding what works best for you! Everyone has a unique style (Not sure what yours is? Take the Style quiz here!) and layering is a great way to show it off!

 

What’s your favorite layered look? Let me know below!

 

Cheers,

Leslie

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4 Easy Ways to Dress Young…without looking like teenager

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The most common woe clients come to me with goes like this: “I don’t want to look frumpy because I feel young, but I also don’t want to look like my 16-year-old daughter.”

 

These middle-aged women are often vibrant, active, and far from looking like how their mothers did at the same age. But, it’s one thing to feel young and another thing to dress young.

 

Here are four easy ways to strike a balance between frumptastic and teenager.

 

How to dress young without looking like a teen

 

 

  1. Stay out of the juniors department (and stores specifically geared at teens).

This one sounds easy, but it can be challenging. Have you ever wandered into the juniors department thinking, “oh, that’s cute” without even realizing where you were? This happens all the time to me at Target. (Speaking of Target, did you read about what happened when I picked out plaid outfits for every age there?) One minute you’re looking at work attire and then you’ve crossed the invisible line to juniors clothing. Additionally, try to avoid stores that are geared directly at teens like Abercrombie and Fitch, American Eagle, Forever 21, etc. While you can find suitable items in these places, it’s much easier to pick out age-appropriate items in a place like Banana Republic than H&M.

 

70 c clothes

Sometimes it’s hard to tell where Junior’s ends and everything else begins…especially during sale season.

 

2. Let quality and fit be your guide

Clothes designed for teenagers are made poorly. Companies know that teens and young adults rotate through clothing more rapidly than other age groups, so they don’t spend as much time and money on quality. If you can’t tell whether you’re in the juniors department or not, just ask yourself, “how well is this made?”

 

Choosing well-made clothing is going to make you look more age appropriate because it will actually fit you well. Designers go through lots of measures to make sure their clothing fits their target market properly. That’s why Aeropostale fits one way while Talbots fits another. If an item is too tight, too short, and generally ill-fitting you will look like you stole clothes from your daughter’s closet. On the other hand, if the fit is baggy and ill-fitting in the too big direction, you will look older.

 

Did you know? Every brand has someone called a ‘fit model’ who works for them. The fit model is a woman (or in the case of menswear- a man) who is the exact measurement of that brand’s average size (usually a medium or 6/8). All of the clothes for that brand are based on the body shape of the fit model- and they aren’t always perfect hourglasses. That is why J. Crew fits better on rectangle shaped women and Talbots looks better on apple shaped ladies. Not sure what shape you are? Take the quiz here!

 

 

3. Look for the word: Contemporary 

Many nice department stores like Saks, Barneys, Bergdorfs, etc. divide their products by floor. As a result, you’re likely to step into an elevator and be given options like ‘beauty, shoes, contemporary, designer…” If you don’t understand what defines and differentiates floors like contemporary and designer then you’re already fighting an uphill battle before you’ve begun.

 

Essentially, contemporary is the way to say ‘current’ without saying ‘trendy’. Contemporary clothing is trendy clothing designed for adults rather than teens (that would be the juniors dept.) In a department store like Saks, contemporary clothing is less expensive (though certainly not cheap) and more current and mainstream. It’s not just big department stores that use the word contemporary. Forever 21 uses it to describe their more modern, looser fit collection (which fits more like…forever 31). Current but not trendy is exactly what will make you look your age and these pieces are often categories as ‘contemporary’.

 

 

4. Stay current with silhouettes, not patterns

Loud patterns, bright colors, and offbeat prints will all make you look younger, but not necessarily in a good way. Instead of dressing younger through patterns, do it by keeping your silhouettes in style. That may sound hard, but intuitively you know the difference between a black suit from the 80’s and one from today. The silhouette of today’s black suit is going to be more modern. This is especially important if you are super petite and have to shop in Juniors or Children sections! 

 

When you look through magazines or are window shopping, try focusing on the shape of garments rather than colors and prints. Are boxy jackets everywhere? What about pleated skirts? This will clue you into what is currently in style and allow you to choose colors that may be more age appropriate. With that being said- never buy anything you don’t love or love the way it looks on you! Not all trends and ‘modern silhouettes’ will look good on you and that’s okay. The basic garments that make up your wardrobe should all work well with your body type. Update those garments as they come into style and add trendy pieces only when they work with your wardrobe (and your body!).

 

Lastly-

 

If you’re still in doubt whether an item or an outfit is ‘too old’ or ‘too young’ for you, I always recommend erring on the side of caution; don’t purchase or wear the item/outfit until you can get a second opinion from someone you trust!

 

Dressing appropriately for your age can be tricky. In fact, I created a whole lesson in  The Ultimate #STYLE E-Course that addresses just that issue because it’s so commonly asked about! For the complete guide of style tips, including how to dress for your body type, how to wear jewelry, and how to style scarves, click on The Ultimate #STYLE Course link above.

Cheers!

Leslie

 

Check out these blog posts (60’s+ is coming soon!):

what to wear after 50 3 tips to dressing in your 40's How to dress in your 30's

 

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How to Dress in your 40’s

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How to dress in your 40's

 

Several years ago, a movie came out called This is 40. Do you remember it? I made the weird choice of watching it (I was in my late 20’s at the time) and found it more depressing than comedic. In fact, I don’t think I laughed at all. ‘Watched in horror’ and ‘silently cried’ were probably more appropriate ways to describe my reaction to the movie.

 

With that said, I think it hit on a good point about your 40’s: they are this middle ground in your life that hit somewhat unexpectantly early (middle aged is after 50, isn’t it?) and can almost be a tipping point. This is the only age decade that is solely NOT about you.

 

Think about it. Your kids are in middle school or high school and you are a taxi service/therapist/referee/short order cook. Promotions in your job mean that you have more responsibility and more expected from you at work. Your spouse and friends still want your love and attention (because, you know, they’re normal human beings). You are being pulled in all directions at once and, most likely, none of them are towards you.

 

No other decade has SOLEY been about others until this point in your life, and to be honest, I see people start to move in one of two directions. They either put themselves on the back burner (never to be seen again) or they take time for a little self-care and love. Fashion speaking, this is the difference between women who ‘let themselves go’ and women who ‘look just as good as in high school’.

 

Because you’re in such an in-between zone, choosing what to wear in your 40’s can be really hard. You still feel sexy, but you are the mom of a 13-year-old daughter and don’t want to look too sexy. You need the versatility of workout clothes (and the comfort of yoga pants) on the weekends, but you also miss looking like a decent human being. How do you find a happy medium?

 

While I don’t have all the answers, I have a few that I think are incredibly important.

 

Here are my top 3 tips to dressing in your 40’s

 

1. Don’t forget to show yourself some love

 

It’s much easier said than done, but TAKE TIME FOR YOU! I know a man who wakes up at 4 am just to have an hour to himself every morning. It’s his way of grounding and refreshing himself before his two teenagers and wife wake up. You may not have an extra hour in your day, but 5 minutes of meditation or journaling in the carpool line can do leaps and bounds for your emotional health.

 

Likewise, doing small things for your fashion life can also make a big difference. Maybe resolve to wear one cute outfit (aka not yoga pants) when running errands this week. Maybe take an hour to go through your closet and remove anything that is damaged or stained. Take a weekend to go shopping with girlfriends and refresh your spirit (and closet!). Or if you don’t have any sort of rhyme or reason behind your wardrobe- make your life easier (and more stylish) by building up the basics in your wardrobe (here are 20 basics every woman needs in her wardrobe).

 

This is often the time women start falling into a fashion rut. Usually caused by pushing their appearance to a low priority, a style rut can (and will!) last until you decide to do something for yourself (fashion speaking). While your appearance doesn’t need to be your top priority all the time (that would be considered vanity) it should ideally stay around some sort of happy medium. Some days are yoga pant days while some days you put on makeup and steal the show. (Psst. Already in a rut? Here’s how to get out)

 

Case in point: don’t ‘let yourself go’! Find ways to show you, you care. Decide to do one thing for yourself this week (it can be big or small!) that will help keep your appearance at that ‘happy medium’.

 

how to respect yourself with your clothing

 

2. Mastering the balance between sexy and sleazy

 

This is something I get so many questions about, I literally just did a whole blog post on the topic. Essentially, you feel (relatively) young still, but you don’t want to look like your teenage daughter. How do you find a happy medium between sexy and too sexy? How do you look like you’re not trying too hard?

 

The key is an easy formula that I call the rule of alternating zones. Read the whole post and see examples here.

 

3. Dress Respectfully

 

As I mentioned in the first tip, your appearance is your message to the world- and it’s a message you get to choose! My big question for you is: does that message say you respect yourself? Does it say you respect others?

 

Does it say you care enough about yourself to buy quality jeans that fit your body shape?

 

Does it say you respect your kids enough to show them an example of a well-dressed adult?

 

Does it say you respect yourself enough to take the time to find clothes that make you feel happy?

 

Does it say you respect your significant other to the point of looking good so they can look even better? (This goes both ways, btw. I dress well because I know that the way I look reflects upon my husband. He dresses well because he knows the way he looks reflects upon me. It’s important to note that we don’t dress well just for other people’s comments. We take care of our personal appearances out of respect for ourselves and for the other spouse- who has to be seen with us!)

 

I know that all sounds really intense, but the big lesson to be learned in your 40’s (if you haven’t learned prior) is that: Your appearance shows how much you value yourself and others. People who stop valuing and respecting themselves are the ones that ‘let go’. People who learn to take time to love themselves and dress respectfully appear to look great for a longer time (even if they gain some weight, get wrinkles, and have to start dying their hair!) It isn’t about fitting a certain size or wearing the right brands…it’s about dressing in a way that shows you understand how powerful and incredible you actually are. 

Keep scrolling to see 3 ways you can easily upgrade your appearance.

 

3 tips to dressing in your 40's

 

If you’re looking to improve your appearance, here are 3 ways to do that (depending on how much time you have available):

 

If you have 30 minutes to an hour:

Look through a Style E-book like Building a Classic Wardrobe- the Basics and see which styles of the 20 basics highlighted work best for your body shape and lifestyle. Filled with pictures, like a magazine, this is both a fun read and informative. It’s great for waiting at doctor’s offices, carpool lines, and football practices.

 

If you have a free night:

If you enjoy reading, pick up a copy (available on Kindle or paperback) of Dressing Your Personal Brand. This book talks all about the message your sending and how to make it your own. It also discusses dressing at work and at home. This easy read is entertaining but also very informative and can easily be knocked out in a night on the couch with a good glass of wine.

 

 

If you have a weekend or more:

If you’re more a video person than a book person, you’ll really like The Ultimate #STYLE Guide E-course. It has separate videos on everything from ‘Dressing for your Body Shape’ to ‘Wearing Scarves’ and ‘Finding the right glasses for your face shape’. There’s also a whole section on making your life easier (ie: organizing your closet and stylist approved shopping tips). You don’t have to do the whole course at once- each section is made up of 15-20 minute videos discussing different topics.

 

The Style E-book, Book, and E-course mentioned above are all made by yours truly because I am so over the top passionate about the subject of looking great (and sending the specific message you want to send!). I want this message to be available to everyone no matter how much (or little!) money and time they have. If you have any questions about any of the books or e-courses, I’d love to answer them. I never want anyone to buy a product that isn’t right for you, so I love it when people ask me before they purchase! Just send an email to empowerme(at)leslie-friedman.com or leave a comment below and I’ll back to you ASAP.

 

TLDR: Your appearance is sending a message about who and what you respect. Make sure to take time for yourself and show YOURSELF a little respect. 

 

Cheers,

Leslie

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How to Dress in your 30’s

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How to dress in your 30's for women

 

In my humble (30-something-year-old) opinion, I think your 30’s are the most underrated decade of your life.

 

A bold statement? Yes, but hear me out.

 

During the years between 29 and 40, you have an exciting mix of life events, available opportunities, and deeper self-awareness. You’re probably making more money than you have in the past and are starting to get to the part of your career that is more than an entry level job that you sludge through to pay the bills. Your body is still in decent shape, and you might be able to continue pulling off fashions from college. On top of all that, you are really starting to figure out who you are and you are doing lots of fun exciting things like getting married and having families.

 

Maybe I’m an optimist, (okay, no maybe’s here. I’m definitely an optimist) but I think the third decade on earth is pretty good. However, like every other decade, the 30’s bring their whole new slew of dressing woes and questions.

 

Here are my top 3 tips to dressing in your 30’s.

 

1. Reassess your priorities

 

During this decade, it is highly likely that your priorities will shift. The person you wanted to be in your 20’s may not be the same person you want to be now.

 

That’s okay.

 

This is a great time to take a step back and think about how your identity is changing (wife, mom, aunt, boss, etc.) and how you want to approach your new titles.

 

In your 20’s we talked about sending the right message. What do you want to tell the world? Guess what? Just because you are in a better position in your career or you’re married or you have a family, doesn’t mean you stop sending a message to the world. This is a great time to reevaluate the message you’re sending and, if necessary, re-construct it to fit your current aspirations and identity.

 

You may be reading this thinking…” okay, Leslie, that’s great…but what does it have to do with how I dress?”

 

The answer? It has everything to do with how you dress! Your appearance is the first big broadcast of your message to anyone you meet. Everything from how you do your hair, to your makeup, and your outfits come together to send a message in that broadcast.

 

Look in the mirror. What is your current appearance telling the world? Is it what you want to say?

 

Want to learn more about constructing the message you send to the world (aka: your personal brand)? Check out this entire e-course I created for newbies who are interested in finding and sending the right message- but aren’t really sure where or how to start.

 

How to dress in your 30's for women

Don’t forget to Pin me!

 

2. Keep upgrading your basics.

 

In my previous blog post on how to dress in your 20’s, we talked about starting to upgrade your basics from college to career. This is no easy task, and depending on your budget, could take a decent amount of time.

 

Budget isn’t the only thing that can hinder your wardrobe upgrade- not knowing your style can also be a culprit.

 

Maybe it’s because I love fashion, but I experimented a lot with different trends and looks throughout high school and college. Some looks were really good, but most were quite unfortunate (see: sage green pleated mini skirt with homemade tube top). These looks not only made for some great laughs (in hindsight, of course) but they helped me figure out my sense of style. Over the years I figured out what I like and what actually looks good on me. If your style is all over the place (or you just have no idea what it is) check out this blog post on finding your personal style and be sure to take the quiz that’s halfway down the page!

 

Because of experimenting with fashion in my teens and twenties, I was able to figure out what style was best for me (and the message I want to send the world)! Now, I can really bolster the basics in my wardrobe because I am choosing garments that I will love and actually wear a lot. This adds a layer of confidence when spending more money on clothing.

 

Knowing what works for your shape and choosing clothes that fit you make A HUGE difference. I made the drawing above by tracing the same pear-shaped woman. Look at what a difference it makes when she’s wearing basics (like pants and a blazer) that actually fit! If you’re not sure what shape you are, read this blog post and be sure to take the quiz! 

 

If you’re not sure what wardrobe basics I’m talking about, you’re not alone. Most women can’t really pinpoint the essential items they need to create a killer wardrobe. To help you make better purchasing decisions, I created a style e-book that focuses on the 20 items every woman (no matter the age!) needs and what versions of those items will work best for each body type. Check it out and get a peek inside the book here.

 

3. Don’t forget to have fun

 

You may have a big girl job, a husband (or wife), and even a child (or a chinchilla and too many plants in my case), but that doesn’t mean you have to graduate straight to the frumpy clothes train. In fact, there is no reason for anyone of any age to be on the frumpy clothes train…but that’s a different rant.

 

Remember, you are still young- so have fun with your outfits! Once you have your basic wardrobe figured out and you know your style (these are game changers- I promise!) you’ll be able to experiment with your clothes in a way that will yield more results that you love.

 

What do I mean by that?

 

Think about this scenario. You are putting together a scrapbook. In scenario A, you have a collection of scrapbooking supplies that you’ve collected over the years along with more paper/stickers/etc from your Aunt and Mom. In scenario B, you go to the craft store and choose exactly the right color papers, stickers, and accessories that you know will look great in your scrapbook. Now, which scenario will lead to an outcome you love with the least effort and most joy? You got it right, scenario B. That is essentially what you’re doing when you start building a classic wardrobe.

 

Once you have classics you love, adding the small accessories that turn an outfit from basic to fabulous is easy and actually enjoyable (for those of you who don’t like the whole process of putting together outfits).

 

Case in point? Have great basics, but don’t stop there. Be sure to still have fun with your accessories- this will keep your outfits age appropriate and keep you from looking frumpy. Because no one wants to look like they wandered out of a frat house party or an AARP meeting when they’re 30 (something).

 

 

 

TLDR: You’re finally hitting your stride in life- make sure your wardrobe is keeping up. Keep upgrading your classic wardrobe to your lifestyle but don’t be afraid to have fun! 

 

Enjoy your 30’s! Hopefully, as I age, I will prove myself wrong and every decade will be more underrated than the one before it. 🙂

 

Your fellow 30-something,

Leslie

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What to wear if you’re APPLE Shaped

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An apple shaped body (also sometimes called an ‘oval’ shape) is the most common shape along with pear. So, if you think you’re the only one who struggles with extra weight around your waistline, you’re not alone. 

I’m one of the only women I know (besides my mom…hmmm) whose extra weight doesn’t go straight to their thighs and butt. Nope. It goes directly to my mid-section. And then it hangs out there as long as I’ll let it. I think the record time was two years (I gained my freshmen 15 when I was a senior in college…you, know…because I’m an overachiever).

When I look back at pictures from my senior year in high school and freshmen year in college, I can’t help but laugh. I had no idea what to wear. I wasn’t used to having an extra fifteen pounds around my middle and my outfits confirmed that.

*Note: I just spent 30 minutes looking through high school/college pictures for a hilarious example of said outfits. I decided the results were too terrifying to post in a public spot. I’m sure you’ll understand*

The thing was, my body didn’t look bad (albeit not being healthy). My shape wasn’t bad, but the outfits I put on it were terrible.

Long story short, learn from my mistakes and dress your beautiful apple body in a way that it will love.

Keep reading to find out:

  • What an apple shape actually is (pssst, if you’re not sure, check out this post and take our quiz!)
  • Celebrity apple examples
  • What to wear 
  • What NOT to wear
  • Sample Capsule Wardrobe

 

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. I use affiliate links in the form of clothing suggestions in order to help you best discover (and locate!) clothing that will work best for your body shape. If you click on the affiliate links, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost for you. Thank you for supporting us, so we can continue to give you quality content. ~LF

You’re an Apple If…

You know you’re an apple shape because you have these two attributes:

  1. Your bust and hips are pretty much equal widths
  2. Your waist is slightly wider than your bust and hips

 

If you’re still confused about your shape, check out my original blog post on shapes (and how to dress any shape no matter if you fall neatly into a category or not)

 

Celebrity Apples:

Celebrity apples are all over the place, although you might not be able to tell it because they dress so well (how sneaky!)

My absolute favorite celebrity example of an Apple is Oprah. Why? Because her size is more in line with the ‘average’ woman’s (aka: all of us who aren’t celebrities) and she wears a lot of normal outfits that you can easily copy.

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See what I mean about normal outfits!!?? This is by far my favorite Oprah look because it makes her look like she has a waist and it’s slenderizing, but it’s not a big muumuu. 

 

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Catherine Zeta Jones wears a ruched dress that accents her waist area (thus making us think she has a really defined waist…or a waist at all). If you were to locate her actual waist in this picture it would be much lower than where the ‘fake waist’ optical illusion is happening. More on the fake waist phenomena below. 

 

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Drew Barrymore uses a wide belt and contrasting colors (white, blue, and brown) to make her seem narrower in the middle

 

The Main Idea:

In the original blog post about DRESSING YOUR SHAPE, I talked about my easy secret to always knowing what will look good on you regardless of shape. The secret is to always wear clothing that make you look like an hourglass. If you missed the post, you can read it here.

Essentially, dressing for your shape is all about using clothing, jewelry, and other accessories as an optical illusion to make us appear a certain way.

The optical illusion is formed when we distract the viewer away from one part of our body and attract their eyes to a different part.

In the image below, you can see that her hips and chest fill out the hourglass, but the waist area does not come in. This means that we have to use an optical illusion to give her a defined waist. I call this: creating a fake waist.

Apples, you can get away with pretty much anything, sartorially speaking, as long as you make it look like you have a waist (without adding too much volume to the top or bottom).

THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!! Your new ‘fake waist’ is probably not going to be where your real waist is (around your belly button). It is going to be the smallest part of your torso and that is, most likely, going to be closer to your boobs. Really don’t have a real waist? You can literally make your fake waist under your boobs. This is especially handy if you are petite.

Go back up to the picture of Catherine Zeta Jones for a minute. Where does your eye first go when you look at her? My bet is her waist. Only, it’s not her real waist…it’s her fake waist. You can literally create a waist wherever it benefits you most. Remember that.

Keep reading to discover how to create a fake waist.

 

What to Wear:

Remember the main idea here: we need to distract away from her top and bottom while making her new fake waist the main attraction.

IMPORTANT!! You don’t necessarily need to combine a million ways to fake a waist as shown below in the garment examples. Just choose one per outfit (example: you don’t need the first striped shirt shown AND a belt unless you want to)

Here are several cheats (aka: sneaky ways) to defining a waist:

  • Use color. Just make sure the color change happens at your fake waist
  • Use gathering or ruching. This can make it look like you have a waist. See image above.
  • Use seaming. Seaming is where two pieces of fabric come together. Creative seaming (like in the last jacket shown) can make you look more curvy than you are.
  • Use the column of color method. This is literally when you have a boring (neutral color and no details) open cardigan or blazer over a more interesting blouse. The eye automatically goes to the column of color of the blouse that you’ve just created and it visually cuts off the sides of you where the cardigan is, resulting in a more long and lean look. If you scroll down to the ‘wear this not that’ image, you can see this being played out (Except I used a long necklace to attract the viewer’s eye instead of a bright colored shirt).
  • Use a belt. Sometimes it helps to visually draw a line across your fake waist (the smallest part of your torso, remember??) using a belt. In the celebrity pics above, this is what Drew Barrymore and Oprah have done.

 

Pssst: Want to have a full wardrobe laid out for you (that’s bigger than the one below)? Just click here to learn more!

Here is what to wear (and how to fake a waist), when it comes to different types of clothing:

    • Tops/Blouses: If your shirt is untucked, you’ll either need to make sure it has detailing around the waist (ruching, gathering, faux belt, peplum, color change, etc.) or you’ll need to add a belt. Alternatively, you could tuck in your blouse to high waisted bottoms. Here are a few examples of tops that give the illusion of a waist.

    • Blazers/Jackets: Take it from Oprah, an unbuttoned jacket or cardigan is your best friend. It’s a casual way of drawing the eye into the space that is open (where your shirt is underneath) and it makes you look thinner and taller. Closed blazers and jackets work as well, but much like shirts, you should make sure that the garment nips in at the waist or has ruching, etc. Uneven hemlines (short in back, long in the front or vice versa) are going to look best.

    • Skirts: Once again, you can get away with a lot, as long as you define that fake waist. A high waisted skirt in a different color as your shirt counts as defining the waist, as does a color blocked skirt. (Remember, we’re defining your new fake waist, not where your waist actually should be) Just above the knee and maxi are going to be your best lengths.

    • Pants: You want wide leg or boot cut pants. A larger amount of volume by your calves will even out your body and keep you from looking top heavy. Just look at Oprah, she never wears skinny pants. High waisted pants are your friends and keep the hemlines as long as possible to lengthen your frame.

    • Dresses: When looking for dresses, it’s all about the middle detail around your ‘fake waist’ (surprise, surprise, right???) Color blocked dresses, ruched (gathered) waist dresses, and wrap dresses are all perfect for your shape.

  • Accessories: Belts are your friends. A good rule of thumb, is to choose belts that are compatible with your size. If you are a bigger build, choose wider belts. If you’re a smaller build, choose skinnier belts. This keeps the belt from overwhelming or underwhelming you. If you don’t like wearing belts, you can just choose to work with the column of color optical illusion (long open cardigan/blazer + under shirt the same color as pants + pants). This makes you look long and lean without the need for a belt.
  • Purses: Take your pick of purses, but please, no fanny packs.

 

What NOT to Wear:

  • Tops/Blouses: Anything excessively tight on the waist. If you’re going to wear something tight, make sure it is a nice, thick material. Also avoid anything too loose unless you accenting your fake waist in some way (like adding a belt).
  • Blazers/Jackets: Avoid jackets and blazers, like traditional pea coats, that are straight up and down with no seams or detailing around the waist. They will make you look like boxes.
  • Skirts: Avoid wearing any skirt whose waistband sits directly across your hips. This will make you look unnecessarily wide.
  • Pants: I know you love leggings, but they aren’t your friends. Leggings will make you look like a popsicle. Now, I like popsicles just as much as the next person, but I want to eat them…not look like them. Also avoid pants that are low rise, as they make your hips look wider.
  • Dresses: If you’re a small apple, you might be able to get away with a sack dress. So, if that’s your style, go for it. If you are wearing a sack dress or muumuu to hide your stomach, STOP. You don’t have to hide your stomach so much as just move your waist up higher. Avoid anything tight that clings around the stomach.
  • Accessories: Avoid belts that don’t fit your body size!
  • Purses: Fanny packs and other cross body bags that cut your body in half and take away from your fake waist are bad.

Sample Apple Capsule Wardrobe:

A capsule wardrobe is a small collection of clothing where each piece can be worn with every other piece to make a maximum number of outfits. Below, we have put together a capsule collection for an Apple with classic style.

You’ll notice that I tried not to pull anything over $200 to keep this wardrobe budget friendly!

Ps. Don’t forget to look under the collection to see how to put these pieces together for a week’s worth of activities!

Here are just a few combinations you can make for an entire week’s worth of activities.

Monday: (work) White long sleeved blouse (tucked in) + red pants + heels + earrings.

Tuesday: (work, then school meeting) White blazer + white lace top + denim skirt + loafers.

Wednesday: (work) White blazer + dress + belt (under or over blazer) + loafers.

Thursday: (work, volunteering) White tank (don’t tuck in) + creme cardigan + jeans +  belt (over or under cardigan) + Tory Burch flats.

Friday: (work, after work dinner date) Polka dot halter (tucked in) + red pants + white blazer + heels + earrings. Take blazer off and add earrings for the date.

Saturday: (playground with kids) White tank (don’t tuck in) + jeans + Tory Burch flats

Sunday: (baseball game, book club) Velvet tank top (tucked into skirt) + creme cardigan + denim skirt + loafers.

 

Click here to find out the top 20 items every woman needs in her wardrobe (plus outfit ideas on how to wear them)

 

The Big Take-Away:

Just because you don’t have a defined waist, doesn’t mean it should stop you from being a complete bad a$$ (I mean, did you see my celebrity apples above!?!?!) Focus on creating that fake waist and then accent the heck out of it! 

And most, importantly, you’re gorgeous. Never forget that. 

xoxo, Leslie 

 

PS. Now that you know the rules, you can break them. 😉

 

 

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Why You Need a Uniform NOW

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Have you ever seen someone well dressed and think, “I could look like that if I just had some more time to get ready.” Or maybe your reasons are more along the lines of,  “I’m too busy“, ‘there are more important things I need to worry about”, or simply “I don’t care”. While I can’t help you with the last reason, I can fully sympathize with you on all the others.

why you need a uniform

My life has been more stressful than usual lately. Combine an impending cross country move with home buying, home selling, and a sinus infection and ‘looking my best’ isn’t exactly at the forefront of my priorities. Some days I’m lucky just to get out of workout clothes and into jeans. Unfortunately however, your appearance still matters even when it’s the last thing on your mind.

 

Future clients are still seeing you in the grocery store.

 

Your employer is remembering you by that last impression you’re leaving.

 

People are still making judgements about your character, work ethic, etc. even if you aren’t willing and ready for it.

 

It sucks, but you still need to make some sort of an effort to pull yourself together, even if you’re busy and stressed out…and that’s where the uniform comes in. If you remember nothing else about this post, remember that:

 

  1. Uniforms are glorious
  2. You need one

 

A uniform is essential to getting you through those particularly rough patches in life, because quite honestly, we often have better things to spend our time on than picking out clothes. At it’s purest form, a uniform is a tried and true outfit that is easy and foolproof. It’s the jeans and t-shirt combo you pull out because you know you look good in it and you know you’ll be comfortable.

 

The secret to looking great when you don’t have time, or simply don’t feel great, is to plan ahead. Have one or more uniforms waiting in the wings for those times that you don’t have the time or effort to plan an ensemble. I have two uniforms. One is for casual errand running and the other is for business.

 

My casual outfit is a pair of tailored, dark wash J.Crew jeans, button down Ralph Lauren oxford, and a cute pair of flats. On really unfortunate days, a hat or sunglasses may get added to the mix. It’s streamlined, it’s pulled together, and (most importantly) it isn’t fussy. I can throw it on to run to the grocery store or go to the dog park. If I run into someone important during my errands, I don’t have to hide behind aisles of cereal at the store because I still look professional and appropriate. In fact, several great client relationships have blossomed while I’ve been waiting in a checkout line or hanging out at the dog park. You’re always making a first impression, so make sure you are making a good one!

Shop Vineyard Vines for large selection of womens button down shirts. Our White Oxford Shirt for women is classic! Wear with skirts, slacks or jeans!:

An example of my classic oxford and jeans uniform (pic from Vineyard Vines). 

My business uniform consists of a black dress, pearls, and black heels. No matter how short on time you are, there’s literally no way to mess that up. A quick up-do like a french twist solves any bad hair situations. If you choose a dress (especially a dark colored one) for your uniform, make sure you have one that you can step into (as opposed to pull over your head) to steer clear of any deodorant disasters. If I have a last minute speaking gig or have to meet a client on short notice, I know exactly what I can wear and still make that great impression. There’s no time wasted in front of my closet stressing out (more than I already am) about what to wear.

Monday dress

This classic black number from J.Crew doesn’t even need jewelry…just a great pair of shoes and you’re ready to go!

Figuring out your uniform is pretty easy. Simply go through your closet and pick out a couple outfits that always make you feel confident and powerful and that fit consistently well (as opposed to fitting only when you are in top physical condition). If it helps you to remember, take pictures of these outfits so that you can easily refer to them when time gets crunched or more important things pop up. Apps like Closet can help you keep track of your uniform and even record when you’ve worn it previously (so you don’t end up wearing the same outfit to every client meeting). I actually have several different variations of my uniforms: oxford button downs in several colors and multiple black dresses. This way I’m never without a uniform to wear. 

 

Taking the extra thirty minutes to craft a couple of great uniforms is absolutely worth it. You’ll never be caught hiding behind random stuff at the grocery store again (wait a minute…are these adult diapers?!?) and you’ll never have to sacrifice your reputation or professionalism to time and stress.

If you’re having trouble figuring out your style, or finding the right uniform for your body type, you have to check out The Ultimate #STYLE E-Course.

How do you still look your best with your pressed for time or stressed out? Do you have a favorite uniform that you always turn to? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

Cheers,

Leslie

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